Nothing stirred on the frosted fields. Ducks rose off the river silent as commas. Elizabeth pulled her coat tight. Cloudlets fluttered from her mouth as she bowed her head and traipsed on, catching sight as she did of her muddy hem. Just as the first low fingers of sun were extending their reach she looked up to see a figure approaching in an overcoat, unbuttoned. He strode towards her, not yet aware of her, shirt collar open at his chest.
‘Mr Darcy!’ she exclaimed.
‘Miss Elizabeth,’ he said, in surprise. ‘What the fuck are you doing out at this ungodly hour? Only madmen and farmers up. It’s freezing! Check out your shoes. You’re soaked.’
‘Yes, I suppose I am,’ said Elizabeth, hoping, however, that her cheeks were flushed and her eyes fine.
‘Your nose is as red as a cherry, mate. Best get home before you freeze solid. Like my nuts.’ Darcy let out a loud laugh.
Elizabeth nodded, unsure where to look.
‘Speaking of nuts,’ he went on, flashing a large knife. ‘Castration Day calls. Have a good one.’
Elizabeth moved aside to let Mr Darcy pass in his great boots. Her feet were indeed cold and wet. Time to return to the homestead to set the fire and boil water for tea. Her sisters and mother would soon be awake and clamouring.
From Loopholes, a collection of 67 microfictions, all under 250 words. Designed and illustrated by Bettina Kaiser. Published by Spineless Wonders, December 2016.