Cradle Song

Alone in the ballroom, Evaline Jacobsen wrestled the sprayer from her arms onto the housekeeping cart. Although the governor’s palace had absorbed the old baby hospital decades before, every renovation seemed to leave a crack around some tall window. Sealing the edges of the windows meant that none of the sulfur-laden Pallarene atmosphere would spoil the governor’s last evening in office.

Behind her a door opened and closed. “A few more minutes. Eight o’clock,” she called. Footsteps sounded through the ballroom, and she turned to see the intruder. And stared.