“Fetch me the wheelbarrow, kid,” Grey said, brushing off a trailing bead of sweat on his forehead before raising the axe over his head to chuck down the wood vertical onto a stump.
Obediently, I follow his request, hurrying to the shed where the tool is. Under the intense sunlight, I cover my eyes as I make my way in a steady gait.
Nine months of being here and I still couldn’t collect the pieces of my past and how I got here. I wasn’t originally from here, as I could remember and think. My caretakers agree of the thought and think I was some kind of alien being like the Armaggons.
The Armaggons are not like me, they are these lizard-like beings, coming in twelve different species, and generally are scaly thick. They came to Adaminno roughly nine years ago from a mothership to colonize the planet. Initially, they conquered the entire island to mark their colonization.
Grey and the rest thought I was some kind of another form of invader. Upon close inspection by the nexus they found me, they suspect a rather mysterious phenomenon. I wasn’t among the creature they assume me to be.
Opening the shed, I squint my eyes as I sink into the shadow to adjust with the lighting of the dim room. As soon as my sight aligns with the surrounding, spotting the item in question is piece of cake.
There it was, lying lazily beside the birch table. Grey bought it two months ago and it starts to develop rust. Utilized almost every day, the paint slowly fades away. Arctic will probably get it repaired once he returns from fishing.
It feels cool because of the shade. If it wasn’t, I had reasons to complain to Grey. I hate being drenched in my sweat under this heat. Then, I realize it isn’t. Holding the cart firmly in my hands, I pushed it outside in rhythmic steps.
When I step out into the sunlight, the door of the shed automatically swung back. One thing I like about the shed, in fact.
Grey continues doing his job. He’s a wolf-man. Not sure why I’m familiar with his species but he resembles something I am familiar with before but cannot honestly remember why or how. A fragment of my past of which I cannot make sense.
Grey is among the tallest, standing 6’5” inches. Considered as the town lumberjack, his job is to chuck wood logs he collected himself from the woods. Another guardian of mine sells the lumber collected, and then turn others into furniture as well.
Grey makes me help with the designs. During my training, they found my skills rather professional and thought I was some kind of craftsman in the past. I doubt I was. I get to be paid for commissions when somebody requests for. My identity remains anonymous, as it should be.
They honestly shouldn’t have paid me with the commissioning, considering I’m paying free in the house. Grey insists I should since I made efforts with the design. He considers it as my job as well. To remain active in idle days.
“Hoo!” Grey barked. His snarl, intimidating, shook me off guard. His bare teeth, glistens for a short moment before he takes his time rubbing off a sweat.
There are hefty piles of chucked wood piling up beside the cabin. Grey sure is workaholic. Determined to finish his task before the sun goes down. Trained every day, he’s endured almost any form of weather. Because of his hard work, he’s gifted with a heavily built body, a result of his perseverance.
“It’s almost midday, you should take a rest,” sure, he is diligent, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t take a break more often.
Grey turns to me giving me an uninterested eye. He sighs at the end.
“Just bring me a jug of water instead,” he said, returning to his job. “Cold please. I’m parched."
Grey is that kind of person who doesn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, if it refers to kindness. Turning down somebody makes him feel bad about himself. To recuperate, he suggest something that both parties are neutral. A great way to hide his stubbornness
I make my way through the backdoor. Disappearing into the shade of the doorway. The inner room is cooler thanks to the glacier stones Arctic collected from Glacyne Region.
I was grateful they took me in under their wing. They were also thankful I don’t look reptilian, otherwise they’d abandon me in the ancient shrine. They feed me every day, made me do chores in exchange. I’m really this privileged if it weren’t for them.
However privilege I get, there is a downside to this. I am restricted to interact with other people besides them. I’m basically secret. They’re still finding a way to introduce me to the town in a less, provocative way.
Right after the Armaggons gained control over the kingdom, the aliens set a barrier within their selected areas in which they could govern. Our town lies barely outside the border. Only selected ones are consented to enter the barrier. Armaggon forces are in fact strong and relentless. If they find our village, we’ll be under their governance. This is why making myself invisible is a viable option if I want to be alive.
They’ll think I may be some kind of spy and would probably report me to the authorities. Grey and the others are still looking for a way in, processing on how to make me a full citizen.
Grey confirmed recently that I might be able to enter the town within this week. The feeling of introduction sounds scary. Was there going to be a gathering hold in the center of the town? Are they going to raise me up for the people to see? The thought makes me quiver in embarrassment.
The living room is unoccupied as always in these hours. Arctic is out for his fishing job, Reggie is in the shop managing, and Grey is outside tirelessly raising and lowering his axe.
As for Johnnard…
“Oh hey, champ!” he appears from the bedroom. Yesterday he had a heated brawl between a forest-beast while on his job scouting. Nearly got himself incapacitated by that time but he’s thankful Grey came to rescue and diced the beast with his axe alone. Lucky cheetah that the wolf was coincidentally around the area.
Today he’s taking a day off from the incident. Imagine being attacked out of nowhere, who wouldn’t get exhausted? And I get to be paid again for treating his injuries. The injuries weren’t dire, fortunately.
Johnnard, a cheetah-man joins me into the kitchen rummaging for what we need. He really has no shame in the house, walking in only on his boxer.
“Hey,” I replied, opening the refrigerator door and leaning over to get the water jug Grey requested. “How’s your injuries?”
"Mmm... They don't hurt that much compared from yesterday. Though the pain still persists," he winces. "Stupid monster that jumped out of nowhere. Didn't even asked it to surprise me."
"That's why surprises are called surprise because they're meant to be secret," I chuckled. "Good to know that you're feeling fine."
Johnnard’s fur is patched up with gauze and bandages. His fur has blood stains yesterday that left us stunned the moment he entered the house yesterday afternoon. His clothes were nearly torn and Grey had to lend him his padded jacket.
Cleaning off the stains aren’t fun either. Right now, the stain remains but the clot is fine which matters the most.
I’m amazed of his resilience. He may be beaten to a pulp yesterday but that doesn’t stop him to be his usual self. He prides himself on doing so because he believes whining would just worsen the healing process. Acting normal was his determined option for quick recovery.
He’s built with a slim yet athletic build, as expected to a cheetah with a scouting job. He’s taller than me, around 5’8”. We’re both the slim ones in the house, but compared to him, I’m not that vigorous.
Pulling out the jug, I cradled it in my arms and then heftily walk towards the backdoor, passing by the dining table.
“You need some help with that?” Johnnard asked, pouring over milk onto his bowl of cereal.
I shook my head. “No thanks, I don’t want to hinder your recovery. In this way, I could also build strength despite looking frail.”
“Mmhm, suit yourself!” he raised a thumbs up, then raising a spoonful of cereal into his mouth.
The blazing sunshine once again reaches my forehead. With the cold-water jug pressed upon me, I feel slightly cooler for a short period.
The sounds of wood torn apart by a metallic wedge become louder as I grew proximity to Grey. The thudding stopped as soon as I got closer to him.
“Let me help you with that,” he said, effortlessly taking the heavy jug from me one armed. I really admire his strength, I wished I was as strong as him but genetics gave me this pathetic framework. No matter how much I eat, my metabolism won’t cooperate with my plan to get more weight.
With the other free hand, he unscrews the lid and tilts the rim into his muzzle to quench himself. Clearly, he’s exhausted, taking the entire jug down to the practically leaving to droplet to waste.
Once he’s done, he gave a satisfied huff and returns the jug shortly after.
“Thanks, I needed it,” he wipes off another bead of sweat on his forehead, swatting it away in one flick.