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The Dance of Tartan (a she Prequel)


He steps away from their bodies, they'd not put up much of a fight. The taste of blood in his mouth from the latest slaughter was pleasing and had its normal terrific qualities. He smiled at his companions, the blood dripping from their mouths too, and they left the small house to grieve its now dead occupants. Stepping outside, they saw the stars but no moon - it was the eve of the Dance.

Walking down the path toward the town square, they noticed the pub lights were still on - unusual for this hour but it didn't matter, the curtains were closed. Walking further the moon slowly came in to view as they past the church and its clock tower. The church of St Winnifred at Cross had been standing for many years and was well attended every mass, its grave yard still holding the dead of many generations. Stones of "the Black Death" struck gear into some townfolk, particularly the young and especially men - it had targeted men first here. One headstone near the fence was new but it didn't matter - there'd be more soon.

They parted and slowly made their way back to their own homes, the moonlight now strong enough to light their paths. The gate screeched as one of them walked up his front garden, it was time for rest.

The newspaper stand in the street bore news of a recent battle, many casualties and no sign of an end. More locally, there was a scream as the butcher's lad made his delivery - innocently walking into the house of a young woman. Police gathered around a small house at the discovery of four bodies, cold and bloody, a man, his wife, their newborn baby and maid. Unaware they were being watched they proceeded to talk loudly about the horror of their discovery - such an atrocity happened every year and every year it was the same. They had no leads, not a clue, and he smiled, walked past and proceeded to work.

The police continued their disarray and the doctor arrived to collect their bodies - he vomited violently at the site of them. He was new. As their bodies were carried out a silence fell over the street - the butchers lad stopped his delivery, the lady in the cottage opposite stopped hanging washing and the silence fell. As the baby's body came into view there were tears.
He arrived at work, a shoemaker by trade, and took the list of orders. Mentally he crossed off 2 orders and another for a very small pair of shoes. Taking a leather needle he began to finish the last shoe of yesterday - he'd left early but gone in earlier today so his boss wouldn't notice, the penalties could be harsh otherwise. As he moved the needle smoothly and rapidly through the leather he remembered the scenes of yesterday - how she'd cried, how he'd been there. His colleagues began to arrive, each taking seats at their desks small dockets in their hands. Glancing around his colleagues, and nodding at some, he noted one was missing - Pearson was distinctly missing, his aniseed scented presence elsewhere; this caused complications. Distracted for that brief moment he drew blood, driving the needle into his finger - it was clear he was tired and preoccupied but the others continued, no doubt at some point making the same error. Wiping his finger clean he finished off the shoe and went to the store to collect leather for his next job which was quite ornate by normal standards. The job had come through late yesterday evening, a priority job for whoever it was assigned to, being key to the outfit of a young lady attending tonight's dance.

His supplies gathered he returned to his desk and collected the scrap of paper carefully dropped. He coughed, then coughed again and crumpled the paper into his hands. The design for the new shoe in his mind, the finished product pictured beside it, he began to cut the leather. Glancing at his list again, and seeing nine jobs there, he wondered if he'd get away on time this evening. Fortunately two of them were repairs and he could ignore two orders so the list should be manageable - he had things to do this evening.

Remembering the wife he'd left at home, the argument they'd had and the bruises she'd earnt for it, his son popped in to his mind. Nathanael was strong, tall for his 12 years and already interested in following his father's footsteps.

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