“I don’t think of the misery but of the beauty that remains.” – Anne Frank  

It was intoxicated by the vibrant splatters of colour and devoured the elixir of aromas flooding its senses; it thrived on interaction with stallholders who were caricatures of their fiendish cackles. It would toy with their fruits and powdered spices. They knew it by name, Draught, and always kept something back from the stall for it- a gazebo. It would run around the milling throng for hours in a solitary elation, pestering the hagglers desperate for a steal. Today its euphoric roguery had culminated forming a hunger for recognition. It hid its restless self along the stone which carpeted the ground everyone trod- waiting to notice the signs of its accomplishment.  

A blinding ball mercilessly shone down upon the open stalls.  

Beads of sweat glistened on creased foreheads.  

An array of blotchy faces huffed due to the sweltering heat.  

In its crevice the breeze guffawed endlessly, it revelled in the salty odour mingling with the nose tingling fragrances of the tulips above it. A blazing mix of red and yellow- perfection packaged into pure fragility.  

The draught’s darkest thoughts were jarred from its mind for a fraction of a millisecond; it outstretched its diminutive fingers to tap the petals, to introduce itself yet the beauty reclined instantly. Confusion settled over its features.  

Each petal fluttered feeling impaired towards the touch, it was not like them. It hadn’t been carved from silk or weaved into delicately painted fires that could ignite pure ecstasy. It wasn’t them and it never would be. 

It lowered its gaze back to the stone beneath it and scalded itself for its hope, to the right it noticed two parsnips playing tag- one rolled down as the other chased it with desperation, dragging the sage frond behind it. It cheered them on with hoots and howls. Their heads craned in its direction followed by cold sneers. It would never be as sharp as them or belong to such an opulent community. It resides on the pathways on which everyone marches every day. It might as well dissipate into oblivion.  

Like an eagle, it soared up from the chink it sat in to make an attempt at reclaiming its poise, yet they say once you’ve mastered being alone you seek the company of another. The other it didn’t have. Its void had gradually filled with a cold, howling storm threatening to burst. Soon it would burst. Soon the visage would crumble.  

To its right it spied a wooden carving accompanied by many others with identical dents and curves, perhaps the statues crafted from grove would stretch out their splinters towards it. Perhaps they would mirror the appreciation they retained from everyone else and respect Draught as much as it respected them. Deep down it knew that such a gentry entity would never stoop so low. So it never tried. It made no further attempts that day to initiate discourse. 

As an orange hue settled in the horizon, it dragged its heavy feet away from the market towards the tops of the tallest trees- the day slowly waned into the afternoon however the flashbacks of resentment prevailed. Empty, almost every stall had been cleared of its stock, packaged, hidden away for tomorrow. It continued to wander past each one, examining the weak legs which had managed to withhold immense pressure; apart from distant car tyres screeching or the random chortle of a woman there was no noise. A sweet silence caressed its skin and enveloped its mind, its presence brought Draught’s soul to surrender to the truth. It was starved of warmth. It would devour the sensation as soon as it appeared. No hesitation.  

From behind it could sense a powerful force swiftly approaching, propelling all that stood in its way. The storm was expected but somehow Draught was still taken aback; the wind was ripped from its stomach as soon as the brawn struck. Now it was running in the crowd. It was loud again. Louder than before. More chaotic. Its brothers and sister jeered as they pummelled the huts lining the market’s entrance, they tore the banner and flung it on the road ahead. The trees writhed as their painful groans ran away with the wind. Draught had to unravel itself from the clutches of the immoral power before all that he desired vanished. Before they turned away from him for good.  

Once the misfits had begun to run out of breath, Draught managed to grip the edge of a table leg to be left behind as the rest charged forward. It hauled itself upon the base. Its lungs felt as if metal bars had been placed around them and the tightness around its throat threatened to crush its balance. Even so, it couldn’t stay here long, it had to move, it had to hide. Behind the huts were always a set of cushions for the sellers, it would make a comfortable bed for the night. Clumsily, Draught tumbled onto the rocks below, they were now scattered randomly and desperate for a familiar face. It began to jog toward the back of a hut before hearing a small voice in his direction.  

“Mummy?” It discovered the voice belonged to a little girl perched on the corner of a pillow, her hair dangled in front of her damp eyes. Draught stiffened with guilt. How could it help this feeble girl? It approached her and softly lay his palm against her shoulder drawing circles. She looked around and noticed no one. It caught a strand of her hair and played with it, fingering her locks. A giggle escaped her lips as she revelled in the cool breeze. No one was near and yet she had lost the feeling of abandonment she had before. Her clothes may be battered. Her feet may be bare. But her smile was radiant. That’s all that Draught wanted, an ally. It found one in an unexpected place. An unforeseen companion. 


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