Being Bad

Being Bad

A Story by Morgan Sade
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Upon escaping from the hell she had lived in all her life, Vilaneis stubbles upon a powerful, nameless boy with a strange past. A boy who could be the key to her newfound mission: to be bad.

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It was dark out that night, the city’s bright lights blinding the stars and keeping them from showing through, as if they could through the dirt and soot and filth. It was not an unusual night, to some, but for me it was my first night of freedom. I had finally found the courage to escape from the hell I had lived in for the first seven years of my life. People were that hell, people and there curious and hateful eyes.

I would have no more of it. From this night on, Lila was dead. I was a new girl: Vilaneis, as the woman in my dreams had called me. I liked to think that this woman was my mother. More of a mother than the three others that had dared to call themselves that. The mother that had told me to protect him.

Whoever “he” was…

Shouts echoed off the streets, not unusual by the hour. We were in Chicago, and shouts in this part of town were a regular occurrence. But these shouts were not familiar to me. The boy who was speaking did not have the telltale accent that marked a street-boy, nor did he have the hostility of one who was demanding something of another. It was a calm voice, cool. As if talking to a child. But whoever this was, it sounded like a child himself.

“I would not bother with me. I have nothing you could possibly want.”

“You have more than that, you f*****g rat!” another snapped. This was the voice of a rat. He obviously had lived on the street for a very long time. And he had the hostility.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I moved forward, my gifts forgotten. Squatting beside a garbage can, I watched one boy as he stood in the half-light of the night, facing six boys twice his size and age with relative calmness. His dark hair was nearly as long as mine, and hung down in his face.

“We saw’d where it is you’d come from.” Another snapped, obviously attempting to sound aloof and smart. “You and all those other boys, climbing over the walls of that military place.”

The boy did not seem surprised. “Oh? And that makes me worth something?”

“Not you!” the lead boy said. “That thing around yur neck!”

Instantly, the boy reached up and touched the chain around there, glinting in the moonlight as he recoiled. I gasped, touching for my own. How did he have the same ring I did?

As if he had heard my quite intake of breath, his eyes flashed to me for a brief moment. So brief that I was doubtful I had even seen it. “It is worth nothing to you.” He said, his voice sharp as the knife I had cut Maria with.

“It’s probably worth sumthin’, if yer guarding it likes that.”

Huh. That was probably the smartest thing these boys had ever said.

The boy straightened. “Only to me. No other.”

“I beg to differ...” The lead boy said, stepping forward to take it from him.

“I would come any closer if I were you.” The boy with the dark hair said again, his voice growing both cold and dark simultaneously, as if the proximity between them was a gauge for it in his voice. The leader stopped in his tracks. “Or you’ll find yourself…” he thought for a moment. “dead as a doornail.” He finished, obviously pleased with himself.

I was worried now. These boys were surely going to get in a fight, and the one with the dark hair knew it. I wondered if I should help him…

“Like hell!” he growled, and continued moving forward.

It all went very fast then.

Just as the leader stepped forward, the boy pivoted on his front foot, and kicked him straight across the face with such startling speed that if I had blinked I would have surely missed it. He was strong, too, so strong that I could feel the crack as the leader’s jaw broke on impact. Blood few across the alley, landing in a small pool in front of me. The leader staggered back, looking to the little boy in disbelief. Hell, I was in disbelief. Maybe I didn’t even need to help.

He stood at the ready, in a fighting stance, waiting. His face was as if it had been carved from stone. This boy was probably my age, but he seemed to be older, and stronger. I was liking him already, and that was even before I had met him. He seemed just as destined for badness as I was. Maybe I could somehow figure out a way to bring him over to my way of thinking?

The leader ran forward again in a rush, attempting to ram into the boy, but in a second he was in the air, flying over all of the group and landing with naught a sound near the place where I was hiding. Blood got on his bare feet. He glanced over to me. “Help now, or you might not get the chance.”

“You saw me?” I said, rising.

“Of course.”

I frowned and stood, brushing the dirt off of my knees. I didn’t like that.

“I was going to help.” I grumbled, standing beside him. My fighting stance wasn’t nearly as practiced as his, and I felt like an idiot beside him, and a child. I was almost certain that this boy was older than me, despite his appearances. How could someone my age look the way he did?

