A Little Scratch of Prose

First draft of an exercise-type piece of writing. It’s a one-off done in a lunchbreak, not very long, but a shot at reinforcing a practice that’s been missing of late.

It was easy out in the spaces, where the gatherings didn’t infest every nook and place of reflection. He carried it with him too, rattling metal on metal as he trudged into the low marshes, but it was the spot alone that’d put a patch of nature between his toes.

“You know it don’t come right out?” asked a voice from the shrouded edge.

Woman, though he’d have felt the same regardless.

“In kind with the way the city noises find there way, even here?”

She lowered her eyes and stepped out, both hands stretched out while the rest of her form was hidden by a dark, grey robe. It was a few steps before he caught the deliberate motions of her movement, but only when separated by a finger more than an arm’s length did he realise it was where she trod that consumed her attention.

“Alright, what are you doing?” he asked.

She shrugged with whimsy, then stepped around him. Her fingers drummed against his chestplate on one side, and then her voice was on the other side, and at his ear.

“Well the quiet don’t cost. If you’re set on sticking around, you won’t be needing that purse at all.”

“I’m not doing this!” he exclaimed, and moved his body to step away. It was the moment he uncovered what she knew, and when he found his feet fixed in the mud. His arms flailed, grappling to make contact with her so he could regain his balance, but she’d already stepped back. In her hands, his cloth purse.

“Give that back,” he said, fumbling at a voice of authority.

“Here,” she said, holding it out toward him, but keeping it shy of his reach. “No?” she asked with a shrug, and turned away.

“This isn’t funny.”

She smiled. “It’s a little funny.”

His expression hardened and his voice sunk low. “Night is approaching.”

“Ooh, I know. Heard it gets dangerous round here, too. Best be careful.”

He grunted and pushed his body, and moved one of his legs free. His partial escape caught her by surprise, but it was the reach of a weapon she hadn’t seen that froze her in place. The point of it was short of her neck, but it’d only take a lunge to cross the distance.

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