Patchwork (Open)

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    Nicholas Gritsipis

    A starry sky, without a cloud in sight. The stars shone down, cascading off the roof tiles of the inn where he sat, like fine needles piercing the black fabric with their glow. Death incarnate itself didn’t stop them from shining, nor did the dread that loomed just over the horizon. He was also working with a needle, stitching up a tear in his coat that probably opened during his latest dance with foes much greater than himself. Nobody ever seemed to ask how he got the surname Mercer, and nobody seemed to ever react when he told them. It wasn’t a usual name, but wasn’t special in any way except to him.

    He recalled the look the old mans face when he was caught, and he remembered the calm that stared back. The old man realized all at once he was both being robbed and presented his latest challenge. The man promised the thief boy shelter and enough food to live off of if he worked for him for a few months, and in exchange he wouldn’t report the theft. Perth knew nothing about how to earn an honest meal let alone perform intricate stitching, but he learned quickly. He was told he had talent with his needlework, that every time his tool went through the cloth it was in the perfect spot. The months would pass, and the man gave him the surname and offered the shop too, if he should want to stay. Perth made a lot of mistakes growing up, and certainly those of bigger consequence than this, but he still regrets leaving the shop the most.

    He supposed that a sword too, is a needle. Stars, Stitching, Swordplay. As he finished his patchwork, he pulled the coat back on and hopped down from the roof. He could just as easily walk away and drift, as usual. It didn’t matter though, did it? He uncorked his flask and took the last swallow, before sitting with his back to the wall.

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