Grant Origin 4

Grant Origins

Part IV

“What the hell are you?” I shook as I faced the owner of the voice, a giant woman made of moss and dirt with a ram skull for a head.

“I am called Reka, Goddess of Nature. What is your name, little one?”

I bit my lip, “Leah Grant.” I answered, a little too weirded out and scared to question her divine status.

“Oh but that’s not right, is it little one?” She tilted her head to the side. Though her features didn’t change her expression seemed to.

“You can call me Grant.”

“Alright, Grant.”

A happy flutter interrupted the fear in my heart.

The fennec fox jumped onto her shoulder and licked her skull. She pet him, “My friend has been watching you since you picked up my relic.”

“Relic?”

She pointed to my hand, dirt falling from her arm as she moved. I looked down, seeing for the first time that I was wearing the jewelry I dug up. A chain bracelet connecting to rings on my fingers and thumb by small silver chains. “I have a soft spot for the underdogs of nature, little Grant.” She stood, her body shifting inhumanely as she moved. “And you are like a trampled flower but you refuse to wilt and I-”

“I’m not a damn flower.” I crossed my arms over my wrapped chest.

Reka halted her approach to me. “Oh uh right… Then you are like a… wolf? Who has been abandoned by the pack that should protect him-”

“I wasn’t really abandoned. I was locked in a basement, cut off from my friends, got my ass beat.”

“Will you just let me make my analogies?” She sighed, “Little Grant, would you like to be my priest?”

“Your… priest…?”

“Pray to me. Worship me. Make your sacrifices to me. And I will give you power. The power you need to make them pay for what they’ve done. The power to not suffer anymore.” She held a hand out to me.

I clenched my fists, keeping my arms folded over my chest. “What kinda sacrifices? What power? What do you even count as ‘worship’? This is all a little vague if you ask me.”

“Apologies, little Grant. Why don’t we sit down and have a nice chat about it.” Reka walked back to her throne of tree roots and sat down. She waved her hand and another, smaller chair of roots formed, “Come sit with me and talk, little Grant.”

I didn’t really like her calling me ‘little’ all the time but I couldn’t argue the point with a woman 5 times my size. I took a seat next to her and the fennec fox jumped into my lap, curling up against my stomach.

And Reka began to talk and talk. Her voice gentle, soothing, calming as she explained. After a while her voice lulled me to sleep.

When I woke up I was in my bed and the fennec fox was nowhere to be seen. I sat up and coughed my ribs aching. I stretched, trying in vain to make them feel better. I looked down at the relic on my right hand.

“Leah!” My parents called the name that was dead to me.

I curled my right hand into a fists and slid out of bed. Time for my first sacrifice.

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Grant Origin 3

Grant Origins

Part III

“I would call your name, little one, but I don’t know it. Shall you open your eyes and greet me anyways?” The voice that spoke to me was feminine and unfamiliar, but warm, gentle, and calming. I sat up, yawning. I could feel the grass between my fingers.

Wait grass? I forced my eyes fully open and got to my feet, stumbling a few steps on the grass wet with dew. “Where am I?”

“You are with me, little one.” The voice spoke again, this time it wasn’t calming, it was full of power and strength.

“Where?…” I spun around in place, desperately looked in the cracks between the trees that stretched up and up surrounding me on all sides. My eyes caught sight of something moving. The fox from before. He sat in front of me, staring up. I crouched down to nearly his level, wrapping my arms around my bare legs. “Are you the one talking?”

The voice laughed, “No, little one, that is not me.” The fox cocked it’s head to the side, watching me closely. “But he will lead you to me.” The fennec fox turned and slowly started walking into the dense forest. “I promise I will not harm you, little one.”

I don’t know why, but I actually believed her words. And followed the fennec fox.

The forest was full of trees that did not belong next to each other and animals that hid before I could get a good look at them.

The fox stopped in front of a curtain of a weeping willow’s leaves. “Come in, little one.”

With a deep breath, I parted the leaves and stepped forward.

Grant Origins 2

Grant Origins

Part II

“Don’t leave me waiting, Leah.” Dad growled as I opened the car door and sat down. “And what happened to your skirt?”

