In the Shadow Of the Serpents Bench

Chapter 1


Amicus eyed his opponent, his knees bent, his ears alert for any sign of attack. Being just thirteen, he was quick and sleek compared to the lumbering thug in front of him.  Amicus slowly raised his hand to his face and held his short matted hair back from his face. He could outrun the man, but something in the back of his mind willed him to stay. It was a long time since Amicus had tasted a fight. The man was stout and clumsy, with a large head covered in greasy blond hair. His eyes were dark, and were barely visible in the alley, yet his white tunic lit up the rest of his face. He could have been handsome once, yet fighting had mutilated what little attractiveness he had.
    Cautiously, Amicus stood at full height and raised an eyebrow at the man. “Ready?” he muttered, teasingly. The man groaned and stood up. Amicus gasped. He had underestimated the size and strength of the thug. He gulped. There was no going back. “Vado!” He screamed and launched himself at the man. The thug reacted with a cry as the boy leapt on his back and began attacking him with his fists. The thug fell to the floor and just as Amicus tasted victory the man began to shake him off. Amicus was thrown across the street but managed to catch himself and land on his feet. Crouched, he growled at his opponent. He couldn’t even remember why they were fighting. Amicus was always searching for a fight. He always won, and loved the taste of victory. He hadn’t noticed the giant of a man slowly get to his feet, and was taken aback as it came lumbering towards him in a fit of rage. Its eyes were ablaze; it’s mouth frothing with effort. The man reached to pick him up but Amicus was to quick for him. The boy darted out the way, sending the giant toppling into the street. Amicus leapt along the 2ft high stepping-stones that crowned the sewage filled streets, and muffled a laugh as the man emerged from the debris. The man was furious, and shouted something in Greek. Amicus laughed again. “There is no point crying for Mater old man!” He fell to the ground in a fit of laughter, pummelling the cobbles with his fists. Then he froze. He heard more voices, sharp and angry. He couldn’t understand what they were saying; he only spoke Latin –
a little at that.
    As he tried to stand up he realized he couldn’t. Two Greek men were pinning him to the floor. Amicus cursed and struggled to get free. Suddenly the putrid smell of sewage filled his nostrils, making him gag. As he opened his eyes, he looked straight into those of the thug. The man grinned and whispered in stuttered Latin “ Ego Vinci. I win.”

The End

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