Therianthropy: After Burdened

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The Ambush: Chase

“Chase,” she acknowledged without looking up.

I came in to find her untangling a pair of headphones, with a murderous look on her face. Her abundance of thick black curls were only slightly damp in its usual stack on her head, those sharp cheekbones over her ebony skin tighter than usual with clear distaste. Before I could even open my mouth to ask why, she gestured to a bit of mail on the table.

Striding over, I only had to glance at the official stamp in the corner before groaning and sinking into the couch cushions. Reading the rest of it didn’t improve my mood.

“It doesn’t even say when we can come back,” I protested as I finished, “or even if we can.”

Glancing up and around, I saw her nod as she finished her task, wrapping them up properly this time before putting them in a box in between her feet. Glancing around with a sense of longing, I asked, “What are we supposed to do with this stuff? Leave it here? What are we supposed to do with our own stuff, we can hardly lug it around with us.”

Fiona sighed in defeat as she finally took to her feet and made her way over to me, only to sit right back down in my lap and bury her head in the crook of my neck. I automatically began running my hand up and down her back, just taking whatever small grace I could that at least this news hadn’t come as a surprise. It just wasn’t any more pleasant receiving it.

When we’d agreed to sign up for that government funding project, the lady had warned us this would happen, even right about this time. Something about the local animal population being affected if we were here too long, yada, yada, I’d only been looking at the numbers she’d jotted down as an estimate for our doing this. I’d never imagined I’d grow so attached to some dump on the edge of town.

After a few more drawn out minutes of silence, she answered my questions, “We’re just going to have to leave most of the stuff here. If we don’t get this place back, well then it’s a good thing we don’t own a lot.”

I nodded in ascent, something I knew she could feel given her position. Glancing back over at the paper one more time I finally asked, “So, guess we might as well leave now?”

It wasn’t really a question, but she nodded anyways. Climbing off my lap, she made her way back over to the box she had been taking care of, then hefted it and stored it away in the attic. We stopped at the doorway one last time to glance around. I briefly leaned over and cupped her face, rubbing my thumb against the ridge of her eye and giving her a brief kiss, before we left for good.

I had noted the backpacks out front of our door upon coming in, guess now I didn’t need to ask about them. We tried to pretend like this was our normal hike into town, even keeping each other up on our plans for Fiona to change college credits and my progress on how many miles I’d gotten in today. She always hated these relocations more than me for the simple fact she always had to deal with transferring credits, so I let her badger on instead of bragging on myself I’d exceeded my expected distance today. It was the lingering fear of when this could happen again, how many times our lives could be unseated without our permission that left a bitter tint to every topic we tried, but we almost made it to town, the soft streetlights glinting for our eyes, when they got us by surprise, and the real fight began at night.

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