Evilly Ever After

 

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Introduction

Long ago, One hero fell from grace and changed the tales we all know and love

The Beast was never able to become a prince again

Alice was corrupted by the madness of Wonderland

The Little Mermaid was never able to become human

Peter Pan was doomed to stay young forever without Neverland's magic

And Odette would always become a swan as soon as the sun rose

However, all the villains claimed back the kingdoms that they wanted

Maleficent became the ruler of every kingdom on land with her powerful magic

The Queen of Hearts ruled every inch of soil in Underland

The Sea Witch ruled the entire Sea and everyone that lived within it

Captain Hook took over the sky and everyone that flew within it

And Rothbart took over all of the woods and the creatures within

This is a story of everyone's evilly ever after

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Chapter One: Why is a Swan Like a Mental Patient

Beruka

 

My secret was found out in probably the dumbest way I can imagine. Honestly, if I would have thought it through, I could have been transferred out in a safer way without causing such a ruckus. I might have even been able to save my little brother’s life as well.

But let's not get into all of that yet. That's too heavy for the start of a story, right? Let's start at the beginning, then get into the dark and depressing stuff.

What had I done to deserve any of this? I honestly don't know. I was a regular middle school girl—well, as regular as one could be, anyways. Of course I kind of had an emo phase that still hasn't quite ended and had a weird mark appear on my shoulder when I was about eleven, but I thought it was all normal.

Even when I had two little black horns sprout up from my head, I still tried to convince myself I wasn't some kind of Antichrist. All the stuff like the sudden craving for meat, the weird hair growth on my wrists and ankles, and the nails that I had to trim literally every single day still didn't make it obvious enough that something was up.

It wasn't until my thirteenth birthday when my parents told me about my family’s curse. Apparently, long ago, Belle had indeed found the beast and married him, but she confessed her love after his twenty first birthday, which caused all of her descendants to retain some part of that beast within. Of course, we were those descendants, our family crest being revealed on our arm at the age of eleven, and our first shifting at the age of fourteen.  I had no idea what any of this meant and of course, thought my parents were joking. I should have taken the warning seriously.

On my fourteenth birthday, I had went out with my little brother, Kaden to go get some ice cream from the nearby Dairy Queen that was about a mile from our house. Everything was great, life was fun and the ice cream was sweet. I never would have imagined what would have happened next. The thing is, I don't remember any of it.

All I knew was the next day, I woke up in this white, padded cell all tied up in a straight jacket, a muzzle of all things secured on my face. I was freaking out, clawing at the insides of the straight jacket, but apparently someone had also put gloves on my hands. I was so angry and confused that I couldn't speak. In fact, I just barked and snarled as two guys in lab coats walked into the room.

“Beruka Marie Rosen,” One of them started. “Do you have any idea why you're here?”

I wanted to tell him to let me go and that he could go rot in hell, but all I let out was another loud bark.

The other guy sighed and shook his head. He held up a newspaper article, dangling it in my face. I couldn't believe what I read.

Local murder of eight year old boy by his older sister.

I gasped. The picture attached to it depicted was me, but it also wasn't. My chin had blood dripping down from it, an entire arm in my mouth. I wasn't how I normally looked, but more...animalistic. I had a wolf-like snout, large horns growing from my head and the paws of a lion. Lying next to me was the corpse of my little brother.

First came the shock, then came the waterfall of tears. I must have cried for days on end. I had killed my little brother. I was inconsolable. The proof was in the pudding, which in this case was a pool of blood and my brother’s corpse. What was wrong with me?

I didn't even eat until about three days later, when the staff taking care of me told me I wasn't going to jail, but rather I was going to an “institution for people with afflictions like mine”. That was a fancy way of just saying I was going to a new school.

I'd packed up all my things that night and I had immediately been moved to a remote town in the middle of Wisconsin where the only major landmark was a huge castle named Feenburg. Instead of being scared, I knew I had found somewhere I belonged.

As soon as I stepped into my dorm room,I was greeted by a girl around my age, who had long, blonde hair and a surfer’s tan. She looked normal at first, until you took a closer look at her.

She had large, round amber eyes that looked somewhere between human and fish, a small nose that was almost fused into her face, webbing in between her fingers and gills on her neck. Her skin also had a light blue mottle to it, but that was also really hard to tell.

