Wayward Son

He was fourteen years old when he stole his first cigarette. His mother always kept a case in her purse for her clients, and so one day while she slept off the night of alcohol and drugs and sex, he took one and went to smoke it on the roof of their shitty apartment building. It was laced with something that gave it a strange perfume and he choked the first drag. But the second time it put it to his lips he inhaled the bite of nicotine and ash and it filled up his lungs. He held it for as long as he could before blowing it out through his nostrils, the smoke curling upwards into the sky that was too bright and too blue for his foul mood.

He was also fourteen years old the first time he had sex. She was a girl he had seen in dark alleys with bruises dotting her arms and scrapes on her knees. She was older than him but not bigger, her limbs mere bones and skin with little muscle or fat to give them shape. They were eye level when he told her to follow him to his house, where he knew his mother wasn't. She had her own job to do. The girl didn't ask, merely held out her hand and he gave her a crumpled note. They fucked on his little bed, and she moaned and cried in all the right places. When they were done she didn't move for a while, and when he finally looked at her she was crying.

"What'd I do?" he asked and she only shook her head before pulling on her clothes and running out.

When he was fifteen he came home to his mother's head smashed open on the kitchen floor and his father sitting at the table with a bottle of wine between his lips. He cut his hand on the knife he kept in his pocket and his father took the opportunity to throw the pot of water his mother had been boiling for dinner at his head. The water splashed and scalded against his cheek and jaw, and his hand was slippery on the handle of his knife as he pulled it out and threw it at whatever blur he could see through the pain.

When he didn't feel like he would pass out, and his eyes had regained their focus, he looked to see his father on the floor beside his mother, gasping and hacking from the knife in his chest. He reached out to him, eyes wide with fear. He could see the whites stark against his red face. He spit at him before grabbing a bag and shoving whatever he could inside of it then running.

He was sixteen when he met Giotto, the ink of his tattoo still fresh and his palms calloused from wielding a bow. By then, he'd had countless cigarettes and fucked more women that he could begin to even bother remembering. He had killed just as many men.

"What should I call you?" Giotto asked in that soft voice of his, smile bright on his lips.

"G," was his grunted reply.