ewhightower

Fong’s Part II

In Fantasy, Fiction, Writing on May 27, 2015 at 11:45 am

Penny was lost when she found Fong’s fifteen years ago.

Her drunken father had decided that dragging her out here to the untamed West was a good idea, on account of the huge Mormon settlement in the valleys to the East of the Bay. He wanted more than one wife, he’d confided to Penny. She hadn’t bothered to ask what was wrong with the one they’d left behind.

Upon arrival, he’d decided he wanted one less daughter. Selling her had been a simple matter of a meeting in a tavern near the docks in Oak Landing, and soon Penny awoke in a dingy room that stank of piss and gin, being tarted up by a girl not much older than herself who said, “Rivard’s got the calamity. If you don’t want it, better take it in the ass so you don’t get pregnant.”

Penny ran from the room, bouncing down the hall and stairs like a frightened jack rabbit – knocking a scraggly-bearded man ass over teakettle – into streets choked with mud, horseshit and worse. This place looked nothing like the pleasant village of Saint Raymond where she’d fallen asleep the night before: gone were the blue skies over golden brown hills dotted with Oak and Bay Laurel. In their place were a mix of shanties and palaces in a stinking, choking smog.

Shouting men were chasing her. She ran and ran, her bare feet aching and bleeding from a bad stub and a twisted ankle, then broken glass. Unclear thinking and desperate terror sent her in search of the docks: stow away on a boat … or drown herself. Not knowing her way and hearing her pursuers gain on her, Penny dashed toward the masts she could see in the distance — but found herself trapped in a blind alley. Turning to retrace her steps, she saw a sign that hadn’t been there when she’d run in:

FONG’S
Opium Dreams Come True Ladies For You

Punctuation could have helped a great deal, but then Penny might not have stepped inside.

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