Dichotomy of a Fallen Race Ch3

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 is here, hopefully you all enjoy it as much as the first 2. As always thank you for reading and any and all comments are much appreciated!

“Follow him,” this simple command echoes ominously through Yumi’s mind. Knowing full well this is an order she can’t disobey, Yumi silently leaps from rooftop to rooftop observing Haru as he walks home in the rain. The heavy rain makes it hard for anyone to see or hear her, but it also makes observing Haru that much harder. Yumi blinks twice in rapid succession and her vision changes dramatically. Everything she sees now has a blood red hue, but she can see more clearly through the rain. She looks down at Haru, his silhouette radiates with a dense aura, almost too bright to look at directly. Through the silhouette Yumi can see his pulsing veins, the pace of his heartbeat and her heightened senses even allow her to smell the confusion and fear emanating from Haru from her perch high above street level. “I was told to test him, let’s see what else he is capable of” Yumi whispers to herself as she races across roof tiles. Yumi clasps her hands together, intertwines her fingers, press the tips of her thumbs together and presses down separating her hands. “Ensnare!” she silently orders to herself.

 

An invisible ring forms under Haru’s feet as he walks, the ensnarement spell begins to gain speed, swirling faster and faster and raising to a height just above Haru’s head. The spell solidifies and retracts attempting to press itself against Haru’s every limb. Haru is completely oblivious, he has not sensed or seen anything of what’s about to happen, he merely continues walking at his regular pace. Yumi is standing a few rooftops back to observe what happens next. Suddenly, Haru sneezes from the cold and the rain. The ensnarement spell is sent scattering in hundreds of directions at impossible speeds. The concrete under Haru’s feet crack and splinter several meters in all directions.

Yumi stands there, bottom jaw agape in disbelief. “He… just…. sneezed…. and my ensnarement spell was countered. What just happened? Only those who can perform the highest levels of magic could make it look that easy. You’ve got to be kidding me.” Yumi continues to stand there as Haru continues walking as if nothing had happened. Haru being too lost in his own thoughts was not even aware of the feats he just performed. With her earlier attempts at measurement completely backfiring on her and now this, Yumi is at a loss as to what she should do next. The rain continues to pour, soaking Yumi to the bone through every piece of clothing she wore. After several long moments of sheer disbelief, Yumi finally returns to her usual stoic poise and considers her options from here.

“I’ll head back for now, report on the events of the day and let them sort it out.” She thinks to herself. Yumi deftly traverses rooftop to rooftop at unbelievable speeds, her job for today is done, onto her next task.

 

After what feels like an eternity, I finally make it back home. Knock off all the extra rain from my umbrella and lean it up against the outside wall to dry. The rain has not stopped the entire time, if anything its worse now. I unlock my apartment, kick off my rain-soaked shoes and head to the kitchen for something warm to drink. As I brew some tea to warm myself, I reach in my pocket and grab my phone. If I don’t text Aiko soon, she’ll be pissed, I quickly type out an I’m home message and send it her way. Knowing her, I’ve got about 20 maybe 25 minutes before she breaks down my front door. She only cares when I get home when she wants to yell at me about something. While the tea brews I head upstairs to get into a warmer change of clothes.

I come back downstairs a little dryer and, in a hoodie, it’s the same one that’s always hanging over my office chair. Its white and got some band I’ve never heard of on it, but its warm and it was a gift from Aiko years ago, so it’s become my knockaround hoodie. Outside I can hear them, quietly at first but quickly getting louder as they approach. Aiko’s frustrated footsteps are getting closer, guess I took longer upstairs than I thought, or she’s in a hurry to yell at me today. As I pour myself the freshly brewed tea, Aiko busts through the front door. I swear she broke at least one of the hinges with this one. I could feel the vibration of the front door swinging into the wall and I swear I heard metal snap. “Ughhhhhhh, how many times am I going to have to fix this door.” I say to myself exasperated.

Before I have a chance to say come in, Aiko is already in the living room.

“Tea’s ready, want some?”

Aiko nods without saying a word back, I pour us both a cup and head over to the couch where she’s already planted herself. She’s been home long enough that she already changed out of her school uniform and into her casual attire. An over sized hoodie that almost reaches her knees and barefoot, if she has an opportunity to go barefoot, she does, even when she really shouldn’t. The hoodie she’s wearing is actually mine, which is why it doesn’t fit her. She stole from my room after school one day and refuses to give it back. I’ve tried on several occasions to steal it back, but its futile, she just steals it back the next day.

