The Moonlight Market
by Aidee Ladnier GENRE: LGBTTQ, Fantasy & Paranormal, New Adult
College senior Cory Long tracked his missing sister to the magical Moonlight Market to bring her home. Instead, he found a disorienting world of performers and hawkers, bizarre sights and sounds, and one very familiar showman, Sanderson Beets. Like a drowning man, he latched onto Sanderson, trusting him to navigate the twists and turns of the Market as unerringly as he had steered Cory to passion in their furtive trysts on campus.
But Sanderson was tired of being the quickie in the alley.
Sanderson Beets had escaped the Moonlight Market to attend college, hoping to settle into a normal life, maybe meet someone and fall in love. To obtain that new life he made a dangerous bargain. And when the sinister woman known as the Weaver of Dreams is involved, second chances always come with strings attached…and sacrifices. Sanderson’s debt has come due, and the only payment he has to offer is Cory, and their chance at a relationship.
He almost ignored it.
Tiny bells tinkled nearby.
They sounded closer. His skin tightened with goose bumps.
Niari glided into the pool of light cast by the lantern hanging on the back of the tent. Her long, inky dress brushed the bells on her ankles and pulled the shadows forward with her.
“Your debt is coming due.” Her trilling, accented voice floated over the noise from the fairway beyond. In front of the tent children giggled and laughed, the calliope blared out its joyous concert, and the lanterns burned away the darkness. But Sanderson stood in the shadows behind…with her.
Sweat coated his palm, and it slipped from the curtain. He swiped at the bead of perspiration on his upper lip, the pit of his stomach icing into a lump.
“I found someone.” He blurted out the words. “A lost soul. Someone who’s lost something.”
Panic bloomed in Sanderson’s chest. Was he actually going to offer Cory to the Weaver? Cory who just wanted to find his missing sister. Cory of the soft hair, bitable nipples, and beautiful, slim cock. Who made Sanderson feel normal. Like a regular guy.
“Good.” Her smile widened, filled with too many tiny teeth that gleamed bright in the lantern light. “Are they tasty and ripe?”
“Madame?” Sanderson’s gut twisted at the hard glitter in her eyes. A chill crept down his spine. She looked…hungry.
He blinked. Niari stood before him, still and silent, waiting, just a woman again. The malevolent flash must have been a trick of the dim light. He shrugged off the unease and shook the numbness from his fingers.
Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee's to write both romance and erotica with a little science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.
When the Silver Dagger Scriptorium asked me what one of my inspirations for my new book THE MOONLIGHT MARKET was, I though instantly of my villain, the Weaver of Dreams. She is old and cunning, not entirely evil, and drives a hard bargain. She’s one of the first characters that popped into my head when I was plotting out the story.
Weaving as an art has been around nearly as long as humans have. We learned it from nature, from the cunning insects and birds that taught us that the strands of fiber were strong, more resilient, if they wove together.
Weaving is the art of taking a single fiber, a bit of wool, a finger of cotton that is spun with its kin into a sturdy yarn which can then be attached to a loom. More yarn is threaded through the attached strands and with the clack of the beater, shaped into a cloth.
Stories are a lot like a woven cloth. Threads of plot, spun characters, and a heavy beater of grammar, all go into crafting a tale. There is even a tradition of calling a story, a “yarn”. The English word “text” derives from the Latin “texare” to weave. And scribes referred to their work, their stories as “textus” or cloth. Sophocles called weaving the “voice of the shuttle” referring to the weaving of cloth and stories both.
So with all this in mind, I, the weaver of the story, created the Weaver of Dreams in my book, THE MOONLIGHT MARKET.
I knew she'd be ancient, wild, and her woven threads a little scary like the nightmares that are painted on our inner eyelids as we sleep.
She would have the hands of fate, the Norns who spin the thread of life, weave its story, and then snip it off at a person's death.
My Weaver would spin possibilities and alternate futures and ultimately be able to change the look and the feel of her surroundings with her words and the motions of her ever clacking loom.
In other words, I wanted a villain that would be irresistible and unstoppable. She is both the granter of wishes and the embodiment of hunger for more. I tried to make her mythic and even gave her a fairy tale which she tells to Sanderson, one of the heroes in the story.
But unlike most fairytales, in the story she weaves, the witch most certainly does not die in the end.