I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

    **You first must make thieves, then punish them


    Posts : 260
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    **You first must make thieves, then punish them Empty **You first must make thieves, then punish them

    Post  Fabien on Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:26 pm

    “Is he awake?”  A woman’s voice said. It was dry and rasping.
    “Barely.” A man replied.
    “Ah, what a mess.”  The woman tsked, sucking her lip between her teeth. She didn’t sound concerned, merely disappointed.
    “Non. It is good, some of them look for this. Gives a certain flavour of authenticity.”
    “We will advertise him as such, then, a speciality.”  She paused. “Bring him inside now, I will need to take a closer look before I make my offer.”
    A door opened, and he heard the sound of a chair screeching across wooden floor. It was followed immediately by a waft of stale perfume, washing over him in a sickly wave.

    The boy remained in that space between waking. Everything was composed of blurred shadows and fragmented colours. He’d had a piece of crystal once, as a child, his one and only treasure. He had lay for hours upon his back in the fields, peering at the world through this disjointed lens. Perhaps he was back there now, in that same field. Perhaps this was all a dream.

    When he slipped entirely into unconsciousness, he followed his memories back to that night.

    Through the murk of his thoughts, Jehan’s face emerged. He could see him now, the same wide eyes tense in the dark, the sweat beading on his skin. It was like looking into a mirror, for there he was, just as terrified. A sense of unease had been rolling around within his gut like a stone. He hadn’t voiced it, not then, that wasn’t his way. He wouldn’t ever let any of them know he wasn’t in control. But Jehan had kept chanting beneath his breath, over and over.  “I don’t like this. I don’t like this, Fabien.” Nor do I, he’d thought.

    Now he knew they’d been right to trust those instincts. The whole thing was a set-up, rigged against them. They’d known it from the instant they’d set eyes on the house. No, not house, it was a mansion. It was a mansion. They’d seen the dogs at the gate, the guard posted at the door. And who knew how many more were situated inside.  It was a suicide mission, and they were merely the canaries. Let the young ones try and get inside first, let them sniff out the weak spots for us.

    They had broken into houses before, of course. That was their deal, the contract he had signed to ensure their survival.  They’d never been given a choice in the jobs they took. There were no choices in the slums.

    His thoughts began to lose focus, and he crept back to them, back to this painful reality.

    “Lay him here on the table, in the light, where I can see him.” The first woman instructed.
    “It is hard to tell if he is pretty, with that eye, all this blood.” This was a new voice, another woman, younger. There was a terrible eagerness in the way she spoke, a delighted curiosity. Then there came the intrusion, warm fingers upon his mouth peeling his lips apart. He tasted the grit, salt and stale onion on her fingertips. She smoothed down his tongue. Then her nails grazed each of his teeth, before pressing into his gums.
    “He has a good mouth, and all the teeth are here. That will increase the value, Madame.”
    “Get him out of those clothes Lucille, and find something more suitable. Let’s make a proper peasant out of him, ah?”

    The boy groaned softly. The sound of Jehan’s laughter was ringing in his ears. It had been too easy.  

    “I won’t risk one of my own on this. There are other jobs.” He’d told them, following the three men into the shadows of a side street. His spine had been arrow straight, his fists clenched at his sides. A facade of authority stretched over the trembling body of a boy, just another act.  “Find another fool. I won’t have us rotting in the gaol.”
    His bosses had chuckled softly amongst themselves. And then, they’d merely let them go.
    “Very well, Fabien.” And “whatever you say, Fabien.”
    And with a single look toward Jehan, they had left.

    He could see them now, so fresh in his memory. The way they had walked slowly at first, then faster, and faster, until they were gasping as they ran. When they had reached the inner city, they had taken to playfully jostling into each other. Their nervous gasping broke into a flurry of giddy, anxious laughter. They had laughed until their sides ached, until tears were spilling from their eyes and down their cheeks. When had returned safely to their district, they had fallen against a wall, drunk on joy. “The way you spoke to them,” Jehan had gasped, wiping his cheek with his sleeve. “The look on their faces.”

