Chapter 12 - Disrespect
Chapter 12 - Disrespect
“Dad wait...” Ezekiel began.
Mantilo walked forward, snarled and pushed Ezekiel aside.
Ezekiel stumbled to the side and let him pass as he bit his lip anxiously. He knew making a move to defend the man would only lead him to a worse fate.
Mantilo went closer to the mortal’s sick bed. He feared what his dad would do, but Ezekiel also knew that trying to stop the man was pointless.
“A mortal? Are you insane!?“He growled approaching the stranger in the bed. Mantilo looked over the feverish, slumbering moral and clenched his fists at his sides. Ezekiel could sense his anger and unease growing as he spoke. “Get him out of here! We need to take him back to his kind!”
Ezekiel looked at his mother then back at his dad with a wince. “We can’t do that...” He tried to say. He tried to tell his dad that the mortal wasn’t in any condition to be moved, but Mantilo growled at him, cutting him off.
“You can’t!? Fine then! I’ll do it myself.” Mantilo barked.
“Mantilo don’t!” His mother gasped running over to the bed.
But faster than anyone in the room could react his father wrapped a heavy hand around the mortals neck and unceremoniously stated to rip him from the covers. The mortal’s entire body was limp as a rag doll as his father tried to lift him form the bed and into the air by his thin throat.
“Whoa!” Lander slurred over his busted lip.
“Wait!” Nate tried to interject.
Ezekiels hand was wrapped around his father’s wrist faster than he even knew what he was doing. “Let him go! Dad you’re gonna crush him !” Ezekiel hissed as he squeezed his Fathers wrist and snarled at him. Unbidden Ezekiel felt his inner beast rising to the challenge, challenging their father, something he never dreamed he would do in a million years.
Mantilo roared back in his sons defiant face.
“Stop it both of you! Mantilo put my patient down before you kill him!!” Glen slapped her hands into his Fathers chest and somehow her words more than Ezekiels aggressive behavior seemed to get his attention.
“Your patient!?” Mantilo hissed still holding the lifeless mortal a few inches off the mattress. And despite Ezekiels attempts to turn his wrist free of the mortal, his dad wouldn’t release his hold.
“Yes my patient!” Glen hissed at a man that no other man in their village dared to take that tone with. She put her hands on her small hips and growled right back at him. “You are gonna make him more anemic if you don’t put him down!”
Mantilo scoffed and blinked at her. He seemed at a loss for words. Ezekiel wisely decided to let her continue to talk to him.
“Woman have you lost your mind!” Mantilo finally growled at his mother.
“Well....” Glen sighed. “I’m not entirely sure at this moment, but that’s beside the point.” She pointed to the mortal hanging before him. “He needs medical attention so I gave it to him. That makes him my patient. My responsibility.”
Using his free hand his father grabbed her shoulder and pushed her back from the bed. “So, you brought this outsider in here!?”
“No! I wasn’t the one who brought him here!” Glen snarled back just as fiercely. “But I am gonna treat him, so put him the hell down Mantilo. RIGHT NOW!!”
Without a word Mantilo let the mortal fall back onto the mattress like a useless sack. Ezekiel wince and tried to reach out, but faster than he could react his dad, turned and snatched him by the arm.
“If youre Mother didn’t bring him here...” Mantilo hissed turning on his son. And shoving him away from the mortal by his arm “Which one of you did it!?”
“Yeb Ezekiel....who was it that wanted to bring the mortal here again?” Lander taunted him. His words still distorted by his fat lip.
“Shut up you rotten asshole....!” Nate growled at him.
Only for Walter to stop him with a silent hand on his arm.
Walter cast Ezekiel a steady, serious look and Ezekiel knew that he let this drag on long enough. He need to explain himself and stop stalling.
So with a tight deep breath, and ignoring the ants crawling across his skin . He opened his mouth and confessed.
“I did it. I brought the mortal here Clan Head.” Ezekiel sighed, pulling away from his father, who snarled and threw his arm at him.
“You did what!!” Mantilo growled, steeping towards him. His golden eyes actually growing even brighter as his fury reached new heights. But before Ezekiel could come up with a response his mother grabbed his giant bicep.
“Mantilo listen to him!” She tried to tell him.
“God I can’t believe I tried to stop you from doing this!” Lander slurred a little, a smug smirk trying to form on his busted mouth. “This has to be the most fun I’ve had in weeks!!”
“Lander seriously shut The Hell UP!!!” Ezekiel hissed in fury at his brother and this time Lander actually did stop speaking. But his swollen smirk hadn’t fallen off his face.
“What were you thinking?” Mantilo asked him then, starting to crowd him. His anger filling up the entire room almost, but Ezekiel didn’t move back. He had made a choice. He had brought the mortal here and now he had to stand by that choice and take the heat.
