CHAPTER ELEVEN: SLUMBER (2/4)

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A cool breeze stroked Sol's face, summoning him from his deep sleep. He was so relaxed, he felt as though he was pinned to the floor. He cracked open his eyes and saw the day's early light filling the spaces between the iron bars in the window.

He'd slept.

No dreams. No screams.

Sleep.

It was another couple of minutes before he gathered enough energy to sit up. He rubbed the back of his head where the floor seemed to have burned a cold spot into his skull and climbed unsteadily to his feet, then he went to the window and took in the view. A blanket of grey clouds had been draped over the city of Marseille, blocking out the morning sun which had cast a halo above the cathedral. The sea was no longer a heaving black mass but a rippled canvas of grey blues.

Sol sucked in a deep breath of salty air and detected something tasty beneath it. Food was being cooked nearby. Salivating, he crossed to the door and descended into the courtyard where he found Kito and Harg standing beside a small fire near the well. A pot was bubbling away above it.

"Good morning," said Kito as Sol arrived beside her.

"Morning," Sol said, looking eagerly at the boiling pot. "What's cooking?"

"Crab," said Harg. "It's very fresh; I only just caught it."

"I hate crab," said a voice. Sol turned to the corner where Goone was sitting in the shadows, a frayed blanket wrapped around him. He looked deathly pale like he'd been up sick all night.

"Yes, you've said," said Kito.

"You look like hell," Sol told Goone.

"Can't look much worse than I feel," said Goone. "I think I'm going to die."

"Well, you are welcome to stay here until you do," said Harg. "How did you sleep, Solomon?"

"Great," Sol said. "Thank you."

"I am glad to help."

"Help with what?" asked Goone. "Did you let him put you to sleep? After everything I told you?!"

"Solomon is clearly much more trusting than you are," said Kito.

"If he'd met some of the Goblins I've caught, he'd be on my side."

"Have you caught many of my kin, detective?" asked Harg.

"A few—and they were much bigger than you, too."

Harg laughed.

"Why's that funny?"

"Because, with Goblins, it's the smaller ones who are often the most dangerous." Harg reached into the pot with a pair of long sticks and withdrew the biggest crab Sol had ever seen. Steam poured upwards from its shell as Harg lay it down upon the ground and broke off one of its legs with a loud crack. He offered it to Sol. "You first, Solomon."

Sol looked at the leg—a thick, spiky thing—and his rumbling stomach quietened. It was not at all appetising, but he took it, anyway, not wanting to seem ungrateful—but it was rock hard. He was trying to summon the courage to bite into it when he was saved by Kito.

"You have to break it open," she said, taking the leg from him. "Like this." She snapped it in two and pulled the shattered pieces apart, revealing a strip of white flesh within. She handed it back to Sol who bit into it timidly.

"Hey," he said after swallowing a small piece. "This is alright! It's kinda sweet."

"I'm glad you like it," said Harg. "Are you sure you don't want to try some, detective Goone? You will heal quicker."

"Not when I throw it back up I won't," said Goone.

"Leave him if he doesn't want it," said Kito, taking a leg for herself. "More for us."

Harg also took a leg, but unlike Kito and Sol, he bit straight into it, shell and all.

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