Fox had already showered and dressed for the day. He rubbed his face and was thankful for his inability to grow a beard. He did wish that he would’ve gained some muscle and a six-pack like the superheroes he grew up with, but he was still a dollar twenty soaking wet and only five foot four.
“I have to be the scrawniest superhero. Anti-hero? Whatever. I have to be the boniest hero ever and the shortest,” he muttered to himself as he posed in front of the mirror. He then splashed water on his face and shook his head. “I should be freaking out. Why aren’t I freaking out?”
Fox sighed and headed downstairs to the kitchen to fix himself a bowl of cereal and sat at the island counter to eat it. He heard Cyanide in his ear, growling. Before he could ask the creature what was wrong, the front door opened.
“Fox? You up?” Samantha’s voice called out.
“I’m up! In the kitchen!”
Cyanide’s growls did not quiet down. If anything they got louder as Samantha entered the room. Fox began to wonder what its problem was. He wanted to ask, but not with Samantha in the room. She didn’t need to know that the spells worked.
"We should not trust her,” Cyanide growled.
Fox really wanted to ask, but remained silent for now. Samantha sat down at the island counter next to him with her own bowl of cereal.
“You’re looking much better this morning! So I guess it didn’t work, huh? The spells, I mean,” she said with a smile.
Fox shrugged, not wanting to mention it worked. “I guess not. Then again were we really expecting them to?”
“I suppose not. I’m glad though, I was ready to haul your ass off to the hospital,” Samantha said with a smirk. “Finish your breakfast.”
“Okay Mom,” Fox said with a light tone. “I need to head back to my foster place and pack up after this. I want to get as much of my stuff moved over as I can before I officially claim it. It’ll make things easier, especially since I’ve been here the last few nights.”
“Just be careful, yeah?” Samantha said with worry in her voice.
“I will. He scares me but I’ll be okay.”
Samantha only nodded and the two finished their breakfast in an uncomfortable and tense silence. Fox was wondering why Cyanide was still growling at Samantha and why they shouldn’t trust her.
Once breakfast was finished the two cleaned up the kitchen and Fox headed upstairs to his mother’s bedroom to grab his phone then went to the office where he nabbed his bag then went back downstairs and found Samantha waiting by the door.
“Ready?” she asked.
“As I’ll ever be,” Fox muttered, softly with a hint of fear.
“I can give you a ride if you want.”
“Nah. I’m in no hurry to get back, so I’ll stick to walking. You should be careful driving back, okay? It’s supposed to storm soon.” Fox looked out the window by the door. “And judging by those clouds it’s going to be a downpour any time now.”
“That’s why I offered a ride. I don’t want you to get sick or your sketch pads to get wet,” Samantha said.
“My sketch pads and tools are all upstairs in the office. They’ll be safe here,” Fox smiled.
She shrugged, ” If you’re sure. I’ll see ya later then.”
“I’ll see ya Monday,” he said.
Samantha gave him a hug and got into her car. She waved to Fox driving away.
Fox took in a deep breath, locked the house, and headed for home. He really didn’t want to go back, but he needed to start packing his stuff so he could move in right after his birthday. He looked to the sky as he heard thunder rolling behind him. He started to walk a little faster but still in no hurry to return to his foster home.
“Hey, Cyanide?” Fox asked.
"Yes?” the creature growled.
“Why shouldn’t we trust Samantha?”
"I smelled blood on her hands,” Cyanide said.
“Blood? Has she killed before? Or maybe someone she knew was killed,” Fox asked a bit freaked out.
"She has killed. Her hands are stained.”
“How can you tell?”
"You created me. Shouldn’t you know?”
Fox blushed. “Smartass.”
A tense silence filled the air for a brief moment before Fox asked the real question that was bothering him.
“So we really can’t trust her.”
"No,” Cyanide growled.
“So much for having a friend.” Fox sighed sadly.
"Am I not a friend?”
“No. I’ve been drawing you since I was nine. You’re like a scary older brother,” Fox said with a smile.
Cyanide growled softly, almost purring with content. ”If you say so.”
Fox chuckled, then groaned when he heard bikes approaching with two very grating voices calling to him.
“Hey, kitty cat!” Alex called.
“Fuck, not now,” Fox groaned.
