Chapter sixteen: Growing pain

Chapter sixteen: Growing pain

A Chapter by Thatonedawg
"

A dismal day with Gene, until Phelix arrives! Enjoy!

"

-16- Growing pain

 

“Issac, kid? Hey bud, sorry to wake you. Just wanted to say I should get off early today and I made you breakfast!” Urving’s face was draped with unsoothed fatigue, as I sat up and was greeted by him. “Hope you have a good day buddy! Phelix and Gene oughta be over later!” Adding this he stood back up, revealing he was in a suit today.


“O-ok... Thanks man! Call me on your break if you can...” I was really out of it, I’m unsure why I requested this in my delirium.

 

“Of course!” His voice reached toward roaring, but my alarm quieted him down. “Not a problem kid, have a good day!” Urving fixed my blankets then stomped out, his normal footsteps like cannon fire.

 

It was easy to return to sleep, but I found grasping it continually to be a problem. I woke up maybe twenty or thirty minutes after Urving left. Again I fell back asleep quickly, but awoke in another matter of minutes. This wont work... Laying about absently, I stared at the light of outside as it stretched across my ceiling. In my head, I would mark points on the ceiling, declaring when the light reached it, I would have to get up. The comfort of this warm, sunny Friday morning had me extend that mark a few times. Eventually, I swung my self up out of bed, stood and stretched, then went to have a shower.

 

All my apprehension and justified fear aside, haing a shower again is a god send! You would think it wouldn't bother you, given you are trying to survive and all, but I hate that feeling... The constant building grime and filth, no way to truly rid yourself of it! I was actually a modicum grateful when I awoke in the HMA’s cage, completely cleaned. It’s funny thinking of that, as now I wash myself of the most minor dirt and microscopic debris.


Breakfast was nice, scrambled eggs, toast, and some waffles. Urving is getting much better about my portions and how much I can eat, though I will out grow them with time. Being on the run, I feared my proper growth from lack of sustenance, so I am grateful to never have to worry about that again! This is the part I have grown to both love and hate... That intermitten time between my waking and the arrival of my company that day. Assumedly, this cant keep up forever, this was to make sure I didn't run away or worse...


I appreciate this time because, well, who doesn't like sometime to themselves? It is nice to not have social obligations and conversations to follow. The serenity of silence was a only broken by the random, muffled chirping of outside birds. Someone started a car nearby and I jumped, then shook myself out and chuckled. During my free time, I relaxed, finished my coffee, read the paper, cleaned up my room and bathroom, then did my dishes. Anything to keep my mind occupied.


Being alone can backfire when you have such wicked, sinister things trying to enter your mind. Horrid thoughts can seep through there mental cages when we are alone, with no other voices in our heads... It is unavoidable, the lonely mind brings nothing good. That's why we have TV! Clicking on the television, I plopped on the couch and tried to banish the darkness from my brain. Easier said than done, but I can cope. Some of these shows are interesting enough to take my mind away! Seeing classic, ye olde, tales like robinhood or king Arthur retold through anthronian vision is enjoyably visceral. It didn't last long though and I was soon changing channels.


Stretching out, a loud yawn escaped me and I thought about napping here, while the news drones on. Constant similarities have dwindled my interest in the stories, but I keep watching, knowing I’ll absorb some nugget of knowledge from it. Peeking at the time, I noticed something that made me sit up. Scanning the coffee table, I saw something had my name on it! Picking up the folded bundle of thick paper, I peeled off the sticky note, which held crude letters spelling my name. I read the title allowed, smiling at the thought he put in this.


“Human beings: An overview of our furless friends!” I read aloud with a small chuckle.


It was blue, a pleasing cerulean, and it only had about four pages, but it was crammed with text and pictures. The cover depicted of a row of humans, all shapes and colors, with varying sets of paws on each shoulder. The faces each human displayed ranged from happy to scared, but even frightened was portrayed more like uncomfortable... Inside cover was mostly text, though a cartoony vetruvian man was also present at the top. This is too weird, it’s just so strange seeing my own species subjectively spoken of. Like the entirety of human acheviement is a little more than a footnote to them... From our earliest monuments to our advances in science, we’re a joke! The way we were paraded across the stars, all that we built and preserved left like trash, only to find our freedom must be earned here... This is disgusting in a way, it’s extremely denigrating to anyone who ever breathed the air of earth, walk its ground, lived the struggle... Taking a deep breath, I recentered myself and began to read, trying to keep an open mind. This is what Urving read and he has been a really good friends, maybe it isn’t all that bad!

“Human kind, as the species calls themselves, are the natural enhabitants of Te Ra Na, or “Earth” as the humans have named it. The species themselves, as many know, are evolved, industrious, adventurous, and volatile. Even though these furless martians can be dangerous, it is not something inherent to the species! It greatly varies from human to human, but most are friendly and attempt peaceful social interaction! Almost all humans value intelligence and no longer view physical prowess for the means of combat! They are a strange race that have many different individual cultures and lifestyles, making them astoundingly diverse! In these pages you will learn almost all you need to know about adopting a human of your very own! With such a vast variety, you will certainly find one to be your very best friend!”


Well... ok, it’s a little creepy, but it’s sort of uplifting! Nothing about enslave the skinned masses and it isn’t a takeout menu, so I’m relieved. Actually reading over this little introduction again, I’m a bit more alieved we aren’t depicted as monstrous to them! I mean, damn, with all the s**t in our history... not to mention the ground war certainly still happening on earth... I am glad they chose such an opening way of first exposing the ignorant or unknowing to my kind. Though it makes me uneasy, seeing a third party view of mankind, I had to read on, a curious fire blazing inside me. The next panel was titled, “Physicalities”.


“Most fully grown human beings range in size between five to six feet tall, sometimes more, and usually weight between onehundred to twohundred pounds. They live between sixtyfive to eightyfive years old, but doctors are working to extend that. Regardless of standards, you will find humans in literally all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles! A typical human being is not very strong physically, but they make up for that in tenacity! Many humans display remarkable prowess, regardless of given size, limited strength, and less stamina! Respecting what a human can do is incredibly important! We currently know little about humanities evolution and origin, but when tested, average human DNA usually presents traits from several differing forms of animalia! So wer are more alike than you’d think! Human beings are fragile and you should avoid any rough physical activities with them until you are aware of your humans pain tolerance level. Remember, even when punishing a humans misdeeds, it is completely unlawful to harm a human being purposefully! They are our friends and just need your help to make our home, theirs as well!”

 

Well alright, this section is fairly acceptable, nothing awful... That jab about us being weak was uncalled for, yet it felt necessary to state. If Urving didn't know any better, he could seriously injured me! A lot of this seems fair so far, I’m unsure why I assumed otherwise... Probably because countless movies, tv shows, books, and games prepared me for aliens to invade with little regard for human life. To see us being boosted, put on a pedestal, that was uplifting! Any legitimately interested reader, is meant to attach some responsibility to the task. Though not deeply informative, this is a good start to anyone who needs to quickly adapt to having human culture in their lives! It’s also so relieving to hear there are laws in place to protect us! My eyes moved to the next block of text, which was labled “Personalities”.


“All humans are different, not just in appearance, but in how they think, feel, act, and live. Unlike us, they are not governed by species based instinctual mentality and there for, usually share no common way of thinking, save core self preservation and cultural influences. This makes them utterly unique at times! Some are creative, loud, and outgoing! Where others are serious, quiet, and reserved. It is incredibly difficult to find two humans that are the exact same, even if they look it! It is important to remember that all human beings are going to be incredibly skiddish, uncomfortable, and even aggressive at first... If this persists, it is unwise to continue caring for that human without seeking help from the HMA. Remember to give them time alone, do not smother your human, and treat them as equally as you possibly can. Patience will help this awkward phase pass and you will find a lot of humans are just as social as we are! Support your human, help them grow, learn about them, and do not judge mistakes. Confidence, comfort, and cooperation are the three most important milestones for your relationship with a human!”


Alright, now that one changes my view a little. Plus the cartoony conversation between humans and anthronians if much more relatable, than a mock up of a historical symbol. Our dignity may have taken a major hit as a species, but the enduring spirit, the will to survive, that will help us rebuild... anywhere! Anthronians have a fairly accurate view of how many of us will react. I assume the first few years must’ve been difficult, many of us fighting for our escape, with any means necessary. It isn’t a simple fate to accept... It’s even worse to admit it’s our fault, we destroyed our home! At least we have kind neighbors down the metaphorical street with plenty of room. What would’ve happened had we not been under observation? My life would’ve become a hellish struggle for shelter, food, water, other resources, and of course my safety. We would all eventually perish... Every last human being, every last personality, every ounce of effort would’ve been erased from existence, never even being a memory... Wow... I couldn't keep reading right away, I just stared blankly at the words. F**k... we really owe them a lot. Eventually my mind caught up, the next section was labled “Neccesities”.

 

“It’s very important to properly care for your human and have enough funds to sufficiently sustain the needs of your new friend. Depending on there weight, age, and preference you may be spending between 200C to 600C extra on food per month! That can really add up and your furless friend cant help you right away! Human beings also prefer to wear “clothes”, which you have no doubt seen at some point now. At the very least you should purchase clothing for your human, so they feel comfortable being seen! It is recomended an owner wear clothing for a week before purchasing a human and continue for the first week of ownership. This can also become expensive, ranging from 100C to 400C or more per year! Finally it is important to touch up on medical expenses! Not knowing when your new pal will get sick, injured, or worse is worrysome, but knowing you can take care of them puts ones mind at ease! Set aside a small fund of at least 1000C to 2500C (recommended up to 5000C), just incase you find your friend under the weather. If you add all of this up, alongside miscellaneous bills and costs, a human can often be a costly endeavor. Plan wisely!”


