The life of a young man takes a twisted turn...and things were twisted enough!
The weather in Serates was always poor this time of year. The rain would come in bucket loads most days, as if the ocean itself was falling from the sky, and on some days, the temperature was so low that hail, and even snow would descend from the clouds. Being so close to the sea itself made the small town victim to some of the worst climate in this part of the country. So all the residence were mostly happily barred up in their homes. Only coming out from behind their warm fireplaces and comfy blankets to venture out for food and the necessities, wading through the snow and late autumn leaves in their huge overcoats and sturdy boots.
The town of Serates was indeed quite small, with barely five hundred residences. Everyone pretty much knew everybody else, or fail that, knew somebody that knew everybody else. So gossip and the latest news spread rather quickly throughout the town. A lot of said gossip revolved around one certain resident of the town. A young man of fourteen, who was adopted by a well to do family of the town, the father of the family being the owner of the quite successful blacksmiths in the center of town.
The boy had been put up for adoption many years ago, when he was still a baby. His parents had disappeared rather unexplainably, so he was put up for adoption. For several years he stayed in the care of the church, but was treated as some kind of demon for his, unusual, appearance. In the end the nuns of the church somewhat tricked a couple looking to adopt into signing the proper papers before they had a decent look at the child, when by then it was too late to go back, so they had no choice but to keep him. Under slight distain, but kept him nonetheless, and named him, Kyre.
So it was after his sixth birthday that Kyre was taken from the place were he had grown, being told he was being punished for something his parents must of done because of his appearance, and being the center of everyone’s attention. From the nun’s that looked over the orphans, to the other children who constantly teased him. Kyre had thought that once he was adopted, he would be with parents that would love him, in a real home, just like normal children. He was very young and naïve. Which in this case, made him very wrong.
If anything after coming to Serates, life only got worse for the boy, practically hated by his “parents”, constantly the talk of the town for his strange habits, and going to school was something, as of his twelfth birthday, he had stopped doing all together. Preferring to walk around and explore the forest to the east of the town, Kyre did not frequent the beach just south of town often, finding the constant spray of salt water not to mention the sand, most irritating. His father had yelled and beaten him at first for not attending class, but that was nothing to him now, since he had been since they took him in. His mother never physicaly punished him, put always seemd to be convineintly out of the room when it happened. Kyre could easily go through a three-hour lecture followed by two days locked in his room standing on his head.
Today was coincidently one of those days. Kyre had been caught letting out a flock of sheep from their pen at a nearby farm, it had been quite easy actually, since the farmer had been too busy having a quick “afternoon tea” with one of the younger teachers from the school while his wife was out shopping. The boy had only done it because the farmer had called him a vicious animal under his breath earlier that day in the market, and had distracted Kyre from trying to snatch a rather delicious looking pastry from a over crowded bakery in the town.
He had told his parents why he had let the sheep out, leaving out the bit about stealing of course, not that anybody ever cared what he had to say. Nobody ever did, and as far as Kyre could see it, nobody ever would. So there he sat, on the large window sill of the only window of his room, curled up with his knees to his chin. Kyre watched as the snow softly fell from the sky, some landing gently on the glass, and melting into a droplet of water, then sliding down out of sight. Every now and then glancing at the reflection of the face that people seemed to hate for no reason.
Most of his face was normal enough, not too fat or thin, with a almost cute button nose, which people would find adorable on anybody else, and mop of glossy silver hair cut short but not too short, so it was just out of his eyes, framed his delicate face. But the two abnormal things about his face greatly outweighed the normal. The main thing was his ears, they were basically, not human, more like an animals that anything else. They were slightly larger and pointed, and swept back slightly, and given the right sound from a certain direction, could swivel slightly on there own to hear better. And they were covered in soft dark hair, though it resembled fur more than hair, as it was few shades darker than the rest of his hair.
The other abnormal thing about his face, and the thing that most people found a great deal more disturbing than his ears, were his eyes. They were a deep gold, and were reflective of light, so anyone seeing him in the twilight was most shocked. His pupils were slightly larger than most people, and changed size rapidly in differing light, and all this was just what people could see. Known to very few people was the fact that Kyre even had a bushy tail, tucked away uncomfortably down his pants leg. Kyre made sure never to let anybody ever see his tail again, after what happened last time.
All this, plus some of his more erratic habits, had earned him the name of monster in the town, most dared even look at him, and some were so full of hate that they would refuse to let him come anywhere near there homes or shops. A few men of the town had even tried to kill him once, saying he was an abomination of the dark gods, and had to be killed! Of course a few bites from his abnormally sharp teeth, and a few well aimed kicks to an important area for males, Kyre had escaped and hid in the forest for days, too afraid to even find food or water.
