The boy came home to see a large crowd of people at the front of his house. He looked surprised. He had never seen so many people gathered at once. He was only ten, after all.
They were yelling at him, screaming at him, chanting for his death. He stood there, blank. Then he began making his way to his front door. Jeers, cries out outrage and wails followed him.
A man pushed his way out of the house that was hidden behind the mob, astonished.
"What happened?" he yelled.
"That boy beat up my child!" a woman shouted in outrage, clutching at a whimpering, bruised boy in her arms.
"Mine aswell!" another cried.
"Don't forget ours!" a man bellowed, hugging his wife and weeping son.
"And my grandson!" an old woman croaked loudly.
The man looked at his son, who was standing next to him by now. The boy looked up at him blankly.
"If what you say is true..." the man began.
"It is!" came the loud reply.
"Then leave him to me. I will punish him. You will not see him tommorow. I will hang him upside down from the fan, I will beat him with the broom, and I will not let him sleep the night. Now please, disperse."
The boy, who before was expressionless, now had two faint white spots of fear on his cheeks. He looked up at his father, biting his lip.
The father gave him a hard look, and looked back into the crowd.
"I will take care of it. Go, rest."
Grumbling angrily, the crowd drifted off, seperating, going back to their houses. The father pulled his son into his house, and locked the door.
He looked at his son, long and hard. "Alonzo, sit down," he said atlast, gesturing towards a chair.
The boy, Alonzo, sat on a chair, and gazed at his father with uncertainty.
"Did you really beat up those ten boys?" the man asked.
Alonzo blinked. "Yes, father."
"And you are not hurt?"
He looked over himself. "No, father," he responded.
"Have you beaten them up before?" the man asked.
"Three of them," he replied softly.
His father paused for a moment. Then he spoke again.
"Did you really beat those ten boys?" he repeated.
"Yes, father," Alonzo replied, puzzled.
To his utmost surprise, his father patted his back, smiling slightly.
"There's my boy," he said, and strode off.
Alonzo stared after him.
"Does that mean you aren't punishing me?" he called.
There was only a chuckle in response.
Life is strange.