NEW STORY!! YAY!
So he's my new story, it's a spin off of Wings of Gray/Things Change. If you haven't read the stories before, I suppose you could still read this one, but you might want to go back and freshen up on your Alex/Mike Mike/Anthony knowledge.
Also, another fun announcement, introducing my new sexy bitch of an editor: Naughtycouture! Because I'm lazy, I'll just call her Naughty ;) She's by far the best editor I've had so far (If you're reading this GBC, stop being MIA >:O) She's crazy fast, and helpful, plus she entertains me and that's most important as we all know. So everyone give a big thanks to her for making me suck less :D
P.S. I've been meaning to say this but I keep forgetting. I've heard your complaints that the follow by email thingy isn't working, and after poking around I have absolutly no solution, but I do know that others are having this problem and we're trying to find out more about it, but it's not going well. I'm trying to come up with a way to help those who use the follow by email, but I can't think of anything without having some giant email list I gotta send an email to whenever I post. I'll keep you all posted.
"Get out!" Chris shouted.
"Chris, please. Just give me another chance," Ethan begged.
"No. Get out. I don't want you here anymore. I've tried to help you, but you've made it obvious you can't be changed. Mike was right about you,” Chris shook his head, in tears.
Ethan had tried his best to accept Anthony, and his differences, but he couldn't help his hatred for the infected. He didn't know where it came from, but it was there. Mike glared at him as Anthony held onto his side.
They had been having dinner when Mike had brought up Alex. For some reason it sparked an old hatred for the mutants. He had gotten emotional and Anthony tried to comfort him. Ethan glared at the cat’s paw on Mike’s shoulder. His fingers were tipped with claws, and his tail swished back and forth gently. Ethan found himself watching Anthony’s tail a lot. It just made him so angry. After that night, almost a month ago, he found himself falling back into his old way of thinking. He knew it would hurt Chris if he ever found out what Ethan was thinking, so he tried to hide it, tried to keep it bottled up. But that only made it worse. Now, a month later, things had reached their boiling point.
He didn’t know what set him off. Why it was tonight, and not any other night they had spent together. Because they were all such close friends, Ethan found himself alone with Anthony a lot. Sometimes Chris would be in the bathroom, and Mike would be out getting some beer, or something. He and Anthony would be alone. It was always kind of awkward, but they worked through it. But tonight had been different. Anthony was in a happy mood and was trying to spark up a conversation between him and Ethan, but Ethan didn’t feel much like talking.
“So how are things with Chris. I have to admit, you guys are really cute together,” Anthony smiled.
“Thanks,” Ethan mumbled.
“His birthday is coming up, right? Have any plans? Mike and I were thinking of throwing a surprise party for him,” Anthony said.
“I hadn’t thought about it yet,” Ethan said, not really participating in the one sided conversation. Anthony stared at him a moment, before trying again.
“Maybe we could go to a theme park or something. Six flags or Disneyland,” Anthony smiled.
“That could be fun,” Ethan said, not really interested.
“Ethan... is something wrong? I know we’re not exactly close, but you seem a little off lately,” Anthony said.
“No nothing is wrong,” Ethan shook his head, lying.
“Are you sure? I just think you seem kind of-” Anthony was silenced when Ethan hit him, sending him flying onto his back.
“You don’t know me you fucking infected piece of shit!” Ethan shouted suddenly. He didn’t know where the blind fury had come from, but it completely filled his mind. He couldn’t think about anything other than the creature that was so worthless in front of him. Anthony blocked his face as Ethan crawled on top of him, drawing his fist back. He punched him again, but before he could swing a third time, he was pulled off a bloody Anthony.
“What the fuck!?” Mike shouted. He had Ethan by the waist and threw him onto Mike’s bed. Chris knelt by Anthony, who had crawled over to the opposite wall. He held his nose, which gushed blood and Chris tried to stop the bleeding with a towel he had grabbed from the floor.
“Ethan, what the hell are you doing?!” Chris shouted, looking up from Anthony for only a second. Ethan’s vision was beginning to clear, and it was like a red haze had been lifted from his mind. It took him a moment to realize what he had done.
“What the fuck happened?!” Mike shouted, resisting the urge to help Anthony. He was more concerned with keeping Ethan far away from his beloved.
“I- I don’t know we were talking... ow!” Anthony hissed, as Chris pressed on his nose.
“Mike, I think it’s broken,” Chris said. Anthony was crying softly, in the arms of his friend.
“I’m going to kill you, you piece of shit,” Mike swore, before moving to Anthony’s side. He rubbed his shoulders soothingly, before trying to help Anthony up.
