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Business in Iron Bay

Phaedra waited on the dock between two red lanterns and watched the rowboat approach, a prybar in her hand. Somewhere behind her, Lapis stood, a silent shadow at her back. She hadn’t told him what they were doing, just asked for his help. It was a test, and she hoped he passed it.

The rowboat bumped against the dock and one of the men threw a rope over the cleat and jumped onto the dock, hauling on the rope and tying it down.

“Ms. Byrne?”


“You have our goods?”

“What an insulting question.” She gestured just behind her to where two crates were waiting.

The man snapped his fingers and turned to help haul the two crates out of his boat and put them, dripping, on the dock before moving together to gather who two crates.

“Wait.” Phaedra said. The two froze, although not because she’d spoken, but because Lapis had stepped into the light, sword held loosely in his hand. In the red lantern light he looked fiendish. A devil brought to life.

Phaedra took the bar to the top of one of the crates, prying it open. Slushy ice filled it half-way up, dark objects stuck into it. “Your employer does not disappoint, Gentleman. On ice and everything.” She reached into the ice and plucked out an oyster, working a knife into the hinge with a vicious movement that caused it to pop open. She sniffed at it and smiled.

“You may have your goods, gentleman.”

Lapis sheathed his sword and the two hefted up the crates, taking them into the dingy. There one of them cracked open their crate and frowned into it, the delicate, rubbery turtle eggs were lined up on a layer of straw.

“No ice?”

“No need. Dangle them in the water here and they’ll keep good for weeks. Your employer should have someplace for you to pack them discretely on your ship. It was in our agreement.”

The man grunted and jumped out, untying his boat and jumping back in. “Pleasure doing business”

“Indeed.” Behind her, Lapis was getting the tackle ready to haul the crates from the dock at the bottom of the cliffs on Iron Bay up to the lighthouse. Her watch struck one in the morning. She watched the boat vanish into the dark bay and extinguished the lamps, turning to help Lapis and smiling to herself. A very profitable evening indeed.

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  1. Tepic Harlequin Tepic Harlequin May 31, 2015

    Dangle em in the water? In New Babbage? Last time us urchins tried dangling a penny in the water, it got too heavy ter haul up! It’s good water, ours is, not that thin stuff ter get elsewhere, ours has real body! Honest, i saw it floatin by the other day………

    • Nyanka Jinx Nyanka Jinx May 31, 2015

      Tepic, if you saw a body in the water, call the local undertaker. Someone or something might have drowned in the canals.

      – Dr. Henry Jekyll

  2. violet Solano violet Solano June 7, 2015

    i find that in most cases, bodies floating the canals have not died from drowning,……. smiles sweetly

  3. Byron Wexhome Byron Wexhome June 8, 2015

    A somber, muffled cadence marked one’s brief observation of the curious red lights..

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