My heart swelled and I felt a little bad after reading this section... This shows they really do care about our lives here, making it easy for us to adapt. The way we are put on display though still creeps me out, I don't think I can ever get over that, but still... They even talk about god damn medical plans and stuff! It has a little chart based on our age, how much should be kept on hand. Did Urving have to do all these things? Am... am I costing all this money? How can this be so fun for him? I’m a leech! I’m a worthless, money draining, soul staining blemish on Urving’s life! Why did he choose me? Surely there were others who stacked up better? I cant be worth all this extra planning, effort, and concideration! At least I don't think I am... Urving must see it differently... I had to move on, staring at these numbers is killing me right now! Atop the next panel was the heading which read “Ownership”.

 

“When you ask your new best friend to embue their contract, you become liable for anything and everything this human being does on our world. Even though it is frowned upon to strongly embrace, you technically own that human beings life and can govern them however you choose. Human beings prefer freedom, but insuring their safety requires, in essence, the complete opposite of that. Naturally they show great aversion to ownership and all the sacrifices they will have to make. It is your job to provide a safe home, the offer of friendship, absolute understanding, and an opportunity to join our society. Do not be upset if the specific human you fall for, ends up not wanting to be yours. Remember it is ultimately their decision! Owning a human being is a huge responsibility and you will be taking care of them for life, make sure this is something you absolutely want before taking a new life into your home. We here at the HMA are proud to be helping and inferior race, rise to the glories of our achievements and prosperities. We ask that anyone bringing a human being into there home, embody this mentality!”

 

That is brutally blunt at some points. Almost like they are admitting we are pretty much pets or servants, never equals, though they stated it above. It’s almost like this was written to appeal to the cruel, domineering anthronians out there, who just want a slave. It’s an appeal for our safety, to a vicious and uncaring group of the populous. What’s worse, it shows how uncaring they are for the personal desires many of us lost, the aspirations our lives once held. Instead they dress up the fact we are pets with the illusion of friendship and guardianship! I would say this is all lies, but in reality it is just too visceral for me to handle. I’m reading a s****y breakdown of what owning a human life should be like! This is a pretext to my encarceration on this planet and the permanent binding of my life to a complete stranger... In this one text they told me as a human being, I am never going to truly matter here! That cant be true, but they treat us like an item at times, like a mere belonging... There’s only three more sections. I don't want to, but I’m going to finish this... “Kinship” came next.

 

“As stated above, it is incredibly important to want a human. This should not be because you see them for your own personal entertainment or benefit, but because you desire a source of companionship in your life. Human beings bond very fiercely and they will love you with time and effort, but you have to earn it. It is not an easy thing to accomplish, trust and understanding is the foundation you build first. After your human trusts you, try to reach them on a personal level! Get to know them, just like you would any other anthro! You are the friend they didn't know they had and you are helping them out of a crisis they couldn't avoid! Pity isn’t a good word for such an enduring creature, but show sympathy and try to give them a happy life. Even if it isn’t much, most humans will be so astounded to be on our planet, that even humble lives will do fine. Bringing a human into your life is so rewarding, but is a long, arduos path. Love and friendship are keys that will open shortcuts along this route.”

 

Bordering the right hand side of this paragraph were four images, depicting a human adoption. Though the drawn human was much older, this short comic depicted what has happened to me thus far. I can’t begin to tell you how inspiring it felt to see, even a cartoon, find happiness at last. It’s all kinda corny, but considering the article preceeding it, I appreciate the undeviating candor presented. This part probably resonated the heaviest with Urving. Hell, he could’ve written this himself come to think of it! There is a clear purposed parallel between these last two paragraphs. The “Ownership” portion was a warning, stating our dissatisfaction with the situation, but this... It’s what the entire pamphlet needs to be! Every page, paragraph, and word should be inviting, uplifting, and... hopeful... My god that’s so naïve of me... This would be useless if it was a flowery, watered down excuse for information! Jesus, who would’ve thought this was such an emotional roller coaster! I imagine hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of these were printed, yet it’s wracking me to the core with powerful emotions, both negative and positive.

 

The last two paragraphs would have to wait, for a sound filled the household and I stood from the sudden alertion. It was the doorbell, then light pounding, then the doorbell in rapid succession. They sounded pissed, had I been lost in the pages of that poignant, yet pointless pamphlet? Rushing to see who it was, I found myself heading straight for the door, before uncertainty had me going to the kitchen window. Whoever was waiting didn't like it outside... Each second I spent trying to reach the kitchen counter added more fury to the knocking and ringing. Checking the window, I was face to face with a scowl of demonic proportions! Genevide stood outside, staring into me with portals of pure malice! I nearly fell from the countertop, but managed to land safely and run for the door. F**k man this is gonna suck, Phelix isn’t even here! She’s just so pissy... I don't wanna deal with this bullshit right now!


“Heya Gene, good to see ya!” I was totally out of breath, my words rasping my dry throat.

 

“Gods above finally!” She scoffed, entering without so much as a glance my way. “F*****g Barkley, I’ll kill him... What took you so long?” Gene hissed, immediately entering the bathroom.


Well that was about what I expected... I could hear her cussing and sense the aggravation in her voice. It was clear Barkley not giving the housekey to Skia and Isolde, effected Genevide as well. What a fantastic way to start off a day with someone who already obviously hated me! It was taking her awhile, so I just resumed reading my pamphlet awkwardly. It was hard to focus hearing her frustration being vented in a phone call with... whoever... This last labled paragraph was called “Proprietorship”, which is a funny word you don't hear often.

 

“Forging a contract with a human is like taking in a new member of the family. Whether they be elderly or an infant, you are now responsible for them. They will know absolutely nothing about our world and that is not something you can take for granted! Any legal troubles that unfurl will be your job to resolve! Any debt they accrue, is yours to pay! Any offspring they have or give birth too, you have to help raise! Human beings are permiscuous, resourceful, and unpredictable! You cant forsee the problems one of them may cause you, but if you truly want to help, it is a rewarding experience worth some hardship. Remember to read the official ownership manual of sentient lifeforms: sections A1 through D13. You will be tested on these laws in official court of ordination. Failure to pass or comply will result in license denial, possibly indefinitely. Remember, this is a privaledge, not a right. We ask that you respect this fact and take it to heart.”

 

A small flourish of guilt was followed by uncertainty, then pounding shame. Urving went through a lot, a whole lot, just for me. A perturbatious and destructive creature, he barely understands, but is willing to give up so much for! Well... that does show he wants a human, doesn't it? Everything in this pamphlet is either good or bad, it doesn't show a lot of middle ground... The fact that Urving wanted to hold onto this speaks miles for him. This... me being here means a lot... There was a tiny paragraph on the very last page, so I tried to read it quickly, hoping Gene would give me the time.

 

“In conclusion we here at the HMA ask you to think very hard on the subject of human adoption. It is a major step in a very enriching direction, but it leads down a strenuous road. We heavily encourage any interested adopter to meet with the suggested candidates several times before you make an official decision. In the end if it appears like this isn’t for you, that’s alright! You are not a bad anthro for changing your mind or perhaps those humans weren’t good matches! Once you bring one into your home, you will resonate with this human for the rest of his/her life... Whatever happens to you, good or bad, they will be there. It is your job to protect them long enough for them to understand our worlds basic dangers. It will be up to you to help them integrate with our ways of living. The HMA understands the humanoid migration has taken its toll on the entire planet, but that is no reason to give up. Hopefully you share in this mindset and find it in your heart to help. Many furthered texts, seminars, and sites exist to further understand human culture and the laws surrounding adoption. We thank you for your interest citizen!”

 

Now that I am done reading this, I feel demoralized as a human. Of course this isn’t meant for me to read, but still, it makes us out to be pathetic! With all we’ve done, the perils our society has overcame and conquered, how can we be so belittled? Compared to them, are we in the dark ages of existence? Does the fact that wars and violence occur rampantly show we are underdeveloped? I’ve seen there news, no war, absolutely none... They have random crimes, acts of barbarity, but it is nothing compared to the free flowing aggression humanity had to offer. Even though some paragraphs are flowery, this is terribly downtrodden in entirety. They make it out like we cant even care for ourselves and that freeing us on the planet would result in our demise. Well... F**k... We did rape our planet down to a decaying husk. They imagine we would do that here somehow! It is at least nice to see they want our safety overall... I just cant stand the way they patronize us! Did they not see all we built? Did nothing about our mastery of science or construction impress them? God now I gotta deal with Gene, jesus. Tossing the pamphlet on the table, It unfurled slightly, revealing the happy human portrait, which my eyes gravitated toward.

 

The door opened and a loud sigh emerged before Gene. “Why the hell did I agree to this?” She muttered, barely loud enough to be words.


Genevide didn't even look at me as she passed by and entered the kitchen. It was awkward for me, sitting there in silence, well aware this was going to be a long, bleak day. She returned with Urving’s tequila, or what ever it is... It’s a cactus shaped bottle, so I am just assuming. It’s not even one o’ clock! God damn woman... She was just knocking it back too! Shot after shot of the heavily scented gold liquid entered her mouth, but she didn't flinch once. This went on for quite a while, each cluster of drinks only parted with a tiny break. I didn't realize, but I had been staring practically the whole time and her amethyst eyes sliced to me mid drink.

 

“What?” She asked annoyed and angry.

 

“N-nothing... Is, uh, is Phelix coming by?” I asked hoping and praying for a yes.


“Yeah in an hour or two, after his interview.” She took her shot and sneered. “It’s not my fault it’s boring as hell here. Don't act like I’m not the highpoint of your day.” This was said in a joking tone, but ouch...

 

“Yeah... hehe...” I got up and went for the bathroom, I’d spend as long as I could in there.

 

Didn't even have to go, just didn't feel welcome... in my so called home. I slumped against the wall, tid bits of the pamphlet poking out from my mind as I messaged Urving. Knowing I’d have to go back out there, I decided it would be best to try making friends with her. She cant be literally evil if Phelix is with her, he’s so nice!

 

“Hey Gene, did you want to play Dread bringer or something? Know any good movies?” Just try to be polite, whatever she says, be nice Issac.

 

“Sure, got nothing better to do...” Gene had stopped for a moment, her reaction to the booze finally surfacing.


Turning on the game I was pleased that this was happening. It’ll keep us from having to personally interact and pass time quicker. Unfortunately, all she wanted to do was deathmatch, which is painfully personal. Each time I inevitably lost, though it was a good fight, she had loads of insults to hurl my way. It didn't hurt my feelings, she was sort of drunk and I was willing to let a few mean words slide.

