A Home Away From Home

By: DragonWing

 

Well, since the complexities of sending a properly formatted e-mail to this site's address have proven too difficult for me, I'm going to opt out of the 'send the story to the owner' ploy, and move directly to the 'post the dang thing and be done with it' ploy. Enjoy. >_>

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A few points beforehand...

- From the get-go, understand that this is none of the following: a sexual story, a turn-on, a story involving kink, or a quickie. It's a story about an AB, not a DL. So... expect rampant characterization, emotional crap, and long-winded dialogue that may or may not give you a fuzzy-warmth but will assuredly not raise the flag.

- Let me make one thing painfully obvious (and this is something I apologize for if it causes any undue injuries due to boredom, snoring or falling asleep on a computer chair), this is ssssssllllooooowwwww on the AB content. The entire chapter is nothing more than plot, plot, plot. It sets up the characters, it gives me a place to start, but, more importantly, it leaves me with places to go. There are, within the 3000+ words you'll have to suffer through, maybe three paragraphs which HINT at the main character's babyish side. It WILL pick up, and principally quite fast, in the first section of the next chapter. But this is going to be an expirential story, and as such, some things will move quicker than others.

- If you loathe the idea of anything out of the ordinary, stay clear of this one. Let me sum up what is apparent within the first paragraph: the guy ain't human. The secondary main character ain't human. And they ain't furry either (although one of the two knows of them, but I'm getting ahead of myself...).

...

There's not going to be the quintessential disclaimer here; if you're on this site, you KNOW what the story contains. And, as stated, this part doesn't even contain much of it. Just have to be patient, guys and gals.

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|A Home Away from Home|

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~Preface~

I have always been defined and understood as something different. Whether it be a passerby moving about what I've come to understand as the mockery we call life, or a semblance of a friend carrying my cold soul with me, they all seem to understand, even if at the unconscious level, my abnormality. The detached eyes, the expressions that don't quite understand what it is they are trying to convey, the fluidity of a silken hand as it whispers alongside a delicate tuffet of hair. Everything that is me- my appearance, mannerisms, personality, and everything inside- hints at something only spoken of in nightmares. Or perhaps in fantasies, depending on the mind at hand. In every facet of life, as my persona calls forth memories that do not belong to me, I find myself becoming what I have no desire to be: something altogether... inhuman. My fear of my own existence is absolute and my understanding bleak. And still the memories grow, memories of a childhood that did not happen, and of a name belonging to me that I cannot place the origins of: Alstair.

My one solace is something even more unnatural than my mystery of a past. It is something I cannot explain, and did not ask for. But then, I do not question it. It is simply a feeling, so strong, that I see it as pointless to fight. In the end, I need it as much as I need my solitude, and I need it precisely because it counters my need for solitude. The treacherous complexities of a life such as mine call for some form of appeasement, of escape: and mine... is innocence.

~Chapter One~

Date: 23/02/05 12:43 AM.

It has happened again. My eyes grew dark scarlet for almost two hours tonight. I could only sit in front on the stilled mirror and lament. What is happening to me? My body is no longer my body, and my mind fills with terrors unknown; faces of quicksilver, insectary... bulbs... bulging. Sorrow tracing across the eyes of ... beings... that somehow know me. Although I do not know them. I have seen another one. I awoke to it at midnight to watch it staring through my porch door. Watching me. Sorrowful, so full of pain, those eyes of night. I feel no terror now, simply a deadpan weight of dread as feelings of familiarity erupt from within. Of course I know the truth; I am fooling myself as I always do- I know exactly what is happening to me. But I don't want it to. I'm afraid of seeing. I'm afraid of losing what I have here. I am human. I am human. I am human...

It... she, watches. Again. I have no time.

I will go. I have to find out for myself.

... I will write again soon.

'Alstair', goodnight.


 

 

 

I lay down the feather near the stained ink bottle on my mantle. As always, I can hear the slumber of my mother from the room below. Selbie, always sleeping peacefully. I yearn for the opportunity to do so myself. Unaware is she of what stands now outside her window. I look at the being again. She does not flinch. And again, I find myself asking- just how much a part am I of this person I call my family? My turmoil knows no limits as I stand, sighing, and walk to open the sliding door. It is the first time I have confronted the being since she first appeared, two weeks ago.

