the smuggler’s bible


Agema first checks in the small closet under the stairs. She finds the rifle in the back corner among dusty skis, bound up in oilcloth. “Got it in one,” she mutters, backing out slowly with her arms wrapped tight around the parcel.

She lays it out on the floor and tugs at the string. Old knots shatter. Agema grabs a candle off the mantle. She can just make out her grandfather’s name on the stock and eighteen tiny notches hacked into the blued steel along the barrel.

She reaches out, gently lays a single pale finger where nineteen will go.