The old man is dying. Ren can see it in the shallow breaths, the sunken face, and the skin stretched thinly over his cheekbones. Yet he wants the shutters open. Irritably, he beckons the boy over, and Ren, his throat tight as though he’s swallowed a stone, throws open the second-storey window.
They sprang apart as soon as they became aware of the intruder and the salesman said nothing, but he’d given William a look. That was the worst part, the knowing in his eyes. For unlike other locals, he knows William’s name and exactly where he works. Talk is bad for William, especially after what happened in England.