What Makes a Monster? Chapter 4
Now free from the verbal abuse and the violence, Kane faced yet another test. The fight for survival on the streets of Athkatla. Many homeless people had made their homes in the Bridge District, many of them young children, and since there was not enough food, not enough people to steal from and not enough places to make at least a half-warm bed, it was an unspoken rule that only the strongest and the cleverest survived. As Kane already knew from his previous experiences, survival was everything and nothing was too bad, too degrading or too difficult when you had no other option.
Many of the children had formed small groups and none of them welcomed outsiders. Kane was forced to watch his back at all times and could not fully relax even when he was asleep for fear that he would get attacked when his guard was down. For him it was still better than living at home though, since he was bigger than most of them and could easily fight back. He had no wish to join any of the groups, even if they would accept him, for he had learnt that he could trust no one. He had found a corner for himself, behind an old abandoned house, where he was mostly sheltered from the wind and he had means of getting food too. Even the other children were willing to leave him alone after he had won three fights against boys far bigger than him. But no matter how difficult things were at times, Kane was happier living on the streets than he had been at home.
During the months that he was on the streets, young Kane saw desperate people doing terrible things, resorting to assault, rape, even murder in order to get what they wanted or needed. This hardened his heart; in his mind the victims deserved it for not being strong enough to fight back. And just a handful of days later, when he murdered a courtesan with the dagger he carried for protection, he felt nothing. She had deserved to die, just as his mother had. And as he stood over her fallen body, the blood running from the deep wound on her throat to cover the cobblestones, Kane once more felt powerful. Twice more he murdered, another courtesan and then a male commoner. And again, he felt no emotion. Hurting and killing made him feel powerful, because now he was the one in control. And he swore that he was never going to go back.
Kane had already started to realise that he was not other people. There was something different about him, although the young boy was not sure exactly what. When he got angry it was like there was some kind of demon in him, a demon that was crying to be released. The power that flowed through his veins when he killed or hurt for the fun of it. The voices that called out to him in his sleep saying words that made no sense. And besides that, he just knew. And while he was slightly confused, he was not frightened, not even of the lust for blood that occasionally threatened to overwhelm him. He wanted to be strong and he wanted to be powerful. And most of all, he wanted revenge on those who had hurt him. That was his goal and he no longer cared how he achieved it.
The mysterious black-cloaked figure appeared several more times, always watching him from a distance and disappearing as silently as he had come. Kane kept his distance and the figure never made any effort to approach him, obviously contented with just watching for now. Nevertheless, Kane constantly found himself looking over his shoulder, especially while he was pick pocketing. He had no idea what the mysterious figure could want, but he was going to take no chances. For all he knew, the stranger could be Carlo or a friend of his fathers, just waiting for a chance to drag him back home. No, Kane decided. Sooner or later the person’s identify was going to be uncovered and then he would learn if they were friend or foe. Until then it was just a matter of waiting…
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