After the bonfire had been put out, after she was sure that everyone had either caught the train or turned in for the night, Phoebe crept out of her room. She rubbed her head. The floating sensation had since fallen into a numb ache centered behind her eyes. Steadying herself against the railing, she descended down the stairs.
Even among the clutter she quickly found a length of rope in the garage. She yanked it free from a box it was trapped under, causing the contents inside to clank and rattle. The noise cut through the still night. Time stretched on in silence, until she was confident that nobody upstairs had heard. Only then did she coil the rope up and sling it over her shoulder.
When she passed back through the kitchen, Phoebe grabbed the second item she needed: A large knife.
Stealing away out the sliding door, she walked through the field and straight into Avernus. The path she and Julia had followed before was barely visible under the canopy of the swamp. Despite nearly tripping into mud multiple times, it was the only path, and she followed it until she reached the lake.
Though the moon was full, light was swallowed by the black water. The shoreline was only distinguished from it by the shining metal of the moored boats. She placed the rope and the knife into one, and then gripped its rim. As though she were trapped in a Consumption, she could not move forward. A breeze was the only indication that time was still flowing. Hesitation overtook her, a weight of lazy doubt on top of the tipsy fatigue. This was real danger; she was standing at the edge again, peering out over the chasm between thrill and death. Her feet were cold in the water.
But she had to press on.
In preparation for Othercon, I've updated the cast page! I also updated some other stuff, like freshening up the blurbs on the homepage and the about page. (On the main site, I recently overhauled the gallery so check that out too!)