A Change In Perspective
By Spawn of Hell
Chapter One – I Didn't Mind
My name is Karl Bishop. Up until I met Drake, I didn't think life was worth living. He changed my perception of the world, of myself, showing me the millions of possibilities offered. I had never thought they could apply to me. A family, friends, studies and a decent work; the things that made life good to live. When I think about it now, I don't understand how I could've ever believed I didn't need those things, how I could have lived for so long without all that which makes life what it is.
I was about 15 when I met him for the first time; he was 17 and running away from unscrupulous thugs. I happened to know them quite well. They called themselves the Rampant Pythons, probably because they thought it sounded baddass, and what better name than a baddass one for them, representing all the bad drugs they so carelessly sold to children for an outrageous price. Their leader was Mik Law. Now that's got to be the most stupid coincidence ever, don't you think? I can't remember how many times I had seen them recruiting pushers; but that's what they were trying to do, recruit that boy. Money is easily made selling drugs to rich boys and girls. Somehow they always found the money to pay up. Now who better to do the trade then one of their own circle?
For Drake Craven was indeed rich. Anyone knew just by looking at his designer clothes and the way he obviously wanted nothing to do with them stinky rats. Now that's just precious: a rich boy with principles. Those are a rare species. Obviously, he didn't want to deal their drugs and that didn't sit too well with the Pythons who had adjusted their persuasion tactics to intimidation.
My employer had been very exigent that day. I had had a bad day and seeing those idiots chasing innocent boys around did nothing to improve my rotten mood. I knew exactly where they were trying to corner him and I decided for once to meddle a bit in other people's business. Inflicting a few bruises and cuts might be a nice way to appease my restlessness. I sighed. Getting my body to hurry after them despite the fact that it was already spent for the day turned out to be quite the challenge.
I knew of a shortcut through an old derelict apartment building but was not surprised that when I arrived they had already taken their retracting blades out threatening Drake. The latter was backed up against the alley wall, apparently scared shitless. Even then he still held his head high. Proud, huh?
I surveyed the situation from a rusty emergency staircase a few meters above them. Really debilitating to think none of them saw me. True, I was used to sneaking and hiding and I had the darkness of the night on my side – which makes you wonder how that boy could be so stupid as to walk around this neighbourhood at night unarmed and untrained– but for guys that thought of themselves as omnipotent, that really wasn't impressive.
I glanced at the aggressors wondering how I should go about it and overheard them talking.
"C'mon, pretty boy, don't make us hurt you. All you have to do is agree to help us out…"
"Say yes and we won't have to see how much blood you can shed before you lose consciousness… Eh, pretty boy?"
The one who obviously was the gang's chief took a few steps toward the pale figure leaning strongly on the dirty alley wall. It wouldn't be all that easy. Five men, three knives, two bats and one gun secured against the idiot leader's small back by the waistband of his jeans. Upon seeing I couldn't postpone any more my intervention, I dropped from my observation point onto the stupid ass with the gun. I grabbed the latter and rapidly released the bullet clip and threw the gun away in a nearby container. I jumped backwards shielding the defenceless boy from his attackers. They weren't all that happy. Actually, when I think about it they couldn't have appeared angrier if they'd have tried. The imbecile finally got up with some help from another thug. This wasn't going to be all fun. Why did I bother again? Well, too late to back out now.
I opened my switchblade. I was ready to fight, which was a good thing considering they launched an all-front attack on me. I don't think it was humanly possible for me to come out of that battle unscarred. The bastards were fast, so much so that I had to rely mostly on my instincts. More often than not my opponents became only blurs while I spun around delivering kicks and punches. I wished that rich boy behind me would help out some; the fight was turning out to be tougher than I had expected. Some of these guys knew how to fight and had nicked me with their knives more times than I like to admit. It was a wonder I wasn't more badly hurt or even dead by then. Really, some help would have been appreciated, seeing as my body heaved and trembled tiredly. That fighting pace was hard to maintain and I wouldn't have been able to much longer. I had three down, two to go when I felt the five-inch blade tear in my flesh just above my right hip, ripping a hurtful scream form my throat. A flash of burning red pain obscured my vision and for a moment I was tempted to let myself crumble down in pain but, in the end, I forced myself to counterattack before any more harm could be done to me. I whirled around and slammed my foot in my aggressor, effectively breaking his clavicle. He was out instantly. My breath came out in rasp pants scorching my dry throat and my body vibrating insistently.
