What betrayal really means. Torn centric drabbles leading up to the Mar's Tomb Decision.
His family is not important, they just live in an old house off Long Street in the slums. The first time Torn snuck out after dark to muck through the garbage when he was five he was chased away by a run away lurker. When he was six, he chased the lurker away instead, and comes home with an old cheese sandwich. He had to share it with his younger brothers, but it was worth it. He finally made an impact. That old cheese sandwich was his.
When he was eight he found a silver ring in the muck. When he began to run home he got cornered by a bunch of bigger boys. Seeing a scrawny kid who was only two years older than he was, Torn tackled him. When the kid hit the ground, the slum boy ran for it. When the others caught up to him, he was almost to the dockside shanty town. They beat the snot out of him, and took the ring, but he was allowed in, if he wanted to be a runner.
Torn managed to fit right in to the gang. He had an amazing memory for names and faces. The scrawny kid, Jerrel, was a rat, and the weakest one, besides Torn. Jerrel held people's arms while the bigger kids did the punching.
Cindy was the skirt. She dressed and pretended to be a boy, but everyone could tell she didn't have the guts for a real fight. Still, they kept her around because she was clever, and had the ability to make the older boys forget how to speak.
Tess was different. She pretended to be short and sweet and cheery, but she was the person who came up with the idea of jamming glass shards into sticks and using them to pitch interlopers off the home turf.
Doner and Kaspar were afraid of Tess. But they were afraid of everyone, except Cindy. They made up for this by punching the people who Jerrel told them to punch.
Gib was the theif. He could pinch just about anything from anyone, they were sure.
Sachi was the entreprenuer, as he liked to call himself. He was smart, and he had grand ideas. He would take Kyle, the spy, and Tess outside the slums to scope out what he called: "real deals." Tess once told Torn that she didn't like the fat guy Sachi met in the harbor.
Kyle was different. He was quiet, and didn't look very noticible, besides the huge black bruises that he occassionally sported. He was good at sneaking, and was considered the spy of the whole opperation. The only person he talked to at all was Rylt, who was big, nice, and devoted to the entire gang. Torn liked Rylt.
Tommy he respected. Tommy was the leader.
4. First Job
Torn did the running for Tommy. It was entry level, and everyone, besides Jerrel, could pick on him. Cindy would make sarcastic comments, and Doner and Kaspar would occassionally rough him up, but everyone else accepted him. Torn was clever, too, and by the time he was twelve he could plan
Sachi decided, one fine morning, that they should go up to the shanty town, and nick a zoomer, and possibly some candles from the hut with that freakish statue on the way out. Kyle nodded, and Rylt said Kyle's old man hadn't paid the bills, so a little light to go around wasn't the worst idea. Tommy knew the zoomer would be a big asset.
Rylt, Kyle, and Torn were Sachi's hand-picked crew. Torn was proud to be picked for the mission, but he felt a little uneasy. Sachi seemed to have forgotten that there was a new gang roaming the badly repaired boards of the shanty town. He was right to be nervous.
"We'll want a big one," Sachi enthused.
"Tommy wants a single seater," Torn contradicted. Sachi didn't mind when people told him where to get off, even if Jerrel got snappy when Torn pointed things out. Jerrel wasn't there. "He says it has to be fast."
"Oh all right, fast is better anyway."
Kyle pointed, a single seater was parked near a pier. The four rushed over, and Sachi grinned triumphantly.
"See, tole ya this would be a cake walk."
"Er, how does it work?" Rylt wanted to know.
Kyle looked, and then pointed to the lack of key.
"Oh this is easy peasy then. I'll just hotwire it," Sachi cracked his knuckles.
Kyle hopped in front of him, instead, and began to unscrew a pannel.
"Leave him Sachi," Rylt told the temporary leader, "Ky's old man was a mechanic. Ky knows what to do."
Torn looked up the docks, as someone called out: "Oi!" Kids wearing blue arm bands were sauntering along the rickety boards.
"Rylt!" the twelve year-old's mouth was dry. "You and me block the enterance to this peir. They can't interrupt Ky. Sachi, you keep a look out in case they want to swim."
It was rough and tumble. A fist connected with Torn's stomach, on the first go, and he kicked someone on the shin in response. Rylt floored the guy who was heading for Torn as the little boy fought to regain his breath.
The skinny kid was tough. Cropped red hair cusioned the impact of Torn's head meeting with an attacker's gut, before he swung around punching wildly.
A big guy, bigger than Rylt, was looming up behind the strong arm of the slum gang. Torn kneed the shanty kid in the back, and then drove an elbow into the bigger boy's shoulder, as Rylt punched him in the face.
And suddenly it was all over, and Torn was standing with Rylt brused, scratched, and, he realized, bleeding, with shanty town boys surrounding them, out cold.
The two fighters looked at each other and laughed in the sudden silence.
"Hoi," an engine sputtered into life, and Sachi was grinning. "We've pulled it off. Grab on!"
Ky looked startled as the three other boys made grabs for any hand holds they could, Sachi getting on the smooth metalic back behind Ky, and gripping with his knees.
Three stomachs dropped to the bottom of the water bed, as Kyle forced the stolen vehicle up in the air. The extra wieght of the other three wasn't much, although with Torn and Rylt hanging on on the same side, the distribution was uneven.
This had been a marvelous day, Torn thought as Kyle drove them towards the statue's hut at fair speeds. His first real mission had confirmed his place in the gang after four years.
End Part One