She gave me a big smile and shook my hand, leaving this thin, slimy residue all over my palm. As if she didn't even realize that she had left a whole bunch of fish slime on my hand, she laughed and began to speak.

“My name’s Arianna, but everyone just calls me Ari.” She said. From the relaxed way she spoke, you could tell she was from the west coast, probably California. I don’t know if this was also a west coast thing, but I swear she had the whitest pair of teeth I had ever seen. It almost made me want to place a sticker on her mouth warning people that they might go blind from her smile.

“I’m Beruka.” I said, trying to say as little as possible.

“Beruka? I’ve never heard that name before.” She giggled. “It’s a bit of a mouthful, though. Mind if I call you ‘Ruka’ for short?”

“Do whatever you wanna.” I snarled, starting to unpack my things. As I put my clothes away, I tried to hide all of the books I had brought along with me. I considered myself a bit of an amateur librarian. I loved books, but I didn’t like anyone finding out about it. I never knew why I was so nervous about it, but I always had been. I ended up dropping a load of my books after tripping on my own foot, and thinking I was about to die of embarrassment when Ari picked one of them up.

It had a mermaid on the cover, singing to a wolf on the shore. She beamed and looked at me.

“The Song of Gaia? I love this book! Have you read it before?”

I hid my face beneath my hands and nodded slightly. “Five times.”

That was three years ago. Now Ari and I are best friends. Nobody really understood why we got along, but we both shared a deep love of stories, and from there we ended up discovering how alike we really were. We even wove each other friendship bracelets. Yep. The two of us were tight. We were inseparable from that day forward.

But that’s not where our story really starts. The day it all started was on the sixteenth of April, the day when the curtains were being replaced.

It was a Saturday, so Ari and I didn’t need to attend any classes. We ended up spending our free time together by watching The Little Mermaid. Ari had never seen it before and wanted to see how Disney had ended up portraying her great-great-great grandma. I honestly liked the movie a lot, so I didn’t mind asking mom to send a copy over to Feenburg so we could watch it.

It had just came in yesterday, so we ended up popping the baby into my laptop and tried to resist cringing at everything girly in this film. Ari ended up liking the film a lot, but she had to point out all of the errors that had been made. Firstly, the little mermaid’s actual name was apparently Tatianna, and that mermaids didn’t look as human as they were depicted. She explained that they looked more like the things they had shown on the Animal Planet special. The only thing she actually got angry about was the fact that Ariel--Tatianna, whatever you wanna call her--had never actually married the prince. They had a one night stand and the prince ended up falling in love with the sea witch instead.

Of course, when we had watched through The Beauty and The Beast, I had been quite the same, explaining that they never explained the significance of the rose and that Belle’s father willingly gave away his daughter to protect himself. It was only until about a week after the curse ended when Belle had ended up agreeing to marry him, seeing that he had a kind heart. Therefore, I was eventually born, and all of my family had animalistic traits and an awful temper.

Once the movie had finished, we heard the honk of a car horn. We looked at each other and didn’t say anything. When we heard it again, both of us flocked to the window like birds to a telephone wire and looked outside.

There were actually two cars. One was a new, white Mercedes Benz, and the other was a beat up truck that was advertising for extermination services.

“New students?” I asked.

Ari shrugged. “I remember Grimm mentioning something about it, but I never thought they would come this soon.”

“Who do you think their house patrons are?” I followed, trying not to get too excited.

“Anyone’s guess. But, I heard one of them is from a wealthy family in London.”

“Nice!”

We watched with excitement and curiosity as a young boy wrapped in a straight jacket was placed into a wheelchair. He had messy blond hair that fell over one side of his face. There wasn’t much else to tell from what we saw. He was too far down.

“Ooh, a crazy. Bet you ten bucks he’s Underland.” I said confidently.

The other car opened, a stout man exiting the driver’s seat and getting something from the back of the truck. From what I could tell, there was a large bird in some sort of doggy kennel, fast asleep. I couldn’t exactly make out what kind, but it was definitely white.

“A bird?” Ari asked, confused. “That’s harder to place.”

As we watched them walk inside, we rushed out of our room, down the stairs and waited out of sight just so we had a clear view of the entryway. First came Wheelchair boy, and then came the bird, which was let out and allowed to stand on the floor. I could now see that it was a swan, looking around at the area curiously. Wheelchair boy’s parents walked out to go get his things, but the guy from the exterminator van stayed with the swan for a bit.

“Liv, are you sure you’ll be okay?” He asked, worried.

