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Trial run

A Kathryn Blake fragment . . .

She moved out into the passage, silent without the appearance of stealth. The door to her left she knew led into the body of the house, and she saved it for future consideration. She had seen enough during the previous day to know that the far door was a simple swing door, and to be puzzled by Pavel’s confidence in it. He had seemed to suggest that he would know if she passed through it. She would not find out how by staying on this side of it, and she would never bypass it if she did not find out its secret.

She backed up a few strides, and started to run. She would need momentum for what she had in mind, She was certain that there was a cavernous space beyond it. She had heard the echo of it. She was confident that they were on the first floor. She had heard the ring of footsteps on metal when others had passed through the door, had glimpsed a railing . . .

She hit the door at a run, and had a split second to assure herself that everything was as she had suspected. Then she grasped the railing and turned her dive into a wild swing, propelling herself into the open space, dropping neatly, allowing herself a roll to absorb the impact on the concrete floor, coming up alert and ready, her eyes devouring the space.

In front of her a wide door opened, a returning hunting party framed in it. In a moment their guns were trained on her, and they were stuttering a challenge. Her vocabulary had not yet improved enough to master

“Stand up slowly, and keep your hands where I can see them.”

She did so anyway. It seemed a reasonable guess.


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