My grumblings weren’t meant to really mean anything. Sometimes I complained just to complain: I still do. But the boy gave me a quick meaningful look from deep, fathomless grey eyes, and quirked a small smile. This was the first time I had seen this boy have any semblance of human emotion. It had me worry: exactly who was this boy that I was going to fight beside?

One of the gang members laughed. “Kids? And a girl?”

“Run along home now, little girl.” They said condescendingly. “Leave us boys to business.”

“There are three things I hate:” I told them, ignoring their jest, “Jerks, people trying to tell me what to do and people underestimating me.” I paused, reaching down to my boot and pulling out the long knife I had stolen from Maria’s collection. It glinted in the moonlight, and I studied the reflection inside of it before continuing. “The last one always seems to be their downfall.”

They looked at me skeptically, but the leader walked towards us. “Come on. All we want is to see that ring of yours.”

Jeez, this guy was an idiot. He still wanted the thing after this boy had already showed him there was no way in hell that he could beat him when it came to speed. Why press it?

“You don’t want to do that.” The boy said, his voice hard again.

“I think we do.”

I stepped in. “Suit yourself. It’s your funeral.”

The boy with the dark hair looked at me oddly for a moment, but then turned back to face the boys. I might have imagined it.

The leader and two of his boys came around to us, cautiously this time because they had seen a fraction of what he could do. They were focusing on him anyway, because they had no idea of exactly why Maria wasn’t there to stop me from taking things from her collection. I was no damsel in distress, trying to stand up for herself. I could fight to, however mediocre compared to this boy. So, while they were distracted and focused on him, I stabbed one in the gut, clean through, so smooth a move that I could feel it. I laughed as he collapsed, and moved back, letting the blood on the blade shine in the moonlight. It was simply perfect.

The others didn’t notice. The boy had moved so quickly that I had missed it, but somehow he had gotten one of them down and unconscious, and the other on the floor. I saw him as he broke the boy’s neck. Wow. He was as cold as I was. How lucky a find was that? Maybe that god the orphanage preached about was real, and whatever god ruled the universe handed me my way to badness. He was as bad as wanted to be.

He glanced back, a short burst of surprise showing on his featured before straightening himself. We both turned to where the others had been standing.

They were gone, scattered probably when they had seen two seven year olds kill three of their own in cold blood. I sighed and wiped the blade on the boy I had stabbed through the stomach, still holding onto life. I thought about killing him, but the boy was at my side in a moment, and crushed his windpipe with his foot.

So now we were alone, and I stared at him. He looked like he had been raised in the woods, if there had been any preserves nearby, I would have said he had come from that. But the boys said that he had come from a military place. I had never heard of any such thing.

“It’s by the water.” He said. “And all those things that float in it.”

I was confused for a moment. “The boats?” I questioned.

He shrugged.

“You can read my mind.” I said, putting my hands on my hips. He did not contradict me. “That’s rude, you know.” When I read minds, it was only from those that I had use of the information within. Never from just a stranger, and never if I wanted to have anything that resembled a friendship with them. At least a business relationship that I had hoped to have with this boy.

He did not respond to my thoughts, so I had assumed he had withdrawn. “I was curious.”

“I’m Vilaneis.” I told him.

He nodded. “I knew that.”

I sighed, beginning to get frustrated. “Usually when someone tells you their name, you tell them your own.”

He looked at me, confused.

“What do people call you?” I asked him impatiently.

He frowned. “Lots of things: ‘boy’, ‘the boy with the dark hair’, ‘leader’…” he thought for a moment. “’The ones at the…military place, did he call it? They called me ‘three’.”

I shook my head. “You’re a piece of work. You can’t go around without a name.”

“Not if I’m to agree to your agenda, of course.” He said blandly, his face serene, his eyes and voice cold.

“Not in any way.” I retorted. “If you’re to live in this city, you first need a name, and then you need money.” I looked him over. “Obviously you don’t have the second, and you already told me you don’t have the first…”

“What is it, exactly, that you want me for?” he said, sounding tired.

I frowned. “Well don’t get all stressed out about it.” I grumbled. “If you looked in my mind, how is it that you don’t know?”

“I respect your privacy. I only looked at the surface thoughts.”

I looked at him strangely. “Then look deeper, if you feel such curiosity. But if I’m going to allow that, then you have to give me permission to go digging around in your head.”

