The Human Outlands
Part III: Nightly Anxiety
I woke up in the middle of the night, my hearts beating. I reached out for Kulaat but she wasn’t there so I panicked. Only after a minute did I remember; she was on the other side of the world. I hesitantly took a peek outside of my covers; the room was dark, the blinds pulled all the way over the window and only the thinest crack of light passed under the door.
The only sound I could hear was that of Jaime’s breathing. I could see her on the other bed. She hadn’t hung out with us earlier, I didn’t know why. but I had the feeling she didn’t like me…
I got out of bed, walking on my tippie toes to make sure nobody could hear me, and went out into the common room. There wasn’t any light on but the sky was clear and the moon wasn’t too small, basking everything in a zaru glow. Unlike humans who had really bad night vision, I could see well if the stars and moon were uncovered.
My spit gland were at the ready, waiting for potential predator to make their move. But there weren’t any.
I wasn’t sure what to do so I went for Annabelle’s room. The door was locked and I didn’t have my card with me. I didn’t even know if my card would have worked; it wasn’t my room…
I felt frustration build up inside; I was stuck…
It took me a minute to remember that I could always use my powers…
It took me a few tries but with them I moved the lock into an open position and the door unlocked, letting me in. Annabelle’s room was identical at it’s base. The two occupants hadn’t really added any decorations to it.
Although it was really dark, it was easy to find Annabelle; Yougen’s bed had a wheelchair next to it.
I snuck toward her and lightly shook her awake.
She got up abruptly and sparks began dancing between her fingers. Then her eyes settled on me and she visibly relaxed.
“Ahti? You scared the life out of me.” She whispered before she closed her hands and the sparks went away. “Why are you here? What time is it?”
I hadn’t checked but it was really late. Or early depending on your perception.
“I’m scared…” I said, looking down. “Can I sleep with you?”
She took a moment to answer, as if processing what I’d just said.
“Sure, but put some pants on first.”
I wasn’t sure why, but humans are weird when it comes to be naked. It’s like it’s really scary for them.
I left her room, went back in mine and grabbed my pants and put them on before grabbing Mr Hopper, my plush, and going back to her room. She had sat down on her bed and opened the light on her bedside table.
I nodded, holding my plush tight against my chest. That seemed to make her smile.
“Alright, hop in.”
I sat down and laid down by the entrance side, she closed the light and lied down behind me, wrapping her arms around me protectively. It was kind of weird, she wore a shirt but her arms were uncovered and touching my bare skin, something I wasn’t used to. It was just so different from Itharii skin.
Still she was big and warm. So I felt comfortable sandwiched between Mr. Hopper and her, I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.
“Good night.” She mumbled.
“Night.” I answered.
Secure in her embrace my worries faded away and I fell back asleep quickly.
I woke up first, the sun had barely began rising over the horizon. I slipped out of Annabelle’s arms and left the room before sneaking back into my own, putting my plush back and getting dressed. Some of the others including Amber, Allison, Charlie and Caroline, most of whom I hadn’t really spoken to, were awake and making food.
I went to the kitchen counter and climbed onto the stool, which was really high.
“Morning Ahti. What do you eat for breakfast?” Caroline asked.
“Utza’i or narik, usually.” I answered. By the way Caroline looked at me, I guessed she didn’t know what either of those were. “Utza’i is a soup made with beaten zetz eggs and utz weeds. A nari is like a fried ball of dough covered in syrup.”
“Oh… I don’t think we have any Itharii ingredients in the fridge…”
“I can eat human food. Just no land meat it makes my belly hurt.”
“How about scrambled eggs? Chicken eggs.”
Chicken eggs were one of the human foods I ate often. Although we ate a lot of Itharii foods at home, production wasn’t that high yet so we used earth substitute; Rice was very similar to izatu grains so we made noodles with it or just at it as such.
“That works.” I said.
After a very quick cooking time, she gave me a plate along with some tea which was nice and I ate it really quickly before asking for another.
While she took care of that, I grabbed one of the fruit left in a bowl on the counter; it was big and orange. I bit into it and it tasted pretty foul. Amber however went to my rescue, taking the fruit and removing the skin without a word. The inside was made of sweet and juicy cells that split into wedges, which I really liked.
Once I was done, I left the counter and sat down on one of the couch. Mace had put television on so I watched that, not really understanding what the people were debating.
Annabelle was the last to wake up, she went for the counter but once she got a cup of tea and an egg sandwich, she came to me and sat down.
“About last night, were you okay?” She asked in a whisper. “You seemed a little panicky.”
“I’ve never slept alone before.” I answered, looking away. “I just got a little scared…”
“Really? You’ve never slept alone?”
I shook my head. “I share a bed with my clutchmate Kulaat at home and sometimes with my zuzuk. So when I get scared at night, they’re there for me.”
“Does that happen often?”
“Sometimes. I just wake up and my hearts are beating like crazy and I feel like there’s something out there… Kulaat thinks I’m a big baby because of it…”
“Hey, it’s okay to get scared a little. Beside, I’m sure you’re really brave in reality, you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.”
“You really think so?”
“Of course I do.”
I couldn’t help but hug her. In answer, she wrapped her arms around me.
“Alright, I better eat my breakfast and get ready before class starts.” She said, letting go after a minute.
She came back a few minutes later, having changed into what I presumed were day clothes; a hooded jacket and those blue pants humans really love. As a group we left for our first day of class.