“Chris...” Ethan stood from where he had been thrown on the bed.
“Get out!” Chris shouted.
"Chris, please. Just give me another chance," Ethan begged.
"No. Get out. I don't want you here anymore. I've tried to help you, but you've made it obvious you can't be changed. Mike was right about you,” Chris shook his head, in tears. Mike glared at Ethan as they helped Anthony out of the dorms. Mike grabbed his keys.
“Come on, we need to get him to the E.R,” Mike said. Chris nodded, and they left. Ethan was left alone. He cursed and kicked the leg of the bed. His leaned against the wall and sighed. He had ruined it. He loved Chris, he really did. He just couldn’t take the panther anymore. The cat had worn on his last nerve.
Ethan stormed through the campus, angry as ever. Chris wouldn’t answer his calls or texts, neither would Mike. It had been a few hours and Ethan didn’t know what he would do. He couldn’t go home, he didn’t want to face Chris. Not after what he had done.
‘He’s kicked me out of my own Goddamn home!’ Ethan thought to himself. ‘He’ll defend that stupid fuck of a cat until the end. He doesn’t deserve it. He doesn’t deserve Chris’s love!’ his mind screamed. His hands were shoved in his pocket and he frowned when his fingers hit something cold. He wrapped his hand around it and brought it out into the street light. It was his small pocket knife, shining in the light. The red haze began to return to his vision, cutting off any sense of reason or logical thought. He just needed to make somebody hurt.
The boy had small horns on top of his head, curved back and around his ears like a ram. His legs were reversed and ended in black hooves that clicked loudly on the ground. He had lost track of time in the art studio and was heading back to his dorm. It was cold out that night, and it made his small tail twitch nervously. The night made him even more nervous. The campus wasn’t exactly the most peaceful one out there, and he knew he should be careful. He tried to take the most lighted path, directly through the campus. His hooves echoed and he didn’t like the sound, it made him feel alone. He smiled when he saw a figure walking ahead of him. It meant he wasn’t alone.
He quickened his pace, happy to see another person, even if he was heading the opposite way. The mans hands were shoved in the pockets of his jacket and he walked quickly, as if he had somewhere important to be. The ram hybrid slowly began loosing his smile as he got an uneasy feeling in his stomach. He swallowed and looked around at the empty campus around him. Far away you could hear the heavy music of a party, but other than that the night was still. He shook his head, it was just a man who was cold and was in a hurry to get warm. There was no reason to be afraid. He often found himself thinking the worst of people when he was alone at night, and crossed paths with a stranger. It was just a stupid thing he did, tricking himself into thinking he was in danger.
He smiled a little as he passed the man, who kept his head down as he walked past the infected. He shook his head and rolled his eyes.
‘See, you freak yourself out over nothing!’ he laughed at himself. His internal laugh was cut short when he felt a sharp pain in his back. He cried out, before falling to the ground. He was flipped over, and as he took his last breath he watched as the killer plunged the small pocket knife into his stomach, again and again.
“I would love nothing more than to sentence you to a few years in prison, Mr. Khan,” the judge said, addressing Ethan. “I don’t think that will help you all that much. You seem to have a history of prejudice against the infected,” the judge stated. “I want to see if we can do something about that.”
“Like what, Your Honor?” Ethan asked.
“You’re going to spend the next six months doing court appointed volunteer work at a facility that was created to care for infected citizens,” the judge replied. Ethan swallowed, how could this idiot actually think that was a good idea?
“Thank you, Your Honor,” Ethan’s lawyer said. Ethan glared at him as he began packing his briefcase.
“‘Thank you, Your Honor’ is all you have?” Ethan swore at him.
“Hey, kid. You’re lucky you’re not in jail, that infected kid almost died,” His lawyer returned. It was true, the poor ram hybrid he had stabbed was in the ICU. Ethan cursed as he left the courthouse. How was he supposed to spend the next six months in a big building with a bunch of infected scum running around?
Ethan stared up at the tall gray building. It looked like someone had taken some plain apartment buildings that should have been torn down a long time ago, and slapped on some new gray paint. It looked hopeless and desolate. The inside was only a little better. The walls were a dull beige, and a few pictures hung from the walls. But all that was in the lobby was a desk, three chairs, and a plastic plant in the corner.
“Hello, can I help you?” the blonde woman at the front asked him.
“Uh. I’m Ethan, the court appointed worker. This is my first day here,” he mumbled.