 

“You suck skin sack!” Gene’s character wielded a bow, which made fist fighting her near impossible. “Glad you’re new, I’d feel a little bad if you were trying really hard.” She chuckled as again it displayed “loser” for me.


She wasn't as high level or well equipped as the guys, but I doubt she plays this a lot. Her character was in typical leather armor, a large buckle holding it closed around her waist, sporting a hood as well. Whiskers and a muzzle poked out from within this hood. Sleek in form, her avatar resembled her the strongest out of everyone so far.

 

“God this is just sad! I’m a little drunk too!” Gene shoved me, quite forcefully. “My aim is just too good! Look at that, all headshots!” She exclaimed, taking another victory shot, the controller gloves not removing themselves, so her character entered a frenzy of movements.


Her powers were rediculous! Assuming this is ranger class, I may try it next. She could fire multiple arrows in a spread pattern, slide swiftly while firing, shoot in the air, as well as fire a mildly tracking arrow, which she saved for the killshot. Add this with pretty decent close combat fighting as well and I found it near impossible to defeat. Her aim was getting sloppy though, I can win one of these!

 

“You got close! Look at that though!” She relished in my characters gagging on blood, throat wide open. “I’m getting bored of winning, ya know what I mean? Suppose ya wouldn't.” My god she’s getting annoying.


With my new strategy in mind, I put a plan into action. I immediately jumped her splay of arrows and hit the ground rolling. Her shots sunk into the dirt as I zig-zagged toward her, strafing and sprinting at once. Drawing close, she armed her knife, but I had no intention of just fighting. Leaping straight up, I sent her avatar flying with a meteor punch! Before she even touched down, I launched a flying side kick, tossing her even further. As she recovered I delivered a stomp, one of my most powerful basic attacks.

“Suck it p***y cat!” I taunted, finally seeing the gleaming “winner” banner.


I didn't get to admire it long, as Genevide shoved me to the floor! It wasn't friendly either, she scoffed, scowled, then her claws lashed out. Where she made contact, three bleeding cuts now existed, a fourth puncture wound also visible on my forearm. Turning over I found her standing over me, one hand spread and bearing claws tipped with my blood. She looked furious, unimaginably angry, as she pierced me with eyes of malice! What the hell? Genevide is a mean spiritied b***h! That was nothing, I hardly said anything!

 

With my eyes wide and my heart pounding, I looked into her vicious eyes, which shrunk into vicious little slashes. Both pupils slowly shrank away until they were near invisible and sheets of raging color stared into me! Gene lifted me by the shirt, I tried to speak, but was cut off by the choking force of being pulled up. Lifting me to a seated position, she leaned down and her furious face was suddenly in front of mine. Whiskers made me squint, but I could not take my eyes from the hell storm stare she wore. Please don't hurt me, god, my arm stings like a b***h! My fear was set ot overdrive once Gene’s claw latched to my throat and her blazing eyes crumbled my defenses! Oh f**k, please don't kill me! What the hell did I do wrong?


“What the f**k did you just say?” Her voice projected the scent of alcohol, as she drug me closer to her face.


“G-Gene stop! I was only joking! Please, stop!” I squirmed, barely moving at all, as I swatted her paw from my neck.


She released a small hiss upon being struck, but as the violet infernos that were her eyes turned back to me, I saw her shift. Her eyes examined the situation tensely, sharp tiny motions taking in my cowering form. Genevide took a moment, standing and inhaling deeply. That's all I saw, next thing I knew I was running for my room. She commented on my fleeing, but I didn't hear her fully, just that I was a “coward” in her eyes. Holy s**t what was that! Her drunk a*s just attacked me! I... I’m shaking so badly... I want her to leave, just go away, I’ll spend today alone!

 

Blood and thin tears ran along my arm and face respectively. I wasn't afraid, more just shocked and in pain. Ouch, damn she cut me bad! F**k... I don't... I’m afraid to leave my room. What the hell just happened, why would she react like that? Unlocking the door as quietly as I could, I darted to the bathroom, then locked myself in. Searching through my medicine cabinet, I couldn't find bandages or rubbing alcohol. There wasn't any gauze either, how do I treat my... Wait... what’s this?

 

It was light beige, a bit large for me, but that makes sense. It was definitely anthronian in origin. Sort of looked like a hand vacuum or some kind of clothing iron... A small green leaf and a plus sign graced the rubber handle. Pressing the red button, the other was black, I found it produced a tiny green arc of electricity. This humming, sparking sound was somewhat pleasant. Compelled by my inner child, I touched the electric arc, which hurt, but not nearly as much as I’d expect. Running it over my hand I felt a weird sensation and decided I shouldn't be doing this, until I noticed something! Part of a scar had vanished! My hands are scarred in several places, but one had been partially erased by this skin repair lazer... Wow, this thing is just wicked cool! I rolled up my sleeve and bit down on my shirt, then ran it over my wounds. Holy s**t it hurt so much more on open cuts! I let out a little yelp of pain, but it was over before I knew it. My arm no longer had a wound, just the blood shed by its existence.

 

Wiping away some excess blood, I examined the handy regeneration laser and turned it off. No wonder we are lesser beings... Look at this technology! They are able to mend wounds without effort! This thing looks old, too! What are some of the others household marvels I’ve yet to discover here? What kind of stuff is in the works? This planet must be so far ahead of earth that we cant even see them anymore! They’ve lapped us a few times in terms of technology... Holy s**t... A small sigh escaped me as I set the flesh repairer on the little pedestal, where it had been. They are superior, in practically all ways... Gene just pushed me around for being too cocky for crying out loud! Man, why did Urving bring me here if he’s never home? I’m suffering from lonliness now! Scratch that, I’d love to be alone right now...

 

“Hey, kid, wait!” Gene was awaiting my exit, she tried to hold the door as I closed it. “Look, forgive me, it’s just my nature! I cant control it sometimes! Plus I’ve been drinking...” This wasn't really an apology from the sounds of it, but intrigue led me to open the door.


“Really? Cuz you looked like you wanted to kill me...” I peeked through to find her leaning against the opposite wall.

 

“It’d be a lie if I said I didn't want to hurt you. I’m a Kashiki. I have more instinct than other cats.” She cleaned her claws tenderly, my blood something she appeared eager to consume. “I wont apologize for it, I was born this way and I cant change. Think of it as tough love.” Gene smirked and went to touch my shoulder, but I ducked back, scowling at her. “Yeesh, take it easy kid! Not like I’m lethal all the time, just don't piss me off!” Genevide flicked her tail as she turned, her carelessness growing a fire in my stomach.


What a grade A cun-... No, that word is never appropriate. What the f**k was that though? How in the hell can she maintain such a abrasive attitude, when she clearly has mental issues or something! Genevide hasn't been nice from the get go, but I chalked that up to her not wanting to be here... Now I know, like the wolf who tried to eat me, some of them are truly dangerous. With differed aiming, her claws could easily of struck my throat or face... Gene could’ve cared less, she practically relished my blood from her claws, and views me as weak or pitiful... Then again, don't they all? Aren’t all of us meek creatures to them, too inferior to determine our own fates, and so weak existing is a threat to our lives? God, it makes me so angry! If I... If I’d of known, I could’ve defended myself! She wouldn't have... I would’ve beaten the... Let’s not go down that road. She’s not worth the added pain...

 

Sitting in my room, I messaged Urving again. Without directly referencing the fact Gene had clawed me, I asked what a “Kashiki” was to try and open the conversation. Saddly, Urving hadn’t texted me back, no calls, no video messages... Nothing... It may not have seemed like much, what just happened, but I was livid. Shock made it hard to grasp myself properly, but I... I felt like I did when I was a runner, when I was fighting for freedom. My hands trembled without reason, eyes are darting anxiously, my ears open and more alert... Things suddenly became weapons, tools, provisions... My own reflection felt marred, for no mud or paint obscured my image. I don't like this, I don't like this feeling... I’m so f*****g angry! I want to... I want revenge! Yet, unlike her, I recognize that to be wrong! I know that I shouldn’t try to hurt anyone, for any reason! Bottling up my rage, slivers of fear grew, for that side of me is dangerous and greatly unwanted...


A knock suddenly hit my door causing me to jump out of my own mind. “Hey, kid, can I come in?” Gene’s voice sounded less aggressive.


“C-can’t you talk from there?” I questioned her motives, but all I got was a scoff.

 

“I just wanted to tell you Phelix’s on his way. Don't... Don't tell him I lost control, alright?” Her voice said please for her, as normally her tone is biting and rude.


“Yeah, alright...” I replied, sullenly accepting not only abuse, but her corrupt and inequal treatment.


“Good. Like I said, think of it as tough love! I’ll make ya stronger!” This backhanded addition had me grinding my teeth, blood boiling in my veins.

 

I think the “C” word is appropriate for Genevide, though I’d not be the one to say it! All I can say is thank god Urving doesn't have these “instincts” she speaks of. Even though I am treated like a child, someones pet, a lesser lifeform, abuse has never been attached to these mentally tirmultious titles. Sighing at my phone, as it yet again stared back at me, blank screened and void of notification icons. Urving must be really busy today, or... whatever...

 

Leaning back in bed, I started going through my phone, hoping to pass time until today was over. I’m not ready to feel better, though when Phelix arrives, I shall have to. If I don't pretend, Gene’s cover will be blown and she could attack again! Hopefully, Phelix could intervein and stop her. I am aware the shock and fear is blowing the situation out of proportion. She basically threw a temper tantrum for losing... I just cant get over how easily she justified wounding me and then how uncaring she was after the fact! It scared me, she acted like it was totally fine, nothing to be alarmed with, oh darn the humans bleeding! Don't tell anyone! Well screw you b***h, I agreed not to say anything to Phelix, but when Urving gets home, I’m telling him everything! Jesus Christ, I’ve been reduced to threats of tattling...