“It got ripped.” I answered, staring out the window.

He gripped my chin with a strong ist and forced me to look at him, “How.”

“It had hole, got caught on something, and ripped.” I focused on his other hand on the wheel, keeping my eyes away from his face.

“Bullshit.” He let me go with a shove and pulled out of the high school parking lot.

Not a word was spoken on the way home but a threat hung in the empty air. When we got inside the house my father crossed his arms, “Go to your room.” With a long exhale, I trudged down the stairs to the basement as he watched and closed the door behind me.

I used to wish I could move into the basement. But in my imagination I got to keep all my stuff. And the door wasn’t locked behind me.

I pulled off the remains of my skirt and blouse and threw them on the floor on my way to the bathroom. I got the Ace bandages out from its hiding spot in the back of the medicine cabinet. I took off my bra and wrapped my chest, as tight, as flat, as I could bear.

As I closed the medicine cabinet I caught sight of the makeup Sierra left with me. An icy hand gripped my heart. I shut my eyes and quickly closed the cabinet, leaving the bathroom.

The fox from before sat on my bed, the scrap of my skirt still in its mouth, “What the hell? How’d you get in here?”

The fox bolted off my bed when I approached it with my arms outstretched to catch it. It dropped the piece of skirt and bolted for my backpack. It bite and scratched at my backpack’s zipper, “Hey! Stop that!” It ran away again when I got closer, running me all around the basement. But it kept going back to my backpack. “What do you think is in there? There’s no food.” I picked it up and started unzipping all the pockets and dumping the contents on the floor. “See not a thing to eat.”

The fox dashed forward, picked something up out of the pile on the floor, something small and badly wrapped in wrapping paper, and dropped it at my feet.

It was that weird piece of jewelry I found half buried in the empty lot two blocks over. I cleaned it up and wrapped it, hoping to give it to Sierra as a gift. I picked it up, my hands shaking slightly. “Why…?”

I held it to my face, a lump forming in my throat, and tears starting in my eyes. “I forgot to give it to her… and now she’s gone.” I choked on my words. I don’t know why I was telling the fox this, not like it could help me turn back time or bring her back. “And I’m missing her funeral.” I let out a loud sob then muffled a second one, sliding down to my knees. The fox climbed onto my lap, curling against my stomach and waiting with me as my anger completely melted into grief and I let my feelings out.

An hour later, with my head pounding from dehydration, I curled up on my bed, clutching the weird jewelry to my chest. I didn’t protest when the fennec fox curled up next to my head.

Grant Origin 1

Grant Origins

Part I

June 2016, four months ago

I dug my fingers into the hole in the skirt my father forced me to wear as I waited for him to pick me up from school. My near empty stomach churned and growled and sticky Pepsi ran down my back from when someone dumped it on my head on their way past me. I ripped the skirt further, he’ll beat my ass for that… oh well… not like it matters.

My watch started ringing out an alarm but I didn’t move to shut it off. Or even look at it.

Sierra’s funeral was happening now. Right this very moment. I felt like I should be crying but really I just want to scream. I ripped a piece of my skirt off and threw it on the ground. I wanted to fight someone, hurt someone, get back at the people who did this to her, to us.

A small noise caused me to look down. A strange creature sat at my feet, holding the scrap of my skirt in its mouth and staring up at me.

Is that a fennec fox… What the fuck is a fennec fox doing here?

It cocked its head to the side, then turned around, pointing off into the distance.

I crouched down, “Wanna show me something?”

It turned back towards me and seemed to nod.

Then my father honked his horn impatiently, forcing me to leave the fox waiting, feeling vaguely guilty.

Kayla Origin

After two weeks of hiding locked in my lab, only taking the food trays left for me when I was sure no one was watching, I could finally look in the mirror and see the perfected me. The real me.

Sharp, pearly white teeth, a shapely snout, glistening gorgeous white fur. Damn, I look hot. With a confident nod to myself in the mirror, and after practicing a few expressions with my new face, I left my lab in search of my father.

He wasn’t hard to find. He was in his office, like always. I kicked down his door, bellowing, “Hi Dad!”