But suddenly his mother had had enough.
“Dammit Mantilo stop being so dramatic!” She shouted, pulling on his arm. “The boys been stabbed for god’s sake. All your yelling and pushing us going to reopen his wounds!!”
“Mom!” Ezekiel and Nate both moaned in unison. Walter shook his head. Ezekiel closed his eyes and put a hand to his scalp and swiped his hair back. “He really didn’t need to know about that!
“Opps?” Glen mumbled softly steeping back and lapsing into silence.
“Is that true!? Tell me? Did this outsider attack you?”
Ezekiel hesitated. Mantilo snarled and shoved him into the center of the room; ignoring his mother’s aggravated hiss. “Talk!! Now!!”
“Yes!!” Ezekiel hissed back. “Yes the mortal attacked me, but....”
“And you brought him here to the village!?” Mantilo turned on his older brothers. “You let him bring him here!?” he accused them.
Ezekiel didn’t let him. “No.” He inserted. “I made them go along with this. I thought that...!”
“I don’t care what you thought!!” Mantilo growled over him. “We don’t bring outsiders into our home! We have very few visits from other Shifters, but Mortals never come here! WE do not allow them into the village! There are far too many things that could go wrong...These people are fragile and yet emotional beyond explanation!!”
Mantilo snarled in frustration looking back at the bed where Glen had quietly managed to put the mortals head back onto the pillows. Mantilo looked back at Ezekiel, then leaned forward and sniffed the air slightly.
“I didn’t smell the blood on you when I first came in, but I can smell it now. He blead you good boy.” Mantilo hissed, opening and closing his fist beside his leg.
“This outsider could be here to kill us. Hunt us! Did you consider that after he struck you with his blade? How on earth did you ever think that bringing someone who stabbed you into our home, near you Mother was a good idea?”
Ezekiel shook his head. “I know that it sounds bad, but at the time it seemed like a good idea to me.” Ezekiel started to explain quickly, not wanting his dad to cut him off again. “He did stab me, but he’s sick! Can’t you smell it?” Ezekiel asked, knowing that all of them could smell the blood saturated air in the room. “I honestly think he attacked me by accident, because of his injuries.”
“Smell?” Mantilo hissed at him, seeming confused. “I don’t smell anything, but blood.”
“I don’t smell anything either.” Nate chipped in unnecessarily.
While Walter shrugged.
Wait does that mean that they can’t smell what IM smelling?
Ezekiel wondered to himself. Then he he asked all of them “You’re not picking up on an odd scent, like pepper?”
“Nope. ” Walter said looking at his mother. Then at Lander.
“I can’t smell anything!” Lander slurred as he swaggered up to the side of the bed. “This mortal is filthy. He snuck into the forest, attacks you and...” Lander paused and leaned over the mortal’s head. He inhaled deeply; then with an explosive snot and a head shake he moved back to show his displeasure with what he had just inhaled. “He just stinks of rot and sweat to me.”
“He seems to be suffering from fever dreams. He must also have a very extensive internal infection.” Glen said sharing her personal diagnosis for the stranger. “But his blood and body don’t smell particularly strange to me either Ezekiel.”
“Maybe it’s some kind of drug that I’m smelling?” Ezekiel questioned himself softly.
He put it out there only because he knew that everyone else in the room was thinking it. The mortal was thin, emaciated, wearing tattered clothing and on death door step.
Drugs were a likely culprit for the stranger’s distress excluding the strange man’s torn up body, but somehow Ezekiel found that he doubted that what he was smell was dug residue in the strangers blood.
For one thing, the smell of drugs would never get him so riled up.
“Get out of the way.” Nate said swiftly making his way to the mortal’s side. “I’ve got a better nose then all of you cats combined. “Nate quipped walking over to the bed once Lander had stepped away from it. He leaned down over the unconscious mortal, picked up the strangers arm and inhaled just above the mortal’s wrist.
He took a few seconds to linger like he was searching for something, only for him to shake his hand a moment later and look over at Ezekiel with a shrug.
“His scent is a little strange I guess.” He exhaled softly as he placed the mortals hand back at his side. “It’s the infection I believe and he also seems to be really malnourished. ” Nate shook his head. “But I don’t smell anything in his blood that’s corrosive or nasty. I doubt that he’s got anything like crack or heroin pumping in his veins. He must just be sick for another reason.”
“It doesn’t matter!” Mantilo hissed at them all, grabbing Nate’s arm and pulling him away from the bed the way he had Ezekiel.
“But don’t you want to know what brought him out here? Or why he attacked Ezekiel? Or even where he came from?” Walter questioned Mantilo calmly.
