[Shorts] Coverups are a bad idea

“Or a good one, depending on whom you ask,” I muttered to myself, pulling the hood across my face to cover my lips.

Keeping my head down and the basket of figs close, I walked through the market. By the time I had reached it’s end i I knew there were at least two guards eyeing me suspiciously. That was fine. My main purpose was to distract them, after all. To distract them from their duties so no one would keep too close an eye on the Temple walls. Pretty soon, I knew, I would hear a scream. The longer the guards kept their eyes on me, the better.

Someone bumped roughly into my shoulder, causing me to drop my figs. With a curse, I bent down to pick them up, letting the hood fall from my head. From the corner of my eye, I couldn’t see if that had attracted the guards. Instead, the man who had rammed into me blocked my view. My hands moved quickly to gather the figs and some urchins stole my food, which I batted away half-heartedly.

“Move your feet, you’re standing on my skirt,” I said angrily, without looking up.

“Perhaps you should be more careful of whom you speak to, Child,” a bone-chillingly familiar voice replied.

I did not falter. Instead, I continued picking up the figs. The scream came, but was abruptly cut off. “Damn, there goes another,” I thought silently.

“I did not realise that you have so many lives to waste, Alin’sa. Or is that the reason why your women get pregnant so easily?”

My hands stopped moving. I turned to look at him, slowly, knowing what I would find. The sun shone behind him, so I had to squint, but the tell-tale wings were there. As were the bronzed skin. Skin I had kissed just two nights ago.

“Tis not your concern,” I stood up, taking my basket with me. He moved his feet off the hem of my skirt.

“It is when you’re talking about my child!” his hand reached out to grab me roughly. It was only then that I realised we had been speaking in the priestly language, for it had been his actions that drew everyone’s stares and not his words.

“Your child?” I hissed in his face. “What makes you think it is yours?” even as I said the words, I wish I would take them back. The look on his face was one I would carry forever.

“Whore!” he pushed me away from him, but our palms brushed as I fell and I caught the paper he passed to me. He walked away.

I picked up my basket and hurried back to my rooms. Opening my hand, I looked at the single note. It was not a note, but a crude envelope. Within was a simple rose petal.

I fell to the floor and cried.