A Thief and a Lady: Chapter One, Part Two

Has it been a week already? I thought the time over Christmas break went quickly, and now here we are, over a week into the month and I feel like time is running through my fingers… or like sand through the hourglass… these are days of our lives…

Wait. Wrong thing.

This week, I bring you the second part of Chapter One of A Thief and a Lady. It’s a shorter section than last week, but that’s how it will be as the story progresses, some scenes longer or shorter than others. And next week we’ll delve into Chapter Two!

*Chapter One, Part One can be found here.

a-thief-and-a-lady

A Thief and a Lady

Chapter One, Part Two

The rain dripped off the edges of Esther’s bonnet, soaking into her shawl and into the collar of her dress. She cursed at the people who stood in her way, the stream of pedestrians moving as sluggishly as the water backed up in the various gutters and byways.

Her boots slopped on her feet, the bits of rag she’d stuffed into the toes squishing with every step. By the time she arrived outside the closed up shop with the broken toys in the window, she suspected she’d have a drier time of it if she simply submerged herself in the Thames. Another curse slipped past her lips as she shook a few drops of water out of her face and opened the door in front of her.

She didn’t need to knock. She let herself in, a bell above the door chiming shrilly enough to alert anyone and everyone within to her presence. But there was no one in the front room, a dark and dusty space that boasted empty shelves and a counter bearing a decrepit Punch with a shattered face.

She stepped around the counter and through another doorway that led her to the back room. A few candles burned on bases of chipped bits of crockery and tin cups, aided by a thin, watery light from the single window behind the stove. The stove sat cold and empty, but a small figure huddled near to it, a dark head bent over a mound of miniscule bits of metal and springs and gears and screws.

“Hallo, Jack.”

Continue reading “A Thief and a Lady: Chapter One, Part Two”

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A Thief and a Lady: Chapter One, Part One

It’s the start of a new year, and so here I am, beginning something new on my blog. The new thing? A story to share with you, in its entirety, bit by bit. Like the serials of old, I’ll be posting a segment every week until it’s finished.

The story? I’ve given it the working title of A Thief and a Lady, and it takes place in England in 1799. The characters? Esther Kirkpatrick, a young woman who makes her way picking pockets and cleaning up after her often drunk and gambling father. And we also have Jeremy Dudley, a younger brother who has inherited the title of Marquess after his brother’s untimely death.

So here is Part One of Chapter One, and I do hope you enjoy it!

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a-thief-and-a-lady

A Thief and a Lady

Chapter One, Part One

He would be an easy one, Esther decided. She studied him from her place on the opposite side of the street, beneath the crooked sign for the butcher’s shop and beside a cart of mouldering potatoes that smelled of damp earth and dung. A cab trundled past, blocking him from sight for a minute, but she found him again quickly enough.

He stood with the confidence of one too often given his own way. He held his chin that half an inch higher than those around him, his dark hair combed in a style that gave him the air of a puffed up cockerel. The corners of Esther’s mouth twitched with the urge to grin. Yes, he looked a fool, and a bored one at that. She could only hope that he would be disinterested enough in the sights and sounds around him to prevent his noticing her progress towards him.

Esther tugged at the ends of her shawl and stepped off the pavement. Horses pulling all manner of vehicle clattered past her, leaving behind piles of droppings to be cleared away by the crossing sweepers. She maneuvered through the maze of traffic, both wheeled and shod, and found herself on the other side of the street, only a few paces behind the bored fool with the starched cravat.

People dashed about her on every side, taking no pains to mutter even the briefest of apologies as their elbows and shoulders knocked into her slight frame. That she was a diminutive creature often worked in her favor, allowing her to slip in and out of places that larger persons could not navigate without attracting attention towards themselves. As a child, she had lamented being given so small a figure. Now she rather enjoyed the benefits of being underestimated due to her petite frame. It always caught people off guard when she so deftly outwitted them.

Continue reading “A Thief and a Lady: Chapter One, Part One”