The swan looked up at him and to my surprise, spoke. “I’m just fine, Papa. Now that I’m here, I can meet more people like me! Maybe I can makes some new friends, too. Ooh! I’ll even have more time to practice my ballet.”

The man chuckled. “You still wanna become Odette the Swan Queen, huh? Well I think that you’re perfect for that role. Who better to play the lead of Swan Lake then Odette’s descendant herself?”

“Swan Lake? That’s new.” I muttered.

The man kissed the swan’s head and muttered something about going to get her luggage. During that time, the boy in the wheelchair still said nothing. He was honestly starting to creep me out. There was this look on his face that told you that he wasn’t fully…there. He looked like he was living in an entirely different world than the one that was around him.

“I wanna go say hi.” Ari whispered.

“Not yet. There must be a reason this one arrived in crazy gear.” I warned her. “I think the swan girl will be okay, but I don’t like the vibe the other one is giving off.”

The swan girl looked at her feet and then looked back up at the guy. “So...how are you today?”

He said nothing.

“Um...Hello?”

“Do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?” The boy asked in a thick, London accent.

“Called it.” I whispered, recalling the line from Lewis Carroll's classic.

“Sorry?” Swan girl asked.

“You see, after a dragonfly asked me, I've been spending all day trying to find it out.” He stated, seeming a bit cheery for a guy who looked like he had just gotten fresh out of a mental asylum.

“Uh…” The swan girl shook her head and spread her wings. “I'm Olivia Larksong. What's your name?”

“Oh, dear, what time is it?” The wheelchair boy asked, changing the subject.

“About four o’clock I think?”

“Oh, that simply won't do. I promised the caterpillar that I would find his missing cigar! And the rabbit’s much later than usual. You see, I am now confused as whether to feel guilty or upset.” He rambled on. “I'm afraid that one of my friends may one day blow my cover and my head will be placed upon a pike for all to see as the borogoves dance around merrily screaming about how Frabjous day has finally arrived.”

Olivia backed away and covered herself under her wings. She was as scared of him as I was. I couldn't just sit around and wait for Grimm to get his butt over here. I had to take matters into my own hands. I jumped on the railing of the stairs and slid down, sticking a landing so I was right in between the two new transfers. I then cracked my neck and knuckles, which seemed to scare the poor girl even more.

“Nice! New students! Welcome to Feenburg, the place for misfits like us who have to suffer cuz your great great whatever didn't get their happy ending. Nice to meet ya! Name’s Beruka!” I said, trying to add a friendly snarl to the end of the sentence.

Yeah, that didn't work. The poor girl hid behind one of the tables and picked up a stray pencil on the floor with her beak as if it could protect her. The wheelchair boy just stared at me in wonder.

“What a marvelous specimen of beast! Oh, I do think I have never encountered something like this when I looked through my mother’s catalogue of Underland’s creatures. Do tell me, miss, what kind of beast are you?” He rattled on.

I raised an eyebrow. “I call myself Beruka.”

“Beruka, Beruka, hmm, it sounds like your name must be based off of that of the legendary Jabberwock! Marvelous! But you don't look like one. You look more like a Bandersnatch.” He continued, obviously getting excited. “Well, Miss Beruka, It is lovely to meet you. I am Alexander James Liddel the third, but most people tend to call me just Alex.”

I blinked. This guy made less sense than the plot of Twilight. I looked over to the scared little swan girl and kneeled down. “Hey, you okay?” I asked her.

She squawked and tried to run away, but ended up smacking into the wall behind her. She rubbed her beak with her feathers and complained about how she got an “ouchie”.

Leave it to Ari to come down and crawl towards the newbie. She held out her hand and smiled at Olivia, trying to coax her out. “Sorry about my friend. She means well, but has troubles with expressing it. I'm Ari.”

She stepped out and smiled, as well as one could with a beak, anyway. “I'm Olivia! Wow...you're so pretty!”

“Really?” Ari asked, laughing. “I don't pay attention to those kinds of things.

A horrible shriek was let out from Alex’s mouth, making me want to double over from the sheer volume. This kid’s brain was screwed up but at least we knew he had a good pair of lungs on him.

“What is your damage?” I asked, growling.

“It's an eel!”

Ari crossed her arms. “I'm more closely related to a bluegill, actually. I take personal offense to that.”

“‘You are old, father William…’” he said under his breath.

