Ten years ago, the world learned that harpies, centaurs, catgirls, and all manners of legendary creatures were not merely fiction; they are flesh and blood. After this discovery, a treaty between the humans and these creatures was made and a series of laws, known to the public as the Interspecies Acts, was created in order to protect them. In the epicenter of it all was the city of Edo. Edo is the capital of Japan and is located in the Kanto region, which is in the southeast region of Central Honshu, the main island of Japan, next to Tokyo Bay. Edo is also a mixture of the traditional and ultra modern. The city is located on a floodplain of three large rivers: the Sumida River, the Ara River and the Edo River. The Sumida River flows through the centre of the metropolis and is integrated in the urban pattern of the city.
“Have a great day, Alex! Bye!” I turned around, just in time, to see my superior, Nia April, as she fell to the ground. Instinctively, I ran over and caught her. Then one of them ran in the direction of the first aid kit and the AED while another ran to go get his cell phone.
“What do you want us to do, Alex?” said one of my other colleagues.
“Go get some water and tell everyone to give me some room.”
They ran off, in the direction of the bathroom. Immediately, remembering my first aid training, I checked for breathing and pulse. I was absolutely terrified when I felt no pulse, and although she was breathing, it was strange and fast. I immediately started performing CPR.
“Where’s the goddamn AED?” I yelled. The man came running back with the AED and the first aid kit in his arms. I immediately took the AED. Then, remembering how it worked, I took off Nia’s formal white dress shirt and applied the AED pads. After that I turned on the AED, and followed its directions, doing CPR between each shock. The man, who had run to go get his cell phone, was on it with Dispatch, and he told me, “The ambulance will be here in 6 minutes.”
“Thanks, Joe,” I told my friend, with a smile, hiding my one true emotion, fear. I thought, terrified for the safety of my superior, as I kept performing CPR, “Stay with me, Mrs. April! Stay with me! Don’t you dare give up, my friend! Without you, this company wouldn’t exist today, and I wouldn’t be the same man I am today! Without you, I would still be rejecting life and society. You showed me that life was worth living, and that society wasn’t as bad as I thought it was! Please, goddamn it, stay with me!” When the ambulance arrived, I was still doing CPR.
The EMTs told me to get off of Nia and I did what they asked. I asked them if I could go with them in the ambulance to the hospital. They said sure. When we got there, Nia was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors and nurses rushed to get her stabilized, and I was told to wait outside.
After ten minutes of waiting, a doctor came out and said, “Are you part of her family?” I told him, “No, I’m not. I’m colleague of hers and her trainee. Please, Doctor, I owe everything to her. I was lost and confused in the path of life, and she helped me find the right road. She gave me an opportunity in her company. Please, tell me. How is she?” The doctor sighed, and said, “She’s stable. It seems that she’s suffering from extreme fatigue. Other than what we have done, we can’t do anything else for her.” “Why?” “She’s an Interspecies person and we don’t access to her medical information. Without a family member, or some kind of lover present, we have no way of knowing if our normal procedure for this, for humans, is safe for her. I’m sorry.” “Wait, did you just say that Nia is an Interspecies person?” “Yes, I did,” the doctor said as he looked at the surprised look on my face, “You didn’t know?”
“No, I didn’t. I can’t believe it. It doesn’t matter though. She is who she is, and what she is doesn’t matter to me. Can I see her?”
“She hasn’t woken up yet. Even if you were to see her, she wouldn’t be able to talk to you.”
“That’s fine. I just need to see that she’s okay.”
The doctor signed and then replied, “Alright, then. She’s located in Rm. 219, which is located at the end of the hall on your right.”
“Thank you, Doctor.” I then ran down the hall, and turned to my right. The door was labeled Rm. 219. As I looked at the door, I immediately thought, “Nia’s behind this door. Please, G_d, if there is one, PLEASE let her be okay.” I then shook my head, took two deep breaths, and briefly thought, “I can’t back down now. Let’s do this.” I turned the doorknob and opened the door. I found Nia, asleep, on the hospital bed. I slowly walked over to her side. She looked so peaceful, so serene. I sighed a sigh of relief. I saw a chair, and carefully, as to make as little noise as possible, pulled the chair to the side of the bed and sat down. I then prayed, while tears of relief fell from my eyes, “Thank you, G_d. Thank you for protecting her. Thank you again. Amen.” When I looked up, Nia was staring, right into my eyes. I jumped up from my chair, startled.
Nia then sat up and asked, “Why are you here, Alex?”
I calmed down and asked, “Why do you think I’m here, Nia?”
Nia looked at me with a puzzled look on her face, and answered, “I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking you.”
“I’m here because I was worried about you. You passed out, in the middle of the work day and your my childhood best friend. Of course I’d be worried about you. Also, Nia, why didn’t you ever tell me that you were an Interspecies person?”
Nia answered, her face looking pale, “How did you find that out?”
“The doctor told me. Why didn’t you ever tell me? Do you not trust me, Nia? Even if you had told me, I wouldn’t have cared. You’re my friend, no matter what you are, you’re still my friend and you’re still you.”
“Of course I trust you, but what was I supposed to tell you? “Oh, hey Alex. Just so you know, I’m a Demon.“”
“Yeah, that would have been fine. Did you not hear me the first time? I DON’T CARE. You’re still you and that’s all that matters to me.”
I then saw Nia, tears pouring down her face like a waterfall, and she said, with a smile, “Thank you, Alex. Thank you so much.” As I saw Nia, broken down, crying, I immediately pulled her into a hug.
Five minutes later, Nia dried her eyes and said, “Alex, promise me that you’ll never tell anyone that I’m a Demon. Most people, different from you, would probably be afraid of me, and at the very least, run me out of this city. I don’t want to leave. I love this city.”
“Don’t worry, I promise. Your secret is safe with me.”
“Thank you, Alex. I will never forget this.”
“Nia, I’m sorry to ask anything more from you, but can you show me your “true form”?”
“Sure, Alex, but can you close the blinds? I don’t want anyone else to be able to see me in that form.”
“Of course, Nia.”
I walked over and shut the blinds. When I turned around, a bright light surrounded me. Three minutes later, the light disipated and I wiped my eyes, to get rid of the blinding sensation that had been caused by the light. When I looked up, I was bewildered to see a beautiful creature, small horns had sprouted on each side of her temple, large red and black streaks covered her body and large black wings, resembling that of a crow were on her back. I was amazed at how beautiful this creature was and I realized that this was what my friend truly looked like.
“I terrify you, don’t I? I’m a monster. I must look like a freak.”
“Not at all. Your absolutely beautiful, Nia.”
“I don’t scare you?”
“How could I be scared of someone that’s so beautiful?”
Nia looked at me, with a face, a wonderful shade of red, and said, “Thank you, Alex. I’m glad that I have at least one person I can trust in this world. I’m going to go back to my human form. Could you turn around, Alex?”
“Of course, Nia.” I then turned around, as the bright light enveloped her once again. Once the light had disipated, once again, Nia told me I could turn back around. I then asked her, “Nia, could you tell me more about yourself. I’d like to know more about you.”
“Of course, Alex.” As the night went on, the shadows of two people could be seen, laughing, talking and enjoying each others company. But what will happen after time has passed? Will love ensue? Will Nia’s secret be revealed? Only time will tell.
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