Chapter 3:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 158

 

Chapter Three

Doorstep

“Riley Mae, I don’t know how I let you talk me into this...”  I growled.

Riley laughed and watched as a particularly amused fox and an even happier looking boy prepared to dump water on me.  “Now what exactly is the point of this again?”

Riley rolled her eyes.  “We’re trying to make you less conspicuous,” she said, grinning her little dog grin.  “Brace yourself!”

“Ok,” I squinted one eye, the one nearest the water bucket.  “I’m gunna need a whole lot of serious therapy when this is over with...”

“One, two, three...!”  Yelled the trio in unison as a clear, cold curtain of water fell all over my nice furry coat.

“Ahhh!!”  I yelled.  Riley and the boy threw each other a look and broke out in more laughter.  “What?”

“No, no, it’s nothing,” The boy, named Lane, said.  “You scream like a...”

“Girl?”  I supplied, dripping wet and flinching from the cold.

“...ah, I was gunna say...cat.  But that works too,” he said, smiling.  It was just like Lane to say that.  After all, his true form was a rather humongous looking Siberian husky, and even though the Half Ones are supposed to be above animal prejudices, he still felt the need to assure me that dogs were a much better species.

“Remind me to kill you two when this is over,” I huffed.  I was clearly not amused.  “Hey Michigan, you ever get annoyed at all these dogs hanging around?”  I said, shaking off.

“All the time,” the fox said as she grabbed the pale of mud, by the handle, with her mouth.  “Now stop doing that.  We haven’t even gotten to the worst part yet.”

This time it came without warning, a disgusting brown sludge that smelled like a mixture of forest floor and gutter runoff.  I sneezed and wrinkled my nose in disgust.  The Alpha had ordered that I look as ‘inconspicuous’ as possible when I arrived at the Hunter’s house, and these three had taken the word ‘inconspicuous’ to mean ‘filthy stray’.

“Ugh!  I look like a filthy stray!”

“Perfect,” Riley said.

“Positively filthy,” Michigan said.

“Wait!  She’s missing one thing,” Lane said, picking up the spray nozzle of the water hose.

“No, oh no no no Lane you had better not-” I said, taking a step back.

“Well, you can’t look that dirty or she won’t even be able to tell what you are,” he said, grinning from ear to ear.

“Rrreow!”  I screeched.  I started to run away, but a blast of white water followed me and hurled me into the ground.

“Much better,” he said, looking me over.  Now you can pass for a stray.”

“I hate this,” I growled.  “Lane Lacoste, I am going to do such illegal things to you when I-”

“Is she ready yet?”  Morning Star asked, making his way on the wet grass in the back of the lawn.  It had just rained, which was the whole point of my muddy attire.

“Define ready,” I mumbled.

“Ignore her,” Riley said.  “She’s just sassy because she got her fur all wet.”

“Perfect,” he said.  “Good job you three.”  Victoria, it’s time to go.”

I shivered, remembering the last time he had said something like that.

“You will have to go.”

I stammered.  “Well, I-see, I’m not-I mean, there’s no way that I could-”

Morning Star cut me off.  “You are the only one, Victoria.  No one else can carry out this task.  We need you, so we can keep everyone safe.”

“But I’m not even a scout!”  I said.

“These are special circumstances.  This is not about status; it is about us all doing what we have to do to stay safe.  You do want to protect us, right?”

“I...well, I...”  I looked around at all the expecting faces.  “Yes,” I sighed.  “I do, I just don’t know if I’m cut out to be a human’s pet.”

“You can,” Riley said from beside me.  “He’s right, Victoria.”

I looked around again.  All the fuzzy faces were waiting for my reply.  And what was I supposed to do, say no?

This is so unfair...I thought.  “Alright, I’ll do it...”

“Yeah!” everyone boomed.

“I knew I could count on you, sister,” the Wolf said to me.

“But I am so different from all of you,” I whispered.  We both knew it was true.  There were many canines around, and small creatures and birds and even horses.  But the cats were few and far between anymore.  For fifty years there was an absence of them amid the Half Ones; everyone believed that they had gone extinct before I was born.

Humans came to despise us and hunt us, chiefly the cats. By the barrel full they butchered us, shooting us, stabbing us, and even drowning us, until we were forced into hiding.  Some say it was jealousy.  Others say it was just what was to become as their civilizations and technologies grew, inevitable.  After all, they watched our brethren being slaughtered in the coliseums, laid waste to entire cities in nuclear battles, even slaughtered their own savior.

That is why the Half Ones hid.  We stuck together, moving from place to place, because we were far stronger in numbers.

“But you are a special kind of different,” the Alpha had said.  “And that is why you must.”

 

So there I was, riding in the back of Sky Bird’s old Chevy truck, with a big white Wolf beside me and the Alpha’s second in command, in human form, driving.  The hunter’s house was twenty minutes by wing, which was about fifteen minutes by drive give or take.  We were almost there too...butterflies began to build in my stomach.

Sensing my nerves, Morning Star spoke from the side of me.  “Don’t be scared, Victoria.  This plan will work.  I’m certain of it.”

I nodded as we pulled up to the side of the road not too far away from the house, but out of sight of it, as Sky Bird Assured.  “Wait here,” the wolf commanded him.  “I will go and see her safely inside.”

We crossed the street and turned two blocks of perfectly manicured village lawns.  It was unsettling to see everything so...picture perfect.  That’s why I hated the Lafayette Village.  I didn’t feel welcome with the pound on patrol every day without break or fail.

“I’ll watch you from right here,” Morning Star said, peeking his head around the wooden fence.  I made my way to the first floor window and peered in nervously until I saw a little girl sitting on the floor, playing with two miniature Barbie dolls.  The mother and father were nearby but not in her direct vicinity; with my acute hearing I could pick up the clinging of pots and pans, and the writing of a pen and the typing of keys.  Must be the father...I thought.  Ok, time to give this a shot...

I mustered up the nerve, and, looking back at Morning Star one last time, I let out the loudest meow I could.

“Rrrrreooow!”

I looked through the window again.  The girl had stopped playing with her dolls and was staring at the door.  I tried again, only a little softer.

“Rrrreooow!”

I heard a child’s footsteps and stretched out on the doorstep (I was supposed to look like I was in pain or something). I closed one eye and tried to curl up a little more underneath the tin roof to avoid the rain.  Then, I braced myself as the door swung open.

Staring down at me was the small little girl.  She had freckles on her tiny, pale face and snowy white hair with blonde undertones, nearly the same color as Riley’s.  She was still holding her dolls in her hands.  We just stayed like that for a minute, staring at each other, until I dropped my head and closed my eyes (though I was still peaking out of one).

“Oh, no!”  She cried, looking at me.  “Hold on just a minute,” she whispered, looking back in the direction of the kitchen.  She left the door ajar, and I heard the little click click of her shoes on the staircase.  Seconds later she was back down the stairway holding a little white towel.  She poked me with her foot and waited a second, poked me again, picked me up, and wrapped me in it.

“It’s ok, I’ve gotcha now,” she said, and she started up the stairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: March 14, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Lywren Bellisario. All rights reserved.

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