 

“Hey babe! How’s today been?” Phelix’s voice entered the household, shortly after the doorbell rang. “Where’s Issac? Yeah, the interview went good! I think I have a good chance! Where’s Iza?” His stubby legs carried his voice toward my door.


“He’s been in there most of the day.” Gene replied. Of course I have you psycho!

 

“Kid, ya awake?” Phelix called softly, but I was ready and I opened the door without so much as a sound.


“Hey Phelix, whats up?” I asked with a smile, much to my chagrin.


“Why ya hiding back here? Gene scare ya off?” Phelix joked, nudging her and I.


Genevide laughed bigger than normal, her eyes piercing into me when our stares met. “Nah, I was just messaging Urving! Heard you had an interview? What for?” I asked waving them to come in, but they meandered at the door.


“Trash master! I’ve been really trying to find a syndicate job, so here’s hoping!” Phelix crossed his fuzzy fingers, his claws much less threatening then Gene’s. “I brought some grub, ya hungry?” Phelix waved me out invitingly and Gene had already begun to walk away.


“Yeah, thanks. I’m pretty hungry.” Oh and by the way, your girlfriend is a monster!

 

“I just got some cheapo burgers, hope that's cool. Not as loaded as Barkley or Urving!” Phelix was not afraid to laugh at his lifes short comings.

 

“Of course! You should’ve seen some of the stuff I had to eat on earth!” If he can embrace his follies, I can just as easily.

 

You’d be surprised how hard that comment made us laugh. Phelix has a bright, childish energy about him always. He was not above poking fun, but never wanted to hurt your feelings. The kind of guy, more comfortable making fun of himself, so others can laugh. It was easy to feel jovial around him, similar to the way Urving inspires friendship. Phelix, despite being a weasel, which is perceived as devious and tricky, is a very nice person. Cant say the same about Genevide, then again she is the most fickle creature of all, a cat.


We joined the living room, three small wrapped packages being pushed into my hands by eager Phelix, whom I thanked. Gene ate silently, her eyes very bland, though I could see hints of... I guess regret would be what I’m seeing. Taking a long stare, her eyes cut to me, but I was already looking away. From what I gathered, she was more upset with herself, not with the fact she wounded me. Like my pain was totally neglectable, it was her loss of poise that upset Gene. In a small way, I deserved that pain, not in such an undignified and pointless manner, but I deserve to... suffer...


“Oh man, c’mon! Go go go! Yeah!” Phelix and I cheered for a ralg player, who ran the ball almost the whole length of the field!

 

I only joined in because his volume appeared to be annoying Genevide. I simply wanted to attribute as much aggravation as possible to her thoughts of me. I don't care if she’s a saint who saves kittens (no pun intended), she’ll never be my friend. Trust will never develop, so I could never grow close to her.


“Damn dude, he almost ran the full fivehundred!” Phelix tried to rouse Gene, but found my reaction more appealing.


I’ve heard Urving and Skia say it before, but I’m unsure what it means exactly, I assume the length of the field. It essentially means when a player runs the entire length of the field, then scores a goal. Again, I don't like asking questions... I never did. As Phelix began hollering again, I heard a smaller sound, which I had been awaiting. My pager, it’s the ringtone, or... whatever! Hurriedly, I ran to answer the call, my heart elated with the prospect of getting to talk with Urving, the epitomy of excitement! Assuming the anthronian work week is the same as humans on earth, and that Urving has a normal job, he should have tomorrow off!


“HEY BUDDY! OHMAH GOSH, SO SORRY KID! I FEEL AWFUL, PLEASE DON’T THINK I’MMA TRYIN TO IGNOR-.” Urving’s voice broke and he yielded to my shooshing. “It’s been hell here bud... I’m so sorry!” Urving panted a little, it was as if this time had been rushed to earn.


“Urv, bud, man. It’s all good!” It felt good saying this when it wasn't, just to comfort my friend. “Relax, what’s been going on?” I asked.


His eyes sparkled with what I would say was tears, but he smiled, at looked deeply into his phone. “A lot of people haven’t been very nice... Not everyone’s as polite as you Iza. All day, I’ve been trying to find a chance to call you, message, you, even just a picture of the crowd so you’d understand...” A loud drawn out sigh followed this, as he bowed his head a moment.


“Thanks... I cant lie, I’ve been excited to hear from you!” I chuckled, but before his timebomb of joy could react to that I added. “Gene arrived alone, Barkley didn't show up till only about an hour ago!” Pretending to put a pistol to my head, I got him to laugh with my stage suicide.


“Oh my gods, I feel so bad right now! This day couldn't of gone worse...” He chuckled pawing his muzzle so only his eyes emerged to look at me.

 

“Hey you aren’t the one who had to spend the day with her!” My response got him to jar with a single, powerful laugh.


“Oh yeah, that reminds me... Kashiki is a species of cat. High instinct, small form, like Gene! I’m a Borl bear, it means I’m of low instinctual drive, but I maintain my full genetic form!” Urving flexed, pulling the phone away, to show off his size. “There all are sorts of sub-species, it’s sort of like your human “races” or uh... uhh... “E-e-ethnicities”!” Urving snapped his fingers in a remembering fashion.

 

“Wow, that’s cool! I’d love to learn about them!” This made us both smile, my intrigue and his excitement to share.


“Well I can’t speak for other species, but I can teach you all about my kind when I get home!” Urving was ecstatic over the very idea of this and I was eager to learn.

“Sounds great! Are you off work now?” I asked him and he shook his head, yet looked hopeful.


“Just gotta wait till the stadium clears, then I’ll be on my way! It’s... about an hour drive... Ugh...” He sighed, lowering his head and looking off to the right. “But I don't gotta work tomorrow! We can stay up all night if you wanted?” Urving offered and after today, I couldn't say no.


“Awesome! Hope the stadium empties quick! Who was playing?” I asked, my curiousit making him smile.

“Malice mouse, I guess you’d say he’s a... rhythm poet... Does that translate right?” Urving asked with a confused frown.


“A rapper?” My replying question gave him pause, weary eyes just staring.

“Music... wrappers? Never mind, I’m tired!” We both laughed a moment, but he continued. “It looks like it’s emptying fast, hope I’m home soon bro!” Urving gave a huge grin as he seemed to announce his hanging up.


“Great, thanks for calling. Hope you’re drives smooth!” My reply shrunk his grin to a tiny emotional smirk, squiggling across his face.


“Thanks kid, you... you rock!” He laughed, but I just smiled along. “See ya soon, love ya buddy!” Urving’s phone disconnected, leaving me with a little crossed out lightningbolt.


How have they not developed teleporters? Why are personalized vehicles still the main mode of transport? With such a diverse and bizarre species, you’d think a far more uniform way of getting around would’ve been pursued. Wish I didn't have to go back out there... Sort of have too, but it just feels wrong! Her abuse lit a fire I’d rather have stayed exstinguished. Even at my worst, when I was mentally threatening Urving, he didn't cause this kind of reaction. I literally feel threatened by Gene, not the blunted fear my entire life situation has been entombed by. God I have to forget this... I’ll just make a conscious effort to avoid Genevide and put this all out of my mind. What a b***h though, hopefully karma comes to bite, or claw, her back.


“How’s Urving, thought I heard y’all talking, right?” Phelix asked, leaning back to see me past the armchair.


“Yeah, said he had a real rough night though.” I informed them, receiving mixed reactions.

 

“That sucks man!” Phelix’s sympathy would’ve surely been appreciated.

“How could it of been bad? He said he was at a concert all night!” Gene’s words could’ve been nice, if she didn't have the most spiteful voice ever.


“Man, you know how those get! Some people just get out of hand!” Phelix answered first, which I was glad of, I really don't want to speak to her.


“He said people were just being total a******s!” Though a smile graced my face, I was trying to simply disagree with Gene.


“Sounds like Urving!” Phelix teased. “He never really liked conflict, so a show like that must’ve worn on him.”

 

“Yeah the cry baby...” Genevide muttered, her words barely audible at all.


“He just doesn't wanna ruin anyone’s good time!” I said this, directly staring into Gene’s snooty scowl.


“That’s a good way of looking at it!” Phelix laughed and continued to even when he saw Genevide practically scowling my way.

 

“I need a smoke...” Gene got up quickly, as Phelix began trying to put an arm over her.

 

“Love ya babe!” Phelix is either immune or totally oblvious to her bullshit. “Sorry about leaving you alone with her today...” Perhaps he’s just good at ignoring it?


“N-nah, no problem man! She’s just... a serious person.” Had I let on today was actually awful, maybe Genevide did? “I just don't think she likes me that much, no big deal.”


“Genevide doesn't like anyone at first...” Phelix tried to laugh, but saw I wasn't and sighed a little. “She also... has a weird idea of what “friends” are supposed to be.” He quoted himself, then shook his head and raised a paw to his head. “Nevermind, let’s drop it! I don't wanna spoil the time I get to spend with Urving’s boy!” Phelix slugged me on the arm, then piqued a sudden interest. “Yo, you wanna game? I heard Barkley thrashed you the other day! I don't ususally friendly-fight, so ya wanna just play?” His suggestion was too excited for me to shoot down, though I really didn't want to.

 

Today would’ve been ten times better spent with Phelix and I base that on the three measly minutes we’ve been alone! I can see why he and Urving are friends, they’re very similar. Outgoing, but clumsy. Friendly, yet shameless. Caring, though crass. It doesn't feel right, knowing such a kindhearted person is infatuated with somebody so vile. It reminded me of earthly highschool drama, where someones new relationship would effect friendship at their very core. At least I didn't know Phelix before, as I surely would’ve had some nasty things to say when he met Genevide. I’m thinking to strongly on this, but Phelix deserves better! He’s been cool to me from the get go, so no one should abuse that kindness!


“Have you and Urving been there yet?” Phelix pointed to a tower in the distance, ominous clouds gathered around its tip. “It’s full of demons, really dangerous, but good gear. One of my favorite quests!” He added descending into the valley below.


