My father was obsessed with nuclear war and knew all about it. He knew the effects of radiation, the half-life of the various types of detonation. The other neighbors had a pool, but we had a shelter of reinforced concrete sixty feet below the ground with provisions enough for five years.
When it came, it wasn’t like we expected. Many of the cities got hit, but not ours. It was over pretty fast. Then the rains came, weeks of rain that flooded the shelter and made them all sick. I’m all that’s left now, I guess. Why, I don’t know.
Kevel slung his leg over the crossjack yard and peered into the fog. It was thick as cream. He could see nothing.
The Master called up from the deck, the disbelief evident in his voice. “Well? What do you make?”
“Nothing but the damned fog.”
Kevel was confident in his reckoning. He could feel the loom of the land, though none yet could smell it.
And then, as though Neptune himself commanded it, the fog vanished in an instant. The glittering harbor was full of strange craft none aboard had ever seen the like of before. They had no sails.
“That’s just fucking great,” said White. His hands were tight on the wheel, jaw muscles rippling with repressed rage. “Sheep on the goddamned road.”
“It’s supposed to be a highway. The map must be wrong,” said Black. He jabbed at it. “See for yourself.”
White closed his eyes, shaking with the effort to control himself. So much was riding on their timing. “The map is not wrong. The clock was not wrong.”
“Well,” said Black. “We all have our opinions.”
White’s annoyance eased after he began to plan how to get rid of Black’s body once this job was finished.
I must fly across the rooftops, making no more noise than a beetle crawling on the desert sand.
Hadiq was lucky to have been admitted to the Guild at all. He knew this. Clumsy, obvious, far too nervous. He came seven generations of brigands, burglars and assassins, but the talent that made his name feared and respected throughout Turkey seemed to have skipped him altogether. Failing for a third time to pick a pocket, the Master had given an assignment usually reserved for children and dolts: to bring an unsuspecting tourist to the Alley of Thieves and then quickly vanish.