The Parasol

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When Murphy first woke, only one of Peri II's moons had risen high enough to light the inside of the barn. It was cold inside but he did not shiver, used to the uncomfortable shadows that surrounded him. He brushed a straw out of his inklike hair, which slowly fell to the ground. Through the darkness he gathered his things and took off swiftly, leaving the barn untouched. He kicked the straw he'd been sleeping in to cover his tracks and smiled smugly. It was pure skill that kept him alive this long. It certainly wasn't luck.

He crept out through a gap in the wall, not to make a sound from the creaking of the barn door. Out again, through a hole in the barbed wire fence, which had caught his hand the night before. It was a shallow but stinging cut along the palm of his left hand, his shooting hand. He'd bandaged it up with a scrap piece of cloth from his bag.

The field was damp - not from rain, he would have heard it. The crop stuck to his boots like long purple spider legs (as the local planet of Peri II had a strange habit of growing purple plants). He avoided treading through the meadow and leaving a trail, and kicked the dirt trail to the road to hide his footprints. The sky was clear, both moons bright, staring at him. He walked beside the dirt road, white, lit by the stars. The moonlight reflected in his eyes, a dead pale gold that glared cooly into the darkness. His locks hung across them like vines, straight and greasy, his dark mess discordant against the translucent sepia of his skin. It was strange for a city rat like him to see, he had never witnessed a sky like this. Part of him missed the orange glow of the city, but there wasn't time for reminiscence now. He wiped the feeling away, preparing himself for the possible deed he'd have to do.

The slightest crack of the window catch would have disturbed the sleeping child. This wasn't a mission to take lightly. As he opened the window with the carefullest touch, fingers wrapped around the white frame, he watched the young girl fast asleep. How he'd love to rip her apart. The corruption of innocence was a beautiful sight indeed, a perfect sight perhaps. But that was part of the deal - do what you want with the little cub, as long as you get the goods and don't wake daddy bear. Murphy's silent grin grew at the thought.

He saw the treasure stood up in the corner, amongst the cuddly toys and rocking horse. This girl was obviously spoilt, her typically pink room filled with toys of all kinds. But the parasol in the corner still stood there, bright as day, so ready to be taken. The temptation was strong, a raging magnetic force to do what he really came to do. She was so nearly in his grasp, so nearly ready to tear her apart, into tiny sleeping pieces.

Finally ready, he crept across her bedroom floor. The slightest stir from the little cub and he would drop everything to get to her. He told himself it would be to silence her, but he knew that was only part of the truth. He finally reached it, taking it with a delicate hand and put it in his bag. A fragile parasol of pink lace, tiny moments of pure gold thread weaved in the pattern. A handmade masterpiece. Mr Pickett would certainly be happy with this. As he slowly shifted his cold stare to the sleeping girl, he doubted if one kill would be enough for tonight. He was itching for it. Watching her calmly for a moment, he drew his lifeless blade.

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