A Traumatic Event Florian Macalestern’s Childhood

Florian dashed as far as he could, but he could not keep up with the man.

So he screamed at the top of his lungs.

“Thief!” he cried. “That man is a thief! Stop him! Stop him!”

The man looked back, scowling. His footsteps on the wooden dock were hard compared to Florian’s light steps.

“Stop!” Florian cried.

At the entrance to the dock, someone stuck out their foot.

The man tripped and landed face-first on the wood.

Florian’s heart leaped.

He caught up with the man and jumped on him, grabbing his mother’s purse.

“Let go!” Florian cried, pulling at the purse.

The strap ripped, scattering money, coins, and credit cards all over the ground.

“Big mistake, brat,” the man said, grabbing Florian by the throat.

But Florian kicked him in the groin and the man doubled over.

They wrestled, rolling across the dock.

Florian pushed on the man’s face, feeling day-old stubble. The man pushed back and grabbed a clump of Florian’s hair.

Needles of pain spread across Florian’s scalp—the man was pulling his hair.

“Florian!” someone cried.

Greta.

“Florian!” Greta cried again.

And then Florian felt someone on top of his back.

And then he saw a hand.

Slapping the man on the face.

Again.

And again.

“Leave him alone!” Greta cried.

The man let go of Florian’s hair.

Florian pulled away when—

POW!

Stars danced across his field of vision and he fell to the ground, clutching his chest.

A punch.

He had been punched.

He tried to breathe but his stomach knotted up and his vision narrowed.

He saw his mother wrestling with the man, yelling at him.

Tatiana stood a few feet away, her hands over her mouth.

“Leave…her…alone,” Florian gasped.

And then—

CRACK!

His mother stopped.

The man stopped.

Tatiana gasped.

Smoke. Thick smoke. In the air.

His ears rang.

Florian tried to stand but he stumbled backward.

The world flipped up from underneath him and he was falling.

Falling.

The dock sailed away from him, up, up, up into the sky.

And then he hit the sea, water flooded his lungs, and he sank down, down, down into the clear blue water.

***

He woke, and sprung up, gasping.

His lungs burned and he clutched his chest.

A man put his hands on Florian’s shoulder. His clothes were drenched and his hair was wet.

“Kid, you okay?” the man asked. “You almost drowned but I got you. You’re gonna be okay.”

Florian breathed in and sputtered. Wiping his eyes, he glanced down the dock.

Someone was crying.

Through a gathered crowd, he spotted Tatiana.

He could only see her legs, and bits of her dress.

“Tati,” Florian breathed. “Tati…”

She was crying. She was holding someone in her arms.

And then Florian saw her.

His mother, in Tatiana’s arms.

“No!” Florian cried.

He scrambled across the dock. His rescuer tried to stop him but Florian pushed him away.

Florian shoved two people aside and stopped at the sight of his mother.

Blood welled across Greta’s dress. Her eyes were distant and cold.

Tatiana looked up at Florian and shook her head, crying.

Florian balled his fists.

He looked around for the criminal.

But he was gone.

His legs were suddenly heavy.

He couldn’t move.

He sank to his knees and buried his face in his mother’s chest. He didn’t care about the warm blood on his face.

“Mama,” he said. “Mama, say something!”

But Greta did not respond.

Florian curled into a ball and screamed.

***

Orbital Decay is Florian’s descent into darkness. Click here to grab your copy. Or, grab the entire Galaxy Mavericks series in one click!

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