Warning: Dark. Discussion of death and dying, although mostly a bit sideways.
They lived, if you wanted to call it that, down by the river, the Trade Street Bridge providing the roof and a back wall to their residence , the steps of the Riverside Inn down to the water providing another wall. Their floor was the gravel and slate of the river-shore and the river was their front porch, their food provider, the road they took out of there where they needed to and the barricade that kept most others away.
There were generally four or five of them there; on the coldest nights, there were fewer, and on the full moons, sometimes as many as twenty. The one with the long, long hair (black as a raven’s wing) and the one with the piercings (eighteen of them), they were always there.
Under the bridge, there weren’t names and there was rarely talking, but the one with the long, long hair, others called Godiva; the one with the piercings, some of them called Nails, because the nose-piercing was a nail.
When nobody else was there, they existed wordlessly. They’d collect the interesting debris the river provided and sort it out – Gloves could use this and Hammer could use that; Blue might want that photo but Clacker would definitely want that sock. They fished and smoked the results, muddy bottom-feeding fish that were far better once you’d gotten them full of some stolen mustard – and they might not steal, but someone did. They bribed the gendarmes which could be bribed and scared off or hid from the other ones. Continue reading