[Mock-Fiction] V - Fures Misericordiam

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Aye. Tis me again.

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10. 8 – Bad Liar

“Edward,” Mariqah said, holding him back, “It’s all right.”

“All right! Are you blind, Mari!” he said rounding on her, “You enjoy being tupped like a–”

She let go, raising her brows, “Edward,” she said slowly, “This is not the way we deal with problems.”

He paused, “Then how, Mari?” all flustered.

“With patience and a sharp tongue, love,” she pressed a finger to her lips, “Now you keep quiet about this,” she looked around to the other customers and waitresses, “You lot too?”

They nodded silently. Mariqah’s boss walked in from the staff room, he face red with anger.

 

“Mari, I warned you,” he said, “Assault on a customer!”

She looked away and looked at him, “You need not scold me, sir.”

“Then what? What should I do with you?”

“Say what you came here to say,” she replied bluntly, “There’s a million shops in London. A thousand million in all Britain. And a hundred thousand billion across the Empire. And I’ve no qualms with you. But, mark me – this won’t be the first time if you keep me here.”

“Mari, stop speaking in riddles! What do you want me to do?”

“What does it matter what I say, sir? You are my boss.”

“Then you know my decision,” he said, “Leave.”

 

“Aye,” she said with shrug and turned to the man with the swollen jaw. She got him by the collar and dragged him out of the shop, “No more store policies,” she muttered and glared at him, “Beat it before I beat you.”

He laughed manically, “I’d love you ‘til I’m broke, lassie. Your temper is pleasing. Give me a go.”

She slapped him hard across the face and spat at him, “You don’t want to know the trouble that lies beneath these scars, mate,” she rolled up her sleeves and spoke darkly, “The dark, dark agonies from places you’ve never imagined before. The dark, dark people that I know. Now, if you don’t want to be skinned and gutted, and left in the Thames to rot – get your surly arse out of here!” she drew her face near to his, “And pray I never see your miserable face ever again, lad.”
 

Mariqah walked back into the shop and nodded to her boss, “I’ll get my coat, my bag and my day’s wages and be gone. You’ll have no more trouble from me,” then she spoke to Edward, “And then we can go get you that drink, mate.”

 

* * * * *

 

The pub that Mariqah picked out was bustling with customers. Buxom barmaids went from table to table, emptying their trays and chatting flirtatiously with the customers. Edward and Mariqah sat in a booth, a glass of iced Scotch in Edward’s hand and a cup of orange juice stood untouched next to Mariqah’s hand as she wrote pensively in her diary.

“You’re the strangest lass I’ve ever met, Mari,” Edward said, “You just got turned out from a job, lass. Shouldn’t you be looking for another?”

“Maybe,” mumbled Mariqah, only half-listening.

“Here, what are ye scribbling?” Edward took a sip of his glass, “Putting shape to your thoughts?”

Mariqah paused, then looked up, “Aye, something like that.”

 

“Why did you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Get fired for an ‘assault’ you didn’t make.”

She shrugged, “I had it comin’ anyway,” then added, “And I didn’t want to draw attention to you,” she closed her book and put it in her bag, stuffing in the pen after it. She took out a pack of cigarettes and lit one, the stick burning softly and slowly as she put it in her mouth.

Edward smiled at her, “You remind me of Thatch.”

Mariqah choked momentarily, “Don’t say that,” she said, sipping her orange juice, “I have an ego. Don’t make it bigger than it already is.”

“Slow burning fuses, breathing fire, using fear and dramatics to scare the bleedin’ piss out of someone – aye, you’re an Ed Thatch in the making,” he laughed.

 

Mariqah frowned, “Ed Thatch had a sense of mercy.”

“And… you don’t, Mari?”

She looked away, “It takes a man great humility and patience to be merciful. I believe I’ve been removed of all three qualities.”

Edward’s eyes widened, “Your speech…”

“What about it?”

“Queen’s English…?”

“Aye,” she said, pulling on her cigarette and breathing out smoke, “I quality I deem to keep for emergencies.”

“You’re a Lady.”

 

Mariqah burst out laughing, such that people around her started noticing, “You need not fret, Edward. I delivered many drugs and picked many pockets in my day. I ain’t no lady. I belong with the hood-rats and bare-footed more than I do with some ‘Lady’.”

“You are a strange, strange lass.”

