I know it’s only been three weeks since I was left here, because Sammy showed me how to mark time. We were in the alleyway, the women gathering around us, waiting to see me gone.
‘Here,’ said Sammy, scratching the wall with a piece of coal. ‘Six lines down, one across makes a week. Like a gate.’
I said the words over and over as Da dragged me away, as the women looked on, shawled arms folded under smug smiles.
I have three gates scratched under my bed.
‘They’ll beat you with a cane ’til you’re black,’ Nell said when she caught me finishing the second gate.
Now she’s lying in a bed in the infirmary, head wrapped round in bandages – the Humpty Dumpty girl who fell off the wall. Matron asked me how it happened – sad faced, I shook my head and returned to my spindles.
Tonight, I’ll make another mark with my pocketknife. Perhaps tomorrow is the day Sammy will come to take me home.
If it is, I shall set a fire in the dropped threads, watch Matron and Nell and the clack-clack looms flame until there’s nothing but ash and the stench of burnt cotton.
For week ten of FFftPP. A very lovely, creepy photo that brought out the very worst in me.