This late evening I have a treat I would love to bestow. Here is the complete first chapter of K.G. Bethlehem & F. Kenneth Taylor’s Sci-fi, dystopian, crime drama novel called—-
SHADOW WITHIN A CITY
I really hope you enjoy the read and please if you have any comments, good or otherwise please leave share them. Critical voices are whatever writer needs, keeps us grounded…
But to the point, helps us improve our craft. As usual have a cigarillo and coffee on me.
Chapter One Periluss
The Isles of New Sweden March of 2011: 24 Years Ago
The successful corporate gurus, also husband and wife, Hayden and Krishna Simms, watched their son, four-year old, Periluss Nicolas Simms, playing happily with his toys, as they discussed his future.
The couple lived in a rather lavish mansion built into the side of a cliff, overlooking the aqua-blue seas, and the golden-hazel coastline below. A long and winding private road leading to the estate. The entry gate was made of sparkling platinum, with the family’s last name etched within it, in Old-English style lettering. An intercom sat just outside the gate and a guard booth was just inside the gate.
The winding road continued, once inside the gate, the premises were complimented with extravagant gardens and landscaping. The curving, rusty-colored, brick road ended in a circular formation at the front door, with a flowerbed resting at the base of a statue waterfall centrepiece, surrounded by a small, decorative, cobblestone wall.
The foyer was laced and trimmed with timeless, masterpieces of art; some holding more worth than the estate itself. The floors were made of marble, while the walls maintained a cobblestone composition. A carpeted staircase, with a plateau, and two adjoining staircases, was centred in the foyer. Furnished with antique furniture and ornaments, the villa had over thirty rooms, including a full-sized library, offices, a gym, three kitchens and bathrooms, several guest bedrooms, a wine cellar, a vast and elegant dining room, and a family room. Outdoors, was an Olympic-sized running track, and swimming pool, archery and shooting ranges, and a horseback riding trail.
Hayden P. Simms, was a powerful entrepreneur and wealthy stockbroker, with, political ties, and Krishna, was a prominent chemical scientist for a newly formed, W.I.S.K.
“I saw tears stained on his face. I suppose there’s a logical explanation?”
Mrs. Simms sighed. “He returned home from class sobbing again. His classmates taunting is relentless, something should be done. They call him, Nicolas-the-nink-com-poof.”
Mr. Simms laid his briefcase on a table and glanced at his son, then his wife. “How tragic,” he voiced with sarcasm. “They’re children Krishna, taunting is in their nature. It happened to me, it happened to you—Look at us now. We’re among the most powerful and wealthiest husband, wife couples of the corporate world, and our son will grow to follow in our footsteps.”
Krishna sighed again. “Perhaps you’re right. Upon completion of his elementary education, he’ll be enrolled at the Academy of the Gifted. He’ll be older then, and shouldn’t endure such hardships as he currently does.”
“Yes,” Mr. Simms continued. “I’ve already tended to the matter of his acceptance into the Paramilitary. Discipline and order will serve him justice. The boy’s too soft, he needs a backbone.”
“Soft, only due to his innocence,” Krishna replied, “however, you are correct, my love. The child is destined to succeed. After all—He is a Simms.”
5 Years Later:
Midwest Region of the Northern Atlantic Front (N.A.F.)
Young Periluss was now nine years old, and as his parents had predicted and envisioned he was fast becoming an heir to their success. The child was exceptionally intelligent and found learning to be quite enjoyable. He was at an age where he was starting to develop his own, unique, personality. He was life-loving and a curious child, always asking questions, always investigating or studying what he didn’t know. As enthused as Mr. and Mrs. Simms were with Periluss’ grades and interest in life, they were too consumed with their careers to mind their son’s pain, or realize the taunting hadn’t ceased, and he was now being bullied as well.
The Simms now resided in a private, luxurious mansion community in the Northern Atlantic Front, formerly, The United States, and currently referred to as, N.A.F. They settled in the state of Missouri, on the outskirts of the city that used to be St. Louis, which was now undergoing reconstruction and expansion, as a result, a massive earthquake. The new metropolis would also sit further away from the Mississippi River, and be entitled—Midwest City.
Winter: Midwest City: The Simms Mansion
“Excuse me, Madam,” the female cook spoke to Mrs. Simms, busy working in her private office. “Dinner will be served within the hour.”
