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Originally posted to [livejournal.com profile] ff_friday

title: Not Quite Right
author: [livejournal.com profile] jebbypal
rating: mature -- violence to living things implied.
words: 464
Spoilers: Objects in Space

Unbeta-ed, all mistakes are my own.


He heard the whispers. He knew what they thought. "Sick in the head. A tad strange. Something is off with that boy." Endless variations and versions, but all the same – there's just something not quite right about Jubal Early.

That was fine with him. Even then, he never let anyone's thoughts affect him. He's not that weak. He didn't mind being left alone, preferred it in fact. Children his age were boring and ever so predictable. Jubal doubted they'd enjoy his games.

It started simple enough. Driving away the noisy bird that woke him every morning, only to discover a nest full of raucous babies that it left behind. Silencing them only lasted a second though. More importantly, there wasn't any challenge. It was better with the cats when they fought back, more satisfying even if the scratches were difficult to explain.

He had to become very good at it though. If anyone noticed or suspected, Jubal had no doubts about the end result. Of course, that just made it more fun. He started to plan it. He'd watch different children go about their business and make sure that a pattern of a loose gate was discovered. Anything really so that the disappearance of the beloved pet would be easily explained.

When the availability of targets began to dwindle, he started setting traps around the park. The wild ones were much more difficult, surprisingly so.

But what was the point? After the initial burst of satisfaction, the emptiness crept back in. And there were always the questions: "What are you going to do with your life?" "When are you going to start thinking about the future?" Jobs in the real world seemed unequivocally dull. Sitting behind a desk or following orders all his life was not Jubal's idea of success.

Then he saw it – "Wanted: Dead or Alive". A squad of Independents had the gall to hit a food transport and were believed to be holed up on one of the nearby moons. There was money to be had as a bounty hunter, plus, he'd already trained for it.

He started to test the idea by using his skills to lure a few pets away from families new to the neighborhood. He kept them happy for a few days in a nearby shed. It was hard though, his own mutt was curious about the sounds from inside. A couple died when he tied their mouths shut so that their whines wouldn't attract attention. But he managed to return the majority for the reward.

He got the satisfaction of the chase and the payoff of the return. This could work. He could be a bounty hunter. There wasn't anything wrong with him at all; it just took him a little while to realize his calling.

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August 2017

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