Chapter 6: Riley on a Mission

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

Reads: 109

 

A nervous pang entered my gut as I readied to enter my science class.  Like anybody else of my race, I absolutely hated being stared at; in fact, I hated any unwanted and unnecessary attention.  I was a smart kid, but even though I was what fit their standards of attractive, and even though I was largely popular, I preferred to keep to myself.  Unfortunately this didn’t prevent heads from turning when I entered and made my way to the front of the class.

“Late again, I see, Mrs. Morganov,” said Mr. Finch, my science teacher.  I rolled my eyes inwardly, but smiled my trademark, charming smile.

“So sorry.”  I grinned from ear to ear.  “Just…slept in late, you know?”

“Sure, sure,” he said, instantly forgetting about my tardiness.  I took a seat for the long, drawn out lesson.  Right now, we were learning the basics of Physics, and it didn’t particularly enthrall me.  I sighed and began tapping quietly on my desk with my fingers.

“Hey.”  From across me, a senior boy, the same age as me, winked and smiled.  “You should, like, give me your number.”

“In your dreams,” I muttered under my breath.  Instantly his smile vanished with the rejection.“I’m just kidding,” I said, realizing the harshness in my tone.  “But really, I don’t have a cell phone, so I can’t.”  I frowned apologetically, but not sincere enough to make him think that I was actually interested.  After all, right now I was watching out for my own.  With all the Half Ones taking up my social life, I had no time for wasteful human encounters.

“Too bad,” he said with a pout.  “Cuz you are really hot.  Like, smokin’, seriously!”

I shrugged.  In human form, I wasn’t a terrible sight for eyes; in all actuality, I was beautiful and knew it well.  I had dark, wavy blonde hair, with natural streaks of gold and red that gleamed.  My eyes in human form were a shade of honey, also an intelligent golden.  In my true form, which was a small grey tabby, my eyes were blue, but in human form they stayed golden.  I was small built, but lanky, and my skin wasn’t too white, but not tan enough to come across as dark skinned.

The vast majority of the Half Ones presumed that, because I was a cat, that I was terribly vain about my appearance.  Throughout our history, cats have always been the most majestic in presence (starting with Lion), although this didn’t necessarily mean that others weren’t just as stunning.  In human form, Riley resembled that of her true form-she had a baby face, smooth, white skin, snowy hair, and deep, electric blue eyes.  The same went for a lot of the Half Ones, although I typically didn’t see them in their human forms.  We always met in animal.

The lesson dragged on for almost an hour, and then the bell rang.  I darted out the door faster than anyone could stop me, easily averting the swarming bodies in the hallway.  “Victoria!” someone shouted from the other side of the hallway.

I turned around and found none other than Riley, standing there, grinning at me like an idiot.

“Riley?”  I said, genuinely startled.  Since when does she go to school?

“Since when do you go to school?”  I asked, sauntering over to the corner where she stood.

“Since…”  She looked around for a clock, and, finding none, pulled down the wrist of the nearest human male.  “-Five minutes ago,” she chirped happily.  The boy scowled at her before returning to his locker.  I gave her a questioning look.

“Okay,” I said, now thoroughly confused.“And you’ve suddenly decided to come here because…?”

“Morning Star thought that since you would be busy all the time now, it would be important for you to have someone to cover for your school work when you’re absent.”  She rolled her eyes.  “Honestly, I’m not too happy about it, but if it’s for the greater good of the pack then I’m in.”

“I really wish everyone would stop calling it a pack,” I muttered.  “Pride.  It’s called a Pride.  That’s what it’s always been.  Leave it up to a bunch of dogs to go around changing everything.”  I made a sour face.

“Oh, hush,” she said, pulling a face.  “You’re just a sourpuss because you’re the only cat left.”

As if communing something unspoken, the two of us fell silent about the subject after that.  Lion, the true leader of the Pride, had been hunted down and slaughtered mercilessly for centuries.  No other Lion had stepped forward to take his place, and so, according to legend, Leopard became the right of the throne.  Not long after, the last Leopard of the Half Ones vanished, as did Cheetah, Tiger, and, finally, the common housecat.  Having thought that Cat was a completely extinct species, Wolf was then designated to take over.  This happened some 20 years after I came along, and as a result, Morning Star was now the leader of the drastically little clan that he called a ‘pack’.

I changed the subject as I tried not to think about the grim outlook of what little family I had left.  There were becoming less and less of us every year from our eradication by the Hunters; perhaps it was better to have a pack after all, instead of a Pride.  Those of us who remained were predominantly canines, because canines were man’s best friend, thus making it even harder to distinguish a Half One from a normal breed of dog.  “Well, how is that going to work if you don’t even know which classes I have?”

“We’re both seniors.  How hard could it be?”  She smiled.  Riley was the eternal optimist, and though I aspired to be, the fact still stood that I was a realist.  A realist that, sadly, nobody really understood.  “I have second hour with you, though.  That’s College Trigonometry.”

Riley linked arms with mine and, as if she had a care in the world, began whistling a happy tune that didn’t sound too much unlike the secret agent man theme song.  I sighed and tried to lighten up.

If only everyone could be so happy, I thought warily.


Submitted: April 10, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Lywren Bellisario. All rights reserved.

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