Fifteen Minute Word War II (Face’s Childhood)

30 Nov

Consider the following quotes.

“Evil is always unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed, and eats at our own table.”
— Wystan Hugh Auden
“In every barbaric act there is a human element. That is what makes the barbaric act so inhuman.”
— Henning Mankell
“Aye, but the hand that had murdered had once pressed the mother’s breast into the thirsting mouth, had stolen into the father’s hand when they went out into the dark. Aye, but the murderer afraid of death had once been a child afraid of the night.”
— Alan Paton
Imagine the villain, antagonist, or bad guy. Describe an everyday moment in his or her childhood, or, alternately, his or her usual morning routine.

Junior laughed as he dove head-first into the cold, soggy grass.  His clothing was filthy, and his mother would surely scold him once he returned home, but for now– he was a young boy, playing with a pig-bladder ball, after the harvest festival.  His fingers were numb and clumsy, and his toes hurt.  His cheeks stung and his nose was bright red; it leaked snot down his lips.  He licked his lips.  The salty taste reminded him of a pretzel that he was given during the festival.  He picked the ball up from its muddy resting spot, then tossed it into the air.

There were no other children playing with him– after all, he was the bastard.  He was the child of the duke.  Who could play with someone of such high birth?  He didn’t notice though.  He was still too young, and even on his visits to his mother’s family, he paid no mind to the stares of the common folk that were his mother’s people.  He paused as he heard something. “What was that?” he asked aloud as he looked around.  his eyes, slanted upward, looked around.  The green was brighter than what little plants still survived in the icy approach of winter.

When there was no response, he looked around for the ball again, then tackled it with his miniature, youthful vigor. “Got you!” he cried, only to pause as he noticed something was amiss.  His ball was not in the usual brown mud, but instead– it was a dark, sickly-smelling purple mud.  He frowned and picked it up, then yelped and threw the ball as he felt the air come out of it and watched the skin melt away.  Something was wrong with that mud.  He looked at his muddy, purple-covered hands.  They were tingling.  He wiped them on his pants and dashed off to find his mother.

The boy finally found her in the kitchen, and began to babble the story of the dissolving ball. “Mudder, my ball broke!  It landed in night-time sky color mud instead of mud-color mud, and den it stopped being full, and it turned into bacon fat!” He bounced repeatedly. “It hurt my hands, Mudder!” He pouted.

The woman looked down and laughed at him. “Junior, what an interesting story.” she murmured quietly with a smile.  Her eyes looked tired, but joyful.  She knelt beside him and wiped his face on her apron. “You are filthy.” she scolded gently. “Let’s get you washed up once I finish, alright?  You wait at the table.” she urged as she stood and wiped her own hands, then continued her work.

The boy didn’t see, and didn’t much care if she was cooking or washing, and quickly amused himself by drawing with his finger in the thick cake of mud on his legs.  It felt very cold, now that he was in a warm room, and he began to shiver. “Mudder, why do we got to live in dis cold place all da time?” he asked.  His missing front teeth  gave his speech a strange, bumpkin-sounding tone, and prevented some of the more crisp, trained parts of his vocabulary from showing.  During this short time period, at least, the village boys would be a little more kind– they had the same issue, after all.

It took quite a long time, but when Junior’s mother finally finished, she helped him undress, then helped him to wash.  He babbled the entire time, about various topics– usually whatever object he could see in front of him during those moments he was asked to keep still.  His mother paid little mind, save to ask the odd question to keep his mouth moving, rather than allow his usual fidgeting.

As she finished cleaning the pale, nude little boy, he dashed off to get dressed. “It’s too cold for naked!” he cried with a wild whoop.

His mother laughed. “Junior, let me wash your hair first!” she called as she chased after the boy.  His hair was so caked, it looked brown– much like her own.  Much as she liked seeing another feature of her own on him, and as proud as it made her, she preferred to see the boy’s natural color– his father’s color.

The boy paused, then pouted. “Boo!  No, I want brown hair like Mudder!” he objected with a pout. “Fadder’s hair makes me look funny, and the other boys say I’m a monster!” He stuck out his tongue. “I want to keep the mud in my hair for a long, long time!”

“You can’t, Junior.” she murmured, voice soft and reassuring as she caught up to the nude boy. “Your hair will get icky bugs in it.” She reached for his hand, and he pulled away, then dashed to their shared bedroom.

“No no no!” he cried out. “I don’t want bugs or ash-color hair!  I want mud color hair!  Mud, mud, mud!”  The boy stomped around on the dirt floor of the house, his bare feet soon becoming sore.  Unlike the village boys, he had no callouses, save those caused by his own shoes.  He was soft and delicate, and he bruised easily.  The boy’s mother walked into the room and wrapped her arms around him, then carried him back to the kitchen.

“What if Mother takes a bath with you?” she offered with a smile.

The boy thought for several minutes before he finally decided, and by then, he found himself in a tub filled with heated water, just near the back door of the house. “I…” he trailed off, then pouted. “Mudder did it again.  Mudder is mean.”


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