Between Halos and Horns

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 6 (v.1) - Muscles

Submitted: September 05, 2012

Reads: 40

Comments: 2

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Submitted: September 05, 2012

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I had already written quite a few pages worth of interview by the time Reid had finished his segment on the first day in Runtville. He was smoking a cigarette now, though I didn't quite remember him lighting it, or with what. I jutted my chin and said, "That's a bad habbit." 

Reid shrugged and replied, "So it is." That seemed to be the end of that. After a few more moments and a couple of drags from his smoke, he finally said, "How you holdin' up, kid? This a little too much to take in? I understand, n' I appreciate you doin' this for me." 

I waved his concerns away and smiled, "It's my job, you know? Besides, this is some story you're handing over, man." 

Reid chuckled and bumped his eyebrows at me, "You don't know the half of it." 

"Then tell me."

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Over the next few days, Dale and I got ourselves in tune with the rigorous and tedious schedule that was presented to us by our very own Bo Deacon. The man wasn't sweet, he didn't no affection, and he wanted us to train hard, the perfect drill instructor. Thinkin' back, even though I hate to do it, I can't help but be just a teency bit grateful for the skills that man showed us. Without them, I might not be here tellin' you this story today. 

Every mornin', we'd all wake up nice n' early, git some breakfast - sometimes we were treated with bacon and biscuits as opposed to the usual steaming stew. After breakfast, trainin' began. This is where our days varied: you see, some days we would work on strength trainin', bench pressin' heavy objects like pots, or if you were strong enough, other Runts. Some days we would form the Fightin' Ring, like on our first day, and then right after, we would work in partners to practice fightin' techniques. And some days we would just run around in circles till Deacon felt it was a "good time to stop." 

After that was always lunch, that stew, and then we would spread out and enjoy our leisure time, which was a considerable amount due to the fact that there wasn't much to do in Runtville. Me n' Dale would always meet up with Tiny and Spark and we'd talk about life on the outside, funny stories from our pickpocketin' experiences, and our jobs there in Runtville. I should explain the jobs. There was always somethin' to do, jest nothin' we ever wanted to do, understand? If Bo Deacon ever felt we was gettin' too wild for our britches, he'd make us dig up new rooms, or help set up for a meal, or just chew us out. Every now and again, he'd thrash a boy about, and we was all forced to turn a blind eye in fear of him turnin' on us. 

It wasn't exactly full of glory, but at least we had food, and we were gettin' stronger with each passin' day. (I hold up a hand and ask, "Did you see O'Finnegan in there?") No, no, there was no place for magic in that little shit hole we called home, it was too bleak in there. But I was busy anyway, so I half forgot about the Irish man in the first place. 

Finally, the most important part about livin' in Runtville and bein' a Runt were the Collections. Twice a week, Bo Deacon would take three boys, always a different group, and head into town to pick up some merchandise. The Runts never got caught, they were too careful, and boy did it drive me insane to watch them boys leave twice every week and come back with pockets full of goods. Dale and I, we never got to go out, mostly because we were so new. I've gotta tell ya, I believe we was stuck in there for a few months before we got to go on a Collection of our own. Actually, let me correct myself, I was the only one to go out, Dale wasn't allowed due to the color of his skin. Deacon was a hand-over-heart racist, and he'd be damned if one of his precious Collections were spoiled by a black boy. 

The boys were not allowed to keep anythin'. Not one thing from the Collections. If Deacon found out that any one boy from the group had held out on him, he swore he'd shoot him. One day, Tiny and Spark told us that it actually happened once, and they weren't allowed to say the boy's name anymore or they'd be shot too. 

"Other than that," Tiny said, shrugging as we ate lunch one day, "Bo Deacon ain't sich a bad feller. I look up to him, honest to God I do. He takes care of us, in his own special way. If I didn't knew I had a daddy of my own somewhere out there, I'd say Bo Deacon was my daddy." 

"Ain't no daddy I want," Dale muttered, slurping on his stew. 

"Y'all will get used to him," Spark added, "I mean, everyone else does." 

"Yeah I hope so," I replied, pushing back my hair - as the months passed, it had been gettin' longer n' longer. After a few moments of silence in our group, I looked over my shoulder to take a look at Tongue sitting at a nearby table, alone as always. I had attempted conversation with him before, but it was always met with shrugs or low throat grumblings. He never opened his mouth, except to eat of course, and he tended to avoid eye contact. Though, if you got caught lookin' at him, he'd keep your glance until you looked away. 

"Has Deacon ever talked about leavin' Runtville?" Dale asked the other two kids. 

They immediately shook their heads no and slumped down a bit; Tiny answered, "Deacon says that someday one of us will take over Runtville, and the oldest members will make their own packs. But no one can ever leave, or they'll get shot." Yes, this might seem like pathetic logic to you, but imagine a bunch of nine year olds and a six year old talkin' about it, there wasn't a doubt in our minds that that's how it was goin' to be. That doesn't mean to say we didn't wish it were so. 

I could go into a day by day account of what happened during our time there in Runtville, but it honestly isn't anythin' too special. I told you the basic schedule of our days and what we did to fill our time. We were there for what I believe was four and a half months before I was taken on a Collection, and not once during that whole time did anythin' extremely special or excitin' happen. It was just trainin', always the trainin'. Dale and I never made other friends besides Spark and Tiny. 

(Reid grins here and takes a drag from his cigarette.) I remember, Tiny kept that cloth that had held the cookie, some of the chcolate still smeared on it, and he would look around to make sure Deacon wasn't around, take a big whiff, and then fold it and put it away. Sometimes it seemed to be his only source of happiness. Spark found his source in Tiny, and me n' Dale found it in each other. Damned if we hadn't been close before, but by now, we was true brothers. 

So, like I said before, it was about four and a half months in when Deacon called me up for my first Collection. It was also the beginnin' of the end of the Runts of Nashville. Oh yes, things were to get very testy that night; testy, dangerous, and so God-damned unfortunate. 


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