Towers of Londonon July 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm
His belly warm with stolen ale, Urchin glided along the frozen River Thames, weaving between the skeletal remains of a frost fair. The stalls were tattered, dirty, splintered. The fair had sprung up overnight, had sold its wares and emptied pockets, had fallen to ruin by first light. Jolted by the tremor caused by stone falling from the Tower of London, Urchin searched the skies for the beat of a raven’s wings. Only, the hulking bellies of sky ships pressed against the bank of clouThe Tower was falling and without his ravens, his London would fall too.
Urchin tripped over the foot of a stall and slid across the ice, his fingers clawing for purchase. He grabbed the wooden leg of an abandoned stall. Wood splintered. Beneath him, ice cracked. Urchin’s elbow cut through the thinning ice to where a girl lay trapped. The stall dismantled above him, throwing its moth-eaten sheet over his head, causing his nose to bang into and his lips to kiss the ice. He had to free the girl.
Throwing off the sheet, Urchin struggled to his feet and attacked the ice with the remains of the stall leg aware the Thames may swallow them both. Above him, the skeletal hull of a sky ship broke through cloud.
Cate Gardner lives above a costume shop with her pet raven, Time. White metal bars decorate the walls of her flat and she likes to sit in a swing seat and tweet. The raven would prefer she wrote. During a recent frost storm, the wind blew a faithful reader into the local river. The man is now an ice sculpture at the local gallery and she appreciates that he is still holding a copy of her novella, Theatre of Curious Acts, although she’d prefer to stop receiving Barbed Wire Hearts from other fans. She pricked her finger on the last one and thought the man attached to it a very strange man indeed.