Fur vs Skin

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15.

โI am a wolf. Her. My Moon.โž


Staring up at the ceiling has become a reoccurring thing, to keep myself from completely submerging into the dark abyss of my mind that called out my name: ready to take the scraps of my sanity and hold me hostage for eternity. The moonโ€™s glow cast shapes and images along the surface of the ceiling from the tree leaves that sway to the harshness of the outside world, presenting me my own show of what went on outside these walls, the shapes slowly transforming into my demons.

My fingers find the spot on my side beneath the covers, tracing the healed indents of what the predator left me with, the crescent moons of its fingers having a home upon my flesh. The memory of that fateful night burning in the depths of my mind, prowling it with the images of the man behind this scar: his crimson eyes plague the void in my head, the glint of his fangs flashing with ill intent.

My conscious conjures the name for what he was, movies and shows glorifying them to the world, yet I could not let the name run across my mind, still afraid to leave the comfort of ignorance that I still grapple onto. I refuse to let my thoughts venture to the images of my mother, but as always, it betrays me and summons the retch vision of her dying body on the floors of our kitchen, bloodied and battered, her eyes pleading me to leave and run to safety.

The sensation of tears makes their appearance, lodging a lump in my throat as I refuse to let them fall.

โ€œFuck. . .โ€ I whisper brokenly into the air, pressing the palms of my hands into my eye-sockets as if to physically stop them.

Slight guilt courses through my veins at myself, the missing presence of Arsen helping me release my feelings alone, despite his frown face, I just needed time to myself to collect whatever fragments of my sanity that were slipping away from me. Being within the same vicinity as him would have arisen emotions that would have tangled with the ones I still struggle to control, having little knowledge of what he was to me. With the image of my mother floating around, I let them transfer to the image of my father, his whereabouts still a mystery to me.

The thought of him escaping safely rendering a slight hope in my chest, souring through my system, and feeding the notion that he was out there somewhere, searching for me. Heaving a breath, I remove my hands and to my side, my vision blotchy from the pressure of my palms as it returns to normal.

Should I tell them . .? the question runs aimlessly, fighting its way beyond the worries and dread before crashing into the wall of my conclusion.

Wiping under my eyes, I rise to a sitting position, swinging the covers back and turning to sit on the edge of the bed. Repeating the mantra of โ€˜everythingโ€™s going to be fineโ€™, I push myself from off the bed, the warm air hitting my exposed skin while I bend down to grab my shorts, slipping them on. Within a few steps, I reach the handle of the door, twisting the knob and swinging the structure inward; stopping short in my tracks as the blockage in my path.

Arsen looks up from his spot on the floor beside the door, the hazel in his eyes brightening at the sight of me. My heart stutters in my chest, the revelation that heโ€™s been sitting here since I asked him for momentary space, he rises to his feet, concern glittering in his orbs as they project out toward me. The atmosphere accumulates a sudden warmth, seeping into the crevasse of my body and staking their home in the very cells of my being, igniting a flame of sensations, pleasure goosebumps falling upon my skin. Cupping my elbows as a delicious shiver anchors itself at the base of my spine, I crack a smile up at him, hoping the tremble in my hands slipped past his scrutinizing eyes.

โ€œIโ€™m fine,โ€ I tell him, easing his worry, โ€œare Marcus and Santha still downstairs?โ€

He nods, keeping his intense gaze locked onto mine, searching through the pit of my eyes. I will myself not to fall through the depths of them, looking away and slowly making my descend down the steps. The glow of the fireplace was the only lighting that illuminated the ground area, the small night light plugged into the wall of the kitchen adding to the glow; the creek of a step alerts me of Arsenโ€™s form following me. My bare feet make contact with the last step, my sights immediately zero in on Santha and Marcus as they cuddle in the corner of the three-seated sofa, Santha nestled to his side with his larger frame swallowing her as she reads, his arm slung over the back of the sofa, caressing her hair.

The content looks on their faces cause me to pause, not wanting to disturb them with my story, settle with revealing it to them another day. I make the motion to turn back around when an abrupt creak, louder than first, resonates throughout the room as I freeze in place Arsen giving me a sheepish look, the culprit of the noise.

โ€œAmelia?โ€

Swiveling on the heel of my foot, Marcus peers over Santhaโ€™s head as they both stare at me, questions swimming in their eyes.

โ€œI thought you were asleep,โ€ Sanatha says, sitting up and placing her thumb in the crook of the book as she gives me her full attention.

I turn to face them completely, swinging my arms behind me. โ€œI couldnโ€™t sleep. .โ€

โ€œAwh, dear,โ€ Santha marks her place in the book, turning away for a moment to place it on the coffee table before turning back. โ€œWas something on your mind?โ€

I shrug, feeling Arsenโ€™s heat as he hovers over me like my very own shadow, framing my own figure; used to the feeling somewhat, I brush it off and take steps toward the pair.

