|The Seven Sleepers||12|
There was an awkward silence. As if to hide evidence of their argument Slops stowed the flute back beneath his bed. When he returned he avoided her eyes.
“Anyway,” Carmen said, “I know what it’s made of, and it’s not bone. Grandmere has some. It’s called avory.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Carmen said, not wanting to admit that she didn’t know.
“It’s cool though, huh?” Slops said.
“I guess,” Carmen said. All she knew was that the flute was dangerous. Music tended to lead to clandestine gatherings of people, and the State feared such things above all, so musical instruments were banned. To even be discovered singing in the street was to attract suspicion.
“We could go there now,” Slops whispered.
“You serious? It’ll be getting dark soon.”
“You could just meet him. Grim too.”
Carmen had never been to the Old City before. Hardly anyone had. There were stories of ghosts and spectres and the gytrash, and lights winking in the night, and unearthly noises. She thought she had seen Old Abe once, moving like a shadow through the streets. It was said that he worshipped the Dark Traveller. Others claimed that he crept through the city at night stealing children. All of this seemed perfectly credible to Carmen. But how on earth had Slops gone there by himself?
If she had known what would come of it she may have chosen to swallow her pride.