My next trilogy after the Legend of Alm series takes place on another of the solar system Arum's habitable planets, Valor. I will be posting installments, serial-style, to the blog, as I write them. Today begins the first chapter. Enjoy!
“Get up!” shouted Balta Dain. “Get up and fight!”
Anaxis Hume coughed and groaned from the dirt.
“Why?” he asked Balta. “You’re only going to knock me down again.”
The crowd circled around the two boys taunted Anaxis and cheered Balta. “Kick him! Get him, Balta! He’s just lying there!”
“Come on, Anaxis!” called his one supporter in the crowd, Mills Ferta. “Don’t just sit there, come on!”
Anaxis sighed and sat up. He wiped the blood from his chin and cocked his head at Balta. “Don’t you have anything better to do than fight me?” he asked.
Balta grinned and kicked Anaxis back down. “Nope,” he said with a cackle. “You deserve it. You’re weak, and I’m strong!”
“Get up, Anaxis!” Mills shouted. The girl standing next to him smacked him in the back of the head.
“I’m not getting up,” Anaxis insisted. “I’m just going to get knocked down again.”
“Don’t you care?” Balta growled. “Don’t you even care that you’re so pathetic?”
“No,” Anaxis replied, his face in the dirt.
“What?” Balta barked. He knelt down beside Anaxis and demanded, “What did you say to me?”
“I said, no, I don’t care what you think about me at all,” Anaxis answered.
Balta raised both his hands in fists and then smashed them down onto Anaxis’s back. A clot of bloody phlegm flew out of Anaxis’s mouth.
“You’re weak!” Balta said, smashing Anaxis again. “You’re weak and you deserve it!”
Anaxis said nothing in response. He waited for another pounding and just hoped Balta would grow tired of him not fighting back.
“What’s going on here?” asked one of the crowd member’s parents, storming into the circle.
“I’m trying to teach him to fight back,” Balta said to the man. “But he just keeps lying there!”
“It’s pointless,” the man said to Balta. “That kid has no backbone to break. You’re wasting your time.”
Balta looked like he wanted to fight the adult, but redirected it to another bashing of Anaxis’s body. “Pathetic!” he roared. “You’re going to die and no one will care!”
Anaxis still said nothing.
“Come on,” the adult said. “There must be something more productive you all can be doing.”
“Whatever,” Balta said, standing up and kicking dirt over Anaxis’s crumpled body. “I won’t care if he won’t. Let’s go to the lake. I’m done.”
The crowd followed after Balta, jeering and taunting Anaxis and leaving Mills to help him up.
“That was a bad one, Mills,” Anaxis said as he got to his feet. “I felt that last punch in my stomach.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Mills asked.
“I’m sure I’m not,” Anaxis answered, feeling around his body for the most serious injuries.
“Why don’t you ever fight back?” Mills asked.
“It wouldn’t do anything,” Anaxis said. “They hate me.”
“I know. They don’t go after me like they go after you,” Mills said. “I wonder why.”
“Well,” Anaxis said as he started to limp away from the blood he left in the dirt. “I’m taller than you, for one. And I talk a lot in lessons. You mostly keep your mouth shut.”
“Why don’t you?”
“I can’t. I bring it on myself, I know. I don’t really care. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?”
“I don’t know, Anaxis. You could avoid a lot of trouble.”
“I like making them upset,” Anaxis said. “I hate them as much as they hate me. I know it drives him crazy that I don’t fight back. He’s too stupid to handle it.”
“You really think he even gets that?”
“I know he was all red and petulant. He wouldn’t fight me so hard if I didn’t get to him.”
“You’re nuts, Anaxis.”
“I know. Oh, well. Hey, you want to get something to eat at my house?”
“Okay,” Mills said, checking to make sure there was no lingering threat.
“Great. I’ve got something to show you,” Anaxis said. “It’s pretty neat.”