Title Praying for Plum Cake
Marlowe and Kyd
Word Count 475
Rating PG (One bad word.)
Praying For Plum Cake
They had taken his sword, and Watson's also. The smaller man held them. The larger man bound his hands behind and tight. and drawn the rope around the front. He had left himself a tail of it, to draw Kit along.
Punishment was an everyday sight; the pillory, beggars being beaten to the edge of town, bawling unfortunates tied to the carts arse. Common as mud. Still, as they went down the street a group of boys gathered to gawp and follow. These were such as would stone a nesting bird for sport. He had avoided them with delicate care in his own boyhood. He could spot them now. Manhood would not change them. It had not changed him either.
But there was a surprising shame in being pulled through the street like a beast.
Kit could see, at the edge of his vision, Thomas Watson, beside him. They were both clumsy, stumbling, with their hands behind them. Kit had a sudden vision of himself, face down on the cobbles, if he slipped. The street was slick beneath his feet.
Something rose in him, an asking: Please get me out of this. And was that not a prayer? He was no better than a boy praying for plum cake on the way home from school. He shook his head hard, to drive the thought back in. He thought about not falling.
The streets were crowded, when he looked up again. The jeering boys had gone. They were being taken now through streets of respectable transaction.The people looked up with tight mouths, as they passed. There were Good-wives here, clutching their coins, examining cloth and meat. Decent men had stalls here with shoes to sell.
Kit's own father too far away too see, and no other father to look over him with shame. He should be glad of that, at least. They were nearly there. It had not taken long. Time was collapsing in, as it had done during the fight. Time was behaving quite ill today, Kit thought. Somebody should have a word with somebody about that. He felt himself heave with airless laughter.
And now they were passing through the gate. He heard the rasp and heave and clang, and the metal smell of it, under the smell of his own fear sweat. They were dragged around a sharp corner. Here was a clerk with a book. Kit spelled his name his tongue sticking dry. He heard Tom Watson do the same.
And now, it was very simple. They were taken down sloping ways to the dripping man-stinking dark. The place, finally. This place. The ropes came off and Kit received a practiced shove between his shoulder blades. He stumbled forward, trying not to step on flesh.
“Shit bucket's to the left, water on the right. Do try to keep em straight.” The guard gave a dry bored laugh. The door shut with a metal scream.
Tom Watson reached out and took his hand. Still, he was alone.