Guardians

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Chapter 6 - Talking Squirrels?

Darkness, there was only darkness surrounding me. It seemed like I was in the middle of the sea, but the water was plagued heavily with black ink. Where the hell am I? I tried to move, but I couldn’t. It was like my whole body was made of stone. Was I kidnapped?! Did Jesse and his crew swoop me up!? I tried to relax myself, I needed to think. I tried to listen for something. But I heard nothing. No wind, no creaks, not even a sound of me rustling around.

Come to think of it, I couldn’t feel anything around me either. It was like I was floating in water. What I could feel though, was my stomach dropping at that realization. I had to be dreaming then, maybe I can wake myself up-

Suddenly all my thoughts went silent. A shimmering golden light appeared in front of me. It was blinding and looked scorching like the sun. Slowly the rays began to die and in its place, revealed a sunflower seed.The seed was huge, at least the size of my head. It looked like it was bathed from pure gold,and had shimmering golden mist emanating off of it. It felt like I was in a trance. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt connected to it. Like it was mine, I knew it was mine.

Then, the seed began to jerk slightly, like a hatching pokemon egg! I heard it crack as the sides on the seed split in two and a small green root emerged. Two leaves sprouted from the root, and I could feel an odd warmth wash over me. My whole body jolted with a tingling sensation from inside.

“I want to be! The very best! That no one ev-” I jolted up from my bed with a cold sweat. I panted a bit as I grabbed my chest, looking around my room frantically. The darkness, the seed, they were all gone.

“To train them is my cause!” I looked back over to my phone as the Pokemon theme song echoed throughout my room. I took a few deep breaths and then a sigh of relief.

“It was just a dream then..” I panted.

I reached across my desk and turned the alarm off.

I stretched my arms up to the sky and flopped back down on my sheetless bed. I was debating if I should even get up. Flashes from last night came into my head. Aden’s pissed off at me, Elle has been ogling Aden, and Jesse wanted to kill me. Great. I groaned again as I dragged the pillow over my face.

I’m like a C average student, I should be fine missing one day of school right? Then, the PTSD of my father taking my Pokemon games away struck me. Why couldn’t I just be like Aden and care about class? I sighed, throwing my pillow aside. I sat up and started rubbing my eyes.

“Stupid educational system.” I muttered as I got up.

I opened the door to my room and immediately was hit by an unholy smell. I groaned and pinched my nose. When I looked down, I saw an all to familiar gift there.

“Fenrir!” I yelled down the hall.

I stepped over the poop nuggets and looked down the hall. And there he was, sitting down and smiling at me, like he had no idea why I’m plotting to skin him alive.

“Serves you right! Bet you’ll play with me more now!” I heard a voice yelling inside my head.

I jumped back so hard that I nearly stepped on Fenrir’s poop...again.

“W-what the hell...” I shuttered.

“What the hell!” I heard the voice yell again as I frantically looked around.

“You can hear me? Look over here human.” The voice yelled at me again.

Then the first statement about playing dawned on me. I squinted my eyes and stared at my dog.

“I-Is that you Fenrir..?” I asked hesitantly.

“Oh my gosh you can talk!” He cheered and ran over to me.

Yup. I had officially lost it. The stress had finally got to me. Or maybe I was really still knocked out at the park and I’m having a dream within a dream. Yeah, that’s gotta be it. Definitely dreamception. I pinched my arm, and yelped at the pain. Oh sweet god, what’s happening!?

“So, I can hear you and you can hear me?” I asked as I kneeled down to Fenrir, who just smiled and barked at me.

“Yup!” He cheered.

Welp. This is a thing.

“Umm how is this happening?” I asked.

“I don’t know but I have a talking human! Cuddles will be so jealous!” He snickered in my head.

I rubbed my eyes some more, maybe I was hallucinating. Maybe I have schizophrenia or I hit my head and jacked up my neurons.

“This isn’t real! You’re not talking to me! La la la la-” I yelled out loud.

Fenrir started yelling into my head but I ignored him and ran to the bathroom. I started splashing cold water onto my face. Unfortunately I still heard him. I kept screaming la la la- as I ran back into my room and tried to get dressed. Maybe I just need to eat, Yeah that’s gotta be it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all.

When I finished getting dressed, I headed to the kitchen and grabbed a banana off the table. I went to peel it but I stopped halfway, seeing the banana was shaded more like a rotting wasp. It felt so squishy too. I shifted to holding it by the stem and turned it over in my hand.

