Public Indecency

“Papa? Papa?” The child’s cries could be heard over the chaos of the town. The markets full of rotten fruit, the only source of food that was affordable. Clarice stood, staring at the infant, barely old enough to walk, waddling around as she pleaded desperately for her father; her bright, tearful eyes contrasting boldly against her dirt covered face.  “Papa?” She whined, holding up her delicate little hands searching for the only family she had left. Clarice had seen the limp body of a man on the street just minutes ago, lying lifeless from starvation- It was said that King Louis grew more to the size of a beast every day, eating more in one meal then his people would get in a month.

“Clarice,” called Francis as his eyes caught site of a few stray ringlets of mahogany hair that refused to stay under the bonnet they had so obviously been forced under, “What is a pretty young thing like yourself doing at the Market, I thought you had servants for that sort of work in the Manor?”

“Francis” she smiled, turning to face the young man behind her. His long dark hair framing his beautifully carved face.

His deep brown eyes glinted at the site of Clarice’s rosy cheeks that had reddened under his presence, a grin spread across his face -Francis loved the effect he had on Clarice, even after all their years of childhood together. 

“Ready?” He asked, tugging on her arm, wanting to get out of the watchful eyes of the towns people.

“One second, you see that infant- Just over there?”

“The one crying out for her father?”

“Yes, I think I saw him.”

“The father?”

“Yes, he was laying dead on the road, minutes from here. What if- what if that was the only family she had?”

“Clariiice,” Francis sighed, “You shouldn’t involve yourself with such things. I’m sure there are many orphans out there who are looked after by the authorities, now please, can we escape from this place?”

“But-” Francis slipped his fingers through Clarice’s, placing a tight grip around her hand. Before she could tell him off for such public indecency he was already pulling her away from the scene... 

The End

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