As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day. What follows is an alternative version of a scene from Sidewinder with a character’s backstory.
Mundy remembered bliss like this before. This was the feeling he remembered from waking up from a nap, and then knowing he didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything and could even go back to sleep. He hadn’t felt that ecstasy until recently in his life when he took long afternoon naps on the cruise ship. His life before that had never allowed for that.
He made no effort to think about where he was, but hunger began to pique at him, and there were sounds happening around him. He felt that he was in a seated position and his eyes were closed. His mouth felt funny. He remembered something about his mouth. It had been hurting before, right? But when was before? What had happened? He remembered something else too, this thought had been with him all along. He had done some bad things, betrayed people. The bliss sank away, replaced by guilt. Yes, someone had hurt him, but he had deserved it.
“What’s your name son?” a voice spoke.
It seemed right that they would ask him that, whoever they were. He wanted to admit how bad he’d been.
“I’m a sidewinder,” he said. Because that’s what he had been, a traitor.
There was a commotion around him. Maybe they were getting ready to hurt him some more, but Mundy was still too relaxed to move. Let them do what they would.
More questions came, but they asked about his past. Mundy found himself walking back on the streets of the core world he’d been born on. There was the shelter, the place with the beds and the food and lots of other kids. The girl who probably had been his mom who stayed for a little while, but then never came back. He tried to be included with other boys. Sometimes they let him and sometimes not. Someone kept taking his shoes. They had two pairs and he had none. He learned to hide food and eat it where no-one could find him. Sometimes he got out of the shelter.
Out on the streets, he met some other boys who stole things. They learned that Mundy had an “angel touch” and could pick pockets and purses better than anyone. Mundy began to steal for them and they gave him shoes as well as food.
Mundy sat in the chair in the dark with people talking to him. It felt good to answer their questions. Their voices were gentle. What’s more, it felt good to go back and recall these days. He used to think about them a lot, but he had never really had anyone who wanted to listen to him talk about these things.
He talked more about how he had lived at the shelter, but spent a lot of time out on the street too. He lifted things from people, but he never kept anything to himself. What good was money to him? The gang he reported to fed him better than the shelter and that was better.
Then one day he saw a man arguing with a woman. They were being loud and the man was distracted. Mundy sidled alongside him and waited for the man to move. Mundy matched the man’s movement pulled a heavy billfold, and slipped behind the crowds until he could run down an alleyway.
When he was a safe distance, Mundy opened the billfold. There was more cash in there, local currency as well as Alliance Credits, than Mundy had ever seen. There was no ‘dent and no code cards, just enough cash to buy maybe enough food to feed everyone at the shelter for 100 years.
Mundy felt fear rip through his heart. He had robbed a crime lord.