Step, step, step, in, out, in, out, breath, coming out in clumps, in stones, in...movement…step, step, step, in, out, in…out…the pace of life…the pace…of death.
I walk, moving, gliding, breathing, in, out, in, out, into lives, out of lives, in-between, through, in, out, in, moving….stopping, being, dying…
I can feel the universe pulse with every step, in, out, in, out….in…out…of my life, and into yours…into theirs…in, out, in…
I can feel them around me, talking, laughing, breathing, in, out, yet, I feel, I feel like I'm one with the universe, and not, like I'm stretching for miles, inwards, outwards, both, neither, for miles, stretching out like vines, like the roots of a tree…onwards for miles.
They don't seem the same as me…these people…yet they do. Does everyone feel this way sometimes? Like they're something unlike everyone else? Does anyone else feel separated, going in, out, in, out, like my breath, like the steps of my feet, just a rhythm, just a note, just a pace, like they're static…in a world of noise? Do others feel the music of each step, or do they ignore what they see, what they hear? Do they know? Do they understand? Do they?
I can feel it, it's like I'm a code in a computer, like I'm nothing but me, nothing but humanity, like I'm everything, and like I'm just a piece, like I'm just a confused…or maybe an all-wise…being…sitting on the edge of…eternity? Or maybe death.
I looked down at my paper, scrutinizing what I'd just written. I never knew this sort of thing was in me…if I was a character in someone's book it'd probably be a good indication of something…something important…like the plot, or my character, or something, but I'm not. It's just random scribbles from the back of my mind, random scribbles from my subconscious waiting to get out and be free…either that or I'm just nuts…or in a really weird mood, or something.
Enya entered the room, her room, smiling at me sitting on her bed with this piece of paper in my hands. "Did you write something?"
"Kinda. I don't know, it just came from nowhere." I folded it up and put it in my pocket. "And it doesn't make any sense."
"Oh come on, sure it does. You're good at these English assignments. You always come up with the best stuff."
"Maybe, but this isn't it."
She chuckled and sat down next to me. "Sure. You're just being self-conscious again."
She shrugged. "Well, you're always self conscious, but yeah, again."
I suppose that's true enough. "You would be, too."
She grined at me. "I never said it was a bad thing." She leaned in and kisses me, so I return her kiss, releasing each other moments later.
"We should probably get to homework before your mom starts wondering…or before someone comes in and think we're about to get it on or something."
She laughed. "No offense, Kai, but I'm not about to have sex with you anytime soon."
I smiled. "I wasn't passing judgment." I pecked her a kiss as I finally opened my textbook. "So, science."
"What, you don't want to work on the English thing?"
"No, not really. Besides, I'm here to study for that test tomorrow…it's a bit more important, at this point. The English thing isn't due until the end of the week."
"That's true." She flipped her own book open.
I shift to get comfortable, but it seemed that my tail picked this precise moment to be annoying.
I stood up, trying to adjust my tail where it's sitting, wrapped around my left leg. "My tail's acting up." I muttered.
"Weird." She said, and I know she always hates it when I bring up my tail. Not like I blame her, it isn't exactly a normal thing for anyone to possess…I guess I just got used to it faster than everyone else cause I was the one who had to deal with it 24/7.
I sighed as I pulled it out. "It's really cramping up. This isn't normal."
She didn't say anything as I examined the four and a half foot thing. It seemed to be its normal, arm thickness...seemed to be curling upon itself as usual, the skin was still its usual pale and silvery color, like the rest of me…except. I stopped as I got half way into my inspection. "Why is it teal?!"
"What?!" She looked up from her book to stare at me, or more appropriately, my tail. "That's…"
"Yeah." I agreed, stunned. "Is it teal all the way to the base?"
She nodded. "Pretty much solidly, too."
"Do you think you could look and check to see if it's…just my tail?" I swallowed, hard.
"I'll check when I get home tonight, then." Why is it that this stuff always seems to happen to me? Why me?!
"Kai! You can't just put this off until then!"
"Then what should I do?" I asked, my silver eyes boring into her blue-gray ones.
She sighed, running a hand through her shoulder length, curly blonde hair. "I don't know. Maybe you should see a doctor."
"And tell them what, that my tail's turning green? It's not even a fungal green, it's a bright teal! Even my uncle would stare at me a while if I told him that!"
"You should still see someone."
"You're right...I should, but…"
The door opened before I could finish my sentence, and before I could even think to hide my tail again. It was Enya's brother. "I heard…yelling…" His voice trailed off as he stared at my tail. "What the hell?"
