Title: Crimson's Child
Authoress: Ladya C. Maxine
Warning: language, violence, drug & alcohol abuse, rape, incest, child abuse
Summary: Growing up in a dysfunctional family, young Tala has no choice but to bear the brunt of their hate, knowing no other lifestyle, until he meets Kai…
Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade or any of its characters. Any and all unknown characters belong solely to me and are not to be used without my permission. I am not making any money off of this and write only to entertain.
A/N: The reason for this fic is that it has been stuck in my head ever since I wrote the Tala/Boris scene in chapter 3 of Resurfacing. In it Boris' mentions Tala's past and how he was abused by his mother and relatives.
By Ladya C. Maxine
He didn't want to enter. He really did not want to climb the four broken steps that led up into the ramshackle house that looked near ready to collapse in itself should the wind blow too hard. Shutters were broken and creaked on their long rusted hinges. Almost all the windows had been shattered by stones thrown by neighbourhood kids. Some of the glass had been patched up with cardboard but it was a very shabby sight all the same.
The cold winter air blew around him and he shivered, pulling together the raggedy jacket whose thread barely clung to him. His feet were starting to turn numb as the icy ground nipped his toes through the thin sole of his sneakers.
Adjusting his torn backpack he sighed sadly and started up the driveway which was riddle with broken pavement through which weeds sprouted out. At least it was more agreeable to walk on than the lawn. Dead, brown grass as high as his shoulder, maybe even higher, choked the front of the house, almost hiding it from the street.
The rotting floorboards groaned beneath his tired feet as he climbed the rickety steps, mindful not to go near the large hole at the top. Edging his way around it he reached up and undid the latch that served to keep the front door shut since the door knob had broken off last summer. Forced to stand on tip-toe he finally managed and it creaked open.
The strong stench of drugs and alcohol assailed his senses and he had to blink and swallow several times before he could step inside. The tattered welcome mat did little to remove the icy mud that stuck to his shoes despite his efforts to wipe it off. He gave up and pulled them off, leaving him with his socks though they were his only pair and so was badly worn out.
Removing his jacket, he hung it on the rusted nail that served as a peg and shifting the heavy backpack to his other shoulder he headed to where he could hear the television in the living room. As he stepped into the smoke filled room he was almost pushed over by a girl who ran out, shouting loudly as another child followed her in an attempt to get back the small box she had obviously stolen. Both stopped their horseplay as their eyes settled on the newcomer. The first girl wrinkled her nose in disgust and confusion and turned to where someone lounged in the couch.
"Mama! Someone here!"
A grunt came and a grey streaked mop of brown hair rose. The woman's mane was a highway of knots and mats with grey strands poking out at the hairline and at the back, hanging limply down till bony shoulders. Her cheeks were somewhat sunken in as were her eyes. They had once been a vibrant emerald but now they were a sickly green that was always rimmed with red veins. Her skin had turned a slight shade of yellow from lack of sunlight and wrinkles cracked the corner of her eyes.
Moving to sit up, she swayed unevenly as she took another draw of the joint held loosely between her fingers. A puff of smoke flared from her nostrils, rising to mingle with the storm cloud of smoke she had already made that hovered all around. She was dressed in a stained sleeveless blouse that constantly slipped from her shoulder. Next to that she wore socks but that was all. Now she scrutinized the small red-haired boy before her.
She could still speak properly so she must have just come off work which was strange since her job as a waitress at a run down bar in the worse side of town was always from 2 p.m. to sometimes 2 a.m. But she always came home at seven in the morning, stoned or drunk with the stench of a man's cologne on her.
"Jacob couldn't find the bag--"
"Just shut up and give me it," she snapped impatiently. Turning to the two girls who stood watching, she snapped, "Leave!"
Both girls ran up the stairs. The wood creaked and threatened to break beneath their hurried footsteps but due to the shortage of food they, like all the kids in the house, were very thin and weighed almost nothing so there was no threat of the old wood giving way.
