To be cold is a way life too
He stepped from the throng of people like a ghost from another world. Colourless skin lighted in the dim glow of lamps. The albino boy was dressed in black, he was beautiful, grace in his every movement. It was cold, snow falling down about the street, and he was almost invisible to all those about. The only remarkable thing that anyone would notice if the looked at him was his eyes, not traditional pink but a golden bronze, as sharp and cold as a hawk. He limped slightly as he weaved his way through the crowd, marring the grace of his normal step. He looked as if he had been beaten up recently but no one cared, everyone was alone and everyone was in a hurry. No body’s eyes even flickered his way.
The snow was falling in soft waves of chiffon, making him almost invisible. He needed a door to lie in. He was so cold and so tired…. The book in his hands, leather bound and old even to look at was clutched tightly in his hands that were tucked up to his chest, preserving any heat.
His name was Callum Davies.
Fiery wings bore the great birds through leaden skies, the flames unaffected by the pouring rain. One sang a single note, the call of a dying phoenix…
What was he reading? Why had he kept it with him…? A book on magic of an escape dream world. And he had believed this trash. Callum threw the book to the pile. Of things he had accumulated in the last few days. He had the stub of a pencil left, a packet of crisps and a rucksack held together by safety pins. He remembered standing up and stepping over to the barred window at home and wondering what it was like…. There had been nothing for him there. Only the Fear. Now he had nothing here either.
Cold filled his strong body. He needed to find a place to stay and a job. A job that paid. He pulled his dark jacket closer to him but it did not help. He gave up. There was no point in denying that he would be sleeping rough again tonight. Twilight had already fallen.
Without thinking his hand trailed up his pale face and touched the massive bruising and crusted cuts that lay there. For a minute he considered turning back. But why? To feel the fear again. He would rather be cold. Turning back to the musings of his mind, he reflected on the dreams… A thin, dark haired boy with a fair haired brother matched steps in the streets…. A blond girl caught hold of the River and weaved it in her hands…. A boy who smiled at him and beckoned for him to step forward. Dreams that reminded him of the stories in his books. The stories of mythical beasts and legendary monsters. They were only dreams though and his heart sank a little further in his chest.
Gabby saw the albino boy first, with his silvery hair falling over his face. She saw the darkness around his eyes, where she knew pain lay. She watched as his long pianist fingers traced over the dark. She stared as he looked up at her. Still, emotionless eyes of grated gold matching her gaze and sizing her up as if expecting her to play predator already. She turned her head as she saw a flicker of annoyance at her looking in his eyes. He bent his head again and continued to walk.
"I know a place you can go."
He looked over his shoulder and saw once again the strange girl with blond hair coming to her waist.
"I can take You somewhere safe."
He turned completely, " There is no where safe in this world. How do you claim this statement."
"I know a place you can go. A place where no questions are asked of you and there is no chance of being taken back." She said it softly but with a ring that made him curious.
All his uncertain worries flood him. All the caution that came with living in fear stuck in his head.
"You can trust me. I can show you why i know if you'll let me."
Callum shuffled further forward, towards her. He so wanted to trust her but he was ready to bolt if he saw anything. She rolled up her sleeve and revealed a long thin scar. A shape of which he knew only to well. How many did he have himself?
Crash. Bins clattered. His head shot up. Her hand grabbed for him.
He looked at her arm. The scar from the familiar blade obvious, she watched his face as a glimmer of hope passed over it, a longing she recognised from all the others.
A clash from bins gave the signal. His head whipped up. Her hand came to grab him. But he was too fast for her. Disappointment scattered over his face before vanishing as he took off into the night, into the bitter cold world of London.
Daniel emerged from the alley way, hobbling slightly on his injured knee, "How did you do?" He asked. He looked hopeful. She stared at her brother, the opposite of the albino… They needed all the money they could get so they were robbing others like them…. Other people who had nothing…
"He knew. He could feel it." She murmured, voice decorated with sadness as she realised what it meant. He hadn't even been shocked by the knife mark on her arm…
"He wasn't shocked by your scar. He saw it as normal." Daniel could read anyone's feelings like book with his dark, indistinguishable eyes.
Gabby smiled wryly and whispered, "He should come with us. Back to Plank Town." No one really knew about Plank Town, on the outskirts of this place in the areas abandoned because of the Floods.
"If he trusts us now." Daniel put his arm around his younger sister, his face wrinkled into a semblance of a smile, he was trying to reassure her, "Then he can come."
Callum ran. He knew that that girl was too open, too upfront. He had known she was not to be trusted. But he had fallen for it. That was what was bothering him. If he fell for that, could he survive out here. In the cold, in the streets. He slipped his hand into his back pocket. His fingers curled around his knife. Legs pumping, pushing him on despite the burning in his muscles. Forming a knew life from what was left of his old one. He knew what he had to do. Forget Callum Davis and summon the Frost.
How was she supposed to help that boy? Gabby stared up at the snow falling from the grey-black sky, following after her brother absently. Usually he'd follow her. But not now. She had to think…
He would never trust her now. Understandable after what she had done, yet she wanted to help him now. The clarity of his desire to see something dealt better so he could improve the cards in his hand… What she had seen in his white face… It had been real and so was the feeling she had now. No matter what he was coming back with her to their Sanctuary.
The snow that was falling was only going to become worse. This area was possibly the worst hit by the Floods every year and the Winter had come even faster than the letter from their leader. She frowned and reached out to hold onto Daniel. This was a hurricane of need and desperation with little space in between for any other thought.
Callum had been cold before… But the thin black rocky-horror t-shirt he had doned under his threadbare jacket felt damp on his skin from where he had staggered over and smashed into a puddle. His knee was ripped and bleeding… The dull throb leeching away his troubled thoughts with the repetitive sensation tingling through his nerves. He had been scared for a second… Shaking his head he tried to ignore that thought.
