Friday, October 26, 2012

Drug Market: Snowdust

Between jutting scrapers & smoggy skies, day or night
was impossible to discern.

Obscured by the construction zone around the opening, the party emerged from an unused man-hole cover and up to the street.  Neon lights buzzed and flickered like a motel in a bad “b” movie.  Between jutting scrapers and smoggy skies, day or night was impossible to discern.
Gwydd rubbed her arms as if trying to brush off the pollution that clung to her skin.  It was like trying to rinse off the film from cheap, detergent shower-soap.  No wonder everyone covered as much skin as possible.
            Nickel gave her a sympathetic side-nod as if to confirm that yes, the air was suffocating.  “Come on, we have people to meet at the market.”
Willow kept her breaths shallow, looking for Gwydd for guidance. This adventuring thing was all new to her, and she was quite sure she was not cut out for it.
“Market?” She asked, thinking for a moment she might have found something she was familiar with in this nightmarish landscape. “Like where you sell fruits and vegetables and things?"
Nickel and Xan shook their heads sadly. “Nothing fresh is ever sold here, I'm afraid.” Xan replied.
"...that's what makes us so lucrative.” Nickel's 
eyes gleamed under electric billboards.
            “At least not currently – that's what makes us so lucrative.” Nickel's eyes gleamed under electric billboards.  “Right now, we trade with underground colonies similar to ours.”
            Kif nodded, “Usually things like seeds, parts, vitamins, supplies – news and gossip…you get the idea.”
             Gwydd stayed close to Willow, trying hard to be as strong as she was fierce. They followed the rag tag crew into the depths of the Market. It was crowded, sweltering, and quite frankly, smelled worse than a Goblin Horde a day before bath time.
Nickel looked at the Fae and smiled. "Don't eat it if it's offered to you, and don't eat it if you don't know what it is. Nothing is safe. Unless, of course, ya grew up eatin' it." She chuckled and moved to a booth, trading something for a bowl of what Willow could only describe as filth and garbage. Even Kif made a face as Nickel popped a large spoonful of the stuff into her mouth. Xan shook his head. "That's just gross."
Nickel just laughed as they made their way back to a booth, nearly hidden among the others. 
            The old refrain passed through Gwydd’s mind, an eerie track on whispering repeat:
            “We must not look at goblin men,
            We must not buy their fruits:
            Who knows upon what soil they fed
            Their hungry thirsty roots?"
We must not look at goblin men, we must not buy their fruits
           Commerce in this unearthly market was foreign. Stalls were packed with prattling teeth and bartering hands.  Goggles, gloves, ultra-violet body make-up, artificial fruits injected with “nutrients”, rodent-skull trinkets, and liquid meal vacuum pouches.
People jostled shoulder-to-shoulder everywhere.  No matter where she looked, one item was ubiquitous.  Vendors had racks of white packets with multi-colored labeling that were reminiscent of dead-sea salts.  An army of kids seemed impossibly busy trying to keep the racks from going empty as the baggies constantly churned in sales.
            “Snowdust.” Kif read the question on Willow’s face, puffed out his chest and adopted his mock commercial-voice. “Pharmaceutical powders that you dissolve your drink!  Flavors for every ache, pain and pleasure that you can imagine. Fizzy candy for your fix - excellent for parties, pick-me-ups, relaxing, recreation and medicinally – brought to you from Biovael, YOUR drugstore.”

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