Continuing a draft scene from my current WIP. Last week a hungry Shayla, disguised as a forestry worker from off-planet, entered a work canteen and felt her spidey senses tingle. As she started serving herself, she got clear signals that she’d somehow broken an unwritten rule...
With a sidelong glance, Shayla noted the dark skin and hair of a Wala native, similar to her chosen cover identity. “Trouble with the locals?” she asked in the same tongue.
The young woman behind her nodded. “The good food is reserved for Firenzi workers.” She gestured further down the counter where cauldrons of greasy stew simmered. “We get to enjoy their misbegotten take on chakchouka.”
For the first time, Shayla saw that the scattering of workers around the room was anything but random. There were no signs, no barriers, but the tables were clearly segregated with the prime seats near the windows occupied exclusively by Firenzi crews.
From the corner of her eye, she also noticed the cashier making what he probably imagined were discreet hand signals, and a pair of thugs lounging near the door getting to their feet. Bloody amateurs.
Writing update: I’m deep into drafting The Ashes of Home, sequel to Ghosts of Innocence. So far, I’m keeping to schedule, and just today passed the 40k word mark.