He let go of the shirt, and tried to rest against the wall, slowly rubbing some green paste over it. “I’ve been worse… But it hurts really bad!” The worst part about that sentence is that I couldn’t figure it if he meant it or if was just downplaying his injury, he noticed me getting worried and somehow found the strength to make a joke. “You got really strong legs.”
“Don’t… It’s ok…” He waved me off, yet he sounded so apathetic about, like it was genuinely not a big deal, like I didn’t need to worry about nearly killing him. “I’m just happy you decided not to kill me, it’s more than I can say for most people I’ve meet.”
“I really shouldn’t have… I was out of myself.” I tried to apologize again.
“I’m gonna live, that’s what matters…” He said carefully resting his hand atop his belly, he was clearly hurting a lot.
And then there was this sudden silence, he was obviously trying to hold the pain away, but I still felt that agony of having just done something terrible in my mind.
I couldn’t sit still, my body felt uncomfortable so I thought, what harm would there be in chatting more. “I’m Azreth…” He turned his head inquisitively. “We never introduced ourselves, I’m Azreth.”
“Ah…” And somehow amidst all that pain he just conjured up the strength to smile… He closed his eyes for a moment and looked so serene and calm. “I’m Vernon, nice to meet you.”
His attitude was just so confusing to me. “How?” I asked, and he once again turned his head in wonder, I understood he needed more explanation. “How can you do that? Just smile… After I did… well, that…”
“I don’t get what you mean…” He sounded genuinely confused, like I was the crazy one for asking it.
“I tried to kill you! How can you look so happy? How can you be so casual about this?!”
“Well…” He scratched behind his head and refused to look at me in the eye. “People try to kill me almost every day, but it’s not always that someone introduces themselves to me, before or after trying to murder me.”
“And you’re just ok with that? How are you not pissed?!”
“I’m not ok with that.” He seemed embarrassed. “I just… I can’t do anything about it, people have always been mad at me for no reason.”
“YES, BUT I TRIED TO KILL YOU!” I asked even more incredulous, how could he be so dense! How could anyone just be happy to chat with someone who tried to kill them?!
“Do you want me to be mad?” He asked, again in a genuine tone… I couldn’t believe he was not messing with me.
“Well… You should!”
“I don’t want to be mad at you… You said you’re sorry, that is nice at least.” He once again undersold spectacularly, I wanted to kick him again to make sure he could even feel pain! It just made no sense otherwise!
“Me being sorry doesn’t fix you belly does it? Did it miraculously heal itself? No! You should be mad at me, you should be screaming!”
“I… Don’t see where this is going.” His voice had this blunt naivety to it… It made my body shiver just from hearing him.
“I just… JUST… *UH!!*” Arguing with this guy was clearly impossible, something in him was broken, I thought maybe I’d kicked him too hard, or maybe he was born slow or something.
“I’m sorry… Are you mad?” He asked in concern… I KID YOU NOT! He was more worried about me being mad at him than me nearly killing him!
“Don’t say YOU are sorry to ME… I fucked YOU up.” Was I crazy or was that really that hard to understand? Yet he kept looking at me like I was saying something completely incomprehensible, like beating him up was a normal thing that I should be okay with. “You know what... Good thing you’re fine, we don’t need to talk anymore!” I said and turned away.
AND I WASN’T OKAY WITH IT AT ALL!
He made a gesture as if he was
about to speak, but quickly retracted back to his spot and turned his head to the
side, wincing very lowly as he tried to keep his belly steady.
I have to say, between watching him getting bullied like that, and trying to kill him, then being stuck with him, this had been a real roller coaster… Worse yet, I felt like I knew him less now than when I first saw him, there was just no connection.
Once again time went by and the
two of us sat in silence, I did notice however that he had moved very little
and was struggling quite a lot to properly breath, so as much as he said it was
nothing, there clearly was something going on.
I was sure if he dosed off, he might not wake up ever again, so I thought I needed to speak to him to keep him awake… I decided to break my word just now.
I looked him up and down trying
to find something to speak off, but there was little more I could bring up
other than his obvious pain… There was however something that intrigued me
earlier. “What’s the story behind those…”.
For a moment he seemed completely out of it, I thought maybe he passed out with his eyes open. “Hey! Stay with me!” I said which caused him to startle awake.
“Ah… Sorry, my head feels heavy.” There he was apologizing again.
“The googles… What’s up with them? You risked your life to get em, they could have shot you if it weren’t for Alex.” I insisted.
“They were a gift… From my uncle…” He said longingly. “It’s the only thing I got to remember him by.”
“I see…” It made sense now, I wished I had a similar gift from my mom. “Is he…?”
“No, He is alive… I think… I haven’t seen him in so long, I really don’t know, but I hope he is fine.”
“He is a Redmane… Like you?”
“Not quite…” He caught the question from my eyes before I said anything. “…When were born we sometimes don’t inherit the colors and those are the things everyone recognizes, he is a Redmane too, but him and my father were not pure bred, he is pretty much all grey and black.”
“You sound like you miss him a lot… Why did you leave?” I continued asking.
“Some stuff happened… I didn’t want him to keep getting caught up in it because of me…” I could relate to that, but it was still insane.
“You’re a weird one Redmane, but I can see where your heart is at.”
“Please don’t call me that.” The wolf contested. “I dislike that name even more than everyone else does.”
