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Prologue: The Forgotten Child

   The grimy cobbles felt like slick stones bathed in thin mud to Beryl as they ran through the city before the morning sun turned the dark clouds red over the Vernian.  The pink of Strifeclaw’s paws were stained black with soot and other industrial waste covering the roads.

  They hardly noticed the building grime as they passed familiar stores and bars wearing dirty and torn beggar rags. Despite the disgusting feeling the large feline made this trek every day, sometimes more than once, upon all fours.

  Running had always been their favorite exercise.  Even the broth that poorly resembled atmosphere here did not alter their routine.  Only the summer heat changed this, but that simply forced them to run early in the morning.  

  The growing temperatures also affected some of the other citizens.  Earlier this week a couple pirates and local Babbagers brawled on the rooftops.  One was thrown below breaking his ribs and puncturing his lung while the main antagonizer escaped.  That situation grew more desperate as time passed, and the hospital was filling up.  This summer would be a busy season.

  Beryl stopped their run abruptly outside of the Imperial Theater as a young lad exited the building, roughly throwing open the door with a loud thunk.  Fly Copperfield stormed out with a look of determined fury not aimed at anyone in particular. He passed Beryl without recognition and rushed down Perdido Street.

  The feline watched him pass with a commiserating sigh and would have continued if another urchin had not peeked out of the theater.  Myrtil looked around suspiciously, and then motioned Beryl closer.

  “Which way did Fly go?”  She asked with a conspiratorial whisper to her friend.

  Down Perdido Street.”  Beryl barely finished their sentence before a lad ran out the door and chased after the other youth. The boy slowed as he reached the corner, and then sprinted frantically down the road.

  Beryl turned back to Myrtil clearly confused, “What’s going on?  Or should I not ask?”  

It was rare that urchins told even other urchins what they were doing.  The less everyone knew the better, but this time Myrtil seemed to consider Beryl’s question.  She gestured rapidly with her hand, “Inside, quick.”

  Beryl slipped into the abandoned theater, which was cleaner than they remembered on previous visits.  A faint odor lingered from Tepics attempt to keep the spiders out of the building.  As Myrtil led Beryl towards the stage, the cat noted the inner chamber remained neglected.  Cobwebs clung to the stadium seating precariously waiting to stick to anyone who took a brief rest on the chairs.  

  There were several children now standing up and brushing off the sticky substance.  They had been holding a meeting before Beryl arrived.  The small group was leaving one after another looking sad and disappointed.  The cat recognized few of them, and assumed they must be Fly’s friends from the factory.

  Myrtil did not lead Beryl to the others, rather halfway down the aisle she turned towards them almost hopeful, “Beryl, have you heard anything about the investigation about Amnelys Copperfield?”

  Fly’s sister?”  Beryl had not been present when she was poisoned, but it occurred during a public event. Being a woman of the evening it seemed most tried to forget her unfortunate fate.  “I believe Bookworm worked with Holmes and Watson on the case, but found no definite proof.”

  Myrtil sighed quietly expecting that answer. “Fly thinks that they abandoned them.  He doesn’t think that anyone cares about her anymore.  He-”  Myrtil paused and then gave a defeated shrug.  “Well you saw him.”

  The feline nodded and lowered themselves to the floor to rest after their run.  Fly possessed the haunted and fierce appearance of a boy aware that he had been forgotten.  A lad preparing to settle affairs alone.  “Does he ‘know’ who killed his sister?”

  “He thinks he does,”  Myrtil stressed quietly.  “But he could be aiming for the wrong person.”

  Beryl caught the unspoken fear clear in her tone.  If the culprit was not discovered soon, Fly might kill the wrong man.  “I’ll talk to Bookworm. She might have just gotten distracted by other threats.  Forgot about this in the upheaval.”

  Myrtil beamed slightly, though with resignation set in her shoulders, “Thanks Beryl.  If you learn anything that could help, let me know. I want to help keep Fly from making a mistake he’ll regret.”

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  1. violet Solano violet Solano May 21, 2016

    let the child go his way, the best cut throats start as revenge killers.

    or lunitics.

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