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Black&White(Past)

Draven lethargically climbed up the stairs. He could have taken the elevator but there wasn't one in this crummy building. He could complain for hours, about this rundown, paint-peeled apartment but sadly it was the only one which fitted perfectly with his budget.

In the beginning, it was hard for Draven to digest the word ‘Abandoned’ while sitting on the roadside for hours, the freezing cold was enough to pinch him back, to the reality of his circumstance.  

Moving on, Draven swallowed his pride and begged for a job, sometimes he threw himself out for the alms of the beggars or dumpster-diving for the crumbs to satiate himself.    

With his new identity, as a street kid, he sloged like an ox for a meagre wage doing odd jobs; at desperate times, even the offer to humiliate himself for money seemed enticing. A slave to money.   

When his pockets were full, his stomach wasn’t. It always manged to take fight by itself. As he was constantly tricked by the little kids and the shrewd locals.

After the first year, a prudent Draven strikes, no longer swayed by their honey-coated words, nor the malice their filthy mouths spit out. Tactfully, he took care of them from behind the scenes, one by one, they fell under his clutches and by a tempered habit of that man, he murdered the unredeemable. Surely, he would have been proud to see his innocent grandson stain his hands red.    

After his third year on the street, things started getting better, he got a small job, assisting a mechanic in a little garage. The pay was much better, but thanks to the local gangsters, he was left peniless. 

And on one fateful day, Abby was driving home from work. The cars stopped, waiting for the traffic to move. Abby unconsciously glanced around. A group of dirty and unkept kids hopped from one car to another; carrying a bucket of water and a wet rag in their arms.

Abby thought. 'I can't believe that even kids have to work, poor kids. I wish I could help them all but I can't! There is just too many.'

 The kids begged the drivers to allow them to wash cars for money and some just washed the car without the driver’s permission. Before her eyes peeled away, she saw someone she shouldn't have seen. "Is… Is that Draven? It can't be him! That outcast statement was a joke, right?"

Her heart ached, when the driver literally pushed the boy to the curb, when he pleaded for money after cleaning his windows.

His figure was blurry but to her womanly intuition it wasn’t. Listening to the voice, she got out of the car and walked to the boy. As she got closer, tears streamed down her face. A boy in a sackcloth shivered in the frightful weather, he picked himself up and went wash another car.

Abby got a clear look of his face.

‘It is him’

She ran towards him. "Draven! Draven! Drakey!"

The boy turned to the voice. Icicles gazed past his hollow cheeks, lighting a smile on his blackened face. 

“Drakey, my baby! Abby is here! Let me take care of you!" she bended to her knees and hugged him tighter than a viper grip, yet was warm enough to send him home. Cracking the unemphatic façade, a tear ran down his chin. His hands full of uncertainty, grabbed her woollen back, as he embraced her in the middle of the road.

Draven snivelled "Abby is it really you? I though…”

Soothing his head, she said “It is me! I am right here!”

“I though you also abandoned me...I missed you... pl...!"

Her heart ached at his grief, she comforted him "I won’t abandon you!" with sober vow in her heart.

Calming from the climax of their reunion, she asked “How have you been holding on?”

“Not well” he replied.

“I see, did anyone help you out… until now?”

Draven nodded, reading the saintly intention in her eyes. He knew she wanted to help, but he didn’t want her to give. Envy, selfishness wasn’t the word he was experiencing. For he was afraid; of their two-timing, innocent yet helpless looking kids.

 “Where are they? I want to give them something…” she said, rummaging through her bag for sweet wrappers and cubes.

She handed them candy and credits with a sweet smile, while Draven fended their itchy hands with a warning glare.   

When they were about to get in the vehicle. A couple of vulture-looking men, having a snake crest on their hoodies; approached them. "Yo, lady! Stop right there!”

Abby turned around, slammed the door shut. “What do you want?”

“You can't take that boy" one of the men said, pointing a finger at Draven.

