Under the faded light that trickled out from the broken street lamp was the silhouette of a boy no more than 16. He looked too small and thin to be that old though. The boy sat in a darker corner of the street previously drenched in red light. He slept in that corner and ate in that corner; he had made a makeshift house for himself out of a dirty old blanket and a pillow he had found thrown out. He had no one but himself to live for but even himself was getting lost and soon he feared he wouldn’t have that either.
His tangled, uncombed black hair fell over his eyes and he had his hands wrapped around him trying to keep the cold out. He wore a sweater that had once provided warmth and protection but now was only enough to serve as a thin cover from the cold and old jeans. He had smudged kohl eyeliner on and his lips tinted slightly red, whether from the cold or paint you wouldn’t know.
He sat on the floor with his back against the wall shaking and trying to consume the slices of bread he had bought with the little he earned that day. You would find the boy wandering the streets by morning or dancing in places with music playing to earn a little extra and under the red lights at night serving and helping around at a club. More than anything the crushing weight of being alone in this state made his will for life dwindle. His tears pleaded for a person to help ease the pain.
Just on the outskirts of the most unethical place in Amsterdam was another boy but this one of 18 and again barely looked it, a young girl of barely seven who looked a lot healthier and an older woman who was so thin that she looked as though she might fly away in the wind accompanied him. It was no mystery that the boy cared for them deeply and gave them even the littlest of what he had.
He had white dyed hair and was clad in a t-shirt too big for him and jeans that did not in any way look comfortable. He as well was noticeably shivering but he didn’t mind as long the other two were kept warm and fed. They resided in an old building that was evacuated long ago and could possibly crumble any day. He looked at his reflection in the broken and dirty mirror and wanted to claw his skin off. He had gotten enough money that night to feed the child, the woman and himself to a proper meal yet he had no feeling of pride or happiness, just disgust at the person in front of him.
The boy saw the tears roll down his face as he remembered the things he has to do to keep them alive, at least until he could find a job, but who would hire a dirty, high school dropout, homeless boy. He rubbed angrily trying to remove the color from his face, the color he put on simply to please the ones who helped him provide for the two helpless souls under his care. Even though they were with the boy, the girl was merely a child who was naïve and still believed in the innocence and purity of life and the woman too weak to speak a coherent sentence forget standing up.
He craved for a companion with whom he could feel understood and normal, which would help him deal with the torture and hardship he was forced to bear at such a young age. His tears pleaded for a person to help ease the pain.
Both children of tragedy, both in disgust with what they were forced to become and both longing for a friend in this colder much crueler part of life they were born into.
The boy under the lights lay awake staring at the open sky, he was deep within the city and the sky was dark barely lit up with a few stars. Even the moon wasn’t out that night and he felt truly alone. His mind went back to that evening when he had been attacked and his grip on his pillow tightened. He closed his eyes.
Apart from the disgust he felt for the place he worked at, not towards the girls and boys who were forced to sell themselves to live but at the men and woman who made objects of the living breathing human beings that were there. At the people that thought that the workers were exhibits that belonged to them. At the people that thought that simply because they worked in this way, most having no other choice, would be more than grateful to fulfill they’re erotic wishes. The man that approached him was no better than those he sees everyday.
“Hey there pretty, how much?” a man maybe late in his thirties asked the boy.
“I’m sorry sir but I just wait on the tables.” He whispered back, as politely as possible.
“Oh but surely such a pretty thing would be worth something.” The man was breathing down his neck and he could smell the cheap beer. His words made the boy wince and he tried to move away but was trapped between a table and the disgusting old pervert.
“Please sir, there are workers in the other room. I just bust tables leave me alone.”
“Oh but surely you would love some fun right, you work in this filthy place anyway.”
“Excuse me sir but you are currently in this ‘filthy place’ as you called it, with people who are trying to live and earn money to study and care of themselves and their families and you sir are currently the one who is making this place filthy.” The boy was angry and he wanted nothing more than to hit this man but he could not due to club rules.
“How dare you.” The man raised a hand to hit the boy but he was grabbed and pushed away from him.
“He told you he wasn’t working, now do you want to leave or do you want things to get messy?” a shorter man in a sleek black suit had approached them after seeing the commotion and seeing who the boy was.
“No, no it’s okay. I understand I’m leaving.” The man stumbled over himself on his way out.
“Thank-you .” The boy was almost in tears from fright and embarrassment.
“No problem kid, get out of here and be careful. Keep your head low and change your clothes.” The boy was clad in the leather pants and a skintight shirt. He was immensely uncomfortable and did not want to show the people who came into the club any form of his body.
“Okay , I’ll see you tomorrow.” And the boy walked to the changing rooms.
Xavier or more commonly known as Suga-X, a man about whom hardly anything was known. He was short and had a sort of feminine look to his body, which he made up for with his tattoos and piercings, but everyone in the underground knew him, they knew the way he could break a mans hand in less than a minute, how he was rumored to no feelings and would beat up anyone. How messing with the workers in his club gets you everything but okay.
The workers, even though they knew very little about him adored him. He never forced anyone to stay in the club nor did he ever bring someone in who was unwilling. He was kind to everyone and anyone who worked at his club as long as they respected the others and him and followed his club rules.
He had found the boy a sniveling pathetic mess one night while he had left the club for a smoke. At first he ignored him but hearing the boy cry was too much for him to handle so he offered him a temporary job at the club but the boy just never left and remained a waiter and suddenly he had food to eat, only because of his work at ‘Nuit Rouge’.
