‘Come on Gus, we’ll miss it.’
As his brother shook him, Gus wondered why-ever he had bothered to get out of bed. His facial expression was pale and cadaver-like. It wasn’t just sagged but lacking its usual liveliness completely, as if he had left his spirit snuggling under the comfort of his sheets. His eyelids drooped and there was a slight lolling to his head, drunk with fatigue after a session of night-time trading no doubt. Why couldn’t they just have let him lie in? Even Gus’ feet barely skimmed the cobblestones and altogether his limbs bore the appearance of being much too heavy for him, like he was personally struggling against far more gravity than everyone else.
‘Come on,’ Etienne urged as he pushed Gus up the market-square steps. At this time in the morning, the only souls awake were usually the tradesmen and women. Before the crack of dawn, they’d be setting up their stalls and preparing for a long day ahead. As a young boy, the market had always enchanted Gus with its foreign scents and exotic foods. It drew you in and quickly became almost like a maze if you weren’t careful. It could ensnare you with promises of adventure like he had seen happen to others.
As a child, he would follow his brother through the narrow streets, being mindful not to stray too far. On one occasion, Gus had taken the wrong turn and found himself in a darkened alleyway. At first, he’d assumed it was part of the market but quickly realised he was wrong. Upon the stalls, there were pouches containing various colourful powders.