From a short story written this summer. – WARNING LANGUAGE!!
The narrow alley ended in a slatted wooden fence. Micah didn’t bother to run, the two males he pursued cut themselves off when they turned down this dead end.
The reek of sewage and rotting garbage hit him as soon as he entered the alley and he scowled. Why here? He heard the males yelling and caught the sound of a third male voice. It spoke with calm authority. Was this stranger the reason they fled to the alley? It didn’t matter, whoever he turned out to be, the stranger would prove just as easy to hit.
Micah clenched his teeth and tried not to smell the rotting trash as he moved further into the alley. He watched the three males huddle together in front of him.
The two he pursued looked wild eyed back and indicated at him, “There,” one shouted. “That’s him.”
“He’s going to kill us.” The second male insisted.
Micah growled, “Don’t exaggerate. I don’t kill people. Dead doesn’t pay debts.”
The third unknown male watched him, head tilted to the side. He wasn’t from this neighborhood, Micah would recognize him if he lived around here, besides, his clothes screamed money. He wore tailored black pants and an untorn blue shirt, but the heavy boots, leather that looked like they had metal in the soles stood out most, Micah had never seen boots like those before.
The unknown male seemed thin, and stood at least six inches shorter than Micah, he looked like he’d break if you hit him hard enough. Oddly, the smaller male appeared more curious than afraid. He should be afraid. But then, he looked like a kid. Kids were naïve and no matter what his father told him Micah didn’t make a habit of hitting kids, or females. Besides, this kid didn’t owe his father any money, so he would give him a chance to get out.
“This has nothing to do with you,” Micah said, meeting the shorter male’s gaze. “leave now and I won’t have to hurt you.”
“What did they do?” The kid asked, still looking at him with his head tilted, he had blue eyes streaked through with green and red hair, a half-blood, probably Travendare. His open stare held confusion.
“Do?” Micah asked.
The kid nodded, “You’re like me, you should be protecting the weak. Did these two do something? Why do they need to be punished?” When Micah stared at him without answering he turned to look at the two males cowering behind him. “What did you do?”
“We are late paying rent,” the first admitted, “We owe his father money.”
The small male turned back toward Micah with narrowed eyes. “Warriors protect.”
The words were an accusation.
“Well, if I were a Warrior that might be an issue. Since I’m not, you are in my way.” Micah said.
He moved forward and pulled his arm back, prepared to hit the smaller male. He regretted the need to do this, the kid looked like he would break after a single blow and he really didn’t have anything against this stranger. Still, people needed to understand not to get in his way and it would be a good lesson. The males trying to hide right now would spread the word throughout the neighborhood that you couldn’t hide from Micah. Or his father.
He swung at the smaller male, surprised when his fist didn’t connect. Instead he found himself off balance, stumbling forward, as he did a two-handed blow landed hard on the back of his head. He hadn’t even seen the other male move.
“Please don’t try to hit me again. You obviously lack training and I don’t want to hurt you.” The red head spoke in a calm even tone, he spoke as if he thought he could hurt Micah.
“Arrogant little piece of aristo shit.” Micah snapped as he stumbled to regain his footing and stepped away from the other male rubbing the back of his head.
Phillip looked at the warrior in front of him in utter confusion. When his father rented the hotel in a strange part of the city, a lot less expensive than the hotel he usually preferred to stay in, Phillip didn’t think it particularly odd. His father often chose to do things because he saw what should happen.
This morning father told Phillip he should go explore ‘to the south’. Phillip found the suggestion a little strange. He’d asked three times if his father wanted him to go anywhere specific, his dad shrugged and suggested a walk ‘south’. The slums were south. Despite misgivings Phillip headed into the slums. He wandered streets and alleys that his father generally suggested he avoid. Not that he always listened to his father. Warriors didn’t always avoid danger.
Now here he stood, in an alley, with two strange males cowering behind him and a completely untrained warrior in front of him taking wild swings at him.
Another normal day.
“I’m not an aristo.” He told the warrior. “My name is Phillip. I’m faster than you and I guarantee I’m better trained. Please, don’t try to fight me,” He paused and considered, “Unless you want to get hurt.”
The unknown warrior came at him again and Phillip dodged the blow a second time, he swept his leg out and knocked the warrior’s legs out from under him, using the larger males size against him. When he hit the stones on the ground in the alley Phillip slammed the heal of his heavy fighting boots into the male’s leg. Bone cracked under his foot.
One of the males behind him gave a relieved cry. Phillip glanced over his shoulder. “Get out of here.” He said to the two of them. “This is between us now.”
They skirted around him and the male laying on the ground with the broken leg and ran down the alley.
Phillip squatted in the dirt and stones, staying just out of arms reach of the other warrior.
“What’s your name, Warrior?”
“Fuck off.” Micah hissed past the pain shooting up his leg. Damned little shit broke his shin. He rolled into a sitting position it wasn’t the worst broken bone he’d ever had. He knew a healer he could intimidate into fixing it.
“That’s an unusual name. But so far, this entire part of the city has been a little strange, so I’m willing to go with it.”
Micah looked up, surprised to see the warrior male still crouched in the muck staring at him. Micah snarled. “Look, arrogant little warrior piece of shit, if you don’t get the fuck out of here I am going to kill you.”
The kid arched an eyebrow, “With a broken leg?”
“I can heal it if you want. Then you could try again.”
Arrogant little shit.
“What’s your name?”
“If I tell you will you leave?”
“Because warriors shouldn’t be walking around untrained and you don’t belong…here. You belong somewhere … else. I need to make sure you get there.”
Micah stared at the male for a minute, he could feel that the words were true. They felt, heavy, and right, and that scared Micah. “You arrogant little half-breed piece of shit.”
