As promised, from today on every Thursday I’ll introduce a different character from my upcoming book Rise of the Sparrows to you. Since this is the first Meet&Greet I’m starting with my main character, Rachael. So, without any further words on my part, I’ll let her do the talking and show you a day in her rather dark everyday life 🙂
Rachael watched the shadows in the dark alley ahead of her as she carefully picked away at the hard, stale loaf of bread a woman had thrown at her feet. It had been a while since she had this much too eat. If she rationed herself properly it would last her for a couple of weeks, maybe more than that.
She squinted as the Shadows moved slightly. Someone had followed her, but it was too dark for her to see clearly. It wasn’t another orphan or a homeless man. Most of those were about as clumsy and as noisy as a startled rat, and would never be able to hide this well. This was someone else, maybe more than one person. Someone used to preying on the weak. It didn’t matter whether they were after her stale bread or her. Either way, she would be on her guard until the prowling shadows were gone and it was safe to close her eyes again.
With a filthy piece of her hole-riddled shirt she rubbed the blood away, which had dried just under her nose and on her upper lip. She could taste it still, from when her nosebleed had been worse than this. Her insides still hurt, too. The last nightmare had been particularly bad, causing her to thrash around on the hard cobblestone floor and bruising her nose on a small rock which had gotten in the way. At least this one hadn’t involved her. It had just been some rich business man from somewhere around the corner, who had been robbed and murdered along with his wife on his next business trip. The roads were dangerous these days for people like him. If he didn’t want to die he shouldn’t leave the village. It wasn’t like she could have told him or his pretty lady. The last time she had tried that the village had united against her, demanding a public burning. She had only escaped by a piece of cloth from her blanket, which she usually wore as a coat around her shoulders and which a villager had gotten a hold of. It was only half its size now, but it was still better than nothing.
There, more movement up ahead. Finally her followers revealed themselves, stepping out of the dark alley like another one of her nightmares. Two men, probably in their mid-twenties, with sticks and disgusting grins on their faces. There was no doubt about it now. They weren’t after her bread.
They wanted her.
She watched cautiously as they approached, not once taking her eyes of their filthy glares. Many years ago those very same men would have caused her to run, but now she knew better. Running would only cause them to chase after her, as starving wolves and little rabbits did.
Instead she waited, preparing herself.
“Ye’r right, Johnny. She’s a pretty one!”
“What’d I tell ya, eh? Ye grab her, I go first.”
She watched as the first man walked towards her, far too sure of himself. This seemed to be true of all people, she had found. When faced with an orphan who was living on the dirty streets they always thought themselves superior. They never expected her to strike back and defend herself like only a life on the streets could teach someone.
Rachael waited for the man to pull her up by the wrist, then twisted his arm around and kicked him between the legs.
“Bitch! You whore!” Standing awkwardly with his legs bent at painful angles he came after her again, only for her to duck away under him and give him a kick in his back. With a muffled grunt, he crashed head-first into the cobblestones. “What are ye standing there for!”
Called out of his stunned silence, Johnny launched himself at Rachael. He was stronger than his friend, and a good bit taller than her, but she had no trouble taking him out just as easily. A good, hard kick between the legs, another blow to his stomach, and he went down like one of those pretty dolls the girls in town carried around with them.
With both men lying on the floor, cussing and holding their injured pride, Rachael picked up her old blanket and stale load of bread, and left them lying there as she slipped back into the shadows and into another alley. By the time they came to she’d be long gone, and they’d have trouble finding her again.
So what if she was homeless? So what if her parents had died, and she didn’t live in a fancy house like all those other spoiled kids? At least she could look after herself. No one would take what little food she had. No one would take her.
It was a promise she had made to herself years ago, and it was a promise she intended to keep for as long as she lived.
Watch this space for more character insights! Next week you will meet a little girl named Cephy, who likes to play with fire 😉
For all other Excerpts from my book or other related information, take a look here.
All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.