May I present to you a new project of mine. This here is a novel idea I never managed to finish. Let's see if a little more experience and the incentive of the internet won't spur this one towards its finish. So tell me: what would you like to happen next?
I shouldn’t have been out that night. It was a silly and reckless thing to do, brought on I think by an excess of drink and an absence of disapproval. There was no one to mind me, all of them occupied with other things, the doings of a young girl holding little interest to them. I was no more than an irritating puppy, to be played with at times and shooed away when it got tiresome. So there was no way they were going to miss me.
The night was cold, and I wrapped my shawl tighter around my shoulders. What was I doing out here? Heaven only knew. All I knew was that I had to get out, to clear my head. I took deep breaths of the night air, drinking in its cool freshness with slightly drunken pleasure. I did not notice him creep up on me, and when his hand was clasped over my mouth, I was too stunned even to scream. He gagged me, binding my hands tightly behind my back. He then dragged me, stumbling, into a side alley. Only then could I get a proper look at my captor.
Chocolate coloured skin was the first thing I noticed. It had a richness to it, as deep and dark as fine wooden furniture. The whites of his eyes looked out of his face with a startling contrast, as if he were merely a shadow, simply a pair of eyes staring at me from the darkness. His expression was neutral, neither kind nor ruthless. He checked my dress for pockets, his fingers moving deftly. Soon enough he had realised that I carried no purse. Instead he groped for my necklace.
No. I began to struggle, as futile as I knew it was. Tears pooled in my eyes as he undid the clasp, and he thrust the necklace into one of his pockets. If he noticed, it didn’t show. I might have run then, if I had any notion of where I was. Instead I stood there and waited for him to finish taking my belongings, swaying slightly with the wind.
It didn’t take him long. He drew a knife, and I shrank back in fear. But he grabbed my shoulder and swivelled me around, too strong for me. I closed my eyes and waited for the inevitable.
It never came. He cut my hands free and started to run. I reached up and undid my gag. “Wait!” I screamed madly. “Please.”
Did he halt in the darkness? I did not know. Perhaps he didn’t care. I decided to talk regardless. Maybe he would hear me. “Please,” I said again. “It’s all I have of them.”
“Do you not have memories?” The voice which spoke to me sounded educated, not brutish in the slightest. “Funny how we hold on to objects, assign them special value.”
I swallowed and tried to calm my breathing. “It helps me to remember.”
“Don’t those memories make you sad?” he asked. His voice was coming from somewhere elevated, like a rooftop. “Don’t they make you want to rail at life itself for being so unfair? Memories are trash. Better not to think of the dead, and occupy yourself with the living.”
I wanted to scream at him, but that would not help me. If anyone came, he would simply flee, leaving me with nothing but memories and a bare neck. Instead I calmed my breathing and spoke quieter. “To me, they are valuable memories. They make me want to cry, but it is sweet in its bitterness. I laugh at the same time.”
I waited for a response, but the night was still. Eventually I came to realise that he had left me here, stolen away while I was speaking. I returned home. An educated, well-spoken thief was still a thief, after all. I had been a fool to think that he would listen to me. Perhaps in time I would learn not to keep up such hopes, and be glad that all he had wanted were my jewels.