Since you will see this a bunch if you are coming in for a new chapter, HI! WELCOME TO MY HEAD! I rewrote the prologue. It goes much better with the rest, now.
Finch stared past the reflection on the surface of the pond at his hook, where a squirming worm slowly drowned in the murky water.
Would a person drown slower or faster than a worm?
He looked up at his father as he announced he was going inside to grab a snack.
Will he grab bread or vegetables?
He looked over to his little brother, Jay, who was looking at the pond with his eyes slightly widened, his lips lifted, and his entire face lifted.
Why does he move his face like that?
The boy looked at him, his eyes widening even more.
"What does it feel like to breathe water?"
Jay's lips fell as his eyebrows lowered, making the lines Finch was more accustomed to seeing on his father.
"I don't know."
Finch dropped his fishing pole and reached for his brother, grasping his shoulder. "Let's find out!"
Jay breathed in deeply, looking down at the water, his nostrils flaring as his eyes widened again.
"I don't want to, Finch! You can, but I will keep fishing."
Finch tilted his head, looking at his brother. Can I make him do things because I'm stronger than him?
He jumped at his brother, knocking the fishing pole aside as he grabbed the back of his neck, shoving him into the water. The yelp that left his brother's lips answered the question of whether or not Jay was expecting to be thrown in the water. Before Jay could do much more than that yelp, Finch spun him around so he could see his face before he grabbed him by both shoulders and plunged his head underwater.
Why is he fighting me? Does he think he can hurt me?
Finch easily held his struggling brother in the water, attentive eyes unhindered by the murky water and mud stirred up by Jay's flailing limbs. He watched Jay's mouth open and close, bubbles rising from his mouth and nose, eyes as wide as saucers and locked onto Finch's. Finch moved a hand from one of Jay's shoulders to hold him down by the chest, feeling the air cavity pump rapidly now moving water instead of air.
Jay's movements slowed as his face relaxed, and within one hundred seconds, Jay stopped fighting, his eyes closing. His chest stopped moving. Finch had all of his senses focused on his drowning brother, so he didn't expect the large, calloused hand that grabbed the back of his shirt and threw him into the air.
Why did Father throw me? Where will I land? How will I land?
He hit the ground on his side, the air escaping his lungs. He didn't care at the moment, since he heard water falling upon water. He moved to look and saw his father putting his brother on the land, deep lines around his quick moving, blue eyes. His father started pushing on Jay's chest, so Finch crawled to where he could see past his father's body. He felt air rushing down his throat as he heard and saw water gurgling out of his brother's. Besides the constant beats his father placed on Jay's chest, the boy didn't move.
What is Father doing? Why isn't Jay moving? What does it feel like to be in Jay's position? Why is Father hurting Jay?
He crept forward but stopped when his father looked up at him with a look Finch could only describe by thinking it kin to the wolf he once ran across.
Why is he looking at me like that? How does he contort his face like that?
Finch's eyes were drawn back to his brother as he heard a difficult intake of breath. Jay coughed and rolled to his side, shivering.
The young boy looked to his father, knowing that tone of voice often proceeded a punishment. How will he punish me this time? What did I do wrong?
"I held him underwater. Why did he fight me?"
His father picked up his brother and spoke with a snarl that also reminded Finch of that wolf, "Hold yourself underwater and you'll understand!"
His father walked away with a heavier step than usual, faster than usual. Finch looked at the still water. Jay hadn't yet been able to answer his question. Finch walked to the water and jumped in to where he couldn't touch the ground.
What does breathing water feel like?
Finch expelled the air from his lungs, feeling his body tug downwards as he inhaled the water. It burned down his throat and hit his chest like a rock, filling him whole. He forced it out, feeling it rush past his teeth with more force than air would. The taste on his tongue was a mixture of various types of dirt, urine, fish, wood, leaves, and other assorted, random things. He inhaled through his nose, his head filling with the water. His entire body alit with a burn similar to fire but less intense. He craved air, so he ran up the slope of the pond, carefully using submerged rocks and roots to get to the shore. Blackness encroached upon his vision before his head broke the surface.
