Excerpt from Chapter 2:
Kat whipped the crook of her elbow to her nose and attempted to shield herself from the horrid stench, but it overpowered her. Death permeated the air and forced itself into Kat’s untainted lungs, siphoning out all elements of purity. Great Earl Street had not been pleasant to the senses, but something about this street was vicious and unrelenting.
She was the one choosing her fate, and she stuck with her gut’s notion to enter the Dials. Forcing her feet forward, Kat inched her way down the dark lane. Gin shops and misshapen homes with patched windows flanked her on either side, pocked with the occasional rag shop or rabbit-dealer stand. Nuzzled between and in front of and beside these were people, trying to garner a bit of sleep before day broke and their burdens returned to their shoulders. They were wrapped in thin rags, their shield against the bitter wind.
Harsh female voices snatched Kat’s eyes from her surroundings. Up ahead, at a corner leading to an alley, a group of women were on the brink of a fist fight, resembling a gathering of hungry, ill-tempered cats, their bodies arched and ready for battle. Kat hurried in the shadows against a building to hear better.