by Kelsey Ketch
Genre: NA Historical Fantasy
Release Date: December 31st 2017
I causally walked to the starboard bulwark, catching sight of the harbormaster’s window. The candle still burned as it had been long before night fall. Odd, I thought. The knot in my stomach twisted
even tighter. I haven’t seen the harbormaster work his books this late into the night. I leaned against the gunwale and squinted a little, trying to focus my vision. The candle was nearly spent, and underneath the dripping wax laid what possibly could be a hand, but it was too far to tell. As I eased back, my gut
squirmed like a bunch of worm snakes. I needed to be sure all was well, for Meriden’s safety and the rest of the crew.
Neglecting to ask Swan’s permission, I slipped down the main deck, across the gangway, and headed straight for the harbormaster’s office. The street was as quiet as the grave when I reached the
door. I raised my hand to knock, only for the door to push open on the first tap to the solid oak. I swallowed the lump that crammed its way into my throat. This wasn’t good. I drew my working knife and stepped inside.
“Hello,” I called. “Anyone still here?”
It felt stupid walking into the dark hallway without knowing if I might end up dead or accused of theft, but my gut told me to keep pushing forward. I turned right into the room with the burning candle
still flickering inside. The office was clean and uncluttered except for the few stacks of paper on the desk. On top of which laid the harbormaster, as if he merely fallen asleep in his desk chair. My eyes refocused again at his outstretched arm. A trail of hot, liquid wax ran across the flesh of the harbormaster’s
hand, which didn’t even stir the man awake. My heart pounded with adrenaline,and I pushed the man up by the shoulder.
A maroon-colored pool poured onto his books from what looked like a dagger wound to the harbormaster’s shoulder. A serious wound, but not one that should have killed. It was the discoloration of the man’s skin and the vomit around the mouth that gave me a better idea what had brought on the man’s demise. I’d seen the signs many times before from men who died in blackish waters as well as a few victims that died at Baker’s hand.
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