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Elsabet's Writing > Thief...

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message 1: by Elsabet (last edited Jul 25, 2016 05:50PM) (new)

Elsabet Things were far from perfect, but at least the woman woman in the maroon skirt had stopped growling.

Vinh laced his fingers behind his head and leaned back against the wall. He was sitting on the floor because the woman had said that if he had any gentlemanly tendencies at all he would offer her his seat. It was only a crate, but it was cleaner than the floor it sat on.

"So," said Vinh, "how long do you think they'll keep us here?"

"I don't know." Was the terse reply.

"Ah well. I'm used to being locked up--"

The woman snorted, as if she had no doubt that he was frequently jailed.

"I'm used to being locked up," Vinh repeated, "but this is a first. If I were a drinking man this would be lovely."

The woman gave a humorless laugh. "Well at least I have the fortune not to be locked up with a drinking man." And then she laughed again, and said, "Though 'man' is stretching it. You can't be more than seventeen. Eighteen at the most."

"Nineteen, Madam."

She sniffed and shrugged, and Vinh could see her lip curl, though the cellar was dim.

Vinh stood up and stepped over to the shelves and chose one of the bottles that lay there. He hefted it in his hand and it's contents sloshed about. He took the battle back with him to his former spot and sat down again, studying the bottle as closely as he could.

"Ah. A fine vintage, my lady." He said at last.

"What, deciding to take up drinking after all?" She wasn't looking at him.

"Not at all." He set the bottle down beside him and put his hands behind his head again. The walls were gritty. He could feel the dirt pressing into the backs of his hands.

"So, do you have a name?"

She didn't look his way. "Yes."

"What is it?"

She turned slightly, studying him from the corner of her eye. "I don't think I should share it. Once a person knows your name they have a certain amount of power over you, and I don't want a rat like you to have any power over me." She pulled her shawl tighter against the damp chill that seems to inhabit every cellar on the face of the earth.

She looked miserable. Vinh felt a twinge of regret. He hadn't meant for her to get dragged into this predicament.

He held out the bottle. "Want some?"

She glared at him for a few moments, then snatched the bottle from his fingers. She stared at it for a while, then reached into a pocket hidden somewhere in the maroon skirt and pulled out a tiny knife. She fussed with the cork for a while, then at last jabbed it down into the bottle.

She took a handkerchief from her sleeve and wetted one of the corners with the wine and held the damp cloth to her face.

"Hey. What're you doing?"

"One of them men who brought us here had a metal clasp on his jacket and when he dragged me in here it scratched my cheek."

"Want me to take a look at it for you?"


"Does it sting."



She turned to face him fully. "For what?" She exploded, voice echoing against the walls of their confines. "Stealing my money? Implicating me as a thief along with you? Getting me dragged here and stuck in a mouldy dungeon with a rascal? Or sorry that I was scratched?" She looked like a vengeful goddess, shouded in darkness, one hand raised in anger, but unfortunately the handkerchief pressed to her cheek ruined the effect.

"All four I guess." Said Vinh. "I didn't mean for you to be nabbed too."

The woman gave a loud groan and looked about ready to throw the bottle of wine at his head. Then she leaned her forehead against her palm and started to cry.


"Shut up, shut up, shut up!" She shrieked, moving the handkerchief from her cheek to her eyes. There was a jagged cut there. It traveled from just below her right eye to the corner of her mouth.

Vinh swore. Then he remembered he was in a woman's presence. "I am truly sorry."

"No. You're. Not." The woman lowered the handkerchief and glared at him. "You don't care. If you did I wouldn't be here right now. I wouldn't be missing curfew. Because of you I am going to lose my employment and be back where I was before with nothing to show for all my work but two wasted years!" She gave a savage howl and grabbed up the wine bottle and hurled it at the wall. The sound of shattering glass mixed with her muffled sobs and the echo of her shout.

"Surely you have something to show for your time." Vinh tried to sound reassuring. "You must have made some money in the last few years."

If anything the woman started crying harder. "I don't though!" She wailed. "I sent it all to my mum! She died last month and the only money I had was the stuff you stole. I haven't got a copper bit to my name! And now I'm going to be jailed for stealing a noblewoman's necklace when it was you and I haven't got any money to offer a bribe!"

Vinh was horrified. "But you're innocent!"

"Do you think that matters?"


"Her ladyship won't care. Nor will her ladyship's lawyers. I could be hanged! At the very least I'll be imprisoned. If I get lucky I might get sent to the colonies as an indentured servant, where I might hope to work hard enough to satisfy my contract. Or I could die of prison fever."

"That won't happen."

"It will."

Vinh was silent for a long time, and sat rubbing his hands together. Then he said, "I have some money."

"What, the stuff you stole from me? That won't be enough." She had stopped crying and sat staring blankly at the wall.

"No, not your money, I already spent it."


"But I have more."

"Wait, "she turned her stare on him, "you're willing to spend your own money, but you won't give that woman's emeralds back?"

"I can't. That woman's emeralds are why I have money."

message 2: by Alex (new)

Alex Rushmer | 12 comments I LOVE the dialogue in this. It's so good!

message 3: by Elsabet (last edited Jul 25, 2016 05:40PM) (new)

Elsabet Alex wrote: "I LOVE the dialogue in this. It's so good!"

Thanks! This is an experiment with a younger Vinh. In my current story he is older and is no longer a thief, but I wanted to get an idea of who he was as a young man. The woman in the maroon skirt os also a semi-important character, but she only makes one cameo appearance in the novel I'm writing, so I kinda played around with her personality as well.

Experimenting with my dialogue was one of my main motivations for writing this piece, so I'm really glad you liked it. Thanks for letting me know!

message 4: by Alex (new)

Alex Rushmer | 12 comments No problem! I didn't actually read the whole thing, but I really liked what I read. Vinh seems like a really cool character. ;)

message 5: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I love, love, loved this!! The characters were great, the story was interesting, everything flowed super smooth, and the dialogue was fantastic. I'm getting the feeling the male character is somewhat of a misunderstood bad boy, am I right?

message 6: by Elsabet (new)

Elsabet Lacey wrote: "I love, love, loved this!! The characters were great, the story was interesting, everything flowed super smooth, and the dialogue was fantastic. I'm getting the feeling the male character is somewh..."

Sorta. Vinh is a mess at this point. His mum just died a few months before (I should have put more reaction to the-woman-in-the-maroon-skirt's statement about her mother's death.) She was an extremely good and pious woman, and his current state of affairs makes him feel waaaaaaaaaaaay more guilty than he'd ever let on.

I'm glad you liked it! I had some trouble with it at first. Thank you for your kind words. :)

message 7: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Can't wait to

message 8: by Ruby, I write. (new)

Ruby (rubyyy) | 174 comments Mod
As said before, love it, great writing, smooth, and overall... Great!

message 9: by Elsabet (new)

Elsabet ♣RubyRedWriter♣ wrote: "As said before, love it, great writing, smooth, and overall... Great!"

Thank you so much!!!

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