Ashley watches Renata take a last deep drag and then stub out her comfrey cigarette on her dressing table. It’s already covered in spilled glitter, matches, paint, and the burned craters from other cigarettes. Ashley can hardly remember the fine wooden vanity Renata found on the street and dragged back to the Magic Lantern. It’s suffered a lot since then.
“Open the box already,” Renata says, pulling a lip liner from one of the drawers.
On the wall, a cracked mosaic of mirror fragments reveals Ashley’s face, filled with trepidation.
The Magic Lantern was one of the first places Ashley came to when she arrived in Bordertown. She’d sit in the back and watch whatever was playing or doze because she was sure she’d be safe. Once Alain Bach Glaimhin took over from O’Malley and started casting for simultaneous live shows, Ashley knew that she wanted to be on that stage more than any- thing.
Ashley loves working at the Magic Lantern. Her hands hesitate over the ribbon on the large package, the one woven with sprigs of rosemary and ragwort. She knows the more gifts Alain gives her, the closer she is to being asked to leave.
Rated R for violence.