Market Day

June 5, 2018

“This will cure you. Bleed the wound twice a day.” A simple knife wound, had they come sooner he might have lived. “Take this effigy and leave it under his bed. It will absorb death’s miasma.”


Turns out dead men can walk and talk, even pay. He hands over what coins has has. “Thank you for the poultice.” A terse “you’re welcome” and a stilted smile is all I can muster. The son takes the ointment, totem, and leads his father away. That remedy will only hasten his demise and makes his soul vulnerable to my trap.


I will have to collect my bounty afterwards as the family of the dead never seem to return what is mine. If done right it furthers my mystique as connected despite the death. A purple band alerts Phoebie and signals her she should follow them home. The occasional home evasion is good for the mind.


It is still early, the market day has just begun. Patrons walk with determination that belies their lack of purpose. Moving quickly with nowhere to go; talking fast with nothing to say. Action an end unto itself. From this stock, rubes are shorn.


Old doctor Whitehead slowly shuffles over. So happy the victim I have grown to like him. “Ah Tuutaa, my usual remedy.” “Very good Rodger, wait here.” He shifts onto my stool as I put on his tea. Herbs will quite him and cure his remaining wanderlust. Death is certain but this is true for all, even the ancients.


This brew is best with water just before a boil. For Roger, I let it roll. A watched pot does boil, I make it so. “Drink up Roger; take your strength. Live today better than yesterday.” “Tuutaa you are my angel. If I were younger I would take you.” “Thank you mr. Whitehead you honor me.”


As if he could have me. As if I was so easy to command. He is old and frail and nurses his tea far more than I nurse him. Bad for business in a booth as small as mine. “Drink fast Roger, you must have your dose.” “Yes, yes, very well.” He sloshes down the rest and stands. “For another day my rose.” My rent is more cruel than I, that is certain. Not free for 5 minutes before my next regular is upon me.


“Cast my bones witch. See what is in store for me.” I saw the Delmar daughter’s miscarriage and from that day the mother has followed my advice. Low points should not inform high points, but confidence is a better friend than precision and to Madam Delmar I am a god. “Act right woman or you will hear no words from me. Surrender your gold so you might unburden your soul. Weight is not just metaphorical.” With a dour gaze and stern countenance she sits. She wishes she did not believe me but she invariably does. Her reluctance makes my grip that much stronger.


I wait for metal to meet felt before I begin. Always the same story: powerful forces conspire against her. She must guard against it and be vigilant. Sprinkle in personal details as needed and that is the right kind of horror fuel that keeps them coming back for more. I love my job.

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