“No.” Mantilo told them. “I just want him removed.” Mantilo shook his head. “I still don’t know what possesed you to do this.” He said to Ezekiel.
Ezekiel rolled his eyes, and hissed at the ceiling “Oh for god’s sake! It’s like I’m surrounded by people I don’t even know! Since when do we turn our back on other creatures just because we don’t like them? Dad I saw you get your arm ripped open yesterday while you were trying to free a moose from a bog!” Ezekiel sighed. “So he stabbed me. So he’s mortal. We can still help him.”
Mantilo snarled suddenly. “Ezekiel this is not about him just being mortal. All things that traverse this earth should be respected and above all understood, but to bring him in here even though you knew that he was dangerous. You knew that I wouldn’t like it and you went around my back!!!”
Ezekiel bit his lip. He didn’t have much to say in defense, because that was exactly what he had done.
Mantilo hissed at him. “Then you drag your brothers down with you. You even pulled your mother into all of this!”
“Well actually, I chose to help on my own so yeah.....” Glen quipped at him.
But his father just continued to speak over her. “Then....” He chuckled looking over at Lander. “Then you what!? Sent Lander out there smelling of mortal to keep me distracted!?”
“Well we all kind of thought that you would...you know, kill the mortal on sight or something.” Nate shrugged. “So we had to keep you busy for a while...” Nate hedged on all of their behalf, not just Ezekiels. “But...You should know that Lander volunteered for the job. He was sooo happy to do it Dad. He practically begged to do it.” He quipped. Then cast Lander a triumphant look.
“No I didn’t!” Lander hissed in outrage, the slurs becoming less and less noticeable as his swelling lip began to deflate and heal up.
Mantilo took a deep breath. “Stop. You feared I would kill him?” Mantilo asked them then shook his head. “No, I wouldn’t have killed him. Eventhough that would have been my first instinct after he stabbed you.” His father growled looking at Ezekiel. “Still my first action would have been a rational one. I would have taken the mortal, back towards the closest city. Back to his own kind.”
“But that was what we knew you would do, and the mortal would have died if you had found him here and moved him there.” Walter quietly explained.
“To get the mortal here, they had to move the mortal, and in doing so, his wounds further tore and more blood was lost. Anymore movement and the mortal would have gone into shock and died. “Glen said backing up their point.
“Fine.....fine!” Mantilo began after a short silent pause between them all, that made Ezekiel hold his breath. “I guess I believe your claims. I would have turned the mortal out the moment I saw him, but now that he is under my roof and I can’t move him without killing him right now. He will remain.”
Mantilo looked at Glen, then at the mortal and rolled his eyes. “For now just forget about his scent and where he came from.” Mantilo waved his hand. “I couldn’t care less about what ails the man. He’s troubles are not ours and as soon as he wakes up I’m kicking him off of my land.”
“Dad...” Ezekiel began only for his father to hiss loudly and glare at him.
“Ezekiel be quiet!?” he growled shutting him down completely with his stern snarl. “You are not off the hook!!”
“My God how many times do I have to say it? He was going to die!” Ezekiel shouted forgetting for the moment that he was seriously lucky that he didn’t look like Lander yet. But he knew that what he had done wasn’t something that he should feel bad about.
He was proud that he had saved the stranger. No matter what his father may have said.
“Don’t take that jaunty fucking tone with me boy!” Mantilo roared sounding more and more like a beast and less like a man. “Life is sacred. I’m the one that taught you to value it!! So don’t assume that I have forgotten this rule, but there is so much about this that is wrong and you are so young and naive to how our species interact.” Mantilo elaborated pointing to the bed.
“Mortals and Shifters operate differently...... But saving the life of someone who tried to kill you is idiotic by any Shifters standards. He tried to kill you!! And you are neither a slow Shifter nor a weak one.” Mantilo pointed out. “So I don’t care how sick he is now, that attack on you took some real power and probably a lot of skill for a plain old mortal to muster. He’s not just a run of the mill intruder.”
Mantilo shook his head. “When he gets up....he’s gone. Do you understand me!?”
After Mantilos hard words everyone shared a swift look. But it was Ezekiel that spoke next.
“Fine” Ezekiel groaned running a hand down his face in aggravation and surrender. “Until he wakes up, I’ll just keep an eye on him.”
“No!” Mantilo shouted then leveled glowing slit eyes at each of his sons. Using the Shifter in him to quell their rebellious natures. “No one is going near that stranger again after tonight except me or you mother.”
This time Ezekiel wisely held his tongue and none of his brother made a move to object either.
Mantilo blinked swiftly, and between on blink and the next his glowing eyes faded back to normal. “For now let’s leave the stranger in your mothers care.” Mantilo shook his head as he looked back over at the stranger lying in the bed before he turned to his wife. “So what do you need to properly care of the mortals wounds Glen?”
