The day started out as any other, dry and sunny. The birds were singing, dogs were barking, and shouts could be heard coming from a rather broken down pod in a unkempt lawn. But that’s not where our story is. It’s over here, in this pod, right over here…
"Mom, please can I go? Pleeaase?" Arliss whined, doing everything she could, except getting on her knees and begging.
Her mother, however, was unimpressed. "For the hundredth time, no!" the poor woman said, nearly tearing out her hair. "I will not let you go out alone at night with that boy, I don’t care who he is!"
"But mom, please? He’s the cutest boy at our school, and it’s not like we’ll be alone, Reybii, Kasumi, Spica, and Dante will be there too!" Arliss continued to whine, not even noticing when her mother had left the room. "Hey! That’s not nice!" she yelled before storming off into her room. "Stupid lousy mother with her stupid rules…" she muttered into her pillow, "Just when a boy actually likes me, I have to stay home, and on a Saturday, too."
After ranting to herself, Arliss got a brilliant idea. Why not just sneak out of the house? It was so simple, she was sure her mom would never think to check. After all, who really ever snuck out anymore?
As soon as it got dark enough, Arliss locked her door and started climbing out the window, only to remember that she was only the second floor of her pod. "Ermmm… How does this go again?" she asked herself, the last time she snuck out was when she was ten. After a bit of struggling, she managed to get herself down with at least some of her dignity intact. "Well that hurt," she muttered, shaking leaves out of her long hair. After preening for a few moments, she started heading down the road to Kasumi’s house, where they were supposed to meet.
"Where am I again?" Arliss asked after wandering aimlessly for a while, "This does not look like her house…" While trying to navigate her way around the maze of a city that was Jiret, she happened to cross paths with a beggar. Well, more like she nearly killed herself while tripping over him. "I’m sorry, are you okay?" she asked, trying to not run in the other direction. The man was old and dirty, and he seemed to be made entirely out of dirt and hair. He might have been, actually. You never could tell without talking to them, sometimes.
The man stared at her with yellowed, crusty eyes and grinned toothlessly at her. "I is all right, you whippersnapper," his voice was cracked and deep, and his breathe reeked. Arliss fought to not gag, she didn’t want to seem rude.
"Well that’s good, I should look where I’m going more often," she said, trying to be polite, and slowly backing away. The old man’s eyes glazed over slightly and he turned around, and headed over to another street corner. Arliss sighed in relief and started heading in the other direction. "Dang, I should have asked him where I was," she said dejectedly and kept walking.
After about an hour of wandering, she finally recognized the street she was on. It was hers. "Well, there go my plans," Arliss sighed and started climbing back into her room. She flopped down on her bed and soon fell asleep, not bothering to even change out of her clothes.
The following morning was bright and cheery, and exactly not what Arliss wanted to see. In fact, the birds singing cheerfully outside her window only made her throw various objects at her window in a vain attempt to scare them away. "Go away…." She muttered viciously, but had soon thrown everything in arms reach and alas, has to stay awake.
Muttering about ways to kill birds, she made her way downstairs only to be greeted by her parents. Her very pissed looking parents. "Umm… Hi?" she said, wondering what she had done this time.
"Just where did you go to last night, young lady?" her mother asked, starting the interrogations.
"I have no clue," Arliss replied, honestly not knowing what she had done. It was too early for memory recall.
"Well I think you might have been somewhere in Central Jiret, based on what the nice police officers told me last night. You harassed a Clutonian? You’re lucky they didn’t arrest you right then and there," her father chimed in, always ready to help out one side or the other.
"He was a Clutonian? The heck?" Arliss said, her idea of a Clutonian was a tall and regal figure, not the sorry man she had bumped into. "And wait, I didn’t harass anyone! I just kinda pushed him is all."
"Well you had better not plan on going anywhere but school for a long time, missy," her mother said in her most threatening tone of voice.
Threats were rarely carried out in her podhold, but what Arliss had done was serious, she had very nearly threatened the health of a Clutonian, the founding race of Jiret and the only thing keeping humans like her from being killed. Not to mention there where only a few hundred left that actually dared to be in public, even if they were strong enough to glamour themselves effectively.
