Larten Crepsley - The Boy Who Survived

Staring up at the spiraling escalation of stairways. Glancing the glowing gyro sphere - like candles. Traveling towards the half - faded drawings of street art peeling off cobblestone walls. I sighed. Another night of sneaking out, of disobeying rules.

This was the fourth night that I had been sent to bed without dinner. Each and every one of these nights had been a perilous journey down the two-story drainpipe to street level. Sneaking off at night had always been somewhat of a specialty of mine, whether it meant sliding down a drainpipe or balancing precariously across a wire to get from building to building. But tonight, I had a burning sensation of exhilaration running through my bloodstream. Because tonight, there was a freak show in town.

Careful not to make any sounds, I crept off into the darkness. I used the shadows to my advantage, ducking down behind wagons and carts at even the slightest of noises. Finally, as the eerie gloom cleared in front of me, I saw the fire lights I had been waiting for. A long trail of caravans shimmered under the moonlight, creating unearthly yet beautiful reflections across the star-studded sky. I felt my pocket. Yes! I had remembered to bring my admission fees. Unsurprisingly, it was the only money I had.

I slipped in the long, meandering line of people, impatiently waiting for the line to lessen. Using some careful skills, I managed to blend in with a family just as they were entering the flamboyant tent, contrasting greatly with the blueish twilight sky.


It seemed foolish that I was having these petty thoughts now. After five years, I was still trying to be my ten-year-old self.

A lot had happened in the past few years. I had run away from home when I was twelve, trying to escape my father's wrath after my mother had died "because of me". I had been belted, smacked and abused. Now, on the run from my previous life, I had learned to toughen up and always be wary. Anyone can backstab you, even your best friends and loved ones.

After hours of walking, I finally reached a town. Faint glows of candlelight dimly shone from open windows. It looked peaceful, without any guards or hostility. Then suddenly, shouts echoed from around me. Two men were circling around me. Punches and kicks flew from the two adults, aimed at my head and chest. Years of running had led me to these tortures. I turned. And ran. Tears poured down my face. How wrong I had been, to assume that this town wasn't like the last one. And the previous one. And the town before that.

I stopped for the night, exhausted from running. I had no equipment. No pillow, no blanket and no source of light. Luckily, I had the abilities of a hunter. Searching around for flint and steel, I collected two jagged stones. Using friction, I struck the spiked edges together over some dry tree fungi, creating sparks that soon became a small flame. Next, I lay down near the fire, waiting.

About an hour later, a small noise woke me up from my light nap. Careful and now fully awake, I tried not to make any sounds. A large partridge flew from across from the wide plains and then landed. It huddled up next to the fire, warming itself. "Probably lost", I thought to myself. I paused until the perfect moment, and then, with a quick flick of my wrist, twisted the partridge's neck sharply. Sometimes I hated behaving so savagely; I had always maintained a soft spot for animals, whether it be snakes, dogs or even foxes. After about twenty minutes, the partridge had been perfectly roasted. I had skinned and cleaned it. Taking it from the makeshift spit, I began to eat my first meal in days.

This was just another day in the shoes of Larten Crepsley, the boy who became a survivor of the worst.

FOLLOW US was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
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