from "The Apprentice" by Lewis Libby
Thomas Dunne Books, 2001
"In his flight he looked at his telltale trail through the snow with alarm. He struggled to form a plan.
Surely if someone has followed me, he thought, surely they'll stop to search the shrine. He knew that would take some time. He could count on some delay.
But in the very next instant he realized that the man with the glasses had claimed to see more than one man in the grove. If they divided, some of them might even then be gaining on him.
The youth saw now that he had been on a fool's errand, and this tired him further. He knew he had stayed too long in the shrine. Thinking back, he realized that the hole he dug searching for the packet would tell a plain tale. Having once uncovered the box, he could not now so readily rid himself of it....
He resolved that if he were caught by the men who had hidden near the shrine he would tell them readily about the box. He could say he was headed now for someone to tell, that he was glad he had stumbled upon them. But he had no faith in his ability to carry off this tale, and no faith in the good will of these men. Better, he knew, not to be caught."