Squeezing through the rotting boards, Elias hit the cobblestone beneath the window. Finally free from quarantine, the choke of the City was his. He knew exactly what he wanted to see.

Weaving public and private towards the clocktower, Elias wondered. Were the stories true? Did a boy his age really fall from the face while installing the hour hand? He held grim air in his hands. Would there be a marker where the boy landed?

The towering clock loomed mean and leaning over the courtyard. Two guards walked, shoulders nearly touching, on a loop around some crates, while a third with a crossbow supervised from the steps. Taff!

As Elias devised a plan to see the deathsite, an errant wind blew a matchbox into his shoe. Looking down, he saw scrawled into the side a message in ink: MEET ME AT BURRICK’S TONIGHT.

The Crippled Burrick. Elias knew it from the slurs of the man who was exploiting his mom. A tavern. A tavern near here. Hmm.

Girl with needs and fears