The Market of the Night

Written in response to: Write about someone whose busiest night of the year is Halloween.... view prompt


Holiday Urban Fantasy Fiction

To get to the Market of the Night, you take a left turn on Eerie Avenue, go straight, then turn right on Spooky Street. An immediate left brings you to Lune Lane, which is where you'll find the Market.

It happens all through the months of September and October, but the busiest night of all is the eve of Halloween.

The Market of the Night is sometimes called the Harvest Market, taking place when it does, but we know better.

It is the most magical, most intriguing, least normal market you can think of.

I had just finished setting up my market stall when the crowds started rushing in. I cleared my throat and put on my salesman face.

"Hello, ma'am." I nodded in greeting. "Would you like to take a look at my wares?"

"I would enjoy that." The woman in the indigo cloak smiled. She began to survey the items on my counter, scrutinising each with her piercing grey eyes.

People in the Market of the Night rarely ever spoke more than was necessary; no one wanted anyone to know who they were.

And no one would dare use the honour system. Too many thieves roamed the Market.

The woman moved on without buying anything, but many others came after her.

A man with an eye patch over one socket, two skeleton children looking at toys, a black cat roaming around the Market.

Everything came alive on Halloween Eve, no matter if they were still living or deceased. Halloween Eve was when the Market thrived, with new customers looking for new items of interest.

I even had some regular dead, one zombie by the name of Ryan. He came by every Halloween to buy more eyeballs, because he always lost his around the underworld.

The point being, the Market of the Night was always popular. Just more so on Halloween.

From the first of September to the thirty-first of October, the nights of the Market were bustling, with people always having things to do and places to be.

I was only behind the counter twice a month, so on my days off I chose to stroll the Market's streets, admiring the scenes.

The scenes of the Market were truly beautiful and heart-rending, painted in living ink.

There were children playing in meadows, laughing sweetly, wives embracing their beloveds, and general depictions of paradise. 

These scenes were magical, too, their subjects moving around inside the paintings. 

I liked to admire these things, along with the other magical, mystical sights of the Market. They were comforting to me, and I loved living in a world where anything could happen in the blink of an eye.

Which is why I loved what comes next. 

There were creatures of all sorts that came out on Halloween Eve to shop at the Market of the Night, and it was therapeutic for me to watch them go about their lives.

It amazed me that so many different species could come to the Market and be here in peace and harmony, without any scuffles, except for the shoplifters and thieves who loved to haunt the Market. (Sometimes literally, as some thieves were phantoms.) 

But it still made me feel happy and at peace with everything when I saw everyone mingling together.

My next customer came up to my stall. He was dressed in a dark hooded cloak, but he lowered the hood as he saw that it was me. 

A familiar face emerged from the shadow of the cloak, one that I saw only once a year.

“Ryan!” I said, relieved to see him. “I have your eyeballs for you!” 

He winced as if the words were painful. “I’m not here for my eyeballs. Although that would be nice, thank you.” 

I immediately sensed something was wrong. I dropped my voice and asked, “What’s going on?” 

He shuddered and glanced over his shoulder. “Something bad. I can’t tell you here, but meet me in the alley off Spooky Street at midnight. Okay?” 

I nodded. 

“And one more thing. This needs to be kept completely secret. I’m trusting you.” Ryan clapped me on the shoulder. “See you at midnight.” 

He disappeared into the crowd, leaving me to wonder what was urgent enough for him to forget to grab his eyeballs on his way out.

Many more customers came and went past my booth, chattering quietly and moving quickly. Some stopped to look at my things, but most just swept by. Sometimes I didn’t understand why people came to the Market of the Night if not to buy things. 

When I checked my watch a while later, it showed 11:58.

“Shoot!” I whispered.

I was going to be late for Ryan’s rendezvous if I didn’t hurry. I asked the other man working in my booth if he could manage by himself for a little bit. He nodded, so I scurried off onto the sleek cobblestones of Spooky Street.

There was almost no one out at this hour, except for a few drunkards and suspicious-looking figures lurking in the shadows. The perfect time to meet a friend.

When I got to the alley, I checked my watch again. 12:01. 

So we were both late.

Where was Ryan? It wasn’t like him to be late for a meeting.

A couple minutes passed, and I got my answer. He showed up disheveled, patting down his non-existent head of hair. 

“Sorry I’m late,” he apologised. “Got held up.” 

I raised an eyebrow. “By what, Ryan? Stop trying to keep secrets from me.”

He looked furtively over his shoulder before replying. “I’m not sure, actually. I was told by a…” Here he paused, trying to find the right word. “Friend. I was told by a friend to watch out at the Market, that something evil was lurking.” 

“You mean, more evil than usual?” I corrected him. 

“Yes,” he amended. “So, to answer your question, I don’t know. Just be careful, alright?”

I nodded. “Okay. I’ll also look out for anything more strange or evil than usual.”

Ryan relaxed a little. “Thanks, man. Look, I gotta run. More of that stuff I just told you about. I’ll come by for my eyeballs later. See you next year!”

“See you next year,” I told him. “Bye.” 

“Bye!” Ryan jogged away, lit by the streetlights as he got further and further away from me, eventually disappearing as he went through the gate to the Market of the Night.

October 26, 2021 23:42

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