PodCastle 147: Card Sharp

by Rajan Khanna.
Narrated by Wilson Fowlie of the Maple Leaf Singers.
Originally appeared in the anthology Way of the Wizard edited by John Joseph Adams.

He reached into his pocket and withdrew the Seven of Diamonds. The card flared like phosphorous in his hand, then disappeared in a wisp of smoke. He felt an ephemeral film coat his body. He moved from his hiding place behind some trees and moved down the walkway and to the ramp leading up to the riverboat.

He could feel the stares of the riverboat guards on him, even though he knew they could not see him. Using the Seven of Diamonds might have been overkill, but better safe than sorry. Still, his neck hair prickled at the idea that at the moment, their rifles could be trained on him, preparing to fire.

He made for a small washroom near the center of the main deck. As he approached it, the riverboat’s great paddlewheel began to move, churning the water in a great roar. With a lurch, the riverboat began to move, taking Roland Ketterly and his men down the Mississippi.

Quentin slipped through the washroom door, taking care to close it quietly and minimize his noise. Whatever concealment the first card had provided was visual alone.

Rated PG.

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