Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
Today marks week 41 of the 52 week writing challenge!
The prompt for Sunday 15th October is ‘Outlaw’:
I chose ‘Outlawed, Secrets, and Market,’ and I wrote about a young female outlaw on a quest. It’s the same length as my usual Flash Fiction, just under 1000 words.
Sunlight sparkled off the crystal fountain inside the main marketplace of the oasis town of Huaca. In a sea of shorts and short sleeved tunics, the hooded figure turned more than a few heads. The crowd parted as the figure moved quickly towards a darkened alleyway at the back of the market stalls. A golden chalice glinted on the one closest. The hooded figure stumbled and bumped into it.
‘Watch where you’re going, miss,’ a merchant warned from behind the stall.
‘My apologies,’ she murmured, and tightened her cloak around her, pockets heavier now as she continued towards the edge of the market.
A lock of dark hair fell from her hood, and she stuffed it back into the shadows. She strode by two steel clad guards, bottom lip clenched between her teeth. They paid her no mind. Her lowered, covered head concealed her identity, and her shoulders slouched in relief.
‘Thief!’ the merchant yelled behind her, and the tension in her shoulders returned. ‘I’ve been robbed!’
The mouth of the alley was close. She broke into a run. Scurried past the guards and into the darkness between the buildings. Left, right, left. Eyes darted behind her at every turn. Thudding footsteps, but no sign of the guards.
She heaved a sigh and slumped against a wall in the shadows. Good. Outlawed as a precocious teenager with quick hands, she had no desire to be caught and tossed out into the desert. At least, not yet.
She peeled away from the wall and followed the maze of alleys to her destination. Two guards in worn leather armour blocked her path with chipped swords as she approached.
‘Who are you, and what business do you have here?’
‘Keira. I’ve a meeting with Alexi to discuss the medallion he acquired.’
The guard frowned and looked down at the list. ‘You’re late.’
‘I got sidetracked,’ Keira replied smoothly. She stared at the guard and gestured into the veiled shadows behind him. ‘Can I go in or what?’
The guard sighed and nodded to his companion. They sheathed their swords and resumed their positions against the wall. ‘Go ahead.’
Keira smiled and strode into the shadowed marketplace. Large awnings blocked the sunshine. A fitting cover for the many secrets the darker part of town held. Keira knew them all.
She ignored the suspicious eyes that followed her and brushed past pickpockets and thugs towards the shadowed stalls. The cries of the potion salesman were ignored, and Keira shook her head at the arms dealer. She gave the soothsayer a wide berth and stopped by a stall at the back, crammed between the walls of a dead end alleyway.
‘Alexi,’ Keira greeted, and pulled down her hood.
‘Keira, old friend. How ya doing? You never come by here any more!’
‘Hard to visit when I’m forbidden to enter the city,’ Keira said with a wave of her hands. ‘Can’t keep them to myself.’
‘That’s my girl,’ Alexi replied with a grin. ‘Trade good?
‘It’s been better. People are getting smarter,’ Keira said, and she pulled out a piece of parchment. ‘In your letter you said you found something bearing the crest of Illidan?’
‘Aye, that I did. Got it from a trader, who said he got it from a village up north, in the mountains.’ Alexi dug around in a box under the stall and pulled out a pendant. ‘Solid gold, so it’ll cost you.’
Keira raised an eyebrow.
‘Yes, even you,’ Alexi said with a shrug. ‘Gotta make a living. Sorry.’
Swift fingers dug in her pocket, and Keira pulled free the golden chalice. ‘Will a trade do?’
Alexi’s eyes lit up. ‘I’ve had my eye on that for a while. It’ll more than do.’
Keira grinned and held out her hand. Alexi handed over the pendant and grabbed the chalice. He spirited it away into a box under the stall and pulled a rug over it. Keira frowned as she weighed the pendant in her palm.
‘I think this is fake, Alexi.’
‘What? There’s no way!’ Alexi replied. He grabbed the pendant and tossed it between his hands. ‘Huh…’
‘Not heavy enough, is it?’
‘Nope,’ Alexi admitted. He handed the pendant back and rested a hand on the dagger at his belt. ‘But a deal’s a deal.’
Keira laughed. ‘I know. I’m not after it for the money.’
Alexi relaxed and crossed his arms. ‘Then why…?’
‘It’s a secret,’ Keira replied. She tapped the side of her nose and pulled up her hood.
‘Course it is,’ Alexi shouted to her retreating back. ‘It always is with you!’
Keira smirked, slipped the pendant over her head, and disappeared into the shadows. She clung to the walls and dodged past guards and merchants, and reached the city gates in no time. By the time she reached the small desert camp, night had fallen.
‘Keira! You’re okay! I was so worried!’
‘Easy Joey, I’m fine,’ Keira replied. She slumped down by the fire and handed him the pendant.
‘You got it! Did you find out where it came from?’ Joey asked. He slumped beside her and ran his finger over the crest.
Keira nodded. ‘Roughly. A northern village, in the mountains.’
‘But there are hundreds of mountain villages!’ Joey said, eyes wide as he turned to her. ‘Half of them don’t have names!’
‘I know,’ Keira replied, voice barely above a whisper.
Joey slipped an arm around her shoulders. ‘I’m sorry. If my father hadn’t…’
‘Don’t,’ Keira cut him off. ‘You being here? Helping me? It’s more than enough to make up for what your father did…’
Joey closed his eyes for a moment, then glanced at her. ‘I’m sorry he took you from them, but I’m not sorry I met you.’
‘Me too,’ Keira replied with a sad smile. She watched the flames of the fire flicker in front of her, pendant clutched close to her chest. ‘One step closer. I won’t stop until I find them.’
Thanks for reading!
Joey and Keira grew up together, but not in the conventional sense. Joey’s father kidnapped Keira as a baby and brought her up in a life of crime. They’ve run away together to find her family. I might expand on this idea some day. *Adds to mountain of ideas*
Next Sunday’s prompt:
The prompt for 22nd October is ‘Whole/Hole.’
If you try next weeks prompt yourself, let me know how it goes. Post your attempt on your blog on the 22nd October, and leave a link in the comments below this post so I can read it 🙂
If you can attempt the prompt in less than 140 characters, you can also #sunscribbles on Twitter. I am super interested to see what you all come up with 🙂