Cap licked his split bottom lip, and spat blood on the dirt road, refusing to take his eyes off the teenagers that decided today was the day they put a snot-nosed brat in his place, specifically because he stole a pack of their cigarettes. Of course, realizing far too late that the kid was tougher than he looked. Instead of crying or running away after being pushed like any other kid his age, he stomped his worn-out right shoe into the crotch of one of the big kids. That’s when the next few moments after became a blur of obscenities, and violent strikes to the face, stomach, and crotch.
“They’ll be back,” He thought.
Wanting it more than anything, perhaps thanks to the adrenaline coursing through his veins or because he simply loves fighting. He sat on a big rock sticking from the grass on the side of the road, keeping his gaze forward just in case the teenagers came back for round two. Almost in a trance, he lost track of time for ten to fifteen minutes. With a few more deep breaths, his heart rate came to a crawl, finally able to enjoy the peace. Living in a packed orphanage, he never could get a moment of silence. Sure he was eager to help out here and there, taking on the role of big brother to the orphanages that needed it but still, being outside by the river was pretty much his happy place. Or as he calls it, leave me the fuck alone and I won’t kick your ass, place. Now that he was relaxed, he could feel the aftermath of the fight hit him hard and fast, making him grunt as he leaned to the side. Reaching into his pocket, Cap pulled out a slightly crinkled cigarette he stole in exchange for being battered and bruised. He gave it a once over before placing it between his lips and pulling out a matchbox. Lighting his cigarette, the boy breathed in deeply and exhaled from the corner of his mouth. His eyes watched the small flame eat through the matchstick. His friend was more than likely gonna kick his ass, not for smoking, that was the job of the nuns at the orphanage, more or less. But for picking a fight, and not inviting her. She loved to fight as much as he did, and because she wasn’t very strong so the girl made sure every move she made counted. More importantly, Cap knew it was only a matter of time before she got adopted by a good family. She was pretty with a sweet voice and acted like the perfect kid, so any piece of shit would be lucky to have her; Well, that’s what she says at least. Lost in thought, Cap realized he was still holding a lit match once it started to burn his index and thumb. He yanked his hand away, letting it drop next to the rock he sat on. The boy rubbed his index, and thumb together as he noticed a piece of paper slightly wedged under the rock. The thought of something to burn quickly came to mind as he pulled out another match while picking up the piece of paper. He held the flame up to it, lighting the paper with ease before dropping the match, not wanting to make the same mistake twice. Cap twisted the paper, noticing writing on one side. The fire hadn’t spread enough yet, so he could still read it. Not bothering to put out the fire. The paper read;
“If you want to make some money, keep them from crossing the bridge between five pm to seven pm.”
Cap’s eyebrows scrunched together as he lazily looked from side to side for whatever bridge it spoke about. With soreness in his neck, he grunted as he leaned to the side, looking over his right shoulder, making sure to give the dirt road a small glance lest the teenagers get the jump on him.
“Well fuck me, there it is.”
Perhaps he took one too many blows to the head because he found it hard to believe he had just now noticed the bridge. It was a light brown bridge that seemed to be made of birch. Whoever built it, clearly didn’t get the wood from anywhere nearby, thanks to there being no birch trees in the area. He proceeded to put out the fire and stuff what was left of the paper in his pocket with the rest of his stolen cigarettes. While it was getting late, he couldn’t afford a watch or anything like that so there was no way to tell what time it was. Not that he believed the note, but he did plan on sneaking back to the orphanage when everyone was asleep. Or at least he hoped everyone was asleep, including his friend. The last thing he’d want is to tell her he got into a fight without her. His stomach began to turn, reminding him that he missed dinner. Well even if he was there for dinner, last night’s backtalk to sister Mary revoked his eating privileges for the next night. Lucky for him he still got breakfast. The sun had finally set, a good sign that everyone was in bed, and by looks of it, the note was full of shit. He stood up from the rock with a small groan, stretching as he looked around. Somewhere inside hoping that the note wasn’t full of shit and that some wise guy came out of nowhere to slip him a quarter or two. The thought made him tense up, not sure if he wanted some random gangsta to pop up behind him in the dark. After a while, he relaxed and slipped his hands into his pockets. Turning to leave he glanced at the rock he was sitting on only to find a piece of paper. Thinking that it slipped from his pocket, Cap plucked it from the rock only to realize it wasn’t the partially burnt piece of paper, but a stack of bills, hundred dollar bills. Time seemed to come to a crawl as he just stood there stunned. His gaze shifted from left to right, desperately trying to see who placed the money there. Cap immediately turned, making a mad dash down the dirt road, ignoring the screams of his sore body.
“Dorothy, why are you out of bed?” Sister Mary asked, her suspicious gaze being intensified by her lantern. Unlike the other nuns that ran the orphanage, Sister Mary was the head, the owner, and pretend mother to some of the younger ones. Something the woman seemed to hate being called. She would happily go out of her way to correct any kid who called her such an endearing name. Her reasoning for not liking being called mother or any variation of the name, was because it was special to the woman that adopts them in the future. Dorothy understood the reasoning but still, she didn’t like it.
“Forgive me, Sister Mary. I just can’t hold it any longer.”
“You should have gone before bed.”
“I’ll make sure to remember that.”
“Be sure that you do.”
The towering nun seemed to glide past her like a ghost. It gave Dorothy the creeps but she kept her composure like the perfect girl everyone expected her to be. The girl stepped backward into the bathroom, glancing from side to side through the hallway before closing the door.
A whisper came abruptly from her right, causing her to let fly an instinctive left hook, straight into the whisper’s ribs. She reached over and flicked on the lights.
“Oh, hey Capo. What’s up?”
“Damn it,” He said, wincing. Still very much sore from the fight a few hours ago. “You did that on purpose, and I told you to stop calling me that.”
“What are ya a pussy?” She squinted, her piercing eyes looking over Cap’s black eye. “Seriously?” She asked as she stepped over to the toilet. She slipped from her bloomers and sat down.
“What?” He asked, playing dumb. He hadn’t looked in a mirror yet but he was sure he didn’t look too good. He winced seeing her mount the toilet. “Aw come on. You can’t hold it?”
“I don’t need to, you can get the fuck out. And don’t what me, look at your face. How are you gonna explain that?” She asked while digging through her bloomers. She pulled out two bread rolls and tossed them to him.
“Forget all that, look what I got.” He said, almost not reacting in time to catch his meal for the night. He held up ten hundred dollar bills with a toothy grin.
“Fake,” She said, rolling her eyes. Giving no reply, he shoved the stack in her face so she could get a closer look. Dorothy was smart even if she was stubborn at times. After looking the bills over she snatched them from his hand and held them up to the light. “This is why you got beat up, you stole a bunch of money?”
“Not even, I took some pussy’s cigarettes.” He said, showing her the slightly crumpled box of smokes.
“Ew, forget the smokes, Capo.” She said, while casually taking them and dropping them into her bloomers. She didn’t have any pockets and the elastic of her short bloomers was strong enough to pocket small things. “Go for the candy ones, they’re a few cents.”
“Speaking of cents,” With a mouth full of buttery bread, he groaned as the cigarettes he fought two teenagers for were snatched away with ease. “We gotta find a way to split, and hide all this money. If we can just break it somehow.”
In the year 1900, two little orphans, an eleven-year-old baby-faced boy, and a pretty little girl, realized peace was never an option in a world ran by adults. Some children grow up, while very few wake up and choose violence.