First snow today-- early in the year I think. We got about an inch or two. Usually don't get that until after Thanksgiving. (Closer to the end of the month.)And that is going by North of here... Anyway, it is pretty. Clean, for the moment. And new snow feels like a fresh start.
Word Count 886
To Kit, each day seemed like a bootlace, soaked tight with rain, each day was 12 hours of picking at it, slow and dull as dripping water, before it resolved. That was lessons. He was much less likely to be beaten here-- but he rarely learned anything new. He picked and picked, and nothing seemed to move, and then the whole thing gave, and the day opened itself into a violet spring sunset. Then the dark came, and the day was over.
This evening he yawned through his prayers and his mutton. He cleaned his plate, utterly, but already half dreaming. He watched for Nashe, out of habit now. Tonight the sharp little face was seen nowhere. Some nights Kit had to study, some nights too, he stayed up to write. This was not such a night. Kit ached for sleep. Once in bed, he let the sounds of the other boys go to nonsense around him. They would include him if he spoke, they were kind enough now. But he turned the pillow and pushed his face deeper in. Darkness came.
There were bits of dreams that made no sense, fathers hands holding Kit's better foot, and a boom of voice like the brass voice of God. Father's hands improbably huge, and so careful. And a shoe made a of soft leather scraps, too soft for walking. So that made no sense at all. Kit had never worn such a shoe-- and his two feet were as good as each other. So that made no sense at all.
It was sometime later, in the dark that a sound came. It was a persistent scritch-scratch. He turned from it but it kept on. He groaned and covered his ears. No good.
“Christopher--” A hiss in his ear.
“It's me. Tommy Nashe.”
“What is it?' Kit replied in a whisper dulled to near silence, mouthing the shapes of the sounds. He could see now the shape of the thin boy crouched on the floor in the deeper shadow of the wall and the bed.
“Why-- Why are you holding a piss pot?” Kit asked
“Sizer, remember. This is my passage to the gentleman's chambers.” Scorn in the whisper, and the sound of it thin now as steel wire. Kit realized that Tom Nashe was shaking.
“Something bad-- something bad has happened.” Tommy's hands in Kit's now, small and cold.
“Th'art freezing. Come here, warm, and tell me.”
Thus Kit spoke to his little sisters. He had been a refuge in nightmares before. He did not think this was a nightmare though. He lifted the blanket, the bed was narrow but there was room for two boys.
“There you are now, come here close, Jesus thou are as cold as a newt. Now tell me.”
“I sleep on Master Kett's hearth.” Tommy began, his voice was rapid now and Kit thought it was colder and further out somehow. Tommy was pushing the memory down and away. “It was Kett brought me here-- I attend lectures only as long as I work. So I go into the kitchens at 3, every morning to build the fire up, and line the loaves up ready-- they bake at 5.”
“So that is why you miss breakfast and prayers so often.”
“Aye. I sleep too long. Kett promises the others that he beats me for it, but he does not so. Oh God--”
Why this troubled him Kit did not understand. Nashe gave a gulp of a sob, scrubbed at his nose with his wrist.
“Tonight, I was asleep, wrapped warm by the fire, I heard the bell strike 3, and left to the kitchen. All was as always, Master Kett was snoring. I am quiet, not to trouble his sleep.
It was cold, dark.”
“Yes.” Kit said. He could picture easily the hush at the deep end of night, the stars in the trees, the frost on the grass, the other boy's breath like smoke.
“I did not make a light-- no night candle. All was dark when I left the room, all was well. I was gone less than an hour. When I came back to Master Kett's room, it was-- he was-- gone.
“He is gone”
“Well-- what of it? Maybe he is at the privy. Maybe he could not sleep. Certain this is no--”
“No!” The whisper was a sharp hiss. “Not gone like that. Some of his things are missing too. And the room askew. Come with me. Come see.”
Kit sat forward, chin on knees. Tommy's breath has slowed now, but the distress was clear on his face.
“Aye, I will come. But hasty. Why me, Tommy? Why not someone older, or even another master?”
Nashe made the word a horse does, by a firm exhalation through the nose. “I fear some harm has come to him-- I don't know who I can--” he waved a hand in the air in frustration. “And I like thee, Kit,” He said. “Thou art not stupid.”
And so Kit was shivering now, pulling on his robe over his nightshirt, stepping into his shoes barefoot.
“Don't forget the piss-pot,” he said.
Word Count 886