(Really Old stuff and that's not just the setting... I hate to put it this way, but don't like it don't read it. At least someone might like it here rather than me letting it gather digital dust at the back of the documents folder. Honestly though, I'd fix it up if asked... But at the moment my more modern creations are to occupy my time which there is never enough of. Oh and I made this during a lunch-break. )
The slow steady drip of the leaking roof blended in with the pounding rain that pattered and splattered through the windows outside the cell. Resting my head against the damp walls I tried to wake up from the crushing reality of the misfortune inflicted on me. Why only days ago I'd been sipping drinks with that scoundrel Diego on his annual visit to Venice, we'd chatted and he had quite innocently suggested that I help him to become a part of the cities trading cartel. I wish I had realized then, he had come to me as a last resort rather than as a friend asking for some help dealing with the Doug. By the time I had secured us an audience with the Doug the merchant elite had already convinced him that I was a traitor, slandering my good honor to keep their blasted monopoly.
The clouds were still white early in the morning when we walked into the Doug's palace through the main gate, of course as soon as we walked through the guard's put sacks over our heads and manhandled us across the courtyard and the main palace stairs. The hemp of the sack let in little light and so I was at a loss to know where we were going until the sack was pulled away and I was dumped on the floor of the chamber. Directly in front of me up the wooden steps that lead to the throne built into the very wall itself was the Doug;
I had heard him speak with a tremulous whine in his voice, asking me 'why?'... and when I tried to find out the nature of my crime he motioned to the guards who opened a side door into the magistrate's court. I hadn't ever been inside that wood paneled room and began to shake uncontrollably in the hands of the marshals. I tried to ask the sergeant my crime but he was stoic and the magistrate called the room to order. It was pointless really… the only other people in the room were those dastard heads of the merchant houses. The entire affair was an act since after the judge had announce the charge of conspiracy to commit treason the guard's hauled me off to the back of the room and through a door down into the stone corridors below.
That was a few weeks ago now, I'll probably starve today, I don't have any real wealth left, my wallet, rings and even my clothes were exchanged for food and water enough to live. I had kept Marcia's ring though… and with the part of me that hadn't changed in these cells I knew they'd have to take it off my cold dead body before I'd let them have it. The door opened and the head of the warders walked in and furtively threw a black cloth bag to me, while whispering "Your due to be hanged tomorrow, but a drunken Goaler will have killed you through an over zealously delivered beating. Put this on and don't move, the rest of the guards are too drunk… to notice that you'll be breathing but they WILL notice movement. Now get ready because we are going to dump you in the river. I believe your wife is waiting for you at the brass bridge." I had barely opened my mouth when he shushed me "Get that bag on and remember what I said." Moving to the door he called out, "We have a corpse here, looks like he starved. Roberts come and help me drop him down the trapdoor."
What was he playing at? They didn't drop aristocrats in the river… but then with the sack over my head I looked like most of the other petty thieves and peasants that might occupy the cells. Quickly I removed Marcia's ring and tore off a strip of cloth from my shirt to tie it round my neck underneath the hessian bag. Footsteps began to come closer, sounding irregular and unsteady. I heard a slightly slurred voice ask "Who was 'e?" and the reply "Just some pickpocket or something… no one important anyway." As I was lifted up I tried to remain as still as possible. "'ere he's still warm, you didn't kill 'im didja?", the friendly guard affected a whine to his now nasal voice "I wasn't hitting him hard… he wouldn't cough up the location of a broach I know he stole." "Oh, yougotta teach me how to hit without leaving a mark one day." That was what I heard, at least after I had deciphered the words of men (one acting) addled by hard liquor.
After what seemed like an age, there was the creak and groan of a badly made trapdoor; before he was dropped, feeling air rush past his skin for a few seconds before plunging into the icy river water.
Above there was a slam, signaling the closing of the trap-door and he surfaced, ripping off the clinging sack and swimming along until he found a place where he could climb onto the flooded streets.
The water was still waist high in places but at least he wasn't paddling. He looked round, seeing through the grey mist of the rain the vague shape of the bridge of size. On either side of me were narrow streets, those people who had ventured out walking slowly and silently, faces covered by hoods. For hours he struggled through streets that looked almost identical till he'd ended up back at the main square in front of the palace. In the middle a wooden platform had been put up. One man was dispensing hot pies and pastries from a tray heated by glowing coals.
Making my way up to him he turned to me and said "sorry, no free food for…" he paused and I realized I still had the gold and diamond ring round my neck. I indicated the string and mind racing said "My father last wish, the ring he was given by my mother when they were in Venice, she left him and before he died he told me to cast it off Brass Bridge. I'm lost and can't find my way to complete his wishes." The man's slightly rat-like features twisted to a smile. "Well my friend I can't just give up on the hanging now can I, bin standing here all night." Conspiratorially I whispered "I heard some guards talking, they say he escaped." "What really" "Yes, apparently they thought he was dead and chucked him in the river. So if you could show me the way to Brass Bridge."
The man eyed me slightly suspiciously, not difficult with a face like his "How did you find out?" "They told me when I asked for directions, I'll tell you what I'll take a diamond from the ring and you show me the way, we'll call it quits. Dad used to make pies, he wouldn't mind." His eyes rested on the ring from which I took the center diamond, roughly prizing it out of the soft metal. I felt like I was giving away a bit of my soul. The man then strode off down the flooded streets, occasionally stopping to dispense a roll or pie… Until after what seemed like a million twists and turns later we emerged out onto a wide bridge where gondolas moored waiting for passerby's to hire them. In one Marcia waited, her face a white oval against the grey rain struck world. I ran to her oblivious of the attention from the street vendor. For a moment she looked almost panicked until I reached her and she recognized me despite my rough spun clothes and unruly looks.
The street vendor looked confused lips moved until he realized what had happened. But by that time Marcia and I were in the gondola who took us to the docks. As we boarded I thought I heard a muffled shout and as the gang plank was pulled up I could very vaguely see the outlines of running men in the distance. "Your fare" said a gruff voice and I saw the captain of the ship hand outstretched. Marcia clung to my arm and said in steely tones "I paid you everything we owned, how can we give more?" I saw my folly and snapped the cloth around my neck and watched as the captain's first closed over the gleaming metal. That final moment when I relinquished it, a change took hold of me. I finally felt free to start afresh unconstrained by the tight corridors of the city. As I took Marcia to the front of the ship where bright fingers of light had begun to poke through the clouds, the rain finally stopped.