Not even waiting for her son to take off the backpack, she jerked him around and tore open the flap, smiling to find a large brown package stuffed inside. Pulling it out eagerly she placed it on the table before her, after swiping off all the empty beer bottles, and opened it. A crow of delight escaped her lips to find the precious white powder and hash and other 'medications', as she would tell the boy every time he asked her about it.
"You know the way to a woman's heart, Jacob."
Quickly outing her old joint, she rolled a new one and soon a fresh, pungent smell invaded the room. It was then that she remembered the small boy before her.
"How much did he want for it?"
"He asked for 500."
"We agreed on 350!" She straightened, blowing the limp strands of hair from her face.
"He wanted 500."
Backing away seemed the safest option but he was grabbed by the shirt and found himself staring into her blood-shot eyes. The burning tip of the joint was dangerously close to his face and he flinched as it bobbed over his skin with each word she uttered.
"Did you steal it? Jacob never gives things away for free. Damnit, boy! What did you do!"
"I didn't steal it! I swear! I tried to get him to lower the price but he refused."
"Are you truly as dumb and slow as your father was? Do I need to spell it? How. Did. You. Get. Them?"
"I let him touch me!" he cried out when he felt her ragged nails start to dig through the cloth to scrape his shoulder.
To his relief she released him, a smirk on her face.
"Again? You get more lay than I do, boy." An insane laugh escaped her lips when he lowered his head in shame. "Have you any idea of how long I've been trying to get that man to notice me? Ten years. And all you have to do is look at him and he jumps at the chance to take you."
This was something he had heard before and he tried to change it before it turned into a beating.
"He said to tell you hi."
"Touched," she muttered sarcastically. Pure jealousy burned in her eyes as she studied the delicate features of the young child before her. She envied his beauty. For hours she would try to get some form of life in her hair or she would smear her face with layers of make-up yet she could never compete with her youngest. This was one of the reasons why she hated him so much. With a glare she scoffed and turned back to the T.V.
This usually meant for him to get lost but he lingered, biting his lip nervously.
A grunt of acknowledgement told him that she was still awake.
"On my way home...I passed the schoolyard."
Another grunt though her eyes were focused on the fuzzy image on the screen of their beaten up television set, not caring that her youngest was bared to explicit contents. Hell, he saw worse whenever she brought home a drunken patron from the bar. The boy himself had been a participant in their 'love-making'. An unwilling participant, but one nonetheless.
"There were lots of kids playing there--"
"Spit it out, boy! I'm missing my show." She grabbed a beer from the mouldy cardboard box near her feet and popped it open, carelessly throwing the cap behind her.
"Can I go to school?"
Beer sprayed as she barked with laugher. Ignoring the foaming liquid that dribbled down her chin, she turned to him with an incredulous look, a mad smile on her face.
"School! You! What would you do there? Clean the other brats' shoes and wipe down the desks? Listen, boy; school is for brats whose parents can't bother to put up with them all day. I'm not gonna waste my money on books that don't teach you shit!"
"Enough!" She put the beer down forcefully, the foam spilling over to pool on the table surface. Standing with some difficulty, she swayed threateningly. "I went to school. I believed in all that mind is a bad thing to waste or whatever that shit slogan said. And look where it got me." She waved her arms around. "Here I am, 28 years old, nine kids, one wreck of a house, no husband, and a fucking partridge in a pear tree!"
He ducked as a beer bottle meant for him went wide and shattered against the wall though not before ripping a hole in the yellow stained wallpaper. It was time he left before she decided to come after him personally. Evading her clawing hands, he ran out the room and down the hall. He could still hear her rampaging, throwing things around and cursing but he knew she wouldn't even bother following him. She had probably forgotten about him and wouldn't remember until she ran out of drugs and ordered him to walk across town to get it for her. So he had at least four days until their next meeting.
Leaning against the wall trying to catch his breath his stomach grumbled loudly. It was painful and he tried to recall the last time he had eaten. Definitely not this morning as his mother had eaten the remaining bread herself and had left the children to find their own food. He had been able to get a few spoonful of the previous night's watery soup but he hadn't eaten anything else that day either. When she wasn't at her work, his mother would be dead asleep in her bed or on the couch and the mere option of her having to cook would always lead to her breaking things, his bones for example.
