Diddle on Mason

An update on other things writerly: My full manuscript of Ferals & Blights is still in query mode. The agent with the full requested has not yet contacted me one way or another, so my fingers remain crossed and I’m continuing to write because that’s all I can control. I have signed up for another year of Write Like You’re Alive through Zoetic Press. You can read last year’s anthology for free, here. This year it’s in August, which is also when the Poetry Postcard Fest happens, so I’ll be quite busy that month writing all the things.

Thanks for stopping by for another Saturday serial entry. If you need to catch up, you can do so here.  I’m having a blast writing these, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to read the whole thing from start to finish!

Diddle on Mason

The Sands was a strip of beach at the northern-most edge of the city as it backed onto the water. Medlarians could buy anything there, from purses to people. It was a wall of noise to rival the waves. Every evening, the tide cleansed the strip of its memories before the market descended once more in the morning. Mason ran parallel to the Sands. It lacked the bustle, but excelled in the squalor.

Jackie could hear the ocean from her stroll along Mason. The vendors here were the ones who couldn’t afford the fees on the Sands. Their fruit was wrinkled, and their birds molted. She tried to breathe through her mouth to avoid the worst of the stench. Diddle was standing under a patched awning, and as she approached his table of edibles, he yawned.

“Long night?” she asked.

“Hmmm, what? Oh, sorry.” He finished the yawn with a shake of his shaggy hair. “I was up early to harvest, and I’m not a morning person. That’s part of the reason I grow these lovelies. Dark and cool is better than sunlight and bugs any day. What can I get you?” He held up his tongs expectantly.

“Punch told me to tell you, silver streaks.” She narrowed her eyes in anticipation of his reaction. Normally, Boda scurried around making sales for their Jewel. It was a bit of fun to feel like she was a journeyman, and he didn’t disappoint.

Diddle leaned forward so both his hands were on the table and his mouth was near her ear. “I just got set up. I can’t see you now, but meet me at the change.”

He meant the end of the day when the market went from a living, crawling, crying beast to a slumbering shadow of itself as the black market slipped into the moonlit spaces. She preferred not to wait.

“I can’t wait that long. I’m shattered and bright.”

He rocked from foot to foot for a moment before calling to a young boy dressed in tattered clothes who sat under a table two stalls away. “Bashal! Come watch. I’ll only be a moment.”

The boy smiled and showed the gap where his two front teeth were missing. “How much?” he asked as he scrambled under the awning.

“Ah, you’re a devil. One mark.”

“Two.”

Diddle barked a laugh. “Boy, be glad I don’t swat you like a fly. One, now be good.”

The boy giggled and climbed onto Diddle’s high stool. He lifted his chin and surveyed Mason from his new perch.

“Come on.” Diddle swept through the back of his stall and yanked open the sagging door of a ramshackle wooden hut. The inside was so dim, Jackie only registered a few shapes before he pulled open a trapdoor and disappeared under the earth.

(See you next week!)

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