He was running again. It felt like for days he had been constantly on the move. It wasn’t the first time he had tried to escape his horrid home life but this time was different. This time he would run farther and faster than he had ever gone before. He would not go back.
He finally slowed down when he reached the edge of the town of Filton. He had run away in such a hurry he had failed to bring food, provisions or even warm clothing with him. He walked along the main street as casually as he could but he was still drawing derisive stares from the locals. He was a scruffy little boy, lost and alone, cold and hungry. The town of Filton had little sympathy to spare. Its residents were wealthy and with that wealth brought a certain detachment from humanity. Their concerns were too wrapped up in holding on to their station in society that there was very little care to spare for others.
He stood outside of a bakery, too nervous to enter into the warmth. People passed to and fro. Some would leave the bakery, carrying with them the scent of warm pastry of sweet cakes. The rushed past the boy as quickly as they could. Nannies pulled children away for fear they may catch the boy’s wretched luck.
It was a busy Saturday morning. The owner of the bakery had glanced out his large window at the boy who was spoiling his view of the beautiful apartment complex across the street. He didn’t invite the boy in nor did he chase him away. After having stood for so long his legs began to weaken, he slid down the building and sat on the ground. It was wet from the earlier rain fall but he didn’t care. He had nowhere to go and he would not return to that place.
Finally an older woman stopped.
“You there?” she barked. “What are you doing sat there? You will catch a death of cold,” she barked.
She was in her later years. Her hair was grey but still holding on to the warm, honey tones of her youth. Her face was pretty, with finely carved features. She wore a fur coat that not many would dare to sport. She examined the boy closely. The plain white t shirt he wore was filthy and soaked through. Across the chest was a spatter of blood. His curly brown hair was matted and uncared for. His pale face was awash with the marks of the tears he had shed. He looked around seven years old. His skinny frame was malnourished.
“Are you lost?” the old woman asked. The boy shook his head. “Where are your parents? What is your name?”
The little boy’s voice croaked as though he hadn’t spoken in some time. His throat was dry and painful. His entire body ached.
“Vincent,” he said. “My name is Vincent. Please don’t make me go back to that place.”
The old woman reached her hand out. He took it and she helped him back onto his feet. He stumbled and walked with a slight limp in the right leg.
“I’m Miss Spencer,” she introduced herself. “You can call me Agnes.”
Vincent managed a smile. She took him into the bakery by the hand and bought him all the sweet delights he could manage. Agnes was obviously a woman of great respect in the town. The staff of the bakery treated her as though it was the arrival of a queen.
“Bring the boy some warm water to drink,” she ordered.
The baker who had been decidedly indifferent towards Vincent was now giving him all the care and attention he could.
“Shame on you, Derek, keeping the boy sat outside like that,” Agnes continued to scold.
With a full stomach and quenched thirst, Agnes bought Vincent a warm coat and some clothing. She noticed that he winced as he tried to pull the coat on as though he had been beaten badly.
“We have to find your parents,” she reminded him.
Vincent glanced up at her. His eyes were wide and frightened. “Please don’t make me go back there,” he cried. “They will kill me.”
Agnes couldn’t dismiss this as childish imagination gone wild. The boy did look like he was in genuine distress.
“Well, you can’t live with me,” she stated. “I’m far too old to take care of a child.” Vincent pulled the new coat closer round his shivering body. “Come with me and I’ll call the police.”
Vincent shrieked. “You can’t! They’ll just make things worse.”
Agnes eyed him suspiciously. “You’re a strange boy, Vincent. Whatever will become of you?”
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Check out Vivika Widow’s Maestro to read about what did become of Vincent.