"Who are they?” Cyanide growled.
“No one, they’re no one.” Fox really didn’t want to be on this subject.
“Hey! We’re talking to you!” Baxter shouted.
Fox just kept on walking, not wanting to deal with those two, especially before having to deal with Mike. He stopped when Alex swerved his bike in front of him.
“Hey Dipshit, we’re talking to you! What are you, deaf?” Alex said.
Fox growled under breath hearing Cyanide growl as well. Baxter came up from behind to corner Fox, and the two boys began their assault.
Cyanide was ready to come out when Fox commanded him otherwise. Fox didn’t and hadn’t fought back. If he did and went to prison he would lose his house and inheritance money. So he silently took the beating and held back Cyanide the best he could.
"Let me help you! I’ll teach these pathetic little bitches a lesson!” Cyanide snarled.
‘No! They might be garbage humans but we can’t hurt them or kill them!’ Fox said in his head to Cyanide.
BANG! A loud crack filled the air and the boys beating on Fox looked over to where the noise came from. A little old lady stood holding a shotgun. Fox smiled. He knew this angel in disguise.
“You hooligans, let my Fox go or I’ll fill your asses with lead!” Doris growled at the boys.
Alex and Baxter were smart enough to realize the threat was real and booked it out of there. Fox slowly got up and headed over to Doris.
He gave her a bloody smile, “Aloha Doris, thanks for the save.”
“Damn kids. This is why I spanked my young’uns. Taught them respect and kept them out of prison, then some damn hippies came in and said spanking was abuse. If that ain’t a crock of shit,” she said.
“Doris, you beat all,” Fox said.
“Damn straight. Now come on darlin’. Let’s get you cleaned up,” Doris said with a motherly smile.
Fox followed Doris into her home and noticed some of her stuff was gone.
“Hey Doris, you moving or something?”
“No dear. Just putting some stuff in storage. Since George died I don’t need a lot, but I’ve been putting it off for a while now. Figured it was time,” she waved it off.
Fox nodded and headed into the kitchen with the elder woman. She had told him about George before, but not much. The man died about five years ago from lung cancer. No surprise as during his and Doris’ time, smoking was more common. The thunder was louder and closer now.
Doris looks out the window, seeing the palm trees sway vigorously. “The storm is here but no rain yet.”
Fox watched the trees while Doris patched him up. Lightning flashed brightly as thunder rattled the old home. Fox shivered, and then remembered something.
“Where are your chickens?” Fox hadn’t seen or heard them anywhere.
“They’ve gone to a new safe and happy home. Over the weekend I decided it was time to say goodbye to them,” Doris said sadly.
Fox figured. He liked those chickens, they were pretty chill. The way Doris was talking was bothering him. It was like she was trying to say goodbye herself but more subtly.
Fox didn’t mask his concern. “Doris, are you okay?”
“I’m fine, why?”
“Just making sure.”
Doris winked at him. “That’s why you’re my favorite.”
“Of course I am,” Fox said with a smirk.
Doris scoffed playfully at that and finished patching him up.
“All set to go, sweet pea.” Doris checked him over one last time.
“Mahalo,” Fox said softly.
“What’s wrong? Don’t you dare tell me it’s nothing,” she said, using her motherly tone.
“It’s just...I want to start packing up my things tonight so I can get to work on moving into the home my mother left, but that means facing him,” he said with a shiver.
“Your bastard of a foster father,” she growled.
Fox nodded and prayed Mike wasn’t home when Doris came for him, but knew he didn’t have that kind of luck. He spotted the familiar and hated truck in the drive when he followed her inside.
“You could always stay until he leaves in the morning for work,” she said, pleading.
“Mahalo Doris, but I have to face the music sometime,” Fox said sadly, but with a warm smile.
She sighed upset and palmed Fox’s cheek gently like a mother comforting a child. “You come out alive, you hear me? You come out of that house alive. I don’t care what happens to that bastard, but you better promise you’ll be all right.”
“I promise,” Fox leaned into her touch.
“Just remember that once upon a time I practiced magic. Don’t make me put an old Hawaiian curse on you,” Doris joked through tears.
Fox laughed and hugged the elderly woman. He grabbed his bag and headed across the street. He turned to see Doris watching him closely through the window. He smiled sadly and headed inside.