“A Bum’s Tale” – A Tale from Nimbus

“Tales from Nimbus” are meant to offer insights that help explore aspects of the world of Nimbus that the main narrative doesn’t get a chance to touch on.  

“A Bum’s Tale”

Gully crept across the faux-cobblestone driveway of one of the nicer estates on the skyport. While small when compared to the Spire, Cloud Nine still boasted some of the wealthiest homeowners on the planet, most of whom were high-ranking members of the Assembled Court—including the High Prelate himself. In addition, the skyport was also home to some of the foulest degenerates this side of the Skyline.

Gully fit into this latter category.

As he continued sneaking through the corridor that led to the apartment suite of some high-ranking official, Gully noticed that he could spot the homeowner’s pretty daughter undressing through one of the windows. Now, however, was not the time to enjoy himself. Gully understood that he was here on some pretty important business.

The Assembled Court’s peons had to pay. Tonight would be the first of many acts of rebellion, and when it was all through, the weak and the homeless of Cloud Nine would sing his praises, or even better, buy him a drink.

Gully stopped just outside the front door to the suite and glanced around, making sure that he was alone. When he was satisfied that no one was watching, he pulled down his tattered pants and squatted directly in front of the door. Hopefully the rich bastard who lived inside would open the door in the morning to find the present Gully had left for him.

It would be a nice big one, too. He had eaten a hefty meal that morning and everything.

When he was finished, he looked around for something to clean himself up with. It didn’t take him long to spot the flagstaff erected nearby. A flag bearing the crest of the Assembled Court waved in the light breeze, and Gully’s spirits lifted at just the prospect of defiling it.

Giggling to himself, Gully walked over to the flagstaff and immediately attempted to shimmy up it. He was no more than three feet above the ground when he heard someone coughing behind him. He turned around and grimaced at the sight beneath him.

Dressed in the armor of one of the pawns of the Assembled Court, a templar stood with his arms crossed and eyes narrowed, just glaring at Gully. “What are you doing, filthbag?” asked the templar with a snarl. “And why are you not wearing pants?”

Gully looked down at his legs. He must have forgotten to pull his pants up when he was finished delivering his present. “Ain’t none of your business, god-tard,” Gully said.

“What did you call me?” The templar pulled a thin, blunt instrument from his belt and waved it threateningly in the air. “Hop down from there. You’re coming with me, scumball. Maybe you can learn some manners while rotting in prison.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Gully said, smiling so that his rotting teeth could shine in the moonlight. He playfully swiped at the templar, holding onto the flagpole like a monkey from a branch. “Why don’t you climb up here after me?”

With one quick swipe, the templar whipped his weapon toward Gully and slapped him across the face with it. Gully had time to cough out a giggle before he fell with a thud to the ground. Rather than just lie there, he clawed at the templar’s feet and giggled more as he watched the templar hop to avoid it.

“Dance, buddy-boy!” Gully said. “Dance like the whore your mother was!”

“That’s quite enough of that,” the templar said. He brought the nightstick down against Gully’s skull again. Now, it was the templar’s turn to laugh. “Not so feisty now, are you?”

“Whaddyawant?” Gully choked out.

The templar grabbed Gully by the collar and started to drag him out onto the street. The skyport was busy tonight, but no one paid much attention to the templar and his prisoner. Slowly, the templar marched Gully through Tier Two of Cloud Nine.

“Where you taking me?” Gully asked.

“To see the High Prelate,” the templar said. “We’ll let him deal with you.”

Snickering, Gully said, “If I were you, I wouldn’t mention how I made you dance.” Gully flashed a devilish grin. “With that cripple son of his, it might be a sore subject.”

“You will not insult the High Prelate in front of me, filthbag,” said the templar. “Or his son.”

The templar’s grip on Gully’s collar slackened for just a moment as the armored man balled up his fist, and Gully knew it was now or never. With all the strength he could muster, he slammed his elbow into the templar’s gut, then before the templar had time to react, rammed his fist into the man’s throat.

The templar gagged and dropped to his knees.

Free from the templar’s grasp, Gully ran a few steps from the templar before turning around and saying, “Looks like Gully’ll get to live another day after all, you worthless god-tard!”

He wanted to say more, but the templar reached out to grab Gully again, but he was just out of reach. Not wanting to press his luck any further, Gully turned and ran down the nearest alleyway, still yelling taunts at the templar as he sped away and disappeared into the night.

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.

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