“Hang on!” the pilot cried. “Winds are always really bad on approach!” Even with the headphones on, Sokolov could barely hear him over the roar of the prop.

The AN-2 shuddered, groaned, and banked. Sokolov had a brief view out his window of industrial smokestacks, roads, and snow that faded from white to dull brown and red like the edge of a gangrenous wound.

“Is it always this bumpy?” Sokolov shouted.

“Bumpy? Ha! This is the calm season, my friend!” The pilot replied. “In a week, maybe two, the wind off the taiga will be so strong we won’t be able to get any flights in at all!”

“What happens when there’s a crime? Or some other reason to bring someone in?” Sokolov cried.

“They don’t come in! If things are that bad, there’s no shortage of freezers for preservation!”

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