Challenge #02774-G217: Finding a Smile

"No, thank you."


"Get that out of my face."


"STOP" -- Anon Guest

They said, Give a sweet thing to a sour face. Which was the very essence of the Sunshine Festival. Enough smiles, and the sun would rise, bringing an end to the cold of winter. Which was why the marketplace was overloaded with cloth flowers that had been soaked in cloying perfume. Honey-cakes abounded. Beautiful music filled every corner and turned every road into a cacophony.

Compliments that usually didn't enter Neg's ears flowed from every painted lip. People wore bright colours, lit every lamp, and there were blazing fires in every brazier, as if everyone were trying to give the sun an unsubtle hint. It was the worst day to beg for a bowl of stew, but Neg had to do it anyway. It was the only way he got to eat.

Honey cakes could fill his belly, but they would not keep him warm in the chill of the night. For that, Neg needed nutrition. Something that was lacking in the joyful atmosphere of the Sunshine Festival. He needed to fortify himself against the night, and there was no amount of silk flowers that would insulate him against the lingering winter chill.

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