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datatime: 2022-11-27 03:26:11 Author:TyfhOSOj

The horsemen were waiting on the other side, swords at the ready.

Six steps now; seven, eight, nine.

The sight of Zeffer's execution had momentarily distracted Katya from any further mischief. She was simply staring at the door as though she could see through it to the horror on the other side.

Perhaps she was regretting. Just a little.

And while she regretted, (if regretting was what she was doing) Tammy continued to haul Todd after her up the stairs.

What was she thinking, Tammy wondered. What have I done? Did a woman like that ever think-'what have I done'? With Zeffer gone, she would be alone in Coldheart Canyon. Alone with the dead. Not a pretty prospect.

What was she thinking, Tammy wondered. What have I done? Did a woman like that ever think-'what have I done'? With Zeffer gone, she would be alone in Coldheart Canyon. Alone with the dead. Not a pretty prospect.

Come away, she urged him.

Todd retreated, and as he did so Katya caught hold of Zeffer by the hair and lifted him up. Tammy was too concerned with reclaiming Todd from the threshold to do anything to save Zeffer. And Zeffer in turn did nothing to save himself. He simply let the woman he had adored pick him up, and with the same nearly supernatural strength Tammy herself had felt just moments before, Katya pitched Zeffer through the open door.

Christ... Todd muttered to himself.Christ oh Christ oh Christ...

He looked round at her. She was probably more familiar with his face, and with his limited palette of expressions, than she was with her own. But she'd never seen the look of stupefaction he wore right now. The veins at his temples were throbbing, his mouth was slack; his blood-shot eyes seemed to have difficulty focusing on her.

Todd retreated, and as he did so Katya caught hold of Zeffer by the hair and lifted him up. Tammy was too concerned with reclaiming Todd from the threshold to do anything to save Zeffer. And Zeffer in turn did nothing to save himself. He simply let the woman he had adored pick him up, and with the same nearly supernatural strength Tammy herself had felt just moments before, Katya pitched Zeffer through the open door.

Indeed, if she had ever been in love with Todd Pickett-which by many definitions she had-she fell out of love with him at that moment, comparing his face with that of Duke Goga, and finding it wanting.

He did not do so, however. He hung back from the door, eyeing it with suspicion and awe. Though none of the light from the hallway seemed to illuminate the world on the other side of the doorway, Tammy could see the man's face quite clearly: his severely angular features, his long, braided beard, black shot through with streaks of gray; his dark, heavy-lidded eyes. He was by no means as beautiful as Todd had once been, but there was a gravitas in his physiognomy which Todd's corn-fed charm could never have approached. No doubt he was responsible for all manner of crimes-in such a landscape as he'd ridden who would not lay claim to their share of felonies?-but in that moment, in the midst of a dark journey of her own, Tammy would have instinctively preferred the eloquence of this face for company than Todd's easy beauty.

Six steps now; seven, eight, nine.

It was like being woken from a dream. One moment Tammy had been staring into Zeffer's stricken face, while the men closed in on him from behind, and the sky seethed overhead. The next the door had shut this terrible vision out, and she was back in the little hallway with Todd at her side.

There was a terrible cracking sound, as the blade cracked Zeffer's breastbone and then the point emerged from the middle of his chest.

The sight of Zeffer's execution had momentarily distracted Katya from any further mischief. She was simply staring at the door as though she could see through it to the horror on the other side.

Tammy didn't give her a chance to snap out of the trance. She started up the stairs, pulling Todd after her.

Perhaps she was regretting. Just a little.

Tammy didn't give her a chance to snap out of the trance. She started up the stairs, pulling Todd after her.

Zeffer threw back his head, and caught hold of the edge of the door with his unmaimed hand. He had his eyes fixed on Tammy as he did so, as though he was drawing the power to do whatever he was planning to do from her. There was a long moment when in fact he did nothing; only teetered on the threshold, his eyelids growing lazy. Then-summoning one last Herculean effort of will-he gave Tammy a tiny smile and closed the door in her face.

Perhaps she was regretting. Just a little.

What was she thinking, Tammy wondered. What have I done? Did a woman like that ever think-'what have I done'? With Zeffer gone, she would be alone in Coldheart Canyon. Alone with the dead. Not a pretty prospect.

The question went from her head the next instant, driven out by a wail of demand from below.

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