Highrock Pack History Songs: Song for Three Voices - Part Two
William blinked, his sleep fogged mind confused. The ground under him was too soft to be the rock he had been crouching on, and the smell coming to his nose was of cheesy scrambled eggs, not fresh red meat. Then, memory snapped into place and he realized he was in bed, waking up.
It was the beginning of another beautiful day in number 13024 Bone Marrow Ave.
Will rolled over, trying without success to return to his dream. It was always the same. He was hunting in the wild, no collar, with the wind in his face and the scent of prey in his nostrils, the pelts of many other Lupes brushing his. Then, just as he leapt forward to eat, he woke up.
Resigned, he leapt out of bed. William, or Will as his friends and family called him, was a split Lupe. He lived in Tyrannia with his adoptive owner, the seventeen year old Goth named Lou. He shared the home with his adoptive siblings and one rather hyperactive mutant gruslen.
One of those siblings shared a room with Will. He was still curled up in bed, his paw laid possessively (pathetically in Will’s opinion) over a worn teddy bear. For a full grown Darigan Lupe, that was just sad. At least Will thought so.
Lifting a single orange paw, Will kicked his brother. With an “Oomf!” the Darigan Lupe was sent tumbling out of bed, tangled in his patched blanket. Glowing red eyes that should have gleamed with a light of evil were wild with panic.
Then, he came fully awake. The Darigan glared at his brother. “So not funny, Will. I will seriously get you back for that.”
“Yeah, yeah. You can threaten, but we both know you’ll never follow through. Seriously, Kris, you’re an insult to Lupe-kind. Don’t you ever want to run away? To be free, as our ancestors were?”
“Our ancestors slept cold and wet, and never had enough to eat, and fought like savages for every scrap of meat they could get a hold of. Thank you, no. I like the amenities of civilization. Speaking of the amenities of civilization, I smell scrambled eggs. Go eat raw steaks if you like; I am going to get some cooked food. Hope you don’t get food poisoning.” Making good on his word, Kris trotted out of the room towards the kitchen.
Pulling at his studded collar, Will followed. He hated the stupid thing, always rubbing his neck. If he bent his head wrong, the spikes pricked his chin. Kris was lucky. He had a Werelupe fang necklace instead. Nothing was cooler looking than a Werelupe fang necklace.
Entering the kitchen, anyone would believe it was Halloween. False cobwebs hung from the ceiling and cabinets, and a huge “cauldron” held up the table. Everything was painted with cheap, flaking black paint. Kris opened an iron maiden in the corner, revealing a cleverly decorated refrigerator. And standing at the stove, cloaked in black, was a skeleton.
Ok, it was a Halloween Zafara. Will liked to pretend that his adoptive brother Seth was a vengeful zombie with an intricate plot for stealing the brains of all mortal things. In truth, Seth was a pussycat, his gruff demeanor a show to hide his inner softness.
Will’s sister, Yukimi, and owner Lou, were absent, but that didn’t surprise him. Yuki was the labrat, and Lou took her first thing every morning to get zapped. Yuki had already been undergoing treatments for a month before Will was adopted into the family as a puppy. She insisted that she had been born a pink Lenny, but Will wasn’t sure he believed it. Lou would never adopt anything pink.
Yesterday, Yuki had come home as a snot Aisha. Even Lou had been disgusted, and poor Yuki had been made to sleep outside. Will would have traded places with the labrat if he hadn’t been sure that Lou would skin him for getting snot on his bed sheets. The split Lupe loved sleeping outside.
Seth was dishing the eggs onto plates. A pot of grits was bubbling sullenly on the stove, waiting its turn to be served. No bacon, unfortunately. Lou refused to buy bacon because the smell made him feel ill. Will resented that. He loved bacon.
The split Lupe grunted his thanks and quickly cleaned his plate. Despite the fact that he wasn’t entirely fond of a meatless meal, Kris would threaten to take his plate if he didn’t eat it fast enough, and Will’s very nature rebelled against sharing his food. He ate in silence while Seth and Kris chatted about commonplaces.
