Rain slid down the tin roofs and dripped onto the streets of Colony 8. The streets of Base 6 were cluttered with people at this hour. Eerie yellow lights illuminated the roads and moss covered buildings.
The atmosphere was dark and dismal. The smell of mold and mildew was pungent that night. Most that lingered in the streets held their breath or left the ghettos of Base 6 with haste.
Base 6 was the trash can of Colony 8. The homeless and the poor inhabited in the old water damaged buildings and roads. Many had wet shoes and withered and torn clothing.
The other bases of Colony 8 looked down at the small and putrid base, as though it were a hideous spider.
Military status held Colony 8 together. Power and respect were only seen by one's military echelon.
Education and other treasures were only given to those who showed their power and joined the hellish armies.
Rory flipped through the several documents over the requirements for higher schooling. He clicked and typed away on his ancient computer while munching on potato chips.
“This is all bull shit. What do I have to do to be surrounded by decently knowledgeable people?” he exclaimed, “well, I guess this school will have to do for now.”
He compiled his last notes then turned off his humming computer. He leaned back on his torn, black, leather chair.
“Like hell, I'm gonna join the army…” he muttered to himself.
He slumped out of his chair, pulling himself up, and heading to the bathroom. He flipped on the light and looked into the mirror.
His dark, curly, brown hair sat messily on his head. Rory grimaced at it, immediately picking up his comb, and running it through his hair. He practically ripped through his tangles with the comb, while grumbling swears.
Gradually he started to stop, seeing that his hair looked exactly the same.
Rory looked over to the hallway, scratching his head.
Did mom call me? He thought to himself.
“Yeah..?” he yelled, hesitantly.
“Can you come down here?” she responded.
He was greeted by silence. He rolled his eyes. Now he had to go all the way down the stairs, just to ask what she needed.
He went slowly down the stairs as if to let his head process the information he gathered today better.
After a couple slower paced steps, he finally made it to the living room.
His mother, Desirae, sat on the couch while kids flocked around her like pigeons picking bread crumbs off the ground.
Desirae was beautiful. She had dark, wavy, brown hair. Her eyes were a soft, hazelnut brown, and her skin was a light, chocolate milk like color.
There were heavy bags underneath her eyes. They were always there though. Running an orphanage, keeping food on the table, and having two jobs was stressful and exhausting. But somehow she pulled it all off.
“Hi, Rory. Can you get me a few things from the store?” she asked, her nose still buried in papers.
“Yeah... But after can we talk about the school thing?” he suggested.
She shook her head roughly.
“Rory, you want to go to a death army JUST to go to a good school? I wouldn't mind sending you to a good school but you're not going to the army. Ever,” she said hastily.
“I'm not Mom. I don't want to- ever so it's okay. I found a good school. It teaches all the good stuff and has real teachers,” he explained.
She cocked a brow, finally taking her nose out of her mountain of papers.
Rory handed her the papers he printed off, smirking a little to himself.
She studied the paper, meticulously analyzing every word and sentence.
“Wow. That is pretty amazing compared to your school now... but transportation Rory... that's a lot of work... And what if they pull out the military card…”
“Mom...please? I really don't want anything but this. I'll do all of the transportation. No gas money in this at all. I can just wake up extra early every morning and take the subway there. Or I can bike there,” he summarized.
She nodded, running a hand through her hair.
“Don't let me regret this, okay? Do you hear me Rory?” she said, her tone sharp, “If this helps you then... I'm fine with it.”
Rory grinned, showing all of his teeth.
“Yes, Rory dear. Yes. Now you need to head to Silas's and buy me some chicken. Then if you have some extra money you get something for yourself, okay?”
Immediately his grin turned into a thick frown. He sighed loudly and waved up his arms exaggeratedly.
“Ugh. Okay…” he said with resignation.
He filed out of the living room. The children scattered around him, only because he was going out.
“Can we go with you?”