“Oh! Okay!” she said, showing her bubbly self. She grabbed a stack of papers and set them down. “I just need you to sign these and then we’re good to go!” she said. He quickly signed the papers, and then she walked out from behind the desk and headed down the hall. “Come on!” her high voice called out to him. He followed her lazily, just looking around the blank walls.
“My name’s Trish. I’m usually the one at the front desk, if I’m not there then it’s Aaron. He’s a really nice guy.” she smiled. Ethan gave a fake smile back and then rolled his eyes once she turned back around to watch where she was walking.
“So what exactly am I doing here? Moping floors or something...?” he grumbled.
“Oh no! Of course not!” she answered. “This program was started to help people who have been infected and don’t have anywhere else to go. A lot of times, families were killed in the camps. Or the infected were so badly disabled they couldn’t live on their own anymore. With no one else taking them in, that’s what we do! Those who can afford it pay rent, those who can't... well... they don’t,” she shrugged. “It’s a rough program, and we don’t have a lot of money, but we do what we can. What we really need is people to go in and talk to them. A lot of them get lonely and just need a friend. Sometimes that’s all they really need,” she smiled.
“Oh...” Ethan mumbled.
“So. What we’re going to do is set you up with a list of guests that you go and visit when you come here. You spend your time here with them and just keep them company,” he smiled.
“Oh...” Ethan repeated.
“Some of them are a little grumpy, but...” she leaned in and whispered “I tried to give you the nice ones.” She winked, and handed him a piece of paper. “Here are your guests. You spend as much time with them as you want, you just need to spend at least a half hour with each person, and then you’re free to leave,” she instructed.
“Okay,” Ethan said. He felt like he was just being thrown into this. He wondered if anyone had ever actually thought about what they were doing. Sending a guy who clearly hates infected to a place where he would be surrounded by them? Who’s idea was that?
“Here’s your first guest,” she said, stopping in front of an apartment. “Her name is Mrs. Fortune. She’s on the older side and she really just likes to talk to someone. She gets lonely. So just listen and let her do what she wants. If she falls asleep before the half hour is over, you can just leave,” Trish said, and left. Ethan stared at the door, before sighing and going inside.
The room was dark. Only one lamp was on in the back corner of the apartment. An older woman sat in an overstuffed armchair, knitting. The entire thing seemed very stereotypical. She was in a plain flowered dress, and there were hand-made doilies and couch throws and pillow covers everywhere. It smelled like Ethan’s grandmothers house. Mothballs and perfume.
“Hello?” Ethan called out to the woman.
“Didn’t anyone ever teach you to knock, deary?” the old woman said, a strange after tone in her voice.
“Oh... sorry,” Ethan shut the door and apologized. Given the situation, it didn’t even occur to him to knock.
“Well, that’s alright, I suppose. Just don’t forget again,” she scolded him, and then turned on another light. The old woman had the unfortunate luck to be hybridized with the exact opposite of what an old woman would be. Black feathers hung from her arms, and she had a fairly large feathered tail. When she stood up, and walked toward the kitchen, was when Ethan noticed large black talons where feet should be. She looked unbalanced and awkward. Ethan wondered, for a moment, how she had survived the transformation. He felt guilty, thinking about the how the old woman should have died, but a little bit of that guilt was washed away when she squawked and shook the feathers on her long vulture neck.
Ethan was bored to tears. He was beginning to get dizzy from the smell of the woman’s heavy perfume, as well as getting itchy from the feathers that had landed almost everywhere. The entire place looked like a bird’s cage. It didn’t smell too far off from one either. The old woman, Mrs.Fortune, had spent the past twenty minutes talking about her son. After that, she spoke about knitting, and crocheting, and stitching, and sewing, and the different types of yarn, and needles, and threads, and everything else under the sun. Ethan thought he was going to kill himself.
“Well, sorry, Mrs. Fortune, but our half hour is up.” Ethan stood up, grabbing his jacket, which he had taken off since the small apartment was about 112 degrees.
“R-really? Oh my, that went by so fast!” Mrs. Fortune mumbled, looking at the large cuckoo clock that hung from the wall.
“Yeah it did, well I guess I’ll see you next week.” Ethan headed for the door, trying not to run.
“What? But you come in every day!” she exclaimed, cheerily. Ethan stared at the door with shock before turning around.
“W... what?” he stuttered.
“Nobody told you, dear? Why, yes! You come visit us everyday!” She smiled, oblivious to the horror that Ethan was feeling.
“Every... everyday,” he sighed and fell against the door. “Uh... right. I’ll see you... tomorrow,” he mumbled, and left.
“Hi!” Trish greeted him at the lobby. “How did you like Mrs. Fortune?”
