Title Into Daylight
Word Count 850
The window was much too high to reach. Even had they been able to touch the free air, the slit was no wider than a child's palm. It admitted light, in the mornings, which crept up the wall opposite. There was not enough to see by, really. It deepened the shadows, and it hurt Kit's eyes with sickening dazzle. But Kit watched it,each day, over and over, because he had no choice.
There were carvings on the wall across. They had been hacked into he stone by hands more clever or strong, than his, or more desperate. The sun picked them out in succession, limning them with gold. Each day was the same, the prayer, the name, the curse, the gap legged female obscenity. And, the apex, nearly six feet up, a cross so faint he might be imagining it.
On the first few days he and Watson spoke. They spoke of small things, things that had no weight. The other two men huddled on the floor of the cell said nothing, nor did they eat. They were alive, the rats avoided them, and he could hear them cough sometimes.
After some time Kit and Watson stopped speaking also. Kit let the silence rise in the throat like drowning. So much easier not to fight.
Watson's trial had been delayed. The reasons were unknowable. And anyway, Watson was ill. He huddled against Kit, sweating, feverish. Kit embraced him numbly. Sometimes the men outside the door brought bread or water. Sometimes, less often, they took the piss bucket away. Watson made no use of either. He burned instead.
Now the light was at prayer level. Enough light to look and see. Thomas Watson's eyes were red, crusted with vivid yellow, which stank. His mouth was swollen and cracked. He seemed to be awake, but it was hard to be sure.
“Watson-- Tom, ” Kit's voice was a penetrating whisper. Sound was crushed here, and a whisper seemed the best he could do.
“Watson, move over, I need to get up.”
Watson moaned and scrambled to a shivering sit. Kit stumbled to the corner. When he turned back Tom Watson had slumped to the side. His shivers had gone to shudders. He was drooling. He looked like a man dying of cold.
Kit drew him close, arms around him, pressing his smaller body against the long frame. He wondered briefly about contagion. Too late. If it was to come it would. At times past, he he worried about his touch offending. Some men recoiled from his handshake, knowing what he was. But Tom Watson had never done that. And any desire of anyone in this squalid darkness, was an unknown and unimaginable perversion.
The feverish heat warmed Kit too. Eventually he let himself doze.
The crash of the door brought him up.
“Time to go.”
“Go where?” Kit croaked.
“Get up.” That was all he would get.
Kit stood, suddenly cold.
“You've been bailed-- get out.”
The prod at his back pushed him along, through an internal corridor, torchlit, even in day. He was given a book to sign, and the grinding stone of justice disgorged him to the street.
The air was delicious, and he took deep breaths. He pictured it cleaning his unknowable places inside. Yes, the air was good. But the blue sky was pitiless cold, and he had a long walk home.
He looked up, feeling stupid. Even his eyes were slow and tired.
“I have come to see you home.” Kyd said.
Kyd had brought an extra cloak, thick and woolly. He bundled it around Kit, as one does to a child. His blue eyes were kind, and somehow worn looking.
“You can stay with me-- until you find better.” he said. Kit turned his head, so he didn't weep.
The walk seemed to go on forever. He stumbled sometimes. The road was icy. Kyd walked beside him, quiet, but watchful.
The day was lowering now. It was later than Kit had thought. He could hear the bells far away, one layered over the next, telling the hour-- but he lost count.
“Just here.” They turned off the road, and climbed an external stair.
The door opened on an ordinary room-- small, whitewashed. Kit could see a table, crowded with writing, much like his own. There was a bed with a red wool cover. There was a joint stool near the fire. There was a puppy, who sniffed his shoes, and toddled away again, finding Kit dull.
“Sit down, Marlowe,” Kyd said. “My landlady has a bath-- I use it sometimes. Rest there and I will see--”
Kit nodded. He was still wrapped in the cloak, but he was warm against the wall, it was safe here. His feet stretched to the heat of the fire, and he let his head rest back on the wall. He was asleep before Tom Kit made it down the stairs.