Peddler’s Mall: Fantasy Fiction Prologue

The booth was like many in the Peddler’s Mall. There was an eclectic collection of knickknacks, trinkets, figurines, paintings, souvenirs, dolls, and all of the countless curious things accrued over a lifetime of collecting. The woman sitting at the booth— watching the locals rummage through her things with neither a smile nor a frown, nor a bemused look upon her gypsy face—was, herself, an eclectic collection of things. She had a gypsy face, for it seemed well-traveled and lived-in; worldly and, yet, indecisive of which part of the world it originated from. She had dark-as-leather skin, smooth as silk and neither burnt nor untouched by the sun. Her hair was dark black and was tied back into a ponytail. She could have been Latino, or Asian with her large dark brown eyes, or Native American because of her rounded cheekbones, or perhaps even Hindu or Arabian in her dusky countenance. She was middle aged, yet beggared most women half her age, and to be looked upon by her, with her obsidian gaze, was to be mesmerized for a time, dazzled, as if your wandering eye had unexpectedly happened upon an exotic bird surreally placed in a humdrum setting; the contrast vertiginous, as if a mischief done by some jesting god. It was like seeing a phoenix in a cage, its amber feathers burning softly within the ribbed shadows.
The woman’s dress was a long, sheer gown also misplaced among the rural riffraff frequenting the Peddler’s Mall. Its twilight hues of purple and blue provoked a sleepiness in the onlooker, and the silken softness ran like a waterfall over her alluring curves. There was no strategic seduction in her voluptuousness. She was effortlessly and unintentionally enchanting. It was no more an intention on her part than it was the intention of a flamingo to be beautiful or a crocodile to be frightening. And she was both beautiful and frightening as the herds of humanity shuffled through her booth and glanced, fleetingly, at her items. As if by instinct they knew they did not belong among her baubles.
But there were those chosen few who lingered, their eyes affixed to something that called out to them as if a missing, wayward part of their own souls…

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