I wake up in the pitch black interior of my metal crate. Sitting up slightly, I press a tiny circle on the wall. It begins to glow brightly, filling my home with light. I created these back in the Fire Tech Factory, it's simple enough to recreate here. Suddenly, I here two of my little friends pounding on my side door. I glance at my little flame clock (another piece of fire tech) and see the time. 6:30 am. With my other hand, I pull the side door open and let my little friends in. Georgia and Pat come rushing into my metal crate. Excited smiles cover their faces, their eyes wide with joy.
"Missy! Missy!" shouts Pat, "Guess wot?"
Pat was newly orphaned a few weeks ago. I've been taking care of the sweet six year old ever since.
"What?" I ask.
"There's bin a cart turnin! There's bin a cart turnin!" Georgia replies with glee.
I gasp slightly, I huge smile crossing my face.
There's a rule in the Business District when it comes to food; Everything that touches the ground is urchin property. Everyone once in a while, those wretched carts break a wheel or turn over in some unfortunate accident. Causing everything inside to spill out onto the street. No one touches it then. It's all ours!
I squeeze Georgia and Pat in a hug. "How long has it been turned?" I ask then.
"Not long! Only we's seen it!" cheers Pat.
"Then let's go! Before the good stuff's gone!"
I push open the door to let Georgia and Pat out before running out into the night. Georgia and Pat run around waking up the other urchins. Once we're all up, my little friends and I head to the scene of the turning. When the cart turnings happen, we preserve as much as we can from it, but everything that expires quickly: eggs, cheeses, and other dairy products, we eat them all in a grotto Cart Turning Feast. My little friends immediately begin stuffing their pockets full of food. This time, a crate busted open spilling several cheese wheels and an entire gallon of milk. The cart tenders sometimes salvage the undamaged crates, but only as many as they're willing to carry on two legs.
After gathering everything we can, I knock on the neighbors' walls and tell them about the turning. Most of them are over joyed, the rest, however, can barely see in front of them. That's another sad reality of the grotto. If starving, motherless kids isn't sad enough for you, most of the adults living here are fogahalics. They can't live without inhaling it. Most of the fogahalics die from starvation, the rest of them cope with the fog addiction by abusing the urchins. I try to limit their reasons for going out of there houses. I've marked the homes of each and every one of them with a white X and taught the urchins to stay away from them. No one messes with my urchins, not the Empire, not the fogahalics.
The able bodied neighbors come out of their houses and help the urchins and I set up for out cart turning feast. Together we clear away rubbish to have a large enough space for our gathering. Having a small turn out, I decide to go invite Eerie to the feast. Well, honestly, it wouldn't have mattered how large the turn out was, I always invite Eerie anyway. Running of to the business district, I knock on Eerie's door. @Eerie_Coppernight opens it with her glazed over morning face on. I suddenly realize the sun came up only a few minutes ago.
"What's wrong, K?" she groans, wiping her eyes.
"There's been a Cart Turning! Do you want to attend?" I ask excitedly.
Eerie smiles and stretches her arms in a yawn, "Of course I'll attend, I'll even deliver a casserole."
I cock my head at Eerie, "Casserole?"
"It's been frozen in my ice box for three months, I need to be rid of it, K." she moans in her morning voice.
"Never fear, I'll find it a home in the grotto."
"It needs to be ended!" she says, shaking her fist in the air for emphasis. "It's been plaguing me for months!"
"Then why haven't you eaten it before hand?" I ask.
"K, I'm not sure I can." she says grimacing.
"Is it really that bad?" I ask, raising an eyebrow.
She nods seriously. "I wouldn't feed it to my greatest enemy."
"I'm sure someone will love it," I say crossing my arms, "Good morning, our feast starts in a few hours!"
Eerie mutters something about mornings and slams the door of her house. I sigh happily and breath in the crisp morning air. I race back to the grotto to see how the feast preparations are coming along. Three mothers that live here are dividing the long-keep food into portions for the different families that live here. We have two whole families, eight lone fathers, and ten lone mothers parent wise. All the other children have guardians of some sort. When I came to the grotto, I became the guardian of five children, but I help each and every one of them to the best of my abilities. One of the mothers hands me a small bag of food, fearful concern filling her eyes. She has a request for me, I already know what it is, and I already don't want to do it.
"Miss," she says, "Could you plase tak dis to my father."
I sigh aloud and nod my head.
The mother's face brightens, relief in her eyes. "Oh, thank ya, miss!"
"Any time," I reply over my shoulder.
There's a reason why I dread delivering food to this woman's father. He's one of the fogahalics, the abusive ones. I creep up to a room in the largest building here. The one that practically makes up this place. All of the families live in it, we urchins live in the dust. Peeking through a broken window, I spy a shell of a man lying on the ground in a heap, fog spiraling out of his nostrils like an automaton's exhaust pipe. He'll pass any day now, all of us know it. Silently, I place the bag within his reach and dive back into the shadows. The old man mutters a few curses and rolls over on his side.
I know you love all of us, Lord, I pray, Please help me not to hate this fellow.
Returning to the festivities, I think about who else I could invite. I once kidnapped a bounty hunter and had him stay for the party, maybe I could do so again. I smile to myself as I flip through my notebook for someone. The first name that catches my eyes is of a fellow named @Emman_Jumpsong1
You've been invited, Mr. Jumpsong, I hope you enjoy the feast!