The Rat


Have you seen my sister? She disappeared four years ago. I don’t have a picture but she looks a bit like me, if I had darker hair.

Too vague.

Branwen Grid, have you heard of her?

Too specific.

I’m looking for someone. Maybe you’ve seen her – my height, bigger build, darker hair? Looks a bit like me, not really like me, but people say they can tell we’re related…

Now I’m just babbling.

“Take a deep breath,” says Ayla from the next horse over. Take a deep breath I mimic, because that’s Ayla’s solution to everything and it’s bloody annoying.

I don’t even know what she’s doing here.

“Can I kill her now?” says Ren from my other side.


“Please? I’m so bored.”

I know what he’s doing here but I’ve no idea what I was thinking, bringing him along. About the only thing he’s good for is finding Ayla even more irritating than I do and saving me the trouble of snipping at her. They’ve been at it for two days and it’s another five hot hours through semi-arid desert to Obertown.

“I can hear you,” she says in a mild tone that makes me want to punch her teeth down her throat. Snip.

“Why are you here, again?” says Ren, sounding as if he is resisting a similar urge. Snip-snip.

“I was bored.” Snip-snip-snip.

I am not getting paid enough for this.

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