“Thank you Elsa,” she replied, finally raising from her work, and noticing children playing outside, many of which were classmates of Periluss’. Her thought drifted to him, and she pondered upon his whereabouts, as she hadn’t heard a peep out of him in the past several hours. Curious, she began her search with his bedroom—Empty. En-route to her husband’s office, she asked several servants of the child’s whereabouts and harshly scolded them with obscenities, after learning they too, did not know. Next, she entered Mr. Simms office, only to become more frustrated, when he also gave a negative reply. “Is there anyone in this place with adequate competence to be mindful of a nine year old?”
Mr. Simms responded. “I’m sorry Dear,” he said in a sardonic manner, “and where did you say Periluss was? Oh yes—Now I remember—You didn’t, because you don’t know yourself. Apparently, you also lack the competence to be mindful of a nine year old, especially when it’s your own son. Now, if you’ll excuse—I’ll like to conclude my work prior to dinner being served.”
Angrily, she stomped to the library, where she then found Periluss sitting at a desk, with an open book. She approached from behind, gently placing her hands upon his shoulders. “Here you are!” she gasped in a light whisper and sigh of relief. “Periluss,” she said in a motherly tone, “your classmates are outside playing—I’m sure they’ll be thrilled if you joined them. There’s still time before supper’s ready.”
“Oh, hello mother,” he sharply reciprocated, turning a page of the book. “I’d rather not waste my time playing their stupid little games.” He turned to face her. “Besides, they don’t like me. I don’t know why—I just know they don’t.”
“Now Periluss,” she voiced with a slight degree of firmness, “don’t start, we’re not in Sweden anymore, we moved to get you away from all that—These aren’t’ the same kids, and you’re not four years old anymore. Of course, they like you, why wouldn’t they? So stop talking silly and illogically.”
“Why doesn’t anyone believe me!” the boy wailed, “They don’t like me! They hate me!”
Instinctively, she whisked her palm across his face with force. “You mind your tone when addressing me, boy! I’m your mother! I labored nine months of hell giving you life! You should thank me for each breath you take!” She sighed heavily, calming and recomposing herself. “Look Periluss,” she huffed, all you have to do is play with them more. I wish you would stop thinking that no one likes you—That’s ridiculous, and you’re too old for it. Promise me you’ll stop—Okay?”
He sat quietly for a few moments. “I promise.”
“Look,” she sighed again, “if you don’t want to play with them, just don’t okay?” He nodded in agreement, as she glanced at the open book. “What are you reading anyway?”
He smiled a bit, closing the book so she could see the cover and title. “The World of Botany!” he yelped.
“Wow!” she chirped, just as excited, “I read that book when I was just a few years older than you are now. You’ll like chapter eleven! I’ll let you finish, be mindful dinner will be served in approximately forty-five minutes.
The Next Day
The following morning, Periluss awakened, showered, and prepared himself for school. When the maid, Condoleezza, arrived in his bedroom, an hour later, to inform him breakfast was ready, he was already dressed. “Breakfast is served Master Periluss” she said, staring strangely at the boy’s attire; beige khaki shorts, a pink, long sleeve collared shirt and an olive-green, v-neck sleeveless vest. Her eyesight veered to his footwear; beige dress socks, and brown, casual dress shoes. She wondered how a child so young, and smart, could dress himself in such an old-fashioned getup. Poor child, she thought.
He made his way to the kitchen and found his mother and father absent. “Where’s my parents, Elsa?” he asked the cook.
“Off to work Master Periluss,” she replied, “I believe the left about half an hour ago.”
Without saying another word, he quietly ate his breakfast, then informed the butler, Frederick, he was ready to leave for school. The entire way there, he sat on the back seat of the limo as unpleasant thoughts of another dreadful day consumed him. “Frederick,” he called, “will you take me somewhere?”
“Of course Master Periluss. . .Where would you like to go?”
“Anywhere—I don’t care.”
Frederick now realized Periluss simply didn’t want to make a pit stop, while en-route to school. . .He didn’t want to go to school at all. “I’m sorry Master Periluss, I can not allow you to be absent from school today.”
“I know. . .I just. . . .”
Frederick glanced in the rearview mirror and saw despair in the boy’s face. “Are you still being teased Master Periluss?”
“Yes,” he mumbled somberly, “and bullied.”
“I see,” Frederick replied, “Have you told your parents?”