I exit to the patio. The cool breeze is the least of the cause for the shiver coursing through my pale skin. I run my fingers, impossibly long suddenly, through the coarse hair of my lopsided head. Again I glance at her.

She is something that words do no good in describing. Her skin is an aura of moon, shimmering and losing itself in carefree dance. Delicate, silken hair drapes a brittle head, long, unrestrained, flowing as if alive; a form of liquid wreathed in the sun's flair. The contrast with the ashen, glowing face is uncannily beautiful and highly unsettling. By all accounts, she looks like the quintessential imp of mainstream conspiratorial nonsense, but nowhere near as mundane. She stands... hovers... upon the most delicate of legs, human yet not so; like something made of bone so malleable it could sway as though a flag in the wind. It is nothing I could have envisioned, and the sad artistic renditions of the witnesses past do no justice to this creature of aeons. She is taller than 'my' memory -that is not my memory- recalls, remarkably slim and nimble. She wears only the simplest of fabrics: a shawl-like robe that seems to coincide of its own accord with her movement, a woven plethora of minerals long forgotten in this realm for the terrible beauty they possess. But most shocking are the eyes. Not void but overwhelmed with emotion so complexly experienced; an exaggeration of expression. The normally minuteiris plays the role of the eye itself and is blinding in its jade, black-laced hue. I cannot look at her for more than a few seconds before lowering my eyes in awe, even now, after having seen her apparition through the window for so long.

She speaks, then.

It is the most haunting sound I have ever heard. Innocent and knowing.

"... Alstair."

"Yes." I reply, not knowing how to respond.

"... You know me. Liirestar."

"No."

"Yes... but you don't want to, I see. Still, you are afraid."

I turn and look back at her eyes, which are inexplicably arguing amongst themselves over some hybrid of joy and sorrow. Boldness evaporated with the power of her stare, I do not even hesitate the truth. "Y-yes... I'm afraid of..."

"Me."

"No... me."

I close my eyes and sigh, deeper now, as I peruse the endless questions dancing along my tongue's tip. My final choice is not particularly what I'd consider a show of intelligence, but it does its job.

"What in the hell is happening to me?"

She places a robbed hand on my forehead and I recoil from the warmth. A single brush of delicate finger seems to alleviate all worry and disquiet, and the rush overrides me.

"... You know what I am, Alstair. But what you don't know is that I've been looking for you longer than you can imagine." She pauses. Inexorably, her controlled and mellifluous voice turns to a more erratic flutter as hesitation enters. She closes those encompassing almonds and continues, almost as if unsure of how to explain. "It's only right you know why... however, there... is no good place to start." She sighs herself, now. "I'm sorry."

"... Why don't you try telling me what you are."

"You already know that. The world would, should it glance me."

Another pause.

"I guess... I mean, I suppose the best thing to do would be to tell you why I'm here. I... well, we. Yes, we have been, I suppose you could call lurkers, for ages countless now. That is to say my people. No one knows why, for all stories and records past have been forgotten and twisted over the countless generations spent wandering the heavens aimlessly. I don't know much, myself. What I do know I know from what father told me. We have been here... on Earth... for sixty cycles now. Apparently, it has become refuge, as our numbers and resources dwindle. I don't know, I haven't seen the great ships, and they, too, have been lost to time. The forests are all we have now. No world, no home. All I know are the forests... all I know is that I have lived here, but I do not belong here. I was born here, a stranger, forced to adapt as though native, much like you."

"... But you aren't me. I'm not like you. I'm..."

"Human?"

"Shut up." I say without conviction.

"Please... hear me out."

 

 

 

 

 

 

So she tells me. She tells me all there is to tell. And time passes like an errant fox scampering through wood and earth: without meaning. She tells me of the incident, twenty years ago, when one of the countless refuges spread across the forgotten corners of the world was discovered by the natives there. She tells me of shock and of terror. Of panic and gunfire. Of death. So much death over what was not understood. Her own refuge, her colony, destroyed by humanity's insecurity, all during her young years... and she tells me of the brother... lost to the violence of the discovery. Isolated, unlocated... but now found.

