I May Be Some Time

[p] - Milos

POSTED: Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:02 pm

The house was quiet. Bramble wasn’t sure how late it was, but he knew it must be pretty late, because he could hear the familiar sounds of his parents’ breathing. The home was cosy and smelt wonderfully familiar, it was a happy place. Right now though he stood facing the cat flap. Some distant memory made him think that this might be wrong, but he really wanted to explore the outside, look around, and he’d been waiting here for a really long time and his ma or da hadn’t told him not to, still no need to make any extra noise in case they woke up and changed their minds. Of course usually it was closed, but the sound of the breeze making it move slightly had woken him. So now the pudgy pup stood, his heart pounding with excitement, curiosity, and maybe a teeny bit of apprehension. He took another step forwards, still no words pf protest, just deep and even breathing from everyone. Screwing up his courage Bramble nosed open the flap. Cool night air flowed silently into the house, of course, it was accompanied by a resounding creak. The sound seemed to fill the world it was so loud, and Bramble’s heart leapt into his throat. Instantly he froze, half in and half out, waiting breathlessly for a shout, but none came. The cat flap had always been a big one, but now Bramble found it a bit of a squeeze. He’d managed to get his head through and his shoulders, but his puppyish girth seemed to be holding him back. His front and back paws scrabbled as quietly as he could make them, and slowly he inched his way out. If this were a story there would have been a pop and Bramble would have been jettisoned outside, but instead he just tumbled forwards, the flap creaking loudly again and clicking back into place. Once more the puppy pricked his ears, just waiting for the sounds of pursuit. When he heard none, his heart began to slow, and he looked up.

The sky was clear and full of stars, the lands were lit by a sliver of moon which reflected off a thing snowfall. Small flakes fell all around him, and the fact that it was cold, was nothing but a background thought. Quickly, he bounded down the step, spending a little time chasing the flakes, trying to catch them, but he never managed it, just bits of water in his mouth, which was strange, they landed on his nose and coating, melting with the heat from his body. Is this what his mum and dad didn’t want him to see? It was incredible. He began walking, entranced with how his paws would sink into the snow, and dancing around to make a myriad of small prints. He laughed and tried to run from his prints, but they always followed him, right on his heels.

Bramble sneezed and shivered a little, it was quite cold, but the thought was quickly pushed to one side as he saw the glittering surface of the lake. Bramble gasped in delight and struggled over to the shore, staring at the moon, which looked like it had fallen in the water, but was also still in the sky. Were their two moons? His stumpy muzzle got closer and closer, fascinated. A wave hit him in the nose and he yipped at the cold, falling backwards into his well-padded bum, sneezing. Wow, now he really was cold. Perhaps he’d done enough exploring for tonight. Trying to shake the water off himself, Bramble turned and looked at the houses clustered against the lakeshore. A flutter, just a hiccough, of anxiety whispered to him then. Which one was his home? The crack of worry seemed to let the cold in with it, and all of a sudden the night wasn’t as beautiful as it had been a moment ago. Quickly as he could, slipping and skidding on slick ground he made his way back the way he thought he’d come. It all looked wrong though. Too big, too looming, and none of it as friendly as it had been a few minutes ago. The breeze seemed stronger too, and colder, Bramble could hear his teeth chattering, but still he trotted forwards, not wanting to call out, not wanting mum or dad to find out, realising they’d just get cross with him. His heart fluttered with fear now, but it wasn’t like the fear in the thunderstorm. This was a slow and creeping thing that turned his limbs to lead. It was a cold fear that sapped every ounce of bravery out of the pudgy pup and left him with nothing but a cold nose and teary eyes. All of a sudden he wanted nothing more than to be home. Vision still blurred he picked up the pace, knowing that he must be nearly home, but he slipped, skidding and falling into a drift of snow. He tried to stand but his breath had been forced from his lungs, and he lay gasping, the snow surrounding his lower half. All thoughts of cross parents fled from his mind, Bramble just wanted them here. Struggling for breath he tried to howl for help. The sound that came out was a weak and feeble thing, high pitched. Bramble tired again, there was a quavering note to this one, but it was no stronger than the last. Bramble was slowly coming to the realisation that the snow was warmer than he thought. He tried another howl for help, but realised that if it was this warm, he could probably just sleep here and mum and dad would find him in the morning. Bramble closed his mismatched eyes, letting out one final whimper.

