Sudden Moves

“All right. We’ll follow your ship until we reach the destination, and then we split the treasure, 50/50. Do I have your word on this, man?” Violet stared the stranger down, but this was clearly a man who was not easily intimidated.

“It’s the least I can do. Now just hand it over, nice and gentle. There’s a lass.”

Everyone stood still. My father looked at me, and for the first time I saw fear written on his face. I kept staring from my father to Violet, then to the stranger, the tableau vivid in my mind, a bristling triangle ready to change shape at any moment. Violet kept her unblinking gaze steady on the man. I had no idea what was going to happen next. I kept my gun aimed at the stranger, but my hands were beginning to sweat.

Suddenly, Violet shifted her weight. “OK. But no sudden moves, right?”

“Yeah, sure, just hand it over.”

She handed him the map. In that same moment, the stranger picked up his sword and suddenly had Violet in his arms, the blade at her throat.

“You move, she dies.”

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