The Grey City XI

Tuesday August 31, 2004 @ 03:56 PM (UTC)

The Grey City I
The Grey City II
The Grey City III
The Grey City IV
The Grey City V
The Grey City VI
The Grey City VII
The Grey City VIII
The Grey City IX
The Grey City X

After they had passed out of earshot of the strange boy, the sisters
slowed and looked about them. They were well and truly in the market
now. Most of the carts and barrows were stopped and heaped with wares
for sale. A smell of greasy cooking came to their cold noses, and they
followed the delicious reek down to a row of food-vendors. “Fish pie!”
cried one old man, and Eirian pointed excitedly. Carys, remembering the
look of the river, pulled her onwards.

“Meat pies,” bellowed a large woman with a red face, and Carys stood on
her tiptoes to get her attention. “Yeah?”

“If I may ask, ma’am,” said Carys softly, “what kind of meat?”

The woman stared blankly, “Kinda meat, whaddaya mean? It’s MEAT,
and you don’t look too good for it.” Carys excused herself and hurried
on. Finally, she decided the ‘tater pie’ seemed the safest, and she
counted out a few of their coins to the young woman in charge of that

“Which way are the Southdowns?” Eirian piped up as the girl
handed down their pies, and Carys noted the direction. Digging into the
potatoes, carrots and occasional green things wrapped in the greasy
dough, Carys and Eirian continued to walk and munch, the food rendered
exquisite by hunger pangs.

Around them, the dingy, sturdy
buildings became more dingy and less sturdy. The wares jumbled in carts
were more often dirty or broken, and odd, misshapen rag-forms tended
blankets of oddments, ready to sweep away at the sound of a Runner.

“Do you really think our aunt and uncle live here?”
asked Eirian, and Carys could do nothing but shrug in response.

On the corner of one road, a young man in an oversized hat kept
watch, and on entering the road Carys and Eirian were surprised to see
no peddlers at all, let alone the cautious, dangerous trade at which she
had guessed from the sentinel’s presence. Along one side of the street,
empty-eyed, anonymous store-fronts loomed, while the river gurgled
noxiously by on the right. Shabby characters perched in the doors to
the shops, and one or another would occasionally call, low and clear,
“Cooooold meat!”

A rather distinguished gentleman in a good greatcoat and an elegant
hat walked furtively down the street, and a lugubrious man in faded
black called out to him, “Five eleven, gov? A hunert-seventy? Lovely
likeness I got back here, gov.” The gentleman hesitated, then went up
to hold a whispered conversation with the sad-faced shopkeeper while the
others looked on in envy. A cart laden with long dark boxes turned quickly into a side-yard whose
gates were open and shut in a twinkling. As
Carys and Eirian passed out of the street, they could still hear the
strange soft calls of the shopkeepers, “Wanna disappear, missus?”
“Never look for you further,” “Quite a likeness, if’n a bit moist…”
before they melted into the whispers of the river, that great keeper of
secrets and cauldron of lies.

The Grey City XII


New comment

required, won't be displayed (but may be used for Gravatar)


Don't type anything here unless you're an evil robot:

And especially don't type anything here:

Basic HTML (including links) is allowed, just don't try anything fishy. Your comment will be auto-formatted unless you use your own <p> tags for formatting. You're also welcome to use Textile.

Copyright © 2017 Felicity Shoulders. All rights reserved.
Powered by Thoth.