In the air, he doubled over, his body acting of its own accord. He let it do as it wanted, analyzing the sensations that formed answers that found questions or kindled new ones he had not thought of before. Bright lights and darkness danced in his vision. His ears rang and wouldn't work efficiently. The air and the water tasted the same. His wet clothes chafed at his skin. His insides burned in liquid fire. His chest muscles and tongue spasmed, making the water rush out of his lungs.
After a few minutes of this, he took back control and opened his eyes, looking at his father, who now sat in front of him, legs bent up and head cradled in his hands, blue eyes filled with liquid. Finch had never seen his father with this salty liquid in his eyes; it had always been his mother who produced these things she called tears.
Finch sat up straight and tilted his head, looking over his father, his senses not up to their usual standards. He understood that, for he had swum before and bathed as often as his mother told him to.
"We can't continue like this, Finch."
"What are we continuing?" He asked.
"Life! We can't keep living like this! You almost killed Jay!"
"Are we moving?"
Finch's father dug his hands into his hair, groaning as his head drooped low below his knees. When he spoke, his voice was more like that snarl from earlier.
"No, Finch. We are not moving. Listen to me, and do not ask questions."
Finch nodded, even though his father wasn't looking to him. He could hear people nod, so he assumed everyone else could as well.
"You are not normal. Your mother, your siblings, everyone you know, we are normal. You are different. You ask questions. We don't."
Finch rolled to his side on the ground so he could see his father's eyes. Those blue orbs had a thick film over them, as if he was in pain. Finch bit his tongue to still his questions.
"You are what's called a wister. You are stronger than us. You are faster than us. You have more energy than us. You think differently than us. Others have chosen to be what you are, and they are monsters. We are not the same. Do you understand?"
"Is Jay a wister?"
"No!"The answer was immediate, his father's head snapping up and his face returning to that snarl that reminded Finch of the wolf. "Jay is not a wister! He has feelings!"
"Do I not feel things?"
"Not in there," his father poked the center of his chest, "you don't!"
His father was providing answers, but Finch didn't know which questions the answers fit with. He tried to understand.
"I can feel my heart beating. Is there supposed to be more?"
His father expelled air from his lungs with force and then looked at the sky. During the silence, Finch closed his eyes and felt within his chest, around his heart. Little beats came from the heart and travelled across ropes that twisted and turned all throughout his chest. The air expanded his lungs, pushing and pulling his skin on the wet shirt he wore.
"I don't mean what you feel with your sense of touch, Finch," his father's voice broke the concentration Finch held. "I mean that all you know is curiosity. I can't explain this to you, but the rest of us have more. We get sad. We hate. We love. You can't."
"What is sad and hate and love?"
"Emotions, Finch. Things you will never have because you were born curious."
He opened his eyes and looked to see where his father was now, since he had heard him move. He was kneeling before him, looking him square in the eyes.
"Can we fix it?" Finch asked, returning his look.
His father's shoulders slumped and silence reigned once again. Finch waited for the answer his father was working on providing.
"There is no way to change the monster you were born as, but if you will learn, we can mask it."
"Mask it?" Finch asked for clarification.
"Make you seem normal, like us."
"Will you help me do the things you do with your face?"
His father nodded. "Aye, but we have to start with those horns."
Finch's hand went to his brow to stroke a horn. "What is wrong with my horns?"
"Did you not notice that you are the only one with them?"
Finch blinked and recalled every face he knew. "I did not. Do they have something to do with this wister thing?"
"It's called a wist when you only have one emotion, and yes, they do. They are a warning to us normal people, and your eye is a further warning about how strong you are."
Finch recalled seeing his eyes in his reflection. "Which eye?"
"The one that doesn't look like mine."
Finch let his hand slip from the horn to circle around the iris of his right eye. His fingers and eyeball both reacted to the touch, but he stilled himself, curious as to how long he could do so.
"Can we change my eye and horns?"
"We can cut off your horns, and your mother has an idea for your eyes."
Finch tilted his head and let his hand drop. "When do we begin?"
Would breathing fire feel similar to breathing water?