"Troy!" Enya yelled at her brother. "You should knock before entering!"
"Why the hell does your boyfriend have a tail?!"
She sighed. "Troy…"
"And for how long?! I knew he wasn't natural, wasn't like the rest of us!"
"Troy, that's enough! He doesn't need your condemnation on top of…"
"Just answer the question."
She glared at him. "Not until you calm down."
"Three years." I told him.
"Fantastic!" He threw up his hands. "And you still agreed to date him, knowing this?!"
"Of course, something like that shouldn't be enough to…"
"Enya, he's a freak! Silver eyes, silver hair…weird colored skin…and a tail…that's green?!"
"That just appeared today, I swear." I insisted.
"Right, those sorts of things just appear."
"Well, I did just turn sixteen."
"What does that have to do with anything?!"
"Haven't you noticed how something weird seems to happen to him every three years or so?"
He stared at his sister. "What? Since when."
"Come on, think."
He stared at her. "Hasn't he always been weird?"
I decided to tuck my tail back away then, and luckily for me I did, for a moment later their mother, Sheryl, walked in. "What's going on here?"
No one said anything.
"Okay guys, spit it out, what's up?" She looked back and forth, from one scowling kid to the other. She looked at me. "Kai?"
"I'm not touching this." I said, throwing my hands up in defense.
"So what, you're just going to conveniently skip the part about that nice little secret you've been keeping the past three years?!"
Sheryl raised one brown and graying eyebrow at me.
"It's no one's business but his who he tells!" Enya yelled at him. "If you were him, you'd have done the same…"
"No, I can't say I would, and I'm not going to stand here and watch as he continues to con you into thinking that he's some version of normal! He's playing you, Enya, and I'm not going to…"
"He is not!"
"What's going on?!" Sheryl asked, this time in a much firmer voice than before.
Both her children turned and stared at her. She normally wasn't a very forceful of a person.
"Kai has a tail." Troy finally told her.
"What?" She seemed, well, stunned. I sighed, wondering how fast my secret was going to spread…I shook off the thoughts of impending doom as she turned to me. "Is this true?" Her voice was soft now, almost to a whisper, and she was pale and going paler as I didn't say anything.
"How many people know?" She asked.
"Outside this room? Three."
She nodded. "Your father, sister, and your uncle?"
"It's just not normal." Troy muttered.
"I know." I whispered.
"Why do you think he was hiding it?!" Enya yelled once again. "He gets enough grief at school without them knowing this too!"
"Not to mention it would give people another reason to think that I might not be my father's son after all."
"Honey, no one thinks…"
"Just because people say things behind my back doesn't mean I don't know what they're saying…about that, and about my dad being cursed."
"He's not cursed."
"I know that, my sister knows that, he knows that, but people still think…and say...things."
"Don't tell me you're being taken in by his lies, too!"
I sighed, walked over to my bag, and picked it, and my book, up off the bed. "I think it's about time I went home."
"But you just got here." Enya protested. The other two didn't say anything, so I simply walked out the door, down the stairs, and out towards the front door.
"Kai!" I heard Enya yell as she ran after me, catching up quickly enough. "Don't let my brother win…don't…"
"Why not? I'm used to it." And with that, I walked out of the house.
I could hear Enya screaming at her brother as I closed the door and kept walking. That was Enya for you…when she can't deal with me, she takes it out on her brother. Hopefully she can get them to keep quiet about my secret if nothing else, but…
I pulled the paper back out of my pocket, and read it over once more, trying to drown everything out, even if just for a moment. Maybe I am nothing but eternity and death…or not… I sighed as I looked up, pocketing it again, watching other people pass me by, watching, but not really looking at them. Maybe I'm just something to ogle at, something for people to stare at twice to see if I'm real. I don't feel real half the time, like now, it doesn't seem like my girlfriend's brother and mother just found out what I've been trying to hide for so long…something everyone, me included, has known intrinsically for some time.
I'm not human. Though what I am instead…well…that's a bit more complicated a matter. Only problem is, Enya refuses to admit that I'm not human. Dad, well, doesn't say anything, but I know he sees it, but he's fine with it. He knew I wasn't human when I got my silver hair when I was three, just like everyone else. Sometimes I wonder if he always knew.
Jana, well, doesn't see me as anything other than her brother, and something that needs protection. I don't think she actually sees anyone as being human or not human. My uncle, well, has just accepted some of it, and swallowed the rest, kinda like me…question is, will he be able to swallow this new development? Or is it something altogether separate from my slow evolution into…something else?