The man thankfully had not approached him on the way back to his corner and he successfully made it back where he ate the bread and tried to go to sleep. He had been looking at the sky when he yawned and decided it was time to sleep. He was slipping away into the bliss of night when he was roughly picked up from where he lay. He opened his eyes to find the man from the club, now with a new fire in his eyes and his jaw set in determination. The boy knew where this was going, he knew what happened on the street but he had been lucky enough to escape it for so long. He had been foolish to believe that he could escape it forever. There were no words spoken as the man slammed him against the wall and he went dizzy.
On the other side was a boy who was sitting against a washroom door of his workplace crying into his hands. The woman who had wanted him was rich and he was payed well but at this moment all he could see and think about was how dirty he felt. How he felt absolutely disgusting about having to pretend to like the things she said and did.
He didn’t want to but he had to fix himself before he walked out so he looked in the mirror. Instantly regretting it, he wanted to chop off all his hair, the same hair that stranger after stranger grabbed on to, he wanted to sew his eyes shut, the eyes that had to pretend to be happy and loving, he wanted to lose his lips, the lips that were touched and kissed by unknown faces who cared for nothing more that their own satisfaction but instead he fixed his hair, cleaned the smudged kohl liner, straightened his clothes and walked out.
Outside he saw Nick, one of the bodyguards for the workers. He had grown close to Nick after he helped the boy carry his sick sister to a local doctor who had been kind enough to not charge the boy. The doctor had apparently been Nicks friend, Sara. Even though Sara was a very qualified doctor even she couldn’t treat his mother who was on the brink of death but refused to let go. Every time either he or his sister got too ill for them to handle on their own they would go to Sara and she would treat them without any questions, judgment or payment. Sara loved the siblings as though they were her own children.
He knew he was good looking, he walked past as the customers gawked at him and hollered after him but he declined them all with polite smiles and head nods. He rushed out of the building into the cold air and he felt as though just not being in there made him less disgusting. He walked down the street and was lost in his thoughts of a better life, one where his sister was in school and perfectly fine, one where he still had a mother and not just a shell of a human being and didn’t have to sell himself to keep them alive, one where he still had a life when he heard harsh words and a muffled scream and a cry for help.
He knew better than to mess with other people and their dealings but he couldn’t ignore it. He by himself couldn’t do anything but he was near Suga-Xs club, he could help. No matter how cold hearted he seemed, the boy had seen him help the poor souls on the streets so he ran into his club.
“Is Suga-X here, I need to talk to him.”
“I’m sorry, you need to have an appointment to talk to the boss.” Said a woman at the desk.
“Please it’s an emergency.”
The woman would not allow him to see Suga-X but there was someone watching over him that day since Suga-X himself came out from behind a door in the back and approached the boy.
“What’s wrong? What’s so important that you just had to see me?”
“A boy, I heard a scream and a cry from a dark little pathway near your club, please help.” he was trying to get his words out as soon as possible.
“Did you see the boy?”
“No, but I heard him and he sounded scared and he was in trouble, please I know you’re a good person, please come with me and help him.”
Xavier had an inkling that the boy in trouble was the same from his club so he followed the worried boy in the makeup and white hair out to the street corner. Upon entering the street, Xavier heard the distress call of a young male and dashed to where the older man had the boy pinned against a wall and had his lips attached to the boys neck.
Xavier threw the first punch and in no time had the man knocked out cold. He walked to where the boy had shrunken into the ground and was visibly shivering. There were soft, silent tears shining on his face like sad stars and his nails had dug into the skin of his biceps. Xavier picked up the useless rag he slept on and covered him with it. He turned to the white haired boy and instructed him to get a proper blanket from the club. Once the white haired boy returned and Xavier was satisfied that the boy under his current care was warm he told the white haired boy to watch over him as he went to make some arrangements.
“Hi, are you okay?” he asked the shivering boy as he sat down next to him, careful not to touch him. The boy did not reply, as expected, but instead stared at the ground in front of him.
“It’s alright. You don’t have to talk I know how you feel. I-I’ve been there before.” The white haired boy shared and stared at the floor as well. He heard a few sniffles from his side and felt a cold body against his own. The shivering boy had snuggled into his side and he instinctively put his arm around him, the white haired boy didn’t feel alone for the moment they were entwined. “I’ve got you.” They stayed in silence cuddled up against each other until Xavier came back. He raised an eyebrow at the two boys and turned to the shivering child.
“Kid, you can sleep in the club until I find better accommodations.” He said already turning away, no matter how much he liked the kid he had a reputation to keep up and he would not risk his enemies thinking he had become soft. The boy got up and began to walk out after Xavier when he stopped and turned around to the stranger who held him while he cried.
“Thank-you, my name is Finn Jacob.” He said softly enough for only him to hear.
“Anytime. My name is Adam Bradley.” He replied, his voice low as well as though sharing a secret.
The words were lost to the wind and snow, unimportant to the rest of the world but to the two boys, who were far too acquainted with loneliness and cruelty, it was a secret, a precious innocent moment that was frozen in time and place forever, at least within their minds.
The boys spent days apart from each other, neither having the courage to go up to the other but never leaving each other’s minds. Names repeated over and over, becoming increasingly loving each time they were mentioned. Neither boy believed in love from the life they lived in but what they felt when they remembered the sensation they got after the first touch, the connection they felt when the names were uttered was indescribable.