"... Found?"

"Yes..." She looks at me now with an affection that boggles me. As if she has known who I am and everything about me all her life. As if I know her.

And more, still. More she tells of. Of a young woman wandering the woods. Of herself, watching helpless and wounded in the whispers of distance. Of the scream emitted from the startled woman over seeing what appeared to the corpse of an alien in the aftermath. A child. Before she even utters the next word, I complete it for her.

"... Me. It was my body."

Another sigh, and again that haunting stare of sorrow laced with joy.

"Yes. Your mother... your caregiver. The one who kept you hidden from the world... and hidden from me. From your surviving family. The one who is the only family you've ever known. She is the woman of that night. She found your body, brittle and broken. You lived in seclusion and your origins she never judged, never questioned, and neither did you once you regained consciousness. Your memory was lost to injury. Your body instinctively adopted itself to your situation. And eventually, humanity became all you understood. Until now. Until your body began to reach maturity, and the truth revealed itself slowly to you."

I collapse into an awkward slump. Nothing is said for the longest time. Again I feel warmth. This time, I don't recoil.

"You don't know. You don't know how long I've watched and waited... brother."

For so long now (or was it no time at all?) I had merely absorbed it, had it fed to me, this shock... shock upon shock, but... I can feel the slow panic of revelation building. I shake my head, "This is impossible."

"No... please. It's the truth. Listen." She tries again to talk, but I am unaware of anything but my own trembling voice.

"All this time... all this time I've lived like I didn't belong. Everyone, everyone I knew... everyone who didn't know me. Everyone who even glimpsed me always knew something was wrong with me. But I didn't understand. I don't understand.. I... I don't believe what's happening. This can't be right. This can't..." and my words blend evenly with my steady tears of turmoil now, creating a equilibrium of stuttered shock and pouring anguish. I look back at the doorway. A panic grips me further. The warmth from the hand still holding me evaporates and a slow, cold yet false menace comes in its place from the creature beside me. Of course, she is nothing but sincere and pleading, but to my overwhelmed state of mind she is a demon, something wrong and deceiving. I stand.

"You... you're lying. This isn't right! You're trying to trick me! You stay away from me!"

The tears are prominent now. There are whispers of water reflecting in her own soulful eyes. She... it... moves towards me. I stumble.

"No, don't! Please, you can't do this! You need to understand!"

"Tricks... it's all a trick. An experiment. You're using me! Get out! My head, get out!"

"No!"

"Get the **** away from me!"

I run, now. It doesn't follow. I run everywhere, and nowhere. Out into the woods. Keep running. Nothing back there but the unfamiliar, the untrue. Beast. Time slips away again, ever the errant kitsune; meaningless. Everything is meaningless. I lay against a tall oak and yell. And then cry. I feel my mind slipping from its panic, so slowly. Spent, I collapse, somewhere... and nowhere. Trembling and alone, I revert unwillingly to the calming embrace of innocence that has kept me some sliver of comfort amidst a sea of solitude. I have never questioned these feelings, nor do I bother to now. Slowly, I slide down into oblivion, and my shaking hand begins to rise. I do not stop it. Gently now, I raise my thumb to my mouth without choice and release myself into the embrace of ignorance as darkness takes me on the canopy floor of the forest moss.

And still, eyes watch me.

***

I am a wreck, now. I lay in silent mourn on the damp wood, crying out in frustration. All this, all this sacrifice, and now my own brother has forgotten everything. And does not... will not attempt to remember. And I think to myself, in the reigns of hopelessness, that it was a foolish, foolish mistake to come here. To find him. I search the ether, but his mind is sealed. I do not bother to chase him. I simply lie motionless near humanity's reach, not caring if I am seen by the limelight. A hum and glow emit from the darkness of the window below me. I hear the faintest gasp, and then a solemn sigh. The light expires. Footsteps. I start. Frantically gliding along grass, now. To vanish, but not before a voice calls out for me to stop. I do. I am in too much distress to bother trying to feign secrecy. The caregiver has already seen me. I turn, slowly. My eyes are a mask of indifference as I try to play the persona of us fiction so popularly dictates- cold and unmoving- perhaps to unsettle her into going back inside, I don't know. I am fooling no one. The tears a ridiculously apparent as I turn.

