He’s wearing a trench coat, the kind that screams “criminal” or at least “flasher.” And horn-rimmed glasses. This is the first time I’ve seen him. From Miriam’s reminiscence, I might have expected a boy, but this is a man of leathery skin and a set jaw, with crinkles along his eyes. A man who looks at the world with a mixture of amusement and revulsion.
“Hey, Miri,” says her brother, as he pulls an arm from the folds of the coat and places the nose of a pistol against the middle of her spine. “So good to see you, after all this time.”
“You’re late,” I say. My instinct kicks into gear, and before Miriam can twitch her neck to see what’s happening, I’ve pressed the long end of my switchblade against her thigh, a few inches from the femoral artery, where all the life can pour from a body in minutes.
“Did she tell you where it is?” His voice is a raspy snarl, a lung cancer drawl, like he’s trying to sound decades older than he is.
Miriam looks at me, and for me everything clicks at once. I’m expecting rage, or anguish, or pure fear–the typical reactions. Instead her eyes settle into mine and soften. A face of forgiveness.