On the dark, muggy streets walked a short teen, his hair was a mess of grease and sweat that left an oddly beautiful shine to the somber night that surrounded him. He walked with a certain air about him, you could feel his strength in the air, everyone knew not to mess with him, he may be short and skinny but you wouldn’t stand a chance against him.
He walked passed alley after alley, scrunched up pieces of news papers filling boxes and large dirty blobs that were the others like him, homeless. Every building he passed was abandoned, no one could afford to stay in the crumbling buildings, now to see even one warm sheet was an oddity to them.
The boy stopped and hurriedly made his way to one of the emptier back alleys. At the far end was a rain-weakened wooden door. The boy slipped inside and made his way down the damp and musty corridor towards another door, this time in better condition. A small flap on the door flew open revealing a set of hazel eyes to the boy.
“who goes there!” yelled a young boy.
“Will, you idiot now open the door!” growled Will. The door swung open to reveal an excited figure. The small child jumped up to cling at Will as he was carried down the next corridor to an large room.
The room was a miss-match of things from broken chairs to piles of rags stolen from the rich. There were at least five other children in the room including Will’s sister. The two smaller children jumped up from the corner and came running at Will, asking what he had managed to get for them this time, Will produced stale bread and a hunk of cheese.
“How are the plans Lilly?” Will murmured to his sister
“Fine Will, we just need to get the final part to fall into place….” Lilly started but was cut off by Will “When will that be?” Lilly covered Will’s mouth with her hand before carrying on “....Tomorrow Will, everything will be in place tomorrow.”
Will sighed, he pulled out his knife from it’s place on his belt before slicing off thin pieces of bread and tiny chunks of cheese, handing each the younger children that surrounded him a serving .
Within the hour everyone was asleep except one lone shadow who was sat by the grimy window peering out at the fuzzy shape of the moon. He couldn’t sleep, his mind was overrun with thoughts of the plan and worry that the children will somehow get caught up in something that they weren’t supposed to.
The old man strolled through the muggy streets knocking people out of his way with his sturdy oak cane with a ivory handle. He despised all of the filth that crowded the streets. Why couldn’t they just get a job, or even better leave and never return! He smirked, of course that wouldn’t happen, it was just wishful thinking. He turned his head towards one of the older buildings and scowled, he hated the buildings and the people who surrounded them.
Will climbed back over towards the lump of rags and gradually eased himself down between the sleeping mass of squirming children. He had to be ready, alert, and completely aware of everything surrounding him.
The sharp rays of sunlight barely pierced through the smudged muck on the window, it was just right to hit Will in the eye and cause him to stir from his slumber. Will soon shot up realising that today was the day, they would reclaim the little city from Benedict, they would finally be free to claim a house, legally, without the worry of being caught and thrown back onto the street. Will jumped up from his position on the floor and clambered over to Lilly
“Wake up, wake up. Get everyone ready!” WIll pestered eagerly. Lilly swatted at her brother to shoo him away before sleepily complaining “Five more minutes Will,” before snuggling her head back into her arms and started softly snoring. Will sighed at his sister, he couldn’t stay there, he needed to move about, to release some energy before Lilly tried to bash him over the head for not letting her sleep.
Will snuck over to the window and with a strong, swift shove it swung open, Will scrambled up and over the window ledge to grab onto the branch of an old tree before swinging himself up onto the branch. From there he shimmied his way down the trunk of the tree and landing heavily on the ground.
Will started to run he had to distract himself for at least a small amount of time, he had to.
He hadn’t gotten very far when he saw him, Benedict, walking towards the building that he was due to inspect today, there was no reason behind the inspections he just wanted to show that he had the power to control the building and whether people occupied it or not.
It was to early! Benedict shouldn’t be doing the inspection till later, no one was prepared for it yet! He had to warn them.
Will reached the building that contained his sister and friends in record time, but not quick enough, Benedict was already having the door pried open. This was not good! Will nimbly climbed the tree trunk before leaping onto the window ledge, knocking over a trinket that Lilly used to make the place seem more like home. This startled Lilly and she shot up from her peaceful slumber and glared at Will.
