A Morsel for the Poor

“A morsel for the poor?” Yilan Ruhu mumbled to the pedestrians walking by. They ignored him like usual. Deep down, he knew that to be a good thing.

He was always hungry nowadays. He could feel his guts shifting inside him with displeasure.

Yilan used to be a successful merchant. He’d sail to Andalus with spices, and return to Persis with pottery. A cursed storm raged over the Noxpraetorium Sea, and he was warned not to sail. Money would be lost, so Yilan didn’t listen.

The booming of thunder shuttered the ship’s haul. The rain was slick like oil. And then there were the snakes that fell from the dark spiralling clouds overhead. It was a nightmare come to life.

Those snakes haunt Yilan to this day. His wealthy life was left behind. He kept his stomach under better control in crowded areas.

A small stray dog padded by Yilan—too close for its own good—and a tangle of snakes darted out from his belly. There was a short yelp, and then the dog was absorbed.

Better the dog than a child, Yilan thought.

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