Thursday, October 28, 2010

On destroying childhood memories, again

On destroying childhood memories, again

I vowed I'd stop doing these, but this one's for the boy Scaryduck Junior. That'll learn him.

The Boy Gladiator

"What do you want in life?"

He wanted to be the best.

"Then you must leave this town and travel to the City. Go."

He left home. He was ten years old.

With nothing but the clothes he stood up in, and a pet given to him by a friend, he left for the City.

The nights were cold, and he dared not touch the creature for it was as scared as he, and attacked him mercilessly.

He met a girl. She wore the shortest of shorts, a cropped T-shirt and felt the cold even worse than he. She was older, had been hunting creatures for some years, and if she did not bear the scars on her body, they were still raw and fresh in her mind.

Those long, cold nights, she would sit by a tree, rocking back and forth, sobbing.

Or, she would wake him in the small hours, her screams of terror filling the growing dawn.

And he arrived in the City, and they sent him straight away. Back to the country, where they forced him to capture and tame wild animals. Living on his wits, he had to train them to fight, attack without mercy, and - if necessary - kill.

Kill for their televised arena battles which filled the spaces between the advert breaks in the City. Sometimes the animals were killed. Sometimes the kids.

The older boys would attack him in the forests, but he was learning to become the best. Learning the tricks, learning to beat them, learning to survive. Learning to be the best.

And every time he returned to the City with a new set of captured, angry, fighting animals, their list somehow got longer. The adults would sent him back out into that accursed radioactive wasteland with a longer list of rapidly-evolving mutants to sate the blood-crazed hunger of the watching hordes.

But he couldn't give up. Not ever.

He wanted to be the best.

Catch those Pokémon.

Gotta catch 'em all.

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