“I have to come here every day!?” Ethan shouted.
“Oh... yes... I-I assumed the judge told you,” she mumbled.
“He told me I had to come for six months! I didn’t realize he meant every day for six months!” Ethan sighed and sat in a chair.
“I know it probably takes a little while to get used to... but you will. I promise, some of them can be really nice.” Trish walked around the desk to sit with him. After a moment of silence passed, she spoke up. “May I ask you about something?” she said quietly.
“Sure, what?” Ethan looked up from where he had let his head fall into his hands.
“Why did you hurt those boys? The infected ones. What did they do to you?” she asked. Ethan stared at her before answering.
“I don’t know. I just get so angry. I see them and I’m just so mad I can’t think. I just... I hate them so much,” he said quietly.
“I don’t understand,” she said. A small silenced passed between them before Ethan spoke.
“I don’t either,” he whispered.
After Ethan spoke with Trish, he had to move on to his next room. The room belonged to a young woman who had been in the infected camps as a child. She would have been the same age as Alex if he were still alive.
Ethan knocked softly, hoping she was asleep or something, but when a soft ‘Yes?’ floated through the wooden door, he sighed and pushed it open.
“Mackenzie? Uh... I’m Ethan,” he introduced himself.
“Oh, hi! Trish told me you were coming,” she stood up. Her hands were covered in sandy blonde fur, and it ran all the way up her arms and down below the neckline of her shirt. When she stood to greet Ethan he saw the sandy colored fur continued past her stomach and into the waist line of her jeans. Her face was now pushed out into a long snout. Her ears, also covered in sandy fur, hung down past her jaw and flopped in the air when she moved. Behind her, from a hole cut into the back of her jeans, was a thick wagging tail. She was a lab. Ethan had always liked dogs. But the most obvious thing about her, was that she was completely blind. Around her head, was a blindfold. The black cloth was wrapped tightly around her head so it wouldn’t slip, but was loose enough so that it would be comfortable.
“Hi.” He shook her hand when she held it out, trying not to cringe at the paw in front of him. She smiled, before making her way back to the seat on the couch she had occupied.
“So, tell me about yourself,” she smiled.
“Uh. Like what?” Ethan asked.
“Why did you decide to volunteer here?” she turned her head slightly. Ethan swallowed.
“They didn’t tell you?” he frowned.
“No. They just said someone new was working here,” she shook her head, curious still.
“Oh... I’m a court appointed worker,” he replied.
“I see...” she said, the question lying just under the two words, but not coming to the surface.
“I’m here for attempted murder,” Ethan said.
“Oh my... seems like an odd punishment,” she said.
“It was a hate crime against an infected. I have a bit of a history...” Ethan wished he could see her eyes. Ethan counted to himself, it was now three hate crimes against infected. All in a couple of years. Of course he wasn’t directly linked to Alex, but he didn’t do anything to stop it. So he counted that against himself.
“I understand... well, you answered my questions, so why don’t I answer some of yours?” she asked.
“What’s with the blindfold?” Ethan asked bluntly.
“I was in the camps when people first started getting sick. I lost both of my eyes there,” she said. “I wear this because it’s comfortable, and it helps to not creep people out.”
“Oh...” Ethan said. The conversation was forced and awkward for a while, but eventually they both began loosening up, and soon Ethan found he was forgetting she was even infected, until she got up to get a glass of water, and he saw the slowly wagging tail following her. Alone in the living room of the small apartment, he felt his anger begin to boil forward. His vision blurred as he felt the incredible rage fill him. It was unexplained and without cause, but it was definitely there. Mackenzie walked back out with the two glasses of water, and set them down on a table next to the couch before sitting down.
“Something wrong?” she asked.
“No. Just a little warm,” Ethan lied. How would it look to the judge if he couldn’t even handle a visit alone with an infected for half an hour? He looked at the clock, it had been twenty minutes.
‘I’m not going to jail’ Ethan thought to himself, watching the slowly ticking hands of the clock. He watched Mackenzie’s mouth as she continued to talk about what they had been chatting about before. He couldn’t remember what it was, it seemed so stupid now, whatever it was. Ethan’s breath quickened as Mackenzie spoke. The drops of water rolled down the glass slowly, hitting the wooden table and lying there. The water looked so good, but he didn’t want it. He didn’t know why he didn’t want it, but he really didn’t. Mackenzie’s dog-like lips moved as she laughed, her voice had long since faded away to Ethan. Now the only sounds were the ticking clock, and the dripping glass of water. In the back of his mind, Ethan knew the water didn’t make any sound, but in his head it sounded like a waterfall.