“Hello James, “ he responded calmly, not looking up from the report in his hand, “that new medicine took quite a while. I hope it’s perfect-” He glanced up at me and his report slipped out of his hand, his eyes widening. He sat there, frozen, then his lips started flapping as he stammered, “J-J-James? What did you do to yourself?”

I stepped into his office, throwing my hands out wide, “This is my form of transitioning.” I walked towards him and he pressed back against his chair. He’s afraid… good. “Oh I didn’t develop any new medicine cause I’m done being your perfect heir.” I pointed a claw at him. “And my name is Kayla. Remember it.” I turned and marched out of his office.

Step one of fucking over dad’s plans for me was complete.

And on to step two.

Once I was back in my room, I admired my new body in the mirror, posing, making faces, and feeling great. When I felt satisfied, I crawled into bed with my laptop. It was still open to the Ravenhold Academy application.

An hour later, I hit submit and step two was complete.

Another New Life: Part II

Another New Life

Part II

The door opened. The sound and suddenness of it sending a chill up my spine. I went invisible, curling in on myself. My arms ached as I hugged my knees to my chest. I bit the frayed denim at my knees as a blonde guy in loose clothes stepped into the room, followed by a very furry creature. A dog? Very different from dogs I’ve seen though. His green eyes swept over me unseeing and he made his way towards the other bed.

I was trapped.

Would he freak out if I  just suddenly became visible? Would he be mad? Would he hate me? Hurt me? Fear froze me to the bed as he dropped one of his bags and I teleported out of the room.

I stood outside of the room, heart pounding. With a deep breath I reentered the room.

“H-hi.” I forced a greeting through my teeth.

“Hi, I’m Ryland, are you Kioshi?”

I nodded. I couldn’t stand looking in his eyes anymore so I started to glance around. I’m being rude. “It’s nice to meet you.” I added, my heart still full of fear.

“Likewise,” he answered, turning back to unpacking.

I teleported back to my bed, sitting in seiza, trying to find something else to watch besides him. Don’t stare. Don’t be rude, you useless idiot. No matter how much I yelled at myself I couldn’t move my eyes from Ryland’s back.

He glanced over his shoulder at me then turned around , “I saw there’s pizza in the kitchen,” he said.

“I saw that too…” I didn’t deserve to eat without working, “I’m not hungry-” My stomach growled. I looked down, away from him.

“Maybe I could get some for you?”

I looked back up at him. Refusing would be rude, wouldn’t it? But I don’t deserve it. But I shouldn’t be rude. And I’m so hungry… I dug my fingernails into my upper arm, “That would be nice. Thank you.” I whispered.

“Well, I’ll be right back.”

He left the room, his dog following behind him.

My knees ached from sitting in seiza. I sat back against the walls, stretching out my legs.

Ryland returned sooner than I thought he would and I couldn’t get back into seiza before he saw me. “Is cheese okay?” He asked, “I wasn’t sure what to get you and it’s the only one I eat.”

I took the plate he handed me then backed up against the wall. I shouldn’t eat this, I don’t deserve it.Ryland sat on the other bed and took a bite of his pizza. I shouldn’t eat. But I’m hungry. And it smells so good. Hesitantly, I sniffed it and took the smallest of bites.

“Thank you.” I muttered to Ryland.

“Are you… okay?” he asked, “You look kind of on edge.”

I flinched, he hates me. I nodded.

He said nothing else and ate in silence. I ate bite after bite, feeling guilt filling my stomach.

“So… Where are you from? I’m from California.”

Jumping slightly as he broke the silence, I answered, “Japan. Kyoto.”

“Oh cool.” Once again it was quiet and I was trying not to stare.

Once Ryland finished, he left again with his dog and I was alone in the room. I finished the pizza and opened my backpack, pulling out a picture of me and the Phantoms.

***

After a rather long time, my thoughts were interrupted by Ryland bursting back into the room. He kicked the door shut and my heart jumped at the sound. He jumped at the sound. He jumped onto his bed, curling into a ball.

My shoulders rose and my face fell in startlement and worry. Is he okay? Should I ask him? Would he hate me if I did? Would he hate me if I didn’t? “Ryland, are you okay?” I asked, full of hesitance.

