He rolled his shoulders. Something didn't feel right. There was a growing itch between Chill's shoulder blades, and he struggled not to glance backward.
He stood by, watching a customer attend to a hawker's table. She shuffled his deck of cards, then laid out the top three. The man behind the table looked at the lay briefly, stared deeply into her eyes for a long moment, and then turned to the pad of paper in his hands and started writing.
When he was done, he tore off the top sheet and handed it to her; below was a pair of carbon copies, first pink and then yellow.
She read what looked like a poem, slowly sinking to her knees, weeping before she reached the end. Another of the hawkers, this one working a coffee cart, approached her, wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pressed a steaming cup into her hands, and helped her to a nearby bench. The sheet slipped out of her grasp and onto the pavement.
The page was damaged and smudged by inattentive feet before Chill could cross and pick it up, and read what remained.
a wish for the watching, you'll never get close
[illegible] making from your skin and bones;
[illegible] it's hopeless to see [illegible]
soon inevitably you'll be left alone.
a wing sprouts from your [illegible] dream,
a thought of [illegible] bondage that seems
[illegible] to be nothing but peace;
lies knee-deep [illegible]
a warning [illegible] all that I can offer,
[illegible] drains like blood from your [illegible] coff[illegible]
you'll never get back [illegible]
[illegible] they know you suffer.
Chill scratched his head, worrying the smudged words, and with hesitant steps, approached the table. He handed the page over, and the man glanced at it, reading what remained, before looking up at Chill. The man shivered, picked up the stack of cards from the table, and handed over the three-short deck.
Without shuffling, Chill set the deck back down and turned over the first card: The Hanged Man. He turned over the second card: The Fool. He reached for the third card, but the man's hand grasped his deck, pulled it away, and peeked at the card; he then scrambled, collecting all the cards and sending them through a quick shuffle.
The man lifted his eyes to Chill, held his gaze for several minutes. Chill found himself having difficulty breathing, and finally looked away when his vision started to narrow from oxygen deprivation.
The man quirked a smile, and then bent over a fresh page to write. When he was done, he tore out the new page and handed it to Chill.
It was the same as the smudged page, with no words corrected or added.
Character: Chill | Hawkers | Tre
Location: Cups system | Three planet
Extra: The Whole Message