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Episode: 3.2

--- Rai ---

“I’m off! Te amo, mamá!” He called back to his mother as he stepped out the front door, being sure to pause just long enough to hear her call ‘love you’ back to him in Spanish, before stepping out into the morning sun.

His eyes floated up to the sky as he set off to his neighborhood’s bus stop, savoring the sight of the blue sky above him, before noticing the dark clouds creeping into town.

(Guess it’s going to rain later… Wonder if I should go back and grab an umbrella?)

While he may’ve had a personal affinity for water, her knew other people saw getting soaked in the rain as ‘annoying’ rather than ‘reinvigorating’.

He paused for a moment before turning his attention back to the space around him as he heard an engine start up and noticed the school bus leaving without him.

“Wonderful…” he told the world sarcastically before sighing, “Guess I’m walking…”

(Didn’t think I was running late today, hate it when I miss the bus, end up having to walk all the way there…)

(Maybe I should’ve left with dad?)

(No, he’s got to be at work like an hour before I even leave the house.)

(Kind of miss when he’d drop me off at school though, guess that was like our father/son time…)

(Eh, mamá and I cook and eat breakfast together so that’s not too different, I guess…)

(I mean I’m close to both of them. No real secrets.)

He felt his tail twitch despite being wrapped around his pants like a belt.

(Okay, no secrets I’m not taking to the grave…)

(Then again, I’m sure they’ll understand…)

(I know they’ll still love me... probably…)

A sigh escaped him unable to deny the actual problem.

(But regardless they wouldn’t be able to look at me the same way ever again…)

A bitter laugh escaped him.

(Especially if they ever figure out what a Malcontent really is…)

After a moment, he noticed the bus stopping down the street, he was a fast walker so being a minute behind the stop after his wasn’t too surprising. (I wonder if I could…)

He stopped shifting the weight of his backpack as he looked around.

(No pedestrians, no cars in the drive ways, everyone that’s getting up must already be out to work…)

He took a deep breath, (I shouldn’t…) before feeling the tension that had been building throughout his body for weeks begging to be released.

(I really shouldn’t…)

His eyes continued roaming the street, hoping to find someone looking at him so he could justify the knots filling all of his muscles, not even noticing his tail slowly unwrapping from around his body.

(Eh, screw it.)

He finally relented as he quickly dropped to all four his tail trailing behind him.

He gripped the ground, feeling an even stronger tension building in his fingertips.

(No, I’m already cheating enough for one day…) he told himself, stretching his muscles out as he crouched closer to the ground, waiting for the ideal moment to make his move.

The moment the bus engine started the world paused for a split-second, before speeding up as he kicked off the ground, lunging for the side of the bus, so he could kick off it, and leap high enough to grip the corner of the bus, before pulling himself onto the roof.

Once aboard he froze, settling his grip just enough to keep him from falling off, but not so much he couldn’t feel the wind moving around him, as if he was moving faster than he could ever allow himself to walk or run.

(If there’s one thing I’ve missed…) he thought to himself savoring the feeling only for disappointment to settle in as the bus slowed down for a stop sign.

(Right… not actually going all that fast) he sighed, before flattening against the bus, so people would be less likely to notice the dejected teenager surfing atop the vehicle with ease.

(Oh, what I wouldn’t give to just really move again…) He thought as the tension in his muscles slowly returned their moment of bliss already fading.

(Maybe I can talk mamá and papá into another camping trip this weekend?)

(Then again, they’ll want to bring Des or Nadya, and I can’t hide from all of them long enough to really enjoy it…)

He shifted uncomfortably thinking about his friends.

(Maybe I could tell them… I mean Des came out of the closet, to me. I’d just be showing the same level of trust…)

(And Nadya, if I actually work up the nerve to confess…)

He moved his body trying to make himself even smaller than before in the face of the only anxiety that could actually control him.

(Who am I kidding, the only reason I haven’t confessed is because as a friend I can hide what I am, but as anything more she’d eventually find out…)

His tail curled around him.

The bus stopped again, though this time he noticed there were more voices than at the other stops. Sitting up slightly, he saw his high school and a few dozen kids wandering here and there in the hour before school.