“No…” I could barely hear the answer.

“O-oh.” I didn’t know what else to do or say.

His dog joined him on the bed and he wrapped his arms around it. “I’ll be okay…” Ryland added.

Boss’s instructions floated into my mind. If the client is upset, then ask if they want to talk. Be a good listener but don’t pry and they’ll come back for you again and again.

“D-do you want to talk about it?” I offered.

“I don’t know…” Ryland sighed. “I just miss Gabe so much. He’s my boyfriend, or he was…”

“Was…?” Don’t pry. I shook my head and shrunk back against the wall. “No you don’t have to answer that! Forget I said anything!”

“He’s been in a coma since July…”

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright… I think I’m going to bed, mind if I close the lights?”

Be good and courteous to every client. “G-go ahead.”

Ryland stood and flicked off the lights and darkness fell in the room.

Another New Life: Part I

Another New Life

Part I

September 5th 2016

I don’t think Charlie liked me much. I tried my best not to bother her, but she still seemed to hate me.

I kept my eyes down as I put the stuff Ian gave me in his car. I only looked up at Ian when he spoke.”I have to welcome the new student, Kioshi, you can join the crowd of students, you’ll be assigned to a class. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“And if you need something, call me okay?”

“I will.” I lied, giving him a grateful smile.

The car ride to Ravenhold was quiet but short.

“Here we are, your new home.” Ian announced as we exited the car, “Charlie will be staying there too from now on, but I checked the roster, you aren’t in the same class. Kioshi, your house will be just to the right of the entrance. Charlie, yours is right past the parking lot. I hope you’ll get along with your classmates.”

Charlie sighed, “Yes dad.”

“Thank you.” I muttered, my heart loud in my chest. More change…

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, dad.”

I tried to take in Ravenhold Academy but everywhere I looked there was more to see. I don’t belong here.

“Kioshi?” Ian asked, coming closer, “Will you be alright?”

I jumped at his question, then nodded.

“Well, you have my phone number, and I live right next door. Valeria Contreras will be your homeroom teacher, you can also go to her if you need help. Don’t worry, she’s been briefed on your condition and she won’t judge you.”

I nodded to show I understood.

Ian looked back toward the gate as cars and buses arrived at the parking lot. “Looks like the other students are early. Ready to go join them?”

I shook my head, then sighed and nodded.

I wandered towards where the students gathered, leaving behind the bag of clothes Ian had bought me and taking only the backpack of my things Nana and Aaron brought me.

I kept to the back of the crowd of new students, keeping far enough away that no one would touch me.

“Students,” A loud, booming voice quieted most of the talking students. I looked up to see Ian standing in front of the crowd in his Raven hero costume.“Let me welcome you to Ravenhold academy. I know you’ve come from far and wide to be here and the journey’s been long and tiring so I won’t hold you for long. Each of you have been selected by the Legion; because we think that you’re worthy, that you have the heart to be a hero, because you want to make the world a better place or because you needed a second chance to become better.” Better…  The word sat heavy in my empty stomach. “Whatever the reason, Ravenhold welcomes you as its first year class of two thousand sixteen. Over the next four years we’ll make heroes out of you, it’ll be hard, it’ll be dangerous, but I know you will persevere. And for those who truly shine; both in deed and character there will be a place for you in the Legion.”

A group of men stepped forward and one of them handed Ian something. “When I call your name, you will go to your assigned guide.”

I went where I was told to go and put the name tag they gave me on my shirt.

“Please follow your guides, they will show you around.”

Once again I kept to the back of the group and kept my eyes on the floor as we walked. My legs ached and my throat burned. I wanted water but didn’t dare ask for any. I kept my coughs as quiet as I could.

We stopped in a huge house. Our guide told us the rules before leaving us alone. The group all left in different directions through the house. I turned invisible and teleported in front of the room guide. I found my name and the room number next to it. I teleported up the steps, finding my room quickly, hiding from everyone else. I hooked my backpack on the frame of one of the beds and crawled onto it. I leaned against the wall and pulled my legs close to my chest, waiting.