the smuggler’s bible

Vlad Dracula

He emerges at midnight, stepping out of a slim pool of shadow cast by a skeletal hornbeam. Moonlight sparkles on the fresh snowfall.

Nearby is a school, and from its small yard he can hear a faint voice. Children, it says, quavering, oh, children. His cloak snaps outward and he flies, alights upon an iron railing. The fine shoes he is wearing are not made for the weather, but his balance is perfect.

There, moving in great arcs, pale bulk plowing snow to either side. It’s hard to see at first, white on white, except for the carrot and hat.