The Pepper, Pt 1

Tak wandered. It was an aimless wandering. He had never felt comfortable staying in one place for too long. Or so he told himself. That he had no home and no coin made the choice to wander that much easier.

Two weeks ago he had been in a proper city that was just large enough to have an abundance of food shops, and just small enough to not be prepared for someone to go through tossed out scraps. Either nobody noticed Tak filling his belly, or nobody cared. Tak was staring to wonder if he had found a home.

A week ago a representative of the city had come at him with a club and the recommendation to leave town. Tak said he would, but the club kept coming. It was to be a long lasting reminder, the heavy had insisted.

When Tak lashed out with his knife he didn’t intend for the blade to go so deep. He only wanted to scratch the big man. Scare him. But the knife went in deep and the blood cane fast. The big man had almost no time to be scared, but the fear he felt looked great indeed.

Tak ran. A man with a club was the city’s answer to his stealing stale bread and half moldy fruits. He would not stay and find out their answer to murder.

He ran, and when he came to the mountain he began to climb. He climbed high enough that he could not stop shivering and the air was thin.

He was hungry. He should have taken more bread after the man with the club, but he had not and now he was hungry. And cold.

But still he walked and climbed. Even as his head swam, Tak continued. He didn’t know what else to do.

When he first saw the plant, he almost dismissed. Just another little shrub.

But then he stopped, this one bore fruit. It was fruit he didn’t recognize, but it was there for the taking. Bright red. Almost round, but with a hooked nose. If a size that two of them could fit in his open palm.

He took a bite. Sudden bitterness that quickly gave way to a crisp sweetness. And then came the heat. Heat that made Tak’s eyes water. He was sure that if it weren’t for the cold he would have started sweating. It burned. But he wanted more.

And then the heat gave way to understanding. This was his future. If he could make it back down the mountain.

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