His offhand comment stirred the cauldron that is my thoughts, sinking my negative feelings to the bottom. This was so similar to playing with Urving, at times I found myself looking for his avatar! Unlike many of the others, Phelix’s character carried a gun! He was the soldier class (I assume) and his weapon of choice was an elaborate rifle, complete with a jagged bayonette. What was odd, and seems to be a trend amongst all videogames, was that his rifle wasn't lethal! Bullets did about the same damage as one of Gene’s arrows, what the hell? I guess it’s just to make it fair, games like this would be unfair if there was a one shot kill weapon of anykind!

 

Phelix’s character wore a more tactical looking suit of armor, mostly leather, but with metal plates. He wore a single shoulder pad, which covered up to his palm, in leather and compacted chains. The torso was basically a vest, leaving his other arm exposed, save a thick glove covering that paw. Both feet were covered in plated boots, gaps in the metal provided for easier movement. His head was crested with a helmet, that fit tightly on his head and produced a pair of spikes from below his chin. Out of everyone so far, Phelix’s character looks the closest to his actual form. He even has the perfect fur color separation, gray eyes, and stubby legs.

 

We journeyed across an expansive valley, which we had to descend into from the surrounding mountains. Flakes of snow falling from the sky gave way to miniscule insects buzzing about, above the fields of wild plant life. In the distance, the ominous tower produces a virulent aura of red light, something us humans also attributed with beings of pure evil. Random animals stood in our way grazing, but we didn't take the time to hunt them.

 

The sky was rapidly darkening, bolts of crimson lightning broke the blackness, leaving trails of dispursing radiance. This imposing tower now seemed to touch the sky itself as we moved into it’s midnight shadow. Eerie fright lined this area, as half eviscerated corpses lined the ground with small fires and shot arrows scattered between. Voices moaned out, agonized and begging, but I saw none stir...


Gene returned just then, shutting her phone and sighing. She threw herself over the armchair, groaning and rubbing her forehead. Boredom projected from her like the stench from a dumpster. The second she entered my good time screeched to a halt, I just do not like her... No one should be that alright with hurting anyone, ever! It wasn't long before she had formulated something to say, surely an aim to further damage my good time.


“You’re gonna get him killed Phelix. This is way to dangerous for a nooby.” Gene turned her gaze to him, but neither of us looked away.

 

“Wanna help? It’ll pass the time till Urving gets here.” Phelix offered to Gene, much to my disappointment.


“Nah, that’s fine... Just wanna go home...” She flashed a glance my way, discomforted and a hint worried, but then rolled her eyes with a sigh.


“Sorry babe, we’ll be back at Barkley’s in no time!” Phelix was just like Urving, unstoppably positive.


“That’s not home...” Her annoyed sigh had me clenching my teeth.


“Yeah, but... We can still... Sorry Gene.” Phelix’s struggling to answer was just pitiful, he shouldn't have to apologize to her!

 

The mood was ruined for now. I didn't feel excited to explore the demon infested tower anymore... Why does life do this? Take good people and painfully thumbtack their emotions to someone so unfriendly. Is this what they mean when they say “opposites attract”? That’s usually spoke with positive connotations, right? A shocking realization took hold and I almost teared up. I treated Urving almost exactly how Gene does Phelix. Though this has changed, immeasurable guilt was paired with this thought. My head understands that my behavior was circumstancial, but my heart shatters knowing how I acted. At least I am willing to make up for it! At least I’m friendly! Dangerous, but friendly... These scratches only begin to repay the blood I have shed, I deserve the pain...

Contrary to Gene’s belief, we made it to the tower with no difficulty at all, though the real challenge waits inside. A long, crumbling stone bridge, just wide enough for a man at a time, rested above a pitch black chasm, which most likely lead to certain (digitized) death. Once across, we stood in front of a make shift camp, with a once glorious, though mangled get beyond it. Several anthronians rose to speak with us, a cutscene drawing the camera to the tigers face. From what I gathered they were trying to banish a powerful demon back to the netherworld, but his powers were too great and the celestial spire is now at risk of collapsing. We offered to help the paladins reclaim the tower and seek revenge for there fallen comrades!


Though the game masked it greatly, Phelix and Gene’s ears reacted to the door opening. “Wassup everyone? How are ya?” Urving entered, the game was paused, and I jumped to my feet.


“Urving! Welcome back!” I was locked in a hug within seconds.


“Heya Issac, thanks! Glad to be back!” He set me down, still patting my shoulders and ruffling my hair.


“How was the concert?” Phelix asked, after getting a friendly pawshake.


“Oh man, so many fights! I had to throw like, eleven people out!” Urving replied, standing with me on his arm.


“That sucks for them! Why buy the tickets then?” Phelix joked with Urving who agreed with this dumb notion.

“Some people just cant hold there liquor! Makes em’ all rowdy!” This joke had me glaring at Gene, but she was on her pager.


“You’re telling me! Remember back at Institute, when we had that party over-.” Phelix began reminissing with his buddy, but that was too much to ask for...


“Can we go please? I’m tired.” Genevide broke the conversation, like a hammer to porcelain.


“Yeah, course babe!” Phelix suddenly remembered something. “Ooh, can we finish that later, when I get back to Barkley’s?” Phelix asked me, his face slimming with disappointment.

 

“Of course! Sounds good!” I nodded and received a fist (paw) bump.

“What were ya guys up to?” Urving leaned into the living room. “Oh man, the celestial spire! Awesome, this’s a good one!” A paw slapped my leg gently as he finished this.


“You don't mind right babe, if Barkley and I play when we-.” Phelix turned to her, but was interrupted.

“Huh? Whatever, I don't care...” She had been on her pager and his question interrupted.


“Well, we’ll hear from ya later! Thanks for coming by you guys!” Urving showed equal discomfort, laughing broadly to clear the air.

 

“Thanks for letting me hang out with your human fat boy!” Phelix hugged Urving, temporarily joinging me in his arms.


“Not a problem twigs, if you’re ever out this way, I’m sure Issac’d be happy to see ya!” Urving replied with a small bounce of his shoulder, to reference me.


“Considering I live on another continent, yeah, that’d be pretty cool!” Phelix replied sharply, then his eyes rose on me. “Sorry I wasn't here earlier Iza! Hope you understand?”


“Of course! Don’t worry man. It was still fun!” I nudged him, shaking free of Urving’s grasp to do so.


“How’d the interview go by the way?” Urving asked offhand as Phelix left.


“Between us guys, awful! But no big deal!” Phelix’s discomfort radiated from Gene hearing, but she was still on her pager. “Just gotta keep trying!” He spoke softer than before.

 

I was shocked he lied to me, but it made sense... “Gotta keep up appearences.” Urving’s laugh was half hearted at best. “Thanks again man, good luck!” He waved to Phelix who was nearing Gene and disappearing in the night.

 

“What a f*****g waste of my time... I know! Gods, it’s just pointless...” Genevide was on the lawn, her phonecall still able to reach our ears.

 

“Bye guys!” Phelix called once he reached her, but was swatted by his girlfriend.


“No, that was Phelix sorry.” Was the last I heard of her today, good riddance.


“See ya Phelix!” I called to him, wanting to remember a proper goodbye.


“Talk you in an hour or so bud!” Urving added, before kneeling next to me. “I am SO sorry you had to spend the day with that witch...” Urving said softly, his face was capcized with disappointment. “If I’d of known Phelix had an interview-.” Urving was already fading out, so I cut him off.


“Urving, chill out. It’s not a big deal!” Brushing off my ire, I felt the weight of todays dissonance falling away. “It wasn't that bad, really. She’s just got a really bad attitude...” I faded off, remembering her vicious eyes.


“Yeah, I know... Cant understand why Phelix stays with her...” Urving searched the floor for an answer, but came up empty. “Let’s forget about that! It’s the weekend!” Urving cheered, gathering the bags he had brought home as he stood.


“Yeah!” Matching his excitement, I moved into the living room so he could get by. “What’s all this?” I asked as burlap bags were piled onto the coffee table.


“Groceries, I picked some stuff up on the way home, so we wont have to go shopping this weekend!” Urving answered, unpacking his purchases on the counter. “I’m surprised someone so small can eat so much! I didn't plan for that!”


My face was red in seconds, as I prodded my fattening stomach. “Well... I... We did agree I needed to gain some weight!” I could practically feel each skin cell heating, as I blushed.


“No shame buddy! Just want ya to be a-ok!” Urving pat my shoulder as he passed by. “I gotta get changed, feel free to have anything you see!” He called back to me, as his quaking steps moved to his room.

 

Poking through the bags, several semi-familiar products were seen. Boxes of crackers or cookies held mascots I am coming to recognize. Packages of meat were embossed with claims of “guaranteed freshness” and “premium quality”. Urving had picked up another box of tea capsules, some more dishsoap packs, and a few other items I have yet to interact with. In another one of the bag, I began pulling out tall cans with vibrant patterns and colors lining them. Amongst these were typical beers that I recognized, but several of these differed in shape, color, and labeling.

 

The first was an electric yellow, it had a fiery motife, like the can had been moving at immense speeds. Next came a duller, but reflective red, which was paired with a type of wave pattern. Finally two of the same indigo cans emerged, each bordered with a pair of white lightning bolts. I’m unsure how, since I didn't have my monocle on, but I know what these are! These odd cans, with the edgy writing and extreme designs, are energy drinks! Something about the wicked way they are presenting this glorified soda was a dead give away! Of course, like all products, it was far larger than anything earth would’ve had to offer. The smallest serving size on Al Ur En is roughly equivalent to a supersized soda from most fast food chains.


“Figured I’d be hella tired after work, so I grabbed an armful of supersodas. You gotta promise me to only drink one, alright? I’ve heard humans get really sick if they drink to much of this stuff.” Urving’s eyes were little beads of pure concern, that magnified as his glasses fell into place.


“Of course! We have something similar on earth, so I understand entirely.” Urving and I nodded to one another, as he began putting away groceries. “Need some help?” I offered, following him into the kitchen.


“Nah, I’m good! Not much to put away. Thank’s though!” Urving’s enormous arms were enough to carry half the groceries at once. “Was today all bad though? I mean, if Gene wanted to teach ya about her ancestry, you had to do something right!” Finally, a moment to speak on the subject.


