Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Merry Evans had three shoes

Merry Evans had three shoes. Not three pairs of shoes, you understand, but three individual shoes. Her full name was God-Is-Merciful Evans, but as her Granpa said, if God was so darned merciful then he wouldn't have let her parents drown.

Unfortunately, Merry didn't meet her Granpa until she was four years old, by which time she'd already been hastily baptised under the care of her Great Aunt Prudence. Great Aunt Prudence believed in God's Mercy, Obedience of Children, and Humble Gratefulness of Poor Orphans. Young Merciful was a great test of these beliefs, but Great Aunt Prudence knew that we were not put on this earth for pleasure and trusted that she would get her reward hereafter.

One day, when young Merciful was being particularly trying, Great Aunt Prudence took down a tiny shoe from a glass case on the mantlepiece. She placed it solemnly on the table by her chair. She informed young Merciful that her parents had been Wicked Sinners who perished in a shipwreck as part of the Awful Justice of God. A baby had been found at the bottom of the lifeboat, wearing a nightshirt made from a pillowcase, and one soft shoe. A handkerchief had been wrapped around her neck to keep out the cold sea air. This handkerchief was intricately embroidered with the letters A and E in navy blue. These details had been reported by the newspapers at the time of the shipwreck, in an attempt to find any relations of the poor nameless baby.

Prudence Evans (not yet called Great Aunt) recognised the description of the handkerchief as one of a set she had presented to her only nephew, Arthur. After a (brief and never to be spoken of) wrestling with her conscience, Prudence wrote to the harbour master claiming the handkerchief and, reluctantly, the child.

The harbour master's wife brought the baby in a fishing creel. She'd wrapped the little shoe in the handkerchief, and wrapped that in the pillowcase dress. Although it was spoiled by seawater stains, she'd laundered the dress along with the handkerchief, and clothed the baby in a napkin, binder and shirt belonging to her own child.

Great Aunt Prudence (as she now was) discarded the dress as fit only for rags. She unfolded the handkerchief and admired her embroidery. Glancing at the baby she gave a dissatisfied sniff. "I shall have to engage a Young Person. You'll need to stay until I do."

But the harbour master's wife was not impressed by Great Aunt Prudence. She had socks to darn, and bread to bake, and an unruly household to manage. Putting the creel on the hall table, she kissed the baby and marched to the door. "And you can send the clothes and the creel back with the carrier."

Thursday, 19 April 2018

[Northspell 17] A new kind of dye?

She almost dropped it, the weight was so unexpected, but saved herself by scooping her free hand underneath before the sack could fall to the ground. She hugged it to her chest, shifting the weight from arm to arm. Arkel reappeared, weighed down by a similar load.

“What’s IN here?” she asked.

With a darting glance over his shoulder in Toban’s direction, Arkel leant forward and whispered in her ear. “You’ll never guess. Rocks! Just black rocks, really dirty stuff too, look…” He held up a hand to show her the black dust smeared all over his skin. “Maybe it’s some new kind of dye.”

Saturday, 1 July 2017

[Glory Brats] There must be an easier way

"Why did they go now?" Dee wondered. "They've never left before."

Bee came to the door of the other room. "I don't care. I'm glad they've gone."

"But they left us here on our own!"

"Maybe it's another experiment..." Zed said slowly. "They could be watching to see what we do."

Dee stuck his tongue out. "There. That's what I think of them and their stupid experiments."

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

[Glory Brats] Knock, Knock.

 They landed next to Dee in a heap on the floor. He began to laugh and sat down next to them.

"What's so funny?" Bee said crossly, rubbing a sore bit on her arm.

"You!" Dee gasped out in between bursts of laughter. "You looked so funny falling backwards like that." He wheeled his arms backward to demonstrate, and stretched his face into such a strange expression that Zed started to laugh with the younger boy.

"Well I don't think it's funny." Bee said, but this just made the other two laugh even harder.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

[Northspell 16] The princess talks to herself

 She turned back to see Arkel's head poking down through the gap between the door and the wall.

"Are you talking to yourself?" he asked, eyebrows raised.

"No, I'm..." Irena faltered, confused. She shifted her legs in the small space, and stood up, suddenly conscious that she almost missed the other girl who was not her.

"You're crazy." Arkel said cheerfully.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Beautiful People link up: Em

Em from Glory Brats. She's an awkward half-feral mute child. Beware, she bites.

What’s their favourite book/movie/play/etc.?
She can't read, but she likes looking at the book that Sparrow is using to teach Tekla to read and write. She understands more than she lets on, but doesn't like the way the black marks jump all over the page. Her favourite part is licking the glue off the pages.

Is there anything they regret doing?
She regrets nothing! She lives in the moment and is probably overall the happiest of the Brats. If something bad happens, she generally bites someone and moves on.

If they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?
Bee would feed her syrupy things from their food stash, Zed would tend her wounds, Dee would finger-wrestle with her (and let her win), Tekla would build her a blanket fort and Sparrow would worry about how to get her to a medic.

Is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?
She is insanely jealous of Tekla's soft toy bird and constantly finds dead things to carry around as a substitute because she thinks that's what Tekla's toy is. She doesn't understand why the others find this objectionable and keep taking her dead things off her.

What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?
Food, food, food, food and food.

Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.
Frayed wool hat, baggy t-shirt, dungaree shorts with big pockets (for stashing stuff), dirty sandshoes with mismatched laces. Sometimes bandage mittens that Sparrow ties on to stop her scratching, but she tears these off as soon as she can.

What’s their favourite type of weather?
She likes all kinds, but especially storms. She could watch lightning and listen to thunder rolls all night.

What’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?
When Exchange is besieged by the Outsiders and the Glory Brats sneak into their camp. Em is caught stealing food and starts biting the guards when they catch her, and the others have to rescue her.

What names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?
She gets called Em at the research clinic because her designation is 'M' - mute. When Bee and Zed first find her, they nickname her 'Rat' because that's what they thought she was when they heard her scuffling around in the store room. Then when Sparrow joins them with her reading knowledge she tells them that the mark on Rat's wrist is a letter called 'M' and the one on Zed's wrist is a 'Z' and Bee's is a 'B'. Personally, she doesn't like the high, sharp sound of 'rat' but she likes the round, happy sound of 'emm'. So she ends up answering to that.

What makes their heart feel alive?
Being free. Climbing to the tops of things. Using the swing that Cap makes for them. Eating food until she's full. Being with the other Brats, but she doesn't realise this until they get to Central and she gets taken away from them all.

If you want to see the other blogs in the link-up then pop on over to Paper Fury

Saturday, 4 March 2017

[Glory Brats] More Bee and Zed

"Don't be such a coward. It's probably just a rat."

"What's a rat?"

"They scuttle. And like the dark. And food. They bite babies sometimes too."

"We should leave it alone then. I don't want to get bitten."

"It won't bite you. Unless you're a baby about it."

Zed didn't know what a baby was, but he didn't want to be one. Bee didn't make it sound like a good thing to be. He took a step closer, and was going to take another when he froze. "It moved!"

"Where? Poke it."

"You poke it!"

Bee sighed. "Fine. Give me something to poke it with."