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Chapter 3

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#1 Guest_Silver_*

Posted 16 February 2003 - 04:55 PM

What Makes a Monster? Chapter 3

During the weeks following the death of his younger sister, Kane struggled on as if in a bad dream, a dream from which he could never wake up. Every day he dragged himself out of bed and spent the whole day wandering the streets of Athkatla as if in a daze. He ate little, slept badly and he could focus on nothing. Only once did he cry, the night after her funeral, but after that he completely shut off. Nothing seemed real and he could feel no emotion. Not anger, pain, sadness. He was numb inside. Sometimes he stole, although he no longer truly needed the money, it was just a way of attempting to get back to normal, the way it had been before. Deep in his heart, he knew that he had failed. He had promised to protect Lucie, she had relied on him alone, and he had failed her…

Now that his wife and daughter were dead and Carlo was rarely around, Kane’s father had only one person left to torment and his treatment of Kane became much harsher. The boy tried his best to stay out of his father’s way but it did not always work. He had learnt long ago that when his father was truly out for blood, there was no place to run and no place to hide. Best just to face up to him and get it over with. But the more Kane ignored him, acted like he did not care; his father’s attacks became more and more violent, even leading to the occasional broken bone that had to be tended to by the priests in the temple at the promenade. And then there were the words and the threats. He was a worthless piece of trash and an incompetent loser who should never have been born. A good for nothing lowlife who was not worthy of being his father’s son. A weak coward who had been responsible for all of the family’s problems. According to his father, he should have never been born. Kane knew that his father wanted him to submit, wanted to witness his youngest son cowering before him and begging for mercy. But he would not do it, even after years of abuse, he still had his dignity and he would give that up for no one, whatever the cost.

About a month after Lucie’s funeral, Kane was wandering the streets of the slums when he was surrounded by a group of four boys. Like him, they were painfully thin, dressed in rags, covered in dirt and grime. They were just a few of the children who lived on the streets, children who did unspeakable things to survive, and when Kane looked into their eyes, he knew that they were out for blood. As they formed a tight circle around him, one of them stepped forward. Kane recognised him as one of the boys from the Bridge District. Drake was his name and from what the young boy had heard, he was not one to be messed with. But right then, Kane was too tired to care.

“Move Drake,” he said coldly, his fists clenched at his side and his body tense. “Just move.”

“No!” the bigger boy half-snarled. “What’s the matter, Casper? You afraid?”

“Afraid of you?” Kane sneered. “Not likely. Move!”

“Make me.” Drake taunted. It was the wrong thing to say. Kane gave an almost inhuman howl and flung himself at the other boy, his fist connecting with Drake’s jaw. There was a satisfying thud and Drake staggered backwards, half stunned by the unexpected blow. Before he could recover, Kane kicked him hard in the knee. The other boy gave a yelp and collapsed on the ground. Running completely on his anger, unable to stop even if he wished it, the young boy kicked Drake twice more, once in the stomach and once in the nose. By then Drake was curled into a ball, groaning in pain, his face a bloody mess.

“Right then.” Kane smiled grimly as he looked around at the other boys, all of who seemed to be frozen to the spot. “Who’s next?”

The boys stared at him for a few seconds, then turned on their heels and fled. And as Kane watched them go, his eyes narrowed, he suddenly felt a lot better. For once in his life, he had had the upper hand, people were afraid of him. And he liked that feeling…

As the wind began to blow and Kane turned to begin the walk home, a movement in the shadows caught his eye. For a brief moment he saw a black cloak and a pair of strange green eyes before they suddenly disappeared and he was faced with only blackness again…

That night, while he was lying in bed unable to sleep, the mist surrounding Kane seemed to lift and the boy realised something important, something that had not occurred to him before. He would have given anything to have Lucie back at his side, but now that she was dead, there was nothing to keep him there any more. The fight had shown him and others that he was perfectly capable of looking after himself, he could fight and he could steal. And even life on the streets had to be better than a life with his father. The only thing that stopped him leaving right then was the fear that he father might just come after him. As it turned out, this was not going to be a problem.

When he rose the next morning, Kane came face to face with his father who had just returned from his previous nights drinking session at the Copper Coronet. The boy tried to slip around his father, but the man caught him by the collar and glared at him.

“I hear that you have been fighting in the street,” he hissed. “Drawing attention to us. What have you got to say for yourself?”

Kane glared back at his father as usual and spat at him. The man wiped the spit off his face and raised his hand. However, rather than stand still and take the blow as he had done so many times before, Kane brought his knee up into his father’s groin. The old man gave a groan, staggered back and fell to the floor.

“Get out!” he hissed through gritted teeth. “If you ever come back here, you good for nothing worm, I swear by all the gods that I will kill you.”

Kane needed no more encourage. He ran out of the house and down the street, not stopping until he reached the Bridge District. There, feeling sure that he was safe, he leant against a wall, looked up at the sky and smiled. He was free. After twelve and a half years of abuse and torture, he was finally free…

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