Arnos Rimilia was born in a small town outside Manderia. His family was a well-to-do but uninteresting section of the town’s aristocracy. As a boy, he was prettied and coddled, made to wear a cravat and attend a private school. He despised it. At the tender age of fifteen he walked to school one day- and simply kept on walking, down the road and out of town. His cravat was found by the side of the road. A keen-eyed watchman noted that he appeared to have wiped his ass with it.
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At age twenty, Arnos was having the time of his life. He’d been able to find work a nearby town. First as menial labor, but later- when he’d put on fifty pounds and shot up four inches- as a bouncer in a tavern. Every night, he’d finish work, drink his pay, and curl up with a local girl. It was bliss.
One day, not long after, a raven-haired girl walked into the tavern. Arnos spotted her pulling a drunken young man- her brother- away from his drink. Her brother was an ugly semi-regular. A man-boy with the first signs of real drunkardness already on his face. The girl, however…that was another prospect entirely. Gleaming black hair that framed a flawless, milk-skinned face. A thin, fragile figure. For the first time in three years, Arnos found that he wanted for something.
For a week he watched her; where she went, who she talked to. Finally, on one brisk autumn day, he confronted her from across the picturesque wooden bridge spanning Soames Creek. This was not an accident; he had picked the spot especially for its’ romantic nature. He introduced himself, recounted the story of her tavern rescue, and asked if they might not take a walk- to talk about her brother. It worked. They walked around the outskirts of the town, Arnos pretending to give a rat’s ass about her boozehead brother, she finding herself oddly drawn to the big man with the shaggy hair. Talk eventually turned away from her brother, and they ended up making love in a field of tall grass. Arnos later acquired an energetic rash across his ass- so much for romantic love in the fields.
Roughly two months later, Arnos Rimilia married Mell Falgrass, who promptly became Mell Rimilia. Unsatisfied with bouncing as a job for a married man, Arnos went about becoming a farmer. He knew, from his days in menial labor, a great deal about the workings of a farm, and land, at that time, was cheap. He bought a small plot south of town and moved in immediately with his bride. Between the hard work that goes with raising any farm and the hard learning required to make it tick, Arnos and Mell set about the task of making children. They were met with success, and nine months later, Mell gave birth to a boy-child, who they named Andre. The boy was big, and his hair came in white- an oddity, as Mell had black hair, and Arnos had brown. He was, by nature, a cheerful boy; solemn at times, but generally likeable. Arnos and Mell noted his bright blue eyes, his quick uptake. Yes, they agreed, they had a prodigy on their hands. Arnos found he was again happy, perhaps more happy than he had been in his bouncer days. He wanted for nothing, and went about the day’s chores (Andre was still too young to help him) with vigor. He and his wife continued their cheerful fecundity.
Exactly three years from Andre Rimilia’s birthday, Mell again delivered a boy-child into the world. There were complications. The town doctor was forced to operate, carving into the flesh of dear Mell in hopes of saving, at the very least, her. Surprisingly, the baby survived. Mell was drained, weak, and never afterward regained the vitality of her early days. The boy she gave birth to was smaller than Andre, but just as healthy, save for one aspect: His eyes. They shone an unnatural yellow. The town doctor found nothing wrong with the eyes- other than the obvious, of course- and sent both boy and mother home. Mell was drained, a shadow of her former self. Rumors were already spreading, the way only rumors can, among the villagers: Mell had given birth to a monster. There had been complications, the baby was warped. A hex upon their door had brought a changeling to their home. Bad luck. Curses.
Arnos found that his family was no longer welcome among the other villagers. Rumor had it that he was cursed, bad luck to all who came in contact with him. He found himself beginning to believe the rumors. The baby- who was named Saros- did not cry. At first, they had feared something to be wrong with him, but to all appearances, he was a normal child. Arnos felt, however, that the child was more intelligent than it let on. This was insane, of couse, it was a baby. But when those yellow eyes turned to him, he felt a shadow fall across his mind.
Arnos began to drink. He was moderately well-off, the farm having made a small but notable profit the year before. He would finish his chores, stop home for dinner, then head off to the local tavern, sometimes with a half-muttered excuse- later, with none at all. Meanwhile, Andre grew into a strapping young lad. Mell grew into a shuffling shadow. Saros grew.
The year after, the farm lost money. One of the crops failed almost entirely, and Arnos found himself just barely breaking even. Instead of blaming his increasingly long jaunts to the pub, he began to believe…perhaps Saros WAS bad luck. His wife was a wretch, his crop was failing, and he had turned to drink. All because of Saros! Sometimes he would come home, drunk to the gills, his rage bubbling over inside him. He would peek into the child’s room, evil thoughts dancing in his head. One twist, and he could solve all their problems. If only he weren’t such a weak man. If only.
As the year wore on, he gave up farm work altogether. In this year, Andre was 11, and Saros was 8. Andre, already showing signs of the tall figure he would become, did his best to make up for his father’s absence, but could not fill the gap left by Arnos, who had not taught his son the entirety of the craft. The crops failed. Arnos began coming home in the evening drunk. During these episodes, he would often snarl, and accuse his family of causing his own failure. He would sometimes hit Mell- which was pointless, like hitting a mannequin. More often, he would hit Andre. Sometimes, in his cups, he would turn to Saros. The boy would return his bloodshot gaze, gleaming yellow eyes unafraid. Arnos could never bring himself to strike him.
And then, one night, he did. Saros did not cry out- he almost never spoke –did not wince, or cry, or ANYTHING. A small rill of blood ran from the corner of his mouth. He returned his father’s gaze. Arnos backed out of the room. Later, the sounds of Andre being struck floated in from down the hall.
Late at night, Saros sat up in bed. He stood, and padded down the hall. He opened the front door and stepped out into the yard. The night was clear and cool, the moon shone brightly. Saros stooped down. He picked up a small spade. He returned to the house.
Arnos and Mell slept on opposite sides of a large wooden bed. Saros stood a moment in the doorway, watching their sleeping forms. Then he walked over to his mother. She slept deeply, not snoring. He lifted the spade.
“Mother,” he said. He brought the spade down, smashing through her ribcage, piercing her heart. She never stirred.
Saros walked to where his father slept. His father snored, liquid gasps that sounded like he was slowly drowning in his own mucus. Saros lifted the spade, now dark with blood.
“Father,” he said.
“Wh- Saros, what, y-.” Saros brought the spade down again, this time into his father’s throat. Arnos’s eyes bulged. His hands rose, shaking, and clawed at his own neck. He made peculiar gobbling noises that seemed to complement his soggy snores. Eventually, he fell silent. Saros removed the spade.
Andre was not sleeping. The silhouette of his brother appeared in the doorway. He sat up.
“Andre,” said Saros.
Andre nodded, and began to dress. Together, they left the farmhouse behind, heading east under the light of the moon. Heading for Manderia.
"Quit this world, quit the next world, quit quitting!" -Sufi proverb.