I shook my head as I completed the trek home, and walked into the slightly run down two story house without a second thought.
There was no one in the main room, no one sitting in the seventies flowered couch and chairs in front of the decade old tv. There's no one eating at the dining table with its mixed matched chairs in the room beyond, and in the kitchen…is my uncle…sitting at the small square table sitting against the wall across from the stove and the chaotically cluttered white counters.
"Kyle, what're you doing here?" I ask in my surprise as I notice he's got a red-head about his age sitting next to him.
He smiled and turned to the woman sitting next to him. "I told you Wade's kids could tell the difference."
"Of course I can tell the difference," I said before she could answer. "You may be identical twins, but you act nothing alike. Not to mention, dad has contacts now."
He chuckled. "I thought you were supposed to be at your girlfriend's."
"I was, now I'm not."
He raised a dark brown eyebrow at me.
I pretended not to notice. "You didn't answer my question."
"I just need to talk to your dad about stuff. Know when he'll be home?"
"Eh, probably six or seven. Probably more like seven, cause he's picking up Chinese before he gets here, but if you need to talk to him, then why didn't you just call him?"
"Eh, it's something that is best discussed in person."
Now it was my turn to raise an eyebrow at him.
"Oh, I should probably mention, this is Dr. Zora Andrews, my girlfriend."
I dropped my bag and book by the table, and leaned over to shake her hand. "Nice to meet you." I told her, not too surprised that my uncle had gotten himself a new girlfriend. It's not like he went through a lot of girlfriends, but, well, when he didn't have one, it didn't take him too long to get another one…I figured he was afraid of being alone, something I kinda understood.
She smiled. "You too, your uncle has told me quite a bit about you."
"Really?" Now there's a surprise. "He normally doesn't." Course, most people have the tendency to not talk about me in general, unless they're warning them so they won't startle themselves upon introduction.
"Oh, he talks about you more than you think."
"Why am I suddenly disconcerted by that?"
"Oh, it's all good things, I promise." I never trust it when people say that.
I smiled and turned to my uncle. "Oh, say, when you've got a free minute, can I talk to you alone?"
He raised another eyebrow at me.
"It's a medical matter."
"Oh, okay." He sounded surprised.
"You can do that now." Zora insisted. "I can just go watch tv for a while."
"We don't have to do it now." I insisted.
Kyle chuckled. "And by you saying that I know it's important."
She smiled. "I'll be in the main room if you need me." And with that, she got up and walked out.
"What's up?" He asked.
I sighed. "My tail turned green."
"When I was at Enya's."
"Is that why you left?"
"Eh, it's more the fact that her brother and mother found out that I have a tail that prompted me to leave than anything else."
"Crap," I muttered as my tail started to cramp up again. "It's doing it again."
"My tail's cramping." I muttered as I pulled it out again, and noticed that the teal was actually moving down my tail in fairly rapid swirls. "That's not normal." I muttered, not knowing if I should be panicking right about now or not.
"Zora!" Kyle yelled.
"What are you doing?!" I half whispered, half yelled, shocked at his…
"She's a dermatologist, she knows more about these things than I do."
"Kyle, will you listen to yourself?! She can't help me, no one can, this isn't normal, even for a disease!"
"What isn't normal?" Zora asked as she entered, stopped, and stared at my tail.
I ran a hand over my eyes. "Great, now everyone's going to know about this before the week is out."
"That might be the least of your worries if we can't stop your skin from turning…teal."
Zora was still staring at my tail. "That's like nothing I've ever seen before." She looked up at my uncle as she walked closer. "How long has it been like this?"
"It started not too long ago, if the pain has anything to do with the spread of this thing, which I'll bet it does." I answered for him.
"This all happened today?!"
I nodded. She was taking this pretty well, better than anyone else had, really. "How much did you tell her?" I asked my uncle.
He shrugged. "Everything but the family secrets."
"Well, it's definitely not…" She muttered, taking a closer look. "Mind if I touch it?"
"Go ahead." I agreed, not used to being asked that.
She nodded and looked back at it. She then ran her hand across the green, and the non-green, areas of my tail. "It all feels the same." She insisted as I felt it start to cramp up again, only this time, pain started shooting up and down it, making it feel like the whole thing was on fire. I knew it wasn't, but it desperately felt like I needed to go dunk the whole thing in a bucket of ice water.
"Kai, you okay?" I heard Kyle ask.