    “The look on their faces.”

    “His skin is so fine, so soft.” The younger woman murmured. Her rough, calloused palms were tracing a path from his throat to his chest.
    “He may advance in time, once he breaks, it is not unknown. There is potential.” The eldest woman agreed.
    “How old?” the girl asked.
    “Eighteen, nineteen?” the man replied. He sounded bored now, weary.
    The boy felt them tilt his head back, and then felt something cool and wet press beneath the hollow of his eye. The younger woman was carefully smearing away the blood.
    “Yes, lots of potential, with eyes like this. I hope you did not rupture the other.”
    Her hands were everywhere. They skimmed the hollow his stomach, the thin curve of thighs. His arms were lifted to expose his ribs, his legs raised at the knee. They touched between his legs, inspecting every crease of his body for signs of disease. He’d seen young colts treated like this, newly arrived at the market square.
    “A few marks to the arms, the chest. Turn him over now.”
    The hands moved to his back, trailing the curve of his spine, checking for deformities. They slipped over the rise of his backside, and lingered too long.
    “I am satisfied. He is a nice boy. We will give you 30% of his earnings to start, later it will rise. But I need proof that he is a worth my time, until then he is on trial.”
    “Make it 40%.” The man spoke again. He sounded irritated.
    “You could always whore him out yourself?” The Madame spoke coolly. She was not one to bow under threats.
    “Fine. 30%.”


    They hadn’t come for them straight away. Better to let them get comfortable; let them think they had won.  It would be far sweeter that way, to watch as they gloated on their success, grew confident, and then careless.  And then it had taken but a second. They had been watching the boy for weeks, waiting until they received some trivial happiness.

    And this day had clearly been a good one. His litter of runaways and urchins had been celebrating for hours, drinking through the night at a public house. After some time, the boy had at last emerged alone. He staggered out of the door, the sound of music and laughter announced his arrival like an actor taking to the stage. He had stumbled into the gloom, drunk and stupid, his fingers skimming along the wall. Then when he’d paused to empty his bladder in some discreet corner, they had struck.

    They introduced themselves by slamming his face directly into the wall.

    Only two had been sent to complete this job. They had specific instructions not to harm him too much, not to mar his face, not to snap his bones. But already those plans had been abandoned. “You idiot, you’ve probably broken his nose.” One said, amusement flickering like a dull flame in his voice. He did not recall much of what they said, only one firm explanation.

    “It is quite simple. If you cannot follow the rules, Fabien, you cease to be of use.”

    The girl, his stage partner, had been the first to notice his absence. They had tried to persuade her not to go after him, and she would hate them for it later. “He is probably emptying that bottle of gin he drank out onto the streets.”One boy had said, and she had smiled weakly at first, until it had become too unbearable. Then she too had slipped out into the dark, the bells around her ankles and wrists tinkling sweetly.

    There was nothing left of him but bloody stain on the pavement. It would haunt her dreams every single night.

    As the days wore on without him, the younger members of the group invented stories about him, adventures. In some, he had been captured by a travelling circus troupe- they had watched him performing and stolen him for their own show. Soon he would be touring the world, he would return wealthy and famous. He would come back for them. In others he was an escaped prince from some foreign land, royal blood disguised in rags.  They had laughed- and when they had not laughed, they had cried.

    Sometime later, when Jehan too disappeared, there were no more stories. Once he had learned of Fabien’s disappearance, he had taken to drinking. He had remained in hiding for a week or so, until he had started to feel too caged. Then he’d taken to the streets once more. His sister had begged him not to go.

    “Take him upstairs. I want him cleaned thoroughly, his hair and his feet. We will dirty them after. Then bind him for now, and I will make arrangements tomorrow.”

    “Oui Madame.”

      Current date/time is Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:14 am