I put the tea on the table and sit down on the adjacent couch, ready for the inquisition about this morning. Or some other equally dumb thing I did that I’m at fault for. Aiko swings her feet around to face the table and picks up her tea and takes a small sip.

“Thanks” she says almost timidly.

“My GOD! What happened to your hand!!” Aiko explodes, nearly dropping her cup in the process. She races across the room to examine my wrapped hand, I had nearly forgotten all about it. The look of concern on her face was evident, maybe even mixed with some guilt. I don’t see Aiko lose control of her emotions often so its hard to tell exactly what she’s thinking in a time like this.

“I’m okay Aiko” I say as calmly as I could muster. “I don’t really know what’s going on or really where to begin but I need you to just listen to what I’m about to say. You can ask all the questions you want afterwards but please, let me talk.” The concern on her face grows deeper, I know she’s worried about me, but I must talk. I have to tell someone about everything that just happened to me or I’m going to drive myself insane thinking about it.

Aiko sits back down on the couch, but this time its right next to me. Her thigh is resting against mine she’s so close, making me a little nervous. I lean my head down, take a deep breath, and tell her everything. Aiko sits there unmoving, seemingly unblinking as I retell her what happened with Yumi, the sensations that still prickle every inch of my skin when I think about it. How she got up and left unharmed, the frantic race to the bathroom and how I managed to cut my hand. Patching myself up at the nurse’s station and the long walk home debating how to even talk about all this in the first place. Aiko listens intently to ever word, every muscle in her body is straining, I know she wants to say something but she’s doing her absolute best to restrain herself for my sake. When I finally finish my story, Aiko takes a deep breathe before she speaks. I can only imagine what is about to come my way. But what happened next surprised even me. Her face becomes super serious, and she says one line with an alarming amount of calm that it throws me off.

“Give me your hand.” She says as she holds out her own.

I slowly reach out my hand in confusion and curiosity. Out of everything, why is that the first thing she focuses on? Before I have much time to figure out why, Aiko firmly grabs my wrist and frantically starts unwrapping my bandage.

“Whoa, whoa, hey, what, what are you doing?!”

“Just shut up and stop squirming, I have to see.”

“See what?!”

Aiko doesn’t respond after that, she’s become too engrossed with her task. She reaches the last loop of the bandage wrap and tears away the bloodied cotton pad. My eyes shoot wide open, I try to speak but I’m shocked with surprise. The wound is GONE! And I mean gone. The only evidence that’s left that the cut was ever there in the first place is the dried blood at the edge of my palm. I can’t I just can’t, this day is pulling my sanity so thin I feel like I’m about to snap. Where’s the cut? There’s no possible way that its healed already. My head begins to spin, I feel my vision start to shrink, growing black around the edges as I fight the ever-increasing urge to pass out. I change my gaze from my palm to Aiko, she’s been holding and examining my hand this whole time. She hasn’t said a word yet, she can probably read the confusion and fear that’s written all over my face. The dried blood on the bandage and in my palm prove that there was a wound before, but it disappeared. Aiko is looking right at me, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to say. My ability to talk has been taken away from me, my brain is shutting down from information overload. I close my eyes and will myself not to pass out.

“Haru…. Haru…. Haru look at me!”

Her voice cuts through the fog that clouds my thoughts. I open my eyes and Aiko is inches from my face, her brilliant brown eyes are so close they consume most of my vision. Once I open my eyes she leans back down into a sitting position. Aiko takes a deep breath inward and lets out a long-exasperated sigh. She seems to be collecting her thoughts before speaking.

“Sigh…Haru, you’re not crazy. I believe everything you just told me really happened. And I know what I’m about to do might seem just as crazy but promise me you won’t run away or scream.”

