Short Stories

Market Day

This month’s FuriousFiction entry! This was one I had a lot of fun with and find it to be very sweet!

The specifications for this month’s prompt are detailed below. There is a photograph included, but I will include it at the end.

  1. Your story must include this setting pictured (at the end) at some point.
  2. Just because it’s March, your story must include the following “MAR-” words: MARKET, MARBLE, MARVELLOUS, MARSHMALLOW.
  3. Your story’s final sentence must contain dialogue – i.e. someone speaking.

Please enjoy!

Market Street was always busy on the first Saturday of the month. As well as the food stalls that were there every weekend, the artists, tailors and jewellers joined the fray. The regular shoppers had to shoulder their way through the tourists who came to peruse the arts and crafts. 

Thea didn’t mind. Her bakery stall was always swamped with peckish people pining for pastry.

It was also the only time she got to see Cleo.

At least, that’s what the sign said her name was. Cleo’s Crafts. The display changed every month: from cross stitched landscapes to intricate beaded earrings all the way to abstract clay sculptures.

Cleo would occasionally stop by the bakery stall. Every time her hair was a different colour, a rainbow deconstructed and sprinkled through the year. The note she held always said the same thing, one of Thea’s specialities, a sweet roll marbled with chocolate topped with toasted marshmallow. It had got to the point where when Thea saw Cleo leave the stall, she’d get the best roll ready to go. After picking it up, Cleo would vanish for about fifteen minutes and, try as she might, Thea was never able to see where she went.

This time she was ready though. She had a ‘Back in Ten’ sign good to go, and was wearing her favourite elbowing jacket, the one with studs on the sleeves to help coax people out of her way. She kept a close eye on the stall across the way, and when Cleo shut the lids of her display cases, protecting ornamental glass snakes from sticky fingers, Thea got the roll ready and prepared to prop up the sign. Cleo’s hair was pink this month, a delicate pastel shade that made Thea think of peonies dotting a winding forest path the same shade of green as Cleo’s eyes. 

When she offered the paper bag, Cleo mouthed and signed, “Thank you.”

Thea, hoping those YouTube videos were reliable, signed back, “You’re welcome.”

Surprise brightened Cleo’s eyes, the sun emerging from behind clouds. 

Putting a bit more faith into the tutorials she’d watched, Theo added, “I’m learning, slow please.”

With slow deliberate movements, Cleo signed, “Well done. It’s not easy.” Then she grabbed the roll and disappeared. 

Thea followed. A few careful jabs of her elbows and the tourists parted around her like water. She kept her eyes on the pink hair bobbing through stalls.

At the end of the street, the stalls opened up into the empty harbour. Cleo was leaning against the red phone booth, tearing pieces of the roll off and popping them into her mouth. Thea approached, keeping a safe distance so when Cleo noticed it wouldn’t startle her too much.

Instead, Cleo reached out and touched Thea’s shoulder. With a shy little smile, Cleo offered of a piece of roll. Thea took it. Enjoyed how it dissolved into a sugary lace on her tongue. Clumsily signed, “Thank you.” 

Cleo smiled, then mouthed and signed back, “Marvellous.”

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