The Abandoned

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young orphan street girl befriends a nearly blind street boy when she saves him from a man that the boy stole from. This may have just been her biggest mistake along with introducing the boy to her friend. Little did she know what she was signing on for by involving herself with the innocent orphan.

Submitted: October 21, 2016

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Submitted: October 21, 2016

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It’s never sunny here. Always dark and foggy. Like the lives of its inhabitants. Barely anyone lives to be over forty. Some die fighting the man-eating gallows. Others starve. Some are beat to death by the military.

I hate them. The military. They never hand out enough rations. They steal far more than they distribute. But if anyone opposes them they’re left voiceless.

Being an orphan’s taught me many things. The best of them might be how to steal. Second best, keep out of sight when the military rolls around.

Oh. And how to escape. That’s helpful too. Shopkeepers like to beat their frustration out on us street kids when we steal. Angel taught me a bunch of shortcuts and tricks to get away. If it weren’t for her I’d be dead. So would the little ones.

I sit against the roof wall, thinking my depressing thoughts when I hear a racket. A familiar one. The drumming of feet on the tired, dusty ground. The angry barks of a street vendor. Someone’s stolen something.

Being up on the roof gives me the confidence to look on. Watch the game. A dull entertainment. Will the thief escape or be pummeled? I trace the chase as they approach. My eyes narrow as I try to make sense of what I’m seeing. The thief is blindfolded. And he’s running. I watch with fascination as he turns a corner. What is going on?

Then, as was inevitable, he slips on the silk laid out by the treacherous land and comes crashing down on the brick-hard terrain. Ouch. I’ve been in that position several times with grated knees and elbows. Hurts. But what comes next hurts more. I see the malicious grin of the vendor as he approaches. The boy gets up and the vendor rushes towards him.

Don’t get involved. I pick up a stone from my pile. Don’t get involved. I aim. Don’t! I shoot it down at the vendor’s head. He cries out and catches sight of me.

“Why you little-” he grumbles, “I’ll kill you!”

“You’ll have to catch me first,” I mummer, more to myself than to him. There’s no way he’ll be able to get up here. I stuck a rod through the hatch that allows entry to the roof. No one can get up here. Well, no one that can’t climb up the wall anyway.

Mission complete. Blindfold Boy is safe. The vendor yells curses to me, which I’m so accustomed to that I barely hear them. Then, like a dog with his tail between his legs, he sulks back to his stall, empty-handed and exhausted.

A little while later the blindfolded kid returns to the scene. I stare down at him.

“Are you still here?” he calls out. He means me, right?

“Why are you wearing a blindfold?” I call down. Immediately his head snaps up in my direction and I feel like a mouse found out by the cat. Or a human found out by a gallow.

“I can’t see anyway,” he explains. “Everything is blurry. I wear it so I won’t depend on my sight to get around.”

I ask him how he gets around and he tells me that he uses sound. And memory. Then he offers me an apple and won’t take no for an answer so I come down and get it. He asks me for my name. I don’t have one. I tell him my friends call me Blue, for my eyes. He tells me he’s Draven.

Night falls and he has no place to stay. The man taking care of him passed away recently so he’s on his own. I ask if he wants to come with me, knowing I’ll regret it later. He agrees.

I bring him back to Angel’s hideout with me. Angel, as usual, welcomes him with open arms. And before I know it it’s been a few months.

Angel’s assigned us as stealing partners. And we’ve grown wings. She told us to stick to the market but for a few weeks now we’ve been raiding the military’s personal stock house. We’re careful.

At least I thought we were. That was before the two of us were surrounded by these soldiers, each ready to tear us apart. Like vultures. We’re separated and I watch, screaming and struggling as I watch them beat Draven. They kick him. Punch him. He’s not getting up anymore. My heart stops.

Before I know it I’m chained up in a musty, mold-filled, rat-infested,  garbage dump of a dungeon. I don’t know how long I’ve been here. Don’t know if Draven’s alive. I lost count after the first three days.

The guards take out their frustrations on me. Wife’s upset, let’s beat the prisoner. Friend died, let’s beat the prisoner. Can’t afford a meal, let’s beat the prisoner.

Then he shows up. A man that makes the guards, my tormentors, stammer.

“Where’s the stray?” he asks them. They lead him to me. The stray. I guess that’s fitting.

He makes me an offer. I turn him down instantly. He gives me the chance to reconsider and a few lifetimes and beatings later I agree. To join the people I hate.

He has me trained. Somehow, between receiving bruises and cuts I learn to deliver them. He has me climbing the rankings. I distribute food and feel like I might have been wrong about the military. Over my years with them I see their strict diets, their sacrifices, and I’ve even acquired a friend; a boy my age with these dazzling eyes that explode in gold away from the pupil before mixing with green.

