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The Tower

Kristine Kathryn Rusch


He had gotten a message.

Sent by old-fashioned tradecraft dating from the days of the Secret Intelligence Service, long before the advent of MI6. A simple flowerpot on a balcony in Kensington, a tiny red flag next to the ugliest flower Thomas had ever seen.

The flower didn’t matter. The flag did.

It meant: Be at the designated spot, midnight. Be prepared.

So Thomas stood on London Bridge, his back to the traffic, his arms resting on the railing. To his left, the lights of Southwark Cathedral. To his right, the Monument designed by Sir Christopher Wren to remind everyone of the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Thomas pretended to contemplate the lights of London reflected on the water. A bit of a wind brushed his cheeks, bringing the slightly bitter scent of the Thames.

Behind him, cars hummed as they glided by. Someone would notice him sooner or later. A man standing on London Bridge at midnight, his arms resting on the edge, looking down at the water, spoke of melancholy at the very least, a potential suicide at the very worst.

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