“Yeah... about that... I asked because Genevide... sort of had an episode today...” Urving nearly dropped the cans he pushed onto the shelf, his face flying to me.


“Wh-what do you mean?” Urving shook a bit, then took a knee to see me better. “Issac, did she hurt you?" His serious voice matched the hurricane of restrained emotions held in his eyes.


“Just a scratch, I’m fine. It more just shocked me-.” My voice was dwarfed by Urving’s.


“That b***h! I’ll crush her f*****g skull!” Urving stood, shaking as his rage boiled forth in a bellowing roar!

 

It was thunderous, beyond any sound I have ever heard a living creature make! I’ve fired guns and this could possibly rival it! All walls shook, each window rattled, I literally felt myself vibrate from the sheer energy he released. The ceiling dropped motes of dust, each room echoed his fury, and the many items in the kitchen all reverberated. After was an instant silence, his heavy panting the only thing my ears could take in beyond the ringing. I was wide eyed, tense, and a part of me wanted to flee in fear. The next thing I knew, Urving’s honey colored eyes were on me, imeasruable concern and regret flowing forth. As he stared into my fright, a line of tears began forming, leaving his still angered face to fade.


“Are you ok kid? What happened? Where did she cut you? I’m sorry I yelled, please don't be afraid...” Urving was fighting tears, his breathing still heaving growls.


“I-I’m fine, see...” Lifting my shirt I showed where some blood remained, as I had planned. “C-calm down man, it’s all good...” I approached cautiously and pat his paw.


“No, it isn’t! I trusted her with... you...” Urving’s eyes fell on me, sparking with tears. “I’m so sorry Issac! I knew she was a kashiki, but I didn't think... I’m so sorry Iza.” Urving palmed his face hard, tears splashing in tiny droplets.


My mouth was silent a moment, as my heart flourished, and my brain scrambled for what I should say. This is so touching... His concern for me, wow, it was enough for a full on roar! Urving wants to protect me! He was pissed Gene hurt me, like anyone should be! Surely Phelix would’ve been just as upset with her, but something about getting to share this with Urving made it easier. It was like getting to swap stories after a really bad day, with a truly caring friend. Listening to him cry for that thirty or so seconds, was absolute tragedy to me though...

 

“Urving, dude, I’m right here. I’m fine! I already patched myself up and everything.” Projecting positivity through my voice, I got Urving to look up at me with sullen eyes. “I wanted to figure out why she did it? Was it instincts like she said? Or is Genevide just a class-A C-word?” Asking this got him to smirk, but only for a second.

 

“Tell me what happened, why did she scratch you?” Urving was trying to be strong, it was sad seeing this effort strain more tears from his eyes.


Filling him in, Urving’s face was broken, he looked so upset with both himself and what happened. Tears, though gone now, soaked his fur in uneven lines along his mug. The tiny sunrises that were his eyes, had faded to candles in the far distance. The fat around his mouth, which was usually taught with a smile, sagged with his defeated frown. The disappointment I could thouroughly see, was aimed at himself, but was used to hold back limitless anger.


“From what you’re telling me, yeah, Genevide had a carnal attack... If she had been bigger or stronger... Gods...” Urving gently put a paw against my head. “I promise, I will never leave you with anyone dangerous again! Promise!” Urving put his paws to his chest when he made this promise, giving it extra validity.

 

“To be honest, after today, I’m alright with not having company for a while!” We both had a laugh, but my effort was heightened to encourage Urving.


“Deal!” Urving left streaks of damp material, as he wiped his face on his sleeve. “Y-you’re so brave buddy...” His paw found its way to my shoulder, where I was gently gripped.


“Th-thank you...” Even with his very potent bravado, I cannot see myself as brave. “I’m just glad she’s gone!” I tried to make a joke, but it was obvious this heavily effected Urving.


“I’ll never let her in again! If I ever see that heartless b***h again, I’ll make her apologize!” Urving smiled aggressively, punching a paw into his opened mit.


“Haha, honestly, I’d rather not see her again, period.” We both agreed on that instantly.


“I knew something was up when you asked about Genevide’s acestry... Damn, I should’ve known!” Urving was deep in thought, blaming himself, which isn’t what I wanted at all!


“I don’t blame you!” I blurted out, suddenly aware that it may help.


“R-really... you don’t?” His frown fought to contor, as Urving stared into me with powerless eyes.

“Of course! Dude, it feels good just getting to tell someone...” Emotional anchors marred my cheery demeanor. “You cant imagine how good it feels just to know someone cares...” I’ve been alone so long, no one to share problems with...


“Oh Issac, I’m so sorry! I promise, with all my heart, no one will hurt you when I’m around!” Urving hugged me tightly, my back popping several times, but then pulled me back and gazed into my dewing eyes.


“Th-thanks man...” I smirked, sly wiping my tears away as he pulled me into another hug. “Now, enough of this emotional crap, let’s party!” I grabbed a beer with a small hop and opened it with a grin.

“Yeah! Damn you’re awesome!” He replied following suit. “Careful bud, these are a little stronger than dizzy dawg.” Urving warned me and I checked the label to find it was an entirely different brand.


The lable was adorned with a white stallion in a field, wearing a funny outfit with baggy pants, pointed shoulders, and suspenders. He held a mug of this stuff and looked very glad to be offering it to the real world. Tasting this, it was more like, whiskey or... something thicker... Bourbon? Did Urving seriously bring home cans of chilled bourbon? It’s good! I mean, I’ve never really drank a wide variety of alcohols, but this is one of the better ones! I really dislike vodka by comparison, the watery texture and acrid taste was just abysmal! Oh man... He wasn't kidding, this is some strong stuff... Urving chuckled as I was bleary eyed a moment after a long swig of this spiced, earthy flavored liquid, with an extremely alcoholic after taste! Blegh!

 

“Like it?” Urving teased at my soured face.

 

“It’s awesome...” My voice was weak, as my mouth tried to gag, but I forced myself to stop.


Urving laughed a bit, then took a slightly serious face. “Are you sure you’re alright Issac?” Urving was somber, but still friendly.


“Yes. I really am. It just shocked and scared me a little...” I hated admitting this, both due to pride and seeing Urving’s sadness spike. “Mainly I wanted to know about your guys’s instincts and stuff...” Shifting the conversation, I saw Urving’s smile regain stability.


“I’ll be happy to share what I know!” Urving looked down at me with sparks of pride in his eyes and a smile of admiration on his face. “You’ll have to tell me what kind of human you are! They must be the toughest of em all!” His compliments made me shake my head bashfully.

 

“Nah, I don't think it’s the same...” I joked, but he seemed legitimately interested, so I told him I’m Latino, Italian, and Caucasian.

 

With a slight hurry, he put away the rest of the groceries and got something out to cook for dinner. Setting the oven he popped in his frozen meal, he then gathered a beer (bourbon), some chips, and an energy drink. Following him to the couch, I also grabbed a can of... “supersoda”, I think he called it? Cute name... Taking a seat on the couch Urving thought a moment, then smiled and nudged me with his whole body. Reacting to sheer force, I shoved him back and he laughed, allowing himself to be moved by my inadequate strength.


“Alright, where to begin... Right, it’s important to know that even though we are different species, genetic instinct and body size places us all in one of four categories. Each of these four sub-species has a name, but I don't remember a whole lot of them...” Urving chuckled rubbing the back of his head. “So I’ll tell ya what I know about Ursamaxus, or bears, as you call us.” Urving’s voice was different for a moment, when he said that alien word, like his translator had to switch off or something...


“Ok, awesome!” I was eager to learn, Ferris didn’t delve this deep.


“The first category is usually the smallest overall and they have practically no instincts to speak of. For bears they’re called Brom.” Urving fascinated me enough to hold my questions and not interrupt him. “The second class of anthronina citizen is also somewhat smaller, but are born with high instinctual drive, like Genevide for example.” My voice interrupted without my consent.


“So Kashiki is a lower form of cat?” I asked just to make sure I understood correctly.


“Yeah, but they can still be dangerous! This category of anthronian has controlled instincts, but like you saw, they can easily lose it...” Urving looked worried a moment, then grunted and seemed to reassure himself. “For us bears, they’re called Burzed. I have a feeling Urnest might be one.” I chuckled, but he just smirked before continuing. “The third category, is where yours truly fits in! We Borl bears have all the weight and muscle of our great ancestors, but barely any instinct controls us!” Thank god I ended up with the right one, it was literally a fifty fifty chance... “The last category is the most dangerous for humans. Class four citizens are not only governed by instinct, but they also have the bodies of our great ancestors. Bryvek bears are usually the biggest, meanest, and angriest people around! I’d know, my pa’s one of em!” Urving still showed shimmers of pride, as if he knew his father wouldn't hurt me.


“So the way you classify your citizens is based solely on instinct and physique?” I asked my eyes intractably moved to the pamphlet on the table.


“Absolutely! To properly say someones species though, you have to include the continent they were born on. So I’d be an Al Borl Ursamaxus.” Urving’s explination made me want to remeet everyone and ask them about their citizen title. “I think Genevide would be a Ur Kashiki Felidaeus...” Urving saw that I was confused and added. “That means little cat.” Urving put his paws in a close paralell to symbolize small.

 

“Gotcha! That’s good to know, I sort of wanna learn about others!” My excitement got Urving thinking.


“Hmmm... Lemme see...” Rubbing his trimmed goatee, I saw his mouth and eyes swim aimlessly in thought. “Oh! I know dogs are called Canidulovus!” Urving nodded his head assuredly.


Nodding and smiling back, I took a swig of beer and allowed myself to be swept under it’s soothing delirium. Though not strong yet, I was happy with the way it was making me feel. Not that I am forgetting how important Urving is in the equasion! Beyond the fact that he bought the booze, he was what helped me feel better. He’s been a really dope friend so far and I am glad I can count on him!


“Oh, got a note! Phelix and Barkley are getting on, you ready?” Urving asked and I nodded eagerly, it’ll be so much more fun without Genevide involved.

