Wandering in a Revel.

August 12, 2010
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Titian lampposts began to light up as I walked down the street, shortly after dusk. The bulbs were like candles, sparking into life as the sunlight vanished behind the rooftops. The road was cobbled, and my feet snapped as I walked downhill towards the square. There were shops (closed at this time) on either side varying from expensive looking chemists to run down sweet shops, with some even boarded up with cheap oak. I was surprised at the amount of people still out. The benches on either side were almost full. The murmur of voices mingled with the sound of crickets and, along with the night air created an atmosphere oddly innocent and inviting, yet slightly dangerous. At least half were smoking – there was an elderly man in particular, taking vigorous drags every few seconds and, judging by the fact that he wheezed and coughed every half minute or so, didn’t have long to live. His neighbour – a boy who couldn’t be past sixteen – asked the old man for a light. He [the boy] had mud caked breeches etched with rips and an overcoat collecting at his feet, far too big to be his own. The coat then was stained with such a myriad of colours it was impossible to tell what was what. I hoped that the red smear near his breast wasn’t blood, but there weren’t many other alternatives.
I walked past the pair getting a strong smell of marijuana, and tried not to stare. Their muffled groans were hard to ignore, and the cries of a baby on the opposite sidewalk added to my discomfort. I sped quickly through the social are and turned a corner into a back alley, barely wide enough for two people abreast. There were loads of tiny metal doors either side, likely leading to cellars and kitchens of cheap hotels. I felt odd; knowing that behind these walls there was a hidden poverty similar to slums, unknown to the city. It was a part of life hidden from view, and when the workers left for home, no one saw the hundreds of men and woman half crawling to a spike – wanting nothing more than bread and tea.
I passed one such metal door, slightly ajar, and as I walked on the stench of rotten eggs and human filth wafted out the door, spoiling the clean night air. I hurried on, stumbling over dustbins and half empty cartons as I tried to get to a main street. I passed a sinister looking being, its head so covered that I couldn’t tell its gender. It grunted as it pushed past, so I can only guess it was a man, but there was a small bulge around the top of its cloak, leaving the answer a mystery.
Eventually I emerged out onto another street, this one even busier than the last. Carriages passed on both sides of the road, taking home intoxicated individuals still revelling in the night’s craze. Loud cries joined me on my journey as I continued towards the main square. To my extreme left I could see it, lit up in a wondrous array of colours from sea blue to a bright orange stealing the show. Even from here I could hear the cries of mirth attributed to the square. It was a like a beacon at night, with all the city’s lust and lager suffusing between several pubs and shows. I, however, wouldn’t be partaking in the fun. Not tonight. No, tonight I would be doing something quite the opposite. Some might say it’s spoiling the fun, but in the long run, it’ll create more mirth for all, bar one.
I reached the bottom of the street, which was also the bottom of the hill, and turned a corner onto the largest street in the city. During the day it was a market, covered in stalls serving anything imaginable. The alchemist’s stand, in particular, is of very good quality. The smell of his odd concoctions mixed with ingredients I’d probably prefer not to know. After being told that he had used elephant testicles (which, if you don’t know much about genitals, are quite, quite big) in a brew that I used quite often, I had asked not know any more.
So I ventured closer to the square, with the revels getting louder and louder. The smell of sweat and alcohol stung as I unfortunately got closer. No one ever realises that when you’re inside the party, it’s exciting and a world of fun, but to anyone outside it, it’s revolting. It falls into being total hypocrisy, and we all suffer from it.
I turned off the ‘market’ street and into another back alley – to avoid all the carriages. It was cleaner than the other, but still as narrow and with just as many metal doors on either side. About halfway through, I came across a dog (I’m not good with the breeds, so I’m not sure what type it was), lying against the red brick wall, not making a sound. At first I didn’t notice it, it being a dark brown colour, blending in with the shadows, but just as I walked past it opened its eyes revealing two golden yellow pupils staring at me. It blinked repeatedly, as if even the darkness hurt its eyes too much to keep them open. I crouched down to get a better look, but didn’t touch it. You could never be sure about diseases in these parts. By the looks of it, its front paws were broken, probably hit by a bludgeon.





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