Loch

pauline

Ingrid was researching hidden institutions, hoping to find her missing colleague Anika, when she discovered twenty or so artificial islands in New Loch Lomond, each a mix of botanical gardens, gothic ruins, and faux-baronial castles.

Tired, she sat with her bare feet in a heated rock pool watching a particularly flimsy structure in the distance partially break and slide into the water where a legion of ant-ish boats swarmed out to salvage, when a bullet cracked next to her head and she belted from the gunfire, tearing her skin, trapping herself in willows and vines, finding herself in a formal garden party, making for the house, as the distracted hostess saw her for the first time.