Chapter 2 part 2- Timmy

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This Timmy was new and offered a bright hopeful smile. As he aged, he would grow silent, sullen. But for now, Darith still saw the gleam of hero worship in the boy's eyes.

I can't rescue him. He couldn't change a damn thing about Timmy's life for the next handful of years. Darith averted his gaze from the hope in the boy that he couldn't answer.

Timmy lowered his eyes and shuffled his feet, making Darith distinctly uncomfortable. He did not come here to witness a child in pain, and floundered for any vaguely adequate words to give the shirtless child.

"It doesn't last forever," Darith said.

He handed the boy a large fold of bills. He almost cautioned the boy to split it with the master of the house, but that was a lesson Timmy needed to learn on his own. I hope he's saving the money. He could have a future, get out of this, but I can't live his life for him.

It wasn't enough. The last Timmy had been found strangled on a hotel-room floor. The only comfort Darith had was that his father had been at home the night before the body was found. His father might pay to sleep with the boys, but he hadn't killed any. The hotel staff never spoke of who occupied the room though they must have known. It had been a few days before the kid's eleventh birthday.

"Thank you," Timmy said softly.

Poor kid. How did he come to this? How does any child? The parents, it's always the parents. There should be some sort of restrictions to parenthood.

"Don't thank me. Follow the rules. Never cheat the boss, and get out of this place and live your life."

Darith turned and left the ally. Eyes bore into his back as he went. It wasn't enough. Money solved nothing, but it was all he had.

No one looked at him when he reached the shops, and on the main road, he avoided eye contact. He brushed his fingers over his pants as if he could wipe the stench of the ally, the slime of existence from him.

A pounding ache taunted his temples.

He was relieved to reach the black town-car. The driver sat on the hood smoking, but on seeing Darith, dropped the burning, drug-laced paper, opened the back door and moved into the driver's seat. Darith pretended he hadn't seen the drugs. The guy was a good driver, and his mother would never tolerate such a thing.

Darith slid into the backseat. He closed the door, blocking out the town and encasing himself in the expensive interior. The silence of the cab soothed the fresh pounding in his head. He let the driver know he was ready to depart.

As they drove, Darith glanced at the tinted glass which obscured the driver's view of him. Unsanctioned magic was more illegal than the drugs he pretended not to see. No one would keep that secret for him if he got caught.

Still once outside of town, with only the long stretch of tree lined road leading to the Cortanis estate, the pounding in Darith's head demanded he take the risk of exposure.

Darith lifted his fingers, a pale glow forming. Placing the finger at one temple and sweeping it to the other, he let the power trickle from his fingers and loosen the pain in his head. The steady beat of pain slowed, dimmed into a dull ache. A sigh escaped his lips.

The encounter of his afternoon had spoiled his mood, and when the car pulled into the Cortanis estate he welcomed the known pitfalls of his parents' home.

At the edge of the estate stood the huge bunker where all the fresh grown exports for the region were kept. Several trucks had parked outside the huge structure, unloading their goods and the foreman stood just outside of the huge metal door marking off what was delivered and from who. Quickly the building was out of site, hidden from the main estate by a line of trees, as if even seeing the working folk was disgraceful.

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