You may remember our recent micro-fiction crime writing competition, in which we asked you to submit your best 500 word 'Noirwich' themed story based in, or written about, the city of Norwich?
Well, although competition was very fierce (so many entries were of an incredibly high standard, according to the judges), a winner has now been selected and announced at the Bloody Brunch (where attendees were also treated to a live reading of the story by the author!)
We are thrilled to present to you the fantastic winning story:
The Merchant, furs drawn against the river fog, sips red wine and lets it lie in his mouth. On his tongue are pleasing tastes: of grapes and vintages; of bargains; of deals well made. In his cup is wine acquired at a knock-down price from that whoreson London broker, whose cheating head shed a quantity of its own liquor over the cellar floor before he'd coughed up at the last.
Item: one debt. Payment: one daughter.
His own head is intact. He's hungry for business. Beside him his new wife stands, her eyes taking in the sight of his ships lining the banks of the Wensum; the flurry of barge boys unloading wine and spices into his teeming warehouse; the dragon carved into the beam above them. It's his marque, made to his own design, something their sons and their sons' sons will one day show off, just as he's doing now. The Merchant nurses his bruised hand. Who'd have thought the old man to have so much blood?
But back to business. Some deals just have to be ... struck.
He breaks his vows as easily as my father's head. He goes to London to buy wine, to the river to buy sex, and to St Peter's to buy a clean conscience.
He wants heirs of course. As for myself, I pray, not for sons but for death. By ice: his ships sunk in winter waters. By fire: that fine new warehouse, made of dry timbers, and a dragon ready in the roof.
He stinks of commerce; of tides, tonnages and trade. Our marriage was another transaction. He little thinks of me, and yet I vow: I'll be his most costly mistake.
Alas good merchant, who'd coin to spare yet owed me money, who woke blurting blood one feverish morning, a boil rising in his blackened groin, who called for the priest and yelled for his life, left for dead by his scheming wife, whose bed I shared, whose coins I took.
The rats I caught, I freed on his ships.
I am death on springs. Angels and prayers overlook me. My bite is my marque. Find it on your toothsome skin? By it you shall know me.
Follow Margaret Meyer on Twitter.
Image: freeimages.com/André Bergonzzi
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