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Lady Sparrow

Lady Sparrow

By ANNA CORALPublished 27 days ago 3 min read

The year was 1888, London. Evelyn perched precariously on the rain-slicked rooftop, the wind whipping her hair into a frenzy. Below, the gaslights cast an eerie glow on the labyrinthine streets, a stark contrast to the inky blackness of the night sky. A shiver ran down her spine, a tremor that wasn't entirely from the cold. Evelyn wasn't supposed to be here. A lady of refined breeding, especially one poised to marry a prominent solicitor, did not frequent rooftops.

But Evelyn had a secret. By day, she adorned herself in silks and practiced the art of polite conversation, the picture of a respectable young woman. By night, she was Sparrow, a wraith flitting through the shadows, her nimble fingers unlocking the city's secrets for a select clientele. Tonight's job: acquiring a coded message from the private study of Lord Kensington, a pompous politician with suspected ties to foreign powers.

Evelyn, clad in a black cloak that billowed in the wind, navigated the perilous rooftop with a practiced ease. Reaching Lord Kensington's window, she expertly jimmied the lock with a set of meticulously crafted picks. Slipping inside, she found herself in a stuffy haven of leather armchairs and mahogany furniture. Moonlight filtered through the window, illuminating a cluttered desk where a sealed envelope lay innocuously. Relief washed over her – the information would fetch a hefty sum and help her secure a life outside the shadows.

Just as she reached for it, a floorboard creaked beneath her weight. Her heart lurched. A man stood silhouetted in the doorway, his face hidden in the shadows. "Who disturbs my private sanctuary?" he boomed, his voice laced with suspicion.

Evelyn spun, adrenaline coursing through her veins. Thinking fast, she grabbed a nearby heavy book and hurled it with all her might. As the man fumbled to catch it, she scrambled for the window, diving back onto the rain-slicked tiles. The city stretched out before her, a tapestry of twinkling lights, but the ground seemed impossibly far. A guttural roar echoed through the room as Lord Kensington charged toward the window.

Evelyn ran, the wind screaming in her ears. Rain lashed against her face, blurring her vision. The rooftops became a treacherous obstacle course, slick and treacherous underfoot. Fatigue gnawed at her from her nightly excursions, and a growing panic clawed at her throat. She stumbled, landing hard on a loose slate. Pain screamed through her ankle, a searing agony that threatened to immobilize her.

Suddenly, a strong arm grabbed her, pulling her back from the edge. She squeezed her eyes shut, bracing for capture. But the voice that spoke was hushed, laced with concern. "Are you alright?" it asked.

Evelyn opened her eyes to find a young man, his face obscured by the rain and moonlight but his voice strangely calming. He examined her ankle, his touch surprisingly gentle. "Sprained, for sure. Can you move?"

Uncertainty warred with gratitude. He could be an accomplice, another predator lurking in the city's underbelly. But something in his eyes, a flicker of empathy, gave her pause. Gritting her teeth, she managed a weak nod.

He helped her to a hidden ledge, a narrow space tucked away from view beneath the overhang of a neighboring building. Relief washed over her as the roar of Lord Kensington faded away. "Who are you?" she rasped, her voice trembling.

"A friend," he replied enigmatically. "They won't find you here."

For the rest of the night, they huddled on the ledge, sharing hushed conversation. As the first rays of dawn painted the sky with streaks of pink and orange, a silent understanding blossomed between them. He learned of Sparrow, the enigmatic thief who moved through the shadows, and she learned of William, a disillusioned clerk at the Foreign Office with a thirst for justice.

"Are you always out here, stealing secrets?" he asked, his voice curious.

Evelyn hesitated, then shrugged. "There are those who need the truth to be revealed, even if it's hidden under lock and key."

William nodded slowly. "Perhaps there are other ways to reveal the truth. Ways that don't involve dangling off rooftops."

Evelyn considered his words. Her life as Sparrow was thrilling, dangerous, and lucrative. But it was also lonely and isolating. William offered a glimpse of something different, a connection that went beyond a shared secret.

As the city awoke to the bustle of a new day, William helped Evelyn back to her own rooftop, a hidden entrance tucked away behind a chimney stack. "Thank you," she said, her voice barely a whisper.

"We'll talk again," he promised, a faint smile playing on his lips before he disappeared down the fire escape.

Evelyn watched him go, a wave of conflicting emotions washing over her. Fear for her safety,

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