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But then again, I’ve never been the bookish type so I don’t exactly know how it works.You never know with these bags, especially when you pick one off a stiffer. A scent of lilacs seeps through the windows of the car, overpowering the stench of old tobacco and stale sweat.All he does is glare and burrow his fingers inside his palms. He and magic just don’t get along, to put it mildly. “Sergeant Frank Heartnell, I don’t get up for less than blazing sun.” “Don’t play wise with me, kid.” He turns to proceed down the decaying hallway. The door takes some banging before it finally shuts.Admittedly, I did once make a receptionist burn from the inside out, so maybe there’s a smidgeon of fear somewhere in Heartnell’s anger. I tie on my bespoke boots, silver-tipped with a mix of screetcher teeth and herbs under the heel, grab a coat and my satchel. I don’t lock it–those who know where I am know who I am, and those who’d dare steal would see only bare walls and one soiled mattress leaned to the radiator.Eyes wide open, amber, stare up at the sky, no expression in them. When she danced, her face would pull her eyebrows up with each jump, her laugh painting the air like magic, I–I don’t know this girl in the gutters. “We dubbed her Sparrow Rose.” I start at Sarge’s voice. ” “Just…” He waves his hand towards the girl’s face, then lets it fall.
My stance will be ignored, but, hey, can’t blame a girl for trying to crawl back to bed and fall into blissful, alcohol induced sleep. We’ve got a shiner.” I raise my eyebrow-an expert achievement of snark that never fails to drive Sarge crazy.
I suppose the chintz carpet she’s wrapped in kept the chill at bay. It’s hard feigning nonchalance when her mouth was sewn shut with blue string and blood crusted over the corners of her lips. Mad Maggie thought she was a pile of leaves.” I stay crouched by her shoulder. The skin’s turned waxy, but the falling moonlight does everything but make her look a corpse.
Somebody’s unfurled the top so that her face was visible. Except one of the stitches has been broken, the thread hanging from her mouth like drool. Strayed lilac petals have dappled the mud around her body, as though she was suspended in the sky and I was looking up instead of down. Her features are sharp, cheekbones you could slice your finger on, a hard jaw that takes no excuses and a wide forehead with insidious lines between her brows. Demanding respect, she would force her lips in a thin line and stare you down till you cracked.
On a plateau framed by four lilac trees, bronzed gallows stand as though they’d emerged from the earth itself.
Sometimes I wonder if the air is cleaner up there, when your neck is wrapped in rope. I breathe in the lilacs, savouring the scent as it makes my chest swell, and not failing to take a good look at the splintering imitation wood of the gallows.
Heartnell’s knuckles have already turned white gripping the wheel. Our strained ride ends at the edge of Verago, where centuries ago stood the Seventh Gate.