Flash Fiction: The Crow’s Mile

Dusk always hits the crow’s mile hard. After the beagles hang up their truncheons and plod home, the stretch from station jail to hangman’s rope forgets the warnings of the day.  A hum builds first, the shuffle of workers off their shift, the yell of school boy, and clatter of late carriages. The decent folk make their escapes behind gate and wall, before, like specters, those that serve the night materialize from alley and dock.

They come and the mile unfurls. Sailor, guttersnipe, and bruiser, anyone with full pockets is welcome. Pub, den, and coffee houses light their windows, casting the cobblestones outside in squares of yellow.  Dollymops hang from the coffee houses singing bawdy choruses, unwashed sirens calling out to cross their threshold.

Brawls divide the night’s revelry into acts, small showings in the tap rooms and dance halls. They build inertia from drink and boast, until something breaks with fists and flying spittle. Such things are brief affairs, squabbles on clear seas.

There is still order in the mile. The barmen and dollymops know it because they see it, and newcomers learn or they don’t. A bad step on the crow’s mile in its golden night, means a long last walk in the pale sunlight the next morning.

It’s been awhile, but Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie gave me a chance to try out some Victorian slang with this Wordle Challenge. 


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