He snapped out of his trance when the clock chimed once, signalling the half hour mark. He stood faster than he should have, and turned to leave.
“Oh... I guess our time is...” Mackenzie was interrupted when Ethan slammed the door, “... up.”
“How many more do I have?” Ethan asked, after he had finished the fourth infected.
“Just one more, he’s a real sweet one, very shy.” Trish giggled, dropping her voice to a whisper she added, “don’t tell the others, but he’s my favorite.” She winked.
“Right,” Ethan said. He had a throbbing headache and several knots in his neck and back from the stress of being around so many people he hated. The migraine seemed to worsen every time Trish laughed, which was about ever three words. “Who’s next?” he asked, just wanting to get this over with so he could go home and crawl into bed.
“Carey,” she smiled.
“Carey? I thought you said it was a guy,” Ethan frowned when she handed him the room key.
“He is a guy,” Trish frowned. “It’s a unisex name,” she stuck her nose up and returned to her computer. When Ethan was beginning to walk away, she called out. “Ethan!” He turned around with a roll of his large green eyes. “If you hurt him, jail won't be your biggest problem, k?” She laughed and winked, returning to work. Ethan raised an eyebrow, before heading towards the last room of the day.
He knocked on the door, and at first he thought there wasn’t an answer, but when he waited a second too long, he heard a very soft “You can come in...”
He opened the door and looked inside the dimly lit apartment. After visiting the five infected rooms, he noticed that was one thing they all had in common. They all liked it dark. He stepped inside and for a long time he didn’t see anything, it took a moment for his eyes to adjust and then he saw the figure in the corner.
The man stood in the corner, nervously playing with something in his hands. He was fairly short, even across the room Ethan could see that the man was probably only 5’ 4”, give or take an inch. He was thin, whatever he was wearing clung to his lean body, showing off all of his small frame. In the pitch black of the room, Ethan thought he could make out a white long sleeve shirt, and some jeans. He didn’t look like he was wearing shoes, only socks. The man had one foot on top of the other, moving his toes nervously. He lifted his right foot and used the top of his foot to scratch his left calf. He coughed nervously.
“Sorry, I’ll turn a light on, I bet it’s pretty dark in here, huh?” he said, his voice very quiet and delicate. Ethan could hardly hear him. The man moved quickly, darting across the room to a wall. Ethan nearly lost sight of him, he moved so fast. There was a soft ‘click’ as the lights were turned on so that a normal person could see. The man had his back to Ethan and now he could see that he wasn’t actually wearing a shirt. What he thought was a white shirt before, was actually a fair amount of white fur. The fur danced down his back, and moved all the way around to the front of his body, stopping just past his sides, leaving most of his chest and stomach with only pale skin. The fur continued down his arms, stopping just at his knuckles, leaving his palms bare.
Ethan had been right about the pants. He wore a pair of blue jeans that hugged his small slender hips tightly. Even the small pants didn’t fit him and he was forced to wear a belt. But again, Ethan found himself wrong about another aspect of the man’s appearance. Covering his feet was more white fur, not socks. Sticking out from the back of the small blue jeans, was a long, long, tail. He held his tail nervously in his left hand, while his right still remained on the switch. Ethan swallowed when he saw the unusual sharp claws that decorated his fingertips. The man turned to face Ethan, who shivered at the sight of his beady black eyes, and the many long whiskers that protruded from just under his nose. Large round ears were pressed back against his head, a hint of fear and nervousness was given away by their placement.
“Hi, you must be Ethan,” his soft voice said again. Ethan almost couldn’t believe how soft and delicate his voice was. He wondered if he had always been that soft spoken, or if it was new with the change.
“Yeah,” Ethan mumbled. “Carey, right?” he asked. The mouse hybrid nodded, his ears wiggling a little bit with the jerky movement. He walked over to a couch that sat nearby, and sat down. Ethan was weirded out by how little sound his tiny feet made on the hardwood floors of the small apartment.
“Yeah... you can sit anywhere,” he replied in his soft voice. He held his tail nervously, but his round ears were now up and on alert. Ethan sat down and stared at the mouse, the anger starting to bubble up from nowhere. Carey was the one to start the conversation between them. As the half hour got further and further along, Ethan was suddenly aware of how calm he felt. The small bubble of anger had vanished and Ethan found himself only a little uneasy. It was as if Carey had some calming affect on him. He didn’t know what it was, and he didn’t particularly care what it was. All he knew was that it was nice to have a break from the rage.