Toby blinked in the gloom, as if awaking from a dream.  Even in the shifting light of the large wood burning oven the liquid pooling ever closer to his feet sparkled ruby red.  His head snapped back quickly at the sound of a tremendous amount of ash falling as the contents of the oven settled.  As the fire licked through the grill on the door light flashed from his closed fist.  Toby glanced down almost surprised to see that he still clutched the silver blade.

He opened his hand and really looked at it; it was the most decorative one he had ever seen, long though not as heavy as it looked, and warm.  As if the thought had burned him Toby gasped and let it clatter to the stone floor.  Shaking his head he started for the stairs his shoes squelching with every step.

Deep red marked his progress through the house where he snatched the coppers and gin he saw on the way to the shop.  Toby paused and debated going upstairs, but the thought made his stomach roll so he walked to the door instead. 

Toby crossed to the corner and glanced over his shoulder, “I thought the good Lord sent you to me,” he said to no one.  Looking straight ahead he walked brushing a tear from his eye, telling himself it was the stench in the smoke nothing else, as he put the memories of Fleet Street behind him.

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