Ahti Arc II: Strange Species
Part I: Personal Interactions
Three weeks later
I woke up with Rowan’s big powerful arms around my body, holding me tightly. In the past few weeks, they had become my new sleep buddy. I felt really safe and comfortable with them, and their body was so warm. Sometimes they’d even make this strange ‘purr’ like noise that made their chest feel strangely rumbly, but it was nice.
“Rowan are you awake?”
“My god you two are loud…” Allison mumbled from the other bed. “I’m trying to sleep here…”
“Good morning Allison!”
In answer they groaned at me, like one of those zombie from those strange movies Allen loved to watch, before covering their face with a pillow. Humans are very strange sometimes…
Rowan and I got up and went into the kitchen to get breakfast which Caroline was already making. I liked Caroline, she was always giving me food and my Zuzuk always said that if someone like you they’ll feed you. And you can’t not like someone who give you food! Unless its zork pie, then you can because it’s gross.
“Is Annabelle back yet?” I asked looking around.
“Not yet.” She said.
I let out a few whines at the news. She’d been gone for days and I missed her a lot. Caroline gave me quick hug and rubbed my head gently.
“I’m sure she’ll be back really soon. We all miss her.”
I sat down, still feeling a little sad.
“You know what? I’ll make you some Narik just to cheer you up.”
“You will?” I asked, mouth wide.
“I’ll try. I looked it up way back, I don’t have quite the right flour but I’ll do my best to try to make them right.”
I was just so happy that my worries faded as Caroline and I worked on making some Narik along with a lemon glaze like my zuzu would make them. In the end they turned a little different but they were still very nice! We only had a few minutes to enjoy them before having to go to school but I made sure to pack some for snacking.
School went by as usual, first foreign language which for me was Spanish, then homeroom, then sciences and then world history. In the past month I’d gotten a lot better at human-style school and a lot smarter too.
When we were going home, I noticed Rowan and Yikaru going away from the group and the house.
“Rowan, are you going somewhere?” I asked.
“Yeah, private thing with Yikaru.” They said.
“Oh okay.” I said, looking down at the ground and feeling a little disappointed they were busy, with Annabelle gone they were my only close friend left. “Have fun!”
“Sure, yeah.” Rowan said before leaving through the door. “You too.”
Without Rowan, I didn’t know what to do with my evening until I got Tyler to play some board games with me, he liked them too. He’d even introduced me to a special type of board game he called a ‘Roleplaying game’ in which you and your friends played a character, pretending to be them in a fantasy story while Tyler controlled the setting and the bad guys. I played a little itharii magician who was travelling the world to save their clutchmate from an evil curse. But without Annabelle there, we couldn’t play that…
Just as we were eating dinner, the door opened and Annabelle of all people walked through it! Well, she didn’t really walk, because she was in a wheelchair, but you know. I jumped up from my seat and ran toward her, screaming her name. I wrapped my arms around her body and held it with all my might.
“I missed you so much.” I said. I was so happy to see her that I left out a series of soft wuns.
“It’s good to be back.” She said, rubbing my head gently. “Could you please wheel me to my room?”
“Of course!” I said, going behind and pushing the chair into her and Yougen’s room. “You missed so much! Sanjay made an indian dinner, it was really good but Charlie didn’t like it. I heard Jaeger made a new friend from another class, I made a lemon pie the other day with Caroline. Oh and Charlie pranked Jaeger, it was kind of mean but funny.” As I explained to her everything she’d missed, both in the house and in class, she put down the bags she carried on her knees on onto her bed.
“Ahti would you mind if I speak to Amber alone?” Annabelle asked once she was done putting her things away.
“Okay! I made tea, do you want some?”
“I’ll pass but thank you.”
“Okay, see you later!”
I went into the kitchen to continue dinner and I noticed there was a new human I hadn’t met before. I looked at her chest and found bumps, which meant she was a female. The others clearly were interested in seeing her. After a while she looked at me.
“Hello!” I said, waving at her. “I’m Ahti.”
“I’ve heard of you.” She said, mouth wide open and exposed teeth. “I’m Emma, Annabelle’s twin sister.”
“What’s a twin?”
“It means we were in mama’s belly together and were born at the same time.”
“So you’re like clutchmates?” I said eyes wide.
“Guess we are.”
I let out some wuns at the news. It was so rare for humans to have a clutchmate. They had to be so lonely… But Annabelle wasn’t!
