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Kiran

“Here,” he says. And “chokepoint.” “Hold off” and “ammo,” and “try to wait.” “Hope,” too, and “not much.”

“Children,” he says, “safety.”

The sun’s just starting to split on the steeple over the wreck of White Oak. Kiran lets her eyes wander from small, desperate Hugo and thinks about sunset on Lac Court d’Oreilles. She told Nanda she’d quit smoking there. She never did.

“Can’t ask–” says Gus.

“Sure,” says Kiran.

She hitches up the bag, checks the Colt’s slide action, rattles her pack of Saratogas and peers in. Eight cigarettes left. That ought to be enough for one lifetime.

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