Chapter 1 - The Earth's Protectors
Copy Write - 2019
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I laid my head down on my paws, trying and failing to sleep. Again. I have had the same dream every time I close my eyes. The monster screaming at me, fighting some jaguar men, and the dying of a lot of good people. I’ve never had this happen in my lifetime, well, not in this lifetime, maybe in my past life. I’m not sure how it works - the past life regression, I mean.
I’m a jaguar shifter but not a very good one. I didn’t have anyone to teach me the things I needed to know. My parents died when I was a small child, gone before I was one-years-old. Oh, don’t worry, I did have a grandfather - if you could call him that. He was the one who taught me everything about what not to do.
I was snoozing a little when I heard someone started yelling. Right after the shouting, a shot rang out into the night as I ducked in reflex. I knew he had killed another one of his men. I needed to stay hidden from that monster - my grandfather. He had a lot of people looking for me. He figured out I had taken some documents from him, documents that could destroy him.
He continued interrogating his men, wanting to know if any of them helped me. He was wasting his breath. I didn’t ask for help from his men because I knew it would get back to him.
I’m. Not. That. Stupid.
No matter how many times the monster drilled into my head that I was stupid, I wasn’t. I proved it by opening his safe and taking the documents right under his nose. I decided to see if he would miss them. I wasn’t going to keep them. But, when I looked at what was on the documents I couldn’t give them back. I needed to find if there was a shifter council. I wasn’t sure if they existed but there was only one way to find out and that was to go to the Rainforest - the Amazon Rainforest to be exact. I needed to go to Brazil and I needed to be sneaky about it.
I had a plan that would hopefully work. I needed a way to blend in with a tourist or a group. I asked a lot of questions and took my time signing up with a conservation group, a group that wanted to protect the Rainforest and the creatures in it. I didn’t want to look as if I was I was hurrying my way into a group. So, I had to act innocent, not an easy task, but I acted for all I was worth. I figured it would look better, and keep my temper in check, than going with the big cat hunters. I would have probably killed the hunters if I saw a hide of any big cat. If I had killed any of them it would bring the council on my head - if there was one.
The morning I was to leave with the conservation group, I cut my hair, permed it to loose curls, and dyed it too. I popped in some contacts - something to hide my very green eyes. I wanted to look nothing like I had before and hopefully, I succeeded. I was as ready as I was going to be.
I picked up the paperwork I had to sign. I hadn’t read the contract yet and I should have. I noticed I could carry two handguns and my blades if I had a carry permit, which I do. I was so giddy, dancing around, happy no one could see me. I loved my weapons - it was the only thing the monster taught me well. I packed them up in my lockbox, then I packed the ammunition in a separate corner, not in the guns, or I would have my babies taken from me. My blades were in their pouch, ready to travel too. I looked back at the motel room, making sure I left nothing, not even my fingerprints and left - never looking back.
I sat in the taxi, nervously biting my lower lip. I can’t remember if I had ever been on a plane. I liked heights, I really do, but only when I can see the ground. If I wasn’t careful I would be biting my nails next - something I quit doing a long time ago. I could tell myself I was up in a tree snoozing. I would have to. I hope I don’t have to sit by the window or make small talk with anyone. I sucked at small talk. I never learned how to chat with others. It was beaten into me to answer only when spoken to, not any other time. And, believe me, I learned quickly.
We had finally pulled up to the LAX airport. I had a hunch the monster would be looking for me at other airports. I knew he would look in Florida, it’s where we used to live. Plus, I waited six weeks to leave, hoping he would think I was hiding in the everglades.
I got out, paid the driver, grabbed my bag, and walked into the airport. I walked to the counter for my tickets. The group I was with was nice enough to buy my round-trip tickets on their credit card and then I was going to pay them back in cash - with a sizable donation, of course. I didn’t care about the money it wasn’t mine to start with. Maybe it was mine. I had an inheritance from my parents but I have never seen a dime of it.
After I went through security, I was just in time to board my plane. I was hoping I would have less time to worry about flying and surprisingly it worked. I was directed to my seat. I stowed my rucksack in the bin above the seats - something I watched others do. I sat down in my aisle seat and feigned sleep. I didn’t want to seem open to anyone, hence the play-acting. After all the announcements - which should of panicked everyone, we rolled out to the runway. I was gripping my seat so hard I was afraid I would rip the cushion in half. After a tense few minutes we were up in the air and I somewhat relaxed.
The girl next to the window started talking like she has known me forever. “What’s your name and are you with the conservation group - The Earth’s Protectors?”
Oh, God, just kill me now, I thought. I wonder what the girl would do if I ignored her and kept feigning sleep. I soon had my answer.
“Are you deaf?”
And, there the question I was waiting on.
“Names Seri, and I am with the group. No, I’m not deaf,” was all I could answer. As I said before, I don’t do well with small talk.
“You don’t talk much do you? I know because I don’t either. Usually, I stay away from mean girls because they are always picking on me about my weight. You don’t have any problem with your weight, do you? I can tell you that you don’t. I can’t wait to get the Amazon Rainforest. Have you ever been?” She spat the words out as fast as she could, not taking a breath or letting me answer any of her questions.
Doesn’t talk much my ass.
“No, No, no problem with my weight, not that I remember,” I answered her questions in the order she asked. I bet she didn’t even remember where her toothbrush was in her luggage. Man, I hated small talk.
“What?” She asked with her eyes wide, making her look like a scared doe and prey all at the same time.
“I answered your questions in the order you asked. No, I don’t talk much. No, I don’t have problems with my weight. And, I can’t remember if I have ever been to Brazil.”
“Oh, you have a great memory. I wish I had a memory like yours. How did you get so proficient remembering stuff?”
“No. You wouldn’t want to have a memory like mine. I got mine from the school of hard knocks. I’m going to get some sleep now. I talk to you later,” I dryly said. This girl, who didn’t give me her name, was going to drive me crazy. Sleep, I needed to sleep the whole way there.
“I forgot to tell you my name, it’s Daisy,” she said with a smile as if she read my mind.
Daisy, it fit. I nodded my head, put my earphones on, and listened to my playlist. I loved listening to Seether, Godsmack, Hausley, and Bad Wolves, it soothed me somehow. I had other groups on my phone but I didn’t know all their names.
Daisy was finally asleep and snoring, sounding like a fucking freight train. She was getting looks from all the people in a twenty-foot radius. Of course, I would get the looks too because I didn’t try to wake her.
I sat my seat back and turned up the volume on my phone. I didn’t want to hear Daisy or the grumbles of the other people around us. It wasn’t my job to wake her. If they wanted to do it fine by me. I was hoping I didn’t have to share a tent with her. If I was, I knew I would be taking to the trees quickly or I would kill her.
“No, no killing, Seri, you can’t kill the idiot girl,” I told myself, hoping I could remember my words later.