With a triumphant cry, a tan hand slapped the table, sweeping up a card and depositing it amidst 5 others, closely held to the boy’s chest. A few small birds looked curiously at the group, too accustomed to such noises in the market to be scared off so easily. Hungrily, they eyed a flaky pastry that sat, half-eaten on the table.
Marley rolled his eyes at the wide grin on his friend’s face. “Oh come on, if you’re gonna pick up a card you’ve got to play it.” He sighed. “No point dragging in out.”
The exuberant youth, Enkidu, nodded with sudden solemness, as though this had been his plan all along. With a dramatic flair best reserved for a vaudevillian performer, he laid out his 6 cards. Unbidden, the grin returned as groans erupted from his companions.
Enkidu’s coin purse was nearly as light as it had started this morning, though he didn’t mind. He was sporting an azure coat purchased from a second-hand merchant, a handful of hard candies, a new tackle box, and a sack of apples for his mother. Given all he had walked into town with was a string of small fish, Enkidu felt the day had gone fairly well. Usually he was not on the receiving end of Lady Luck when it came to cards, but today had gone differently. He silently thanked the moon above for his fortune, knowing his mother wouldn’t exactly approve of that sort of prayer, and made for the garment district.
Enkidu had next to no mind for fashion, let alone fabric, but he did enjoy the customers that often flitted about the area. On days like today, scores of girls would walk through the market, looking for the latest and greatest patterns and designs to adorn themselves with. The lanky lad walked quietly though the open air aisles until he saw her: Forlice Tinzel, the fifth prettiest girl at school. Enkidu had in recent months tried and miserably failed with the first, second, and third prettiest girls, and had decided to no longer “shoot for the moon”, so to speak. Still, Forlice was lovely, as she busied herself with yards of silk materials. He suspected they were far outside her price range, but he couldn’t blame her for window shopping; he was guilty of the same, after all.
Cupping a wrapped candy in his right palm, he set down his other goods and sauntered over with the gait of a teenager trying too hard.
“Afternoon Florice, I see you’ve found something almost as beautiful as you are.” This is what Enkidu had meant to say. What he was about to say was likely far more awkward and counter productive. He was, however, interrupted by a gaggle of younger girls all rushing at Florice with bundles of clothing. The older girl frowned and swatted away her sisters, annoyance plain on her face. At that moment, she noticed Enkidu standing befuddled nearby. Her eyebrow cocked; she was certain she recognized him from somewhere, probably school. Why was he in the garment district? His clothes certainly didn’t fit the type to be interested in fabrics.
A shock of force, sound, and heat interrupted her thoughts as the heaving bulk of a starship careened through the air. Florice never even looked up, her first instinct was to cover her sisters, throwing herself over them to shield them from whatever made that noise.
Enkidu stared in awe at the comet of metal and technology as it descended. Till he saw a sizable chunk break off from the main hull, falling through the sky and landing far out of sight. Enkidu knew what lay that way, and was bolting past Florice and her struggling sisters without another thought. Mom.