F rimost rolled his head around, pushing his chin against the rolls of fat around his neck. His face was dripping with sweat and it glistened in the candlelight. ‘I am waiting, Nightingale,’ he said. ‘Your soul for your sister’s. That’s a deal I can work with.’
Nightingale stared at Frimost for several seconds. ‘No,’ he said eventually.
‘So you want to save your sister, but not at the expense of yourself?’
Nightingale grimaced. ‘I went to a lot of trouble to keep my soul. I’m not prepared to give it up now.’
Frimost shook his head. ‘You have nothing else I want. So say the words and let me go.’
‘If I change my mind about my soul, can we deal?’
‘Perhaps,’ said Frimost.
‘I’ll get back to you,’ said Nightingale.
‘I wouldn’t leave it too long.’
‘Why? Do I have a sell-by date?’
Frimost laughed and the walls shook. Small puffs of dust rose up from between the gaps in the floorboards. ‘You’ll find out, soon enough,’ he said. ‘Now say the words and have done with it.’
Nightingale sprinkled herbs over the smouldering crucible and wrinkled his nose as the pungent fumes assailed his nostrils. ‘ Ite in pace ad loca vestra et pax sit inter vos redituri ad mecum vos invocavero, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, Amen.’
Frimost began to laugh again, then there was a flash of light and an ear-splitting crack and he was gone.
‘Nice talking to you, Frimost,’ Nightingale muttered. He took out his cigarettes and lit one. He blew smoke and looked at his watch. If everything had gone to plan, Robyn should just have finished her conversation with Sugart. If she hadn’t, then it had all been for nothing. All he could do now was wait. And hope.