He frowned. “Why?”

I grinned. “Curiosity.”

“All this curiosity is going to end up killing somebody.” He sighed. “Alright. Then if you want, we can both go in at the same time. Fair enough?”

“Sure.”

In a moment, I felt him dive into my deeper thoughts, and my memories, and I took my cue from that. His mind was open, and he let me in.

He was afraid of what I would find there. That I got before anything else. He was afraid of a lot of things: of this city, for one, and of me. He saw himself in me, and that’s what frightened him. He was worried I would turn into the girl with the red hair.

I instantly was taken into a memory. It was cold, and dark in this place, the large hall where he and the rest of the boys slept. The large double doors were just beside him, because he was the only one willing to be near them. All the others were sleeping against the opposite wall, fearful that if they were close to it, then maybe they would be picked first. Screaming woke him up, bloodcurdling screams of someone with a higher voice, like that of the odd looking person in the white coat. I was frightened to realize the difference that he failed to understand: he had never seen a girl before. Because he had been here for all of his life, and they had made sure that the boys were “isolated.”

He reached out tentatively with his mind, and found that this person was different than them. Not only was the way she looked at things different, but so was her senses and her perceptions of the pain she was experiencing. She absolutely enjoyed it. It was the only time, he found from her mind, that she felt anything.

He pulled away, frightened by this absolute coldness that he feared that he himself was falling into.

In a few days, he found the same mind again, half-dead because she had slit her wrists. At least she felt something before she died.

I recoiled, and fell into something more routine. The boy was in the same place again, only this time he was playing a game with another boy there, the one called fifteen. They were friends here, and, other than twenty-eight, the closest thing that the complex had to leaders among the boys. Despite there being others much older, this boy, three and fifteen, were the most powerful and most skilled at what they did.

And what they were made to do was kill.

I saw flashes of his constant training to be fast- faster than he could even move sometimes, to avoid unavoidable pain. He had to be strong enough to escape the inescapable, to have endurance enough to be more than human. Because that’s what they told him he was. Not human. A monster.

Another: flashforward. He and fifteen shared their mind for brief moments when they could do it undetected. Slowly a plan forms, and all of the other boys are informed. Everyone has powers that no normal human has, so why not take control from those that have always held the control over them? With control came freedom, and three liked his freedom. To have a life where no one would ever tell him what to do again…? Eighteen was enthusiastic. They tried to tell the girls in the block behind theirs, and Jason connected his mind to a girl who could see everything. She already had known about the plan, and had planned her own uprising. The girl with the red hair knew it all, and she was going to help…

It went off without a hitch. Almost all of the humans in the complex were dead by the time they got to the wall. Climbing it was the easiest part of the whole venture. Eighteen remained unharmed, but somehow, when the others rushed forward on the dock, rushing him and eighteen around, they had gotten separated. They had planned to stay together, and find their way. Now, three was upset. He was alone on the dock, with no idea of how the real world worked. He had grown cold, despite himself, so his emotions were barely existent. Fear was just a word now.

Yet he felt excitement when he was cornered by the group of boys. At first he didn’t understand what it was exactly, they were following him for. Were they from the people at the complex? Were they trying to bring him back?

Finding out that this was how humanity worked had disappointed him. He had thought better of that which he resembled, but wasn’t really. Killing them was as easy as it had been killing the numerous at the complex.

And with this girl here, he thought that maybe she could teach him about the real world so that he could find a place in it. And not only that, fighting beside her had been more exciting than fighting beside even eighteen. Fighting beside her made him feel

I was pulled out of his mind forceful, not as if I had withdrawn, but as if he had recoiled. I hadn’t known anyone could do that. Looking up at him oddly, wordlessly, and with wonder, I simply looked at him. I felt the unfamiliar sting of pity.

He frowned. “Is it really that simple, what you want?” he murmured, obviously oblivious to my pity. “Just to…”

“To be bad.” I said flatly. If he wanted to ignore it, so could I. Just by seeing my mind, he must have known that it wasn’t normal for someone to live like he did. If I thought my life was a nightmare, his was an absolute hell in comparison. “All I want is to break every rule in the book, and…”

“And to have no one ever tell you what to do again.” He finished for me. “That’s interesting. I want exactly the same thing.”