POSTED: Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:38 pm

He woke to a crescendo of whines, the intensity of which grew with the volume, and a pair of brilliant eyes peering into his own.

With a startled grunt, Milos' head instinctively jerked back. "Logan?" he whispered roughly in the dark, his voice garbled from sleep. The roan puppy trembled miserably. "Daddy." His voice was a pleading whimper. "Dunno where, Daddy. Dunno where." Slowly, Milos propped himself up on one elbow, frowning. Nightmares? he thought, troubled. "Logan, shhhh. S'okay." But the child could not be soothed. "Dunno where is Bram, Daddy."

Fear chilled him. "Whatcha mean, Logan? Bram's by th' fire." The puppy shook his head with increasing speed and conviction. His ears made soft sounds against head. Milos swallowed. "C'mon, let's go have a look t'gether." Mustering his courage, the wolfdog rose and padded to the door. But Logan sat trembling where he was, rolls of skin piling at the base of his tail, and refused to move.

And even before he stepped out of their bedroom, before he found the vacant piles of fur, before he searched frantically around the house without success — long before it all, Milos knew in curling of his stomach and the weight in his heart, that no nightmare had drawn such fears from his firstborn son.

Bramble was truly gone.

Events transpired quickly from there. He yelled for Eliza; for Zyndea; for Willow; for Meerclar — he yelled for anyone still asleep to help. Bramble was missing. His son was missing. But how? Where? A chilly outdoor breeze caused the cat flap to shudder. "Outside!" he barked to his family. Milos threw himself at the door, swung it open, and stumbled into the late autumn dark. "He's outside!" It was cold, cold enough that the rain had turned to snow sometime in the night and was falling in earnest, quickly concealing any tracks his son would have left behind. Worry numbed him as he staggered from their porch and started blindly through the village.

"I'll look down by Aster's Fields," Zyndea said to the Quartermaster's retreating back, racing on four limbs towards where the paddocks and pastures lay sprawled in sparkling white. But Milos scarcely heard her and he heard nobody else who may have called out to him.

He couldn't have said for how long he had been searching before Meerclar found him, her cry more a hiss than a meow. With his heart choking the breath from his throat, Milos followed her for what felt an eternity before a lump of mocha fur caught his eyes. "Won't move," the cat growled, rubbing her body against the puppy's still frame. And, for several extended seconds, neither could he.

Tragic memories pelted his mind like hailstones and squeezed a shuddering breath from his lungs.

It wasn't until Meerclar swiped a paw full of needles across his shin that Milos collected his wits and raced to his son, dropping to a skid at Bramble's side. In one swooping motion, he scooped the Guppy into his arms and held him to his chest. "Bramble," he breathed, rubbing the child with his palms. "C'mon Bramble. Bram? Oh, Bramble. Please. C'mon, please."

[WC — 540]


User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:17 pm

Bramble had never liked to be a quiet pup. From the earliest he’d loved to fill the world around him with sound, even if it wasn’t always the words his parents might like him to use, but rather growls, barks and whines. Even asleep the pudgy thing would chase off intruders and leap upon a dream Logan. That was another thing about Bramble, he would never sit still, if there was something to crawl on, to lick, to push his nose into, then he would. Day and night weren’t always good indications of whether the puppy was sleepy and sometimes he’d make sure that people stayed up with him, whether they wanted to or not. His mis-matched were often wide with surprise and curiosity…funny how things change.

