“I turned to face the entrance of the canopy and to my horror, a sea of eyeless faces and gaping mouths greeted me.”
Doing my best to regroup, I decided I had no choice but to try to speak with one of the creatures. I walked for another ten minutes until I came upon the most harmless looking merchant I’d seen up to that point.
The creature was shorter than the rest, but it still had the fang-toothed gaped mouth and the smooth, eyeless cranium. Unlike the other merchants, this creature didn’t hiss or make gestures for me to come over. If anything, it was the calmest creature I’d come across since entering the strange market.
I pushed my way through a group of snarling monsters—something I’d not only come accustomed to, but oddly enough, no longer feared. The short creature’s booth was tucked away under a tan canopy and contained only a dozen or so medieval looking tools—which were made out of rock and that strange metal of which made up the Yelzamouth statue. They were covered in dust and looked like they hadn’t been touched in a very long time.
I made my way up to the creature slowly, as not wanting to startle it. It was sitting on a crooked wooden stool and it’s head was dipped down towards the ground. I wasn’t sure if it was sleeping or deep in thought. I also found it odd that all the other eyeless abominations passed by the booth in a hurry and none so much as glanced in its direction. That had me second guessing if the fragile looking creature was as harmless as I previously thought.
But as I already made it so far, I decided there was no turning back. I stepped to the creature—its irregular shaped head was much smaller than the others and its body was a lot more frail than it appeared from the outside—and I tapped it on its bony shoulder. The creature didn’t move. I tapped a bit harder but it still remained still.
I thought the creature must’ve been deep in sleep. It looked almost mummified with its thin leathery skin and skeletal limbs staying frozen in place the way they were. It was hard to determine an age for any of the beings in that realm, but the little one looked to be much older. An elder perhaps; one of the ancient ones among their kind.
I placed my hand upon its petite shoulder and gave it a mighty shake. There was a cracking sound, then its head fell into its lap with a thump. Startled, I nearly fell down as I jumped back as fast as I could. A gut wrenching stench immediately permeated throughout the tent-like canopy—most likely escaping from the open neck hole.
The creature must’ve died quite some time before—long enough ago to cause the body to shrink and mummify—and that’s why all the other creatures had avoided the booth. What kind of barbaric society leaves their dead to decay out in public? It boggled my mind and filled me with a rage. But that was not long-lived as I heard a collection of hissing growing louder and louder behind me.
I turned to face the entrance of the canopy and to my horror, a sea of eyeless faces and gaping mouths greeted me. It was all over. I was trapped with no way out. I was at the mercy of the monstrous, fang-toothed creatures who undoubtedly wanted me to pay for disturbing their dead. And as they started to close in on me, I knew it was only a matter of seconds before they got their revenge.