What Makes a Monster? Chapter 2
Six months on, twelve-year-old Kane found himself standing in the Graveyard District, watching the plain wooden coffin being lowered into the ground. Barely week before, the young boy had been at his mother’s funeral and now he was watching his sister being taken from him too. Aside from the three of them, the only other person present was a priest of Helm who was performing some sort of reading. His voice droned on steadily, but Kane did not hear the words. His father had his hand on his shoulder, in what would seem like a comforting gesture to anyone who might have been watching, but his nails were digging deep into his son’s skin. However Kane did not wince, did not react in any way. He just stared blankly at the small grave, feeling completely numb inside and silently wondering how it had come to this…
It had been a bad winter that year, even worse than usual. Although he had no warm clothes to protect him from the bitter cold wind, Kane had still gone out every day and most nights to get what money he could. Their father still spent most of his days and evenings in the Copper Coronet and would not allow his wife and children more than a very small amount of money, which had to buy food as well as firewood. Carlo did not care; he spent most of his time with Crystal and her family, only coming home occasionally to torment his mother and brother. Money was even more important to the young thief now, not for himself and not for his mother, but for Lucie.
Soon the cold became too much for Kane and he became seriously ill. He was so ill that his whole body trembled, his head felt like it was going to explode and he was beginning to cough up blood. For three days he could not even drag himself out of bed. Lucie loyally stayed at his side all the time, barely leaving him for a moment. His mother came up a few times during the first day, but Kane glared at her so fiercely that she went away and did not come again, although he heard her crying at night. His father came up once to tell him to stop being so weak and to get up and get on with it. On the fourth day, he finally managed to get up and immediately went out to search for money, since neither him nor his sister had eaten the whole time that he had been ill. He did have some success, although his frequent coughing fits caused him a lot of pain. It took him many weeks to recover completely.
Not long after he had begun to get better, Lucie had gotten ill too. She just lay in bed, day after day, pale and listless. Kane tried his best, but there was little he could do for her. Day after day he saw her fading away in front of his very eyes. She needed medicine, a cleric, but he knew that it could not happen. He even spoke to his mother when his father wasn’t around.
“Look Kane,” she pleaded. “I don’t like seeing Lucie like this any more than you do. But what can we do? We have no money and you know what your father can be like. She will be fine.”
“She is dying, mother.” Kane clenched his fists in anger. “You have to do something. Stand up to him, for once in your life. For us, for your daughter.”
“I’m sorry,” she shook her head and turned away from him. “I can’t.”
“You are pathetic, mother,” Kane spat. “You are weak and a coward. And if she dies…I hope you burn in the hells!”
Two days later, his mother was found dead in the street by one of the Amnish guards. She had been stabbed five times and had been left half naked in an alleyway. It had obviously been murder, although the guards found no clues as to who had done it. Kane felt nothing when he was told, no emotion whatsoever. Lucie had clung to life for almost one more week, before it had finally become too much for her frail body.
“Come on, you useless waste of space,” his father hissed, grabbing him roughly by the arm. Looking round, Kane realised that the service had finished and the priest had gone. The Graveyard District was all but deserted. But as he followed his father and brother past the tombs, he noticed that there was a man hidden in the shadows. He wore a long black cloak, the hood and the shadows hiding most of his face, but Kane could clearly see the green eyes that looked deeply into his own. As his father called him the boy turned away, and when he quickly looked back over his shoulder, the figure had gone.
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