This is a story I am currently working on. For now...here is a preview piece (that is also the beginning). Enjoy!
The night was quite chilly. Tabitha did not notice, even though she was in beggar's rags. She was too frightened to take notice of the cold. She glanced behind her in fear. The stories she heard were true.
Suddenly, Tabitha bumped into a man in a black overcoat with a black top hat and wearing dark grey trousers.
She did not observe his clothing at the time, as she backed away, or tried to. The man had a hold of her shoulders.
"I say, steady on there, Miss!" stated the gentleman, but Tabitha hardly heard him.
She kicked the man in the shins, making him let go of her. Tabitha heard shouting behind her but she kept running. Ducking into a side-alley, Tabitha stopped as she reached a dead end. A shadow loomed over the nine-year-old girl. Turning around, gasping in short but heavy breaths, Tabitha fainted from fright, believing her persuer had caught up with her at last.
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Despite all her misgivings, Tabitha really appreciated Madame Claudia because she never forced Tabitha into her way of living. And she made sure Tabitha would be bundled safely so as to not give the wrong impressions to any ruffians upon the streets.
Tabitha was unheeded by the tear in her long singlet. It felt like the nightgown she had worn before, but was slightly easier to move around in. Dragging very slightly along the dirt and grime, it was not long before the bottom of the singlet was matted with mud and who knows what else. But, then again, it was not very clean to begin with.
Tabitha found herself in a large tunnel behind the wall. It looked man-made, a few lanterns on the dirt pathway, flickering and casting strange shadows on the dirt walls.
Tabitha looked back as she heard Sammy come back through, closing the rotten door behind him by yanking on the rope.
Tabitha glanced back down the dirt path, a sea of darkness ahead with a faint smell of musk from the sewage behind her.
Walking forward, Tabitha felt the ground beneath her cold feet. It felt slightly moist, obviously there was moist because of the rain from topside had cascaded down and been sucked down into the lower-levels of London.
Without looking back, Tabitha continued forward into the darkness, the only light visible was from the lanterns on the ground and even that did not really help to improve the dimly lit tunnel.
Tabitha knew Sammy was behind her, she could hear his footsteps behind hers. He was keeping a safe distance, in case he needed to be on lookout duty again at the front door.
After walking for several minutes, Tabitha had found out that the tunnel had widened, she had no fear of touching the dirty and moss-covered walls.
Tabitha heard a distant sound ahead, it was faint at first, but as she drew closer to the end of the tunnel, the sound was a lot clearer.
It sounded like a person was humming gently, an odd little melody that wafted upon a breeze that chilled Tabitha as it by-passed her.
Shivering slightly, Tabitha stopped, halting slightly by the coldness that over swept her.
Glancing at the walls, Tabitha could see the flickering shadows appear to dance, having no real form as they swayed in the dimly-lit passageway by the flame in a solitary lantern.
"Oi! What be the 'oldup?" asked Sammy Gibb as he caught up to Tabitha and stood behind her.
Tabitha did not reply, she had barely heard Sammy. Tabitha was enraptured by the figureless shadows that appeared to dance to the person's humming that came from up ahead.
In all honesty, the shadows were flickering to the flame from the candle-lit lantern, but Tabitha had no notion of this because of one thing, she was only ten years old.
Tabitha remained rigid for a few minutes until Sammy's words had sunk into her mind.
Without speaking, Tabitha began to move slowly forward once more, trying to ignore the dancing shadows upon the walls.
She found herself at the end of the tunnel, where it widened out into an inner sanctum, a chamber of sorts. There was a faint smell of flowers in the air that made Tabitha feel sleepy for some reason.
In a dark cobblestone corner was a small living area, a few dirty rags on the floor.
Next to the rags was a small inkwell with a feather dipped into it. Some sheets of parchment were scattered around the small area.
The room was small, but looked sturdy enough, it's ceiling a mass of pipes with a few shrivelled Roots from long dead trees. Sammy Gibb entered the room behind Tabitha and he merely leaned against the wall of the cave.
A solitary lantern was lit near the inkwell; the face of the humming man Tabitha had wanted to see was bathed in the lamplight.
He was an old man, scruffy with rags covering his feeble body. But, he also wore a heavy overcoat that looked dusty and well worn.
The man was wearing a monocle, a streak of light making it gleam despite the fact it was rather grimy looking.
