“That is just too horrible,” Janine exclaimed.

Martha paused mid-sentence. On the other side of the street from the cafe, a street-vendor curled on the ground, thin bruised arms covering her head as a Tower Guard stood over her, placing blows as methodically as a bricklayer.

“He’s going to kill the poor woman.”

“She is zealot and he will not do any lasting damage.” The words slipped out before she could stop them.

But Janine simply laughed.

“The things you say. Honestly! Now you were saying something deliciously scandalous about Frederick.”

Martha struggled to recall what their manager had supposedly done. Somehow the furnishings and walls of the cafe had vanished. The smells and sounds of the Veld surrounded her. She shivered and shut her eyes to find them already closed. Janine’s voice drifted down from a vast height. She clutched at it but too late.

The Veld claimed her.

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