Twist of Fate: Part Two
When I was younger, my mother, Manda, told us stories of the storm that hit the day I was born.
“It was completely unexpected!” she would exclaim. “The day started out so beautifully, and then dark clouds rolled in. Everyone thought it was just a simple thunderstorm. Little did anyone know, the fury of the skies would come crashing down! Homes were ripped right from their foundation! What a frightful night it was...”
When Chichi and I finally got home, I dropped my things on the floor and ran straight into my room and locked my door. Manda had a bad habit of walking in, and I just wanted to be alone. Though the commotion must have been loud enough to bring attention to my distress. Of course my sister would go and tell her everything that happened anyway. I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same if I were in her current position, but can’t anyone have some privacy?
Manda tried talking to me through the door, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Talking through the door was like advertising to the whole neighborhood what my problems were. She was more angry about the ordeal than anything. I could hear her fretting about the teachers not teaching the students about the world and all the inhabitants, and parents not raising their pets properly. I let out a little laugh at how worked up she got over it. At least she gave me time to be by myself for a while. Her understanding was more than I could ever ask for.
I stayed home from school for a while. I refused to go back to a place that didn’t accept me and yet I was losing acceptance in myself. Eventually, though, Manda made me go back. How I dreaded the day she would taking the mother stance again.
“Fratimer, you can run from this all your life, but it’s not going to get you anywhere; is that what you want?”
“No, but...” I really had no excuse not to go. I just couldn’t bear the ridicule again, and who would want to go through that?
“Come on, I’ll walk with you today,” Manda said to me.
“Ma, no. That’ll make things worse. Did you want your mother walking you to school whenever you had a problem?”
“I guess you’re right. I believe in you, Fratimer; you’ll get through this.” Her voice gave me a sort of reassurance that I couldn’t find anywhere else.
I started walking out the door, and I heard her fading voice shout behind me,
“I love you.”
Back at school, it was exactly what my nightmares entailed the past couple of nights. People staring like last time, only more so. Friends would turn to each other and whisper in each other’s ear. “The freak returned,” I imagined they were thinking and saying amongst themselves. My absence only made my new presence more apparent. A missing mutant must have been obvious to spot. I was the only one in the whole school. My heart grew heavier with each and every step closer I got to the building. Then he came out from the shadows, in all his wrath.
“There ‘e is! Haha, let's go see if he wants to play...” I could hear his deep, thunderous voice to my right.
“Vainglory, no... you remember what Miss Jakilya said,” one of the other Lupes told him. He didn’t seem interested in getting a year's worth of detentions.
“Well I don’t care what she said!” And Vainglory, or so his buddy called him, strolled right up to me, and turned me with a strong grip so I was facing him, “Hey there, little creepy! What are you doing in school? We all thought you went back to yer swamp! Ahhh haha!!” He started howling he was laughing so hard. When he first said that, it felt like a dagger pierced my heart. But as he continued laughing, I started to become more and more frustrated. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I threw my books at his feet and pushed him onto the ground, right where I thought he deserved to be. I heard a couple of gasps, I looked around me to see the reaction, and then my vision went dark. The next thing I knew, I was feeling an extreme pressure on my lower jaw.
“He really gave you a right paw, didn’t he?” I heard a voice say. When I opened my eyes, an Elephante nurse was standing over me, looking at my jaw. “How are you feeling?” How did she think I was feeling? I thought. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs; what a stupid question! But I knew better than to disrespect an elder that way.
“I want to go home,” I eventually told her. And within a few minutes, Manda was at the school, and we were walking home. I knew she wasn’t going to let me get away with this as easily as the nurse had.
We walked the whole way in a silence that would make anyone want to break down and cry. What was she thinking, I wondered. Was I going to be punished? Was she going to bring me to the Pound? No, I reassured myself. Manda was not a cruel person. I knew deep down that she would forgive me for the terrible mistake I made. She did every time. Though, I kept thinking, I’ve never done anything to this magnitude.
“What has gotten into you, Fratimer? You’ve never resorted to violence in this way,” Manda finally said to me as we got to the door. Finally, I thought. I almost couldn’t take the quiet anymore.
“He pushed it too far. It’s the first thing that came to my mind.” I thought of my explanation along the way home. I looked at my feet as I said it, though. I couldn’t look her in the eyes, for I knew only disappointment loomed in them. I couldn’t stand to see that that day.
I stayed in my room the rest of the day. I couldn’t stand being me anymore. All I wanted to do was hide far, far away from everyone. The hurtful, the pitiful and the sympathy givers. They were all crowding me and I couldn’t get away from any of it. The only safe place was my room, behind the locked door once again.
Then I heard a knock at the door. Not my room door, but the front door, and I heard someone click it open.
“Oh my!” I heard Manda exclaim.
I cracked my door open to see what the fuss was about. And at Manda’s feet, was a little rolling yellow puff ball. A little head popped up from the round figure, his big red eyes looked intently into hers, and he gave a grand yawn. She held him in her arms, and closed the door behind her. I watched from a distance as she sat down and looked gleefully at his plush exterior. I didn’t remember Manda saying that she was going to adopt another pet. This one just literally showed up on our doorstep. And with Manda being the person that she is, couldn’t resist taking in helpless pets, especially one so young.
“I think I’ll name you Vachello.” And just like that, I had a little brother.
At first, I was a bit frustrated by his overwhelming... well, cuteness. Just what I need, I thought. An over adorable little plushie Draik to emphasize what a freak show I am. Though at the same time, his presence was so comforting. He'd probably never seen a mutant before, and yet, he didn’t shudder at the sight of me, nor did he run. Instead, the first time we met, he stood next to me and yelped, reaching for me. I picked him up and he gave me a little hug. It warmed my heart, which I thought had already completely iced. His innocence grew on me, and I couldn’t stay mad at him.
Still, the new addition didn’t stop my downward spiral. The image of those other students looking and whispering about me still prodded at my thoughts. And Vainglory’s tattered face never left the back of my mind. I could hear his voice echoing in my dreams, constantly taunting. My heart raced so fast, it woke me from a dead slumber. I became so consumed with what others thought of me, I started lashing out at my sister and Manda. I couldn’t stop it. Every time I felt the hate creep up on me, I would jump out of my window and walk through the woods for a while. The fresh air seemed to calm me, but it only lasted so long. What I didn’t know was what waited out there for me. The comforts of my home protected me from the endless experience and dangers of the outside. It wouldn’t be long until I found out what I was being kept from.
To be continued...