Once I had fallen asleep I still felt bad that Xeta had to sleep on a pallet. It was his home, so I felt really bad that he kept pampering me. Taking me out to eat, letting me stay here, and all of that. But he insisted, even though I still felt bad though.
I was able to eventually go to sleep though. I had a great sleep, without any interruptions. When I woke up it was still dark. The only light visible was the small remains from the fire he made the previous night. I saw that Xeta was nowhere to be seen though. His phone was making a small light from the floor. I went over to it and saw that he had an alarm set for seven o’clock. I checked the time on the phone and saw it was six thirty. Seems like I woke up early. I wanted to get cleaned up for school but I couldn’t use water or brush my hair effectively without the stuff, and I didn’t want to go rummaging through Xeta’s stuff but I really had no choice. I started rummaging through the few drawers in his cave and was really shocked. In one of his drawers was just a bunch of photos of different people. I picked up one and looked at it. When I turned it around my eyes widened.
On the back was a name, with the last name being Shidel, and it had years going from one to another! I picked up another, it was the same. I was so confused as to why these photos where in here. Then it dawned on me, these were his family members, every single one of them! From children, to adults, to elders, they were all there. He must have gotten these when he was at the police station, this was all he had left of his family.
I then looked over to his family photo and gave it a major look. I noticed some cuts in the photo through the glass so I opened it up. It was three individual photos stuck together. Two of them were the photos of his parents, one was a burned picture of his brother, and the last one was him now, in his disguise with the red eyes, putting on a noticeably fake smile.
I just looked at it in sadness, he really has lost everything, and now most of what he has now is just fabricated, his home, his family photo, and even his identity. He was all alone now, these pictures are lies, this is not the photo of a happy, together family, but a destroyed and broken one. I swear, if I find the people who did this to him I will make them pay!
I then put the photos back into their holder and just as I finished I heard footsteps coming from the entrance of the cave. I was about to say something but what was at the entrance made my mouth shut. It was Xeta, he wasn’t wearing his coat, and he had been covered in blood while carrying the carcass of a deer. The sight made me flinch in horror. He seemed to not take notice of me and sat down the carcass of the deer in the corner of the room. I was still in a state of shock just watching him, it reminded me of the time I saw him attack that other deer, and when he attacked the three men. Then he turned around.
He took one look at me and his eyes went wide. I saw him look at me, look down at himself, then his paws, then back to the deer, and then to me once more. I still just stood there with the same shocked expression.
His muzzle then changed to one of sorrow and shame, -I know it’s bloody, I know it isn’t pretty, but this is how I live now,- He then walked over to the pallet and sat down, -Go, if you want to leave I wont judge you,- His words shocked me even more than the blood ever could.
“Why would I leave?” I asked innocently.
-Are you seriously asking that question? You said it yourself, I am nothing but a goddamn animal,- He said.
“WAIT! You know I didn’t mean that, a..and I wont leave or judge you for this, there is nothing different from what you are doing than any other hunter would do!” I said.
-Didn’t you tell me once you hated hunters?- He asked without looking at me.
“W-well, yes but…it’s different now, instead of just hunting for sport you are hunting to eat,” I explained.
-I guess so, but I can still sense that you are terrified of me,- Xeta said. I was about to say no but I remembered he could read emotions.
“Well…. I wouldn’t say scared of you but the situation. I mean as you said those people could still be after you, that is one. Two, as humans we're scared of things that are alien and new, this is all a lot to take in Xeta, you understand right?” I asked.
-Yeah, I get it, your afraid, I am too…..thank you,- He said.
“For what?” I asked.
-The truth, and for sticking with me through this, I think you were the only thing really keeping me going y’know?- He asked.
“Yeah, I guess so,” I said. “Hey Xeta? I want to get my hair and stuff done, you got somewhere I can do that?” I asked.
-Yeah, I sometimes go to the bathroom at the park that is nearby,- He said.
“Isn’t it really gross?” I asked.
-Not anymore! Yours truly cleaned it up!- He exclaimed.
“OH! Neat!” I said.
-But you will have to wait a minute, I will get myself cleaned off and then come back!- He said.
“Wait! What about the deer?” I asked.
-Oh, when I drop you off I will come back here, do what I need to do, then I will come back to get you so we can head to school!- He said with a smile.
“O-Okay!” I said.
