Jour de marché

Jour de marché

A Chapter by Nicole

Translation- Market Day


I know I’m not the brightest person, and I don’t claim to be, but I think even an idiot could have figured it out. The new regime hasn’t taken place overnight, we let it in. Slowly it is taking over us, killing off our humanity.

As I raced behind William to market, I know they can’t actually care about us. That’s what they had promised when they were trying to sell the idea of Market to the people- that was before absolute power, back when there was still voting, before “The Reform” in its fullest sense. You can’t go anywhere without seeing those words now, the big red letters slashed across paper, all reading “The Reform.”

Back when I was little, we had something like market, I remember that. There was never a time when The Reform wasn’t a part of my life, but back then it was a smaller part. I remember Daddy taking me there. We didn’t often go, usually Mum would send a servant or maid out to buy whatever we wanted, but this time there were people, different people. They’d come over an ocean to trade, and brought many things with them. There were vases, and scarves, and the twirly type of dresses that spun out when the ladies danced. Often after that I would go off by myself with one of Mum’s good scarves and the hand beaded silk shoes all the way from Orient. I would practice the dance, even though I didn’t know it very well. I’d practice spinning and flicking my wrists.

This market is nothing like that; I don’t even know why it has the same name. In just thirteen years, the wonder of the market with the colored dresses that so captivated my six year old life has become dry.

The center of town is cleared out, and soldiers carry in our quarter’s rations. The idea of paper currency long abolished, Market first began with a bartering system. Over time, the panic fermented with greed, leading to the chaos I now attend every fifteenth day. Market has no rules; you make them up as you go. You take what you need, and anything else you can get your hands on. Needless to say, it’s messy. Mothers are constantly separated from children, and it is not unheard of for someone to be trampled to death. It strips us down to instinct until we’re animals; hunt or be hunted. Even if you wanted to skip it, you really couldn’t afford it. Where else would you get food? What you grab has to sustain your family. That’s one thing about The Reform. They’re smart. As soon as they put family on the line, people stopped fighting them and began to fight each other. Even they couldn’t have predicted the pandemonium that ensued though; it wasn’t until after the first few Market days that they put the death penalty on breaking and entering.

Needless to say, as I run behind Will, my heart’s pounding. That’s part of the essence of Market day; one part adrenaline, one part fear, and the rest goes to hunger. That’s the part where most people lose their heads. I’ve learned better though- I’ve learned that the best was to survive Market day is to be quiet about it. You’d think that’d be obvious, but once they open the gates, people stop thinking. So I creep along best I can without being flattened underfoot. Some lady is fighting with another lady over a jug of milk, so while she’s not looking, I squeeze in and grab her bread. I’m out before she can notice, thanks to years of practice. The crowd is surging again, pushing up against me tighter than usual, so I squeeze out through a side ally, too small for most people to fit. I can feel my key necklace smacking against my chest with every breath I cram into my lungs. The only sound is my footsteps as they echo off the walls. I finally stop, panting and doubled over, but the echo doesn’t. It keeps bouncing off the walls. I barely have time to think about that before someone slams into me.


© 2012 Nicole

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Added on August 26, 2012
Last Updated on August 26, 2012
Tags: market, shopping, Treason in the Highest Degree



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