"Well fine! I won't go anywhere!" Arliss retorted, perhaps a bit louder than she should have. Crap, don't make her remember this, don't make her remember... Arliss though desperately, if her mother actually remembered what they argued about then she would have more of a chance of getting punished. Play innocent... Grovel... Arliss involuntarily shuddered at the thought.
"Don't you use that tone with me..." her mother threatened, and Arliss could literally feel the texture of the air changing.
"I'm sorry mom, I won't ever do it again, I promise," Arliss lied, trying hard to keep her face sincere. To get caught lying now would be to lose her freedom for months.
Luckily for Arliss, her mother seemed to be appeased, and didn't continue with her threats. "Well, all right then. Just don't do that ever, ever again," with that, her mother finished the argument, err, 'discussion'.
Arliss made it through the school day with hardly any major incidents, although she did acquire a bruised arm during gym. When she got home she found that her parents had already forgotten about the other day, and she went to finish her homework.
"Gah... Way... Too... Much... work..." Arliss groaned from the middle of her bed, surrounded by what seemed to her, a mountain of school work. In reality it was just a few pages of algebra and a short composition to write. But Arliss was never known to like work of any kind, so she was, in short, procrastinating as much as possible.
After much whining and getting yelled at by her mother, Arliss finally finished her work at about midnight. When she went to turn off her light and sleep, she found that her lamp wasn't even on. "The heck?" Arliss asked, ever the poet. A quick investigation showed that the light was coming from near her windowsill, the one she had climbed through the last night, to be exact.
"Weirder and weirder..." Arliss murmured, heading to the side of the room. The light had no real source at first, but Arliss soon saw that it was coming from an oval object, black despite the white light it was throwing off. Arliss reached down to touch it, and was given an electric shock. "OW!" she yelled in pain, jerking her hand back.
Luckily her parents weren't home, or else she would have them rushing to her room. "Okay, lets try this again..." she said to herself, and picked up a handy pair of tongs, left over from her days as a scientist. She carefully moved over to the thing and attempted to touch it with the tongs, this time not receiving a shock. She did, however manage to somehow stop the oval from glowing the second the metal touched it. "Crap," she said softly, but didn't bother to turn on her light. Her eyes adjusted to the gloom quickly and she continued to prod the object. She couldn't pick it up with the tongs, so she opted to try her hands again.
Arliss's eyes went wide as her finger felt the smooth exterior of the oval, and light began pouring out of it once more. It was warm and cold, alive and dead, rough yet smooth... and it was too much for Arliss. She passed out cold, clutching the oval object to her chest, only to wake again several minutes later.
"Wha?" she asked, looking around. Only then did she feel the thing still in her hands. This time she didn't suffer from sensory overload, but she could feel something inside it, something that felt... alive, almost. Looking down at it, she saw that it wasn't truly black, it was more of a dappled green color. She tried to put it down, and found herself unable to take her hands off it. "Great, now I'm stuck for life.." Arliss whined, she didn't even know what it was she was stuck to!
Shaking her head to clear it, Arliss stopped hyperventilating and tried think logically. Okay, I'm in my room, unable to take my hands off a weirdo ovaly thing that feels kinda alive... and I have no clue if I'll be able to get unstuck and WHAT THE FECK IT'S MOVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And with that, her mind shut down completely. It was true, though, the object in her grasp was indeed moving, and a thin web of cracks had appeared on the surface, light spilling out as well as a thick, yellowish fluid. Arliss watched in mute fascination as a chunk of the thing
fell away and something
reached out and clawed at the air, and an ear-splitting screech was emitted, before a long black thing
emerged as well, followed by something leathery and ribbed
and then there was a head, oh it could only be a head, and hideous it was. Dark and scaled, with big, silver eyes, and the wailing...
But that wasn't Arliss, no that was the thing, the hideous thing, the thing was telling Arliss to stop, it was Arliss that was screaming, and then she saw only blackness.