He ran off out the entrance and I went back to getting my things done. Getting my clothes looking nice and all that. When Xeta got back he actually had a surprise for me.
-Hey! So I didn’t really have anything here for you to use so I got you a comb and some hairspray so you can fix up your hair!- He said while handing the bag with the stuff to me.
“You really didn’t have to do that for me! I don’t want you to feel like I am using you,” I said sadly.
-You are kidding right, you are the first person I have really been able to talk to since this all started! I have to repay you somehow!- He said.
“But, I didn’t do anything,” I said.
-See that is the thing, that is the reason I want to do this for you, you didn’t do anything, others would have run, but you didn’t!- He said with a smile. He then told me to come on so I would have time to get ready. We got to the restroom he was talking about. It was a unisex restroom and when he opened it up I saw he wasn’t lying. It wasn’t dirty, there were no bugs, and the walls were actually shiny!
-No one was really using it but the town still has to pay for the water, so I GET FREE PLUMMING!- He cheered.
“You weren’t kidding, how did you clean it up like this?” I asked.
-Well you already know how fast I am while running, I am able to go faster than most things, hell I think I could outrun a cheetah, maybe by only a mile or so but still, probably the fastest hunter out there now!- He exclaimed.
“I guess so, I am gonna get ready okay?” I asked.
-Gotcha!- He said. I then shut the door. I cleaned up my hair, got it styled and all that. But then I realized I was missing something.
-Hey! There are a few toothbrushes on the counter there, the blue one is mine!- I heard Xeta say in my head. I grabbed the red toothbrush and started brushing my teeth. Once I did that I used the restroom and I went to the door. I exited the bathroom and saw that Xeta had already left to go do stuff at the cave. I waited for about a good five minutes before he came back and said he had to use the restroom. He entered and I waited for him outside.
Then it dawned on me, how does he use the restroom?
He then exited after doing everything and I asked, “Hey Xeta, how do you use the restroom? I know that sounds stupid but I mean, with the new body and such isn’t it kind of… you know…” I couldn’t continue.
-Just know it took a lot of practice!- He said kind of awkwardly. I dropped that conversation as fast as it started. He then looked at his phone to check the time.
-Oh hey, we roughly have a good thirty minutes before school starts, wanna grab a bite from somewhere?- He asked.
“Uh, sure but where?” I asked.
-Chick-Fil-A!- He exclaimed. He picked me up and he ran at full speed until we hit the town. We got there about three minutes later. He then walked to the local Chick-Fil-A to get us something to eat. He said I would have to order for obvious reasons and he said he wanted some coca-cola and some chicken minis. I actually wanted the same just I would rather have some orange juice with mine. Once we got inside he sent me a message saying he would get us a table.
Once it was my turn at the counter I recognized the person who was taking orders. It was my friend Jackie! She had short, brown hair with red highlights and short bangs. She wore really big circular glasses and had green eyes.
She then took notice of me, “OH! Elizabeth! I didn’t expect to see you here!” She said in her kind, high-pitched voice.
“Hey Jackie, yeah I wanted to get something to eat before I headed to school, and I see work based learning is still giving you wonders!” I replied.
“You know it! Sooooo, I saw you enter in with Xeta,” She said mischievously.
“Yeah, he let me stay at his place!” I said a little nervous.
“OH HE DID! So did yo-“
“NO! No he just let me stay over there, even took me out to dinner last night!” I blurted out.
“Teehee, I was only playing Elizabeth, you don’t have to get so worked up, anyway do your parents know you were alone with a boy last night?” She asked.
“You know that really isn’t funny on multiple levels, he lost his family Jackie!” I said seriously.
She cringed at that, “Ah shit, I forgot, I am so sorry. Anyway enough of my rambling, what would you like to order?” I gave her my order and went to sit down with Xeta.
-So what was that about, make sure to whisper okay?- He instructed.
“It was my friend, I told her we were together last night and she took it way too literal,” I replied quietly.
-Ah, let her have some fun, she really isn’t doing any harm though,- He said.
“Yeah I guess, but still it is kind of insensitive for her to say alone with you, because literally we were, you don’t live with anyone anymore,” I said.
-Yeah I guess, but people try to make light of bad situations, that is how it has always been, you don’t want to remind someone of tragedy, you want to try to get it off their chest,- He said.
