Fatbelly - Entry 3 Part 1
His ears rang as the room spun about once for him, while Bear withdrew his meaty club of a hand and sneered at him. “Go. Go and find him. He’s your responsibility”
In all truth, Fatbelly’s plan had not gone as wonderfully as he assumed, and the guilt that he had worried about gnawed at him worse than before. Llab, the boy he had attempted to dispose of, had managed to live through the terrible ordeal. During the hanging, his neck didn’t snap, and it looked like a slow and painful death by strangling. Hangings, being almost more popular than a tourney, drew crowds of people. Just as everyone was thinking about leaving, after they anticipated the last small twitches of the young boy’s feet, a hush fell over everyone. Walking up as if it were nothing was one of the nobles. A man. Bold, brazen, and confident in everything he did. As if it were nothing, he simply swung his sword and let the boy drop to the muddied filth-ridden ground. Everyone stared wide-eyed at the man as he glared back at them with steely eyes. He said something about a day of celebration, and then turned to leave them all in wonder.
Naturally, with the show over, many people left soon after that. The small dark-haired boy was picked up by a few of the local thieves and carried back to Bear who patched him up and gave him a strong drink for his “bravery.” And, as if by pure chance, the Faceless King had spared the life of a poor whore’s son thief who just so happened to be the bane of Fatbelly’s existence.
After all this, Fatbelly seemed to have lowered in status overnight among the thieves after the hanging. Naturally, his snitching to the guards wasn’t spied and so there was no real proof, but everyone besides Llab had seemed to suspect him almost immediately. None of them would speak to him, or do any sort of jobs with him besides the black haired thief. Llab never seemed to pay any mind to the words said about Fatbelly, and after the first few days everyone knew to not say anything about Fatbelly in the boy’s presence. The guilt that was there even before he snitched wound itself deep inside him, and as he sat there wallowing in it, he soon started to realize that it was Llab who had driven that pointed blade into him and was now twisting the knife with his kindness.
Llab silently stood beside him with a look of determination as always. A thick twisting wound on his neck quickly scarred. Though he pretended to act the same way as always, Fatbelly knew something had changed. He was quiet, pensive, and seemed to wish to work business closer and closer to the palace, so that he could sneak around and peek in at the man who had saved his life. Every time he looked towards the small dark-haired boy, Fatbelly caught a glimpse of that scar across the neck where the rope held the boy, dangling, to strangle to death before being cut down by some untold act of mercy. He was forced to quickly look away each time as that familiar pang went through his chest and belly.
The weeks following Llab’s near-death experience seemed to mark the boy, though not as entirely as Fatbelly had thought. After two months, the child no longer wished to be around the more wealthy sections of town, and seemed to slip back into his normal range of personality flaws that seemed to earn him a good position within the underground. It was no more than two weeks of his normal act that he started to not show at the usual places, forcing Fatbelly to work alone, or not at all. Due to Llab’s lack of presence, rumors started of plots and schemes, and the old tales and nasty things were said aloud and without care. Though Bear himself didn’t participate in the whispers, his mood became gloomier and gloomier whenever he laid eyes on Fatbelly’s face.
Finally having enough, Bear roared at him and beat him about the head, ordering him to visit the boy. Fatbelly was hesitant, but the idea of facing Llab’s mother didn’t outweigh the thought of being beaten down by Bear. Still that woman sent a shudder down Fatbelly’s spine like none other had done before. Llab’s mother was not a nice woman, but nor was she evil. There was just something...off about her. Whenever Llab described an evening with her, or a conversation, there were touching embraces, or loving words exchanged, and yet it was almost too good to be true. There was a secret hurt deep in those words that the boy absently covered up out of habit. After getting to know her, Fatbelly could say with clarity that none of Llab’s memories of his mother were very accurate, and he was highly selective of the events he described.
The woman was tall, slim, and had large teets that seemed to show all the time through her nearly transparent clothing she wore constantly. Her hips, though not particularly curvy, were always thrust out to make them appear fuller than they actually were. She obviously had not done any sort of physical labor, even in the house, for her nails were long and her face was nearly always painted. Her eyelids were perpetually thick with dark lashes and a dreary sort of glow that came only from the abuse of certain substances. Like most whores that were owned, she also had a small but thick copper ring around her neck that could have been mistaken for a necklace had it not carried a certain finality about her employment with it. And, along with such a ring of ownership, certain rules were in place. Rules that she chose frequently to not follow as she led men into her personal home to save up coin for herself working when she wasn’t supposed to.
When he finally reached the small dirt-encrusted shack that Llab called home, the elder boy stopped as he peered across the way at a small girl that seemed oddly familiar. She drew nearer, “I wouldn’t go in there. Ain’t nobody been in or out o’ there for days.”
“What happened?” She grew a little shy, and then stern. Her face set as she peered at the building.
“If ya lookin’ for Llab he ain’t here no more. Like I say: ain’t nobody been in or our o’ there for days. Usually, ain’t nobody ever come out afterward.” Fatbelly was going to ask her a question, but a sudden shout from behind her drew her attention. He watched her look back at him with watery eyes, and then rush into the house. As he stood there, he suddenly remembered she was the small girl that Llab had played with. Julia? Juliana? Something like that... By the looks of it, the two had grown close, and something had happened to Llab.
Fatbelly stalked up to the house and as he drew near the wooden door he reeled aside as his nose hit a wall of putrid stench. Coughing, he knew all too well what that smell was. Rotting meat. Rotting person meat. As he smelled it, despite it’s foul nature, he actually drew back a short smile as the knot of guilt in his gut slowly loosened. Despite everything, Llab would have died anyway, and so what Fatbelly attempted was only a shorter road towards this inevitable fate. Fatbelly grinned, and despite the small warning in his mind, he had decided to gloat over the body even though the smell. The door opened, and even more putrid air leaked out, while Fatbelly tied a piece of cloth about his nose and went into the darkness of the room.
Right there, in the middle of the floor, his prize lay. A woman, battered beyond all recognition and missing her head lay across the floor, her dress ripped from her and the obvious signs of vermin having chewed at her flesh were prevelant. Around the stub of a neck was a stain of blood and holes where worms and other assortments of things had wormed their way into the carcass and started eating their way out. Peering about, he followed a small scuffling of blood in mass quantities over towards a lump by the edge of the room. In the darkness, he squinted to see what it was, but already he knew that it was most likely what remained of Llab. As he drew nearer, though, his eyes squinted harder and harder, as he tried to see the figure clearly. The closer he got, the more frightened he had become that it was actually moving. When he reached no more than three feet away from it, he too started to shake as he heard a small noise coming from it and his eyes caught the glint of the woman’s collar about a wooden support in the house. Dug deep into the support were teeth marks, scratches, a fingernail or two, and blood. Attached to the pole by the metal band was a foot, twisted at an impossible angle. Attached to that, was a leg, and as his horror come full-round, Fatbelly stared wide-eyed at a small shaking figure of Llab.
“No... It can’t be...” he heard himself say, but at the same time he nearly scared himself with is own voice. As the words escaped, the figure moved and Fatbelly scrambled to get back. Very slowly a small hand reached out to him, and glinting in the dim he could see the wetness of two eyes that had been hurt beyond comprehension.
“You came... Oh god, you came....” the voice said, with a harsh coarse sort of whisper through cracked and blood-crusted lips. “I can’t beleive it... I was starting to lose hope...” the hand withdrew to support the small frame as the boy sobbed openly now, and tired easily from the action of doing so. “I thought I was gonna die in here!” he said, his voice trapped in terror, remorse, and even a faint note of horror.
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