Charles L. Grant
There was the sound of a box opening. Somewhere behind them, or in front of them, or to their left, or right. A large box with a large and ponderous lid was being opened. There was a heavy, wheezy breathing. A rattling, dry cough. Another wheezing breath, and then a whispered grunt and the closing of the box lid. The man who collected boxes shuffled toward them and lifted his heavy head. His hands were veined and trembling, his bones gaunt. He lifted his head, slowly, and looked out at them through the black shadows of his eyes.
Then he tried to speak . . .
marble trembled like living flesh. "Ti piace?" Zi' Carlo asked, and gestured toward the statue. "Si, Zio," she answered softly. "It is my favorite." "Your favorite!" he exclaimed happily. "Ah! Ah! I knew my niece would have good taste. Of course, of course. Yes, this is the most beautiful statue in the world, a work of the truly inspired imagination. It is to your credit that you recognize it, niece." He looked briefly at the gleaming figure of mother and son. "Che belezza!" he said
replaced them in his case. "I'll call you next week and we'll set a date to fix it." As he rose to leave, he knocked over his glass. It bounced, launching ice cubes across the living room floor. Katie knelt to retrieve the ice and to catch the rolling glass. "Don't worry, it didn't break," she said. "I know." Trister started for the door, but turned and looked down at Katie. Several moments went by as his left eye went down, to the left, and up behind the lid, over and over again. "Do you know
In an effort to recapture her poise, she said, "Your manservant made a request of me as he brought me here." Roger and Saint-Germain exchanged quick glances, and Saint-German hesitated before saying, "You must understand, this is not precisely the situation I had anticipated. Did my manservant explain the situation to you clearly? I do not want to ask you to do anything you think you would not wish to do." She shrugged, shaking her head once or twice. "It doesn't matter to me. Or it does, but
it makes no sense." "How do you mean?" Saint-Germain had seen this lethargic shock many times in the past, but long familiarity did not make it easier to bear. He would have to make other arrangements for James, he thought; this woman clearly needed quiet and time to restore herself. She had had more than enough impositions on her. "It's all so . . ." She sighed as Saint-Germain opened the side door for her and indicated the way into the chateau. "No man has touched me since Gunther, and I was
than I," James suggested blandly, the habits of caution exerting themselves. "Only what we are told," she said with a degree of sadness. "But there must be raids and ..." he said, hoping she would take up his drift. "We hear about them, naturally, but Salzburg is not as important as other places. It is not important to shipping or the offensive, so we do not know how the rest of the country is going on." She finished the tea and reluctantly set the cup aside. "They have real butter here, and