Venicus Yearns

If you're not careful, you can end up with scratched retinas. The wind, that asshole always throwing dirt in your face, particles of earth and everything tearing across the sky like shrapnel.

The ones who can afford it wear eyeshields. Those who can't are left to endure the beating. Even the animals wear them, but it's not the biggest danger.

Drowning in dust is the biggest danger. Lungs filling to the brim like sandbags.

Horses wear special filters, masked like creatures from a horror story. It's commonplace here, though. In the Verges.

A place where everyone is a mystery. Faces wrapped in cloth or shielded by sleeves. All to keep out the wind. Anyone who matters anyway. Only the poor are exposed. The people no one cares about anyway.

The wind - The Everwind - it never stops, like a giant hand it always scratches at the landscape like there's an itch that won't go away.

And then there's Venicus. Working a job that's typically reserved as punishment, he hauls shit barrels from the outhouses downwind to the gulch where folks can buy it in bricks for homefires when it dries.

He carries it south, yes, downwind, trussed up head to toe in rags to keep the splashes of shit at bay, the spray. At least he gets the option to carry it. The delinquents, they have to drag it.

With the shit barrels trailing behind by reins of twisted rope, those sentences to atone for petty crimes are assaulted the whole way by the filmy brown squall, only to repeat the process everyday come sunrise.

This, more than anything, inspires Venicus to do something with his life. He years to be free of shit. To be free of Listhaven. To be free.

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