(And the first act of my day comes to an end.) he thought looking for a place to dismount the bus, without drawing the attention of any of the self-centered teenagers too caught up in their own drama, and morning drowse to actually notice him.

His teeth itched, as his eyes fell on a choice branch sticking out from one of the courtyard trees students sat under when waiting for classes before school, or their rides after.

(Eh, better safe than sorry.) he told himself, before crouching for another leap.

Once more in a stance on all four; he began applying even more pressure to his legs before grimacing.

(No, too much pressure and I might leave a noticeable dent in the bus…)

(Used to, I didn’t even have to remind myself about that…) he sighed scratching the back of his head, before resuming his stance and lunging at a space just above tree branch, and flipping once in the air so that he’d land on his feet.

The branch shook more than he was expecting, causing several leaves to fall on the students below him.

(Sloppy!)

Before the students could look up, he quickly climbed to the branch further above him in the tree, before freezing as he held himself as small as possible, letting static fill his head as his dark grey hoodie blend in with tree shadows, and he slowly faded outside the range anyone could notice.

After a moment, when the students had yet to look up, he let out the breath he’d been holding, before smirking.

(I’m seriously overestimating the awareness of my age group.)

No longer worried about getting caught, he righted himself, so that he was sitting crouched on the tree branch, half-hidden by the leaves and shadows of the tree, and completely hidden by the fact so few people ever bothered to look up.

(Now what? I can’t spend all day in a tree…)

He licked his teeth as he watched the courtyard below, cupping both sides of his head with his hands and scratching the top of his head with his tail.

(Too many people by the front door, so unless I can match Chess’s perception filter that’s a ‘no go’…)

(Roof entrance?)

His eyes drifted to the rooftop a few dozen yards from him.

(Nah, teachers go there to smoke before class. Don’t really want to explain how I got on the roof…)

(Field entrance?)

He paused before letting his eyes fall on the near empty track.

(Yeah… I don’t think the sports teams have morning practice today, so there can’t be too many people there.)

He hopped off the branch he’d been crouched upon and grabbed another branch before placing his feet along the tree’s trunk and aiming at another tree, closer to the side of the building.

(Steady…)

His eyes watched the various students milling about below him, taking note of each one with an almost inhuman level of perception.

(The ones far enough away to see won’t notice if I’m fast enough, and the ones close enough to see are too busy talking to each other, or on their phones, so…)

He rolled his shoulders, before taking a deep breath and kicking off the tree hard enough to crack the bark, which (most likely) would regrow before anyone would actually bother to check a spot twelve feet up a tree.

As he flew through the air, he didn’t bother flipping to land on his feet but instead stuck out his hands to catch a branch as he brought his knees to his chest, before leaping to the corner of the building.

Just as he was about to pass the edge, his hand shot out and gripped the building’s corner, as a black mist poured from where his skin made contact with the brick work.

In a feat of agility, he twisted his body before running along the wall, letting static fill his head as he slid his hand along the brick in case gravity got a little too grabby.

As his body neared the ground, he pressed his hand into the wall with a small burst of black mist before kicking off and rolling into a stand as he hit the ground.

(Witnesses?)

Instinctively his eyes moved all around him as he took a step towards the front of the building. Noting that no one was looking his way, or making any other signs of having noticed him, he nodded to himself a slight smirk on his face as he turned to the back of the building.

(Door is locked.)

(They prefer students coming in where they can see them… Not a problem though.)

His tail unwrapped from around his waist.

(Been a while since I picked a lock with my tail.)

He grinned, before freezing.

(Wait…)

His eyes drifted around the empty track.

(I’m on the ground and no one’s noticed me…)

(Why do I need to break into the building, unseen?)

(It’s probably better if I just go in through the front…)

Reluctantly his tail wrapped back around his waist, before his shoulders drooped with a melancholy sigh.

“Well… it was fun while it lasted…” he told himself, before making his way to the front of the building, trying not to think of his tensing muscles, his itching teeth, or the way his burning finger tips, and he made absolutely sure not to think of the near whimpering in the back of his head begging for a truer taste of freedom.

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Arthicern

  • A Delightful Denizen of Demented Distinguish

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