So whenever he was outside his room, he had to wear a hood. Even his “parents” would sometimes not look upon him without it. And he could only take it off when he was out of town, and in the safety of the forest, which to him was more home than any building. Maybe it was why people thought he was an animal, but Kyre found no more pleasure than being out in the wilds. The sounds, the scents, the sights, the feel of what he could only describe as energy that simply emanated from everything, it was the only time he was happy.
But it always came time to have to go back to town too soon. If he was ever late, and he always was, he would be beaten and not given any supper by his fathers oders, not that he minded, having already stolen food from the market, or found some edible plant or wild fruit in the woods.
Kyre gave a deep sigh, his warm breath fogging up the cold glass of the window. It was almost time for his mother to yell at him to come eat his breakfast, or risk getting it thrown out. He lifted himself of the windowsill, giving one last longing look outside, he truly hated cold weather, and it meant he was stuck indoors, away from the forest. He then padded across the room; pulling off the shirt he wore to bed, and throwing it in no particular direction. He reached down to pull a clean shirt from the dresser. Pulling on a shirt of a color very similar to his hair, and reaching for the hodded jumper he wore and threw it on, raising the stifiling hood over his head, he opened the door to his attic room, and bounded down the stairs.
Kyre reached the bottom the stairs with a soft thud on the wooden landing, and began padding down the hallway to the second slight of stairs, passing his parents bedroom on the way. Once climbing down the stairway to the passage, he stood at the door to the dining room and sighed quietly, now to endure the same morning routine. He pushed open the door and entered, expecting to see his parents sitting there eating and talking in whispers. But instead, he saw only his mother, quietly sipping a cup of herbal tea.
“Good Morning Kyre.” She said simply, in a calm tone, but with an air of superiority, like she always did. Kyre’s mother was a rather average woman, straight dark blond hair to her shoulders, not ugly nor overly beautiful, middle aged in her early forty’s, medium height, and eyes of metallic blue. They were so much different from his warm golden eyes. It was just another fact of just how different they were, and could never be true mother and son.
“Morning Mother, Were is Father this morning?” Kyre bantered while he took his seat and poured himself a cup of tea, then sipping it slowly before placing it back down onto the wooden table. He really could care less about his adoptive fathers whereabouts, and was simply making small talk.
“You’re father is out on business, he is receiving a new shipment of iron from Boruka City, so needed to be at the shop early.” Boruka “City” was the nearest town to Serates. It was good three hours away, it was more of a mining settlement than a city, even smaller and more backwater than Serates. So in truth it was neither near nor a city. His mother rose from her seat and took her cup to the and breakfast dishes into the kitchen, shortly after was the sound of running water filling up the basin from the small pump above it. Leaving Kyre to muse on his own.
Kyre’s adoptive father ran the towns blacksmith, and sold everything from weapons and amours, right down to horseshoes and nails. And on occasion, for the right price, would forge weapons himself for the more wealthy patrons, instead of his staff doing it. Usually he would of passed his knowledge of smiting and salesmanship onto his son, and he had tried several times, but Kyre was just not suited for the work, that and the incident when Kyre had let his tail out when there was nobody around, for it was most uncomfortable o keep it stuffed down his pants leg. And being a place of fires and hot objects, he had inadvertently caught it on fire.
After running around in pain for many a minet, a customer came in a saw him. That was when the secret of his tail had been exposed, and was the talk of the town for weeks afterwards. In his panic to extinguish is tail, and hide from the customer; he also lit a small workbench on fire, which burnt beyond repair before the fire could be put out. His father lost much business for that, and never forgave Kyre, and never tried to pass on the skills of the family again.
Kyre was then snapped out of his thoughts by his mother’s voice. She had returned and was apparently trying to talk to him, Kyre looked up distractedly, and muttered. “What did you say? I wasn’t listening”
A look of annoyance passed through his mothers face before she repeated herself. “I said, I have decided to cut your punishment short, because I am entertaining the mayors wife and daughter today, and would like the house empty for it. So you can go outside and, do whatever you do all day, But don’t pull anything funny, or your father will have your head!”
Kyre eyes widened at this, he knew very well his mother just wanted him out of sight when she had company. But this was not the issue at the moment.
“Are you joking? It’s below freezing out there! It’s snowing for gods sake!” Kyre cried in disbelief. And it was true, the snowflakes were still floating softly from the sky, and unless they had to, most sensible people were warm and inside. And the response to this outburst was immediate.
“Don’t take that tone with me Kyre! You know that the mayor spends a lot of money at your father’s store! And the better friends we are with him and his family, the more people the Mayor tells about your
Father’s store! And its better if they don’t…” She was cut off by her son, who retorted in a quiet, but cutting voice.