“Will you buy me some candy?”
“Take us to go play!”
Rory glanced down at their anxious faces. He gave them a wry smile as if to avoid confrontation from these children.
He ran up the stairs. The kids ran after him; their footsteps were pounding as they went.
He flung into his room and closed the door shut. He threw off his shorts and put on his jeans. Then he shoved on his gray hoodie.
He felt like he was in an action movie, fleeing from assassins. But the assassins were eccentric, youthful, impatient, children.
He opened the door, children jumping at him from every direction.
Oh. My. God.
He didn't want to hurt them and he definitely didn't want to make them cry either.
He stood there waiting. They all crawled on him grabbing at him and his clothes.
Desirae suddenly appeared at the end of the hallway.
“M-Mom help me!” he pleaded.
She gave a loud signal like whistle. The kids instantly got off of him. He took a huge breath after, his eyes still wide from the horror movie like experience.
“Now go Rory,” she commanded, her tone somewhat humorous.
He gave her an odd look but didn't pay too much attention to her.
“Thanks for saving me, Mom…” he mumbled under his breath.
She laughed hard at this. She came up to him, ruffling his hair.
“No problem dear,” she said sweetly.
He smiled a little then walked over to the front door.
“Be careful, okay?”
He waved bye, then closed the door behind him. Outside the rain was heavy. The soles of his shoes were already getting wet. The night was anything but cold though. The humidity created sticky sweat on his neck and his forehead.
“What shitty weather…” he grumbled to himself.
He speed walked to Silas's, not paying attention to anything or anyone really at all.
He turned a corner. Reaching the market area. The streets were clogged up with mud and water. Not many people were out and about on the roads.
Rory stomped through the water drenched street, making his way to Silas's Butcher shop.
His shop was small and didn't look very welcoming when first looking at it. But Silas had a killer smile and the laugh of jolly Saint Nicholas. He was amazing at luring people to his shop, mainly children and innocent mothers. What they didn't know was he found joy in fooling people.
He'd play the “sweet old man card” and make them come over. They didn't know what kind of shop he had or who the “sweet old man” was. They would stroll on over, clueless as can be. Then he would ask,
“Would you like to buy some candy?” Then he'd freak them out by flashing bloody, raw, and fresh meat at them.
Of course, they'd run away and vow to never go back there again.
The only bad thing about his tactics and antics was that he wasn't exactly, remembered. Time and time again he'd fool people, and even save some people. But he still had no name in Base Six.
But at least the orphanage knew him well. And he didn't scare them away. He definitely couldn't scare Desirae nor Rory.
He kept a good relationship with them as being their incredibly cheap butcher and actually nice neighbor. But Rory didn't like how he would always ask about his mom, he thought it was creepy in a sense.
Rory shuffled through the last length of watery road and finally made it to Silas's shop.
Silas was about to close up, but then he saw Rory poke his head into the shack.
“Eh...Coming down here at such a late hour, huh? What do you need- or actually what does Desirae need?” he questioned his tone somewhat flat.
Rory didn't even look at him. He just shoved his hands in his pocket, coins jingling. He finally produced some coins then showed them to Silas.
“I- or should I say WE want the usual,” he told him, trying not to start a conversation about his mom.
“Okay…” he muttered back, as he disappeared into the back of his shack.
Rory was finally left alone. All he could hear now was the soft tap of raindrops and the sway of the broken sign on the vegetable shop nearby.
His bangs fell onto his face. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to push them out of his face. His attempt failed. He tried ten more times, the curly locks coming back every time.
He was at the point where he wanted to grab a shaver and buzz all of his annoying hair away.
Instead, he tugged at a single strand. He pulled at it vigorously, his pull strong and full of anguish.
Silas came back to the front, noticing him angrily tugging at the evil strand of hair.
Rory didn't look up. All he saw was the stupid hair.
Rory kept tugging.
Rory looked up, blinking a couple of times, but overall wasn't phased.
