Lillian and Water Boy

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Self Blame

“This is the place, I’m so sorry I can’t do more for the two of you... Just keep yourselves safe and hang on!” the officer says as Lillian and Water Boy silently remove themselves from the car.
Both Water Boy and Lillian end up dizzy as they’ve never been inside a car before.

“Woah... That was crazy...” Lillian says, wobbling this way and that.

Water Boy just manages to reach the door before falling over. Someone inside sees them and says, “Oh no, not more homeless people!”

Reluctantly, they help the two kids inside. The first thing they see upon entering is the long, boring gray walls which are cracked and sloppily pasted back together. Next are the seemingly endless rows of beaten up, broken beds that don’t look very comfy. Just down the hall, as the two would soon find out, is the dining room. In the dining room, there are rickety tables full of splinters and a small kitchen which food can be taken from at very specific times of the day. The showering room isn’t much better... It’s just a big room with a bunch of bent shower heads protruding from the walls. The floors in here are stinky and moldy and there are no towels. There is no privacy at all in the building and everyone here is depressed.

Lillian just stares in horror at everything around her. The people living in this building smell horribly and most are so thin that their ribs poke out and are visible through the too tight shirts given out to all inhabitants. Water Boy finally steadies himself and also looks around, he finds himself looking at a bed that looks like someone died on it.

“Ah hah!” cries Lillian triumphantly, “So it’s true! What the people need most is compassion! They obviously lack it if they expect all these people to live here when they cannot afford a place of their own!”

“Well... At least we do have a place to stay that’s out of the rain...” one person says.

“But this place is awful! This is the kind of place you would store animals to be tortured later!” Lillian says.

“Lillian... Please calm down...” Water Boy whispers.

“No, I will not calm down! These people have forgotten what it’s like to be treated like humans! And I know... Because I once tortured humans myself...” Lillian says, ears dropping sadly.

“Lillian... Are you still mad at yourself...?” Water Boy asks.

“Of course!” cries Lillian, “Wouldn’t you be mad at yourself if you let yourself abuse others?!”

“I wouldn’t know... I never abused anyone...” Water Boy says.

“Exactly!” says Lillian, “These people are innocent, they haven’t done anything to deserve this place... If anyone deserves to be forced to live here... it is I...”

“Lillian, you have a kind heart now... You saved two people from a burning house, you protected this city by reporting three crazies, and you even attempted to make me comfortable...” Water Boy says.

Lillian turns into a wolf and chooses a corner to sit in. A few people get scared and run off. Lillian sighs.

“And even if they do have food here... I don’t think I’m really hungry anymore...” Lillian mutters.

Water Boy walks up to her and is about to slap her, but then he goes for a more gentle approach and hugs her. At first Lillian is surprised and tenses up. She growls and snarls instinctively. However, she soon realizes what’s happening and relaxes.

“Lillian, I don’t care if you said you don’t need any friends, I’m your friend and I’ll be here with you for you until the day that we die, because that’s what friends are for...” Water Boy says.

Lillian whimpers.

“N-no... Go away... I don’t want to accidentally hurt you! I’m a monster!” Lillian cries.

Water Boy hugs her tighter. She squirms, trying to get away. The diamond on Lillian’s forehead glows again and she sits still.

“There, that’s better... See?” Water Boy says.

Lillian turns into a human and goes cross-eyed trying to look at her forehead.

“Are you alright?” Water Boy asks.

“I’m trying to see it...” Lillian mutters, still cross-eyed.

“It’s on your forehead... Unless you have some kind of super power you haven’t told me about, there is no way you should be able to see your forehead,” Water Boy says, playfully nudging Lillian.

Lillian grins and stands up.

“You know, maybe I am just being silly... I mean, it’s not like anyone knows what I’ve done!” Lillian says.

“Hey, you remind me of that one girl from a book I read recently...” some guy says.

“What book...?” Lillian asks, jumping behind Water Boy.