I nodded, scrunching my eyes up in pain. "It just…feels like it's on fire."
"The whole thing?" Zora asked.
I nodded, the temptation to soak it getting stronger. "I'll be right back."
"Where are you going?" She asked, alarmed and confused.
"Bathroom. There's a bathtub in there." I muttered as I found myself walking out of the kitchen.
"A bathtub might make it worse!"
"Or it might get rid of the fire sensation." I insisted, walking past the dining room, into the main room, and through the first door on the right, which led to one of the two bathrooms in the house. I then instantly turned the water on in the bathtub, put the stopper in, and put my tail in before she could stop me.
I could instantly feel the pain start to diminish more and more as my tail started to submerge, so I sat on the edge and maneuvered it so I could get as much of it submerged as possible, even if only for a short time.
"I really don't think this is a smart idea." Zora insisted, standing in front of me by this time.
"But it doesn't hurt anymore." I protested.
She just pursed her lips in answer as I noticed the pain had completely died away, so I stood up, took it out, and turned off the water.
I heard her gasp behind me, so I turned to her, confused. She was staring at my tail. "What?"
She looked up at me, picking her jaw off the floor. "It's covered in scales."
"What?!" I screeched, bringing it up and around. And sure enough, my tail was now, for all intensive purposes, covered in teal scales. I felt myself pale as I sat down on the floor heavily. I was stunned. Not only was my skin turning colors, but it was growing scales as well.
Zora kneeled down next to me. "Are you okay?"
I looked up at her. "I'm becoming green and scaly, I don't think that constitutes as being okay."
She hugged me then. "I'm sorry."
And with those two words, I found myself sobbing, uncontrollably, into her arms as I hugged her back. I guess…I guess I was right about that whole non-human thing…I mean…I'd always known…but I didn't think…I don't know. I guess I just never thought, expected, figured that I'd end up with green scales! What was next? Growing fins on my nineteenth birthday?
"It's okay." She soothed. "It will be fine, I promise."
"I don't trust promises like that." I told her between sobs, not loosening up on my grip on her as she just seemed to hug me tighter.
She didn't say anything, something I was kind of grateful for, as I just let it all out.
We released some time later as my tears started to calm down, and eventually stopped.
"I think…are your tears silver?" She asked as I wiped them off from one side of my face and onto my sleeve.
"I…I don't know." I admitted as I looked down, and noticed that my white shirt had a bit of a metallic gleam to it before the tears completely evaporated off.
She gently wiped the tears off the other side of my face and looked at them. "I think they are." She said, as I looked at her hands, just in time to see a cut on her hand, or should I say an infected scab, up and disappear with my evaporating tears. We both just sort of sat there and stared at it for a while.
"That's never happened before." I whispered.
"What hasn't?" Kyle asked, sounding like he was a little out of place.
She looked up at him. "I think his tears can heal."
"I'm not human, am I?" I asked her as I felt a tear escape and roll down my face, only it felt weird; it didn't absorb, and just seemed to roll down and off my skin, dropping down into my lap. And with a rushing wave I realized that it wasn't just this tear that felt...different…all the ones I had cried into Zora's shoulder had felt the same way.
"Why do you say that?" Jana asked as she entered the bathroom, looking confused. She looked from Kyle to Jana sitting next to me on the floor, to me and my probably bloodshot eyes and tear streaked face, to my now scaly tail.
"Happy sixteenth." She muttered darkly. "So is it just the tail, or?"
I shrugged, trying to hold back the tears. "No idea, but apparently my tears heal now."
She looked, surprised, to say the least. "That's unusual."
"We could always do tests to see what's up." Zora insisted.
I shook my head violently. "No, no tests. I don't want to end up as someone's Nobel prize."
"You won't end up a lab experiment, I promise. There are ways of getting it done so that no one knows what results came from where. All anyone would know was the clinic the tests were done at."
"It's just a huge risk to take, too huge, I can't..."
"It's a bigger risk to not do anything." She insisted. "You can't hide this forever, and if we do tests, we might be able to figure out what's going on, and stop it."
Somehow, I rather doubted it.
"Why don't we talk about this after dad gets home, eh?" Jana asked.
"He'll probably just agree with her." Kyle pointed out.
"Are you saying you aren't?" Zora asked.
"I'm not saying anything. It's not my call to make." He looked at me. "It's not my life in the balance."
I just stared at him.
"Come on; let's go get something to eat, eh? It will be several hours before dad gets home."
I nodded at Jana's suggestion. "Food sounds nice."