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The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters Volume I -- Celeste Temple - Part 1

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters Volume I -- Celeste Temple - Part 1

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Published by Bantam Dell
An excerpt from The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume I by Gordon Dahlquist.
An excerpt from The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume I by Gordon Dahlquist.

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Publish date: Dec 30, 2008
Added to Scribd: Mar 03, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/04/2014

 
coffee and three fresh rolls. He tore them apart as he walked, thepith steaming, and drank the coffee as slowly as he could makehimself, so as not to burn his mouth. He began to feel a bit morehuman as he neared the merchants’ district near St. Isobel’s—somuch that he became self-conscious of his gashed face and di-sheveled greatcoat. He smoothed his hair back and swatted thedust from his coat—it would have to do—and strode ahead with what bluster he could manage. He imagined himself as MajorBlach, which was at least entertaining.Svenson skirted the hotel by a curving path of service alleys behinda row of fashionable restaurants, at this time of day thronged withdeliveries of produce and slaughtered fowl. He had been careful,and perhaps lucky, to progress so far unobserved. Any attempt totake him would be swift and unforgiving. At the same time, his en-emies were powerful enough tosway any mechanism of law. Theslightest infraction—let alone shooting one of the Comte’s men inthe street—could send him to prison, or straight to the gallows.He stood at the alley’s end, facing onto Grossmaere, the broad avenue that, two blocks away, ran past the St. Royale. He firstlooked in the opposite direction (it was possible that their line of sentries was farther away) but saw no one, or at least saw noneofthe Comte’s men or Blachs troopers. With the involvement of Crabbé—or, heaven forbid, Vandaariff—there could be any num-ber of other minions enlisted to find and kill him.He looked toward the hotel. Could they be watching fromabove? The traffic was thick—it was by now well after nineo’clock—and the morning’s business in full throng. Svenson took a breath and stepped out, keeping across the street from the hotel, walking close to the walls and behind other pedestrians, his righthand on the revolver in his pocket. He kept his gaze on the hotel,glancing quickly into each shop front or lobby that he passed. At
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the corner he trotted across and leaned casually against the wall,peering around. The St. Royale was across the avenue. He still saw no one he could place as a sentry. It made no sense. He had already been found here once, trying to see her. Why would they not, evenas a contingency, consider he would do the same again? He won-dered if the real trap lay inside—perhaps in another privateroom—where he could be dealt with outside the public view. Thepossibility made his errand more dangerous, for he would notknow until the last moment whether he was safe or not. Still, he’dmade his choice. Grimly resolved, Svenson continued down thesidewalk.He was nearly opposite the hotel when his view becameblocked by two delivery carts whose horses had run afoul of eachother. The drivers cursed loudly as men jumped from each cart todisentangle the harnesses and carefully back up each team. Thiscaused the coaches behind to stop in turn—with another eruptionof curses from each newly inconvenienced driver. Svenson couldnot help being distracted—his attention on the two carts as they finally worked themselves free and passed by, their drivers each of-fering one last particularly foul epithet—and so he found himself directly across from the hotel’s front entrance when the avenue hadcleared. Before him, splendidly arrayed in a violet dress brilliantly shot with silver thread, black gloves, and a delicate black hat, stoodMadame Lacquer-Sforza. Next to her, once more in a stripeddress—now of blue and white—stood Miss Poole. Svenson imme-diately shrank away, pressing against the windows of a restaurant.They did not see him. He waited—scanning the street in either direction—ecstatic that he might be able to speak to her withoutentering the hotel, without being trapped. He swallowed, glancedfor an opening in the coach traffic, and stepped forward.His foot had just left the paved sidewalk for the cobbled street when he froze and then instantly scrambled backwards. From be-hind the two women had emerged Francis Xonck—now wearing
the glass books of the dream eaters
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an elegant yellow morning coat and top hat—tugging on a pair of yellow kidskin gloves. With a handsome smile he bent and whis-pered something that spurred Miss Poole to blush and giggle andMadame Lacquer-Sforza to wryly smile. Xonck extended an armfor each woman and stepped between them as they hooked theirarms in his. He nodded toward the street and for a horrified mo-ment Svenson thought he had been seen—he was more or less inplain sight—but saw that Xonck referred to an open coach that was even then drawing to them, blocking Svenson’s view. In thecoach sat the Comte d’Orkancz, in his fur, his expression dark.The Comte made no effort to speak or acknowledge the others asthey entered the coach, Xonck assisting each woman and climbingin last. Madame Lacquer-Sforza sat next to the Comte. She leanedto whisper in his ear. He—grudgingly, but as if he too were unableto resist—smiled. At this Xonck grinned, showing his white teeth,and Miss Poole burst into another fit of giggles. The coach pulledaway. Svenson turned and reeled down the street.She was gone—she was with them. No matter what other websshe might be spinning, Madame Lacquer-Sforza was their ally. If he could have spoken to her alone—but he had no longer any idea where or when or how that might happen. Svenson looked back atthe hotel and saw that two of the Comte’s men were lounging by the main entrance. He walked steadily away, his face down, seizedby the realization of just how close he had come to suicide. At theend of the block he again ducked around the corner and pressedhimself against the wall. What could he possibly do? Where couldhe possibly go? What leverage could he acquire against such a pow-erful cabal? He looked up and saw across Grossmaere Avenue... was it? It was—the road he had taken so long ago with the Comte,toward the secret garden and the greenhouse. The woman. Hecould find her—he could take her—he could ransack the green-house for information—he might even lay in ambush for theComte himself. What did he have to lose? He peered back at thehotel entrance—the men were laughing together. Svenson gauged
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