“Sorry?” I asked.

“‘You are old,’ said the youth, ‘one would hardly suppose that your eye was steady as ever. Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—what made you so awfully clever?’” He rattled on.

If it wasn't creepy enough, Alex then started making ticking noises with his tongue, imitating a clock. He chuckled softly, the volume of his laughs steadily increasing. I backed away. Something had made him go a bit nutso. I didn't know if it was seeing Ari or something totally unrelated, but it was terrifying to witness.

“Do you hear that? It's the clock! It's incessantly going tick tock tick tock and it's too bloody loud! Yes, I know I've missed my morning tea, but why must you torture me like this!?” He then whipped his head over at me and smirked, his smile almost impossibly wide. “Tell me, darling, do you like your tea flavored with viscera or blood?”

I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. Of course, he was in a straight jacket, but it was like he could still mentally harm us just by being in the same room. It made me want to throw up. This was so disturbing to witness.

He let out another loud cackle. “You know, the Queen of Hearts loves red roses! She’d even drain out swan’s blood all over their roots to make them even redder!”

Olivia jumped into Ari’s arms and looked like she was on the verge of tears. He continued laughing, until someone jabbed a needle into his neck and his eyelids began to flitter. He muttered something about rabbits before officially going unconscious.

Behind him was a ginger boy with a needle in his hands. He looked oddly relaxed as he placed the used needle into a plastic bag. He raised his eyebrow and stared at me. “Really, Ruka? You know where we keep emergency sedatives and you didn't do anything for this long? I'm quite ashamed.”

I growled. “Back off, Princess. Stop stalking me!”

“First off, it’s Priam, and secondly is this all the thanks I get for saving you guys?”

“Maybe I'd take you more seriously if you'd stop liking all of my posts on Instagram.” I barked.

“But I do like your beautiful face. Why can't I just leave a little heart proving it?”

I wanted to hurl. Again. “Back away, got it?”

“Fine, fine.” He said, throwing up his hands. He then stopped next to me and whispered in my ear, “Just remember, I know your dirty little secret. If you end up revealing anything about me—”

“Just go put on some tights and bother someone else.” I growled.

Shortly after, a man with a new set of red velvet curtains walked through the door. I watched silently as he replaced the old, burned ones from an incident a week ago with the brand new ones. If only I could change my past that easily.

 
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Chapter Two: Crazy and the Beast

Alex

 

Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick.

I hated that damned noise. It never shut up. It just kept on going like it was the only thing that existed in my mind. I remember when this all started, back when I was a little boy no older than ten.

There was this beautiful grandfather clock in my room. Only later would I have learned that my great great grandfather had made it before the madness had consumed him and caused him to jump off the five story building that my family’s business had made as a local hospital. His condition was evident through his work.

The piece of oak furniture was painted in bright hues that clashed and fought for your attention, depicting scenes like cards painting over white roses, or a rabbit and a hatter sat around a table drinking tea. There was even a massive bird that I would later know was called a Jub Jub.

I would stand for hours in front of this clock and just listen as it told me stories of Alice, and her adventures. She had never saved Wonderland, and therefore had never had lost her madness. She was always connected to it, as I would be. Being as young as I was, I had no idea what any of this meant, but I did know that it had left a mark shaped like a teacup on the inner elbow of my right arm.

That was before I had broke down. During my fits, I had slaughtered animals and ‘painted’ various things with their blood. I would always shout about a white rabbit in my room, watching me while I slept and telling me that I was late. Not only that, but every flower and every bug seemed to have a voice, calling out to me and telling me that I needed to save Wonderland.

Of course when I had my worst fit, which involved almost killing my mother, That’s when I was finally sent to Feenburg. In fact, when I had arrived, I was still having that fit. It wasn’t until another hour or so later when I had finally calmed down. That’s when I realized that I had been moved to a room and was laying on a bed with my straight jacket taken off.

I sat up, a pounding headache resonating within my skull. Someone had used tranquilizers on me, no doubt. I stretched out and walked counterclockwise around the room for a few seconds until I was sure that the madness had calmed down. Once that was over with, I sat back down on my bed and let out a huge sigh. Why did life always have to be so complicated?

I tried to stretch out my arms, but then realized that I was held back by a straight-jacket. Damn. This sucked. Good thing I’ve escaped a fair amount of straight-jackets in my life. I breathed out to make myself as slim as possible, then pushed my arm forcefully towards the other shoulder. I pulled the sleeve up over my head and managed to undo the buckle with my teeth. Once I was free, I tossed the jacket aside and stretched my limbs.