“By the way,” the Halloween Zafara added, “the toaster is on the fritz. Could you look at it later, Bro?”
Kris snorted. “Again? Honestly, Lou should just buy a new toaster. I don’t care if this one is a limited edition Count Von Roo collector set item; it breaks every other week.” He sighed with resignation. “What else am I here for? I’ll fix it, but I’m giving Lou a piece of my mind when he gets back.”
Will rolled his eyes. “Who do you think you’re fooling? We all know you can’t get enough of that wrench of yours. You’d marry it if you could. You’re such a techno-dweeb, why would Lou bother to replace anything when he knows you can just fix it? Hey, you even rewrote every file on his neomail machine after it crashed last spring.”
“For which, I am grateful,” came a deep, resonating voice. Lou walked into the kitchen, a spotted Gelert right behind him. Yuki looked relieved to have changed color, and even more relieved to have at last changed species. She had been an Aisha for over four months. Lou continued, “But I WON’T buy a new toaster. This one is just fine.” He plopped down at the table, the chains on his baggy black jeans jingling as he moved. Tucking his unkempt black hair behind his ears, he applied himself to his food.
Seth chuckled. “Your word is law, as usual. So, now that Yuki’s a Gelert are you finally going to use that Darigan paintbrush in your safety deposit box?”
Lou shook his head, “The Darigan Gelerts look like strawberries,” he said with disgust. “I’ll save it for when I really need it. Anyway, since Kris is already Darigan, I’ll probably end up trading it for a ghost paintbrush or something. I don’t want a repeat pet.”
Will growled, annoyed. “Lou, when am I gonna get to be a cool color? Kris is Darigan, Seth is Halloween, and Yuki is being labbed... I’m stuck as split! C’mon, can’t I be something cool?”
“Of course,” Lou said, raising his eyebrows, “I’m saving up to buy you a Draik Transmogrification potion. Is that cool enough?”
Will’s jaw dropped in horror. A Draik? A mutant Draik? This was absolutely unacceptable. Will loved being a Lupe, and he was proud of his heritage. Centuries ago, before humans had tamed them, Lupes had run wild and free in packs. He would not become an ugly scaled monstrosity with his brain sticking out of his forehead! “Absolutely not! I refuse to be anything other than a Lupe, you hear me? I won’t be the pet who gives you bragging rights about owning a Draik! No, no, no!”
Lou stood up with a jolt. “I’ve already given a 300,000 neopoint deposit to the owner of the potion. You’re becoming a Draik, whether you like it or not.”
Yuki raised a forepaw timidly. “Perhaps we could reach a compromise, Will? Would it be so bad to be a Draik? I was born a Lenny, and flying is like nothing you could ever imagine. If you were a Draik, you could fly. Wouldn’t that be nice?”
Will rounded on the spotted Gelert, snarling, “I refuse to surrender my pride as a Lupe. You may not care about giving up your dignity to that crazed Scorchio, but I will not.”
Kris leapt between Will and Yuki. “Brother, don’t take this out on her. She was only offering her opinion; she didn’t deserve that.”
The split Lupe bared his teeth. “Stay out of this, you wimp. You’re just like the rest of them, hugging your stupid teddy and refusing to acknowledge your own heritage. You’re an insult to Lupes everywhere.”
“William,” Lou snapped, “as a member of this family, you will treat your siblings with respect. My decision is final.”
Will glared at Lou. Finally, he spat, “If that’s the case, then I don’t want to be a member of this family. I’m leaving. Find yourself another pet to turn into a monster.” He spun around and stalked out of the door.
“Will, wait!” Kris voice echoed from within the house.
“Don’t worry, Bro,” he heard Seth say reassuringly. “Will just needs time to calm down. He’ll be back once his temper cools, don’t you worry.”
The split Lupe snorted. Seth underestimated the magnitude of his brother’s rage. Will wanted nothing further to do with his adoptive family. “They should have left me at the pound. At least they didn’t want to turn me into a mutant there.” He raced off along the plateau, towards the jungle.
To be continued...