The Shop

            When Nalai finally made it back to the shop, the lights were out. There was a small lantern still lit at the back of the shop for Kiuktuk to use when he woke up in the morning, but all else was dark. It wasn’t surprising as everything in Kuktaiqik that wasn’t a play house or bar was dark; it was late. Using her key, she unlocked the door, slipped inside, and locked the door again behind her. Yawning, she slid her satchel off her shoulder and took it over to the counter. If she didn’t store the things she’d gathered before crawling into bed, Kiuktuk would scold her quite severely; after all, he had taught her better than that.

            She found some string and tied clusters of willow root together and hung them from hooks. They needed to dry a little before they could be cleaned and cut up for use. There was little chance they’d be ready by morning, but it needed to be started sooner rather than later. Cleaning willow was a task she despised, but it had to be done and Kiuktuk had better things to do than such menial tasks, especially with all the tuniq moss she’d found. He would want to deal with it right away. She found a basket to put it in and lined it with a soft towel before putting the moss down and covering it with a thinner one.

            Finally, she hung her satchel back up on its peg and made her way up the stairs, rubbing her eyes the whole way. She barely had time to take her clothes off before collapsing into bed.