 

The game clicked on and the familiar loading icon began spinning. Within seconds the opening credits I have come to see many times now, began playing, but was skipped swiftly. It was odd having to load my savestate, yet wait as the game rearranged it to match Urving’s character level. What were once humble cloaked soldiers of divinity, now shone with gleaming amror, each matching the others, save loincloth color. The pauldrons were shaped like a unicorns head, the horn looked like a lethal impromptu weapon... Each torso was covered in armor with matching insignia’s, which resembled a lion, who’s mane was on fire. Varying weapons were clutched or fastened to belts, all sparking with magic energies or radiating mystic light. Helmets with tall winged motiffes and jagged sets of horns adored each head, the leader of this troop had his balanced beneath an arm. In all we were teamed up with a wolf wielding an axe, a tiger with two swords, a deer clutching a spear, a rabbit holding a crossbow, and the leader who was a rodent, with a sword and shield.

 

A chime radiated from seemingly nowhere, as a small gold note appeared between the screen divide. I recognized this as a party invite or request. Soon enough, I saw Barkley and Phelix’s names added to our current players list. Getting to check, I saw Phelix was the commando class! That must be what soldier becomes at high enough level. What makes that special is beyond me... I assume they are the only class that can use firearms, maybe ranger as well? I’ll ask if I get a chance.

 

“Heya Urv, wassup Spaz?” Barkley’s voice projected from the television, though he was nowhere near us.

“Hello again you two!” Phelix chimed in, obviously amused by the shuffling of players and households.

 

“Yo guys, how are ya? How ya been Barkley?” Urving asked casually, crushing his cigarette into a glass cup.

 

“Not bad, nothing new. You?” He responded, the crinkling of snack packages heard on his end of the transmission.


“Same old, same old. Worked a concert tonight, that was sorta fun!” Urving’s reply was nonchalant, a twinge of pride lining it.

 

“Oh yeah, Phelix told me. Sounded rough from what I heard!” Barkley replied in a teasing tone.


“You know me, I don't like hurting anyone! Some people though... sheesh...” Urving chuckled, pawing at me as he invited my speaking. “While we’re on that subject, Phelix, do you think I could talk to Genevide please?” Seeing I didn't have anything to say, Urving practically forced me into the conversation.


“Why would you wan-.” Phelix began, Barkley shortly behind him.


“So anyone got some free stuff for a nooby?” I interjected, with a short laugh, which earned several reactions.


Barkley scoffed. “What’d ya lose the stuff I gave you two days ago?” The teasing in his voice seemed to break his focus.

 

“No, it’s just... You all have such a headstart! I need all the help I can get to catch up!” Pretending to laugh, I swatted Urving and made a “wtf” face.

He smirked down at me connivingly, but still somewhat apologetic. “He is right guys, even Riot had a big headstart!” Urving accepted my aversion to the topic of Genevide.


“Well let’s go! I bet there is something awesome in there for you!” Phelix cheered a bit, his avatar raising both arms, as he surely did.


It was a little odd none of them pursued Urving’s desire to speak with Gene. I’m glad, don't get me wrong, but that worried me. Even though I spilled my guts to Urving, I never wanted it to get back to and effect Phelix! Hopefully Urving was just tesing me...

 

Inside we found a beautiful marble temple, with statues lining the walls and reaching to the ceiling high above. Each set of arms, locked in eternal worship, were the buttresses that held the roof overhead. The faces of these somber anthronians depicted various species, all cloaked in the same robes. Once aligned pots had been scattered, releasing the blazing embers and changing them to now semi-smoking coals. It was creepy, all game sound cut out and the darkness of the temple made the smoky atmosphere difficult to trust. Motion was seen, smoke shifted, and a figure darted into a deeper portion of the temple. Hurrying in, the paladins were shown running off in a cutscene, before the rest of us were allowed to continue.


Moving through the rather uneventful hall, we came to the next room and face to face with the nightmarish monsters that now call this place home. The screens hue took on a thin red, which signified combat, but my mind was taking in the anthronian concept of a “demon”. Unlike humans, red skin, pointed tails, and horns had nothing to do with characterizing a demon...

 

Though I immediately had to defend my digital self, I was able to examine my opponent as I evaded the incoming attacks. The impish enemy had no eyes, blinders had been crudely stitched over it’s still bleeding sockets. The mouth was ripped open, giving it a grisly constant smile, with gory bits of it’s last victim hanging and dripping to the floor. One arm had been horrifically mangled to fit a crude blade in place. Nails, chains, casts, and staples attached flesh and bone to rusted steel. It moved uncoordinately, dragging the blade and sluggishly slashing it about. It’s other hand was somewhat coated in fur, but grotesque, fleshy talons had sprung out of the decaying flesh, forming a bird like claw. The legs looked unaltered, save them being thin and veiny from malnourishment, abuse, or natural defection.

 

Seeing an opening, I slid beneath a high strike and kicked the foes legs out from under it. Hitting the ground, the fiend didn't linger, it rolled away, swinging the weapon wildily. Blocking a downward strike, I slid aside, evading another crude attempt to cut me. Before I could attack, Phelix shot the creature and it flailed through the air a moment, whirling to a stop in its own blood. This didn't even kill it! The fiendish foe stirred, darting it’s deprived senses around the room, as I approached. A solid curb stomp reduced it to nothing, black sludge spilling from where a brain should’ve been...


After defeating several more of these tiny horrific entities, we moved on, with two less paladins than before. The deer and the rabbit didn't make it. Their demises were surely scripted, as we won rather handily. Maybe I’ll try this again later when I’m stronger and try to keep them all alive! Considering how challenging this is supposed to be, I may have to wait a long time for that.

 

Moving through the temple, we found limitless corpses and enemies of more and more monstrous form. These demons began taking much more to kill and we had lost all but three paladins, the wolf, the tiger, and the rat. Beyond the mangled minion demons, two other common forms existed. One was similar to a man, stood straight up, most of our features, but instead of a face, the head simply held a giant pair of mandibles! Grotesquely formed on the stomach, was a mouth full of sharp, partially rotted fangs! Heavy wheezing and gagging constantly spilled from this bloated monsters as it shambled about. The other demon, which I came to recognize as the leaders, were cycloptic and had four arms. Each arm usually wielded a weapon, though occasionally they had shields, or just used fists. Along the back, was a row of thin, arching spines, which lined the long scaled tail as well, all the way to the tip. This creature looked more recognizeable as a “demon”, for it also had ogre like teeth, a small set of horns, and bat like wings hanging from the first set of arms.

 

We continued into the inner sanctum, slaughtering more and more demons. Now they were taking on the appearences of grim reapers, but with animal skulls instead of humanoid ones. These types of enemies utilized magic and were incredibly hard to track. This led to my first inevitable death, which surprisingly didn't get me teased! A lightning bolt from an outstretched bony claw, caused my screen to go gray and blood to splatter across my characters portrait.


“Oh no, the kids down!” Urving cried into his mic, rushing to defend my bleeding avatar.


“Medic, pronto! I’ll cover you!” Barkley, appeared in several locations, throwing a spread of daggers each time.


“Don't worry, I got him. Help Barky!” Phelix said with some force, obviously getting into the game.


This was so much more fun than one on one... I don't like competition that much, especially if it is something so insignificant as this, yet prevalent enough to be revisited. They play this a lot and me losing twenty or so times to Barkley will forever be an indelible fact. Hopefully I’ll live it down at some point or another! Really hope I’m not telling Barkley’s pups about his limitless victories a few years from now...

 

Exploring this tower with not just a partner, but a whole team, has been awesome! Also... well... I sorta feel like one of the guys, which is great too! Getting to spend quality time with him and his friends, allowed a sense of inclusion to take hold of me. Having the team mentality extended to you, even after you have faltered is a very inspiring thing. Not to mention my closest friend in this crazy new world was right next to me...

 

Urving was unstoppable, both in the game and with his attitude. As I got a bit more drunk, my performance waned, but he didn't judge at all! He even defended me against Barkley’s taunts, claiming we were “partying first, playing second”. The others jeered this idea, but Urving just lagughed and upended the rest of his bottle. Level after level of this tower presented seemingly limitless enemies, loot, and experience. I’ve leveled up at least six times, but if I hadn’t been dying regularly, I’m sure that’d be even more. What was better than skills and lots of new gear? The excitement, intrigue, and encouragement that went along with it! Urving must be trying really hard to make this fun for me, knowing what a horrid day I have had... Come to think of it, he always tries really hard, even when he’s tired... Perhaps the combination of energy drinks and alcohol were making him extra outgoing?

 

Swigging another mouthful of anthronian ale, as I began calling it, I watched from my dead position as they battled a particularly large demon. This fiend had a spiders body as it’s legs, but atop that forming from where the eyes would be, was the body of a praying mantis! Two stag skulls sat where the eyes should have, glowing blue pinpoints inside each socket, as the lopsided horns created a jagged laurel around the cretins head. The whole fiend was a fleshy red color, each spider leg darkening to black. The back of each jagged foreleg was graced with the skull of a large wolf, the eye sockets aglow with raging scarlet light. It was hard to take it seriously though, watching the three of them practically abuse this enemy in tandom. I did my best to land a few hits, but my damage was pitiful compared to the others.


“Oh s**t, look out Spaz!” Barkley shouted, as I narrowly shoulder rolled under a swiping foreleg.


“Good one!” Urving cried, patting my shoulder.


“That was close, good job kid!” Phelix added strafing it with gunfire.


“Thanks, I’ll try to keep it distracted.” Calling back louder than normal, I was trying to sound as engauged as they did.


The tower was soon proving too much for me and I was dying every few seconds. Dozens of more powerful enemies, from giant skeletons, to serpents made of corspes were able to mop the floor with my lifeless body. It didn't really bother me, I was starting to feel drunk. After ascending an spiral staircase for several real life minutes, we reached an enormous door. Rasping stone was heard as the doors swung open at the mere touch of the paladin leader, who now only had us to call comrades. We entered a expansive room with a huge blue crystal radiating power from the ceiling. With only the leader paladin left alive, the goal became defend him while he activated the beacon of hope, as this thing was called.

