Sunday, April 12, 2015

In the Cold Light by Ellen Mae Franklin


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How canit be, that I never learn?

Being cold, so very bloody cold wasn’t that bad. Going hungry was muchworse and since Quaverit wasn’t very good at begging, he went hungry a lot.What did he know of doing it right? All the other beggars laughed when he tookhis place on the corner. They laughed, so hard, that quite often, it drew acrowd. An ugly meanly-mouth bunch of other beggars, seasoned from their yearsof privation. He couldn’t help looking like a plucked chook, than the elegantStork he was supposed to be.

It was a punishment. The plucking of everyfeather on his body, head and tail feathers gone, and the pain! Well, let’sjust say, he had only recently stopped crying.

He could forgive the painful act itself,even if the Hyena Men had relished their duties a little too eagerly, but thehumiliation he suffered each time he left the safety of his cubbyhole, wouldnever he forgotten. The once proud chamberlain was reduced to sitting on theside of a smelly gutter, holding out his hands for the odd copper to pass hisway. Glumly listening to his moaning stomach, as it screamed for a bite to eat.

Guest who?

She couldn’t have called it a pleasant ride by any means, Taros feltevery stone and every hole along the way to Lott’s house, well it was more thanjust a house, as they approach the Toads spectacle it looked more like avillage. Built from the blood and sweat of others, she felt sickened by theramblings.

Wanabec fretted all the way, quoting dearieme’s, and oh my goodness every third tree, if she had been in her right mindthe Turtle Man would have copped a tongue lashing, but the spirit of Tarmet wasstill upon her so she sat quietly as the world slipped by.

Every now and then, shecaught a glimpse of her escort, sometimes along the road and at other times, asshe glanced up to catch the sun, black silhouettes with their many arms swungfrom tree to tree. It was quite disconcerting having so many Spider Men around:their eyes a swirling kaleidoscope of colours. What would Tarmet have done ifhe had found himself in this situation?

New friends. What a Blessing
Milly wiped her hands, frowned at the rough skin from having them elbowdeep in water for most of the morning. Dinner this afternoon was going to be abusy affair, already she felt run off her feet, they ached and it wasn’t evennoon. Looking out the window, wooden shutters held back to let the sun’s warmthfill the room, the serving girl watched Knat swing the ax. Since his arrivalsome months ago, the young man had filled out his clothes, the shirt he worerippled as the corded muscles across his back worked with each fall of theblade.

Their first meeting had frightened her.Dripping wet and shaking like a beaten dog, Knat had surprised them all withhis appearance. Yet, here he was on this cold day chopping wood for Mr. Macky.He was the apple of the innkeeper’s eye.

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