“Ah… I’m just trying to work on a nickname. Sorry, it was Vernon right?” He nodded in assurance. “Well, if you ever manage to get yourself out of this one, you should go back to him… The road is not a place for someone like you.”
“What do you mean, someone like me?” He sounded indignant, maybe I hit a nerve.
“No offense, I just meant you’re not strong and you most certainly can’t talk your way out of trouble…. Come to think of it, how did you survive out there?” A fair question, I thought.
“I can fight, a little, I’d rather not though…” Again, with that stubborn density.
“You didn’t have much of a choice and yet you didn’t do it anyway. You’re lucky I was in chains otherwise you would have surely died there…” Not trying to show off, I was just making a point.
“I got my reasons…” He turned his head to the side once again and pouted as if he didn’t like my comment. “… I just don’t like hurting people. Is that really so bad?”
“Even if you’re going to die? Or be thrown in jail to be tortured?” He just shrugged as if that was supposed to be an answer. “You got a Deathwish or something?” And once again he refused to answer, just looked at me from the corner of his eye and turned away. “Yeesh… You’re a special type of crazy.”
I was going to leave it at that as he didn’t seem to want to talk, but he was the one who came after me next. “Why are you here?”
“Ah… Well, you see there was this woman-”
“I don’t mean how… I meant why?” He said as if me being locked up was somehow wrong. “It doesn’t make much sense to me.”
“Why am I arrested? Well… I did something I shouldn’t…” I thought that much was obvious, but since he was clearly not the most normal person out there I explained.
He was indignant of it. “Yes, but you’re the clearest half-bred I’ve ever seen, you family must be crazy rich and powerful… All of you guys are… So why are you in jail? Can’t you just bribe these guys?”
“Seems I’m not the only one with my prejudices…” He was about to retort, but I stopped him, “Just a joke, I get it… Let’s say me and my father are not on speaking terms.”
“Ah… You had fight…” That sent me wild, it was like he was mocking me ‘rich boy had a fight with daddy boo freaking hoo’ was what I heard.
“Ey… I’m not insulting you here… No need to be like that.” I lashed out.
“Oh… I’m sorry if I sounded rude… I didn’t mean it, I just…” He trailed off for a second there the shook his head violently. “… Forget it.”
“It’s not all fun and games… I did fight with him, but it’s a lot more complicated than him not giving me and allowance or refusing to buy me car!” Heck the most my father ever gave me was scorn, and even that he moderated well with indifference.
“I-I’m sorry if I upset you.” He then made and effort to incline forward and lower as his head… Even though his abdomen was clearly hurting a lot, he held it in like that was supposed to make it better.
“Stop that you’re just hurting yourself! And stop saying you’re sorry! For fucks sake!”
“I’m… I’m…” He retracted back and started choking on his words…
He just couldn’t bring himself to say anything, so I had to say it for him... And boy did I have a lot to say! “Did no one ever teach you to speak properly? What do you have to be sorry for? You keep doing it, yet all you did was speak like a normal person… What do you think is gonna happen? You think I’m gonna jump you or something? I said I wasn’t gonna do that!”
“I’m… Just… Nervous.” He kept cowering in the corner and I could tell how much that scared him, but right now I didn’t care, I was going to say what I wanted, period.
“Well it’s annoying, you need to stop with that… No one likes to see someone groveling and begging, it’s disgusting and humiliating to you! Have some self-respect!”
“I’m… I… I don’t know how to answer.” He was shivering, actually shivering, like his body was contracting in pain… He was really that scared.
It took me a while to notice how
bad it was, but as we both went silent for a while I had time to calm down. When
my head gets going and the blood begins to flow, it’s hard to get me to shut
up… But I did, and I could see a heck of a lot wrong with him.
When I was in court and around my father everyone was just always so full of malice, every compliment was an attempt of disarming you, every touch carefully thought out to make you fell in control and powerful, to lure you in a false sense of security, there was this nauseating mist of manipulation in the air constantly and I hated every second of it.
When I look at someone like him I see weakness I see many vulnerable spots that needed to be exploited, it’s what I was trained to do by my father and everyone else, and whenever I’d get mad it would get hard to turn that side of me off.
When he smiled earlier he meant
it, I saw his soul there, his true intent and it was completely pure, and when
he frowned in fear I was sure he was feeling miserable… And he was frowning all
the time there, so that made it even worse.
That was the kind of stuff you never saw back where I’m from… Honesty…and it was heart wrenching to see someone like him so miserable and afraid. It made me feel like something was unhinged, like something needed to be fixed, but my stupid mind couldn’t figure out what.
I just wanted to trade five words with him without making him cower like that. “This is infuriating!” I lashed out again.
“I’m… uh…” He kept failing his words not knowing anything he could say that would appease me. Desperate even.
“Come closer!” I ordered.
His eyes widened and he became even more on end, every fur in his body went up. “Excuse me?!”
“I said come closer! I can’t speak to you if you keep thinking I’m going to kill you so just DO IT! Right here!” I smashed my feet on the cage nothing but a single step away.
“I can’t…” He gasped.
“Well if you can’t trust my word
then there is no point in chatting anymore… Just go be miserable over in your
corner and stop pestering me!” I then shoved myself as far off as I could from
him… I thought if he was just going to be like that, maybe he was too lost for
me to do anything, all the while thinking of how I could fix this.
I was worried, but couldn’t speak up.
I was mad, but couldn’t scream.
I was tormented, tormented by the honesty of someone who didn’t even realize what they were doing wrong.
Once again… The silence came.