Top of the WorldMature

Eric woke up on a cold floor with sore eyes. Looking to his right he saw bars. Sitting up, he yawned, looking around. Men were in cells, some playing cards with each other. A crack came from his left. His eyes slowly followed the source. A dirty old man lay on the floor, his teeth tearing at an uncooked rat. The old mans greasy long white hair fell to the ground, letting Eric see long scars going down his neck to somewhere's else along his body. The old man, finished with his rat, looked around the cell for something else. His eyes locked on Eric. He grinned "Heh, another lost soul eh? Just waiting for the warden, just waiting. They'll get to you alright, yes, they will, Sammy knows it to be true."

Eric swallowed "Wh-where am I sam?"

The old man didn't answer. Eric asked again "Sam, whe-"

He chuckled "My name isn't Sam, no, is it Sam? But he thinks you won't last a month here. We might as well eat a filthy rat like you right now!"

Eric scrambled backwards as the old man began pawing his way forwards. Eric said "There's loads of people who'll miss me!"

"Name one!"

David's name caught on the tip of Eric's tongue. Eric didn't know how David felt about him anymore. Eric shook his head "I got a brother."

Eric's back hit the wall. The old man kept moving closer. He said in a cold voice "And where is he now?! He might as well be dead like your parents!"

Rage filled Eric. He screamed "They're not dead!"

An inmate yelled "Boss!"

The old man grinned "Ohh, where are they then?"

Eric couldn't answer that. The old man was now inches away, teeth barred. Furious, Eric punched the old man. In retaliation, the old man grabbed Eric's neck with an iron grip. He quickly whispered "No one, no one, no one, no-one-no-one". 

Gasping, Eric tried to remove the hands. They only clenched harder with every effort. The old mans eyes bulged with delight. Eric's hands felt along the mans face. The man laughed "It's no u- AAAHHHHH!"

Eric's thumbs dug into his eyes. The man flew back, covering his eyes. He screamed "I'm blind, blind, ohh, you filthy rat, I'll get you for this I swear it!"

Eric gasped for air. He wasn't done. Getting into a crouched stance, Eric recovered for half a minute then dashed into the old man who flew backwards, head smacking the wall. All became still. Inmates stood, looking at the cell in amazement. A calm voice broke the silence "Perhaps you are more than just a rat Eric."

Spinning around, Eric saw a man in a clean suit staring at him with kind eyes, easily in his forties. The man was leaned up against a wall. He said in a calm, professional voice "I am the Guardian. I oversee the protection of this land from destruction from within. Little does this land know that it's rats like you, Eric, that protect it. Come with me, you must be hungry."

Eric followed the Guardian into the darkness. He felt the walls slope up. White light met Eric halway's up. At the top, he exited a tunnel. Cold wind bit into his skin sheets of snow flew to meet him. The Guardian said "Welcome to the top of the world. This is where I would wish to train you, should you choose to accept it. If you do, you'll be given water, food, clothing and shelter. All that we ask in return is loyalty."

Eric asked "But... you didn't help me earlier, why should I trust you?"

The Guardian nodded "Trust I can earn. The man you saw obeys me at a whim, he thinks I'm a god."

"Gods don't exist."

The Guardian laughed "You're wise beyond your years. Do you wish to join us?"

Eric asked "Wait... what's your name?"

"My name is Sven."

Eric said "Okay... I'll think about it."

Sven nodded "That's all that I ask... there's one more thing I'd like to show you, unless you wanted to go back to your cell."

Eric firmly said "Let's go." 

The End

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