“I’m not afraid…” he whispered to the nothingness about him, “I’m not afraid of anything…”
“That true? Or you just saying that?” A voice asked from nowhere… Everywhere… Why was this happening? Who was out there now?
Slowly he sat up, uncurling and his ears pricking as he began to rise, back rigid as a post. He was alone, no one was near, he could sense nothing, see nothing…
“What’s wrong I thought you weren’t afraid of anything, kid.”
This wasn't fear that had him frozen as the voice mocked him form the middle of nowhere… It was anger. His eyes grew harder than anything anyone could understand, his face became chipped out of stone, “Who are you?” He said through gritted teeth so it came out almost like a snarl.
“Wow, so you’re not scared, you just don’t like me being here. I get it.” The voice seemed to be smiling, it was closer, “I’m Benjy. I don’t suppose you know who I am.”
“Why should I?”
“Cos I’m Benjy, baby, and this is my ground. My turf.”
Callum rose, he could see shadows all around his holed up area, no not everywhere, shadows, mirrored by the walls, it was just three people coming closer and closer, stepping in unison towards him. But only one face was revealed from the shadows a young man’s not much older than himself, twenty at most. His lightly tanned face was squashed and cruel about the eyes and a hooked nose reminded him of a beak.
“What’s that supposed to mean big nose? I’m nothing just here so piss off and let me be!” He tried to be defiant, nonchalant in his insult but cringed at how weak and pathetic he sounded. It seemed childish.
“Let you be, huh, that’s an interesting thought,” A female voice giggled from behind Benjy. Her voice was nothing like the other girl's. This was high pitched and the laughter than began to echo through the alleyway squealed through his ears.
“But not on the agenda for this evening.” Another girl murmured, ice dripping from her voice in crystal shards.
Callum sighed, there was no point to this conversation. He was one against three, they were bugging him and he could not deal with this right now. The night made it just that much harder. His body sore and aching, his limbs heavy and tired.
“You want me to go, fine I’ll go, I don’t have time for this.”
A twisted snarl made him jump, Benjy’s face had contorted, the acid green eyes burned, teeth and mouth morphed into something animalistic, sharp and white in the half light, “Not on the agenda!” He drawled. Now the two girls appeared, identical, both cackling the same as the monster of a boy, both with their echoes making his head pound. There didn't seem to be much choice… He was trapped.
The snow had stopped falling and Daniel was leading the way. Following the tracks. He jerked to a stop and pulled his younger sister into the shadows with a hiss. The familiar bulk of Benjy was filling up the next alley with the dark clad, albino boy. What scared her was the fact that it was not the boy shaking with fear as it was usually with Benjy's victims but it looked like the bully himself was trembling. Two girls were huddling into the space behind Benjy and he heard Gabby's gasp.
Silver glinted in the boy's hand. A knife sparkled. Red splashed across the snow in the pattern of fallen petals.
"Leave me alone. I don't want to fight you but I will. And I will win. So go. Leave me alone."
"G...go...ing..." Benjy was whining. It looked like his hand had been slashed and … Daniel peered into the gloom… Their was definitely blood on the man's face. He turned, his huge mass twisting and making the girl's shriek as they tried to move away from the crimson contortion of Benjy's brutal facard. The left eye was swollen shut by a deep red gash beneath it. Daniel stopped breathing for a second.
Staggering past them, Benjy whimpered, the motion of running jerking the blodied limb. The boy turned, fathomless eyes that could tell they were there. It was Gabby's turn for her breath to hitch.
"And you two. Come out here."
They had no choice. This stranger was plainly more damaged then any of her friends were. With awkward steps she revealed herself to the light. Daniel moved protectively in front of her, his rake like figure taller than the albino though she was sure that that meant nothing to the stranger in black. She was thankful that Daniel was so protective. For once in her life she even respected him for his over-zealous need to put himself in the line of danger before her... She was afraid of the albino boy. She couldn't lie.
Ever since he had left his first doorway, he known they were following him. He did not care. What he had read on the two's faces was only that that they were scared. They feared him. He had learnt that fear was one's greatest weapon. So far that had been true. But so far that weapon had always been used against him. Wincing internally at that admission he tried to strengthen his resolve. If he had to fight, he would fight. If he had to hurt them, he would hurt them. He would stay free. He would remain as he was. No he wouldn't… After that little stunt… People might notice… He felt his barriers trying to le themselves crumble. Sensed the pain building up in his skull.
A fist flew down to meet colourless flesh, to break bone and slice skin. Then came more and with them came pain, erupting as boot, stick and fist collided again and again.
Callum pulled himself away from the memories that clung to his being. He gasped taking in the freezing air like a fish out of water. He shuddered and forgot where he was, letting himself drop to the snow.
A long fingered hand reached out towards him but he flinched away giving off a low growl at the same time. What was going on again? Voices were somewhere above him. Voices trying to create soothing sounds. The girl. The liar was speaking. Tremors in her voice told him they were scared. For him or of him? He didn't know or care. He wanted them away from him.
Get up. He told himself, murmuring into the hollow of his mind.Get up or give up now. You're so close but you're a failure. Failure.
I can't do this.
I'm not a failure. I'm free aren't I?
The Frost took over. Forcing the boy to his feet.
Ice chips for eyes once more. The girl stepped back.
"Leave me alone. I'm not going to be used by the likes of you." He said.
Hurt washed over her face. She wasn't an ugly girl. Her eyes were large and were the darkest shade of blue he had ever seen though they stood out because of the dark of her hair. He stood relaxed. Glaring. A pretty face was nothing. She had tried to use him before but he would not fall for her words again. No he had leant his lesson already. Trust no one. And that was what he would do.