Countdown by Amitav Ghosh

By Amitav Ghosh

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Nicolas asked. ” Sam and Jen said together. Nicolas shrugged. ” “You’re not very good at it,” Jen said, and her sarcasm made all three of them laugh. “I’m sorry,” Nicolas said, still chuckling. Before he went on, Lace plodded up and nosed his shoulder so hard, he nearly tipped over. “You could have given me that hint a bit earlier,” Nicolas told the horse. Then he looked from Jen to Sam. ” “Why not,” Sam said. ” Jen didn’t sound convinced, but Nicolas went on. “Mostly, I’m making this journey to discover what 42 P HANTOM S TALLION it means to be a gypsy.

Nicolas had no accent, but Sam heard a formal cadence in his words. She didn’t take time to analyze it. “That must be seven hundred miles,” Jen said, before she introduced herself. “Eight hundred, if you don’t count detours,” Nicolas said. “The weather’s going to be changing soon,” Sam warned. Lots of people thought Nevada’s high desert was hot all the time. In fact, it was so changeable, she’d learned not to assume the seasons meant anything. “It already is,” Nicolas said. “But I’ve planned for it.

Neither of them have accents, unless American TV English counts. S. and since then, they’ve stayed put. ” Jen asked. “Oh, yeah. They crowd the hospital room with aunts, stepbrothers, second cousins . ” “That’s interesting,” Jen said. “It’s weird,” Nicolas corrected her. “When one of my uncles was in a motorcycle accident, the doctor had to elbow her way through the crowd and shout to be heard. ” A cricket chirred through the darkness. Otherwise, the clearing was still. It was getting late, but Sam had the feeling that she and Jen had both decided to camp out there.

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