Back to Town

            As Nalai had predicted—though the only person who had heard her had been her faithful dog Iquiuk—they reached the gates of Kuktaiqik. Despite her thick winter clothes she was shivering slightly. Even Iquiuk’s thick coat wasn’t giving the dog much protection from the cold. Even though it was considered summer on the tundra it was still not all that warm. Winter was even less pleasant when the sun was up let along once it had set.
            The man standing guard at the gate was the same one that had been on shift when she’d left earlier, so it was no real surprise that he recognized her and let her in without comment or question. Not many people traveled outside at any time of the year, let alone on a Market Day. Iquiuk followed Nalai in, her tail drooping down from exhaustion.
Nalai noted with some slight satisfaction that the streets were nowhere near as packed as they had been earlier that day. Most of the stalls and shops had closed up already. The only ones open were the ones that catered to evening activities, such as bars and restaurants. The faint sound of pounding drums told her that at least one of the play houses was open. She had never been to a formal showing of any of the great plays and had only seen the basic, traditional versions that were put on during the major festivals. She’d heard it said that the permanent stage gave them so many options and made the story telling so much more vivid that the traditional performances could ever hope to accomplish,
           Personally, I find that very hard to believe, she thought with a shrug. I always find the stories and songs to be so very vivid. I don’t see how they can be more lifelike than they already were, especially the tale of Piaquk. I’ve always loved that one.
           The beating of the drums lifted her up a little, helping her to keep it together long enough to get back to Kiuktuk’s herb shop.