This Farseen Chronicles flash fiction takes place during the first half of Deceived. There are no plot spoilers in this story.
“You ask him,” Lucas pushed his twin forward.
Logan twisted and pushed Lucas back, “It’s your question. You ask.”
Stretched out in the sunroom, Bryce hid his smile, but didn’t look up from the seriously disappointing book in his hands. He would welcome the interruption.
After a scuffle, the twins walked into the sunroom. Logan asked, “Um, Bryce?”
He looked up, “Yes?”
“I have a question.”
When Logan didn’t continue, Bryce closed his book, “What can I do for you?”
“Well, um, it’s sort of personal. Not really personal,” Logan rushed to add. “Just a little personal.”
“Oh good grief,” Lucas rolled his eyes. “We want to know how you picked the Akita for your form. We’re studying Japan in school and we learned today that the first of the Akita breed didn’t come to the states until the 1920s. You’re older than that.”
Bryce laughed. Few people knew that his chosen form had gotten him in trouble when he took it and most had never done the math to realize that the breed was unknown in the States when he selected it.
“Since you guys should shift within the next few months, I shall reveal my mistake on the first night the moon called me.”
“You telling a story? Can we listen?” Mia asked excitedly as the five-year-old triplets entered the house with their parents.
Bryce waved the triplets over. “A cautionary tale for when you’re old enough to hear the moon’s call.”
The kids gathered around and got comfortable.
“Eli’s territory use to be a good place for shifters to rest after crossing the Smoky Mountains. Before the information age, most shifters new to the States would stop by and check in with the sovereign and most would cross the Smokies from her territory, heading further west.
“One day an Asian man arrived and asked for shelter for a night. He ended up staying to help Eli with an issue and was with us for the full moon. He shifted into the most amazing dog I’d ever seen. It was large, over one hundred pounds, with a black mask. After that night I drove the poor man crazy asking all sorts of questions. Eventually he continued his journey west.
“My mother, realizing my fascination with the Akita, reminded me that I had always wanted to take a wolf form and it would blend in better with our location. I agreed, but continued to think about the Akita. I even tried to draw the form, but I’m terrible at drawing. The clan did everything they could to get my mind off the Akita and eventually I quit talking about it just so they would stop lecturing me; but I didn’t forget.
“A couple of months later my parents stood with me, once again, while I waited to see if this would be the month I shifted. I tried to focus on the wolf, at least I thought I did; but when the moon called my Akita answered. Not surprisingly, I had a black mask, like the visitor.
“I could tell my parents were disappointed but they didn’t say anything. We ran and I loved my form. For many years I ran in the deep woods when I shifted to hide my form. Once the Akita was brought into the States and became, not common, but at least identifiable, my life got easier.”
Lucas shrugged, “Running in the woods sounds okay.”
“It was, but it was also inconvenient upon occasion. One full moon when I was a teenager I didn’t make it out of town before the moon called. I was helping a friend on his father’s farm. I forgot to watch the time and tried to sneak back home after I couldn’t stand it anymore and shifted. I was almost to Eli’s when a human saw me. He didn’t get a clear look and thought I was a bear, probably because of the black mask.” Bryce rolled up his pants leg and pointed to a scar on his right leg. “This is from the bullet. He gave chase to finish the job as I limped away. I was lucky Eli and Asilia heard the gunfire and investigated. Asilia stood over me, growling at the man. Eli jumped the guy and stood over his gun while the poor human backed away in terror.”
“All’s well that ends well,” Mitch laughed.
“It ended well for me but not for the human. He tried to tell the people in town what had happened, but they didn’t believe him. They made fun of him for the rest of his life, saying no mountain lion would work with a wolf to protect a bear. And yes, he thought Asilia was a mountain lion and not an African lioness. He was old by human standards and probably needed glasses.
“Until he died ten years later, I watched out for him and helped him with his farm. He never understood why I was so helpful. He thought I was a good kid; but really I was trying to make restitution for the pain I caused an old man. He was a hard working farmer and didn’t deserve what happened to him because I didn’t plan properly. Actions, regardless of intentions, have consequences.”
“But it sounds like you helped him in the end.” Mia hugged Bryce, “And I like your Akita.”
“Thank you little one. I like it too,” Bryce smiled.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/8161563@N04/6267421623″>Rosie head on paw</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>