The man's face was a kindly one, his grey beard with unevenly cut into a goatee.
He glanced over at Tabitha, lifting his withered hand to his monocle to readjust it. He had stopped humming.
"Ah, you have come at last," stated the old man.
His voice was kindly yet wavered when he talked, it would not be as strong as it was when he was younger. His accent was that of a higher English gentleman, but was also coarse enough so as to not be able to fool the upper class men themselves of his rather common background.
Tabitha had felt glad to see him. The Illustrator was well known in the underground section of orphans. He was the one who taught them to read and write to spell and think beyond what they could have imagined possible.
And more then that, he was a common criminal.
Chapter 5: The Illustrator's Dream....
But, the orphans did not care, for he was simply The Illustrator to them. Always has, always will be.
Tabitha watched as the old man dressed in the pale robe had stood up from his corner. She could almost hear those old bones creak from where she stood.
Walking towards Tabitha, The Illustrator, formally known as Leroy Surrey, had a smile upon his face that made the whole room appear slightly brighter from Tabitha's eyes.
The Illustrator was a kind man who had educated Tabitha when she was only five. Tabitha was like a granddaughter to him, being the only child who was fully capable of looking after herself.
Tabitha had often wondered what had made a man like that become reduced to living in the sewers. When she was eight, a boy called Fred Jenkins told Tabitha that The Illustrator was a criminal on the run. He had apparently been a bookkeeper and did a swindle on his taxes. The Illustrator was caught, but had fled custody by running down an alleyway after jumping out of the police coach.
Tabitha was enthralled by the man's history with the police and she was very inquisitive even at that age. Which was more then could be said by other orphans in The Illustrator's care. They just knew he was there, but had never questioned WHY he was there or in actual fact WHO he was.
To them, he was just a kind old gentleman whom looked after them.
Tabitha had been thinking all this as The Illustrator walked towards her, dragging his left leg behind him. His left foot was practically lame. It was so much diseased with numbness that The Illustrator could not feel anything in it. He merely scraped it along behind him as he walked.
The Illustrator's leg scraped along the ground as he walked over to Tabitha.
She had not seen him for months, but he looked as tired and old as he ever looked.
"I was about to give up hope," stated The Illustrator as he stopped walking, standing a few inches from Tabitha's face.
"Hope is what defines us, sir," replied Tabitha, having memorised what she was taught by this great man.
The Illustrator chuckled slightly, if one could call it a chuckle. It was raspy and faltering, The Illustrator having not laughed for seven years. Not since his knowledge of his real daughter's death in the newspapers.
"You have not forgotten me," he stated sagely, reaching out and patting Tabitha on her head with his bony hand.
This was the only gesture of affection The Illustrator did to those few children whom he thought were different then the rest of the almost-empty vessels that lay in the waste of London's sewerage.
He never harmed them nor reprimanded them, for the top world people did that enough to the poor souls whom had gotten in their way. High society was not a very caring one, despite the advantages of having money; it made one black and cold on the inside.
Taking his hand from Tabitha's head, The Illustrator turned and started hobbling back to his corner, talking as he did.
"Come, child. I have a thing that should interest you," he muttered to Tabitha as he was walking away.
Tabitha obeyed, walking forward. Any gift from The Illustrator was a good gift. At times it was a book, other times it was an extra piece of clothing, but only for those that were attentive in The Illustrator’s lessons.
The Illustrator bent down, his old bones creaking as he thumbed through his pieces of parchment, the monocle glinting in the lamplight once more.
The Illustrator's face beamed as he picked up an item that was buried beneath his mounds of old parchment.
He turned to Tabitha and she stopped moving forward, glancing at the thing that was in The Illustrator's hand.
It was a small trinket, a gold-looking necklace chain with a crescent moon formed from iron.
Tabitha glanced at the necklace in The Illustrator's hand as it dangled from the chain and swayed slightly in the wind.
"I found this in an old book, rather an odd place for a piece of metal, I thought. But, at any rate, since I have no use for it you may as well take it my dear," stated The Illustrator to Tabitha and held out his hand with the necklace.
The Urban Rivals team is made by lovers of all kind of Collectibles Cards Games and Trading Cards Games like: Magic the Gathering, Dominion, Vampire, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Wakfu TCG, Assassin Creed Recollection, Shadow Era, Kard Kombat and Might & Magic Duel of Champions.