PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook
Ninny, they called her.
Sold flowers under the gas lamp, corner of Great Earl Street and Queen Street, Seven Dials. Old enough to be your Nana, though not yet old enough to be mine. Hair dyed black as a coal hole, always a pheasant feather or a silk rose tucked in her crumbling straw hat. Face like a patch of dried chamois leather. Shared a room with some other biddies – a boot lace seller, a sheet music peddlar and one who peddled herself, if you know what I mean.
Nah, don’t know where she went. People just vanish, lad.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale and visit the site here to read the other stories.
Seven Dials is part of the St Giles area of London, not far from Covent Garden. It long had a reputation for being disreputable and was part of the St Giles ‘rookery’ or slum. To read more about the area’s history, see here.
This week Pegman takes us to Wroclaw, Poland
I huddle under the sign of the Blind Beggar, the first flakes of snow snatching at my coat as darkness reclaims Alms Street. A pair of bangtails scurry from the rookery, shawls pulled tight to keep out the chill, their conversation shrill with drink.
I don’t see the child until a tiny hand slips into mine. A boy – I think – no more than four, eyes too-wide in a narrow face, like a creature adapted to the night.
‘Says he’s ready.’ The voice is faint, a hiss through narrow pipes. The child vanishes into a low alley, bare feet silent on the cobbles.
The only sound is the shush of falling snow as I follow Old Noah’s messenger into the slum. When the devil calls you come, but fear has me like a hook, trying to pull me away to anywhere but this place, this night.
Written for What Pegman Saw, a writing prompt using Google Streetview. See here to join in and to read the other stories. I saw the statue above the doorway with her blank face and clapsed hands and the rest came from there.
Bangtail – Victorian slang term for a prostitute
Rookery – Victorian slum reknowned for crime and prostitution, the most notorious of which was the Old Nichol.