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randoms v

First thing Malley thinks when she hears the sound of a child, crying:
Is this a trap?
Has to wonder, given the state-of-the-world and the way-of-things because, no question, there are some out there who’ll trick and trip and snag the unwary anyway they can. That’s just being a sensible rat, isn’t it? That’s just being safe.
Quiet, and slow, Malley shuffles forth on soft paws, shoves her gleaming sword back over her shoulders (where it hangs loose and close to hand on a twist of waxed twine). Narrows her eye and takes a peek.
She’s only got the one eye, these days, on account of not being careful some years before, but that’s a different tale.
Malley looks out from a hiding place under a damp jumble of discarded planks and plastic sheeting.
In the shadow of the grey stone arches of the eastern bridge, a stretch of churned earth riverbank, smeared with muddy snow and frozen solid in the chill of a winter not ready to leave the stage.
The river surface, at the water’s edge, still showing white and solid; the ice so cold and firm you could walk on it, if you fancied, if you didn’t mind the dark depths beneath.
Malley hears that sound, like a baby, mewling in frustration and fear.
A sudden movement-
Just ahead, something grey and murky shifts and squirms, a few steps out upon the ice.
A bag of some kind, Malley reckons, and within the bag a shivering shape is moving, crawling, struggling. Malley hears it crying out again, trying to get free. Not a baby after all then, but something else in need of help.
Something dangerous.
Help the helpless, her old mam used to say, didn’t she?
Even if-
Yes, her mam would be telling Malley now, ‘cos you don’t know if one day you will be the helpless one. Right?
Malley looks at the quivering bag on the icy river.
She looks back towards the tumble of planks and plastic that covers an entrance to her current home; safe, warm and secure.
Malley rubs the patch that covers her lost left eye.
“Right you are, mam,” she says, and she goes to find some string.
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