Shadows of Despair

Curtis turned to face his friend, not sure whether he should be amused or angry. It certainly wasn't an easy life that the man had to lead and at times he wondered if that lifestyle got to Luther's head. "You're crazy!"

"No, I'm not crazy," Luther said simply, pausing for a moment. When he spoke again his voice was clouded with pain. "It doesn't take a crazy person to learn how to fight or to realize that his whole world is beginning to fall apart as if in slow motion. I'm not crazy, I'm stressed and I am boing forced to do things I don't want to do."

As soon as the words left his friends mouth, Curtis snorted and wondered again why he even spent time with the man before him. He could, after all, find other friends, friends who would be alot easier to understand. For Curtis was young and handsome with grayish colored eyes, a spray of freckles and auburn hair. Luther would not classify as handsome with his black hair, blue eyes and puny build. He also wasn't very popular and because Curtis chose to spend time with him, he wasn't very popular either.

"I still think you are crazy," Curtis told him, "If you had any sense in you, why, you'd just turn the guy in instead of trying to take on the whole world by yourself!"

Luther shook his head firmly and stood up from the bench he'd been sitting on. Curtis made a move to go over to him but Luther held up a hand to stop him. "Might I remind you who's older Curty."

A look of annoyance crossed Curtis' face. "First off," he said, "My name is not Curty, and second, age has nothing to do with any of this."

"Oh yes it does," Luther said, smirking slightly as he looked at his only friend.

"I fail to see why..."

Luther cut him off. "I am older Curtis and so have had more time in this world. It means that I've had more time to learn how life works and I tell you that it's hell. After all, you're the only one who will even listen to me."

With a slight sigh, Curtis looked at the ground before looking up and meeting Luther's eyes. "I'm the only one who will listen to you because you go around saying how much you hate the blacks all the time. Everyone around here but me, is from the North Luther. Of course they aren't going to agree with you."

"It started before that," Luther said sharply, pacing back and forth in the empty courtyard, "It started way before that. You wouldn't understand."

Curtis wanted to say something but he couldn't think of anything to say. Everytime he said something it seemed that Luther thought he was wrong anyway, so he didn't see the point. He figured that it would be better to just let Luther have a few minutes to think, maybe he would explain more afterwards. But as it turned out, Luther didn't get the chance to think about anything.

There was a building next to the courtyard, one of the many buildings of the collage that both Curtis and Luther were attending. The door on the side of that one building flew open and another young man stepped into view, another student. This man had dark brown hair and angry looking brown eyes. He stumped towards where Curtis and Luther stood, causing both of their heads to snap up. "Who are you?" Curtis demanded, not liking the look the man gave his friend.

"Wouldn't you like to know," the man snapped, wheeling on Luther, "Now, let's see how well this little guy can fight."

It didn't take Curtis long to put two and two together and realize that the man before him was one of the men that Luther had been talking about fighting only minutes earlier. "No Luther!" Curtis grabbed Luther by the shoulders and pulled him towards him just as his friend lunged towards the other man.

"Get off me!" Luther kicked Curtis hard in the stomach, breaking the other man's grasp and punched the man before him on the chin. There was a satisifying crack as he broke the bone but the man before him was not finished yet.

Curtis watched horrified from the ground, where he had fallen as the man's fist came in connect with Luther's nose. There was another crack as another bone was broken and Curtis scrambled to his feet, ignoring the pain from where Luther had kicked him. "Stop it," he shouted, throwing himself between the two fighting men.

Right away, Luther took a step backwards, not wanting to injure his best and only friend. "Stay of this Curtis, it isn't your fight."

A quick shake of the head was the only answer Curtis gave. But the other man wasn't planning to stop fighting and if Curtis was going to stand in his way then he'd fight him too. Grabbing Curtis by both arms, he shoved him up against the side of the building. Curtis just stared back at him, finding it hard to believe how much fight was in the man. Surely he had to be in pain after Luther had broken his chin.

But the man was ignoring the pain and he glared in hatred at the one person who dared call Luther a friend. He couldn't talk, the pain was too much for that but he could show this man who was the boss. Before Luther could step in, he gave Curtis' wrist a quick twist, snapping it.

In a second, Luther grabbed the man from behind and pushed him to the ground before kicking him in the chin so that the man lost consciousness. Then he turned to Curtis who was slightly pale but otherwise smiling. "Takes teamwork, huh?" he said, cocking his head towards the man's unmoving form.

"Curtis, your wrist," Luther said softly, walking over to where he stood. "I... didn't want you to get hurt."

"You're bleeding too." Curtis gestured with his good hand towards Luther's nose. "You'd better have that looked at if you want it to heal properly."

Luther shook his head, glancing back at the unconsious man just a few feet away. "I don't want to have to explain everything to anyone. Nobody would understand and I'm afraid they'd blame me for starting it. I'm leaving this place."

"Leaving school! Luther, you can't be serious! Do you know how much trouble you could get into?" Curtis stared at him, unable to believe his ears. Never in a million years would such an idea have occured to him.

But his friend nodded nad placed a hand on Curtis' shoulder. "Yes, I'm leaving. Will you come with me?"

Curtis shook his head. "Sorry Luther, I can't do something like that. But I do have to say, after this I'm looking forward to going back South."

A small smile crossed Luther's face as he turned and walked away. Curtis watched him go, silently wishing the other man good luck. With his personality he was going to need it.