Title:Nought to Frighten
Word Count 474
Nought to Frighten
Kit's eyes would not stay open. He was warm, for the first time in so long, and the world beyond his eyes smelled safe. He had to let them shut. He would rest just a little. A few minutes only. When the good dream ended he would wake up. He promised himself.
He heard Tom Kyd saying something about a bath. Strange man. Quiet then, and peace for some breaths. He let the silence expand, blessed nothing...
Then the bump thump of something heavy dragged up a stair. His gut curled in fear. Not the rack though, they brought you to it...
Now a voice, a woman's voice, old and screechy. No danger-- eyes shut.
“Doctor Marlowe, really? Of course I have heard of him, and been to see Faustus-- oh!” The voice dropped to a whisper, “Oh he is so young! Poor weary thing. Look, he is just a boy!”
Kit slitted one eye open to let it a wobbling light. Kyd, and an old woman, and a wooden bath with stream rising.
Her voice had dropped to a whisper, still penetrating.
“Have him give his clothes to me, I'll see them washed. I have things that my John has left behind, they are of a size...” He heard her skirts swish as she turned, and the mother-sound of her nattering as she left the room.
“Marlowe?” Kyd's hand heavy on his shoulder.
“Aye?” He let his voice be gruff. He was a man grown, not some boy to long for an old woman's embrace.
“The bath is here. I'll go and get some food.”
“I have no money.” It had to be said. But Kyd smiled anyway.
“I do, for the moment, at least. Have your soak-- no one will bother you. Oh, and leave your clothes, Mistress Smith says she'll wash them-- they need it. She's going to bring you up something she has of her son's.”
Kyd left, with the puppy capering at his heels. Kit waited until the outer door shut, to strip himself. Colder, he shuddered, his skin clenching, raising its pitiful hair in outrage.
The water was warm, and he slumped down, legs over the side, up to his chin in the goodness of it.
He must have dozed again. Stupid. He came awake with water up his nose, and the door opening.
“Don't mind me, Dr Marlowe. I've raised six boys, of three husbands... Nought there to frighten me... Here is a nightshirt, and some things for tomorrow. I'll just leave them here. Did you find the soap?”
“Yes, Mistress. Thank you.”
He gave a ridiculous seated bow.
“Well, good. Good night to you then.”
She seemed a bit disappointed, Kit thought.