I'm just a normal boy that sank when I fell overboard

POSTED: Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:27 pm

time to fish and think about life

It had been a long while since Kennedy had last fished.

With a mass of netting under one arm and a simple pole with a line tied to the end in the opposite hand, he walked away from D'Neville and started for the closest river—River Lethe. There had been rain earlier that morning, and as afternoon approached, it became a light drizzle that damped the coymutt's fur and clothing and the ground around him. Fresh scents sprung up to him, reaching for his senses, and he breathed them in, allowing the smell of wet earth to overcome him and clog his nose.

However, he could not find himself enjoying it as much as he wanted to.

The walk to the river was uneventful. Everyone was either in their homes to stay away from the rain and working elsewhere than in the forest of Nod—maybe some of the Sciens were at the borders, or perhaps the Bellum were in the training grounds. He had came to know most of those who occupied those ranks, and he knew it wasn't a random happenstance. They have all risen in their activity to prepare for the war.

War.

He thought of Ephraim and his stories about the AniWayan conflict—something that had happened before Kennedy was born. He recalled his adoptive father telling him about how it was his tiny amount of dog blood that made him a prisoner in his own home. Something as insignificant as that, a fraction of blood, was enough for his father to be betrayed by his own tribesmen.

The river came into sight, and soon Kennedy stood before its bank for a moment, standing still. The drizzle had stopped, bringing a chill into the air that spoke that autumn was upon them, and he watched the river moved undisturbed by the pattering of rain. He stood for a moment more, and then sat down, placing the pole by his side as he worked on untangling the netting in his lap.

There could be pettier things to happen in a war. This whole war with the Court, the entire thing was a farce. It sounded like something to be read in a book, or some story a canine would fabricate to impress another—a feud between two hard-headed males of opposing packs starting a spark of tension, and the disappearance, the suppose kidnapping of a prince that caused the explosion. How heroic it must have seemed, fighting to retrieve a missing comrade and to protect one's honor.

The story would have been more entertaining if the dramatic irony was left out—they did not have the prince.

Kennedy hissed under his breath as one of his claws nicked at the pad of his thumb, and it was then he realized that he was tense, his claws extended. He sighed and moved to brush his hair back, and went back to work. He did not bother to clean up the blood that trickled from his finger.

The scabs from the fight with the two Courtiers a month prior had fallen off, leaving behind pink, faded scars where the coywolf had injured him. They felt ugly on his skin—he could not care about his aesthetic, but the scars were only reminders about how pointless the whole damn war was. It made his belly churn uncomfortably and his muscles tense. It was pointless—they did not have the prince.

If this had been a few months prior when he was still green to the clan, he would have left. He had considered leaving even then, before the fights broke out. This had not been his fight back then, he had been an outsider looking in. He did not have beef with the Court or wolves or dogs or whatever. He had just wanted his sister.

And he had stayed for sister at first.

Lou could have been spirits-know-where, but he was holding onto hope that she would to Inferni. He still wanted her back, sorely, even at that moment as he freed the netting from itself. His eyes stung as if drops of heavy, sharp rain were falling into them, but the dark clouds above did not release their load. He took the heel of his hand and rubbed his eyes, refusing for them to leak as well.

The net was free, and he rolled his baggy shorts until they were gathered on his upper thighs and stepped into the swallows the river, welcoming the coldness that soaked his calves. His mind tried to think of how Ephraim worked the netting while trying not to think of his father himself—this he failed to do. But what once Kennedy thought to be Luperci magic came with ease as he flopped the ropes into the water, letting the water drag it along a little until he tightened his grip on the net to keep it in place. And he stood still and waited.

He joined Inferni for Lou, stayed in Inferni for Lou, but it had become more than that. He had learned the faces and names of the coyotes that lived here, and even learned that a few were possibly distant family members. He remembered what he thought of the clan when he first joined. He thought them to be simple racists with morbid decoration interests, and had wondered why his sister stuck with them.

But it was more than that. They had a reason to hate the wolves—some instances in this war showed him that their beliefs weren't no entirely misplaced—and he learned that the skulls that doted the borders were murderers. Rapists. Racists. Traitors. Sinners. They deserved the fate that befell them, and they warned their ilk of what Inferni and its coyotes was capable of.

And the coyotes. His clanmates. His friends. He no longer stayed just for his sister, but for his Centurion, for Covenant, Vicira, Conrad, and even newcomers like Abigaël. They accepted him for who he was, and his hands gave an emotional shake as gratitude swept over him, but he stilled himself to keep from scaring away the fish. He did not know how to tell them thank you for something so simple yet important, as his words would always fail him. But he could show his thanks by patrolling the borders, welcoming the newcomers, fighting against the Court. He could protect them.

The war could have been about anything. As long as anyone or anything threatened Inferni, he would be there, Kennedy decided. He would not allow his clanmates to get hurt, even more so if it was over something ridiculous.

They always fought over ridiculous things. Like how the she-wolf attacked Zinnia over a piece of prey—

Zinnia. His olive-green eyes widened as she suddenly came to mind, unbidden and unrelenting. His body froze as an ice grip went for his chest and a choke escaped him. Kennedy squeezed his eyes shut, but it did not some the memories from pouring in and the tears from coming out.

He did not know how long time passed as he stood there crying, but a lapse of moments later the net suddenly jerked in his hand and made him open his eyes. He nearly lost his grip on the netting as a small group of fish pushed against it, seeking to free themselves from the trap. Kennedy hauled them from the water, wiping what he could of his face with his shoulder as he placed the net on the bank.

Five fish had become ensnared and they flopped uselessly as the coymutt picked them off one by one with a quick bite to their shiny bodies. He quietly cursed himself when he realized he forgot his bag at the mansion, and he shrugged and placed the fish back into the netting so that he could carry them back to D'Neville. He may as well salt and preserve them while they were still fresh. He had no use for all the fish—he simply wanted some time to think that day, and fishing brought him enough peace for his mind to wander.

He had let it go too far, though.

The trip from the river was as uneventful as it had been to get there. The rain started up again, soaking Kennedy as he walked, but it stopped before he reached the mansion. He went through the process of preserving the fish, and once each was secured, he placed them next to the meat. Hopefully the clan was as welcoming to his catch as they were to deer meat.

The coymutt did not linger long and gathered his empty bag to head back to the river. He needed to get away from his own thoughts.

It’s easy to explain 'cause this world’s not tame

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Shannah
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