[Excerpt from the ramblings of a street denizen]
Of course I’ll tell you, dearie. I won’t keep any secrets from you in the end.
All the dreary days of my life are like the windows of a house. From the kitchen, I can see out into the garden where the leaves and stalks are brown and bug-eaten. You can see a little lump of dirt where something was wrapped in a blanket and laid to rest along the rows of twisting vines.
The front room looks out into the street, where the neighbors are all setting fire to their homes, barricading themselves inside. Warm and snug, dearie.
Don’t forget about the bedroom, either. It sees into a dreary alley, where hooligans are playing a game with an old man. The first two are hitting him with sticks and the girl with them is kicking at his dry, old ribs. Oh, to have those bones, to boil them in a pot.
No one lives in my house anymore dearie. No one you’d want to meet.
When I lived there with my husband, we were fine, fine people. Vera Moray, everyone would say, your house is as grand as Boyle Manor. Better even. Your dinners are lavish and your parties are the best.
When that young Sokolov came to paint my portrait I was nearly still in my prime. Radiant, he said, and he was just barely a man, so young, painting all the best people across the land. Everyone wanted a portrait by his hand, all my friends. I was the only one, dearie, wet with his paint, glistening on the canvas for a pretty coin.
But it wasn’t all parties and paintings. My husband and I weren’t always at home, no. We traveled together, he and I, to the far ends of the Isles. Beyond even, all the way to the red cliffs of Pandyssia, to dig in the rock and crawl through the caves, holding up candles and squinting at the walls. Many precious things we came upon, but none so precious as the boy with the black eyes, dearie. All those marks and bones, carved so deep and polished so bright.
I brought the old bones home. Hid them from my dear husband. Then I learned to boil them and carve them myself. They made such good presents, dearie. The little mute boy took them home. He loved them so. All the time he came back with new bones for me, holding them up so I could see it in his eyes, even though his tongue was still. Granny, his eyes would say to me, carve these bones for me. Make me another present. And he went so far, so far, all the way to Dunwall Tower, the Royal Headsman himself now. My little mute boy and his shiny, shiny sword.
Better bones were what I needed, you see. Better bones to carve and polish, scrape and gleam. My dear old husband was always tired. I made him soup and then he was sick. Better bones, was all. For my little mute boy, carved in the name of the one with the black eyes. And after my husband was gone, given away as birthday gifts, I didn’t want to live there any more.
So now I’m old and don’t have many to give my presents to. It’s sifting through the garbage for Granny Rags, and feeding the little birdies that gather at my feet. No one wants to have tea, dearie. Especially those rude louts on Bottle Street. Slackjaw and his boys, always meddling with an old woman just trying to make her way.
In the end we’ll be together with him. You and me in the dreary night with the stars above and below. And always the one with the black eyes, dearie.