“Then we’re going to get along just fine.” I said, grinning, and trying to put the absolute horror of his life out of my mind. “You teach me how to fight like that, and I teach you all about the world and give you a place to live in it.”

He frowned slightly. Obviously he noticed that the deal was a little lopsided.

“Don’t worry about it.” I said, waving his worry away. “I won’t break this promise. You’re too curious to me.”

He still had the slightest frown touch his lips, but still nodded. “So where are we going exactly?”

I smiled, glad he agreed to it. “First we’re going to get you a name, and then we’re going to rob an ATM machine- a place where people store their money- so that we can get an apartment.”

He nodded. “And how are we to do that?”

“Using our powers, of course. With you strength and my…other abilities, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

 

His questions were endless once I got him going. Just walking down the main street of Chicago’s slums was enough to have him pointing to things, and demanding “What’s that?”

Like a child, he was. And this was probably the most child-like I had ever seen him. And he had a strange innocence and ignorance towards everything. I wondered exactly what it was they had taught him in that place.

“Why are they giving each other pieces of plastic like that?” he asked me.

“Because there’s money stored on it.” I explained. “The money is how they pay for the things they want. One thing is worth such amount of money. It’s better then trading. So when you want something, you have to pay the money in order to get it. So, these days, money is worth everything because money can get everything.”

“You like money, don’t you?” he said blandly.

“It’s all part of the being-bad plan.” I said grinning. “The more money we have, the more power we have. And the more power, the more freedom to do things as we see it should be done.”

“And you like that, too.” He said softly. Then he looked up again. “What is an ATM machine?”

“It’s a place where people can get pieces of paper the count as money instead of using cards. Some people feel that the paper is easier to handle than cards. It’s more tangible, and you can’t spend more money than you already have.”

“How could you do that? Spend more money than you already have?”

“Think of it as borrowing it from the bank.” I answered.

“Then what is ‘the bank?’”

“It’s the place where the ATM is connected to. The bank hold all the money of all the people in Chicago, while the ATMs that are scattered all around the city hold only a fraction of that. Other banks hold all the money of all the places outside of Chicago.”

“So why don’t we just steal from the bank, if we want money so badly?” he said.

I kind of loved his naivety, it was so fresh. A new outlook on how we should do things. Not that I was any older than him, in his questioning I had gotten a few of my own. He was only a few months older than me, barely anything between us. Anything except for the barricade that separated his lifestyle from mine. “We will, eventually. I just think it would be better to start of smaller.”

He looked at me oddly. “Why?”

“Because…” I paused. “I don’t know. Why do you want to steal from a bank so badly?”

“Because, if what you’ve told me is true, and banks hold more money then a whole bunch of ATMs, then why don’t we just go there first?”

He was honestly confused by my reluctance to steal from a bank rather than an ATM. And, when he put it that way, I was a little confused myself. “Because I’d like to buy off some more people to come with us when we rob something that big. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the strength to take out everyone there.”

He stared at me. “I’ve single-handedly taken down a room full of military soldiers in five minutes flat.”

I stared back, open mouthed. “You’re not serious.”

“That was in an enclosed space, with an unreasonable number of guards. If they’re spread out, it should be easy. Give you a knife, and you could probably take out a few of your own.” He smiled slightly.

“Well thank you for that vote of confidence, but…” I frowned. “You really want to rob a bank?”

He shrugged. “If we’re going to go breaking rules, then why don’t start out big?”

 

I’ll admit it, I liked him. He intrigued me more than any boy I’d ever met before. Besides that, I’ve seen what he could do, beside just moving fast and the strength and the mind reading. He was powerful in other ways too, other ways I could see, but he could not.

It’s safe to say that he had convinced me to rob the bank, despite my better judgment. But I could recognize that he was doing what he knew I would not. In retrospect, I know that then, “Being bad” was just a concept. Merely words. I had killed and hurt others before, but had never stolen had never cheated or done anything roguish. This was new to me. I was reluctant to dive right in. He saw this, and helped me, whether it had been consciously or otherwise. For that, now, I am grateful.

 We first stole from a weapons store, at night, the locks broken by him and the camera’s disabled by me. The boy marveled at all the impressive weapons, and I had to admit I did too. This place had tripled the knives that Maria did, and that’s only concerning the knives. That didn’t even begin to cover the guns.

