Monday, November 10, 2014

Muted Meetings (Lizard, Part 3)

Lizard woke alone in a cold and dark unfamiliar alley to the smell of days-old retch. His body was rolled in a defensive fetal ball, and he stood slowly, stretching his cramped muscles.

He blinked his eyes uncomfortably in the bright light shining from the end of the alley, and he walked carefully towards it, looking out on a street he's never seen before. Suddenly paranoid, he checked his pockets; empty, empty, empty. Even his first deck of cards was gone. He felt like everyone was looking at him, and he stumbled back into the shadows, cowering, unused to being without his sixth sense.

When evening came with a chilly breeze, Lizard rose again, an ache in his belly, and went in search of food and cards.

--

A road stretched wide with hawkers lay before him, and he found himself walking down it, the crowds dispersed for dinnertime. They rested now, waiting for the surge between dessert and bedtime, chatting and watching the stragglers like himself.

Lizard found himself stopping at a small, rickety table laid with a deck of cards on top of a paper tablecloth mapped with instructions. Behind the table sat a man, wholly nondescript; when Lizard looked away from him, he forgot what he looked like immediately.

Unable to resist, Lizard put a single finger on the top of the deck, and he could feel his sixth sense come back to him, like the world snapping back into focus.

He staggered. The man behind the table, without looking at him, was paying so much attention to him and his finger, it was almost painful. The weight of his gaze was a crushing weight on his shoulders. Lizard lifted his finger, severing his connection to the deck.

He read the tablecloth slowly, before picking up the deck, wincing at the attentions of the man, and shuffled it awkwardly, before setting it back down on the table. He paused then, not so much dramatically as fearfully, and then flipped over the first card onto the map.

It was the Ace of Swords.

Lizard reached for the second card, but before he could lift it, the man reached out and grabbed his hand. As they touched, their eyes met and Lizard felt himself falling... until he jerked himself free. The deck slid from its squared perfection into a lumpy pile and Lizard fell backward onto the pavement.

The man gingerly picked up the next two cards, and then put them back and shuffled the deck without showing them to Lizard. He replaced them on the map and bent over his pad, scribbling furiously. 

Lizard sat there, mind whirling, until one of the other hawkers helped him up.

"You'll have to forgive Tre. He's mute."

"Is that his name?"

"It's what we call him. Here, have a seat until he's done with your reading."

"Thanks."

--
Character: Hawkers | Lizard Randall | Tre
Location: Cups system | Three planet

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