Nefut swallowed and glanced skyward, wishing he had waited for the sun to break over the horizon before traveling the narrow alley. Biting his lip, his eyes searched the black shadows at every turn, feeling his skin crawl from the suffocating darkness.
The skinny man stumbled over a pile of broken wine jugs and cursed the whores who used the murky passage at night. Deeper into the alley, the repulsive stale stench of urine and vomit struck his nostrils, drawing his stomach into a tight knot. He held his breath and quickened his pace. His sandal struck the legs of a sprawled body and he almost fell. Scowling at the decadence, he hurried on as fast as his slight frame would allow.
Toothless Alley was a lawless haven named after the prostitutes too old to dance in taverns or ply their trade on the streets. A throat slit; mugging for a price; a moment’s release into a faceless being hidden in a doorway by the pitch black shadows, all had become the alley’s legacy. From setting sun until two hours before dawn, the alley was a hazard to travel and only the scourge of the city dared venture near.
Nefut shuddered, remembering the night he was summoned to his master’s house and used the alley to save time. Hands reached out from the darkened doorways, groping at his manhood. Disgusting offers of pleasure were spoken in breaths of putrid smells that brought nausea upon him instantly. There had been trembling and wrinkled hands which reached out, yet others were supple and fair, never having known a day’s labor. To those he credited rumors of wealthy men and women whose want for diverse perversions drew them to the alley to remain anonymous in the black voids. Yet by the break of day, the ribald passageway reverted to being another indiscriminate alley in the city, vacant and filthy, awaiting the return of dusk and its clientele.
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