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"Poor baby... Poor sweet baby, all hurt and... vulnerable..." Korp said, walking up to his bed's side.

"I just don't understand, who could do this to such a sweet little baby as yourself." Korp started to rub the skin around the freshly sewed wound, his eyes not leaving Esh's.

"Who did this to you? Tell me! I'll make sure justice is served!" Korp's fingernails began to scratch Esh's stomach. The devil wanted him badly this sun-cycle.

Korp had a reputation. A reputation that even made the great sculptor Mehch piss his trousers. Korp loved his adolescent males, but loved them a little too much. Esh had heard stories of orphan males being sent to his office for a scolding but they never returned.

"Why don't you wanna tell me? Do you not trust daddy?" Korp said, his eyes coming to angry points and his huge muscles flexing under his tunic. "Don't fucking ignore me, Shagra shit!" he hissed, slamming his fists on Esh's bed and sending ripples through his body, tears coming to his eyes.

"Oh Creator, I am sassy this sun-cycle! Ignore me, son. Ignore my silly silly blunder." Korp's hands returned to Esh's stomach, but much lower this time. Even the pain couldn't mask his discomfort in this situation.

The door opened and in walked mother. Korp's hands were off of him immediately.

"What the hell happened here, Myaderah?" Korp asked, his tone much deeper and professional.

Myaderah bowed with both hands out, as all the employees were expected to do and answered, "Head Master Korp, one of our own orphans did this to Esh! They... They sliced him up!" she cried and ran up to hug him but he pushed her away.

"How could you let this happen? How? How Meyaderah?!"

She dropped to her knees and started to sob hysterically. Esh had already figured she blamed herself. Blamed herself for even letting him try to belong. When and if he ever healed, he would hug her and tell her it wasn't her fault.

Korp turned to Esh, "I assure you my son, we will get to the bottom of this!"

The head Master turned on his heels and was out of the room.

Sleep wouldn't come. It was dark in his new cell and every time he moved on his squeaky bed the beast on his chest would awaken. He could feel something cold running down from the sides of the wound. He lifted a finger and carefully swabbed the wetness. He brought it to his nose and nearly vomited at the smell. It was the smell of death.

He couldn't remember what the room he was in looked like for he was pretty much delirious when he had first awoke. By the time his mind had cleared up the room had been pitch black. There were no lights under the door and no moonlight shone through any window. The darkness began to play with his head, often morphing into strange shapes, creatures or even humanoids he knew. He wasn't safe behind closed lids either, the creatures of the dark found him there too.

He heard the door creak open. There was a pause and then he heard quiet footsteps begin towards him. Please, not Korp. Please... Not Korp. Not the devil.

Esh began to squeak and wiggle but an unfamiliar, "Shhhh," took him by surprise.

The figure was to his bedside in half a second.

"You're dying, lad," said the stranger.

This wasn't news to Esh for he had already died. Or at least, he thought did.

"Should have kept to your own damn business."

The young male's eyes widened. Was this? Couldn't be. How did he get in? What was he doing here?

Esh tried to sit up but was instantly held down by his neck.

"Stay down, will ya?" the stranger whispered, removing his hand to start fiddling with something in the darkness.

Esh complied but so many questions buzzed in his head. This could be only one humanoid, the trash worker. But why was this old male here? Who would want to visit a dying loathed?

"You aren't going to like how this tastes lad, but it will save ya it will."

A canister was held to his lips and before Esh could resist the trash worker sprayed something foul down his throat. There was an instant wooziness that overtook him and he wanted nothing else but to spit it back up. However, the trash worker would have none of this and covered Esh's mouth with a hard pressed hand.

"You need to drink, dammit. I've risked too much to come here for you not to cooperate," the Elder said, applying even more pressure. "Now, I'll let go if you promise to swallow."

Esh shook his head and the pressure was released. He forced himself to swallow the snot textured sour liquid. The room began to spin.

"This outta stop the infection and speed up the healing process."

Esh heard the male stand followed by footsteps headed for the door.

"Wait," Esh managed to say and the footsteps stopped.

"You will see me again," the male said.