Before Lilly could scold Will he panted out “He’s here, Benedict is here early. We have to start the plan now!” Lilly’s glare turned into a look of shock and worry, but it was to late to do anything, the large metal door began to rattle, then thumped to the ground leaving a smirking old man peering at them from where the door once stood.
This couldn’t be happening. The children had all awoken and were trembling behind the older siblings.
“Well, well, what do we have here then!” Cackled Benedict “Boys grab them!”
The next few minutes were a blur, Will reached for his knife and launched himself at the guards just as the guards with Benedict pulled out their own knives, which were obviously newer, and prepared to attack the scrawny boy that had lept towards them.
“A fighter, huh.” Benedict boomed “Kill them!”
Each of Benedict’s guards sprinted towards the helpless children in the corner, ignoring Will’s attempt to stop them, and grabbed each of the children by their hair and dangled them from their large hands in front of Will and Lilly.
The siblings were terrified, they knew these men showed no mercy.
“Let them go!” Lilly cried
“Why?!” Benedict growled “They aren’t supposed to be here and neither are you! Kill them! Kill them now!”
The guards held up the first child, he was flailing and sobbing for someone to save him, Will stumbled towards the boy in an attempt to save him but before he could get far he was tackled to the ground. The boy in the guard's hand was the same boy who had watched the door the previous day. Will stared on in horror as the guard slit the child’s throat and dropped him to the ground. Lilly screamed.
“Shut up!” Benedict roared as the next child was killed, then the next, until only one was left sobbing uncontrollably as the guard reached out to kill her.
“Stop this! Please….” Will begged “..... Just stop this!” Will had given up on his plan by now and felt hollow with failure, to help the people around him, to get a better life for his sister, to save his family from the monsters in front of him.
“You win” Will yielded, Lilly looked at him in disbelief, he was giving up, Will was giving up! He’d never done that before!
The guard dropped the child, Abigail, who quickly scrambled over to Lilly. Lilly stared at her brother as he bowed his head in shame, that’s when she saw it, the mischievous smirk hidden by the shadow from his hair, Lilly braced herself for what Will would do next.
As Will bowed his head he noticed there was a blade next to him so he reached for it and hid it in his sleeve. The guard watched Will lower his head and loosened his grip on the boy.
Will saw his chance and shoved the guard back and ran to Lilly and Abigail, he grabbed Lilly’s arm that wasn’t supporting Abigail and dragged her to the window, slashing at any guards that came too close to them
“Run Lilly” Will cried as he pushed his sister and Abigail out of the window and onto the tree branch. Will watched as Lilly clambered down the tree followed by Abigail, glancing at Will once more before scooping up the girl and making her escape down the alley and away from the guards and her brother.
Will looked down the alley one more time to check that Lilly was safe before throwing the blade at Benedict, causing it to land in his shoulder and grabbing the box of matches in his pocket and struck one. Will dropped the lit match onto the wood in front of him creating a barrier between the guards and himself.
“You can no longer rule this city with fear Benedict! I will save it!” Will screamed as he jumped off of the window ledge to grab onto the tree and follow the alley away from the burning building.
Lilly was waiting behind the stone wall when she saw her brother sprinting down the alley, she could see the flames engulfing the building.
There was a loud explosion, Will was knocked down by the force and shielded his head from the rubble that rained down on him, he shakily stood up taking in his surroundings, everything was swaying and seemed miles away yet oddly close, faintly he could hear someone calling his name but it sounded too far away to tell who it was. Will stumbled forwards until someone caught him and pulled him away from the disaster zone that encompassed him.
“Will! Will! We did it, we did it Will! Benedict’s gone!” Lilly cried, Will’s world had finally begun to steady itself when he saw the remains of the building they had called home and Lilly gripping him tightly. Had he really done it, was Benedict really gone, could they finally be free of his reign over the city.
Within hours the remains of the building had been searched and only one guard had survived the blast, he lived long enough to clarify that no one else made it out of the building and confirm the safety and the future of the city.
Benedict was truly gone and the people would be free.
Months passed, Lilly and Will with the help of the older members of the tortured city housed all of the homeless citizens who had been evicted during Benedict's tyrannous reign and brought the city to it’s former glory.