Hunger

She woke at sundown when there was less people to stare and the heat dropped violently.

This city was unlike any she’d imagined. The brown and goldeny buildings were square and squat and half lacked roofs. They didn’t seem to need them though; it hadn’t rained once in the two months she’d been hiding in the alley ways of the east city. Instead the dry, suffocatingly hot wind whistled between the packed sand streets and made her coarse hair hang flat and limp around her face. She’d discarded most of her clothes in the heat and her skin had browned in response while a speckling of dots now ran across her nose and cheeks.

Two weeks ago she’d caught a glimpse of herself in a merchant’s mirror as they hauled it from the shipyard. In the dying light a small too-skinny imp had stared back at her, skin the color of the buildings with hair the shade of dirty seaweed. Only her eyes were the same, pale bright sea glass green.

The stinging pangs in her stomach helped move the sleep from her mind and limbs. Four months in the city and she hadn’t grown used to them. She hated being hungry all the time, the bites and pieces she was able to steal provided minutes of respite before the hollow pain started again.

Jumping down from the cubby she’d found for the night the search for food began. Dockside was by far the best for sleeping as the kids who ran the streets seemed less territorial than those in the other districts. In the west the place called ‘The Warren’, named for its many layered streets, dirt and narrow dead ends; she’d had too many close calls. No one anywhere approached once they saw her angled eyes or knife sharp cheekbones, but that didn’t stop them chasing her away with glares and the occasional thrown rock.

That was of course when they saw her. People were as blind here as they were in Khallais. It was one of the only reasons she ate, that and the ability hunger seemed to grant; she would have sworn she could smell food streets off now.

The first whiff of cooked meat came not from the more inland markets, but from the small vendors in dockside. Her mouth watered and she was off, darting from shadow to shadow as if she’d been born to it.

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