As I forced my drifting concentration back on the almost forgotten fight, I became aware that rich boy had jumped on the last thug's back choking him with his arms. Finally some help! But he might have needed some help with it himself, so I kicked the thug in the stomach and he fell down no longer able to breathe bringing the boy down with him.
I ignored the muffled 'humph' escaping the dark haired boy as he hit the ground. He was still awfully pale but had only suffered a minor cut on his left arm, which shouldn't even leave a scar for him to contemplate and show to impressed preppie girls.
I had to get out of there before the Police arrived. The thought of having to explain myself to my employer wasn't too appealing.
"Thank- Thank you… I'm Drake Craven. I don't know what I would've done without you, I…"
"Nothing. You'd most likely be dead." He paled a bit more but still stuttered gratefully.
"E-Exactly! Thank you for…" Annoying.
"There's really no need to thank me. I just needed to let out some steam." He looked at me in disbelief.
"You decided to save me because… What? You were stressed?"
"I had a bad day."
"That's the only reason?"
"What!? You want me to tell you I'm a superhero or something? I have no sympathy whatsoever for spoiled little rich kids who are too stupid to stay in their big mansions instead of venturing in a world that they know nothing about and in which they do not belong! Now if you're finished, I do want to get the hell outa here before the cops show up."
I brushed past him. His expression had hardened. He obviously didn't like my answer. But I couldn't have cared less since my hip throbbed like hell, that I was losing obviously too much blood and that my damaged body wouldn't please my employer very much. It hurt so much. I glanced at my hand resting just above my hipbone. It was bloodied. And apparently Drake saw this too, concern marking his features. Damn him. I had just told him off and he still had it in him to be worried about my sorry ass. I did not need this.
Wanting to make a quick escape, I thought I'd go the same way I came. But when I jumped and dragged the ladder down, I felt hot blood gushing out of the wound and pain coursed through my body, making me dizzy. Drake was instantly beside me, one hand keeping the ladder down, the other supporting me.
"Are you ok? Can you climb?"
His voice was now incredibly gentle and low. He seemed to have caught on to my plan of escaping through the building. Since I was way too far-gone to push him away and tell him to get lost, I opted for accepting his help instead of crumbling in the stinking alley.
"I think." I heard my raspy voice slur.
"Ok. Let's go… Slowly, now…"
I let his deep-pitched voice soothe my mind as he handled me gently through the building; it was as if I was something precious and fragile. Despite myself, my vision was gradually dimming, darkening around the edges.
And I knew I wouldn't make it.
I lost my footing and my body would have hit the floor hard if not for Drake's strong arms around me. I think he asked me something. I didn't understand.
I felt him lower me on the floor and check the cut. I'm sure he paled.
"We have to get you to a hospital. You're bleeding way too much and you're going to need stitching." Did I fool myself when thinking I heard concern in his voice?
"No." My mind was a blur, but one thing came out clearer amongst the fog. "No hospitals."
His large burgundy eyes – were those specks of green? - watched my face intensely and he hesitantly asked:
"Is it because of money or…"
It was too hard for me to concentrate on what he was saying. I could only bring myself to state 'No hospitals' again before I lost all awareness of the world around me slipping in a deep dark place. My kind of place.
The guy had just fainted on me and I had to restrain myself from panicking. There was so much blood! I forced my mind to form a coherent thought.
Checking his pulse might be a good idea, right?
There. It was slow but at least there was one. I took his sweatshirt off and pressed it against the wound. Applying pressure reduces the blood flow.
Next. My free hand searched my pockets for my cell phone. My desire for him to live almost made me call 911, but he had asked me not to. He must have had his reasons to refuse the help doctors could give him. I asked the phone operator the number of a doctor that did house calls at this ungodly hour and it turned out his fees were amongst the triple 0's. Damn. I hoped he was good. Well, good thing money was no problem for me.
Then I called a taxi, which got there relatively fast. Thank God for that, I was about to have a panic attack, waiting with a heavily bleeding stranger on a dark creepy street lit only by an epileptically flickering lamppost.
I never got into situations like that. I'm the son of a wealthy man and that status had provided me with a pampered life away from the 'horrors' of life. Never anything life-altering had happened to me. And many might say that being protected from everything is not living and therefore, you know absolutely nothing about real life, and the day life hits you in the face, you're found unable to deal aptly. That may be true. Probably is too. Well, can't change what was.
