chapter 1, Delirium

First chapter:

“Thief!” shouted Barley. “Wife spoiler!”

C. flung his arm. His wrist struck the metal rim of a table laced with fruit hides that had rolled off knives of shuttling locals. The train, at rest, was rumbling. Someone hacked to his fist. A newborn keened. Outside a window—cluttered along the sill with wrappers and bottles and streaming with the breath of gurgling, muttering shopkeepers and tradesmen—thudded the wind. Behind a murky tower of paper soup cartons, a fist was plunged into a clump of spreading hair. A click across the aisle brought up a face within a catalytic halo. Steam drifted around a mouth at work in bulging, withered jowls, and then the light snapped off.


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