“Gross...” I muttered.

But, something odd happened. The tip of the stem I was touching, started to shimmer a bright yellow green color. I brought it closer to my face as I watched the old spoiled spots slowly retain its color again. It became...fresh. I stared in disbelief as I now had a ripe banana on my hand. I stared at it for a moment, what- what the hell just happened.

“What the hell is going on!” I dropped it back onto the counter.

I stumbled back and stared at it in shock. No way, no freaking way! Did I just do that? No, no I couldn’t have.

“Hey human! Play with me! Play with me!” Fenrir continued on and on as I ran to the door.

“Yeah I’ll umm, be right back...” I said quickly as I stepped back towards the door.

I couldn’t think straight. Talking dogs! Plant rejuvenation! I had to be going crazy. Now that I’ve thought about it, I felt more awake than usual, like I just drank a whole pot of coffee.

That’s it! I must have been drugged! That explains it all! But how, when, and where? I tried racking my brain for the answers as I walked, but the overwhelming sound of the wilderness drilled into my skull. Dogs threatening to kill us, squirrels having turf wars, birds scheming to poop on people’s cars. Disney lied to me! The animal kingdom isn’t some magical sing along, it’s full of thugs and savages.

I reached into my pocket searching around for my headphones, maybe if I played some music I could drown out the noises. To my disappointment, I remembered what happened to them yesterday.

“Hey check it out! Bet I can steal that kids’ food!” I heard some creatures nearby say.

I looked about and soon saw a black cat strolling over to a girl at my stop, she was eating a muffin. I tried to ignore it. The last thing I needed was everyone to think I’m crazy...well, crazier.

I spent most of the bus ride trying to rationalize this new phenomenon. I had no real idea what was going on. I read up on a few cases of things like this happening, but I didn’t fit many of the symptoms. I know that doesn’t mean I’m excluded from it or anything but I wasn’t satisfied with a half- baked theory. Plus, most of the voices I heard seemed all too accurate. Fenrir reacted to me properly when I heard his voice. I heard a few squirrels arguing before I even saw them fighting. Then there’s a cat talking to its friend about stealing that kids’ muffin before it did. Which had me thinking, maybe, just maybe... I’m not crazy.

As I got off the bus, I overheard some squirrels panicking. Something about the giants returning. I didn’t even bother looking for them and headed straight in. I needed to talk to someone about this. Aden! Oh wait, he hates me right now...umm, Elle! Yeah she’ll hear me out! I took my phone and called her as I walked around the hallways. I wasn’t too sure what Elle’s first class was, but I recalled which direction she usually walked in. Our school was relatively big. We had different areas in the building categorized by the letter D (don’t ask me why): D-1 building, D-2 building etc. Her class was somewhere in the lower levels of the school, in D-4, that’s where most of the math and science classes were. She didn’t pick up after I called her a few times. So I decided to head down that way and pray she was there waiting for classes to start. It was odd. Usually, Aden and her would wait for me by the door. I figured she didn’t stay this time because Aden didn’t want to wait on me.

As I made my way down the steps to D-4, I stumbled upon the nest of teenage angst. They were all leaning against the wall, playing what sounded like ‘My Chemical Romance’. This must’ve been the goth’ territory. See, us nerds and goths have mutual understanding; we don’t bother them, they don’t bother us. I was now intruding on their land. I began to walk faster down the steps and pass them into the hallway.

“Ugh! I thought you said this place would be empty in the mornings!” I heard one groan.

“Yeah Em! That’s the third one!” Another yelled.

I hurried down the hall, ignoring their grumblings as I looked for Elle. I wasn’t above straight yelling for her down the hall, but the presence of the goths kept me from that idea. Last thing I need is game club to be painted black, again...

“Come on, he’s your best friend!” I perked up as I heard the sweet sound of Elle’s voice, coming from down the hall.

The hallway leads to a staircase at the end, that was usually closed off in the mornings. I heard rumors that it was the usual spot for couples to go. So, I was surprised when I saw the doors were opened today. I figured Elle was hiding back there drawing something. As I got closer, the figures back there started to become more clear. I felt my heart begin to race. I could see the figures now. There was Aden, with his arms wrapped around Elles waist. He was sitting on the steps and she was leaning into him. Elle, Elle was so close to him. It felt like my heart was gonna pound right out of my chest, and my legs felt like cement. I stuck, forced to stand here and watch as she moved ever so much closer to him. I noticed Aden’s eyes look up for a moment and lock with mine. His dulled eyes soon grew wide as they fully became focused on mine. I could see Elle slowly pull back from him and turn back around toward me.

