This was published online by Burnt Breakfast, 3rd August 2020 – my first piece of flash fiction
A cat slips past as Rosa hesitates, peering round the corner to inspect the square. The whisper of the cat’s fur against her legs sets up goose pimples, and she jerks back into the darkness. Stalking across the flags, the cat pauses to rub against the base of the fountain. There used to be water in it and the women would come here to do their washing. Now only moonlight slides down into the stone bowl and spills into the square, laying a path for the cat to follow.
The quiet of the town presses down on her. Rosa draws back against the wall. The stones are still warm and she leans into them for comfort. When she looks again the cat has vanished and Rosa makes up her mind. She has persuaded herself that most of them are still in the barracks, eating, drinking, doing whatever they do in between . . . But Rosa pushes the thought away. If there is a patrol out she will hear it before they see her. She moves out of the alley, the faint pat of her flip flops the only clue to her presence as she slides through the shadows. She is angling towards the dense absence of light where another alley empties into the square.
The cat has avoided that darkness. It sits on a window sill, a black shape lost in the blackness. The noises from the alley make it pause in its washing, ears pricked up. The ribbon of moonlight lies still.
There are stains on the cobbles the next morning. But they could be anything. And someone has lost one flip flop.