Once he knew he was or of earshot, Sock broke down in tears. It's not fair! he thought, sitting down against the ally wall. He was going to throw that bread out anyway. He didn't have to hit me so hard with that spoon. He gently touched the red spot on his paw, causing him to cringe.
Gently, he removed his sock (he used this as an oversized hat) and began to comfort himself with it, much like a child would hold a blanket or a teddy bear.
He remembered how he had gotten his sock. When he was just a child, his mother had been knitting.
"Milo" she whispered softly (this was his real name- Sock was what he went by), "did you take my extra ball of yarn?"
The tot shook his head.
His mother looked around. "I guess not. That means I can't finish your father's new socks."
Sock crawled over and picked up the singular, finished sock. Putting it on his tiny head, he laughed.
"That looks cute on you" she said, covering her mouth to hide a smile.
Sock only put his hands over his now hat to keep his mother from taking it away.
"I guess you can have it, Milo. Hmm. My little Sock-head."
From that day forth, his mother often called him Sock. As he got older, it became less cute, but more of an opportunity to tease him.
Then, he was alone. His parents had died, and he was a street orphan...
All he had left was his precious sock...
looking to his left, a group of laughing, singing children passed him. In Watersong, singing was what they thrived on. But no one wanted a child who couldn't even dare HUM a melody without making glass break.
Against the ally wall, he stared at his sock, wishing there was a way to be liked.
Sock looked up to see a tall man, with a black hat and ominous cape. What really set him off was the strange grey mask covering his right eye.
Unsure if what to say, he pulled his sock back on his head and tried to hide the few tears still in his eyes.
"You don't have to be afraid...what's a young one like you doing out on a night like this? Wouldn't your mother be missing you?"
Sock shook his head. This man knew how to say just the right things.
"I'm... I don't have any parents."
"Welcome to the club, kid."
Sock pulled his sock back up, slightly intrigued.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Sock, eh?" the man looked bored.
Sock looked down. "Yup."
"I noticed your interest in that bread back there. Here." he handed Sock a fresh loaf.
Eyes widening, Sock took the bread cautiously.
Do I trust him? he thought to himself. Do I eat it? he pocketed the bread.
"You know, I could help you. Get a better life and all."
"R- wait a minute! Your probably one of those people from the children's home. The ones who claim I'll be happier. The ones who try to take my sock!"
"Relax, child. I wouldn't take your sock."
Sock raised an eyebrow.
"Besides, I could give you whatever you want, I'm that powerful. If you help me, I'd give you a thousand socks if you asked for them." He held out his paw. Sock considered taking it, but just sat still.
"I get it" the man said. "You want proof. You don't quite trust me yet, do you?" he pulled back his paw slightly before sighing.
Sock nodded slightly. "Even if you had much power, I would rather just have this sock. It's special."
The rapo rolled his eyes. "Do you know about the festival tomorrow?"
Of course he knew. Once a month, on the full moon, everyone in Watersong got together in the square. There, they would sing, dance, and best of all, have a large banquet for anyone and everyone to pick from. Sock often saved a few bites of what he could manage to scour for the next day.
"Who doesn't?" Sock replied, trying not to look too interested.
"Meet me behind the stage, just as sunset begins." he held out his paw again.
This time, Sock allowed him to help him up.
"By the way- you can call me Salem. Good night, Sock." with that, his cape swirled and he was gone.
Standing alone, Sock looked around. He pushed some of his frizzy, orange fur out of his eyes before exiting the ally.
It seemed too good to be true.