Having not seen my friend all day and thinking it unusual I stop by his room on the way to mine. Knock. Knock. I hear sobbing inside and am alarmed.

“Hunter?” I call. The sobbing increases.

“Blue.” His voice is so soft I barely hear it. “See what they’ve done to me.”

I hesitate. What does he mean? Wrapping my hand tightly around the knob I stare at my white knuckles as I turn and push.

He’s crawled up in a ball at the leg of his bed.

“Hunter, you’re scaring me.”

His lip trembles as he removes his hands from his eyes. My heart jumps to my throat as my eyes widen. My chest hurts, my lungs constrict. I stare into two bloody, empty eye sockets.

“They took them.” His voice trembles. “For him.”

Then he breaks down crying again and I shuffle beside him, staying there all night. The question never leaves my mind but I don’t dare ask it. Who’s him?

A month later I still visit him at the small house he was given as compensation. Sickens me but it’s better than nothing. He’s grateful for my friendship. I don’t know why.

Some time later I’m invited to attend a celebration for the military’s best soldier. What’ll he be like?

“Blue?”

I look up from the rations, surprised to hear that old name again. She’s older but I recognize her immediately.

“Angel.” I smile. She doesn’t. She’s upset. Angry. She thinks I betrayed her by joining the oh-so-cruel military. She doesn’t understand. Only creates a scene. The soldiers hold her back. She gets a punch in. Maybe I deserved that. I ask them to let her go. They do. She leaves. Bond broken. Snapped. Irreparable. I’m sorry. But I’m also not.

“Remember me?”

I can’t imagine why he’d think I would. The military’s best. I don’t even know his name. Number One is what they call him. Yet he expects me to remember him. Never seen him before. But his eyes I have. They have an eerie resemblance to the gold-green eyes spooned out of Hunter’s sockets years ago.

“Rain,” he adds. My eyes pop open. Rain. And suddenly I’m back to a blindfolded boy lying on a rooftop telling me I remind him of…

“Draven?”

He grins. He can see. His eyes. He showed them to me once. Brown. I feel sick as I realize it.

 And sicker still when he reveals his plans to me. He’s so excited. Thinks he’s so smart. Use the orphans and homeless as bait for the gallows. Lure them in. Attack at once. Bam. Dead. That was his trick when he killed the two gallows, the reason for this celebration. One of them, he mentions, was Angel.

I know I can’t let him sacrifice those people. I was one of them once. He was too. He’s forgotten that. I tried reminding him. Didn’t work. I can’t recognize him anymore. He’s the boy that wouldn’t take favors. The one that stole and shared his gains, never complaining about the beatings when caught. What is he now? I asked him about the eyes. He thought it was great. Medical advancements. The sacrifice was worth it, he said, because he was a much better fighter than whoever his eyes used to belong to.

He would reveal his big plan tomorrow. That was all the time I had to stop him. And stop him I would. No matter the price. I’ll kill him if I have to. But I have to try talking to him first. He agrees to meet me after the celebration.

Negotiation doesn’t work. He thinks I’m crazy. I’ve lost conviction. Lost sight of what we’re fighting for. The bigger picture. I thought the bigger picture was protecting this place. To him that’s a primitive way of thinking. Naive. So what? I’ll take being naïve over being a mass murderer. He’ll dangle children and other helpless rags out to the demons.

I can’t let him do that. He laughs. Pulls out a knife. Try and stop me, is his challenge. He started it, is my excuse. I’m not stronger. But I am faster. We both take damage. I have a knife too. I’m a fountain of blood by the end of it. My red mixing with the brown of the land. He’s hysterical. Can barely stand straight, watching me bleed out. Fun. Entertaining. Enjoyable. That was this fight to him.

My blurry vision sends me into nostalgia. He had blurry vision once. Before he found eyes. Used to rely on sound. Not anymore.

Not anymore.

I grab a fistful of dirt. The same dirt he slipped on when we first met. The day I decided to save him. The day I decided to introduce him to Angel. The day I became his friend.

His laughs drown out my slow and wave-like rise. I call his name. He turns to me, eyes wide. He abandoned his blindfold. That was his choice.

I fling the dirt into his eyes and he screams.

 Then he’s silent as my silver slides through his flesh, puncturing his heart. Right through the ribs.

The man that saved me from the dungeon becomes the man that also saved me from execution. I lose military status. That’s fine.

Desperate to drown in despair and also to redeem myself for tragedies I feel responsible for I spend the rest of my life alongside Hunter. My blind friend. And for some reason, he’s thankful.


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