Wow, I thought to myself, Just getting out of a straight-jacket is proof that I’m as much of a freak as they come.

I was snapped out of my self loathing when I heard a knock on my door. Before I could even answer it, the door flew open. Standing at my door was a girl quite unlike any other I had seen before.

Her brown, wavy hair was half tied up in a small bun, revealing two black horns growing out of her scalp. She wore a top that had one sleeve and a strap on opposite sides, and wore leather gloves. Her pants were black leather and ripped up in various places, and she donned brown combat boots. This girl looked very rough and almost animalistic...but there was something about her that intrigued me. What it was, I couldn’t quite pinpoint for myself.

“Hey,”

I looked her in the eyes. They shone a bright, intimidating amber.

“Why the hell aren’t you in a straightjacket?” She asked

I looked at the article of clothing on the floor. How was I supposed to explain this to her without getting my head chomped off? I had to think of a logical way to explain this. Think, Alex, think!

“Uhh...I don’t know. Maybe they took it off of me while I was knocked out.” I offered.

She raised an eyebrow at me and continued to look me up and down suspiciously.

“What?” I asked her.

“Why are you talking so...normal?” She questioned, crossing her arms in a sort of disbelieving posture. “You know, aren’t you gonna talk about blood and guts and spreading it all over roses?”

I felt so embarrassed at that point. I must have looked like an actual tomato. “Well, that only really happens when I have my...episodes. I’m fairly normal, I swear.” I then quickly added under my breath, “I just happen to have mental breakdowns from time to time.”

She eyed me up suspiciously again. “Are you sure that you’re not going to murder me and leave my corpse out to rot somewhere?”

“Positive.” I said, affirmatively. “I don’t really remember what happened when I was having my episode, but I apologize for any behavior that might have scared you in any way, shape or form.”

She looked at me with even more disbelief. “So you don’t remember anything at all?”

I shrugged. “I’m sorry. Not a thing.”

She adjusted the jacked she was wearing and held out her hand. “Well then, may as well introduce myself again. I’m Beruka Rosen.”

I laughed and took her hand. “Beruka, huh? That’s a very unique name. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone named that before now.”

Her uneasiness started to dwindle as she laughed with me. “Yeah, my mother chose it for me. It’s supposed to mean ‘Bearer of Victory’. Quite ironic considering where I’ve ended up.”

I shrugged. “Maybe it’s not your ancestors the name is referring to. Have you ever thought about that? Maybe your family hoped that you would be victorious in your own way.”

Her head tilted to the side, deep in thought, revealing some elven shaped ears underneath her unruly hair. Beruka then smiled and nodded. “You know, I never thought of it like that before.”

We sat in a bit of awkward silence for a while before I finally decided to speak up again. “So…uh…”

The two of us were interrupted by another knock at my door. This time, there was a tall, pale, creepy man standing behind the door frame. His dark hair was all slicked back and his dark, nearly black eyes hid behind a pair of circular spectacles. He donned a rather expensive looking black suit and had long fingernails like Beruka did. He cocked his head and blinked expectantly at me.

“May I come in?”

I turned to Beruka, silently begging her to explain what was going on. “Who’s the really creepy bloke at the door?”

“That’s Grimm, the headmaster.” She said calmly.

Grimm looked at me again, as if his presence demanded the attention of anyone who was there. “I repeat, Mister Liddell, may I come in?”

I nodded and tried to be as polite as possible. “Yes, sir. Of course, sir.”

He walked through the door and ran a hand through his hair. I examined his features more closely. It wasn’t like he was old or anything. In fact, he looked extremely young, like he was only in his mid twenties or something. His face had very smooth features, with wide set eyes, a pointed chin and high cheekbones. He looked around the room for a bit before he finally decided to keep his attention on me again.

“Welcome to Feenburg, young boy. I hope you know that you will grow to have a home here, learn to accept and control your abilities, and hopefully, make many friends along the way.” He gave a very ominous half-smile and gave a bow. “I am the headmaster of this fine estate, as Miss Rosen has already told you. My name Is Michael James Grimm, but most people here just refer to me as Grimm or Mister Grimm.” He held out his hand and his expression became once more stoic and cold. “I hope you enjoy your time here.”

