Skylar used to love walking through the market. Colorful flowers, sweet and savory smells filling the air, all sorts of useful, ingenious, or fun objects to look at. At least, that was how the market used to be.
Now, it was sparse at best. No bright flowers, the only smell was the stagnant air, and while there were lots of objects for sale, it was just used, beat up things, their owners, willing to part with them for something to eat.
Skylar’s skin itched, and they pulled their tentacles in close. Almost completely round, they inched their way around the edge of the market. For once, they just wanted to get to the flight academy as quickly as possible.
The wind picked up, and a small, partially brown babagec leaf, blew right past Skylar. Two hissing children, tentacles entangled, followed the path of the edible leaf.
“Mine!” They both shrieked, voices mingling and echoing off the walls of the mostly empty market square. They rolled past Skylar, bodies pulsing as they pushed and slapped each other. They screeched, they fought, their skin picked up dirt as they rolled around.
While they fought, the scrap continued to blow farther away in the breeze. They chased it, and were joined by another. Three eyes, three sets of tentacles, reaching, pinching, slapping, beaks screaming and pecking.
It was all over one little ort. A single half wilted leaf.
Skylar saw the losers scoot away, nursing wounds, before the academy bell rang in the distance. Skylar ran, blinking fast in order to keep from leaking precious fluid.
Things were bad. Skylar was old enough to know it was only going to get worse if the famine were to continue.
Word Count: 286