“My name is Phillip.”
Micah ignored the pain in his leg, and dragged himself to his feet, he’d been beaten far worse than this when his father got drunk, or angry. He pretended he didn’t see the smaller male spring up and take a half step back, staying just out of reach. Micah looked down the alley, it seemed so short a few minutes ago, now it seemed miles long. He could see the two males and at least three females from the neighborhood gathered at the mouth of the alley. No way his father wasn’t going to hear about how a tiny little male broke his leg. He took a painful step toward the group.
“I can heal your leg.” Phillip repeated.
“I thought you were a Warrior.”
“Never said that, you did, but you know, like recognizes like.” Micah turned and saw the kid grinning at him.
“I’m not a warrior and you didn’t have to say it, you fucked up my leg and you weigh like half of me. You have to be a warrior.” Micah tried not to acknowledge the fact that his heart rate picked up at the idea of being a warrior.
It always did. Since the first time he saw warriors ride through the slums on their war horses when he was just beginning to walk and talk. He told his mother he was a warrior like them, she’d been drunk at the time and laughed at him. Later, when she told his father he beat him, that was the first of many beatings. Eventually, Micah learned not to say things his father didn’t want to hear.
Phillip continued to grin and bounced on the balls of his feet. “I am, I can still heal you.”
“Shut up half-breed.”
“I’m two thirds Devlarin, my name is Phillip, and if you call me half-breed again I am going to break your other leg strictly on principal. Do you have a name, Jackass?”
Micah snarled in frustration. He glared down the alley at the growing crowd, several neighborhood kids were mixed into the group now. The reek of raw sewage and rotting garbage mixed with the smell of his own sweat and he grit his teeth against the pain in his leg. A board lay not far from his feet. If he could get one solid hit against this smaller male, he felt certain he could knock him out. If, and it really was a huge if, he was warrior gifted, then he should have enough strength to defeat a smaller warrior.
It seemed like sound logic.
Then maybe word wouldn’t spread that a tiny male defeated him. Maybe his father wouldn’t feel the need to beat the shit out of him tonight, and tomorrow, and every night for the next month. Maybe he could get some peace…
He leaned down and grabbed the board, keeping his weight balanced on his unbroken leg, using it to pivot. He turned toward Phillip.
“You know, you should have minded your own damned business, you arrogant little half-breed piece of shit.” Micah lunged at the smaller male.
Phillip really didn’t want to fight the untrained warrior. It didn’t seem fair. Still, he warned him. He stepped into the charge, catching the splintering plank as the larger male came at him, he pulled and twisted, using the male’s momentum to spin him and drive his elbow into his stomach. He heard the oomph of air as he hit the larger male.
He pulled the board from the male’s hands and broke it over his knee, tossing the pieces to the side of the alley with the other rotting garbage heaped there.
The larger male stood, off balance, leaning on his unbroken leg, bent toward where Phillip hit him in the gut.
“My name is, Phillip, Jackass,” Phillip snarled the words now, “Now, just because you want to show off in front of your friends I’m going to have to break your fucking leg.”
“They’re not my friends.” Micah snapped. “Arrogant little half-breed aristo shit. I don’t have friends.”
Phillip almost paused, but he didn’t make ideal threats, he learned a long time ago if you didn’t follow through people stopped taking you seriously. Instead he walked up to the larger male, and hit him in the jaw. When he fell to the ground Phillip used his booted heal to fracture the bone in his other leg.
“Never call me a half-breed.” Phillip said in a calm voice.
A cheer rose from the end of the alley.
Micah lay still for a second. A tiny fucking kid just handed him his ass in front of enough of the neighborhood that everyone would know before Solaris turned the next day. He banged his head once on the ground.
His father would…he didn’t even want to think about what his father would do.
“Are you done now?” Phillip asked.
“Who exactly do you think you are?” Micah asked, pulling himself into something of a sitting position and seeing that Phillip was once again squatting just out of arms reach.
“I told you, my names Phillip. I’m here to find you. What’s your name?”
Micah grit his teeth. “Micah. What do you mean you’re here to find me?”
“My father is a seer, he sent me here, I figure it has to be for you, why else would he send me. If your done trying to kill me, I’ll heal your legs enough to get you to a real healer.” Phillip said.
“You break people, then you heal them?” Micah asked.
The boy grinned, but didn’t move. “Sometimes. Are you going to try to hit me?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
He shrugged. “Okay, I can go.”
Once again, he sprang to his feet, this time he took a step toward the mouth of the alley, Micah looked down the alley and saw the crowd. He could hear people grumbling, see them milling around. One of the males found another loose piece of wood.
“Fuck,” Micah sighed.
“I could help you.” Phillip turned and gazed down at him, his eyes unblinking.
“What are you going to do about it?” Micah asked.
“I just kicked your ass, you don’t think I can handle them?”
“Your going to beat up a bunch of females and children?” Micah accused. “I thought warriors protect.”
Phillip frowned and narrowed his eyes, “I have never in my entire life hit a female.” He paused, “Although, I’ve seriously considered hitting my sister once or twice.” He shrugged, “But I won’t have to hit them. Trust me.”
“You really are an arrogant little shit.” To Micah’s surprise Phillip grinned.
“You really are a Jackass.” But the kid still strode off down the alley.
Micah wasn’t entirely sure what he expected, but it wasn’t to see Phillip starting to talk, laugh, and motion back and forth from the crowd to himself. Within moments all the people gathered around him joined in his laughter, one of the females came up and kissed his cheek. The male tossed away the wooden board he held, and the crowd broke up in another moment.
Phillip came back down the alley. “Ready for me to heal you now?”