“Yeah, I guess you are right,” In no time at all our food was here and I said thank you while Xeta just nodded. I think the person that brought out our food was a little pissed that Xeta didn’t say thank you but I think he realized when his eyes widened looking at Xeta’s disguised neck.
As we ate Xeta just sat there quietly, but then he sent me a message, -Hey, did I ever tell you where my name comes from?- He said.
“That is a little odd, what is this about?” I asked.
-I don’t know, just feeling a little reminiscent,- He said.
“Well no you haven’t,” I said.
-Well this is how I got my name, as you know I was my mom and dad’s first child. They were both around twenty or so when my mom became pregnant with me. They had planned out everything for me to come into this world, checking what sex I was and getting toys for me, all that good stuff. They apparently were so excited to meet their son, always talking about me to people they know and bragging about how great everything would be. Hell they did it so much people started finding them extremely annoying. I always found that funny to me. Anyway later on down the line they started getting signs that I would be coming soon. Then that day finally came. My mother had gone into labor and my father had gotten her into the car and ready to go! He drove about half the distance they needed before tragedy struck, the car broke down. My parents thought they would still be able to get the pregnancy over with even thought they weren’t at the hospital. There were other people around to help them but then another problem showed its ugly head. I wasn’t coming out, they were going to have to do a C-section or I would die. Thankfully some kind-hearted military man offered to drive them to the hospital after all the selfish bastards who were there couldn’t. They made it just in time and got me out. I was then handed over to my mom and apparently as they described they made the biggest smiles they ever made in their lives. Coolest thing too is that the military guy was able to come in and see me too, since he helped save me and all. When he came in and saw me he asked a simple question, “What’s his name?” Wanna hear the funniest thing, my parents forgot to come up with a name! After all that planning, after all the preparation, they forgot to come up with a name! How ironic is that!?- Xeta then started giving off this laugh that sounded kind of like growling. I joined in on the laughter as well because in truth it was kind of funny.
-Anyway, they had not thought of a name for me, and they were having trouble deciding, then they thought of something. They asked the soldier what his name was. His name was Theodore, and my parents immediately turned down that option. But then they noticed something on the tag where his name was. Apparently it was a codename. His whole squad apparently all had code names and they immediately fell in love with the name.- He said.
“It was Xeta! Wasn’t it!?” I exclaimed.
-Yes it was, my parents thought it was fitting, since he was the one who saved me, and I actually agree with that!- He happily said.
“Oh where is Theodore now?” I asked.
-He…he is no longer with us, he died during the Afghanistan war, apparently saving one of his friends,- He said sadly.
“Oh, I am sorry,” I said.
He shook his head, -Don’t be, I respect him, he put others lives above his own, that shows value in a person!-
“Heh, I guess you are right, stuck with that attitude till the end huh?” I asked.
-I guess so!- He said. We then continued to eat our food just enjoying ourselves as we ate. I saw Xeta take out his phone and check the time.
-Seven thirty, we got about fifteen minutes to get to school,- He said.
“Okay, hey say I forgot! I want your number so I can speak to you!” I said.
-Well I mean sure we can text but, I wont be able to speak,- He said.
I stopped what I was doing, “Does everything just gotta be so god-damn difficult?” I asked to no one in particular.
Xeta gave me a smile, -Life ain’t fun if it is easy now, right?- He said.
I then handed him my phone with a smile, “Yeah, I guess you are!” We traded contacts and got ourselves ready to head out after we ate. He led me to the forest again, apparently people would ask questions if they saw a boy in a black coat carrying around a woman at full speed, so yeah forest it was! He carried me at full speed until we made it to the forest near the school, with seven minutes to spare!
“Xeta, you sure know these forests well huh?” I asked.
-It is where I live now, I have to know them well, if I didn’t would get lost!- He said.
“Have you gotten lost before?” I asked.
-You kidding!? I spent an entire night a few days ago just trying to figure out where my cave was! This place is like a maze! If you don’t know where you are going you will get lost!- He said.
“So you're used to it now?” I asked.
-Pretty much, with my speed it makes it easier and I have thoroughly searched this forest, I still get sidetracked sometimes but that is an easy fix!- We then walked up to the school and we headed to our first period together.
We sat down at our normal seat and waited for the class to start. I think I will enjoy school a lot more now that I have Xeta back, the real Xeta!