Where I Live (Part 9)

November 14, 2010
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I cringed inwardly at the contact as Ethan took my hand in his and pulled me gently towards the door. I took a deep breath as Kole put his key in and turned the knob. Let’s hope I don’t die. . . Even if that gets rid of . . . of Bloodlust . . . if I die I won’t ever find Ty Lan. . . So, I guess . . . this is it.
As the door opened, I half suspected someone to come shooting out, but no such thing happened. Kole walked in as if nothing was wrong, but I still felt tense and worried. Ethan still held my hand and I resisted the urge to unsheathe my claws. We walked inside and I was surprised when the living room didn’t spontaneously combust as my feet touched the carpet.
A woman came out of the kitchen, looking down at the cup she was drying. “You’ve been gone for a while, Kole. Did you get the –” She looked up.
The cup shattered on the floor.
It had to be made of glass. I thought dryly.
“Mom, relax,” Kole said quickly, “He trusts her, so hear them out before you frantically call Dad.”
Her gaze stayed fixed on Ethan for a long while and he shifted uncomfortably next to me. She nodded and gestured towards the couch and chairs. “Why don’t you have a seat so we can talk?”
Kole sat on the opposite side of the couch. Ethan sat down but I could see how tense he was. I stood behind him.
“You don’t want to sit down?” Kole’s mom asked, looking at me as she sat stiffly.
“I, uh . . .” I glanced at Kole, “Kinda fell into a lake. . . I didn’t want to wreck your furniture.”
“Oh . . . thank you.” Her voice was getting quieter. It went against everything she believed to accept a Jungle Cat into her home, but somehow I knew Ethan’s presence made it easier. I wondered why.
“Hikaru . . .” Kole turned to look at us, “Would you two like to tell mom what you told me?”
“I’ll do it, Kryn.” He tilted his head back to look at me for a second, then looked at Kole’s mom. “I woke up in a parking structure with no knowledge of how I had gotten there, who I was, what my name was, or even just how to speak. I was bleeding from a head wound that has since healed quite nicely. And though now I’ve seen that I’m a Bird of Prey and Jungle Cats are taught to hate us from birth . . . this Cat was different.
“She talked to me kindly, found out I couldn’t remember anything. And when she did, she didn’t just kill me or leave me stranded there where I would have met a fate I don’t like to think about, she helped me. She helped me hide my wings and walked me back to her apartment. When we got there, I got cleaned up and she bandaged my cut. And even when we were found out . . . even when she could have run, could’ve seen a simple way out by letting her father’s friend kill me . . . she stood in the way. At a cost to herself, she got between us and saved my life.” I felt my cheeks heating. He makes me sound like a saint. “After that . . . we drove away and Kole found us.”
Kole’s mother seemed to be taking it all in as she sat there. Feeling restless, I walked past all of them and bent down where she had dropped the cup, started picking up shards up glass.
“Wh-What are you doing?” She asked, her voice quiet and unsure.
“It was my fault.” I said, still picking up pieces. “The least I could do is clean up. . .” She sat silently as I cleaned the rest, making trips to the garbage can to dump the pieces. But when the door opened, I heard all of them stand up.
The door didn’t close again and I imagined a fully grown Bird of Prey standing there gaping when I heard his voice. “H-Hikaru?” Is he that important to this family? I thought to myself. Or does every Bird know of him?
“I think so.” Ethan said slowly.
“We’ll explain later, Dad,” Kole said quickly, “But first I need to warn you.”
“About what?” His father asked.
“About me.” I stepped out into view, thankful that the hood of my jacket was still up.
As his eyes widened, I thought that I must have been just about the worst thing he’d ever seen. A Jungle Cat, in his house, soaking wet. I flinched when he sprang at me, but he was across the room and only got a few steps before Ethan stood up and ran to intercept.
“Stop!” He shouted, one hand extended.
I knew for sure he wouldn’t make the intercept in time, but if I fought back our chances of being safe in this house would dwindle from microscopic to nonexistent. And then, my worries became unfounded. Kole’s father stopped as soon as Ethan shouted at him, his head turning in the younger Bird’s direction. What is it about him that makes every Bird he sees want to listen?
Ethan stood in front of Kole’s dad. “Don’t hurt her. Please . . . she’s not like other Cats.”
“That’s . . .” Kole’s mother began slowly, “What I had thought . . . or, rather, what I had hoped.”
“What?” I stood there stupidly, not knowing what to do.
“You must be tired, dear. You can get cleaned up in the bathroom down the hall. I’ll get you some new clothes.” She stood and guided me down the hall to the bathroom. “Feel free to take your time. I’ll be right back.”
“But what about –”
“All in due time.” She said, closing the door softly.
Sighing quietly to myself, I shirked out of Ethan’s jacket and the rest of my clothes, handing them through a crack in the door to Kole’s mom and she handed me new clothes and a towel. She had told me to feel free to take my time and that I probably wanted to get cleaned up. I guessed she wanted me to take a shower, so I did. Feeling the warm, clean water flowing over me distracted me from my whirling thoughts, Bloodlust, a name that means light, a purpose for Ethan that they wouldn’t tell us right away, Birds of Prey that were helping me. Me, a Jungle Cat in a Bird of Prey’s house. It was unheard of.
When I was clean and dried off, I reached for the clothes sitting on the sink, but I faltered. I stared down at my hand, feeling like it was betraying me somehow.
It was shaking.
I realized that just then I had had a thought about Ethan. Not a good thought, either. Mentally cursing myself, I grabbed the clothes and hurriedly put them on, but then I noticed something else. I had seen these clothes before, on different occasions, but on the same person. I thought back and remembered that I hadn’t seen her in a long time but I hadn’t thought it odd since every time I saw her we fought. I had thought she just didn’t feel like fighting.
Feeling sore, out of place and uninformed, I walked out into the living room where Ethan was still sitting, talking quietly with Kole. “Kole . . .” I said quietly. He turned to look at me. “These are . . . Kakali’s clothes . . . aren’t they?”
He looked sorrowfully down at his lap and gave a small, weary nod.
“She’s not here . . . is she?”
He shook his head slowly.
“You don’t know where she is, do you?”
“She’s been missing . . . for ten days. . . It’s part of what Mom wanted to talk to you about.” He stood slowly. “But she says it can wait until morning. . . Follow me. . . Hikaru, you’ll take the guest bedroom. Kryn . . . you’ll take Kakali’s.”
Numbly, I let him take me to Kakali’s room, but I couldn’t sleep. At first, I looked around, thinking that they should have redone the room by now. Maybe, since they’re little girl had left home at thirteen they had wanted to keep part of her with them. When she had been here, she had been just a normal girl.
No, I corrected myself. She still is a normal girl.
I lay down on the bed, but I couldn’t stay sleep. Every time I fell asleep, I had nightmares, would wake up in a cold sweat. I couldn’t see many details and tried to shun what I had seen from my mind, but the nightmares included me, Ethan, teeth, claws and flying bloody feathers. As I sat up against the wall, arms wrapped around my knees, I realized that now it wasn’t just my hand, it was my entire body betraying me. I stayed that way the whole night, afraid to go asleep, just sitting there, shaking.

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Pretzel..Dream said...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm
Kryn has so many conflicting emotions please continue this story I love it!
Nalakitty This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm
As you wish :) I just thought of adding more to this story when someone started voting up all my poems. The story's actually finished, I just need to post it and not be lazy lol
. said...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm
I've read everything you have wrote about Kryn and I must say that I love it all. You are an amazing writer!
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