Chapter I

I was born out of a very poor family. My father lost his job at the local bank, and my mother, like all women, was not permitted to work, for she was meant to stay at home, and tend to the children, and kitchen.
My father was a drunk, and would waste all money he had earned (and even the few coins that were in my sister's and my bank account) on countless bottles of rum and vodka, and would come home (if at all) very ... what's the word... staggered, I guess, in his own state of mind.
I don't remember at all going to school, but I was known for being a very intellegent young boy. My sister, who was six years younger than me stayed at home, and did whatever chores our mother had ready for her to do.
When I was 12, my mother had strangled enough money out of our father, who could only do odd-jobs around the town, for enough money to get me piano lessons. We, of course had no piano, but Mrs. Berringer, down the street had one, and was nice enough to let me use it for an hour every day.

I was a natural at the piano, and was a very fast learner. At first, it would take me about two days to learn a simple song, such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb", and when I became older, names, such as Beethoven, and Bach were introduced to me, and I was so fast, I was able to learn a song in the span of three or four hours!
You must be wondering what the year is, my dear reader, for I'm sure absolutely none of this makes sense to you. The events of this chapter of my life take place in the slums of Toronto, in the late 1800's and early 1900s. Now-please, don't be alarmed by the date, or anything, for the answer to that lays very close ahead.
Now, where was I?... Ah, yes... My piano lessons went on for another few years, and my teacher was very astounded by my talent, and would always tell me things, like "Marcus, my dear, you're going to change the world, with your fingers, I can feel it!" My mother and sister felt the same, but my father only saw my talent as a way to get more rum money.

I came home, one night from piano lessons, to see mother slumped forward on the sofa, sobbing her eyes out. Father must've called her a worthless whore, and went out drinking again, I thought. I sat down beside my mother, and wrapped both my arms around her trembling figure. I leaned in, and rested my chin on her shoulder.
"What's wrong?" I asked, feeling quite angered at what may have happened. That, and for the fact that my sister, Emily, wasn't around to console our mother.
Mother sniffled a couple times, and looked up at me. She said my name, and held my hand tightly in hers. She took a deep breath, and started to tell me why she was so upset.
"Your father came in, and was searching for more money for drinking... I told him that we had no more, and on top of that, the landlord was banging on the door, demanding that we pay him for the month, or else he'd kick us out," (Because of Dad, we kept missing the payments.) "and so your father got angry, and grabbed Emily, and said, 'If I can't find money, I'll earn money!', and he took her to the harem for selling..."

All I felt was a hot surge of anger running through my veins. I slowly let go of my mother, and stood up. I think she knew my intentions, and begged me not to do what I planned to. I ignored her pleas, and took my father's pistol from the top shelf of the closet, and left the house in silence.
I made my way down the dark, cobblestone streets of Toronto. The lanterns in the windows were so bright you could actually see what people were doing inside their homes and apartments. A few people were on the street with me, and several people on buggies sped passed. It wasn't a rare thing to see people out and about at the middle of the night here.
I think I got to the harem about half an hour after I left home. As I entered and the funk of pure tobacco, and alcohol poisoned my nostrils and throat, and I remember coughing quite a few times before I could get used to it all.
Men were gathered all around tables and booths, talking about work, and such things that I didn't really care about. On my right was a chest- high stage, which was almost as wide at the room. Men sat around it, cheering half drunkenly at some full-chested bimbo who shook her hips at their quivering money.
I made sure the gun was tucked deep inside my jacket pocket, and stepped forward, to a short stairwell that led to a door, which was sunken into the wall. I opened it, to find another stairway, which led down to a cold, cellar-type room, which was lined with stone, and there was a wooden door every few feet.
I was sure this was where men came to "release their tensions" from that day, or from their wives. I stepped smoothly along the hallway, hearing soft, moaning from random rooms. It disgusted me with a passion. I made my way to a door at the very back, which had the words 'Management' written on it. I drew my gun, turned the knob slowly, and quickly entered the room.
I was met with complete darkness. At first I wondered if I misread the title on the door, and this was really a janitor's closet. I ran my hands along the wall, and found the switch to the lightbulb. I flicked it on, and the room flashed with the rare, unnatural light that I didn't see very often, because everyone in our slum was too poor to afford electricity.
I squinted, and waited for my eyes to get used to the brightness of the lightbulb. I gazed around the room, which was painted a deep, scarlet red, and the trim was painted gold. I realised that there had been a struggle, for picture frames, and two chairs were knocked over. I looked to the black carpeted floor to see the body of a fat, bald man who wore a very expensive suit. I gasped, and stepped backward, tripping over what I soon realised was the body of my drunk father.
I looked him over, and discovered he had two puncture wounds on his paled neck. I shuddered, and stumbled to my feet. I searched the room, hoping that maybe my sister was hiding, but there was no trace of her anywhere.
I left the death-filled room, and dashed up the cement stair way. I shoved through the crowd, and dashed through the thick, wooden doors of the harem. I looked both ways frantically, and yelled out, "Emily! Where are you!?" a few times. After no reply, and dirty looks from some passer-bys, I looked to my left to see a figure take one look at me, and run into an alleyway that was next to the harem.
I yelled to the figure, and ran to the alleyway to see nothing. I stepped forward, holding my gun ready. If this person was the assailant who attacked my father, I wanted to know what he did with my sister.
I walked forward, still, and heard a slight whimpering. "Who's there?" I asked, squinting my eyes. "Emily? Is that you?" I walked to the end of the alleyway, and listened hard. The whimpering grew louder, and from what I could see, there was no sign of the figure that I saw.
"Marcus?... is that you?..." came a shaken voice from the right corner of the alleyway's end. I stepped closer, and responded with a "Yes". I felt a small body cling to me from the front. She sobbed and sobbed, telling me how glad she was to see me. I could tell it was Emily. I picked her up in my arms, and carried my sister home.
Mother met us with great worry. I told her father was dead, but someone got to him before I did. It was odd to me, because dad had no rivals, except for the landlord, and I was sure he was home, and the fact that the manger of the harem had been killed as well, led me to think it was a robbery... but the wounds on both men's necks made no sense to me, whatsoever.