Slip through the night he must, challenging the darkness in corner and alleyway, twixt apothecary and bakery, ‘tween hovel and cesspit.
I must embrace the space where shadows lurk, if I’m to quest successfully this night.
…he whispers to himself, knowing his treasure is nigh.
He pauses to hearken for a rumble of the dragon overhead; the beast has been here recently, the air is befouled by its mephitic stench, so he mustn’t tarry long.
It’s a still eve, music and melodist can be heard from yonder alehouse, the varlets and ruffians who frequent the place are almost as dangerous as the dragon, when toped with a bumper of mead.
Go with caution, lest ye suffer the recompense of a misfortunate existence…
But ere he continued, forsooth, ere his next breath, he espied a patrol approaching. He cowers, willing himself into a common rat. They shone their torches thither he hid, but appear not to espy him, or not to care enough to stop.
He makes haste across the final leg of his journey, whitherward his fortune lay in wait, passing the strumpets enticing bucks, chapmen begging for doit, and cutpurses absconding with their take.
Nary feet from his prize, he freezes in terror…
A steed approacheth! That can only mean a knight is on the march, he would surely run me through! Mayhaps he seeks the same treasure as I!
He panics and begins to dig frantically through the rubble and refuse, and is elated to quickly come upon that which he seeks.
A tocsin briefly split the silence, as red and blue fulgurations swirl around him, whence the guard approacheth…
You ok, buddy? You must be freezing…
It matters not, he thinks. In his hand, he beheld the impetus of his quest. A fist-sized ruby, barely brown on one edge, but uncorrupt. Sweetly fragrant and nearly whole.
Dispatch, we have a 10-73, at the corner of 10th and Broadway, under the el; seems harmless enough, but his faculties are definitely impaired; probably lives in one of these nearby alleys, by the looks of him…
His wild hair and beard whipped with the frigid, gusting wind; while his emaciated frame struggled to cleave to the rags on his back. Esurient, he lifted the browning, half-eaten apple to his lips…
…and 10-85, dispatch. How about we leave the sirens off, I have no desire to spook him again.
We’ll get you out of here, pal. Just hang in there; we’ll get you someplace warm.
He was unconcerned by the train rumbling overhead, pulling with it noxious fumes from the street. A blanket was laid across his shoulders to shield the winter chill, as he licked his bony fingers. Not even his core remained. This night he dined like a King.
art: by Lee Jeffries