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It was quite odd, once you think about it. We were sitting in the street, not having a clue on what to do. We were just sitting there, Pete, Dim, and myself. We were absently pitching one-penny pieces and throwing out random ideas and having them half-heartedly rejected by everyone else. We come from middle-class families and lived in a respectable neighborhood. It was a pretty suburban, but so boring that we would often just idle our time away on our porches or in front of the telly.

"Hi hi hi there! Who are you?" spoke a sweet voice. We turned and there was a little boy, about twelve or thereabouts, dressed in a dark purple overcoat much too large for him and wearing white underneath. For some reason one eye had darker and impossibly long eyelashes, make up or so? He was leaning up and just barely peeking at them over the porch rail with big blue eyes.

I blinked at the bold request from the child, feeling the urge to just shoo him on. "I'm Dim, this is Pete and George." Dim spoke up suddenly, pointing at us respectively. I glared at him.

"What do you think you're doing, Dim?" I hissed in a whisper.

"He's a little kid, perverts or something might get to him." Dim replied, looking a bit nervous. I huff, but conceded that Dim had a point.

"Really? Me name's Alex DeLarge." The newly proclaimed Alex said, still peeking over the porch rail.

"Why don't you come up here, Alex?" Pete said as he patted the space next to him. The small boy smiled sweetly and sat in the indicated spot. I noticed that he was wearing black tennis shoes that looked worse for wear.

"So, where are you from, Alex?" I asked, wondering if me mother had missed some gossip about new neighbors.

"Municipal Flat Block, brothers." He replied, looking unbothered. I started, as well as Dim and Pete. We didn't know the apartment itself, but we could tell by its name that it was from the lower class part of the city. What was a street urchin doing here, beyond his class?

"You shouldn't be here." Dim said, blurting out what Pete and myself were trying to say.

The boy looked up and made us twitch with his sweet blue eyes, "Why not, brothers? Surely thou hast reason to send me away."

Dim cleared his throat, but I beat him to the punch, "Because, brother, there's something called classes. We're in a higher class neighborhood than you live in, so you're in the wrong place."

Alex frowned, "Would it be better, brothers, if thou came to me own abode?"

I started, having, for some inexplicable reason, expected him to understand. "No, Alex, we can't do that. See, then we'd be in the wrong class."

The boy suddenly smiled his sweet little smile and jumped to his feet, "Well, brothers, if thou hast no yarbles to survive me neighborhood, it's for the best."

"What do you mean, no yarbles? We've plenty of yarbles!" Dim shouted heatedly, making me wonder what the hell yarbles were.

Alex twittered, "Thou hast proven thyself yarble-less, brother, now me mum's expecting me back soon." And with that, he flounced off and skipped down the street.

"Dim, no!" I hissed, but it was impossible to control someone like Dim and he took off after the boy. Pete and I glanced at each other before following.

I'm not sure what happened after that. We followed Alex to his home, and were shocked by his environment. Every time we tried to leave him after that, he seemed to challenge us, with Dim always taking the bait.

I don't know when he took complete control, he just did. Maybe it was when Dim finally challenged Alex himself in anger and Alex fought him. That was when big and strong Dim fell to the hands of pretty, young Alex. Alex took no mercy on Dim and beat him so badly that he had to go to the Emergency room.

That was when Dim, all of us, realized that Alex had drawn us in . . . and wouldn't let us out. After that, Alex introduced us to the Karova Milk Bar and we took our first devtchka. Before that, we did little theft and the like, but now we did his violence, too frightened to leave.

Alex controls us and won't let us go, everyone can see that. Dim, every once in a while, will challenge Alex, but that's faded away, for each time he does, Alex and he have a nozh scrap and Dim is sent to the Emergency Room.

If I knew what would happen, I would've shooed away a sweet looking boy of twelve three years ago.

If only, if only.