“You need a name.” I said offhandedly while I had looked, still concerned that all I had to call him was either “three” or “boy”, neither of which I was inclined to do. I did not think that he heard me, though.

I took quite a few of the knives, including the two knives that I still use today, who I named Point and Blank, my little inside joke.

It was no joke concerning the boy. He had gone straight to the guns, and the big ones- things that were nearly as long as he was tall, and whose bullets were easily the size of his thumb. He seemed quite fond of it, and was looking through the scope when I came over after “shopping” for my knives.

“That’s huge.” I remarked, and he ignored me, studying the side of it.

“Inaccurate, though.” He replied. “Wouldn’t be able to hit anything farther than thirty meters, accurately. The bullet would go flying.” He put the gun down, and moved on to another.

Obviously he had learned about guns in that place too. I hadn’t seen that when I had looked through his mind. “If you keep on going like that, we’ll be here all night.” I told him. “Just take something easy now, something small and that you know you can handle.”

He looked at me for a few seconds. “We were never allowed to touch the guns without one of them watching, and even then we were always alone. Somehow they knew that we had the potential to rise against them, even as children. Especially the large guns: we never could touch them.” His gaze was like razors. “I killed the first man with an AK-47 and the second with a bazooka. I can handle pretty much anything.”

“Something you know how to use the best.” I said impatiently, not willing to take his attitude. “Something that you can use better than anything else.”

He looked at me for a long moment, and then suddenly frowned, his gaze flicker to where I had come.

Quickly he glanced back to the guns, and almost offhand picked a small handgun off of the wall, then grabbing a box of ammunition before moving on. He was no longer focused on the guns, but on the knives and sharp things I liked to use.

He didn’t actually go to the knives, but to the ornamental swords and old fashioned blades. Though I could tell they were made recent, completely devoid of any sign of deterioration, they looked like they were pulled out of one of those movies about the heroes that I remember the woman from my dreams reading, and then the woman who dared to call herself my mother five years later.

The boy picked up a rather large thin blade that had a slight curve to it. A katana, I recognized. He unsheathed it, and tested the edge with his thumb, before moving on. Finally, he came to a large broadsword, probably the same weight as him, and twice as tall. Yet the handle was of burnished silver, and I could feel that he liked this one, that much he could not hide from me. In fact, he was almost broadcasting it. He picked it up and held it in front of him like a real warrior.

Like the warrior of my mother’s tales.

“You look like Jason with his Argonauts, going to find the Golden Fleece.” I said, before I remembered that he would have no idea who Jason and the Argonauts were and would not understand the comment.

He thought for a moment, pensive. “Jason.” He repeated. “Jason…” he glanced to me. “My name is Jason.”

“It suits you.” I smiled, loving the irony, and liking that I could help the boy find a name. Remembering, suddenly, what I had meant to ask him earlier, I stepped forward. “Speaking of names,” I added. “Does the thing around your neck have anything written on it?” I inquired, and he recoiled as I reached out to touch it. “Hey! Don’t kill me with that thing. I’m not going to take it, see?” I pulled mine out from underneath my shirt, and held it up for him. “I have my own.”

He frowned again. “It says something. I can’t understand it, though.”

I took it in my hands. “Why? Can’t you read?”

He shrugged. “A few things. I know how to read the names of guns, but that’s just letters. Directions, mostly.”

I laughed. “Well, you sure are an interesting boy, Jason.” I told him. “Because that’s exactly the name you have on your ring.”

He looked at me oddly. “How can that be?”

“I have no idea.” I said shrugging. “My ring doesn’t say any of my names, despite the fact that it has like…five. All of them are weird, all of them guys names.”

“Like what?”

“Sean-Thunder-Lightning-Rogue-Steele.” I said, blurring each name together in rapid succession. “So many names that the whole inside is almost taken up.”

He laughed for the first time since I had met him, and it was, surprisingly, a pleasing sound. It echoed off the walls as we left the shop with his sword and gun, and with my knives, intend on killing.

© 2010 Morgan Sade


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Author's Note

Morgan Sade
This is the backstory for a much larger story, so it's a little vague and odd in certain parts, as well as bits of dialogue that have more meaning to me than they would you. I apologize, bear with me. I'd just like to know about the writing, in particular.

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Added on April 14, 2010
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