I have a big favor to ask of you all. Slight pause. You don’t mind at all; in fact, you’re glad I asked?
Thank you. You’re so sweet.So, here it is…
I have this random teaser that my brain made up one day two years ago, when I was supposed to be doing Algebra. (Don’t leave Algebra Addicts. Not everyone can be as focused as you weirdos.) Would you give it a quick glance through, and see what you think? I want to know everything – like this genre, hate this genre, hate the writing…
Favor…be brutal. Not kidding.
He hated the sun. Odd, because he also hated the dark. But the sun was worse. It exposed him, left him cowering, shaking. Exposed his filthiness, and the squalor that he lived in. The sun shone into his tiny hut every morning, and the boy supposed he should be used to its splendor by now.
But he wasn’t. At least in the darkness, he could hide. Terrified, but hidden. But no one can hide from the sun. Blinding rays invading the room, searching out falsehoods and hidden secrets, the sun demands honesty. Darkness is at least tolerant. It has its own secrets to hide.
Wild-eyed, the boy scrambled to a sitting position, and frantically scanned his surroundings. All was as usual. Breathing heavily, he took in the dirt floor, crawling with unspeakable things, the tiny hole in the wall that passed for a window, his own filthy rags – then finally…the sun.
The boy shrieked aloud, his cry as keening as a hunted animal nearly in the grasp of its predator, and huddled in the darkest corner he could find.
Almost gabbling with fear, the boy tried to find the quiet spot in his mind that he so often sought, the one where he could forget this torment.
This time, peace eluded him. He knew, with every fiber in his being, that with the sun, came the one he feared most.
His name was unknown to most men. Many, if they lived to call him anything at all, called him, “The Jackal.” Leering, the Jackal’s swarthy face invaded the boy’s worst nightmares, and chased away his sweetest dreams. This man was the sole reason for the boy’s lonely existence. He was also the object of the boy’s hatred. One always hates those that he fears.
The boy’s dark, almond-shaped eyes filled with unshed tears. Unashamed – for who was to see them? – he allowed to them trickle, unchecked, in grimy rivulets down his cheeks.
The worst part was the uncertainty. For many days, the Jackal came as regularly as the rising sun. Looming over the boy, his dark silhouette in the doorway, he would carelessly toss unwanted scraps of food to the boy, as he would to a stray dog. As the boy scrambled about on all fours, collecting each tiny morsel, the Jackal’s raucous laughter would fill the tiny enclosure. It boomed, ebbed, then grew even louder, until it seemed to fill the boy’s very being. He would cower in a corner, his slender fingers over his ears, until the Jackal stopped laughing, only then to be beaten violently, until he longed for death.
Other days, the boy would be left alone, sometimes for a week at a time. He almost welcomed these times, though his emaciated body rebelled. His nimble mind raced, as his body slowed into a food-deprived lethargy. Foolish dreams of escape and overwhelming revenge dominated his thoughts. The boy knew they were foolish, but he relished them, turning them over and over until he had complete scenarios of victory over his tormentor worked out in his mind, scenes of the Jackal groveling in the dust before him, his shaggy head bowed in utter defeat.The boy gave a shuddering sigh. Apparently, this was going to be one of those days where the Jackal did not make an appearance. The blood-red sun was already high overhead, too late for his enemy to come.
Uncurling from his fetal position, the boy cautiously stretched his cramping limbs. His mind drifted away to thoughts of happier times…when he had no enemies, when he loved life and laughter, when there was no man called the Jackal.
When he called the Jackal, “Father.”