Risking an encounter with the other children in the house, he ventured into the kitchen.
The linoleum floor was covered in grime and the garbage in the corner overflowed with stinking trash; flies circling it and bloody liquids running out from beneath it to puddle a large section of the corner. A table with some crumbling plastic chairs served as the dining table though no one ever sat around it. The counter was littered with old food wrappers and dirty dishes and the fridge was rusted and the little bulb inside hadn't been working for as long as he could remember.
A lanky girl with frizzy brown hair looked up from where she was reading an outdated magazine against the counter. Next to her sat a plate with a few bones. Her freckled face quickly twisted into a scowl.
"I don't know why my mother allows street rats like you into the house. You're lucky you're her carrier. That's the only thing keeping you alive here."
He heard similar things like that everyday from people on the street but it always hurt when a brother or sister would spit it out at him. Not that it was their fault entirely. They didn't know that he was their youngest member. Since his birth he had been denied any bonding with his siblings by his mother. He was just some pathetic kid who they could order around.
Not that there was any bonding in the house to speak of. Hardly any of them were actual brothers or sisters. From the nine kids only 2 were true siblings. The rest were all half brothers and sisters. Their mother was not one who believed in safe sex and the result was a large group of kids who hated each other's guts.
She snorted and turned back to her wrinkled magazine. Reading a paragraph she took a piece of string and tried to style her hair like the woman in the magazine. However, the bushy frizz was stubborn and she gave up, cursing in disgust as she slammed her hands on the counter.
"Stupid bitch." Throwing the magazine on the floor, she kicked it and glowered at him. "What do you want?"
"Nothing." He quickly averted his eyes and started towards the burned pot that stood on the stove. Reaching up to see if perhaps they had left something he yelped when a wooden spoon thwacked his outstretched hand.
"But you already ate." He pointed to the plate that would no doubt remain in the exact spot for several days before someone would dump out the bones and reuse it without even washing away the hardened food residue.
"So? Maybe I would want to eat some tomorrow."
He knew that she wouldn't but he backed down. The smallest of things would normally get him a really wicked lashing; why urge them on when he could avoid as much as possible?
Walking over to the fridge, he opened it and squinted into the dark space. Daily stealing from nearby markets by various members of the household attributed their 'food' though the lack of proper cooling had made the milk already turn sour and the few meagre apples were brown and soggy. Still, they were something.
Again, his hand was cruelly smacked with the wooden ladle, this time almost breaking a finger.
"What do you think you are doing?" Griselda leaned against the fridge.
"So? This food is for family members only. You eat what's on the stove or nothing else."
"But you said that that was your food."
"Then you can't eat, can you?" Her thin lips curled in a satisfied smile. "If you want to eat then go out and earn some money. Contribute something to the house, though you aren't good at anything."
"I wouldn't say that. He did bring in a hundred dollars a month back after staying the night over at that business man."
A tall, built teen leaned in the doorframe, sipping a flask of whiskey. While they could barely have a meal there was always alcohol in the house. Closing the flask, he slipped it into the back pocket of his dirty jeans and sauntered over. His hair was black and greasy and his eyes were muddy brown.
"Why aren't you at work?" Griselda narrowed her eyes, glaring at her eldest sibling.
He shrugged as he looked down at the small boy who didn't meet his eyes.
"Didn't feel like it."
"You are so pathetic," she grumbled and stalked past him, shooting him a deadly glare when he slapped her on the behind. But she was wise enough to know that reacting would only give him a reason to do worse.
"Skank," he murmured as he watched her turn the corner. Snorting a laugh he looked back at the redhead who had been trying to sneak off without him hearing.
"Whoa, where do you think you're going?" He grabbed the narrow waist and lifted the child up to sit on the counter, bringing them to approximate eye-level. "We have some talking to do."
Talking was something that Fritz never did so he wasn't surprised when his eldest brother started to remove his clothes. It was terrifying all the same, but not surprising. Plus it was shameful and extremely painful but he had learned the hard way not to deny Fritz what he wanted.
Holding back his tears for as long as possible, he closed his eyes when he felt the liquor coated lips press against his own as the hands went about their business.
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