"Git out 'ere y'damn boy!" The cry of the man echoed through the small village, and at once everyone knew the orphan boy was up to no good as per the usual. The man's name was Goo, for all the villagers suspected that his brain was nothing but that. The main reason the man was given charge over the orphaned boy when he was found was that no one else wanted him. And Goo was the only one who was willing to be nice enough to take him in, but not for loving purposes. The middle-aged, rotund-bellied and completely bald man had the idea of a personal slave in his mind instead. None cared, though, for the child was naught but an orphan left in the woods to starve and die, thus he was not frowned upon. For the villagers were highly superstitious, and to find a child like that was a bad omen to them.
"Come on! Wherever ye be hidin', git yer scrawny arse out here now before I paddle ye a good one again!" Goo continued to bellow, much to the villagers' dismay. Or at least, to those who hadn?t learned to tune the obnoxious man's voice out completely. Throughout the entire house he searched and searched for the now teenaged adolescent, tossing what little furniture they had this way and that. In the process, the house became even messier than it already was and it would be just another chore for the poor orphan boy to complete. But as much searching as Goo did and would continue to do, he would never find the boy, for the elder man did not think to look on the roof.
As the man, of which some people thought he had orcish blood, continued to toss chairs and break just about everything breakable, Raif, the orphan, sat atop the roof, laying back and watching the clouds. This was the only place that he could find peace of mind and peace of soul, watching the heavens above move through the world without a care. He did have friends, but to them he was and would always be 'the orphan.' With what little wages he did make, or steal, from Goo he often bought a book from a travelling vendor that rested at the village often. From these he learned of and came to desire the outside world, something he had never experienced.
Over the years he had spent under the careful watch of Goo, he tried to escape only once into the outside world. With no help from the villagers and no money to live on once he got out, the large man caught him and made Raif regret having even thought of leaving. He locked the boy in the cellar, with absolutely no light and a stench that one would not even want to try to place in their mind. After a week of that, with only minimal food served by Goo, the boy had learned his lesson. For then, anyway.
As he continued to grow, he continued to read and talked more and more to the travelling merchant. The stories he told only fueled his dreams of leaving to see the world, but he never let on to Goo. Not that the half-witted, older man would?ve noticed anything covert like that, but Raif wanted to take no chances at all. And so he planned late at night as he read one of his favorite adventure books, knowing that the time to leave was coming soon. He had made plans with the travelling merchant, and that merchant would be coming through town again in just days.
Which brought Raif to the current day of sitting on the roof, hiding from the brutish ways of Goo and his slavery. Looking at the position of the sun in the sky, he waited, looking for the cart of the merchant as it would be leaving the small inn and heading out into the world. Sitting up from his daydreaming with his head amongst the clouds in the sky, he saw that the cart was already nearing Goo's little shack and so he crept closer to the edge of the small roof, grinning to himself. Waiting, and waiting, he heard Goo start to climb the ladders to the roof and growled lightly. He wouldn't give up now, that he was so close, and so he turned away and concentrated heavily on what he had to do.
As the cart passed slowly before the shack at the side of the road, Raif stood finally at the edge as he heard Goo struggling with the makeshift lock of a thick pole of wood through the latch on the door, locked from the outside. Looking to the cart, he saw the meager cushions on top, the only safety the merchant could provide without appearing too suspicious. And so Raif stepped to the edge, closed his eyes, and jumped forward; as he did so, he felt a wind kick up, pushing at his back at the same time the stick holding the door closed snap. The growl Goo made in anger reached the young boy's ears as he thumped hard onto the cart's top and held on for dear life. As the thump reached the merchant's ears, he whipped at the horses and drove them faster, taking the cart away from the city much faster than usual. Thus, Raif escaped from his small world and into the much larger one that waited for him.
::November 28, 2002 10:10 AM