FIRE & ROCKS II
The hall or glorified hut rather was big and poorly lit, I could barely make the faces of the people seated by the large rectangular table. All eyes seemed to be on me as I walked in. but what repulsed me the most was the putrid stench emanating from God knows where. It was a mixture of smelly feet , concentrated sweats and some weird weed or strange tobacco.
“Come take a seat” a familiar voice called. I stood unmoving “ No thank you” was all I could manage to utter, trying my best to peel off disgust from my voice.
When the waited for an explanation. I replied with, “ I think I’ll prefer the public diner”
I was surprised when he didn’t object but instead said “Let the lady do as she pleases” then the guards immediately led me out.
It was so noisy and busy in here. Unlike in the previous hall, the hall was large with dirty walls. The people scrambled all over the centre were five big pots stood, with about ten plump women serving the dishes. The children leaned forward each with a plate, pushing one another. As soon as the liquid-like meal dropped into the iron bowls they ran off and went to squat or sit on the floor while the slurped over.
I scanned around the busy hall and as expected, the guards stood at every corner, stiff-jawed like statues, though they held whips, they didn’t look like they wanted to use it. I turned to see a lady coming towards me with an iron bowl in her hands. She wasn’t smiling. No one had smiled to me afterall. They either looked too frightened or too arrogant to smile. She extended the bowl to me bowing her head. Thank you I said not patient enough to see what the food looked like. I tried to tell her it’s too much and that she should reduce. She was gone before I could lift my head. I dipped a finger into the strange broth and took a taste. It tasted like nothing I’ve had before.
I turned to see a kid looking fondly at me, or rather at the bowl in my hands. I motioned for him to come. I could see he was scared. So I went to him and insisted he took it. After much hesitation and looking around, he reluctantly took it and began to slurp it. I enjoyed how he gulped it all in before belching loudly and we both laughed.
Back at the dispensary, I was given a room in which I was to live in all through my period there. It was a single room, tight and poorly ventilated with an adjoining restroom which served as both a bathroom and a toilet. The whole house would hardly contain two people at a time. But I cared nonetheless, I had no plans whatsoever to spend another day. I took a table cloth from the small table and began wiping off dust from my backpack and shoes using an oil lantern as my only source of light. I managed to shower with the stinging cold and felt a little better by the time I hit the bed. Ignoring my growling stomach I tried to shut my mind like my eyes to sleep, but sleep betrayed me. Then I heard a sound from above my head, it definitely came from the window. I waited and rightly, I heard it again. This time, there was no mistaken, someone was there. I didn’t want to wonder anymore, I stood and peered closely. I saw the silhouette of a man in the dreadful darkness. Without warning I opened the door, and the figure came in. I felt no tinge of fear partly because I knew who he was. It was the Prince. He held something in his hands.
“I’m sorry to come uninvited. I thought I should bring this for you” he said calmly but firmly, extending a parcel to me. We stood an inch from each yet I couldn’t hear his breath. He wasn’t the least tensed and it irked me.
There was no point pretending not to be hungry. So without wasting I opened the bag and brought out what was inside. It looked and smelled edible.
“Thank you, you can go now” I tried dismissing him.
“Sorry my lady, but my custom considers it impolite not to wait on a guest.
Such chivalry! What the hell is he feeling like? I thought
I sat myself on the bed, leaving him standing, while I began to eat quietly. The bread tasted of honey and pure milk. He watched me and I swear I saw him smirk!