“Yes. They don’t care though. They’re too busy with work. Mother hit me yesterday when I told her.”
“Allow me to give you some advice Master Periluss.”
“I’m listening,” the boy replied, as the school now came into view.
“Master Periluss, I don’t want to see you get in trouble, but you must fight back. You have to defend yourself. Standup against this bully, only then will the teasing stop.”
“It’s more than one, Frederick. Furthermore, I don’t know how to fight—I’ll just gets myself pummeled and in trouble. Then they’ll tease me more. They don’t like me! They don’t even let me play with them!”
Frederick parked the car in front of the school, and faced Periluss, looking deep into his eyes. “Let me tell you something. First, your parents, especially your father, will not be angry with you for defending yourself. Second, most bullies are cowards, and back down if you stand up to them. However, some will fight you, and even if you’re beaten, they’ll think twice before picking on you again. As for the other kids who tease you for losing the fight, remind them, they get bullied too, and they’re too scared to fight…They’ll leave you alone. Finally, if you want to play with the other kids, you have to be a kid! Dress like a kid, start your own games, talk like a kid! For Pete’s sake, you use words most adults don’t know the meaning of! You’re nine years old Master Periluss, act like it, quit trying to be an adult! You have the rest of your life for that.” Frederick peeped out the window and noticed the other kids lining up to go inside. “Classes are starting, I’ll see you at three o’clock, and remember what I’ve told you.”
Regretfully, Periluss exited the limo. “I will.”
As the day progressed, and the young boy looked at the clock, he realized the worst hour and a half of the day, was now upon him—Lunch and recess, followed with gym class. He hated
that time of the day, because that’s when he was teased and bullied the most, and this day would be no different.
He held his full lunch tray outward, with both hands, as he made his way through the aisles of tables, searching for an empty one, because no one wanted him at their table, suddenly, he heard a familiar and hated voice cry, “Hey!” loud enough for all to hear, “It’s Periluss-the-pussy!”
Several lackeys of the bully erupted in chant. “Periluss-the-pussy. . .Periluss-the-pussy. . .Periluss-the-pussy!”
He started walking faster, as he frantically searched for a table, and tried to ignore the bully, knowing what was coming. Then he heard the boy give his cronies the dreaded order—“Get em’ boys!”
“Leave me alone!” he shouted, as the trio quickly surrounded him, and began pushing and shoving him a bit. Quit it! Stop!”
Finally, the bully, Clarence, approached and mocked him. “Quit it! Leave me alone! Stop!” he quoted, “Your pathetic Simms.” Clarence smacked him several times in the face, then glance at the tray and smirked. Without warning, he palmed the tray from its underside, and sent Periluss’ lunch flying, and splattering on the floor. Surrounding kids began laughing. “You dropped your tray.”
Frustrated and irate with the redundant episodes of this nature, the other kids laughing, etc…Periluss recalled Frederick’s words, “. . .most bullies are cowards, and will back down if you stand up to them. . .” Forcefully, with no regards to the surrounding crew, Periluss pushed Clarence with both hands, causing him to stumble backwards before ultimately slipping and falling to the floor.
A hush fell over the cafeteria and Clarence sat up in awe, not knowing how to react. He looked to his cohorts. “Get him!” The boys quickly began punching and kicking Periluss.
A Few Months Later: Spring
Despite his attempted rebellion several months earlier, Periluss was still being teased and bullied by Clarence and other students. On this particular day, he found himself walking around in circles during gym class, and as usual, with no one to play with. Then he heard someone call his name—A girl, Melissa, who he’d had a crush on the entire school year.
“Hey Periluss!” she called, “We need another person! Wanna play!?”
He stood frozen with deep speculation, knowing very well, she could be luring him into another trap, like several others had done throughout the school year. He glanced at the other kids lined up with Melissa against a wall, snickering amongst themselves. He looked at the two kids standing a slight distance away in front of the others, one a boy, the other a girl, and each holding a ball; and as the others, they too were snickering amongst themselves. His first instinct told him not to play, but once again, he recalled Frederick’s words, “…if you want to play with the other kids, you have to be a kid. . .”
For the first time in a long time, he donned a smile and quickly ran over. “What are we playing?” he asked Melissa.
“Dodgeball” she replied.
“Dodgeball?” he repeated interrogatively, “I never heard of it, how do you play it?”