“I’m up for anything.” Annabelle said coming up the stairs, catching my attention. “Unless it requires braincells, concentration or any kind of energy whatsoever.”
“TV it is!” Amber declared. “That or go fish.”
“I’ll take TV. Hopefully there’s something loud with guns and explosions on.”
They went to sit on the couch and claimed the television for themselves so I joined them, cup of tea in hand, Emma being taken by someone else. Annabelle asked Amber if she could get Imugi and she did. Imugi was the name of Annabelle’s little snake. Snakes were an animal we also had on Ithar except ours had thick skin instead of scales.
“I love snakes.” Allen said joining us.
“I don’t think the nope rope likes you though.” Amber said, it was her silly name for snakes.
“Will it hurt me?” I asked. I wanted to pet the little Imugi but didn’t want to upset her.
“Nah, you’re nice.” She answered.
Before I could try, Imugi went for the television remote control.
“I think Imugi wants to watch TV!” I said with a laugh. It was silly, snakes don’t watch television! Annabelle also laughed and picked the remote.
“Alright, what do you want to watch?” She asked her snake. She changed the channels slowly and Imugi began nodding her head at one particular channel; Planet Horror.
“Personally, I prefer a good action movie but this’ll do,” She said.
The movie that was playing featured two humans on a couch, lying one against the other, they were Raelip! I felt a little lonely, all of a sudden. Humans are strange, they don’t raelip their friends for some reason…
“Can we do that as well?” I asked Allen.
“No, only close humans do that.” He said.
“Are we not close?”
“We barely know each other.”
“I consider you my friend though.” I said. He moved his head from side to side and had a weird expression. “It looks fun.” I pleaded, letting out a little whine. I missed Kulaat, she was always there when I needed someone to raelip…
“Fine.” Allen said, letting out a long breath of air out.
I leaned against them, head on their torso, gently moved by the rhythm of their breathing. It was nice and I couldn’t stop myself from wunning in satisfaction. Annabelle and Amber soon excused themselves and Allen and I were left alone to watch the movie. It was one of those scary ones I’d often seen Allen watch before.
“I don’t understand why you like to be scared. That doesn’t seem fun…” I asked.
“Sure it’s scary, but it gets your adrenaline flowing and that’s exciting. Plus it’s just a movie, so you’re completely safe to experience that.” He said, moving his shoulders up.
I paused and thought it over. It made sense in a strange human kind of way…
“But why do you always watch scary movies? Don’t you like to watch other things?”
“I do, but I guess horror movies makes me feel like I’m back home?” he said, moving his shoulders.
“Why, is your home scary?”
He laughed at my answer. “No, it’s just something my friend Zoe and I did all the time. My step dad doesn’t allow me to watch anything above a PG rating so I’d sneak to Zoe’s house to watch her dad’s collection of horror movies. Her dad’s a huge collector and he’s got thousands. Lots of them in old formats I didn’t even know existed; VCD, betamax, laser disks and some of them on old timey movie projector rolls.”
I nodded and we watched the movie some more only for the bad human to show up behind one of the nice human female.
“He’s there!” I shouted, pointing at the screen. “Quick spray him!”
“Humans can’t do that.” Allen reminded me.
“Oh no! Run!” Thankfully the girl took my advice. “Do you think she’ll make it?”
“Well, she’s clearly the final girl.”
“Y’know, the one who survives. He’s managed to fight off the bad guy once and get away, and she’s avoided death. So those two will survive and probably fall for each other,”
“How do you know that?”
“It’s a common trope in these old movies; the girl who doesn’t drink, smoke or have sex tends to survive.”
“Oooh. You’re smart about these things.”
Sure enough, the movie ended like Allen predicted. With the bad human punished and the male and female humans having survived the whole thing. I asked Allen if we could watch another and he agreed. If I watched more, maybe I would understand ‘horror’ better.
But we didn’t finish the movie, falling asleep on the couch while still raelip. I woke up only to see Jaeger coming down the stairs even though it was still very early..
“Hello Jaeger!” I greeted him.
“Hi Ahti—” Jaeger began but didn’t finish his sentence. Instead he showed us his teeth, looking at Allen strangely. “Sorry for disturbing you two, I’ll let you both get back to having fun with each other.”
Allen went straight up, pushing me aside.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yeah, I gotta go get ready for class.” They said, leaving me there.
What had just happened? I didn’t get it. And it was way too early for class, we hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet!