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Cynthia

“CYNTHIA!” screams Ban from around the corner, and Cynthia sprints.

Etheldred’s hauling Ban and a rope into a third-story window when she turns the corner. He grins and waves, then disappears.

Cynthia saw the padlocks on the first-floor doors. She scrambles through her backpack; maybe a hook and line, a bobby pin–

There. A deck of cards. She flexes it and begins to flip them out, and while they’re still in the air she’s running up their backs toward that window. Higher, spiraling, don’t think about it: the deck is missing a joker, she remembers. Only fifty-three steps.

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