It was as though the snow had drunk deeply and Bramble looked drained of colour. There was no sound and not a twitch. He must have felt cold in Milos’ hands and utterly limp, like a leaf preparing for winter. There was still a heartbeat, but it was slow, and there was breathing, but it was shallow. The Quartermaster’s rough and loving hands rubbed, and flaps of skin and fat jiggled and wobbled, but mis-matched eyes stayed shut, Bramble’s head lolling against his dad’s chest.

The heartbeat was the first thing Bramble heard. The puppy would have recognised it anywhere, even though it was beating a little more quickly than usual

”Daddy.” is what he’d wanted to say, but he was so tired, so heavy that all that came out was a snort and a small whimper, his beg leg twitching once. Bramble couldn’t ever remember feeling so exhausted, and his body felt alien to him, he couldn’t lift his head or open his eyes. Slowly, blood began to run through cold limbs, and Bramble felt pins and needles, but not in the fun way, when you’ve fallen asleep on a paw and try to walk around, now his whole body was tingling. How was he supposed to sleep with all these pins and needles, and also what was his dad doing? There was another whimper, this one a little louder.

The pudgy began to tremble though, violently and uncontrollably as something in the small body realised that he needed to warm up. The massaging hands were suddenly hot, boiling, painful against his skin. Bramble was freezing but those hands were like fire. Feebly the pudgy puppy tried to push away from the just.

”Hurts!” he said weakly.

Bramble’s body was so cold that everything that touched it felt like flames.

”Daddy it hurts.” he repeated, his words slurred with exhaustion and effort. Once again Bramble began to fill the world with sound, they were weak and they were ones of pain, but they were sounds.

POSTED: Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:39 pm

Wrong. Wrong. Wrongwrongwrong. This was his head's throbbing mantra; his heart's aching cadence. Milos couldn't remember seeing his mocha-pelted son so still, so dreadfully quiet, except perhaps in sleep. A gust of breath shuddered from his parched throat. No, not even in sleep had Bramble ever been so inanimate.

Distantly, at the very recesses of his mind, memories that had long ago been safely locked away slipped between the cracks and pecked incessantly at him without remorse. He closed his eyes. "Bramble," he whimpered, his voice gravely and weak. "Please, Bramble. Please." He rubbed his palm against his son's pudgy body, over and over and over until the friction generated the heat the pup needed.

"To warm them, you must rub them. Like this." Her voice was clear as a cloudless winter night, though he hadn't thought of it for years. He could almost feel his adoptive mother's petite, narrow hands rolling up and down either side of his forearm. The heat felt real. Milos whimpered and held his son against his heart, curling his body inwards around him. "Please, Bram." His voice was a whisper, like wind through leafless branches. And still the memories pecked and nibbled and nipped.

Not many of them lived, those poor young souls who were abandoned by their mothers at the estate. Many were discarded for illness or injury, others for disability or defect. For some, nothing could save them, and for others their saviors were simply limited by their lack of ability. But nearly all started with this one simple action. "By doing this," came Slađana's gentle voice. "You give them life."

Feebly, his son shifted against his body and Milos gave a gasp of joy. "Shh, Bramble. S'okay, son. Shhhhh," he soothed, rocking his body slowly while holding the child to his chest. A though struck him as suddenly as a bee sting and, still holding Bram tightly against him with one arm, he unbuttoned his shirt with the other hand. Then, quickly and unceremoniously, Milos tucked his son into the folds of his shirt and pressed him against his chest while pulling the edges of his clothing over him. He wrapped his arms around the child and held him there, hoping to warm him the rest of the way with his own body heat. "Gonna hurt a little, but s'okay. It'll go away. Gonna be okay."

[WC — 407]


User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:45 pm

Everything was an effort, his body felt heavier than it ever done before and didn’t seem to respond the way it should’ve. His dad’s hands were painful against his skin, they were so hot. Without a hint of self-consciousness, Bramble began whimper and cry, not loudly, he didn’t whale, he was too tired for that, just squeaks of pain and whimpers of fright.

”Please papa..” He begged, feebly pushing against the heat.

