But her worries turned out to be justified. That same night, Azure snuck out of the house on the hill. He wandered down the road, marvelling at everything. It was all so strange and new to him, having never been this far from the house before. The street was dark, streetlights throwing only a tiny bit of white onto an otherwise black pavement. The houses followed the boy with the wide staring eyes of skulls.
Wonderingly, he walked down the street, towards the town, straying further and further away from the familiarity and safety of home. He did not know the town, was still naïve to the horrors of the real world. This colourless world was not a criminal-free place, and this town had its fair share of drunkards and crooks. It was into this world that Azure drifted into as he ambled down a dimly lit alley.
"It's a bit late for one so young to be out."
A voice whispering in the shadows. A withered hand reaching out to grasp the pale wrist. Azure screamed and jumped away, managing to dislodge the hand. But being the inquisitive soul that he was, he couldn't just run away. He stepped back, peering into the darkness. A stooped figure could be seen in the gloom.
"What are you doing here, boy? Don't you know who I am?"
Azure found himself unable to speak.
"Well? Have you lost your tongue, or somethin'?"
The figure suddenly lurched towards the terrified boy, grabbing his wrists in a vice-like grip. Azure turned his face away, ashamed that he was trembling. A hand reached out to grip his chin, forcing his head back.
"Open those eyes, sonny. Look at me!"
Slowly, Azure unsealed his eyelids, and looked up into the gnarled face above him. At once, the grip on him loosened. The man let out a small gasp.
"It's true. You are the one the prophecy spoke of. Well I never, that's something I never thought I'd see."
Once the man had gotten over his initial shock, he grabbed Azure once again, bringing his face right up close to the boy's own frightened features.
"You are worth a lot, my pretty. Your eyes could buy me everything I have dreamed of."
Azure finally found his voice.
"Get off me! Let me go! I'll...I'll tell my mum on you!"
"Oh will you now? Where's your precious mother now? I don't see her. You're mine now!"
Azure struggled to get away as he was dragged further away from any hope of rescue. He had no idea what was going on, or what to do. His mother's lessons had not prepared him for this. He should have listened to her. It was too late now.