“I swear Periluss,” she retorted, “for someone so smart, you’re dumb. It’s easy,” she said pointing to the boy and girl holding the balls. “They throw at us, not hard, and we dodge. When they hit somebody, then they go throw. It’s really fun.”
“Okay” he cheerfully replied. It didn’t take long at all, for him to realize, he’d fallen for yet another setup. He soon realized, he was the only target, as the boy and girl pegged him numerous times, a lot harder then he would have wanted them to. He went home that afternoon with bruises on his legs and chest.
That evening, Mr. and Mrs. Simms discussed the incident and their next course of action. The next morning, they met with the principal, who received a rather vicious tongue-lashing from the couple, as they informed him they were removing Periluss from the school. They had decided, since the school year was nearly complete, to hire a tutor, for the remainder of its session, then the following year, they would enroll him at a boarding school, like they had originally planned. With Periluss attending a boarding school, they could devote themselves wholeheartedly to their careers, without the constant interruptions of Periluss’ school life. The school was entitled; N.A.F. Institute of Accelerated Learning, or I.A.L.
1 Year Later:
N.A.F. Institute of Accelerated Learning
I.A.L. would tend to Periluss’ education, form the remainder of his schooling years. The institute was highly accredited for grooming the offsprings of wealthy parents, into the new generation of society’s prominent and executive elite. The school provided self-defense training, etiquette classes, proper vocabulary usage and pronunciation courses, privileged sports, such as Polo and Archery, and placed a high emphasis on political awareness.
Once again, for reasons unknown, Periluss, seemed to be a bully-magnet, and quickly found himself in the same predicament he faced at his previous schools, and thus far, all his life. As usual, he roamed the playground by himself, as a loner, just trying not to be noticed and picked on, and as usual—He was.
He sat at the base of a small staircase, with his head hanging low, when he noticed, shadows and shade lingering over him. He looked up to find several boys hovering over him—he already knew. He stood up. “I know what you’re here for,” he snapped, emptying his pockets, handing the boys some money. “There! Take it! Now leave me alone!”
The boys took the money, then the leader spoke. “I want it every day. Understood?” Just so I make myself clear, the fellas here will show you what happens if you refuse to pay.” The leader walked away as his three minions commenced Periluss’ beating. Little did the bully and his henchmen know, they were being watched by another group of boys; both older, and more dangerous. This group watched for months before intervening.
Periluss was on the receiving end of another beating, when the group came to his rescue, making quick work of the bully and his goons. “You okay?” the first boy asked.
Periluss dusted off and introduced himself to the boys. “Yes, thanks. Why did you do that? Why did you help me? What do you want?”
The first boy replied. “We did it because we wanted to help you, help yourself.” The boy put a hand on Periluss’ shoulder. “We know what you’ve been through—We used to get bullied too.”
“But not anymore,” a second boy added. “Never again.”
“C’mon Periluss,” the first boy replied, “Let’s go somewhere and talk.”
5 Years Later
The group of boys took Periluss under their wing, and transformed him from a nerdy wimp, into one of the most feared students at I.A.L. In addition to the basic martial arts, taught at I.A.L., the boys taught him street fighting and made sure he got revenge against the bully they rescued him from and eventually Clarence as well. Five years had passed, and now at the age of 15, everyone knew, even instructors, that Periluss ran I.A.L.. With the original group of boys no longer attending I.A.L., having graduated, Periluss enlisted his own crew, much more ruthless than the group that recruited him. The more Periluss beat someone, the more he liked it. The more he realized people feared him, the more he wanted to control them. After all the years he’d been taunted, bullied, and beaten, he felt it was now his turn, and he deserved to be in control. If anyone got in his way, they would suffer like he suffered—No, better still—They would suffer worse.
The group that took him in, introduced him to a life of juvenile crime, and he loved it. His temper had grown so violent, he was expelled from I.A.L. permanently. His parents realized their son had become a brute and they no longer knew him, and couldn’t control him—No one could control him; he couldn’t even control himself. It wasn’t long before he expressed to them his hatred for them—For the years they ignored him, and that it was their fault he had become who, or what, he was.
What he was, who he became—A lost soul.
If this intrigues you to want to explore more into the shadows of Midwest City, by all means, pick up your copy today via softback and/or e-book of “Shadow Within A City.”
Thanks again for taking the time to read our work!:o)