 

It was a radiant deep azure gem, the size of a billboard! Four large spikes graced the top, but the lower portion was an indecipherable mess of uncut stone. It was suspended from the ceiling by a type of golden saucer, which was ornately carved with runic symbols and ancient looking writing. Four chains held this dish aloft, solid gold in color, but unpolished and left dingy compared to the gem itself. At the very bottom of the saucer a small chain hung, all the way to the floor. The paladin sheathed his sword and pulled this chain, causing a small port to open and reveal a part of the crystal. The light of this arcane gem created a spotlight on the paladin who removed his helmet and looked up with jubilation. Falling to his knees, he began to pray and the crystalline beacon began reacting! A meter stretched across the screen, half white and half green. The bottom was labled “chain strength” and the top said “charged power”. Instnatly I understood what was about to happen!

 

Demons poured in, not targeting us, but trying to scale the walls and reach the chains holding up the crystal! A few approached the paladin, but were decintegrated by holy fire, leaving only echoing screams behind. This became my goal, to throw, kick, and shove demons to there purged doom! Urving stood at the largest gateway, crushing back hoardes of demons with massive cleaving strikes of his warhammer. Barkley threw knives and his sickle around Urving, to catch the weakened stragglers. Phelix was positioned at the third gate, using his rifle to pick off the highest climbers, which would fall and die with a satisfying squish.


As the meter reached about half full, my gauntlets produced a vibration seldom seen in this game. It was almost painful, the amount of artificial vibration being put through my bones! Overhead, the entire roof was ripped free, barely leaving enough stone for the chains to cling to! A cutscene turned my camera upward as a gigantic eye filled the chasm, looking into the tower. This horrific, red-orange eye had a goats pupil, oblong and awkward, and hooked fangs surrounding the socket instead of skin. Before we could react it was gone and an enormous, clawed, pitch black hand smashed into the tower, colliding with a surging magic screen around the crystal! Holy s**t, the sound was so immense our tv rattled on the wall! My ears popped for crying out loud! Spikes and uneven horns lined this massive, muscled arm and if you watched, you could sometimes see it retract, just long enough for the demon to look in again! Countless skulls of all types of animals were inlaid in this creatures abhorantly formed arm!


“Holy s**t!” I shouted without consent, as I was forced to continue fighting during this cataclysmic event.


“Spaz, stick with me! I’ll get the climbers! Go guys, go!” Phelix cried back sharply, throwing a javeling into the ground, which opened into a gun turret!

 

“Alley oop!” Urving said playfull as his character threw Barkley straight upward, with rocket velocity. “Keep it busy! I gotta climb!” Urving added.


“Easier said than done!” Barkley exclaimed, as he reached the crystal and began ascending to the demonic hand.

 

Barkley began combating this giant appendage, with throwing knives, his sickle, and all his ninjutsu powers! Urving had been climbing the rubble caused by previous destruction, but wasn't even half way up yet! I took my position next to Phelix, kicking and punching at any target close enough to receive damage! They were weakening! My attacks were dealing more and more damage, they were occasionally losing health, and the chain was taking less damage from the minion demons! We’re winning!

 

“Just a little more guys! Hold on!” Urving called as he dropped onto the metal cup, which held the crystal.

 

“Alright, about time! I’m ready when you are!” Barkley vanished and appeared clinging to a wall, his chain at the ready.


“Hands off!” Urving shouted and with one massive swing of his hammer, the demons finger broke near in half!

 

The splintering sound of this demons finger was equal to a tree being felled! An indescribably horrific screeching blasted from all around us, the tv’s speakers humming with volumetric strain, as this ridiculously loud sound echoed through every room and over every loose object! This sound was enough to rival Urving’s real life roar! I almost covered my ears with displeasure, but I was having too much fun! This is so awesome! This is the first time I’ve done something like this in the game! While I’d like to be up there fighting that goliath arm, it’s still cool to participate! With another blow to the incoming hand, Urving redirected the unfathomably large demons probing claws! With expert timing, Barkley leapt onto the arm and began stabbing it repeatedly, aiming to shatter as many skulls as he could!

 

My own efforts had only increased! The chain was now at a dangerous level, I’d say only twenty percent remained on the meter! Split kicks, roundhouses, and haymakers were now all I would use, anything to hit more than one target! Eventually though... it happened...

 

A cutscene showed the camera move to the crytal as it began to shake with power. Slowly, but surely it lifted out of its pedestal and began floating! With a cocophony of angelic surging and radiant building, a single beam of light fired from the top, cutting through the demonic arm and reducing it to mere shadows cast on the walls. The eye above was milky white within seconds, blinded by the divinity! A catastrophic blast of translucent energy radiated from the crystal, erasing all that was evil from this place. Nothing remained untouched as the humming sound of pure power flowed through the temple! It showed the light explode from the opened doors and the screen turned entirely white, as if our tv had been effected as well.

 

In a flash we were back outside, all players falling from a short distance, like we had been carried to the ground by a phantom bird. We were passed out from what it showed, but the camera panned up and the towers was brand new! It slowly moved through the perfect tower of marble, pearl, gold, silver, and diamond until we reached the crystals chamber. Where the crystal glowed firmly, but only the paladins sword remained... He sacrificed himself to save the celestial tower... That was insane! Is every quest going to be that way?



“Awesome guys, always love that one!” Phelix exploded with joy, his character flailing like a fool.


“Wow, that ending was intense!” I replied laughing, my voice slurring ever so slightly.

 

“Yeah, saw you jump when that happened!” Urving laughed a little, but I joined quickly knowing I had.


“Damn I’m tired now! Didn't think that’d take so much outta me!” Barkley added with a long yawn and a small groan.


“Thanks guys, that was fun. You staying on?” Urving asked them, though I was unsure if I could play much longer myself.


“Nah, gonna hit the hay. Thanks though man.” Barkley and Urving’s characters fist bumped. “You kicked a*s Spaz! Where was all that when we fought the other day?” I knew he couldn't resist one last jab.


“Just you wait, I’ll get you back sometime soon!” We all laughed, as I got my avatar to coax Barkley with a wave of my fingers.


“I’ll put money on Iza! From what I saw, he’s learning real quick!” Phelix commented, getting a scoff from Barkley.


“Coming from the guy who refuses to go claw to claw...” Barkley teased and Urving added a childish “oooh”.


“Whatever! I just don't want it to be to unfair, I do have guns after all!” Phelix chuckled and brushed off Barkley’s comment.


“Well, g’night guys! I’ll see ya sometime next week prolly!” Urving said over their growing bickering.

“Night Urving, see ya Spaz!” Barkley replied, immediately jumping back into mocking Phelix.


“Bye guys! Thanks again Issac, sorry about Gene!” Phelix’s comment swelled my heart, but they disconnected before I could speak again.


“Thank you...” I said with a grin, though only Urving could here.

 

“Oh my gosh thanks buddy!” Uring was sort of loopy from the booze, but that only made him cheerier. “You did great, don't worry that ya died! It happens!” His paws were uncoordinated as he pat my shoulder and head.


“Thanks, that was awesome! Did you wanna keep playing?” Asking this I felt a little odd, but returning to just two people renewed my interest.


“Course! I’ve been having a blast!” Urving took a moment to smile at me, then took a long drink to finish that beer.

 

Hours and hours passed with nothing to complain about, save occasionally the volume. Constant conflict, confusion, and collaboration required to achieve the goals set before us. Expanses of landscapes melded into one massive, tipsy blur. Underground caverns and ancient ruins began looking alike, as my bleary eyes fought to maintain continued focus on minor detail. We played well on into the night, time not a factor for Urving and I, though the supersoda was starting to wear off.

 

Even though it’s not serious enough to warrant immense appreciation, I have to give a big thanks to this game. Urving and I surely would’ve bonded over something else, music, movies, anything! But nothing would have provided such a direct route to this level of teamwork... Nothing I can think of at least... The fact he wanted to share this with me so badly, resonantes within my soul. His inerrant attempts to reach me from day one, may only now be reaching my hearts roots, but I am feeling the growing love all the same. Knowing how Gene would’ve treated me for losing, or winning for that matter, I feel indebt to Urving... I’ll never be able to pay him back for being such a outstanding ally to me. Though I feel trapped and smothered, Urving is the shield which vanguards my security in this world... I owe him my life, just as much as I owe it to Dalton. Urving will receive nothing but friendship and acceptance from me, from now on! I secretly make a promise to make our time together, as good as it possibly can be!

 

Waking some hours later, I was slumped up against Urving, who had an arm hung around me. Panic rode through me like a gang of outlaws, but I was too dizzy to react properly. Instead of leaping up, my body lazily shoved itself away, barely making it to the other end of the couch. Calming quickly, I groaned and clutched my woozy head, unable to clearly remember much of anything... We played Dread Bringer for a while, then... How long had I been asleep? Did I pass out before Urving? I had to of... The tv had gone into sleep mode leaving little light to work with, as I staggered to the bathroom and peed as accurately as I could.

 

Returning to the living room I found several cans, bottles, and wrappers had been scattered to the floor by Urvings paw(foot), which rested on the coffee table. Collecting up the trash, I piled it on the counter, not wanting to touch the trashcan/generator while intoxicated. After mopping up a small spill, I was delirious, drained, and desperate for more sleep. Heading to my room something caught my eye and tugged at my heart... Urving was gently swatting his paw around, a little frown on his mug, as he searched for me in his sleep. With a small sigh, I decided it wouldn't be so bad to sleep on the couch tonight... Urving let out a small groan of relief when I returned, his paw clutching me gently for a moment.



© 2017 Thatonedawg


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Added on August 12, 2017
Last Updated on November 2, 2017
Tags: Bear, Burdens, Anthro, Novel, A, Story, Thank, You, For, Reading, Help, Me, Get, Better, Hope, Change, Friendship, bare burdens of life, love, loss, betrayal, heartbreak, aliens, tragedy


Author

Thatonedawg
Thatonedawg

Sacramento, CA



About
I have been writing for a long time. My father was a writer and he always encouraged me to do so as well. Sadly he never read any of my work or even cared for that matter. I just need to know that som.. more..

Writing



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