She smiled and flicked the cigarette so that ashes flew from it, “Aye. My father would agree with you,” her phone started ringing, “Come. Finish your drink. I think loneliness is getting the better of Father Samuels,” she stubbed out her cigarette on the polished table, “I think I have dinner to cook as well.”

“Aye, something normal for once! The woman cooks!” Edward drained his glass.

Mariqah shook her head, and rose out of her seat, leaving a fiver under her still half-full glass of orange juice, took her bag and led Edward out of the pub.

 

* * * * *

 

“Edward!” Mariqah called from the top of the stairs. She climbed down a few steps into the basement, the rich smell of curry clinging to her, “Edward! Supper’s ready!” She untied and retied her hair in a simple ponytail, “Ed! Blast it, answer me, man!” She climbed all the way down. Mariqah found him sitting at her desk, in silence.

“Edward…?” she said cautiously.

He paused, and turned his head a little, his blonde hair covering his face, and hissed, “You lied to me.”
 

“Edward, what are you doing?” asked Mariqah, quickly.

He rose, knocking over the chair, and slammed her against the wall, “You lied to me!” he yelled.

Drunk, thought Mariqah.

“Edward, calm down,” she said, “Calm yourself.”

Edward smiled widely like a maniac, “Mercenary,” he said, his expression became angry again, “A ducking mercenary! That’s what you are! Of all the things, lass, your a bleedin’ wonder, you are! Following those bloomin’ Assassin mystics that Jim goes on and on about!” his grip tightened on her arms, “Oh and that’s not all I read, Mari. Timelords. Timelords, Mari! Was I not supposed to touch that journal of yours?”
 

Mariqah’s eyes widened and she pushed him off, kicking him in the face. He fell in a heap on the ground, blood trickling out of the corner of his mouth. He rose slowly, and looked up at Mariqah, who’d retreated to the corner of her room – holding her diary tightly against her chest and looked as if her whole being had been compromised. Her breathing was shallow, her gaze averted from him.

“What a beast I am, Edward, you don’t know,” she mumbled, “There are things worse than lying that I’ve done.”

“Get me home, damn you!” he yelled, standing up but not advancing.

“No,” said Mariqah simply, and replaced her diary calmly into her bag.

“I’ll cut you for this, Mari! Jaysus, I swear I will!”
She looked up at him, “It’s nothing less than I deserve,” she took a knife from her bag and threw it at his feet. It clattered loudly on the floor, “I don’t fear being cut. I don’t fear being killed,” she scowled, “But I am not returning to those bastards in the Brotherhood.”
 

“Good Greif, woman, why not!”

She hissed through her teeth, turning her back to Edward, “Because I’ve better things to do than see my lads killed for a man that has no humility, for an ideal that has long since been dragged in the muck and for a people that have no gratitude. I’ve better things to do, Edward, than cry and beg pardon from them!”

“And holding me hostage in this godforsaken time is going to redeem you, is it? Eh, lass?” he spat at her feet, “You know you have to take me home! To me ship! You know it!”
You’re only saying that for yourself!” Mariqah barked.

Edward paused, “Aye, you’re right,” he stepped over the knife and touched his forehead to hers, “But I’m not wrong.”

 

Mariqah looked into his eyes – a pair she’d never dreamed she’d see so close. She pushed him away and steadied herself at the desk, bowing her head.

 

Why should I save your hide,

Why should I right this wrong?

When I have come so far

And struggled for so long?

 

If I act, I am condemned…

If I stay watching – I am damned.

 

Who am I?

 

Can I conceal myself forever more,

Pretend I’m not the Rogue I was before?

And must my name, until I die;

Be no more than an alibi?
 

Must I lie?

How can I face my fellow men?

But… How can I face myself again?

 

Mariqah took out the contract she signed with the Emperor. She read it, her hands shaking. Frustrated, she tipped her head back and sighed.

“You’re a blessed man, Edward,” she said, monotonously, “To have landed on me. You’re a blessed man – to have people who respect you, people who care for your life, people who… who love you,” she tore the contract, “Aye, you’re blessed,” she looked dejectedly at the scraps of paper in her hands and scowled enviously, “You’re blessed,” she composed herself and turned to him, “I’ll set a course for Nassau as soon as I can. I’ll take you home,” she didn’t look at him, but stared at the desk darkly, “I’d better tell the old man I’m leaving. He’ll be sore to see me go.”

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