A Boy and His Goat

Written by Sonora for the game Snap Shot, Writing Prompt #20

 

The blind man laced his long fingers together and nodded to himself. His robes tattered and dirty betrayed the fact that they were once brightly coloured and artfully woven.

“Boy.”

I didn’t realise he was talking to me at first, as he sat with his face turned up to the sky. The hot sun beat down on the market like an angry drummer, and the roughly woven canopies tied across the walls made coin-sized shadows on the blind man’s face.

“Boy.” This time his face jerked sharply in my direction. I hesitated before crawling out from under the nut-seller’s stall and weaving between a group of gossiping women. Their fabrics were pale pinks and yellows and made them look like flowers.

The blind man wagged a finger at me. “You think too much.”

“Sorry?”

“I can feel it,” he pursed his wrinkled lips. “Knowledge is good, but you cast away your innocence like it disgusts you.”

“I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.” I turned to dart away but the blind man’s hand lashed out and gripped me tight around the ankle.

“You think I’m just a blind old man–”

“I know who you are.” I stood my ground even though I could have easily ripped free of his hand. “You were a consultant for the King, then you went crazy, then they tossed you into the streets.”

He chuckled. “Think you know everything, do you, boy? I knew one about your size. The King’s son–”

“The King doesn’t have any sons.”

He tapped his finger against his knee. “He did. Many years ago. A good boy. Ran away once and came home with a goat. Only it wasn’t a goat. It was demon, disguised as a goat come to kill the royal family. It was a dirty, smelly little goat. No one wanted it.”

“Of course they didn’t. No one wants another mouth to feed.”

“And that is where you shed your innocence. The King’s son loved that goat from the moment he saw it.”

“Is that why he died?”

“He died because… he got sick.”

“Look, crazy old man. This is just a story. The King never had a son, and even if he did, there was never a demon because the royal family isn’t dead.”

“You think demons are purely evil?”

“How am I supposed to answer that?”

He tapped his finger against his crooked nose. “You wear your poverty like a curse and you wear your hate like a callus. Love is the only real thing that can help any of us.”

“Love,” I scoffed. “What do you know about love?”

“I know a great deal,” he smiled. “And so did the boy, who tricked a demon into loving him back.”

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