17 Years later in Weed
Shadows covered the alley. Something that flowed like water but had the color of ash dripped from the roof of one of the cabins that made up one of the two walls of the alley. The damp, dark-haired head that was directly under the stream looked up just in time for another drop to fall on his forehead. He closed his eyes against the attack and moved to a dryer area, sitting against a barn not that far from the dank alley. He could hear faint voices singing and laughing in the distance, at the town's whorehouse. He hated the place, knowing that what little of his parents were was traceable to there. He grasped at the small piece of polished copper hanging from his neck. He rubbed his thumb over the smooth, hand-polished edges. The engraving on it shone in the moonlight, Carlena. Sadly, he wondered how his life would've been like if he hadn't been the dreaded off spring of a whore. The boy pulled a red piece of clothing around him, the only thing he had been abandoned with. He had scrounged up clothes from mugging other boys that were less well-learned in the ways of abandonment. Usually kids of merchants, because they were less muscular and usually had better clothes than farmer boys. The red dress stood out in the night. The boy put his hand through a hole in the cloth. He couldn't remember how he had made the hole, but he supposed it was when he was really young. When he had been abandoned, he was dumped behind a barn. The barn was also abandoned, so nobody had ever found him. The child had stayed close to the barn for the first few years of his life. He forgot how he got through that sad and sorry time, when he was helpless, but he recalled the face of a grubby man; a broken, sorry man, nursing him from infancy. After he had turned five, the man up and left, and he hadn't heard a word from him since. The boy had quickly grown into a man, learning how the "hunt" and fend for himself. He never had to kill an animal, but instead he was close to the town, which he had learned to steal from easily in his younger years.
A woman stumbled from the whorehouse, a man clutching her closely to him. They were both super drunk, and happy about it too. They disgusted the young boy. People couldn't take care of their responsibilities. He had to learn that the hard way.
The boy had named himself Cortland, after the delicious apples he had always heard the merchants call out about. He called himself Cortle. He hadn't felt an urgency to name himself, but he soon felt that it could be his own private joke with himself, because he was the only one who knew he stole apples, or that he even existed, and such lonely people needed to have a bond with themselves.
Cortle stood up, brushed himself off, and set off down the hill he had been sitting on. He soon reached the base of the hill, right next to the whorehouse. He was tired of not knowing... He needed to act on his spurt of confidence, or else he would lose it and be forever curious. He took a deep breath, and pushed himself through the doors. Everyone turned their heads at the rare sight of a new customer. He walked up to the counter.
"Are you old enough to come in here, sonny?" A big-bosomed blonde asked him. Her curls bounced in an agitated way.
"What does it mater? 's long as I'm payin' an' I don' cause no trouble, what does it matter?" He replied. He was actually 17, though was often underestimated in his appearance. He was tall, strong, and his features were wise, but he had a sense of childishness about him, one caused by his deprived childhood and the longing to get it back.
"The bartender huffed. "Well whadd'ya want?" she asked.
"Information." he replied. The bartender looked shocked. "I want to know if you have a whore here by the name'r Carlena." This got even more of a shocked look from her.
"Sure. Carlena left a while ago. Go' pregnant."
"How long has she been gon'?" Cortle asked curiously.
"Bou' sevnt'en years. Got inter a lousy court case wit' a guy. Says he raped 'er. Course, guy had long fled town. People wen' after 'em with blood lust."
"What was 'is name?" Cortle hoped to get his father's name out of the bartender's mouth.
"'Is name 's George. See, when he fled, 'e took a guy with 'im. He blamed it on the guy. Guy was too damn stupid to figur' he'd been had."
"Did the guy hang out here of'en before?"
"Oh, sure. They was inna relationship. Course, it ne'er worked out, guys don' like their girls inna brothel."
"So 'e got jealous an' claimed 'er?"
"Guess. Say, whaddya gettin' at? Whaddya care?"
"I'm jus' curious, all." Cortle replied. "Thanks for the story. It was a good 'un." With that, he quickly walked out of the bar, sensing that his presence was a strain to other people that could snap them at any minute.
Slowly, Cortle climbed he hill to the barn. He pulled the red dress over him and curled up next to the cold, worn planks of the abandoned barn. Tomorrow, he would leave Weed and search for his father, and his revenge. All he wanted was to not have been born.
I do not own Of Mice and Men or most of the characters in this story. his is simply a fan sequel.