|WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.|
OOC: M warning just in case, because dead chicks :c Also dated the 20th - sorry I'm a day late!
In the weeks since her first shift Sian had gradually, almost reluctantly, learnt what it meant to have fingers and thumbs. She was more able to help Morty out with the more delicate tasks of a medic now, and she had started looking towards the idea of writing things down to help her in her studies of herbs and treatments. But there were still times when Sian felt completely overwhelmed by the newness of everything; at times it felt as if her old life had been erased, as if her younger self had been erased, and that was frightening and worrying.
Sian had retained her memories, though, so her younger self couldn’t have been entirely eradicated from the world. She knew that growing up was just one of those things that happened and that time stood still for nobody. In many ways, Sian wanted to grow up, to come out of her shell – but she was also afraid of doing that. Afraid to put herself out in a world which might not take to her. No matter how many times Callum or Veyra or her same age friends and family told her that she didn’t need to worry about such things, Sian still worried.
The rain which might have soothed the Damaichu girl at another time was persistent now, and occasionally it felt as if the pelting droplets might bore through Sian’s skull altogether. She was taking some time out from learning new things to go and visit some of Casa’s many animals. When other Luperci became too much for her, Sian always found herself gravitating towards those animals who couldn’t question her. Goats and horses and sheep didn’t seem to care that she was shy; they just wanted grains or grass or a pat. The girl appreciated them for their simple minds.
Her favourite animals, though - in spite of the fact that they could utter broken words of High Speech - were birds. There was something about their bright, keen eyes and elegant shapes with wings tucked in or outspread that the girl was drawn to. Even the little chicks who were still somewhat fuzzy and awkward managed to be adorable. Sian had taken to visiting them, and she usually felt herself cheering up when she heard their cheeping noises and brushed the back of a hand against their downy little bodies. She was always gentle, and the chicks were always busy and bright.
She thought she might ask Cal if he thought the leaders would let her have one to keep, and she already had half of a speech prepared. It would detail how raising a chick herself would teach her responsibility; how it would give her a focus beyond herbs and reading and writing; how she would be good and patient and turn it into a good bird.
As Sian hopped over a puddle, narrowly avoiding a splash, the coop came into view and her face brightened. She was certain her speech would work – but she wanted to get a head start and identify her favourite chick before she asked for one. It would be one of the bravest things she had ever done, after all, and being prepared could never be a bad thing.
Her ears, so often pressed against her head, swivelled forward to welcome the cheeping noises which she knew would soon erupt.
The noises never came.
Sian slowed as she approached the coop, which was oddly still and silent. She could see those downy bundles, and she assumed the chicks were sleeping, though she was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a chorus of cheeps and chirps to greet her. Even when the girl’s paws squelched and she lowered herself to crouch beside the coop the chicks didn’t appear to wake.
Her eyes grew sharp, then, looking for signs of a scuffle – but the birds’ downy feathers were intact. It was only with the sharpening of her eyes and intense focus that Sian noticed none of the chicks were moving – at all. A prickling feeling ran down her spine as she opened the coop. Even then, they didn’t stir.
Sian reached in and withdrew one of the fuzzy bodies with a gentle hand. It was unmoving; cold and oddly heavy.
Tears welled in the girl’s eyes as she cradled the little bird against her chest, looking for signs of life from the others and finding nothing which would give her hope.
The words of the speech she had been preparing seemed to pour out of her head. They were replaced with questions – so many questions that all seemed to boil down to one greater question: what had happened to leave the chicks perfectly intact but still and cold and gone?
Carefully, Sian gathered the chicks up, checking them one by one. She double checked and triple checked to see if any were still clinging to life, her breathing accelerating with each small bundle. Only when the last chick had been checked did Sian step back from the coop and let out a mournful cry.