Way back in July, I asked for prompts, and I finally got around to writing the one I received. Clibanarius wrote, "Write a scene where someone does the right thing." I've written twice about Tlindvi, one of my minor Folmustians (aliens), and here she is again. I have another story in progress for her as well.
Anyway, hopefully I'll polish this eventually. It's rough and bleh.
Prompt: Doing the right thing.
The boy must have been from Strimust, Tlindvi thought. She vacationed there, once, before their planet was destroyed. It had been an icy country; its inhabitants were fairly stocky and short compared to most other Folmustians. Many, like the boy Tlindvi watched now, had fair grey skin and small eyes. And on top of his head, the boy had a dusting of fair hair that was thinning prematurely.
He was rooting through the trash cans behind the bakery like an animal. Unaware of Tlindvi, he whimpered and muttered to himself, tossing bits of plastic and empty cake boxes aside. He picked up a rotting banana peel and shoved it in his mouth.
Tlindvi stepped forward, hands in the air to show she meant no harm. “Little one,” she said in what she guessed to be his dialect.
He spat out the banana peel and pulled out a crude knife.
She struggled to keep her voice calm. “Little one,” she said again. “If you put that away, I will bring you out a nice cake and some biscuits.”
He shocked her by replying in her own dialect. “I could stab you right now and go inside and eat everything. You were rich on Folmust, weren’t you? I can tell by your accent. You lived in Folmustis.”
“Folmustis”: a somewhat derogatory term for what had been the richest, largest nation on Folmust.
Tlindvi tried another route, her mind racing as she considered how she could get away and alert her boss, the old Earth lady that owned the bakery. Tlindvi and the boy were a mere five feet apart. Softly, she said, “How old are you, little one?”
When he opened his mouth to answer, Tlindvi rushed back inside the bakery and slammed her back against the door to close it, but the boy was too quick. He shoved his own weight into the door and knocked Tlindvi to the ground. He was shockingly strong for the state he was in.
Tlindvi scrambled for her knife. She tended to keep it on her; she’d let herself get caught off-guard. “ELIZA!” she shouted for the old woman. She knew what would best get the lady’s attention: “ROBBER!”
The boy slapped Tlindvi in the face as she grappled with him, trying to wrest away his knife. She bit his wrist and drew blood. He cried out in shock.
“Damnit, Eliza!” Tlindvi yelled. The boy looked up; Tlindvi kicked him in the jaw and grabbed his knife by the blade. She was bleeding, but she didn’t flinch; she had the knife, and stood, pointing it at him. “Damnit, boy!” she said now. “I’m giving you one chance. Pull up the chair to your right and sit the hell down. I’m keeping your knife. Now hold on. ELIZA! You damned deaf bat!”
The old woman pattered into the room, squinting. “What is it now, Lind? I can’t find my specs.”
“We have company,” said Tlindvi, gesturing to the boy.
Eliza eyed the floor. “Oh my God. Is that blood? What happened?”
The boy was crying openly now, tears spilling down his face. He gurgled out, “Are you calling the cops?”
Tlindvi tossed the knife into the sink, which was piled high with dishes. She reached into a cabinet, withdrawing bandages, and began wrapping her bleeding hand. “Why ever would I, little one?” she said, gaze sliding to Eliza to show the boy he had one more chance. “It’s not your fault I was clumsy and nicked myself. If you’ve found your manners, then you eat these cakes we’ve just baked, and when you’re done, you’re going to wash all these dishes. Then you can be our new delivery boy. Got it?”
When Eliza was out of earshot, the boy said, “Thank you, Vivi [aunt].” Then, barely audibly, he added, “And I’m sorry.”
They never spoke of the incident again.