“Eden!” She shrieked as she jumped away from Aden.

“H-hey, I was looking for you. But I see you’re busy.” I mumbled.

It was hard to talk. It was like my heart was in my throat. I couldn’t focus either. It was like my words were scattered all around my head. I needed to go. I took a few steps back.

“Wait, we can-”

Before she could finish, I took off down the hall.

I couldn’t stop imagining it! Their bodies so close to together, that look of shock and fear in their eyes! Was she gonna kiss him? Did he ask her out or something? Was it because I pissed him off? Do they both hate me now? I shoved past person after person and ran into the bathroom, locking myself in a stall. I took in a deep breath and tried to relax myself. Come on, why was I so freaked out? Why couldn’t I think straight!?

“Ahhh!“I roared and slammed my fist into the stall wall.

I panted heavily as I focused on the cold sensation from the metal stall walls. I wanted to gather my thoughts, I wanted to calm down!

I hated this! I hated not being able to think straight! I hated not knowing what was going on! Why is the image of those two stuck in my head! Come on, think of something else! You gotta stalker! Yeah a crazy stalker! And you can hear animals talking! And you regenerated fruit! I tried to focus on any one of those things. But the lingering questions just scratched at the back of my head. The image of those two about to kiss. It was the only thing I could think about.

I bet I’m just in the way of them dating. They don’t even trust me enough to tell me. The way Elle looks at Aden, how she’s always looked at Aden. I bet she’s liked him for a long time. It’s always Aden! All my friends! My dad! And now Elle. I leaned against the stall wall and took some deep breaths. It was slow, but I could feel my heart slowly beginning to calm down.

The first person other than Aden to stand up for me. The girl who knew how to read me like a book. The girl who loved to run through the woods with me, the girl who was always on my mind. She was falling for Aden. I hadn’t even thought about it, but we slowly stopped hanging out too. Our weekly nature adventures, our canvas splatter paint jobs. We hadn’t had one in weeks. And she’s been hanging around Aden a lot more than usual. She even admitted they were hanging out without me. I thought she was different. I thought she would be the one who could look at me, like everyone else looks at him.

I moved my hand over my face, and I started chuckling.

“Yeah right, like that’ll ever happen.” I chuckled out.

What’s so special about me? I’m the C average student who attracts creeps. Oh! Lets not forget to mention that I’m hearing voices in my head! Yeah, like I deserve that praise for anything. I’m just a freak!

I jumped a bit as I felt my phone vibrating. I took it out and looked it over, Elle and Aden were blowing up my phone. I looked at the messages for a moment. Taking in their names, then I turned my phone off. If they want to be together so badly, then I’ll let them have their time. The bell went off soon after and I groaned. Great! Just great! Now i’m late too!

I decided to just head to class and take the write up for being late. I didn’t feel like making an excuse. As I walked, I tried to clear my head and think rationally about things. I let my emotions run me back there, which wasn’t like me. I guess the stress was getting to me. Maybe I just came in at a bad time, and misunderstood the situation. I did hear her say “but he’s your best friend.” Maybe she was just consoling him on my behalf. Or option B, they are dating behind my back. A lot of evidence pointed to that. But I didn’t want to believe it. I don’t want to believe Aden would keep secrets from me. I didn’t want to believe Elle was his.

I trust Aden, he knows how much I like her. I would think he wouldn’t date her for my sake. But we all don’t choose who we fall for I guess. I sighed. I didn’t really feel like doing anything else now. Walking felt like a chore, and my chest felt heavy. Yet at the same time, I felt empty. I was hoping Elle would be the first girl, no first person to actually prefer me over Aden. I guess that was just, too good to be true. I needed to-

My thinking came to a screeching halt, as a water balloon crashed and exploded against my face. The cold liquid I prayed was clean water drenched me. I didn’t really react, I just stood there for a moment. Like, I should’ve just expected this. I looked down the hall and felt my stomach drop. There stood six kids in hoods, all staring me down. Jesse’s gang I assumed. I took one step back and they took one forward. We all stood off for a moment, I looked at them and they looked at me. Then, I bolted back down the hall and they chased. My heart was pounding again, I needed a plan!

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