Photo by Jules Cox

Photo by Jules Cox

Working on one of the last Tallow-Wife stories, this one is “Bearskin”:

He listens closely in case Uther is sneaking up behind to scare him so he pees his pants again. Torben would have thought that trick would grow old quickly, but apparently not. All he can distinguish is the wind rattling branches, the creak of frozen wood, the whoosh of his own breath as it makes dragon’s mist in front of his face. Put him in a library and he can identify the title of a book by the sound of its fall, but here … here he is lost. He clears his throat; it seems terribly loud in the quiet, in the sighing of the snow. A bird calls overhead, a melodic thing, and he thinks of Victoria, his sister, gone before him. That should have been a warning, he thinks, a sign that Aunt Bethany would brook no dissent no matter how much she professed to love them. Henry will be safe, he thinks, for she cares for Henry more, differently, strangely.

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