February 14, 2085
"You're gonna die here, boy," he said, "or you're gonna leave."
Valentine's Day was meant for love, and though my mother had married on such a lovely day, the world worked opposite for bad bloods.
I was no longer welcome.
I was lucky that I'd been welcome for fourteen years, and he knew it.
"Consider yourself lucky," he said, spitting at my feet. "I'm only lettin' you leave alive 'cause your momma."
I looked over his shoulder, trying to find her eyes, but she had stepped away a long time ago. "Mom—" I started to shout, but a sharp pain snapped my face back.
Heat rushed across my cheek, fire burned beneath my skin, pain etched itself into my bones. I could no longer see. My head spun, but I felt dirt beneath my fingertips. I had fallen down.
"Now get outta here, boy," he said.
I always imagined he would call me Steven.
You're gonna have a stepdaddy, she had told me weeks ago. A daddy.
Mine had left long ago. And now, it was my time to leave, too.
That or die.
And I didn't think I was brave enough to die.
I dug my fingernails into the frozen dirt and scrambled to my feet. Blood dripped from my nose. I tasted the salt on my lips. But I sheltered my right cheek and eye.
My stepdad was left-handed.
That was all I knew about him.
I swallowed tears, though my throat felt as if it were closing. This was it, the moment I had always feared. The streets. All bad bloods ended up there. But I was one of the lucky ones. My mother didn't care—Well, she cared, but she turned a blind eye toward it.
Now, my eye was blinded by pain.
"Are you dumb, or just inconsiderate?" A girl's voice reached me before she shoved her hands against my chest, and I hit the ground again.
I'd heard all about the kids of the streets. The children of crime. The vile and the strange, the wild and insane.
And here she was—short, blonde, and incredibly frustrated.
"You walked right into me," she said, but then my hand dropped from my face.
She saw my tears, and I didn't care.
She didn't seem to either.
"Watch where you're going next time, yeah?" she asked, but this time, her voice was softer.
I couldn't help myself. When she started to walk away, I grabbed her wrist. I expected her to swing her leg around and kick me straight in the face, but she didn't.
"Help me," I begged.
She sighed again, but this time, she looked at the clouds. The winter ice-blue sky stood stark still behind her as her long blonde hair caught the wind. She wore all white. She even smiled.
YOU ARE READING
Bad Bloods PrequelTeen Fiction
Before the Bad Bloods novels, twenty-four homeless bad bloods had to find shelter and safety in a city set out to eradicate their kind. These are those origin stories.