"Don't. Come, please. Come here. I'm not frightened."

I sigh. This night it seems to be the action of choice. "I didn't presume you would be."

I find myself sifting to the patio yet again, this time to confront humanity for the first time in ages. I am wary, of course. Unwanted images of unspeakable rage and lethal urges flash by me. Although I know almost everything there is to know about her, prejudices -some warranted, others not- still mar me. Through what I could gather from the human populous in limiting secrecy, she is a saint in all senses of the word. I know enough to realize she poses no thoughts of harm, at any rate. Still, the visions of the incident, still stark within me, make me erratic in my approach.

"... You. You're here for Peter."

Priming myself for control and stoicism... what a larf. My mind knows no form of prose and poised manner as I stutter foolishly in shy, bantering clips. I am less than thrilled with the idea of talking to, much less revealing myself to, one who could easily impose her will upon me. What strength do I have? And her eyes, human eyes, so uncomprehensible, are piercing. She has a gently condescending way about her, but to one who's life is spent in hiding its affect is tenfold.

"... N-no... well, yes, but that is..." I trail off and look down. She already knows the truth.

My voice seems to take her aback, but only for a moment. "I know who you are. I've seen you before, many times, in fact. I've seen you watching him, these past nights."

I shake my head in what I understand is a gesture of denial, but I stop myself. There is no point. Obviously I was careless. But then, I have been alone for years. No family, no companion, no whisper of contact even from my people. Caution is not on my list of priorities.

"It isn't how you think..." I mutter quickly.

She expresses further her knowledge "... You're one of the beings that was discovered in the north end of the forest twenty years ago."

I laugh quietly, without mirth. "One of them. The only other, now." I regret the unexpected harshness that enters my tone. I respect this woman from what I know, and do not mean to exemplify my natural anger at humanity towards one who would no doubt have been the first to cry out against the violent reaction of that monstrous day.

I speak again. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way."

"... Yes." A short delay, and then:

"He's your family, then."

"My only family. I've... been searching a long time."

She looks into my eyes piercingly again. My skin shimmers red hue as I feel undue shame. I don't understand my reaction to her scrutiny. She is searching only for my feelings. She proceeds to explain why she took him. Although I already understood why... her character's natural kindness left little other possibility. "Once I saw his chest was moving, I took him only because I knew he would be killed if that mob found him. I saw the other bodies in the distance. I thought there were no survivors. I didn't want to let a child of any kind die."

"I survived."

"You were a child, too."

Another sigh. The times are rife for it. "I still am, by all accounts. So is he."

She emits her own quiet laugh now, slightly conspiratorial. "Yes... he is." I cock my head but don't prod.

"... I talked to him tonight. I told him... everything."

"I know."

"He didn't take it well."

"I don't presume he would have." she says, playing on my early words.

"I need to find him. He ran off."

"Fair enough. I'm coming with you."

I consider arguing, but it's obvious her will is set. And mine... is still shattered.

I don't know what else to say.

"I'm... sorry I told him. I didn't think he'd act so..."

"You thought he'd just accept being something he never even believed in?"

My eyes water again involuntarily. "N-no... it's just, he's my brother, and I thought maybe... that would amount to something. Some form of recognition, anything."

"Find him. Talk to him again. It will help if I'm there."

"Yes... Let's go."

***

I awaken. Unsurprisingly, my body is ashen, slightly flowing. It is gradually becoming worse. It is now early morning, and the cool air is dead as it hovers above a moonlit landscape of antagonistic shadows and deviant creatures of purest black. I shiver as the air hits my waist. I feel sickly and filth-ridden, for reasons I don't grasp and could care less about at the moment. I feel an overwhelming sense of fear, enough so to override even the cautionary calm that comes with sleep and oblivion. Trembling, I hug closer to the tree, allowing the frailty of my body to gain solace from the solid oak. I feel naked, exposed to the unseen tormentors of my dementia. Furiously now I curl into a tight ball and concentrate on the thumb in my mouth, using it to calm my mind, telling myself I am safe, back home... content.

