no you see we are LAUGHING at how sad we are!
there is black caked under our nails.
maybe we will cover it with incandescent polish
so you will see our half-moon cuticles.
you can see it and remember! it will be our inside joke.
He heard the shouts of the town guards closing in on him and cursed as he dodged a cart, slipping in a huge pile of wet horse dung. His ankle twisted painfully as he steadied himself but he dare not stop. The wall was just ahead.
The people he passed melted into a blurred line of faces, their forward motion paused for a brief moment as they considered the situation. To act or not to act. Fortunately for him, people were cowards, preferring the safety of spectatorship as he shoved past them, every footfall bringing him one step closer to escape.
He turned a slight corner and there it was. Using his momentum he planted his good foot against the side of the wall and launched himself upward, arms stretched high. His fingers barely reached the ledge, but he dug in, feet scrambling for the leverage to heave himself up and over.
"Hey, you! Stop!"
Willem fell to the ground on the other side, sending another sharp pain up his ankle as he slid down the steep, rocky incline. He landed in a cloud of dust at the bottom, certain he tore something. Standing up, he dusted off his bottom with badly scraped hands and looked back at the wall. Most guards were too lazy to climb after anyone stealing something as mundane as charcoal, and the gate was more than a hundred feet away.
Putting his hand in his pocket, he felt for his hard-earned prize. His fingers came back black. Some of the sticks had been crushed during his scramble, but it mattered not. He was used to working with small stubs and powder.
Limping quickly toward home, he thought about the clean white parchment he managed to procure, and his potential future.