“All I'm trying to say…” Silas began, “is that it'll take a bit for the meat to cut this time.”
“Oh okay. Why?” he asked.
“I have to run to the back to my shed to get some of the meats. It'll take a while for me to get everything…” Silas summarized.
Rory nodded. Then he went straight back to fooling around with his hair. Silas rolled his eyes. He was about to leave when he saw something.
Rory looked up, cocking a brow.
Silas smiled brightly, like as if he pulled his grin straight out of a magician’s hat.
“What can I get you?” he said.
Rory moved his lips to call him crazy. He stopped, seeing the person standing right beside him.
Rory's eyes finally traveled over. He glimpsed at the person, seeing long black hair and neat clothing.
“Two codfish and a mackerel please,” The boy ordered, his voice barely audible.
Rory's eyes widened with surprise. He was taken back by his low voice.
“Okay! I'll get that to him right away!” Silas told him, disappearing into the back.
Rory released his grip on his hair. He shoved his hands into his pockets. His eyes lingered around. He tried to avoid looking at the boy next to him, but his attempts were inevitable.
He finally gave up, letting his eyes face him.
Wow, he's really…
He had never seen someone so...clean.
His long black hair was combed neatly, and his hair glimmered in the yellow light of the streets. He wore a light purple cardigan with a pressed white button-up underneath. His jeans had no holes and no rips. His shoes were fairly clean as well. Only small dirt patches and smudges were apparent on his white shoes. Overall he was exceptionally clean.
He's definitely not from around here...I think?
It all didn't quite make sense. He was all clean and neat but was buying food from the slums of Colony 8. But he didn't look rich enough or pompous enough to be from the higher bases, like Base Three or Base Two.
Rory somewhat was interested in him now. He looked at him again, just to see his face.
His eyes were round and pale blue. His skin was apricot and his lips were a soft pink.
Yet, his demeanor didn't come off light and airy; it seemed very stiff and reserved.
“Alright!” Silas chimed.
Rory snapped out of his daze. He focused on Silas, seeing his jolly cheeks and mischievous eyes.
“Here's your's, Rory. And your's…”
He handed them the brown paper bags, still giving the boy an odd eye.
The boy mumbled a little “thank you”, then turned to leave immediately. Rory's eyes followed him. The boy gracefully undid his umbrella. He strolled off, his long black hair flowing behind him. Rory watched his hair sway smoothly as his figure traveled down the street.
Rory swung around, looking directly at Silas.
Rory noticed the little wrinkles in his skin and the dimples underneath his broad, toothy grin.
Since when did he have those? Have those three moles on his cheek always been there? Rory thought to himself.
“Hey, do you know that kid?” Silas asked.
Rory stared at him, his gaze dumbfounded.
“Do you know that long haired kid, Rory?” he repeated.
“What?” Rory finally replied.
“I SAID- Do you know that kid?”
“Oh...Nope. Never seen him.”
“That's odd. People never come to my shop. Especially random people,” Silas pointed out, with a suspicious look on his face, “AND I've never seen him in my whole entire life of living in this dump.”
“Yeah... I thought that too. He's kind of different. Well... nice chatting. I have to go. My Mom's gonna be worried about me.”
Rory waved a hand. Silas gave a nod, then went back to fiddling with his knives.
Rory ducked out from the shop. He reluctantly stepped back into the wet night. He speed walked home, with the meat slipped under his water soaked shirt.
He finally got home. He ran for the last length of the road.
As he took his last steps, in the corner of his eye he saw a lone figure. He halted his steps right in front of his door. There was the same boy standing out in front of the abandoned workshop.
He still had his umbrella over him, but Rory could see his face perfectly in the streetlight.
The boy was peering down at the ground, while he chewed on something. He stared at the muddy water puddles and bits of grass poking out of the street.
Rory gave another glance at his hunched stance, then went around the back of his house.
Who is he…?