Abby said "Why can't I? He is my nephew".

"You can't take him away, unless you pay" he said, showing his greasy hands.

"Why should I pay? when I'm his relative... As his relative have the right to be his guardian! Why should I pay some suspicious characters just to take my nephew home?"

Bastard 1 said "Rights? Hehe… Missy, rules don't work in these parts. Pay us ten thousand or he stays!" and peeled his loose shirt up, showing the knife handle in his pocket.

The other, openly ogled her body, smacking his dried, purple lips. "Hey bro, why don't we keep this chick? She is hot, I'm sure the boss will enjoy another one!”

 Furious, she sneaked a hand in her handbag, clutching her drawing wand. "Why you...?"

Draven squeezed hand, reigning her back; he whispered "Just pay, the slime balls"

Surprised, she chortled "Fine, what’s your serial number?"

“What?” blurted in shock, totally not expecting an easy catch. “Now you are talking, baby!” they hollered in glee, as she transferred the credits to their account. Once completed, they both ran to the nearest alcohol store.

Abby said “Come Drakey, let’s go home!” getting in the car.

Abby thought 'Anyway, I can always earn that back, but how dare they make money out of my little Drakey?' digging her nails around the wheel.

Intrigued, Addy asked what was on her mind. "Why did you stop me from beating those crooks?"

Relaxing against the plush seats, Draven said "Those two are weak but the other two in the shadows aren't and their boss has huge connection with the local police. This is their turf, so 'every stray and homeless person in their turf is their property'.”

 “Abby, I know that you are powerful but they can be troublesome to deal!"

"I see, thanks Drakey!"

 Abby thought 'Man, I totally acted on my impulses!’

Abby called her friend Lisa. Hearing the story from his aunt’s mouth.

‘Just because he doesn’t have a superpower, they abandoned him. What a stupid reason is that? So, what? Many people have failed the age ceremony before. That old codfish!’ she thought, balling her fists. 

Staying with him for a week, she realised the happy go lucky, innocent and cocky kid was lost in the bone-crunching cruelty of the world. That’s what she felt, hearing the grievances in the recount of his struggles.

She tried cheering him, with his favourite shows and videogames. But it was pointless, for everything appeared colourless and tasteless. Black and white. Only accomplishing a fleeting smile on his unemphatic face.

=====

Back to the present,

Draven picked up the letter on his doormat and swiped the door open. He threw the letter on the coffee table and went to have a quick shower.

Refreshed, Draven walked out dressed; tied a towel to his wet hair and fixed his lunch in the kitchen.

Draven had spaghetti Alfonso for lunch and watched football on the Telle for an hour. He laid his maths books on the table, glancing at the letter.

He became curious, after all in this day and age, very few people other than the elites who treat writing letters as some sort of privileged trend.

Seeing the letter without a crest or a name, he just opened it. Slouching back on the couch, he perused through the contents about his friend’s predicament, gritting his teeth.  

To Draven, Sam, Sarah and Harry were his blood brothers. He would do anything for those three, for in his lowest they were the one that helped him to survive the streets.

Preparing himself for a bloody fight. Resolve blazed through his blue-jay eyes; he tapped his bracelet. "Vernon, I want to get stronger! Teach me!"

Vernon casually digged his nose, said "Ok, no need to put on a scene for me"

Draven smiled.

Vernon paused and continued "But later don't come crying to me when it is hard!"

“Hehe, hard? Everything in my life has been hard, my body is already numb. If taking some more pain can smoothen my path to greatness, wouldn’t it be worth it?”

 Vernon said “Ugghh, so… it is a yes?”

“Hell yeah!” Draven heartly laughed, holding on to the great vision in his heart.   

KazuhiroSeijuro

Later, I will drop hints of his family's stance on his outcast. But there is a hidden reason behind his abandonment. Though so far, I have made little mention of the devices and the history of this futuristic yet corrupt world.

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