Promises – Part 7

“Thanks,” Nadine said. Her face was flushed with alcohol, and she would have collided with a lamp post if Jack didn’t have hold of her arm. “You’re very gentlemanly.”

“Ah it’s nothing,” Jack replied. “Someone has to make sure a lady gets back home safe in these dangerous streets.”

“Pish Posh,” the words were less said and more spat by the inebriated naga. Continue reading “Promises – Part 7”

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Promises – part 6

Fred walked down the steps to Charles’ basement to find Jack standing, leaning on a stack of crates and sifting through the top most container. His expression was twisted into a strange mixture of pain and determination.

“Doin’ a lo’ be-er ah see,” Fred greeted his friend.

Startled, Jack lost his bracing on the boxes and flailed to regain it. Fred was there in a second to give additional support in the struggle. Once Jack was repositioned and steady, he laughed and said, “I thought Cathy was with you for a moment, and my heart nearly leapt out of my chest.” Continue reading “Promises – part 6”

Promises – part 5

Nadine was so very tired of looking through gowns. For every gown the servants brought in, she heaved a sigh. For every gown she waved away lethargically, her mother gave a bigger sigh. Even the servants were visibly becoming tired of the parade and declination of clothing. Continue reading “Promises – part 5”

Promises – part 4

The time Jack was healing was mostly spent reading Charles’ books and getting caught up on the gossip: the shifting of relationships and businesses, the conception and birth of a variety of babies. What caught Jack’s attention, though, was the news of the summer festival.

“Is it that time already?” he asked Cathy. By now he was sitting up against the stone wall.

Cathy’s eyes glinted with mischief when she said, “Thinking about doing a little mingling?” Continue reading “Promises – part 4”

Promises – part 3

Jack was occupying his usual stool at the pub, staring into a tankard of ale. The familiar drone of conversation and merriment wrapped around him like an old blanket: frayed and unable to keep him warm, but a comport none-the-less. Trevor, the bartender, walked over and asked Jack if he was okay. Jack just nodded and continued to stare into his drink. Trevor shrugged and walked back to the livelier customers.

Jack considered just paying his tab and heading home, when the door to the pub opened and many of the customers fell quiet. He didn’t turn to look. If it involved him, it’d come to him. Recently, though, not a whole lot around town involved him. His luck at the gambling houses was down, he had no leads for a good heist, and with the gypsies coming through town he couldn’t out swindle the snake oil salesmen. Maybe it was time to give up and take an apprenticeship in something useful… Continue reading “Promises – part 3”

Promises – part 2

Jack slept fitfully after the procedure was done and his impromptu physicians had retired for the evening. Fred lied on a thin stack of blankets and alternated between watching his friend, staring at the ceiling, and looking around at the strange baubles Charles seemed to collect. Sometimes he would close his eyes and hope for sleep to take him, but it was always in vain. When Jack finally woke, Fred was quick to sit up and greet him with a friendly smile. Jack groaned and mumbled, “You’d think I’d get used to pain by now.”

Continue reading “Promises – part 2”

Promises – part 1

The slow tick of liquid hitting stone echoes through the dungeon cell. A winged man hung suspended in the middle of the room by a chain connected to a spike that had been plunged through the man’s torso and split into two curled tendrils around his sides. Occasionally a drop of blood fell from the split spike onto the stone floor and into a small pool that never quite made it to the drainage grate. Every once in a while the man took a quick, rattling breath, then let it out in a long, low hiss. The skeletons manacled along the wall watched in frozen, timeless interest at the man who doesn’t die.

Continue reading “Promises – part 1”