the smuggler’s bible


Iseult closes the door behind her. The room is cold. Ice crystals creep across the walls in snarled webs, glinting nastily in a sour blue glow coming from nowhere. The furniture is tasteful but understated, and every piece of it is currently on the ceiling.

It’s a neat effect, but Iseult has seen it before. She takes a step. Then another. The door locks with a snap.

Poor lost little morsel.

For a certain class of predator, stalking is part of the ritual. But what really matters—what counts at the end—is who pounces first. Iseult clenches her fist.


It’s a slog to get across town at rush hour, but Iseult is fearless in the face of oncoming traffic. She knows the intersections where a stoplight can be fudged by up to four seconds and (more importantly) the ones which don’t play fuck around.

At the hotel, she takes the stairs to the thirteenth floor, where the elevators don’t run.

“All right,” she says to the man in the hall, “show me.”

“This one’s for real, Iseult. The manifestation litmus pulled red. Dark.”

“So instead of talking,” she says, sliding brass knuckles over her fingers, “let’s deal with it.”