The young woman standing on the beach had a dark mark on her throat. A cut, not a hanging. Wilom might have guessed mugging, but her clothes were unusual — made for practicality and nothing else. She wore a thick jacket over a plain shirt, and similarly thick trousers. Her shape was nearly entirely disguised under them. The un-light washed out all the colours, but it didn’t look like there were many to begin with. Those weren’t civilian clothes. Continue reading
Wilom had to coax the young man into the boat. He cried the whole way, though he tried to disguise it. Wilom made a few attempts at encouraging conversation. The young man made no response except for a weak smile, but that was enough. He got off at the other side, and didn’t look back or wave goodbye. Continue reading
Wilom was starting to grow uncomfortably familiar with the dark marks of hangings. Continue reading
The woman on the beach looked stunned, half-dazed. She stood unsteadily and looked up at him with the expression of someone who wasn’t really seeing what her eyes were pointing at.
Wilom knelt down a respectful distance away, and didn’t stare at her. People often came to the River like that, especially those who had died violently. Continue reading
“Ferryman?” Wilom asked, as the bank drew close.
“Would it be alright if I got out of the boat for a little while? I want to go for a walk, and I’d like to talk to the lighthouse keeper if I could.” Continue reading
As Wilom walked over to the woman on the bank, he listed facts about her as quickly as possible, trying to notice as much as possible, to practice. Nervous, he could tell. Hanged, judging by the dark mark on her neck. He’d seen enough of them. But there was something different about her. She seemed restless, and she definitely hadn’t been waiting in a jail cell for days before her execution. Continue reading
The ferryman, for once, didn’t row them directly to the bank, but instead took them over towards the lighthouse. Wilom realised that the lighthouse keeper was waiting for them on the bank, holding something. Continue reading
Vanda jumped away from the cliff face as soon as she saw the boat arriving, but sulked her way into the boat. She flung herself down on a bench dramatically and held out a silver coin between two fingers. Continue reading
On the shore, a man waited. Wilom took a deep breath as he got out of the boat and let it out slowly. The man was standing tall and nervously straight, square shoulders, watching the River with a belligerent intensity. Wilom could tell already he was going to be difficult. Continue reading
Wilom tried to count the people for a while, to try and get some inkling of how much time might be passing. He never seemed to be able to count much past twenty, though — for some reason as soon as he thought he had an accurate count, he’d remember someone else he’d taken, or realise that one he’d counted had actually been from long, long before, and he’d have to start again. Continue reading