10-year-old Angeal Hewley stood looking up at the Banora White trees. They arched over the pathway out of town, graceful and pale against the vivid blue sky. Dozens of them reached from one side of the road to the other, with branches stretching up to the sky and down towards the ground below. The dark purple fruit hanging off the branches was too tempting to pass up, especially to someone who had barely had anything to eat that morning.
Angeal reached up to grab one of the dumbapples, one that was exactly the right color and size, which meant that it would have probably been one of the best he'd ever had, when he heard someone coming up the pathway. He ducked behind one of the trees and stood quietly pressed up against it. Glancing around the tree trunk, he saw Mr. Rhapsodos coming towards him.
Mr. Rhapsodos stopped by the tree that Angeal was hiding behind. Busted! This was the worst thing that could happen, getting caught about to steal some of the dumbapples from the Rhapsodos' orchards. It wasn't like others didn't steal the occasional dumbapple when they couldn't afford a good meal, but Angeal and his family were supposed to have more honor than that. Honor... he could just imagine the lecture that he was going to get from his father about this, about how he should have had more honor.
Mr. Rhapsodos reached up and picked the apple that Angeal had been about to take, then continued up the path to his house on the hill above the village. Angeal let out a sigh of relief and slumped against the tree trunk. He decided against trying to take a different apple, and was about to get up and go home when he heard someone else coming up the path.
This time when he looked, he saw his best friend, Genesis, wandering down the road. As always, Genesis was carrying a copy of whatever book he was obsessed with at the time. This one wasn't something Angeal recognized, the title looked something like .... Loveless, maybe? Weird choice, Angeal thought, but he'll be sick of it and have something else by tomorrow. Angeal decided to wait for Genesis to pass before he left his hiding place. He didn't feel like trying to explain why he was there, because that would mean telling Genesis how hungry he was this morning, and how they didn't have much food right now. Going hungry was something that Genesis didn't really understand, since he was Mr. Rhapsodos's son, part of the wealthiest family in Banora. Whenever Genesis was hungry, all he had to do was run out into his yard and snatch a dumbapple off of that huge Banora White ... was it true that those were really the best dumbapples in Banora? Better not think about that now, Angeal thought as his stomach growled.
Genesis slowed and glanced over at where Angeal was hiding. A small smile played across his face and he shook his head a little as he kept walking. "You have about five minutes before someone else comes this way again," he said as he passed the tree Angeal was behind.
Angeal hesitated a few seconds before asking "Who are you talking to, Genesis?"
"No one in particular," Genesis answered as he reached a bend in the path. "Certainly not you, Angeal." Then he was gone, farther down the road and out of sight.
Angeal stood out in the road, considering his options and watching the spot where Genesis had disappeared. Then he jumped up, grabbed one of the dumbapples on the lower branches of the tree, and headed slowly after Genesis, eating the apple as he sauntered down the path after his friend.