The Outsider

He didn’t have a name, not a real one. The townspeople knew him as the Outsider, but no one could remember when they first started calling him that. If asked, they’d say he’d always been there, but that wasn’t quite true. The boy barely pressed ten years of age and had only first arrived in the poor slums of Dunwall a little over two years ago.

“Smelly,” the people whispered when passing the tall, thin boy sitting against a wall and watching the busy weekend crowd bustle about in search of necessary groceries from the main-street’s vendors.

People wouldn’t have noticed him at all without the smell. His pale skin blended with the light-colored bricks of the city’s buildings and his dark clothes hid him in the shadows- a perfect cover for an antisocial little boy.

“It’s just the whales,” a mother would reassure, no one stopping to pay a second glance at the dark-haired boy following behind them.

The Outsider saw his apparent invisibility as a blessing. With no home and no family, he was desperate for a meal, willing to do whatever it took to feed himself and stay alive. Even so, he only took from the merchants; only ever those who had food to spare but were too uncaring to ever do so themselves.

Some people saw him, of course, but most chose to ignore the black eyes right in front of them.

“Like magic!” A vendor explained his situation to the City Watch with arms thrown into the air.

“You’re sayin two boxes of Morley apples disappeared with you standin right there and watchin?” A guard asked, eyebrow raised and hands firm against his hips as he studied the merchant.

“L- look, I know it sounds crazy, but that’s really what happened! One second my apples were there and the next- BAM! They were gone.”

Downcast eyes shut as the man shook his head, anxious fingers running through tousled hair.

“I ain’t ever seen nothin like it,” he sighed breathlessly.

The man was noticeably frightened and perhaps the Watch should have taken his emotions into account before walking away without a care, but the Watch never had been compassionate and a case of missing apples wasn’t the most intriguing happening around Dunwall, especially in the outskirts.

However, as time came and days passed, more and more cases occurred. Missing food, a mysterious man lurking in the shadows, and loud, pained cries in the night were all consistently reported for five years before anyone did anything about the occurrences. Talk got around and people needed someone to blame, someone to destroy so they could feel safe outside their own homes, without their doors locked and shutters drawn.

“The Outsider!” One declared during a particularly cold night while marching through the allies and streets, banging and clanging two pots from his kitchen to awaken the others. “He’s done it again!”

“Done what?” A woman whined as she came out her side door and stood on the balcony to observe.

“Robbed my house! Trashed my lawn! Haunted my dreams!” The man explained despite several protests from his awakened neighbors.

“The same thing happened to me not even five hours ago!”

Another man ran down the street to join the original and several more came with him, all talking at once, desperately trying to be heard by people capable of understanding. The townspeople had been hiding for years; everyone convinced the others would throw them in the crazy house should they come clean about what they’d seen and what had happened.

“My daughter said an evil man with black eyes has been haunting her dreams, too!” One woman cried above the rest.

“I caught someone sneaking out of my kitchen just the other day, and not only that but he had a whole swarm of rats with him! Hundreds, I tell ya! Hundreds of rats came running across my floor and out the door after that boy!”

“A menace!”

“A monster!”

“A demon!”

A boy no older than ten pushed his way through the crowd of angry adults to offer his own opinion. His voice was weak and anxious, yet everyone quieted to hear his words.

“He lives in a cave on the far end of the beach,” the boy said. “He feeds the fish and lives with the rats. I followed him there. He talks to the whales. They like him.”

He said this with such casualness, as if the anxieties and uneasiness of the crowd had no effect whatsoever, as if everyone was perfectly calm and meetings like this were normal.

“Let’s get him!” An angry male from the back of the crowd declared, followed by several cheers and hollers of agreement.

The crowd dispersed all at once with everyone heading in the same direction. They had no weapons and no one seemed to see it as a problem. The little boy from before followed after the crowd, knowing he’d be pushed and bumped should he try to walk between them.

The ocean wasn’t too far from the main city and the apparent cave only a quarter mile past the part of the beach used for recreational and tourist purposes. With the anger fueling their steps, the mob arrived in no time.

“Shh! Do you hear that?” Someone whispered.

“Is… Is he singing?”

“Sounds like it… A creepy song, too. That’s not even English, is it?”

“Who cares? Now shut up before he hears us,” the lady at the front chided, slowly making her way across the small pool of water that led to the other side of the beach where the cave opened.

As the crowd moved forward an ominous feeling settled over them. No one would say it out loud, but all of them felt the same way: we shouldn’t be here. No one felt threatened and no one felt endangered hence why they didn’t turn tail and run home, but all would agree they weren’t welcome. They felt as if the Outsider was hosting a party and only those with specific invitations were able to enter.

Trespassers. Party-crashers. Unwelcome guests. That’s all they were to the Outsider. Their lives were so far below his notice that he would do nothing to stop their entrance. Let the guests take care of the pests. The Outsider didn’t interfere in daily affairs unless necessary. No, he much preferred to stay on the sidelines and observe.

No party occurred outside the metaphor. The mob wasn’t trespassing the Outsider’s party; the Outsider was trespassing their lives. He came, stole, tormented, and invaded without permission. Enough was enough, the crowd decided, and by the time they reached the cave and saw the sickly-thin fifteen-year-old boy sitting at the water’s edge the thirst for blood had never been higher.

Most stood back as several others ran forward and shoved the Outsider back on the rocks. His pained scream was easily heard for miles and the nearby fish came out to observe, a whale in the distance daringly making its way closer to the surface despite the threat of whale-hunters nearby.

“You black-eyed bastard!” A hateful father shouted with a kick to the boy’s head.

“Who do you think you are, stealing from our vendors and terrifying our children?”

More angry, accusing words were thrown at the Outsider with no time left for his defense. Kicks, shoves, and occasional hits were thrown at the boy, but the situation didn’t grow dark until the first rock was thrown. Soon, the others had the same idea and the Outsider was tackled to the ground with a mob of angry parents, merchants, and townspeople kicking, punching, and beating him with sharp rocks.

By the time everyone dispersed, his body was colored black and purple, blood seeped from all parts of his body, and his clothes were completely torn to shreds. His face was expressionless and his dull, black eyes remained open, dead gaze locked on the ocean and the whale coming forward.

With the whale came the same little boy from before.

“Mr. Outsider?” he called, crouching next to the dying teenager.

Obviously, he received no response. The Outsider’s time was over and the little boy cried over his slowly dying body for hours while the whale and fish observed, a sad song coming from the whale while the fish splashed around. The boy lifted his head from the Outsider’s bloody chest and watching the sea creatures with sad curiosity.

Suddenly, a hot stream of vapor erupted from the whale’s blowhole and fell upon the Outsider and weeping boy.

“Hey!” The boy glared, wiping the water off his eyes before turning to face the Outsider who was equally drenched.

The world seemed to stop as his eyes fell on the pale face of the nearly-dead teen. The Outsider shakily inhaled and exhaled as the water vapor started glowing a faint purple and the wounds adorning his body began to disappear.

The Outsider stood, gaze fixed on the ocean and the whale observing nearby. Slowly and silently, he walked across the sand and into the water. The ocean was freezing, but the Outsider seemed unaffected as the fish splashed at his feet and he followed the whale.

The boy could only gape as he watched the Outsider touch the whale’s nose with his left hand and disappear into the sky, into the timeless Void.

Author’s Note: For anyone who has played Dishonored, I’m aware this story is not entirely accurate with what the creator claims happened to the Outsider. However, I don’t really care and my take isn’t too far off anyway.

 

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