image from: ciscopa on

They looked around in wonder, never having seen anything like this place before. There was food on every counter, a vast array that included things they didn’t even recognize by sight, though they smelled heavenly.

If not for the suspicion and caution that had practically been bred into them, it was likely the children would have fallen upon the food before them and eaten until they could eat no more. Though they would be carefully and with great sneakiness, be hiding food that would last longer and not spoil too quickly.

They were street urchins who had never had anyone other than themselves to rely on. They weren’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth and take for granted what was on display.

In fact, several of the children were wandering around the tables already, carefully looking and never touching anything, much to the adults’ consternation.

“Why do they not eat?”

“There is plenty for everyone!”

“I checked myself to make certain that none were allergic to anything.”

What the adults didn’t notice was that several of the children had already pocketed a fair amount to take back later and check with their own leaders, hidden away though some of them were, to make certain that everything was safe. One by one, and never in a way that anyone who they didn’t want to notice noticed, children would slip away and then return several minutes later. As each item was checked by someone they trusted, the word was spread without sound to those who had stayed behind just what was safe to eat.

Even then, the food was eaten very cautiously and still more was pocketed quietly.

Written for this Monday’s picture prompt from Light and Shade Challenge:

I missed the Friday challenge last week because I forgot that it was a twice a week challenge (looks sheepish). Hopefully I have marked it better on my computer to remember this week.