Unknown - Chapter 1
The sky was gray, gloomy, void of colors. The wind was howling, screeching on windows and walls and roofs of the busy civilian district. The lights adorning the streets along the sides create a visual festivity as night fell into the colony. The place was silence save for crickets and the occasional chattery of people passing by.
Enil broke the silence. “Took you long enough” he said. He lit a cigarette and sticks it between his thin lips. The end flares up and he lets out a hard cough. His eyes watery from the smoke coming from the end of the cigarette.
“Stop it, you’re neither cool nor old enough for that thing”, Alen’s voice came from behind the boy in short blonde hair. He held his jacket closer to his body, fending off the chilling wind with the heat from his leather jacket. Enil threw the cigarette away, giving Alen a weary smile. His hair swayed to the side.
“So, are you ready? The night auction is about to start”, Enil nudged Alen with his elbow. Alen nods, tightening his sling back behind him. “Yeah, anytime”.
Enil nods and the two left the dark alleyway of the civilian district. Their feet landed soft on the stone road, leaving no trace of sound or trail behind. The lights lining down the street casts the shadows on the boys wearing black like eyes watching their every steps.
“How long will the auction take this time?”, it was more of a bored whining than it was a real question. Enil looked behind him, feet still jogging towards the busy market district. “I don’t know, my dad said the stock this year was more than double the last, so it probably will take a while tonight”. The two jogged down another empty lane, heading straight towards the light filled district.
Alen looked at the grim dark night sky above him. “No stars tonight”, his thoughts whined. The light filled district came closer to his eyes. The magnificent white archway that divided the different districts in the colony loomed over the two. Enil and Alen stopped, eyes awed at the archway. “A beauty, isn’t it?”, Enil rubbed his nose, his mouth smirked. Alen rolled his eyes. “Let’s just go”, he dragged Enil’s arm and they stepped into the market district.
“You think there’s going to be anything exotic this time? The last time was filled with bunch of craps”, Enil gleed at the thought of his words. Alen snorted. “Let’s hope we’re both lucky enough to find something worthwhile”.
The market district opened with a grandeur sound of people walking and talking. Merchants busy at their stalls and booths lining the sides of the streets selling their items to the people flocking. The night before the Trade Festivity was always the busiest for merchants coming into the trade colony of Narkesh.
The two waded their way through the sea of people. The streets were filled to its limits, much to the surprise of the two teenagers. Alen pushed and slide his way around while Enil completely ignored the people around him and pushed away every shoulder that met his face. Their ears rang with the shouting and cursing of merchants and their customers.
The central area opened in front of them, the great fountain stood at its center, giving the people flooding the area a place to take a breather.
“Hey, let’s take a breather here, the bumping and pushing really drained me”, Enil stopped and lands himself on the side of the fountain, his back leaning towards the fountain wall. He sat cross legs and watched the people going to and fro down the busy streets surrounding the fountain. The huge semi circular arena where the main auction will be held stood at the northern end of the open area. Empty seats adorning the front of the stage began to fill up with people participating in the auction, but knowing the popularity of the auction, everyone knew the chairs won’t be enough to sit all of the participants.
Alen sat next to him, cross legs and eyes to his childhood friend. “Why are we waiting here?”, his question was genuine. He frowned but his friend kept his eyes towards the crowd in front of him.
“Because, my friend, we are about to break into the most precious of places tonight”, he whispered to Alen’s ear. “I don’t want our nervousness take the better of us”, he smiled as he pulled his face away. Alen’s face turned funny. “Our nervousness?”, he snorted. “Since when did I get nervous? You’re the one who always do all the grabbing. Me? I’m just the rope throwing and running away expert”.
Enil smiled at Alen’s remark. “Well, yes, that is the usual routine. But not tonight my friend, tonight, we will both go in and do the grabbing”, he pats his friend’s back. Alen’s eyes widened. He turned to his blonde haired friend with his jaw dropped. “Are you crazy!-” his voice stopped before he could finish. Several people around them turned their head towards the two teenagers, startled by his shout. Enil looked at him with his eyebrows met. “Shush will you”, his voice came from between his teeth, his index finger stopped in front of his mouth. Alen clasped his hand to his mouth and nod his head.
Alen leaned his head to the side. “Are you crazy? I can’t do that, I never did that!”, he whispered. Lines filled Enil’s forehead. “Relax, it won’t be that hard”. The crowd in front of them dispersed, moving towards the stage behind the fountain. The streets became clear and the merchants began to fold their stalls and booth.
Enil stood up and wiped his pants. Alen followed him. “It’s almost time to go” he said with a smile. Alen jerked the edge of his lips. “Yeah, let’s go”, his voice was weary almost annoyed. Enil laughed at the change in his friend’s tone. “Relax man, I was just joking. You’re too serious sometimes, you know”, he pats Alen’s back again, joking. Alen rolled his eyes. “Yeah, whatever”.
The two walked away from the incoming crowd and disappeared into one of the empty streets leading towards a huge domed hall surrounded with stone walls that reached several feet into the air. Behind them fireworks shoots into the sky marking the start of the auction for the night.
Enil took a glance backward and saw the streak of flare shooting up into the dark night sky. “Good, the auction is about to start, hurry up!”, he gestured Alen to hurry. Alen nod in silence and fastened his pace to follow Enil’s dash down the dark street. The light has been turned off to concentrate power towards the auction stage in the market district.
The third firework shrieked into the sky when the two teenagers arrived at their destination. The stone wall loomed over them like a huge stone golem. Alen stopped and bend forward, hands to his knees, panting. Enil knelt in front of the wall and threw his sling bag to the ground, throwing out its content to the ground. He pulled out a rope, braided for extra strength and a hook with five points.
Alen took a deep breath and calmed himself. He pat his legs and straightened himself. Enil tied a dead knot on the hook and threw it to Alen who caught it midair. Enil looked at Alen. “Ready?”, the fourth firework shrieked into the air behind them. Alen held the rope in his hand and gripped it tight. “Yeah”.
He swings the rope in a circular motion next to his body and looked up towards the edge of the wall. Alen clenched his teeth and with one swift swing, he threw the rope higher than the wall. The hook flew into the night sky and landed on the other side of the wall with a clank. The two teenager docked and looked around them, eyes darting for any passerby happened to hear the dreadful clank. After a while the hook stopped bouncing on the stone wall.
“Carefull will you!”, Enil’s voice was low but clear to Alen’s ears. “Sorry!” Alen whispered back to him. Enil shook his head and donned his glove. His mask made him almost invisible in the dark veil of the night saves for his pair of green eyes that almost glow in the dark. “You take watch, and don’t fall asleep!”, he advised Alen in which the boy replied with a silent nod. Enil grabbed the rope and pulled it slowly downwards, letting the hook scrape the stone wall silently without alerting the whole neighborhood.
The hook tugged at the rope and with confidence, Enil pulled it until the veins in his arms and forehead popped out of his skin. “Okay, it’s secured”, his voice chopped off by a gulp. He looked at Alen whose eyes filled with the usual concern. “Relax, nothing’s going to happen tonight. Wish me luck!”, he smiled and pulled his leg up the wall. The sixth firework shot into the air, marking the beginning of the second round of auction.
Alen looked around, eyes concerned. He occasionally looked up, hoping for Enil to jump back out right after he had disappeared to the other side of the wall. The rope danced as Enil pulled it up and Alen slumped himself down on the ground and leaned his back towards the wall. With Enil’s sling bag hidden behind him, Alen looked at the seventh firework shooting through the air. The hectic sound of the auction site reverberated throughout the place and into his ears. He smiled and waits for the signal from Enil.