The door opened and closed, leaving Esh in complete darkness.

If the healing process was sped up by the nasty medicine, Esh couldn't tell. He was in bed for what seemed like forever and little red sores began popping up under his back side. He had no books, no games, and no company. Except, that wasn't true for Esh did have company every moon-cycle.

About an hour after all the sounds of the orphanage ceased as everyone fell asleep, Esh's door would open and Korp would slither in. He wouldn't say a word, he would just walk over to a chair in the corner and plant himself there for a very long time. He spent this time smoking fume sticks and...... watching him. Esh hated how the only light in the room was his yellow eyes. They say the more yellow your eyes were the more the blood of the sun of Reah had blessed you.

Esh never truly knew when he would fall asleep, he would just open his eyes and the sunlight would creep through the halls and into his room. Korp would not be there, not even the ash of his fume sticks.

Sun-cycles went by slow, slower than Esh thought possible. He found himself counting seconds, minutes, seeing how long he could go before getting distracted by vermin escaping through cracks in the wall or bugs being caught by bigger bugs. And with his time alone, with this punishment for being sliced open, his anger grew. He didn't know what exactly it was he wanted to do but he did know one thing, he would change. What else did he have to fear? The worst had already been done to him.

Did he want to kill Mehch? Did he want to perform the same procedure on him? He didn't know. All he knew was he grew more and more angry each sun-cycle and could only stuff all of these emotions down deep inside him. If he caught himself becoming too angry he would run through his verb conjugations and vocabulary of Reahlic. Anos, to have. Sentas, to feel. Chakras, to dream.

Finally, mother came in. He was mad at her too. Why didn't she come to visit him? Was she too busy eating? Esh took that thought back instantly and felt like ash for thinking it.

She did not look good, as if the life Esh received daily was donated directly from her. Black circles under her eyes, and... was that a bruise on her cheek? She limped over to his bedside, a limp that had never presented itself to Esh before. What was going on?

He was able to sit up by now and asked her what was going on.

"You don't worry!" she yelled, making him jump. Her cheeks were red, but the softness returned in her eyes. She pulled up a seat next to him and they sat in silence. Her presence was so soothing that he began to cry. Mother tried to hold it in but could not. This was their therapy and besides, crying indoors was a treat because tears outside would evaporate before they even left the lid.

She had only been in the room for a few minutes before Esh looked up from his bed to see Krop's head peering through the door, his eyes wide in horror. As soon as mother turned to see what Esh was looking at, Korp had changed back to normal and he entered.

"Myaderah... Outside... Please," he said.

Mother rose slowly, her chin to her chest and she slumped out of the room. Korp closed the door slowly, staring at his favorite young one.

There was a loud smack and a cry of pain.

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About the author

Blink Savage

Bio: Hey guys! I’m Blink Savage (aka Stevie Collier) and word on the street is I’m an International Bestselling YA author. I like to explain my work as a fever dream you don’t want to leave 😉
Or, as my girlfriend calls my writing “It’s just a gumbo of good shit. It’s got everything you need in it to make you feel warm and uncomfortable at the same time.”
I like to write books that are true to myself rather than write what is popular.

When I’m not writing I have a literal list of things I enjoy doing all of which helps me to be more creative 😊

My hobbies include:
🐺 Walking my best friend: (My White Siberian Husky name Spartacus :) )
✒️ Writing
🕹️ Gaming
🥋 Judo
🌐 Languages (I speak French and am working on 🇯🇵 Japanese now)
📺 Movies (Sci-fi, adventure, action, and horror)
🐡 Anime (Stein's Gate, My Hero Academia, and HunterxHunter are some of my favorites)
✨ Philosophy (Really into Stoicism right now)
📚 Reading (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business, and self-help)
🃏 Cardistry (ask me to do a trick!)
🐲 Dungeons and Dragons
✈️ Traveling
🏄‍♂️ Surfing
🏂 Snowboarding

I grew up with too many creative ideas in his head and so I was forced into an ultimatum. Either sit and write down all these stories... or allow my brain to explode fantasy all over the walls.

Achievements
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