The clamors of the street vendors resonate against the street walls, causing voices to bounce back and forth, pounding into my ears.
“Buy the new and improved broom that can sweep your house in one sweep,” one vendor calls out.
“Barley for two silver coins,” calls out another.
I stumble through the filthy backstreets with my hands wrapped tightly around my waist, my eyes narrowed to the ground, and my gown dragging on the floor, trying to blend in with those around me. “Aye, girl. It’s not safe for a beaut like you to wander in these streets. I’d travel on the main road if I was you,” a bellowing voice calls out. I look up and see a middle aged man with a large protruding belly, a long beard, and thick grimy hands holding a gauntlet filled with cheap wine.
“What you doing, traveling on these streets?” the man questions.
I shrug and wrap my hands tighter around my waist. The man bellowed with laughter. “You don’t know why you’re here?” His belly shakes uncontrollably and his wine spills out of his gauntlet.
I take a few steps backward and look around cautiously. The streets were empty and the city lights were stretches away. I wandered too far.
The man leans forward and shoves his near empty gauntlet towards me. “Would you like some?” The smiles, showing his blackened teeth. “There’s enough for the both of us.”
I wince as the smell of rotten eggs overwhelms my senses. “No thank you, but thanks for offering.” I take a few more steps back. “I better go home. My mother will be upset.”
I sped away, the city street light fading away as I ventured into the darkness of the kingdom of Mrak. The streets were silent and not one sound was made. The feeling of helplessness overwhelmed me as I realized that I had no idea where I was or where I was going, yet I walked on anyways. A magnetic force was pulling me deeper into the abyss, promising me no return.
“Catherine?” a voice called out.
I stumbled to a stop and squinted out into the darkness.
“Catherine?” the voice called out again.
My heart pounded erratically. “Yes?” I whispered.
A tall dark figure emerged from the darkness, holding a small candle.