Milos was relentless however, his hands experienced and whispered at from the past. The hands did not stop, they did not treat him roughly, but rather with firm and tender strokes. Bramble nearly spoke again, but as he opened his mouth, the flames subsided, just as his dad said they would, and for one glorious moment Brambles fat form relaxed. Milos’ rubbing was for a purpose though, and the pup’s body now had woken once again and realised how terribly cold it was. From the flames of heat, ice water was poured through his veins and once again Bramble shook. So violently did he shake, Bramble barely realised that he’d been popped inside his pa’s shirt. He was enveloped in the scent of his dad, and the feel of his pelt; it was familiar, it was comforting. Bramble did his best to stop shaking, but couldn’t. The wiry hair was welcome against Bramble’s face and nose, there was a jarring roughness on Milos chest, but that was familiar to Bramble as well.

Time seemed to jump, and Bramble yawned, guessing he must have nodded off. Were they moving? Once again his body started to shiver, if it had really ever stopped, but it wasn’t as bad this time, cupped there in his pa’s loving grip. The pudgy pup felt his head loll against Milos chest, the steady heartbeat a little faster than usual, but reassuring and solid and real. For the first time ever, fear sprouted inside of the pup, and it wasn’t fear of death, such a concept was still alien, but fear that he’d lost his mum and dad. His snubbed muzzle pressed into his dad’s pelt, cold as it doubtless was and the whimpers and squeaks started again.

”Lost, GOT lost. Couldn’t FIND you. Couldn’t FIND mum.”

His body was an unresponsive, but despite that Bramble did his best to bury himself into his pa, he was afraid.

”got scared.” he said his face as far as he could push it into Milos’ chest.

POSTED: Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:23 pm

His son protested, begging him in whimpers and whines to cease the incessant rubbing of ivory against mocha. But while Milos did not give into Bramble's pleas, he did not ignore him either. Now, more than perhaps he had ever felt before, the first-time father was doing exactly what he knew would be best for his child — regardless of how it seemed to the child himself. "It's okay, Bramble," came the man's soft voice, his tone flat and low. "Shhh, it'll be okay."

This, he had to believe. Milos had lost too many loved ones in his life; to lose a child, too? That, he felt certain, would be his undoing.

Thankfully, the fates were merciful and Bramble slowly seemed to thaw. Rather than protest and attempt to draw away from his warming massage, the young Guppy instead began to relax. But this momentary peace was interrupted by a series of violent shivers. Milos breathed a sigh of relief and held Bram closer. "It is good," said the voice of his adoptive mother in his head. "When they start to shake. It means their bodies are warming. But still hold them close." He could almost feel her dainty hand on his cheek. "They are not yet safe." The Quartermaster closed his eyes and held his son to his bare chest, drawing his body inwards around the trembling youth.

For a long time Bramble neither spoke nor stirred, save for the gentle shivers that reassured him of his son's continued vitality. But there had been a handful of unpleasant moments in which Milos, worried of his son's demise, had shaken him suddenly or held a finger in front of his nose to soothe the father's unthinkable concerns. Outside of these moments, he was content to simply hold his boy tightly against him, rocking gently in the crystalline flurries until the Guppy woke again with a wide yawn.

Milos breathed and, for the first time since finding his adventurous son, the Quartermaster smiled. To feel Bramble bury himself in the fur at his chest, rather than Milos forcing him there, was all the promise for survival he needed. Getting carefully to his feet, he started to make his way slowly back through Fiskebyn towards their little cottage. Some time during his silent vigil with Bram, Milos had asked Meerclar to bring news of the child's safety back to Liz and Zyndea, but he knew that they would want to see him for themselves.

"Got scared, too," Milos replied honestly, his voice gentle. He hugged Bramble a little more tightly against him. "Thought we'd lost ya, Bram, me'n your ma did." He glanced down at his chest, searching for his son's mismatched eyes. He whined. "Dunno what I would'a done if we did."

[WC — 473]


User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

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