Young Blades

street light at night

Young Blades

They were only boys,

young blades, like me,

and just as blunt and unproven,

wanting to show that they could be

sharp and hard and fearsome.

We were all scared of them.

They were a gang,

a known, nameable group,

to be feared and avoided,

and I was not one of them.

Out one evening,

me and a friend,

we turned a corner

and there they were,

gathered round the lamp post

at the end of the street,

slouching together,

a pride of liars.

We turned round.

Something skittered past us.

A knife.

It was just a folded pen knife,

couldn’t have hurt us if it had hit,

but it came with mean intent,

so we ran anyway,

round another corner,

and another. We separated,

me and my friend, but

I heard his feet behind me,

slapping the pavement.

I slowed and stopped.

He wrapped his arms around me

from behind, in relief, so I thought.

I just opened my arms and

broke the grip

and turned around.

It wasn’t my friend,

it was one of them,

an ugly boy with an ugly name.

He smelled of dirt, and something

worse; a lack of care.

The ugly boy looked at me,

saw something I hadn’t realised

until that moment.

I was bigger than him,

stronger than him,

and right in front of him.

He stepped back, sneered,

began walking away,

said something, I don’t know what,

looking at me the whole time,

watching me.

I watched him back

until he was gone,

which is where he stayed

after that day.

I realised then

that he was scared of me,

and that I

wasn’t scared

any more.

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