It doesn't do much.

I lay still for the longest time. The forest is no longer the silent, sane haven it was during my frenetic entrance. Eventually, I notice a slight glow permeating a patch of shadow to my left. Immediately it is obvious who the light belongs to.

***

We have been separate for a time now, deciding instead to search our own ways. Her, by unbelievably keen senses. I prefer the slightly more erratic ether. His mind in no longer closed. It is rampant, though, with panic... and... some form of comfort I cannot place. It does not take long to locate him.

From the moment I lay eyes upon his juxtapositional body, twisted from the prior embrace of sleep and security, I feel a keen moment of regret for having unleashed this maelstrom of revelation upon him so suddenly. My inner turmoil is one to match his as I emerge from the shadows and, for the second time this eve, find myself at a loss for the proper words.

We find ourselves simultaneously.

"I'm sorr-"

"Sorry about..."

Silence, now. Discomfort. It seems we both have reason for regret. I decide not to call attention to the universally juvenile action I had discovered him in. I do not think he knows I noticed it. Irrelevant, now. I try to repeat my supplication but he seems eager to speak and I abide to it.

"Listen, I'm sorry about the way I acted earlier. I didn't mean to be so curt, it's just... what does it all mean? I'm sitting here, in the dark, and despite all the shadow the thing that frightens me most is myself. Do you have any idea how that feels, to be a stranger in your body?"

"Listen... I can't... say anything that's going to magically solve all your worries and doubts. I doubt I could do it for myself, either. But... if we have nowhere to start, then let's at least start by going back to the porch and out of this miserable place."

"I-I... okay. But...", he seems to hesitate on the next words, "don't wander ahead far. I... don't want to be left in the dark."

"... I won't. I am accustomed to the wood, after all."

He leads his way home and I follow closely behind. As I do I notice something peculiar about his manner of march. It is slightly stifled, as though in discomfort or stiffness. I notice his manner of dress to be darker in the moonlight. Damp. A slight waft carries towards me as the wind whips past. Some things are indeed universal, and I quickly come to recognize the predicament. Now, you must understand that we as a people like to approach medical issues curtly and with purpose. So, a problem such as this is one best dealt with openly, in my manner of thought.

"... You realize you've urinated unwittingly, do you not?"

"W-... huh... you, I mean me, I mean... oh, crap, crap, crap..."

I am thoroughly perplexed at this outburst of shame and panic. I voice my confusion.

"... What's the worry? Things like this happen often. Our bodies do not react well to moments of fright and panic. Yours simply reacted negatively as well. It's no cause for concern."

He looks at me for the longest time with his mouth agape, and then lets loose an alarming laugh unbecoming of the prior mood.

"Whoa... you really don't grip what this means here, do you?"

"What this means where?"

"On Earth, err... to humanity. To society."

"I shouldn't think it meant anything." I state poignantly.

"Nevermind... it's not something I have the patience to explain right now."

"Very well..." He shakes his head and laughs with a somewhat staccato pulse, as if shrugging off a burden. I simply shake my head as well, for his benefit, in what I understand to be their sign for bemusement. I could have shone my hand violet, but I think the expression would have been lost to him.

***

To be continued...

In the next Chapter: Peter confronts the truth of his past with the little strength he can muster and Lii attempts to understand his own revelation (to his chagrin and his mother's suppressed amusement) to her. Selbie takes Lii aside to ask her of life as a refugee and how she came to survive for twenty years in a solitary barren place after the incident. Lii explains to her that there is more to the Earth than can be seen at first glance, particularly in the deep wood. Humanity is not the only native society of the planet, and Lii in fact survived not only of her own aid. There are worlds between the world, with creatures of myth, of whisper, of legend. And, by chance, they sometimes coincide. Such a chance transpired two years after the razing of the refuge, with Lii at the centre of the mesh... (re: I'm going to include the furrydom in the next chapter. That's the second principal factor of this story, outside of Alstair's feelings and Lii's journey into his life.)