“Better if they don’t have to look at or speak with the demon child of Serates, isn’t that what you were going to say? At least, what you were thinking.” Kyre’s voice was cold and calm as he pondered over the name he had received by some of the more abusive people of the town.
Kyre’s mother faulted at this, slightly taken aback by his forwardness, he had never spoken to her like that, without any emotion riding in his voice, just….a voice. She was only able to mutter a “Kyre…” in response to him, walking over to try and place a “comforting” hand on his shoulder.
Kyre rose from his chair knocking back her hand back and roughly letting out something similar to a growl and ran out the door to the back garden. He ignored the chickens who clucked nosily and flapped their useless wings to get out of his way, as he made for the back fence, and easily jumped up to grasp the top, and fling himself over, before dropping down behind it, ignoring the shout of his mother for him to come back.
He ran as fast as he could, even after his hood flew back, revealing the appearance that people despised him for. Since it was so cold out, few people were about, so few spotted him. And the ones that did, sneered at him, or gave looks of unbridled disgust. Kyre ignored each and everyone; his eyes filling up with unshed tears.
He ran, and ran and ran, until the houses of Serates could no longer be seen. Deep in the Serates forest he went, his true home. The place he loved to be, and would gladly stay here for the rest of his life. Kyre came to a halt in on the edge of a familiar clearing, with a large piles of boulders littered the area. The young man knew this clearing. It was were he had found a family of small furry woodland creatures under the rocks last spring. Kyre did not know what they were. No longer attending school had made him somwhat, he admited long ago...stupid, on most things about the world around him. He ran to the middle and calmly climbed up the largest one, and sat atop the almost flat top, like he had so many times, it was a good place for thiniking, when it wasent snowing.
“Why did I run?” He asked his mind. “Since when do I care about what they think of me?” He mused this while taking in the view; he could see the whole forest before him, covered in a blanket of white. Not a person or creature to be seen. Kyre shivered slightly, even his ears were quivering in the cold. He could not understand it, any of it. Why he had run, why they hated him, why he was cursed in such a way. Kyre pulled his knees upto his chin and sighed. The tears flowed freely now, streaming down his cheeks and making a soft pattering sound when they hit the stone before him.
Many thoughts and memories raced through his mind so fast that before he could get a decent grasp on them, they were gone. He shut his eyes tightly, and attempted to slow his mind and stop the rushing thoughts. Failing to do so, he stood up and screamed, just screamed. Expressing all the pain and frustration and fear. He screamed and screamed for what seemed like forever until his throat would no longer work, letting out mere croaking sounds, and he slowly sunk to his knees, sobbing loudly.
“Why?” was all he could push out of his strained and raw throat. He coughed and kept weeping; the tears would just not stop. He could just stay here, there was food, shelter, everything one needed to live. But he couldn’t. That would mark his surrender, and he refused to let the people that tormented him to win! No matter what they had said or done, he had locked it up and ignored it, but it was too much, just too much. All the feelings he had bottled up for so long were beginning to spill out. He pulled his knees up to his chin again and rested his head on them.
Kyre did not know how long he sat there, brooding about his life, and what would become of him in the future. He knew. He would grow up, still hated by the town, and would not be able to gain work. He would never marry, or have children of his own. And would die alone after many, many years of suffering.
Kyre sighed deeply and looked up to the sky. And was not surprised to see the sun had already set, and the moon was climbing up from the east. The tears were still flowing, but it seemed that he had no choice but return “home”. His parents would probably desend on him like hungry, angry vultures for coming home so late, but he did not care. He never did. Kyre rose slowly from the stone and wiped himself down and shivered, realizing he had been covered in a thin layer of snow.
Wiping the snow from his body and his ears flicking the snow off seemingly by themselves, he mumbling about being soaked, he took on last look at the view, before turning to climb down, when the unexpected happened. In all the years Kyre had come here, this was the first while it was snowing, and he did not take into account the slipperiness of the smooth stone. Slipping ungracefully as he turned, he windmilled his arms and his hoarse throat let out a cry as he fell the twelve or so feet to the ground.
With a sickening thud Kyre hit the ground shoulder first, only hearing a crack sound and a jolt of pain from it, as at that time his head bounced off the base of one of the stones. He moaned slightly and the darkness began to take him. His eyes fluttered shut and only one though raced in his head now.
“This is it, I’m going to die here.”
Slowly, the blood from his head began to trickle down his face, mixing with the tears, which started to drip on the ground below, soaking into the soft snow and freezing into a pool of red, and even while knocked out, the tears did not stop. Further spreading the blood, until a large pool of frozen crimson surrounded Kyre’s head.
And the snow continued to fall.
End Chapter One