For the story so far
My name is Keegan and I am so sick of people chasing me. At the moment it was Chaise and Paw Man. I had lapped them on the oval and they were having to work hard to keep up. About three other people were around so I guess that is why they hadn’t morphed into dogs. PIB, my beagle was at home, having dragged my only blanket under the bed guarding the Doire box against me.
I slowed my pace and exited the oval gate, Chaise and Paw man followed.
“You need to be protected.” Chaise started at me.
“Again, this is the seventh time in as many days you say the same thing, yet nothing has happened.” I countered. It was true. Chaise or Paw man had turned up every day from last Sunday, picking me up in the form of an animal and running with me as I rode home. Today I had needed a bit of away time from the flat and PIB, the pain in the bum beagle that had adopted me.
“You are living by yourself and you are living a lie.”
I raised my shoulder in a shrug.
“I’ve never done anything like change into an animal so why would I believe you that it could happen.”
“It’s not something that automatically happens. It’s a puberty thing.” Chaise countered.
“My voice broke a long time ago.”
“And yet you are not yet a man by our people. Physical changes such as your Adam’s apple developing, your shoulders widening and all that stuff is shared with humans from Earth. The other stuff, it happens later, sometimes many years after you present as a human male.”
“So if I was one of you, and I am not saying I am,” I think Paw Man muttered something under his breath that was unpleasant. I ignored him and moved on. “If I was if I am, how would I know if I was going to morph.” So shoot me, I was starting to get interested in this crap.
“Your senses develop first.” Chaise answered. “Sometimes, hearing, sometimes smell. Occasionally taste. It is not so much fun when the taste is heightened first. You need to be able to learn how to turn off the senses.” I figured Chaise had had his taste switched on first.
“Bad, hey,” I asked him. I feinted vague disinterest, but if I wanted to kid myself, who else was there to know, PIB?
“It is quite unbearable to not be able to turn off taste. You go to bite into something that you like, to have it attack your taste buds. It is like an explosion on your tongue. What senses have you had go haywire,” Chaise asked. It was innocent enough and I could not work out how to avoid answering.
“Hearing and when you were chasing me the other day, my sight went funny. Like night vision goggles without the goggles.”
Chaise said nothing. We walked down the street and he watched whilst I entered my flat.
“Keegan right,” I nodded to the person on the front counter. I had been called out of Physics to head up to the office and take my bag. As I did not have any clue as to the reason I was nervous. The woman at the counter looked sympathetic. What was the hell going on?
“Just go right up, they’re in the principal’s office, last door on the left.”
I smiled slightly and headed up. I could hear males talking and I willed my hearing to boost, but it stubbornly refused.
“Keegan,” the deputy and my football teacher were in the room along with the principal and Chaise. Chaise’s face was a mask of grief.
“Ah Keegan, Mr. Chaise here has just told us about your mother.”
“What about her,” I asked.
“How she isn’t expected to live for than a day or two. Why are you here? You should have stayed at home to spend time with her.”
“It’s fine. Chaise was meant to be watching her.” I glared at him.
“She’s being attended by Harriet at the moment.”
Who the fuck was Harriet? “I’ve come to take you home as she has declined in the last hour. The palliative care nurse says you should come home.”
“Look, don’t worry about your exams.” Coach patted me on the back.
“We can get special provisions for them. Your results are solid up to verification. Just send us a medical certificate. I’m sure Mr. Chaise can organize that for you.”
“Sure.” I picked up my bag and walked out of the room in a daze. The last week and a bit had been okay. I mean Chaise and Paw man were annoying but in a nice sort of way. PIB had made herself a part of my life and I had enjoyed taking her for runs or in my backpack for a longer ride. I was so close to finishing, so close to getting entrance to the university, so close to being able to access what I needed. My shoulders tensed.
Chaise caught up with me as I exited the school gate.
“Your father had a turn two nights ago. He really wants to meet you now, just in case he doesn’t make it.” Chaise explained.
“So what, the man you claim is my father, you want me to go and meet him so he can go and die on me like both my parents did. Yeah, come and meet another parent. Then they can die on you too. Seriously, you have no fucking idea.” I stormed out of the gate and started to head over the road.
“Car’s this way so unless you want your cover story here ruined, get in the car.” Chaise snapped. He was definitely not happy with me.
I got in the car and slammed the door.
“You could try to act like a grieving son.” He started on me.
“How the fuck would you know about how a grieving son acts?” I demanded. He reversed out onto the road, ignoring me.
“Where are we going,” I asked.
“To where you live so you can pack some bags.”
I did not say anything. I sat back and closed my eyes.
A few minutes later the motor shut off.
“You live here,” Chaise asked.
“It’s a flat.”
I couldn’t argue. The block of flats I lived in was deadbeat. They were filthy on the outside, and most were probably filthy on the inside. The landlord did not care as long as you paid the rent and no one complained about anyone else. If you complained, you were probably out as was the person complained about. They had running water, a shower, a functioning toilet and a sleeping nook. To be honest, that was all I needed.
I climbed out of the car and climbed the stairs two at a time, unlocking the door whilst Chaise walked up more slowly.
“You’ve followed me home often enough, how come you don’t know what it looks like.”
“Things look different through a morph’s eyes. We take on characteristics of the animals we morph into, I saw this as a series of smells.” He looked around again. “Your father will be displeased. Surely you could afford something better. You were working six nights a week.”
“And attempting to save for university. I don’t know on your world but on my world electricity costs.” I certainly hoped he did not notice exactly how poorly I lived. I lived. I existed and I really wasn’t home much anyway.
“Your biological father is wealthy. You have a family, a family who would love to meet you.”
“Then why isn’t one of them here.” I snorted. The dog pushed the Doire out of the corner from under the bed and I shoved it into my backpack quickly.
“I am their representative.” Chaise replied eventually.
“You get that it’s pretty weird. All this shit is happening to me and my alleged biological father suddenly wants in with my life but he sends someone else to do his dirty work.”
“He’s not sending someone else. He’s dying and the family he knows about wants to spend time with him. Just cut the man some slack and go and visit him. If you don’t like it, you can scam but have you ever considered the things you can do, we can train you to maximize your abilities.”
I patted the dog and looked at her fur.
“The dog comes,” I replied.
Chaise said nothing, instead just picking up my second backpack.