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  • Writer's pictureR.M. Garino

Servant of the Enemy Part II

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

Written By R.M. Garino

Rose Whitcon tsked at the sight, but continued on her way. It was no affair of hers what others did this night.

She huddled deeper inside her layers of clothing when the sea winds gusted. They rattled the shutters and signs, never seeming to stop. She hated the way she had to wear so many clothes, none of them fancy or nice, without them ever helping against the bitter chill. The cold and damp seeped through and froze you to the bone.

Easy weather to get sick in, she thought. Sick was something Rose could not afford. Once that happened here, ye never got better.

Nope, not at all. Not never.

Rose was not getting sick. She had work to do, mouths to feed. Not my own, thank Tarek, but mouths nevertheless.

A good thing it was, Rose had a womb as barren as the Sands o' Kilbaine. Else there'd be more mouths to feed.

Besides, Rose was not particularly fond of the little brats. Sure, they're cute and make ye smile, but they stink, and they get sick. Rose hated the tears that burned her every time one of those bawling little mouths got sick and closed forever. If'n I live another forty years, I'll never understand why I miss every one of those mouths so badly.

There was a great deal Rose Whitcon did not understand.

I don't know why I work myself to death for folks who are not my own.Them's my father's people.

That was what she called them, but without a reason why. Her father got sick when she was still a little mouth herself.

She had a room, a tiny space with a washstand and a narrow, lumpy bed. It's all my own, and that makes it the greatest place in the world. No one was able to touch her there, not in her place.

Boney McKay tried, once. Only once. He thought I was holdin' back my pay. As if I would do something like that with all them mouths to feed. Stupid Boney McKay, drinking his brandy like water. A shame it was he never got sick. Rose would not cry a single tear when his mouth closed. He was rough and smelled bad. He never took his time to be nice to Rose or anyone else. What bloody good was a person if they never tried to be nice to anyone? Better for her if he went ahead and got sick. Better for everyone.

Rose stopped. She wished him ill, and everyone knew that was not the proper thing to do. "If'n ye love Tarek, the almighty, ye also gotta love ye brother," she muttered to herself. An easy one to forget, that one is. It was hard, so very hard, to find a shred of love for the likes of Boney McKay. I've ta try harder an' remember.

Her solitary trip home carried her into Healers Town. Two-storied buildings lined both sides of the cobblestone road, and each one devoted to the peddlers of the healing arts.

Rose bent and spit on the street.

Healers Town, hah!Maybe for the rich it's a place to find a healer, but the rest o' us are fresh outta luck.

"Where are ye then," she asked the empty thoroughfare, her voice just above a whisper. "Safe behind ye doors, that's where." Rose guessed the old adage about gold curing all ills was true after all. Little Hammet had no gold, and so poor little Hammet was no more.

Rose scrubbed the tear from her eye before it fully formed. Getting all a'boogery in this weather was as sure a way as any to get sick.

The night was dulled under the fitful glare of the double moons. With the setting of the sun, Healers Town became ominous and threatening.

All the buildings were closed and Rose was alone.

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