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“No!” shouts Moxie, arms pinioned by two of Misery’s goons, as two more smash the casing off her little basement generator. The room goes dark and quiet.

“Let’s take Miss Bitters outside, boys,” Misery chuckles. “I think she’ll want to watch.”

Moxie kicks and struggles, but doesn’t bite. She’s busy counting under her breath.

“Three Missouri,” she mutters, “two Missouri, one–”

Crack. Misery spins around to see the bloom of light at the top of the tower–then a flicker, and a surge. Soon the whole roof’s on fire.

Not far off, a fugitive winks its lantern, then sails away north.


“Moxie Bitters,” says Moxie Bitters.

“Misery Slant,” says Misery Slant.

They don’t bother shaking hands. They eye each other, Moxie up, Misery down: sometimes a book is written on its covers.

“You’re not worth bribing, are you, Miss Bitters?”

“I prefer Moxie,” says Moxie, “and no, Misery, I’m not.”

“Then we have a problem, Moxie,” says Misery. “And I prefer Miss Slant.”

“The lighthouse stays on,” says Moxie, and shakes her hair back. “That’s what a lighthouse does: welcome by warning, safety in departure.”

“The Platonic lighthouse, perhaps, yes. This particular lighthouse will go out,” says Misery.

“Maybe tomorrow. Not tonight.”