The Bloody Boys – A tale of magic and cake and thieves and murder.
The Bloody Boys
The lower city was in chaos, wracked by a string of robberies, murders and general misbehaviour. All since a mysterious gang had moved in on cheapside. They were known as the Bloody Boys, and had begun a reign of mischief on the city folk. The traders had called for aid from the city, but the guard never came this far into the poor quarter. They made no secret of their lair, barricaded themselves into an abandoned building that they had covered in scarlet banners, they flaunted themselves, adding layers of insult to an already beleaguered city. The rich folk never listened, staying in their palatial lairs, they laughed in scorn at the little people and their troubles. They took what they could, greedy and slimy, from the hands of the Bloody Boys, to keep away from cheapside. Took what they could to keep their mouths shut and let the boys operate their wickedness across the lower city. They didn’t much care for the smallfolk really, and if they were profiting from it as well, well even better for them. The handprint sign of the boys followed all their robberies, and was too often shown across the town.
Agnes was a baker, of the finest sort, whose shop made her little bit of cheapside gleam. She made buns and cakes so delicate they sparkled in the dawn’s light, though they were always gone by the end of the day. The smell of cinnamon and fresh bread spilling into the streets. She kept some aside for those who couldn’t afford much, making sure she always had bread enough for everybody. She also had the misfortune to be right in the path of the bloody boy’s mitts. One morn she woke to find her stash of cash all gone, with only their bloody handprint calling sign to show her where they’d been.
This, she cried, was the final straw. She rallied up the tradesmen, grabbed her sturdiest rolling pin, and with a great cry, she passed out bread and cakes, brought the crowd to tears, “Today we take our tools to them, those thieving boys have made us fools for the last time”
Together they marched on the bloody boys hideout, only to find they had all gone, scattered, and in the coming nights the thefts got worse and worse.
So, she gathered her closest friends in the traders together, and they decided to set a grand trap, to catch them once and for all, and end their tyranny. “We’ll lay a dreadful trap, with all our skills, we’ll catch them all, and lest the city be too merciful, we’ll make sure their bloody hands don’t stain another of our walls”
She baked a grand, golden cake, the like had never even been seen in the high city, and she placed it at the centre of her bakery, where all could see, and wonder. The Carpenter laid traps in the floor, though it pained him to twist the wood and nails in the ways he did. The fisherman and the tailor made spiders webs, nets disguised as ribbons, razorwire hidden in rainbows and gold leaf that fell from the rafters. It looked like a dream, and as a jungle flower, just as deadly. Deadly flavour.
They came, sure as their greedy eyes were unable to resist, perhaps even all of them, figures in the shadows in strange outfits. Tattered crimson velvet coats shining in the darkness, as the moonlight occasionally lit a dim blade. They were silent, and radiated menace. They were darkness, blood seeping towards their target. The bakery simply gleamed at them, enticing, appetising, and with a signal (and a noticeable wince from the banker) the toymaker pressed a button as the masked boys came close, looking less human as they moved into the light, more like nightmares. The cake began to rotate, with a merry-go-round sort of tune, and as it did small coins began to fall from hidden compartments, glinting in the lamplight. The first of the boys came fully into the light, exposing monstrous eyes in a mostly covered face, launching him-it?-self at the door. The Glass, not glass anymore, replaced with a sugar glaze that stuck him to the door, holding his clawed hands to it, as he let out a blood-curdling scream that caused the traders to shiver, but the trap was set, and the boy was pulled into the door by his own efforts, becoming encased in this sickly trap. The others offered little sympathy to their fallen comrade, in fact the only one to come close simply laughed and slit the things throat, pushing it through the door and shattering it as it kicked the fallen things sticky corpse through. It (and they were most certainly “It” not he, now, they saw). It jumped towards the cake, along with a few of its fellows, and became tangled in the deadly ribbons, their efforts to get free only hastening their demise. They were real beasts now, snarling and screaming in rage until they stopped, hanging limp, the cake still untouched.
Still they came, all different sizes, marked by their red velvet mockeries of gentlemen’s attire. Some were caught in trap-doors and cleverly disguised deathtraps, though the strangest thing with the boys is that when they.. Expired.. They turned to bundles of rags, scraps of red velvet and bandage-like shadow, their ‘blood’ was simply shadows and darkness. The cake, at it’s centre, covered in gold, was untouched, and then there was only one left, glaring and malicious, it sort of stepped through the traps, slicing the ribbons and remains of it’s fallen counterparts down and disarming the craft-folks cleverly laid traps.
The craftsfolk hid in the buildings surrounding it, watching. This one looked different somehow, bigger and meaner and more.. Real.. It was at the cake now, grabbing handfuls of gold and cake and icing indiscriminately and stuffing them into it’s maw. Like the awful thing it was, just devouring all around it, including the remnants of its fellows. Agnes was having absolutely none of this, and despite her fellows protestations, grabbed her largest rolling pin and threw it at the beast. It looking round and grinned, and to all extents it was a set of knives under an extravagant mask. It leered, and she smiled, as it drew itself up and close to her face.
“Silly, greedy thing. You should watch what you eat!”
The thing pulled it’s face close to Agnes’, but as it did it began to solidify, becoming clunkier. “I had a feeling you were something not quite right, you lot” she frowned as the thing came to a stop, completely seizing up a little too close for comfort “The cement will keep you solid for a while, i’m afraid, you’re quite .. done”
A little later, as they began to clean up, the thing crumbled completely, except a small shadowy thing that tried to slink away, Agnes caught it with a quick sidestep, then pinched it, putting it into a small box she had concealed. “You caused enough trouble, little one, I don’t think i’ll let you escape again”.
The streets were decked with red and black ribbons as Cheapside celebrated. The rich folk ignored them especially that day, if they ever noticed. A while later, the noble council were overjoyed when a giant cake was delivered to them, as golden and beauteous as they had ever seen, and at its pinnacle a tiny crimson jewellery box, which seemed almost too enticing not to open.
I’ve also done recordings of several of my poems and stories, which are available on soundcloud here