"Whoa, boy. You ain't getting in here with your bloody friend. Gonna stain the seats and it's gonna cost me a lot for…"
"I'll give you an extra $300." He let his eyes travel over my clothes and take in my appearance, probably evaluating if I could pay up.
"You got it, boy." He smiled greedily and I dragged the body of my 'bloody friend' into the car.
I held the boy close to me, so close that he was leaning heavily against my torso. My hand was clumsily keeping a decent amount of pressure on the wound with the shirt but, gosh, he was so pale and so alarmingly still. What wouldn't I have given to get him to open his eyes or to show any sign of awareness? However, it was evident he was that much out of it and wouldn't do any of that. He simply lied motionless in my arms as I worried.
We finally got to my house but not nearly fast enough for my taste. There was no way I'd let him die on the backseat of a taxicab after he battled five hoodlums to save my 'spoiled little rich kid's ass. I owed him. Plus, I really didn't fancy having a corpse on my hands.
The doctor arrived at my house only a few minutes after I had laid the boy's body on a bed in one of the numerous unused guestrooms. Luckily, it was rather late in the night – or really early in the morning – and so there was no house staff to try and dodge. Stealth isn't my forte, even less so with a body in my arms. I didn't want to watch the professional poke around the boy's wound. What if he died? What then? (AN: Then the story's over? ; ) The moment I heard the door creek open my head snapped up to look at the doctor. My relief was enormous when he offered me a smile.
"He'll live though he's lost a lot of blood. Stitches were necessary. You'll have to change the bandages often. Oh, and make sure he stays hydrated. A fever is a normal side effect of such a wound. Here are some painkillers. He shouldn't leave his bed for the next few days. If there's anything, call me."
"Thank you." He handed me his card.
The second he departed –by the side gate-, I hastily went to the boy's side. He was still ghostly pale but the bandages surrounding his chest reassured me. There no longer was a gaping wound in his abdomen. He was going to live. There was nothing to fear anymore.
Funny that he had called me boy for he looked younger than me.
He saved my life, then I saved his. But when you think about it I wouldn't have been able to if he hadn't gotten hurt on my behalf. Exactly why did he save me? He said it was not out of the kindness of his heart. But what could it have been then? You don't risk your life only because you're pissed.
I must've had fallen asleep because when my barely opened eyes gazed sleepily at the boy, they were met by yellowish orbs staring at me. He was awake? I jumped and looked at my watch. 12h30 p.m.! By then my parents must've been awake and wondering why their son was still in bed. I hoped they hadn't checked my room yet.
I pushed my hair back yawning profoundly and walked over to the bed. Never blinking yellow eyes followed me sternly. I sat on the side of the bed making sure not to hurt him.
"I'm sorry. I really have to go before my parents find out I haven't been in my room all night and start asking questions. Hum… Are you in pain? You look a bit feverish. But then, the doctor said it was normal if you were. I'm supposed to give you painkillers too. Wait here a sec. Well it's not like you could get very far…" I made my way to the adjoined bathroom and filled a glass with water. God I was nervous. Well, what's to expect when someone stares at you like that, huh? I got back to him. "You have to stay in bed and drink a lot. Here."
The boy never diverted his stoic gaze from my face completely ignoring my hand offering the two pills. I sighed.
"Listen, I don't have all day. Just take the pills, ok? It will make you feel better, I promise."
His eyes traveled to my hand and he let me help him sit up a little to swallow the painkillers. Immediately after, he leaned back looking utterly exhausted and slowly let his eyelids drop. Poor kid.
I ran to my room and messed up the sheets so the maids wouldn't be too suspicious. It just wasn't proper for a son of the elite to roam around in bad neighbourhoods at night. I took a very short shower and changed into clean clothes. Then I had to find my parents and quell their undoubtedly arising doubts. It was Saturday and around one pm, where were they most likely to be? The living room? Bull's eye! The servants were serving tea and my dear parents reading the paper. I stepped into the room making my presence known.
"Drake darling, why are you up so late? We were worried; you missed breakfast."
My mom looked at me from over the tiny steaming cup of tea. I bent to kiss both of her cheeks before answering.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Mother. I should have sent word to you. I got caught up in a passioning book we have to read for school last night. I'm afraid I didn't see the time pass. And to make matters worse I woke up with an upset stomach."
My father answered.
"Well, now you can eat, boy! It's not by reading old dusty books and being sick that'll you'll become a man. You got to build muscles! If having too much money makes you go lazy, I'll see to it that you don't have any more than any other kid your age!"
