“Woah! It’s so cool! How do they get it all to stay up like that?” Seven’s eyes sparkled as they climbed up to the first level catwalk.
“Skill. It’s all skill. Humans can build just about anything anywhere. How do you think that they got some rich kids living on the moon?”
“People are living on the moon?”
“Yeah. A couple years back, a few very rich families from New Poland and the CNA decided that Earth was in a hopeless state. They banded all their money together to make a colony on the moon. Been up there ever since. Nobody thinks they can last much longer though. The food shuttles aren’t cheap.”
“That’s just weird.”
“Yeah, I think so too, but I hear the swimming pool up there’s fun. Hey look at this.” Basalt pointed out a booth showcasing wrought scrap metal in the shapes of dragons and fighter planes.
“He made those?” Seven said pointing at the man behind the booth.
“Looks like it. Oh, over there they have handmade banjos! Always wanted one of those. They’re rare now days. Hang out around here. I’m gonna go get one,” Basalt said before disappearing into the crowd.
Seven browsed through the stalls, not noticing that he had wandered up to the higher level catwalks. They spiraled around in circles and crisscrosses making it difficult to realize when one had ascended a level. Before he realized it, he was high above the ground, lost, and had no clue where Basalt was. He wandered around in a slight panicked confusion.
“Boy,” he heard a voice call out. He turned to see an old lady sitting on the ground in a rug tent. Soft candles glowed around here, and jewelry lay in ordered rows in front of her. Her gentle eyes glowed at him amid her wrinkles.
“You, boy. Yes, you. Come here.”She waved at him. Seven made his way over to her.
“Care to take a look?” She gestured to the jewelry. He looked down.
“They’re very pretty,” he said. She raised an eyebrow and gestured again. He looked closer, feeling a bit uncomfortable. A necklace, or rather a pair, caught his eye. They nestled together to form a whole.
“It’s a yin yang pair of necklaces,” the lady said.
“Yin yang?” Seven asked.
“People will give you all sorts of mumbo jumbo about how it’s supposed to represent balance and such, which I suppose is true. But I like to think of it as no one is completely good, but neither are they completely bad.”
“Oh. Can I pick it up?” The lady nodded. He picked up the black half of the pair and stared at the small fleck of mother-of-pearl.
“You. You’re looking for someone.”
“What?” Seven said, startled. The old lady smiled.
“I mean, I guess I am. I got separated from my…my friend.”
“No. You’re looking for someone.” She tapped the white half as she emphasized the word.
“What do you mean?”
“You won’t be able to find them staying where you are, but you know that already. You have to go looking for them.”
“But how am I supposed to find them?”
“You start by making a decision.” Seven scrunched his eyebrows together in confusion.
“So, which do you want?” The lady said.
“Huh?” She gestured once more to the necklaces.
“Oh. I don’t have any money.” She reached over and grabbed the black half from his hand, then picked up the white half. She wrapped them up in a piece of brown paper and placed it in a paper bag. Then, she handed it back to Seven.
“It’s on the house,” she said.
“Th-thanks,” Seven stuttered before slipping back into the crowd. He looked down at the paper bag, thinking over what she said. He slipped it in into his pocket next to his paper crane and nodded to himself before threading his way back to the ground level.
A few minutes later, Seven stood staring back the way Basalt and he had come. A look of longing crossed his face as he glanced back once more before he headed the other direction. He turned a corner into a small dark alley way and bumped into a large man.
“What tha? Oh, hey look it whe’ve here. Yur right juicy there,” the man said. Three other men gathered around Seven from behind the man.
“What?” Seven said.
“Whataya prats say we makes ourselves a pretty penny on this li’l bite?” The man grinned.
“Look it him. He got himself a white head. How pretty,” said a bald man with tattoos crawling across his skull. He rumpled Seven’s hair a few times, then grabbed a fistful.
“Ow! Stop!” Seven grabbed at the bald man’s hand.
“Oh, Simmons will like this!” Another man chortled.
“Come on, li’l bite. We’ve got places ta go, people ta meet. Can’t be wastin’ all night,” the bald man said as he dragged Seven by the hair.
“What? Hey! Ow that hurts! Stop! Help! Someone! Hel-”
“Shap li’l bite! No need ta brackin’ wake up tha whole neighborhood,” the bald man muttered as he slammed Seven’s head against the wall. Seven felt a trickle of blood slip down his forehead as he blacked out.
“Tawkie, you carry him.” The bald man tossed Seven over to the man the boy had run into.
“Why do I gotta? You were doing just fine, Boar.”
“I got tired.”
“Yeah right, you brackin’ twit.”
“Oi, les get outta here. Somebody mighta actually heard the brat,” said one of the other men.
Tawkie hauled the unconscious Seven up and over his shoulder. He began humming a song as he followed Boar and the other two. This was a good night. The smog had cleared, you could even see some stars in the sky, and a nice payload had literally dropped in their laps.
He wondered where such a pretty kid came from, but then again, it didn’t really matter. Money was more important. While he walked, he fantasized about Boar letting him keep the kid for a night. He grinned. That’d be nice.
AN- Tawkie, you creep!