the smuggler’s bible


The worst of the confusion is hidden by the fog. Trees appear, looming, and recede again as Cormac runs in the direction of the house. Muzzle flashes glare white in the hazy distance to either side. Voices ahead—five or six men, maybe—then someone shouts and gunfire erupts, rattling through the branches.

Cormac hits the deck and covers his head. He can smell a thick animal pungency under the tang of rifle smoke, hear whimpering and a hideous crunching. Swift motion nearby leaves the fog swirling over the carnage, and the night is cut by a single, brutal howl.


Cormac is walking toward the clearing at the back of the house when something stops him. He isn’t sure what—a prickling at the nape of his neck, maybe. A feeling.

Ahead of him, framed in the moonlight, he sees another of Dorian’s men. There’s a low snarl and movement to his left. A blur eclipses the man’s shadow. He hears the thud as the body hits the ground and a wet rasping rush of air.

“Wolf,” Cormac whispers, and fires a warning shot into the air. He knows better than to shout—he’ll need his breath for the sprint.


Cormac does three circuits and decides he needs a smoke. He leans his rifle against a tree and digs around for his pipe and matches. While he’s at it, he finds his flask tucked away, shrugs and tips it back.

Someone passes by in the trees, and Cormac turns to wave. The house is just a black shadow behind him—something for the fog to obscure as it rolls in off the hills—but the boss said to watch the exits. He’s just picking up his rifle when he hears the shots from inside. Three of them and then silence.