If you are new to The Crowsnest, you should probably get out now while you still can. Should you choose to stay, you can read the latest version of my novel-in-progress here.

Thursday. Three days until the minister arrives in town.

I spend the day working, and it’s wonderful. I mean, the work itself is the usual drugery — sitting room to be dusted, rugs to be beaten from the back stoop until my arms ache, onions to be chopped until my sinuses are wrung out. But I’m more than happy to lose myself in these tasks, put my mind to the slicing of the knife and only the slicing, so there’s no room to wonder what I’m doing here on the far edge of the known world, and no one who knows my or my real name within five hundred miles. No one on earth who really knows me, not on the God’s whole earth.

Better to work.

“You’re worth your keep,” Mrs. Nowak nods approvingly as dark nears.

“Thank you, ma’am.” I’ve barely seen her today. That’s a blessing, in terms of employers. You don’t want someone who sniffs along behind you for the dust particles you may have missed.

“It’s a good house,” I venture.

“My husband built it. Wanted it to be an inn. Not a fancy hotel like the railway’s gone and built, he said, but one that would serve good and common travellers.”

“He did well.”

“He would have.” There’s a sharp note in that last sentence, one that doesn’t invite further questions.

Now, Mrs. Nowak places a platter of biscuits in my hands. “May as well take those out to the dining room, before the men start clamoring,” she says.

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