The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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11.12.2012 , 10:45 AM |
I'm picking and choosing from all of the prompts I've missed,
A very tiny Isla the smuggler.
She cried, she never stopped crying. The rake thin Mirialan dancer was crying too, she was starving, and her milk had run dry, even still she slipped her small breast into her baby’s waiting and eager mouth, knowing what would come. Little Isla latched on with all the ferociousness of a hungry infant and suckled, only to unlatch a moment later when no milk came from her mother, and what was an infant to do but cry when she was hungry?
“Shhh Isla Isla, daddy’s coming, and he’ll have something to eat, he’s coming, he’s coming. Shhhhh” Hala whispered through tears, her husband worked in one of the many spice factories on Hutta, Hala danced in the Hutt palace for Watto the Hutt, they were free, technically, but their debts kept them hungry and dirty and far from hope.
Hala checked the time again, Licon should have been home by now, with his pay and some food, her shift would be starting in an hour, she had to eat, drink, give her body what it needed so she in turn could produce what her child needed to survive.
There was a knock at her door and Hala, eyes still wet ran to the door clutching Isla to her chest, relief washing over her.
“Licon!” She exclaimed at the wrinkled and wizened Twilek woman who stood before her. “Matei, I’m sorry, what is it?” She had been beautiful once, Matei, she had once been lithe and bright pink with golden eyes, the harsh Hutta pollution dulling her skin, her golden eyes bloodshot, her once proud body bent and gnarled.
The old woman’s lekku swayed as she shook her head, the infant screamed her displeasure, empty stomach paining her small belly. “I’m sorry Halla, there was an accident.”
“What are you talking about? What accident?” She bounced Isla, only they had stopped being gentle bounces, she was gripping her child in fear, long fingers digging into the wailing infant, who squirmed at the long finger nails.
“Come meshla” crooned the old woman, as she took her from her mother’s arms before looking back at Hala, barely out of childhood herself. “Licon’s factory, there was a chemical fire, and then an explosion.”
Hala was already on her knees, her balled fists pressing into her eyes, Isla screamed to be fed. “No, he can’t, he was coming home with his pay and food for us, he can’t, he can’t, we need him. Matei he can’t!” Hala covered her ears, Isla’s crying cutting her as sharply as any knife, “Shut up! Shut up! Make her stop!”
Watto took her pay, and he had taken half of Licon’s, with Licon gone, she would go even further into debt, and she would have nothing, nothing for herself and nothing for her daughter, the only thing they had was their freedom, but what was freedom when you had nothing. Matei offered Isla a finger to suck on, the brief break in crying lasted mere minutes.
“Matei, will you watch her? My shift starts soon, I can’t be late again.” The Twilek nodded, filling a pot with dirty water to be boiled, it wouldn't eliminate all of the pollutants, but it would have to do for little Isla.
Hala left the small hutt, her dancing costumes clinging to her bones, freedom was a commodity on Hutta, slaves were fed, she would settle her debts with her freedom, it was an old and sad story and common in these places, what use was freedom to an empty stomach.
Matei watched from the doorway, Isla sucking back the warm water, the hunger pangs subsided for a time, and she fell asleep in old, kind arms. Babies weren't of any value, Isla would not have a place in the palace with the slaves, one day when she could walk, and perhaps carry things without dropping them her value would go up. Matei had raised many children, some remained free, some became slaves, very few escaped Nal Hutta. She made her way back to her own hutt and settled into her rocking chair and sang sweet words into the baby’s ears, knowing neither would see Hala again.
Force of Wills
Force of Wills: The Ties that Bind