A last bus rumbled past, leaving behind it diesel fumes and a wash of gutter water.
The night was restless with weaving drunks, corners stuffed with sleeping bags and cardboard mattresses for the city’s homeless.
‘Does it have to be now?’ Marv whispered.
Tyche pushed knotted hair from her eyes. ‘When else?’ She approached the old gaol wall, its dark mosaic of flint nodules.
‘We’re gonna end up in jail ourselves, only it’ll be more shared lavs and shivs than pretty rocks.’
‘Here.’ She knelt by the rusted grill, hand on a particular ball of flint. ‘Get to work, Knapper.’
Sighing, Marv eased down beside her. The wall seemed to glow a little, a faint luminescence only visible away from the street lights. Placing a swollen knuckle on the light, he struck.
Splinters fell to the pavement. A song floated, sinuous on the air. Such longing.
‘We’re here,’ hissed Tyche.
NB. Tyche was the Greek Goddess who governed the prosperity and fortune of a city.
Flint is a fascinating material that was used for weaponry and tools long before it was used to make buildings. It’s almost a mystical thing, to watch an expert knapper create an arrowhead from a solid, brittle ball of flint.
And for fun, I thought I’d include a video of my favourite knapper – archaeologist Phil Harding from Wessex Archaeology. And if you want to imagine Phil as Marv, feel free.