I can’t follow what she’s getting at but I’m still incapable of speaking so I just slowly nod my head. Once Aiko realizes she has my attention she stands up, pulls back her hood and closes her eyes. I sit there watching her, waiting for her to speak, but she doesn’t. Instead, she…she…transforms? I can’t explain what I saw well enough. All of a sudden, her ears grew in length and formed into a sharp point at the top. Her forearms and hands begin to swell to unnatural sizes. Her hands form into claws and a brilliant silver and black fur begins to grow over all the changing parts of her body. I sit there mesmerized by what I’m seeing, my eyes trace from the tips of her ears to her, to her paws? Claws? They aren’t hands anymore that’s all I know for sure. I look down to her legs, her legs have formed into some kind of dog or wolf shape, long sharp nails grow out of each of her paws and that same brilliant fur covers her legs from her feet to just above her knees. I can’t stop myself, I look to her waist, praying I’m hallucinating what I’m witnessing. But its there, clear as day. SHE HAS A TAIL!!!!

My body and mind can’t take anymore. The fading darkness I’ve been fighting since I saw my hand is returning. I feel myself fall, I succumb to the darkness and pass out. I can vaguely hear Aiko’s voice calling out to me but its too late. My world goes black, and I’m gone.

 

I grudgingly try open my eyes, my vision is blurry, my head aches and I have no idea where I am. Rolling my head back and forth I try to get a look at my surroundings, I think I’m back in my own bed. What happened? Did Aiko carry me here? Did I crawl back here on my own? I try to sit up and my entire screams in protests, I feel as if I got run over by a truck. Every muscle aches and my movements are sluggish. Eventually I manage to work my way into a seated position. Check the clock, “no way,” I rub my eyes in an attempt to change what I’m seeing. Its almost noon, I’ve been out for over 12 hours. I look down and I realize I’m still wearing the same clothes from yesterday. Yesterday, it all comes swirling back like a tsunami returning the ocean it borrowed just to send it back as a destructive wave. Was any of it real? There’s just no way of knowing at this point. It’s about time to find some answers though, I need to talk to Aiko.

Through sheer force of will, I manage to stand out of bed and head downstairs. My phone isn’t on my desk, so it must be downstairs, I need to call Aiko. Images of Aiko flash through my mind, her usually cheerful smile replaced by the fangs of a snarling feral animal. I try shaking my head as if that’s going to clear the images burned into my mind. As I make my way downstairs, I smell something good, someone is cooking, and it makes my empty stomach churn in painful hunger. I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday. When I finally make it downstairs, I peek around the corner and into the kitchen. Aiko’s wearing a grass green apron, cooking what appears to be some sort of hot pot.

“Aiko” I call out to her before I even realize I spoke.

Aiko looks up from the veggies she’s cutting and shoots me a warm smile, that reassuring gesture almost makes everything feel normal again.

“Good morning you lazy bum. Any later and I would’ve come up there and thrown you off your bed.”

“You know, a little compassion here and there would be appreciated too.”

“Hey, I made food, that counts. Now, sit down and shut up. It’s just about ready.”

I stumble my way over to the dining room table and collapse into the nearest chair. The chair and my body both groan from the impact. Aiko brings me a bowl of soup and a large helping of rice. She sets my food down in front of me before she returns to the kitchen to fetch her own. I’m so hungry I start shoveling food into my mouth as fast as I can.

THWACK!

Aiko slaps me in the back of the head before she sits down with her own food.

“Ouch! What was that for?”

“You can at least thank me before you start stuffing your face like an animal.”

“But you got all the ingredients from my fridge.” I say through a mouth-full of food.

PLINK!

Aiko leans across the table to flick me in the forehead. I don’t get how she can put so much force into such a small action. But it hurts like hell regardless.

“That’s not the point, I cooked it, therefore you thank me, jackass.”

“Ow! Again…. All right I got it, thanks for the food.”

“You’re welcome, you big idiot.” Aiko rolls her eyes and lets out a slight giggle. I can’t help myself but to laugh, the normalcy of the conversation is soothing. Aiko pushes her chair back from the table slightly and clears her throat to catch my attention, I peel myself away from the food for just a moment to see what she wants to say.

“Now that you’re awake, and can talk again, we need to finish our conversation.”

“Finish what conversation?” I blurt out, mouth still half full.

“The one from yesterday dummy.” Aiko closes her eyes again and her ears take the form of a wolf again.

“Its time you learn some of the truths that we’ve been hiding from you. Haru…… this world isn’t all that you think it is. The truth is…I’m a Lycanthrope.”


Submitted: September 30, 2021

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