“This one,” the guy says, holding out a maroon book with a photo of a gold wolf on it.

“Hey! That looks like my sister though! Why would she write about me...?” Lillian asks.

“Heh heh... This is a fictional book though!” the guy says, “Try it if you wish... You’ll be shocked by the ending!”

“My sister isn’t fictional!” Lillian snaps, snarling at the person.

He takes the book back and scrunches up.

“So where is she then? And if you are her sister, shouldn’t you be dead?” the guy asks.

“You wouldn’t understand! You’d have to be me to understand me,” Lillian says.

“I’m so sorry... um... I’ll leave you with whatever strange fantasies you have...” the guy says, slinking away.

Lillian’s ears go down.

“Lillian... Remember... This is a different world than your own... You’ll have to control your wolfish reactions if you don’t want to get in trouble,” Water Boy says.

Lillian turns to face him, snarling still. Water Boy doesn’t flinch. She growls.

“Lillian, I’m serious. You can’t do that kind of stuff here. I’m sure someone’s going to report you and then I’ll have to leave too because you cannot be on your own,” Water Boy says.

“I’m sorry...” Lillian says, “I’m tired... After the long chase early this morning, I don’t have much energy for anything else...”

Water Boy smiles a little. Lillian yawns sleepily and lies down on the dirty floor. Water Boy picks Lillian up and places her on the cleanest bed he can find, but even this bed is nasty. He sighs and walks away, trying to find something else to do while waiting for Lillian to wake up.

Not too many hours pass before Water Boy is drawn back into the room by the sound of screaming.

“Hey! What’s going on in here?!” asks Water Boy.

He finds Lillian thrashing on her bed screaming. Confused, he walks over to her and tries to settle her. She wakes up, still screaming.

“Lillian, what is all this about?!” Water Boy asks.

Lillian shakes her head, sobbing.

“You can tell me, I’ll listen,” Water Boy says.

“I saw them! I saw them!” Lillian sobs, not making any sense.

“Who did you see...?” Water Boy asks.

“Them!” Lillian sobs, “They were scared!”

Water Boy sighs, “I have no clue what you’re talking about, but I do know it was probably just a nightmare...”

Just a nightmare…?! It was one of the worst kinds you can have!” Lillian cries.

“Shhh... Shhh... Lillian... Relax...” Water Boy says, hugging Lillian.

“I saw the faces of my victims! I heard their screams for help again...” Lillian cries.

“It’s alright...” Water Boy says.

“No! It’s not alright! They had to die! That was my fault!” Lillian says.

“Lillian... Are you really going to spend forever moping? How about instead of worrying about who you’ve killed in your past life and worry about saving other people’s lives?” Water Boy suggests.

“You’re right! Say, let’s go look for people who need our help right now!” Lillian says, jumping up quickly, turning into a wolf.

“Heh heh... Aren’t you forgetting something...?” Water Boy asks.

In reply, Lillian’s stomach gurgles loudly. She chuckles nervously and blushes.

“Right... Is the cafeteria open yet?” Lillian asks.

“I think so, but don’t expect anything good...” Water Boy says, “Knowing this place, I wouldn’t be surprised if they dumpster dived to get the food for each meal!”

“Huh?” Lillian says, tilting her head in confusion.

“You know, getting into trash bins and collecting things?” Water Boy says.

“Oh! Yes! Well, at this point, I’m quite willing to eat anything!” Lillian says, drooling.

“Even a stinky sock?” Water Boy asks.

“Yes... Stinky socks...” Lillian says, still drooling, “Wait! What…?!”

“Ahah!” says Water Boy, “I thought so!”

“I’m not willing to eat stinky socks or any related items,” Lillian confirms, wiping up her slobber.

“Well, shall we go check what’s for lunch?” Water Boy asks.

“Oh yes, please!” Lillian says, running in circles.

“You can’t go as a wolf though, it’s for humans only,” Water Boy says.

Lillian turns back into a human and follows Water Boy.

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