Glen who had returned to the mortal’s side and was sitting on the floor next to the bed, now turned away from a tray full of bloody towels, and shredded cloth that Ezekiel could see was a pair of ratty decimated shoes.
The blood soaked strings and white cloth sat beside her with a carving blade and he realized that his mother must have had to cut them off of the intruder’s feet.
Glen paused. Then she looked back at his father and said. “Well if he’s going to live....I need to do surgery. So I’ll need a new pack of needles and thread. Preferably surgical grade and sterile. Glen looked out of the one window in the room as she continued.
Ezekiel glanced that way as she talked and was surprised to see the sky lightening in soft oranges and blues as the sun began to rise somewhere on the opposite side of the sky.
“The best place to find those things will be over in the southern part of the village with Kim. I’ve packed the wound with gauze, and sewed up the sides of his gut to hold in and slow the blood, but he’s just going to keep bleeding until I can closes some of those larger veins and arteries that got slashed, by whatever it was.....” Glen turned her lips to the side as she looked at Mantilo.
“How soon do you need it?” Mantilo asked her dryly.
Glen pursed here small mouth, then smacked her lips and rolled her large green eyes at him. “Oh I don’t know....How’s about before the mortal bleeds to death on the bed.” She bit off seeming botherd with his father’s tone of voice. “So preferably getting it in the next few hours if you don’t feel to put out and want to waste more time shouting!”
“Hold it Glen.” Mantilo began glaring at her. “Don’t take that tone with me. Let’s not forget who was helping our son hide all of this from me just a few short minutes ago!” Mantilo snapped at her, eyes beginning to glow again.
Glen took one look at him and just laughed.
Ezekiels breath caught in his throat when she then went right up to her husband; a man who outweighed here by a good 170 pounds and poked....poked him in the chest.
“Lay off!” She hissed at him. “I will not sit here and let you condemn me for helping someone. Nor will I be talked to like I’m just another one of your Clans Men. I’m your wife!” She said then pointed at the larger room. “These are our sons. And this mortal is currently dying in front of us.” Glen dropped her hand. “So the longer that I sit here babysitting you five pussy cats is another moment that he won’t make it! ”
As Glen spoke here large green eyes began shrinking and lengthening, a dark green florescence touched her iris almost making it glow, but not fully. His mother never got to that point unless she was about to Shift completely.
The eyes of a simmering Leopard taking over, she growled at Mantilo. Her small frame began to thrum with Shift energy that popped warmly on the air, but didn’t expand.
“The man that I love very much is a caring, compassionate father! Not some big unruly ape who throws his fangs around the one time something doesn’t go his way!” She continued then narrowed her eyes at Ezekiel, who like his brothers was standing back in utter silence and shock.
She hissed and stomped past his father, before Mantilo had a chance to regroup and when she made it to Glen downright roared in Ezekiel’s face.
The Leopard in him quelled at her expression of parental fury. Ezekiel averted his gaze and looked down. Ezekiel didn’t mind looking away too much, because In the Shifter world, much like the animal kingdom, to look down or away from another Shifter was a sign of respect and of submission.
“Ezekiel you will never let anything like this happen again!! Do you understand me!” His mother began. “How dare you! This will be the final time that you purposely circumvent your father or ignore the rules. He is not only your Father, but he is a Clan Head to us all. Our leader!! And you’ve got to learn to mind your place beneath him! You aren’t as immature as you act. You have wisdom and strength. Start using it!!!” Glen sighed. “I would never ask you to ignore your heart or turn your back on someone in need, but you know damn well that the choice should have been your fathers to make. You should have went straight to him, instead of doing as you pleased. Your disrespect was a blow to him.”
Felling like he had to once again state the obvious Ezekiel went to open his mouth.
“And if you even try to utter that lie again Ill slap you.” Glen told him swiftly seemingly reading his mind. Lander snickered. Glen’s eyes shifted off of him to glare at his sibling to the far left of him. Landers shoulders were shaking with mirth as he snickered behind his hand.
“Stop that Lander.” She hissed at here blond haired son. “Laughing at him is not making this any easier.”
Glen looked back at Ezekiel. “You father is a good man, as you well know! So I don’t want to hear it! You were wrong, even if what you wanted to do was right! So deal with it, and do as he tells you.” Glen took a deep breath, turned and sighed.
“Now would you ALL kindly get out of this room? I’ve got some sterilizing to do.” She said waving a hand at them over her shoulder. “Now shoo. And pray that you have an uneventful day, because last night just about killed ME!”
Quietly Ezekiel agreed with her. And he had a feeling that all of his brothers and father probably did too.