A young man stood in front of the fireplace in front of him, bewitched by the beauty of flames; he was circled by a bunch of violent and despicable old men, the kind of people who wouldn't hesitate to kill for the slightest of mistakes. He was surrounded at all sides; Yet, he wasn't intimidated, since they were his new comrades, all of them... after all he had joined a bandit gang, one of the worst in the region.
What had led him to this path? He wondered as he stared at the braces burning brightly.
His life hadn’t been the easiest, that’s for sure. Born the eighth son in a small and poor household, his father loved to beat his brothers senselessly and lay with his sisters to escape the empty feeling in his gut. And as a poor man living in the slums, that happened very often.
One rainy night when he was fifteen years old, he saw a carriage traveling down the main road; He would frequently hide somewhere nearby and rob lone travelers who looked weak and probably wouldn’t fight back against a starving child holding a kitchen knife.
That night, he was accompanied by a few of his friends. Emboldened by the presence of his little gang, he decided to stop the carriage. Somehow they managed to do it. His friends killed the guard and the driver while he was left with the duty of checking the inside of the carriage.
When he opened the door, he saw a scared family of four, father, mother, and two daughters.
They didn’t look loaded, but they surely were wealthier than him. The man tried to plead for the life of his family.
At that moment, he realized the situation he was in. Knife in hand, rain pouring all over him, he looked like a wet rat, and he was a hungry rat, a resentful rat, and a scared rat as well. He pierced the man’s throat; the blood gushed from the artery he had no doubt severed.
That was the first man he killed, but wouldn’t be the last. Not even the last life he would end that night; since, after robbing them blind, he left his friends to have fun with the women and left.
He had bigger plans. He rode the wave of violence, adrenaline, and confidence all the way home.
He stood in front of the door for a few minutes, thinking of nothing in particular and waiting for no one but himself. Eventually, he gathered the courage to open the door to the rundown shack they lived in; He walked through silently, stepping over his passed-out brothers, and entered the main room.
Before, each time he saw his father, he saw a monster, a shadow so big and imposing it covered the sun; But, that night, he saw him for what he really was, a starving rat, a luscious rat... a weak rat.
He took his chance to kill him in his sleep; he slit his throat and stared at his eyes; he wanted to see the light fade out from them.
After that, things went better. What was left of his siblings respected him.
Loved him even. He continued to rob and kill until a bigger fish noticed his existence and offered him an opportunity. A real family to belong to. He wouldn’t need to be a rat anymore. He could be a wolf.
He accepted, and now, a year later, he had been assigned an important task, to look after two kidnaped kids, this wasn’t the first time they did something like this. Oftentimes noblemen would pay handsomely for a ransom if they didn’t. Other noblemen would pay handsomely for a new toy.
He rose up from his seat, leaving the bonfire away, and walking towards the tent where the children were kept.
His story will continue in the future