Downstairs, Jamess Sedrik wrote the last of the day’s sales onto the ledger, completely unaware of the conversation taking place directly above him. He raised his head at a sound that emanated from the back of the store.
“Sybil! We’re finished for tonight. Put out the lanterns and get your ass out of here before I lock you in.” Blowing impatiently to dry the ink, he wiped the nib on a stained sleeve, snapped the book shut and set the quill into its stand. “Sibyl, you in here?”
When no response came, Jamess swore roughly and grabbed up his walking stick and slingpack, trudging out the front entrance after extinguishing the three lanterns himself. The door slammed vigorously shut and the store was plunged into darkness.
Sitting hunched in a ring of barrels full of Kalao tubers, Sybil Hawthorne hugged her knees, eyes turned upward and ears straining to hear the muttered voices upstairs, over the creak of pacing footsteps on the floorboards.