It was just cold enough to cause frost. Sam watched the Sun crawl down the last few degrees. Already, insects were singing from the long grass. Sam breathed in, deeply, through her nose: the air was fresh, and cold.

‘How ridiculous,’ said Rashid, suddenly beside her. ‘At such a time of the year, the crickets would all be dead.’

Sam ignored him, closed her eyes, and concentrated on the impossible chorus. She tilted her head back and looked up at the stars – she could make out the Milky Way, just about. There were so many lights up there.

‘Hang on. Wasn’t it sunset just a minute ago? This is some serious amateur-hour horse-shit you’ve got here.’

She sighed.

‘Not all art is naturalistic,’ she said.

He snorted. Sam kept staring up at the stars – she didn’t look at Rashid.

‘What do you want?’

There was a rustle of paper. Sam looked down; Rashid was holding a sealed envelope.

‘You’ve got mail.’

She took it from him. She ran her finger under the flap – it wouldn’t open for anyone else, she knew. She read it. She read it again. She looked at Rashid; he raised an eyebrow.

‘I assume it’s something interesting, then?’

‘They’re back,’ she managed, voice straining. Rashid opened and closed his mouth a few times. He took a step towards Sam, lowered his head slightly.

‘Who’s back?’

Sam shook her head. She sighed.

‘I’m going to need one of the Craft. I need to get to Paradise.’


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