Rain is a natural solvent. She can feel the gritty salts sliding from her cheeks—where a mud dipped sleeve had mindlessly rubbed—now washing itself of the dirt and city filth London had slowly become. Not the London she had been introduced to hot off the Irish docks. The daunting light of street poles should send her back into hiding; it isn’t safe here. But Doblin ( daughter of no one and rat to everyone ) is not afraid. She is careless and reckless and any other word you can tag a ’-less’
suffix onto the tail of, because she is a girl- no. A woman. Of too many thoughts and not enough room left for concern and regret.
Because to see a man kill, and to invite herself at his hip the next moment reminds anyone that innocence is gone. And in its place ignorance. But she doesn’t care, and she knows it certainly doesn’t pay to.
So she moved efficiently. Despite the thinness in her hips and much-too-long legs, a girl of her dimensions could move quietly and without effort. She was small. Agile. Thin, but not without gauche. Chris had often mentioned a word before; one he used to describe himself, as well—Efficient. He liked that he was small, and in turn, she had begun to appreciate her own lack thereof. She understood it to be an advantage rather than a feat.
And no matter how tight she pulls her army green coat up over those thin shoulders, there is still a frigid sting prickling through her bones. If she says the rain against her skin is not cold, then the winds will surly call her bluff. Beneath that much too large coat- the one Christopher had much so kindly turned a blind eye to when she’d slipped out the door in otherwise nothing more than a baby doll playsuit- her body shakes where she is very malnourished. Like the dogs you see on street corners. Scavengers in alleys and street side markets, begging for scraps and licking at the heels of strangers
Holding up the collar of her rain-heavy as she squeezes between two ( much ) older men crowding a pub entrance; instantly becoming the cootie catcher of attention from every drunken body downing shots of who-the-hell-knows-what, and slurring decade old tales of the war before the war. They were stories she’d often come to catch as well—as a child squeezing between allies and into wood panels where the old, musty lumber was peeling away from its foundation. And in the winters ( if you were praying on a full moon ) you’d find a few soggy notes and a pocket’s worth in change if you dug around in the piss and mud for long enough.
But it’s warmer in here. Not by enough, but just so, that the colour in her cheeks begins to face and the starry dappling of freckles remerges from the bright winter’s blush that had crept over her snow paled skin. It doesn’t take long for her to find the lesser of the crowded booths to slide into; taking with her a menu she’d slipped from the waitress’s stand just at the door, pulling it up to her face as she feels for the deck of cards stuck just in the breast pocket of her coat. Shuffling them under the voices of the pub drunks till she was ready. Giving her yellowed deck of fifty-two a final, calculated cut before she was ready.
The menu was flipped down and her voice—at one time, from first glance of the tiny ginger, seemed so very out of place. But she pushed back her mousey curls and cleared her throat as loud as humanly possible, catching the interest of a few nearby observers. “Alright you half-assed lot of shitfaced scurvy dogs, who wants to lose some money?” and mocking men into a challenge always did the trick.