No need to stare. I already know I’m lovely. You might want to keep your distance, though. There’s a reason I’m named after a poisonous flower. My source was pure poison, the little beast. He created me from his memories of another, memories which might or might not be true. Memories of his Oleander. Come and relive those memories with me in ‘A Godling for Your Thoughts?’ Try not to shudder when you do. It will get ugly.
He sneaked a glance at Oleander. Once, the other boy had had blue black locks of hair, falling over a clear brow. Long lashes had fluttered over violet eyes, which narrowed in scorn at the sight of Thomas.
“Don’t call me pretty.” Oleander sneered at the fat boy with bat ears. “The last thing I want is a troll like you to think I’m pretty.”
Like Oleander could ever be pretty. Boys didn’t do pretty. His father had beaten this fact into him when he’d been stupid enough to mention Oleander.
“What kind of a mama’s boy did I raise?” He’d brought his belt down on Thomas’s behind. “Boys aren’t pretty!” The leather had slapped against his bare skin. “Say it!”
Thomas had squirmed. Pain had tingled through his bare skin, but not just pain. Oh, he was bad! An ugly little monster, like everyone said.
“Say it, you halfling freak!” Such a repulsive face, distorted with disgust. The sins of the father lived in the son. “Say it, until you mean it!”
“Boys aren’t pretty.” Thomas had managed to stammer between swollen lips.
His father had scowled at him. His round, ruddy face was nothing like Jupitre’s. Thomas didn’t care. Who’d want that father? He’d slapped the cruel facts into his skin. Boys who couldn’t fight back were beaten. Boys could never be pretty.
Boys broke and smashed things that were pretty.
“What are you staring at?” Oleander asked. Formerly full lips were rotting and hanging off of his teeth. Empty eyesockets stared back at Thomas. Oleander was dead, like everyone else here. “Do you still think I’m pretty?”