Josh Vogt (TheLorian)

He had to hurry, for there was little time to close the gap. The clock was ticking as he threw himself forwards through traffic. School had just ended, and that meant it was around the time they came out and prowled the streets. Their wicked mouths would dance at the thought of him, and their fists clenched in anticipation. He was almost out of time, still a block from home, but it was too late now. They were upon him, and there was no escaping their mocking gaze as they surrounded him on their bikes. They were all much older than him, and he felt inadequate next to them in their massive muscled size. Most of them had tattoos displayed prominently across their bodies, and they had especially ripped their jackets and jeans to better show them off as though they were some kind of walking art museum.

“Hey there, kid,” the one he assumed was the leader spat at him. “You passing through our territory without payin’ again?”

Flavian looked to him, horrified, his face growing pale. “No, no sir. I was just going home from school again and you guys are just on the way!”

“‘Sir’! Look at this dandelion eater. He thinks he’s better than us. Smarter, too!” He began to point and laugh at Flavian, egging on the rest of the group.

“Look at his clothes, too. They look like they been through a war!” another piped up, searching for anything to poke fun at.

“You guys know I can’t afford new ones,” Flavian mumbled as he tried to walk through one edge of the circle.

“Then you better hope you can afford to pay us, cause we don’t like not getting our money,” the leader chastised, squeezing a bit of clay between his hands menacingly.

“I don’t have any-” Flavian began, before he was shoved backwards onto his rear by the boys’ leader.

“And you for sure won’t weasel your way outta this one, brat,” the leader smiled in a very sadistic manner. “You either pay or we make you wish you did!”

“Please, let me just go home and get some money from my parents or something,” Flavian pleaded, turning in circles at his assailants.

“Nah. I think we’ll just beat some sense into you,” one of the others spoke, drawing a baseball bat from his back and pounding his hand with it lightly.

Flavian immediately knew he wasn’t going to make it out of this alive, and decided that the best thing to do was to try and at least get a witness to this violent crime, so he would get justice in the end. He knew what kind of world he lived in, and he’d always seen himself as more of a realist, even if he was only ten years old. There was no way he was going to win in a fight, but if someone caught them, maybe the court systems would work for once. His naivety knew no bounds in those days. Nobody cared and nobody would ever care what happened to some poor elf in Tokyo.

Flavian began screaming for help as loudly as he could as they closed in on him with assorted blunt objects, meant to cause excruciating pain rather than quick death. He refused to go down without a fight, and though he knew not how to fight, he was a lot smaller and faster than the others were and it gave him a distinct advantage. As the first attacker swung at him, he dove to the side and punched him in the gut, sending shockwaves up his arm. His attacker was not at all phased, and soon the rest of the monsters had surrounded him, their wooden or metal fists pounding away at his back and sides. 

His ribs shattered like glass and his back was covered head to rear with thick bruises in only minutes. He cried harder than he’d ever cried in his entire life, and he wasn’t ready to go like this. He wanted to say goodbye to his mother, to his father, to his unborn baby sister before the world took him so early in his life. He had aspirations, goals, dreams even. He wanted to be a doctor, to help people like his mother, and to be a good man like his father. But this world was not so kind to people with dreams, and it didn’t care how old you were or the quality of your soul, it claimed all without discrimination.

But when it all seemed hopeless, he heard a noise that shocked him out of the moment and made him grateful that someone had brought a gun to end his suffering all that much sooner. But then he did not feel the pain of a bullet. Instead, multiple shots followed, and the beating ceased altogether as he heard people screaming in pain and terror in his aching head. He found it hard to focus and was fighting for consciousness as he saw his father above him silhouetted by the sunlight streaming down on the whole grisly scene.

“Damn those monsters! Are you alright, Flave? Oh, what did those bastards do to you?” His father’s stern voice was full of sadness as he knelt down next to him.

“D-dad?” Flavian muttered before losing all senses and being plunged into the cold, dark uncertainty that is the loss of consciousness.

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