“Are they fresh?” I asked. A colorful flame danced in each vial, but many flickered fitfully in a way that made me nervous
The man at the cart clutched his heart with a practiced gesture that illustrated how wounded he was. What do you take me for? You think I would set up here on the corner to sell delusions or mania, something like that?”
He had named my exact fear, disarming me. Of course Hope could be incredible, exultation tinged with the risk of despair. But everyone has heard stories about what happens to a person with a bad Hope. I fidgeted, not wanting to linger here playing games. So I said, “You didn’t answer my question.”
“They’re good, the vendor insisted. “I picked them up from the Dream Docks this morning.”
It was as good a source as you could ask for if it was true. That was where I had sold my last dreams all those years ago. “Fine,” I grunted.
“So you’ll buy?”
I almost walked away then. Maybe I should have. But it had been so long since I had any Hope. Colors danced within the glass, dangerous and inviting.
I picked up a vial.
* * *
Story by Gregory M. Fox