Isobel did her best not to stare at the two as she made her way past. Before her guilt could swallow her whole, before she could change her mind and turn back, she pushed through the front doors of the restaurant and out into the cold.

Without her coat on, it was like taking a plunge into a vat of ice water.

Outside, darkness had stolen over the harbor while minuscule flakes of white filtered down, lighting on the brick walkway. Mottled moonlight glistened on still waters, mingling with the slightly warmer glow emanating from the tall lamps and storefront windows. Shoppers, huddled in thick coats and scarves, hurried toward doors that would lead them into warmth.

Above, troops of puffy-cheeked clouds waited in the sky, frozen in place.

Isobel squinted through the darkness toward the road, where she saw a familiar navy-blue car pulled close to the curb. It waited just beyond the line of flagpoles, its yellow flashers blinking.

Glancing back at the restaurant one last time, Isobel noticed a trio of servers standing in the light of the propped-open kitchen door, smoking. Then she saw the flowered headband, the smear of red on black visible in the bright white light fixed above the door.

She kept her head ducked and her back to the restaurant while she strode quickly toward the Cadillac, hoping her getaway would go unnoticed by their waitress. At the same time, she knew it would be hard not to spot someone walking around without a coat in twenty-degree weather.

Just as the thought occurred to her, a cold sting of wind whizzed past, gusting in from the direction of the harbor. Sharp and knifelike, it carried the scent of the salty sea air. It made her hair whip at her face while, above, she heard one of the flag lines clank against its metal pole.

Isobel grabbed the cuffs of her long-sleeved T-shirt and pulled them down over her fists. She hunched her shoulders as she hurried to the curb where the Cadillac waited.

Opening the rear passenger door, she all but fell into the backseat, where she found her backpack waiting for her.

With the winds picking up, she only had to pull lightly on the handle and the door swung shut on its own. Behind them, someone laid on their horn.


Without so much as a “long time no see” to Isobel, Gwen cranked down her window, just enough to stick her head out and shout “Bite me!” at top volume. The offending car blasted its horn again in a string of Morse-code bursts. Collapsing back into her seat, Gwen shifted the car into gear. She put her foot to the pedal, and Isobel was slammed backward as they lurched away from the curb.

Other horns joined in now, honking like a flock of feather-ruffled geese.

“Try telling him!” Gwen railed at the surrounding cars. “Think anybody here’s ever heard of the phrase go around? Look at the blinkers, you schmendricks. When the blinkers are blinking, that doesn’t mean you sit there and blink with them. You go around!”

As they gained speed, Isobel twisted to peer through the rear window. She saw the young waitress staring after them. Dropping her cigarette, she stamped it out with one foot, crossed her arms against the cold, and disappeared back into the kitchen.

“What is it?” Gwen asked. “Somebody see you?”

“Gwen, to quote you directly, I think everybody saw.”

Gwen switched lanes, putting on her signal before veering left as the light changed. “Did you expect me to just put up with that back there?” Isobel heard a click from the dashboard area, followed by a burst of heat. “By the way, I hope you packed a coat in your bag of tricks back there, ’cause it’s supposed to start snowing, and there’s no way we’re playing pass-the-parka with mine.”

Isobel grabbed her backpack and, placing her thumb under the silver wings of the butterfly watch, popped them open to reveal the time as just after eight.

“Gwen, they locked the cemetery gates an hour ago,” Isobel said. “How are we supposed to get in?”

“Actually, they locked them an hour and seven minutes ago, if you want to get technical about it,” Gwen said. “On the website, Westminster lists their hours as eight until “dusk,” and I have to say, they were pretty accurate.”

“Wait a second, you were there?” Isobel grabbed the seat in front of her and leaned forward as Gwen made yet another turn.

“Of course I was there,” Gwen said. “What do you think I’ve been doing all this time? Crocheting mittens? It’s called doing reconnaissance. Why aren’t you wearing your seat belt?”

“Jeez, Gwen! You could have texted me. I mean, I’ve been going crazy thinking you might be stranded on the side of the road somewhere or lost or, I don’t know, kidnapped!”

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