I was really not surprised by what he was saying. It was an old speech. And an incorrect one at that. The money my parents gave me and half of what I received from working at the convenient store was deposited in a bank account. The amount was building up rather well since I never touched it. I hadn't told them about it. But I did think it a good idea to have a safety net somewhere. I smiled as I always do.
"Of course, Father. I'm going to the kitchen right now."
"Well, stop talking and go!"
I excused myself and left for the kitchen. The cook was nowhere to be seen since we were in-between two meals. I went through the cupboards and refrigerator searching for something I thought the boy might like. 'I'll have to ask him his name. Calling him boy for the rest of the week will hardly do.' My eyes finally spotted some filet mignon covered with gravy. After reheating it –microwaves work miracles-, I decided to cut it in small bites so it'd be easier for him to eat. I served a generous portion of buttered mashed potatoes and some green and yellow beans on the side. On a tray I put the plate, a glass of water and one of iced tea and a bowl of my personal favourite: homemade strawberry mousse. Would that be enough? I added bread and butter just in case and made my way back into the guestroom. I made sure no one saw me. That's one advantage of living in a big house with more than one wing; it's easier to go unseen.
I locked the door behind me. The boy didn't even open his eyes when I set the food tray on the night table. Fever-induced sweat beaded on his forehead. I went to the bathroom and a moment later, I was gently wiping the sweat off his face and chest with a cold wet washing cloth. He stirred then and almost immediately his eyes found the food and widened comically. Then they locked on me. I smiled.
"I didn't know what you liked so I had to guess. Beef's ok?"
His gaze journeyed to the tray and back on me again.
I helped him sit up and arranged his pillows and placed the tray on his laps. He grabbed rapidly the utensils but stopped before even tasting the food. His yellow eyes fought their way to me again.
"What 'bout you? You ate, right?" I think nothing might have stunned me more than that inquiry. He was actually worried that I hadn't eaten? I smiled pleasingly.
"Yes, I made myself a salmon and tuna sandwich while preparing your meal."
He watched me for a while more, then devoted all his attention to the food. He was very hungry. Once he had almost finished the main course, I spoke up again.
"You better appreciate the dessert. I don't like sharing something so heavenly good."
He offered no answer but simply sniffed the mousse suspiciously before degusting it, taking his time. When he was finished, I put the tray aside. I watched him for a moment then asked uncertainly.
"Do you need to go to the bathroom? It's been a while… You can't walk on your own but I could support you…"
He didn't even seem embarrassed when he nodded. I would be if I had to go pee while another guy held me. He put his arm around my shoulders and leaned weightily on me as we made slow progress across the room. And the walk back was even worse. I could see it hurt him to move around. But we managed and he got back in bed.
"Maybe I should change your bandages now. It's almost been twelve hours."
He simply nodded again and I started to unwrap the bandages slowly revealing a long stitched up cut. I could see many scars on his torso that I hadn't noticed until then. The wound was disinfected and then carefully bandaged again.
"Does it hurt a lot? The wound…" I looked up at him and explained. "I've never been cut… or ever seriously hurt for that matter. I don't mean to nose in but you seem to have a lot of… of experience?"
I finished lamely and thought he would ignore me like he'd done so often but he sniggered lowly still looking out the window.
"Experience? Huh… Yeah. It hurts. Like hell too."
His head snapped in my direction an incredulous look etched on his face. Even more so when I sadly smiled.
"For what? You didn't force me to fight those guys. I'm a big boy. I make my own choices."
"For everything, I guess. You have to understand, I'm not saying it's my fault. I'm only saying I'm sorry you had to deal with things like that. It's not fair. I never had to. But look at you! How many times did you get severely injured?" He frowned still looking at me.
"Why do you assume that I did not choose to live as I do?"
"Sometimes circumstances make the choices for us." His eyes widened before he diverted his gaze to the outside world again. His lips were drawn in a thin set line.
"Sometimes they do. But sometimes they don't."
I knew that was the most I'd get out of him that day. I didn't mind.
---To Be Continued…---
Author's Comment: Oh. Hello everybody! I hope you liked what you read. I do intend to update as fast as I can but since I'm kind of a slow writer… Well for now chapter 2 is already done and posted. I'd really appreciate it if you would review. REALLY appreciate it. That's all.
REVISED CHAPTER – A big fat thanks to my beta-reader, Chibicherrychan.