Boxes. That's all our room consisted of as my six-year-old brother and I unpacked our things and settled them into their new places. My parents had pulled Alex and I from school, told us to pack up all our stuff, drove for a ridiculous amount of hours from our home in Miami to a very small mountain town in Colorado. This was a change bordering on the extreme population and temperature wise, but I didn't mind: I liked the cold and snow.
My brother, not so much: he was like our mother when it came to cold, anything below eighty and they wear jackets. As I finished putting our beds together, I took in his features and burst out laughing to the point where my ribs ached. Poor Alex had on four pairs of socks, three shirts, two sweaters, a parka, ski gloves over a pair of mittens, and three pairs of pants. All in all, he looked just like Randy from 'A Christmas Story' after his mother dressed him for school.
My laughing was interrupted by a pair of underwear hitting me in the face as he glared at me from under his scarf before waddling over to the desk and fed Goldie: his goldfish. Now don't get me wrong, both of us are very well toned and fit for our age: but with all those clothes on, he looked like a tick about to pop.
'How the hell is he not sweating his ass off?' I wondered as I glanced at him one more time before setting up a pair of tables about the size of two portable food trays combined against the wall. Once that was done, I unboxed one of two twenty gallon glass tanks and put the furniture back in it: rug, water dish, climbing branches, hiding log and heating pad, thermometer, and lastly the nocturnal heat lamp on the screen lid.
I did the same for the other tank as Alex opened the thick Styrofoam cooler and removed one of the tanks' residents: a three-foot long ball python named Hershey. Alex named her that because she is different shades of brown and white, like the chocolates. If you're wondering what the hell we're doing with a snake, I have always been a tomboy and caught just about every kind of snake or lizard you could come up with. When Alex was born, I taught him all I knew: how to tell a venomous snake from a harmless one, how to handle them without getting bit, etc.
As I lifted Hershey's heavy body from him and placed her in her now-warm cage, Alex returned to the Styrofoam box and handed me Jake: my pride and joy. Like Hershey, Jake is also a ball python, but he is a breed that reptile fanatics like to call a Pastel Platinum: he is a burgundy-brown from the top of his nose to the tip of his tail, on top of that are neon-green and yellow splotches of color, he is macaroni-and-cheese yellow and light-tan along his sides with the brown blending in to create his pattern which consisted of an alien face on the side of his neck and a spot that looks like Snoopy by his tail amongst other random shapes.
As I placed him inside his house and made sure both were locked so they wouldn't escape, I turned to Alex and helped him tack up his Terrance and Philip poster up above the desk as well as place some of our clothes in the closet, once that was done I shared a grin and a fist-bump with him as our hours of unpacking was finally done and over with.
"Finally finished Saphy! Now we can hook up the Xbox and play with our friends." Alex cheered as he hurriedly hooked up the system to the TV, more than ready to get to playing and talking with the friends we had left behind. "C'mon Alex, you know I hate it when you call me that." I griped at his ridiculous nickname for me as I dug my dark-red hoodie out of the box of clothes we chose to wear that day. Gathering up my black dragon leather gloves and my orange pants, I headed for the bathroom to change out of my PJs while Alex finished getting ready in our room.
After I was dressed, I took in my features in the mirror: my Florida-tanned skin will soon start to pale but I didn't mind, my deep dark-blue eyes that resembled sapphires, and my odd burgundy-colored hair. I have always wondered why my hair was like that, but then again, my mom told me my hair and skin were blue until I was three: hence my name. Leaving the bathroom and returning to Alex, I found him at the window watching it snow.
Before I could ask if he needed anything, our parents barged in our room with excited looks on their faces. "Hey guys, how do you like your new room?" dad asked as Alex looked around without saying anything. "Its fine dad, we just miss home is all." I said as my mom gave us sympathetic looks while our dad scoffed with a roll of his eyes. "This is home now so get used to it, now kids do you…REMEMBER why we moved to this quiet little mountain town?" he asked again, making me scrunch up my face into a harsh glare, while Alex scowled but you couldn't tell because of his parka and the scarf around his face.
Our irritation increased when both our parents began whispering to each other about us not remembering the reason why we moved, when in truth we can never forget it. Noticing my glare, mom tried to change the subject before any fights could start. "Sweethearts, we want you to have as much fun here as at the old house, why don't the two of you go out and make some friends?" she suggested as I shared a glance with my brother. "That's right kids, get outside and PLAY like…like NORMAL kids." dad said, making me grit my teeth and clench my fists, only to chill out when Alex grabbed my shoulder.
"What are you trying to say dad? That just because we play Xbox with our friends who live all over the world, that we aren't normal? And besides, you know how Alex is with cold weather, I mean LOOK at him!" I protested, which was ignored as usual. "Now now, don't get upset dear, we left some money for you on the kitchen counter…just be back home before it gets dark." mom said as we stood there silently seething at our father, who rolled his eyes and scoffed.
"Yeah we love you too." he spat before he and mom left us in our room, not even bothering to shut the door on their way out. As soon as I heard them go down the stairs, I stormed over to my bed and pulled on my black boots, ignoring the look of pity Alex sent my way. "Saphira…" he said quietly as he reached over to give me a hug, which I denied.
"No Alex, don't even start. I don't even know why they want us to make friends when we are just gonna pack up and leave anyway. You know as well as I do that they won't stop looking for us, and I don't know about you: but I'll be DAMNED if they're thinking I'm going back to being their science fair project!" I snapped, storming past my brother, down the stairs, and out the front door and into the front yard of our pale-red house.
Pulling the sleeves of my hoodie up my arms, I exposed my gloves and the sleeves of the body suit that had always been a part of me: the only part of my past I couldn't hide. As I took in the dark-black, grey and red fabric, I watched as the tribal dragons that wound themselves around my arms glowed dark-red, effectively warming me up in the near-freezing temperatures. With a sigh, I pulled the hoodie's sleeves down again as I waited for Alex, so we could begin our inevitable quest for "friends" that I was sure would sell us out in the end.