the smuggler’s bible

Pluto Vespasianus

He shades his eyes and strains to see anything, even just the reflected glimmer of chrome. He is afraid to blink.

It comes in two parts. First, a spark zagging across an inch of deep blue sky. The afterimage hangs in his vision for a moment, then is obliterated, washed out by a second spark that flares quickly into pink-tinged flame. The clouds ripple and rush outwards, sculpted into concentric rings by the concussion.

Ten minutes later, snow begins to fall over the bunker. Pluto Vespasianus touches it gently. It smears under his hand—greasy flakes of fine grey ash.