The spring rain quietly drizzled down on Damascus City situated in the south of the Belize Kingdom in the Western Continent.
It was already early in the morning, a slight breeze blew through the suburbs of the city. The sun had already hidden behind the dark clouds, refusing to come out.
In one of the dilapidated apartment buildings on 11 DeShawn Street, which was situated close to the slums, a young man had just woken up in his rented apartment on the second floor.
This apartment room consisted of only a single room. There was a single bed by the window, a wardrobe cabinet, a set of table and chair, and lastly a single gas stove in one corner of the room.
The young man had already woken up but he still lay on the bed under the tattered blanket, looking out at the gloomy weather outside through the only window in the room.
”Another year passed by, Happy Birthday to me. ” The young man sighed and then got up from the bed. He walked to the table and looked at his reflection in the mirror hanging on the wall above the table.
The mirror reflected the image of a handsome youth with black hair and black eyes. He was tall but emaciated. He couldn remember the last time he had a proper meal. As he was lost in thought thinking about what to do for the day, he heard a loud knock on his door.
Knock Knock Knock.
”Bryan you peasant, wheres the **ing rent money? ” Came the angry shout from the other side of the door.
Bryan instantly frowned when he heard this voice. He was already late on his rent for over a month now and on top of that, this landlord of his was a real piece of shit. He refused to fix any of the amenities in the apartment, especially the run-down ceiling through which water would leak every time it rained. Like right now.
You think Id live in this shit hole if I wanted to. Bryan sighed and walked to the door. Before he opened the door, he put on a fake smile and a subservient attitude. As soon as he opened the door, the landlord immediately started cursing him.
”Bastard wheres my money? Its already 2 months since you haven paid. Ill give you 1 week. If you can clear your dues then leave all your belongings and get the ** out of this place! ” The landlord who was a middle-aged man with a high hairline and a potbelly roared.
Belongings? Heh, what belongings do I have other than a pair of tattered clothes Bryan mocked himself inside but on the surface, he still appeared docile and replied, ”Mr Carter don worry, Ill have the money ready by the end of this week. ”
”You better or you can start living on the streets like the filthy rat you are. ” Mr Carter huffed, threw out a few more curses at Bryan and left.
Fucking bastard, Ill stuff that filthy mouth of yours with dogshit someday Bryan thought as he watched his landlord leave. He then shut the door and walked back to his table and sat on his chair. He pulled the drawer and took out a silver pocket watch with an intricate design.
The front side of the silver pocket watch looked very beautiful and displayed the time on the dial. Beneath the dial, one could still see the different gears working in tandem like a work of art.
Bryan flipped the watch around and saw the writing ingrained on the backside of the pocket watch:
To Little Bryan.
Love, Mum & Dad.
Bryan saw this carving and fell into deep thought with a reminiscent look in his dazed eyes. At this moment, his back looked extremely desolate and lonely.
His father Vincent was a watchmaker and owned a company called Lombardi Watch Co. He was a very famous artisan in Damascus City. Although the Lombardi Family wasn given any nobility title, they were quite affluent and well-connected in their own right. Bryans mother, Isabella, married his father when they were young and they were a very happy family.
However, Bryans mother, Isabella fell ill one day when he was only 6 years old. His father, Vincent did all he could and got doctors and apothecaries from Damascus City and even farther away from Nadir, the capital of Belize Kingdom.
But it was all for nought. After struggling for two weeks, Bryans mother eventually succumbed to her illness and passed away in her sleep one night. This left both Bryan and his father heartbroken. Bryan was still very young at the time and didn know the meaning of death. Gradually he realized that his mother was never going to return to him. He realized that theyd never be a whole family again.
Following the death of his mother, Bryans father fell into severe depression and drowned himself in alcohol to numb the pain. Vincent turned into an alcoholic and didn bother about taking care of his son or the watch company.
When Bryan turned 7, his dad also passed away due to the over-consumption of alcohol. This left Bryan all alone in this world with no one to take care of him or guide him. Bryans fathers direct subordinate, Mark, usurped the watch company and all properties that belonged to the Lombardi Family.
He still remembered the day when Mark came up to him with a sneer on his face and declared that everything now belonged to him. Bryan tried to protest, but who would listen to a 7-year-old orphan? All of his fathers friends also turned a blind eye to him. It was then that he realized that everyone in this world only worked for their own benefit. This was a heavy truth for a young child to bear.
Ever since then, Bryan had been forced to live on the streets. He had to resort to all sorts of dirty work like taking up odd jobs, begging, stealing, scamming and swindling people. But he did all he had to in order to survive and he never regretted it.
Bryan reigned in his thoughts and put away the watch in his pant pocket. He got up, walked to his wardrobe cabinet and took out a shirt to wear. He tucked this stained white shirt in his pants and then wore a brown jacket. He wore the black workers cap that was hanging on the wall with the help of a nail he had hammered in long back when he rented this apartment.
He then left his apartment and set off for a crowded street. Hmm lets see, what shall I do today? Bryan thought as he put his hands in his pocket to see how much money he had. He took out 7 copper coins and said self-deprecatingly, 7 pence huh? I really am poor.
After a 15-minute walk, he soon reached the farmers market. Since it was still before 7 in the morning, there were quite a few people who gathered at the market. Mostly restaurant owners who were here to buy ingredients. There were also many food stalls that were selling breakfast and snacks to workers who had to go to work early in the mornings.
Bryan casually walked amidst the crowd. He approached a food stall that was selling fresh buns. While the stall owner was talking to his customers and advertising how fresh the buns were, Bryan walked past the stall and skillfully picked up a steaming hot bun and put it in his pocket, then he blended in with the crowd again without anyone noticing anything.
Over the years that Bryan spent time living on the streets, he developed quite a few skills that were crucial to his survival. When he was still a child, he got caught stealing many times and was beaten miserably till he was blue. However, he always learned from his mistakes. After all, if he didn steal, he wouldn be able to feed himself and live for another day.
Hence, over the course of time, his wrist and finger flexibility improved, enabling him to easily steal things in a covert manner. He also paid a lot of attention to his stamina. After all, if he was caught stealing, he would have to run for his life. His experience taught him that the outcome of getting caught was always two things: getting beaten up or being forced to work as free labour. However, Bryan was also smart enough to not steal things from the wrong people.
After Bryan walked a few steps past the food stall, he took out the bun from his pocket and started eating with relish. He then came to a nearby square and sat on a public bench. While he looked at the people, some in worker clothes while some in classic suits, hurrying to their jobs, he thought to himself, Im already 18 years old, how long am I gonna keep stealing and live on a day-to-day basis? Should I look for a job with a stable income? But whos gonna give me a job? Heh, I didn even finish primary school.
Right at that moment, Bryan caught sight of a middle-aged man in the corner of his eye. The well-built man had blond hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a blue three-piece suit, carrying a big brown suitcase in one hand and a gems-inlaid black cane in the other. Bryan smirked as his eyes narrowed. He had found his prey!
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