โ€œKind of,โ€ I answer, waiting a moment, โ€œthere was something I actually wanted to tell you both.โ€

Santhaโ€™s eyes soften around the edges, removing herself from her husbandโ€™s grasp to stand to her feet and moving in my direction. Her hand slides down the length of my arm once she reaches me, a motherly touch I was all too familiar with, seeing the resemblance of her actions to that of my motherโ€™s sends my mind racing.

โ€œItโ€™s okay, you donโ€™t have to tell us if you donโ€™t wish to. Donโ€™t force yourself,โ€ she assures me, coaxing me like a child.

I shake my head, swallowing away the ball of emotions, and raise my head, forcing confidence in the action to rid myself of the anxiousness.

โ€œItโ€™s fine, I want to.โ€

Tilting her lips to the side, her brown eyes access the expression on my face, casting a glance over her shoulder to Marcus who watches with a calculating gaze, his hand raised to his mouth as he rubs at the corners. When he says nothing, she returns her attention back to me, smiling and outstretching her arm toward the living area.

โ€œWeโ€™re all ears.โ€

Inhaling, I nod once, moving my feet in the direction of the one-seater sofa near the window with Arsen and Santha in tow. Once situated, I bring my feet beneath my bottom, relaxing as much as I can into its cushion: watching as Santha took her spot alongside Marcus once more and Arsen taking a seat in an identical one-seater that aligned with mine, divided apart by the coffee table. Silence engulfs us in its bubble, waiting for me to speak.

โ€œBefore Arsen found me,โ€ I start to tell them, swiping a piece of hair behind my ear, โ€œmy home was attacked by a guy after I returned from university.โ€

Each word pained me to say aloud, anxiety rushing through me, my fingers trembling: I cease them between my legs, casually and hoping they went unnoticed.

โ€œHe. . . he attacked my mother before I arrived at the house, I found her on the floor of our kitchen, claw mark marring her skin as she hung to the last threads of life.โ€

โ€œOh, my goddess,โ€ Santhaโ€™s whisper reaches through the haze of pain, my vision un-focusing.

โ€œThere was nothing normal about this man; red eyes. . fangs,โ€ I release a shuddering breath, shutting my eyes. โ€œHe was there to kill me just like he had to my mother, he also kept using the phrase of they. . as if there was more than one person that wished for me dead.โ€

The particles in the atmosphere vibrate violently with Arsenโ€™s growl, sending waves of heat throughout my body despite the distance. Opening my eyes, his golden stare holds me down, brewing with the same anger as they had when I informed him of this story before, his hands gripping the chairโ€™s armrest as his frame shook with obvious anger, holding on as if to keep himself from jumping to his feet and tearing down the world to find this forsaken being that dared threaten my life.

My gaze softens, his emotions felt through my own being, coaxing the fear that sets home in my heart, fighting it away from fully consuming me at the thought that the creature will soon come to find me. Shifting my gaze, I turn to Santha and Marcus, their eyes holding different emotions that swirl inside of themโ€” Santhaโ€™s shine with the distinct look of fear and sympathy while Marcus held his chin, deep in thought.

โ€œAt the time, my father was nowhere in sight and I only hope he was able to escape just as I had,โ€ I finish, looking down at my hand, playing with the edge of my shorts.

A lake of silence soon follows after my words, trickling over the minutes with everyone lost in the throes of their own mind. My eyes cut over toward Marcus, anxiousness settling in my bones at the serious expression that has fallen over his features, the dark look that crowned the edges of his eyes, lips pursed in thought. Suddenly he converts his attention to wife, his eyes dulling out, the color fading from them as a blank look washes over his features, the same expression plastering itself in Santhaโ€™s. It looked as if they were. . .communicating someway.

Before I could let confusion settle, it disappears, both sharing a glance at each other. Santha turns away from him and projects a solemn expression.

โ€œI am so sorry,โ€ she tells me, as she scoots to the corner of the sofa, โ€œall we know for now is that youโ€™re safe.โ€

All I could do was nod.

โ€œDid he, by any chance, say who he was?โ€ Marcus asks.

Thinking back for a moment, I shake my head, โ€œNo.โ€

โ€œI see. . .โ€ he mumbles, swiping a hand over his face, looking stressed as his brows creased, a pang of regret strikes my heart.

I could not help but mull the thought that my story held a deeper meaning than what my own mind conveyed, the man that plagued its existence having to do something with it. Arsen gathers my focus, a deep set of determination creating their place in the abyss of his eyes, the golden color lingering, his irises expanding; a deep sense of warmth washes over my system, leaving me breathless at the feel.

His eyes spoke a million words, narrowing with his true meaning.

โ€œI will protect you,โ€ his eyes vowed, as my own widening at the revelation, โ€œI promise.โ€

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