I nodded and took his hand, which was as cold as ice. There was no warmth in his skin whatsoever. In fact, it was like just by making contact with him that any warmth in my body was immediately being sucked and drained out.

“I hope I will as well.” I finally answered.

When he finally let go of my hand, my entire body was shivering. I was so cold that I subconsciously wanted to look for a sweater or some sort of overcoat to wear. Grimm gave that creepy half smile again, as if he knew that this would happen.

“Before we get started, there are some rules I would like to go over.” He said quickly. He then pulled out a piece of paper out of the lapel of his suit coat and cleared his throat before speaking.

“No fraternizing on campus, no damaging of Feenburg’s property, no stealing from other students, no harming other students, show up on time if you are expected to show up, avoid using your Blesstem on Feenburg’s property by any means necessary and no going into Heilig Hall.” He then looked at us menacingly, and I could have sworn that for a split second, his eyes turned blood red. “Under any circumstances.”

Grim then straightened his posture and pushed up his glasses with his pointer finger. “Are we quite clear, Master Liddell?”

I nodded, too unsettled to really say anything.

“Good.” He said, nodding. Grimm then produced a small, leather bound book and placed it in my hand. “These are the rest of the rules and guidelines here at Feenburg. Obey them all and you should have no problem here at this fine institution.” He then bowed and walked out of the room. After he had stepped out, he looked back and smirked. “Have a good day, young master.”

I felt my skin crawl slightly as he stepped out of the room, hearing his footsteps lightly echo in the hallway. Something about him really set me off. I didn’t know exactly what it was, maybe just the amalgamation of everything about him that just made me uncomfortable, but then again, I could be wrong.

“So, are you sure you don’t have any questions?”

Beruka’s sudden question made me jump. I looked over at her to see that she was staring at me with a knowing smile and her hands placed cockily on her hips.

I laughed and scratched my head nervously. “Yes, actually. How did you know?”

“Because everybody has questions after they meet Grimm. It’s only natural.” Beruka said calmly.

I laughed and then folded my arms. “Well, I guess I only have one. What’s a Blesstem?”

Beruka raised an eyebrow, then laughed back at me. “Seriously? Has nobody ever told you about it? I mean it’s kind of the reason that you’re here, you know.”

“Well, sorry if my mother tried to keep this all hidden from me.” I apologized earnestly.

“It’s fine.” Beruka said casually. “Your Blesstem is essentially the curse that has been brought with your ancestry, represented by a black, patterned birthmark somewhere on your body.” She pulled down her leather jacket, showing off a wolf head with horns on her shoulder.

“My Blesstem is from the House of Beast, or the fairytale known as the Beauty and the Beast. Whenever I get angry, I turn into a eight foot tall furry harbinger of death. Since Belle was never able to break the Beast’s spell, my family has the power of the beast forever.” She pulled her jacket back up and smirked as she looked back at me. “What’s yours, Alex?”

I scratched my head. “Well...ever since I was little, I had episodes. I can see past the veil of magic that Underland creates, and am able to use some of it myself, but everytime that I do, it causes violent episodes for me. Each time I do it, it’s more violent than the last.” I pointed to my elbow to a black tea cup and saucer. “This thing appeared when I was about seven, I think.”

“I called it!” Beruka exclaimed.

I looked at her confusedly. “Called what, exactly?”

“Nothing.” She said, laughing. “Just a little bet I had with Ari.”

“Who’s Ari?”

“You’re bound to meet her eventually.” Beruka quickly said. “Although, I don’t think she’ll be in much of a rush to meet you again, since you called her an ‘eel’ and all.”

I felt my face flush red. Now I just felt like a massive jerk. I made a mental note to apologize profusely to whoever this Ari was.

I was about to try to strike up more conversation with her, but I was interrupted by a knock on the doorframe. How many people had to walk into my room today. I was about to ask who it was, but looking at who it was immediately made me want to punch them.

He was about six foot two with side-swept copper hair and a well-built figure. His eyes were as green as the grass in midsummer and his skin was perfectly tanned. He was donned in a graphic t-shirt, an army green beanie, baggy jeans and black combat boots. He also had several piercings in both ears.

“Ruka Rose! There you are darling.” He said happily, giving a bow.

Beruka growled and crossed her arms. “Priam, for the last time, I want nothing to do with you. Can’t you take a hint? At all?”

“I was just coming along to say ‘hello’.” He said. He then walked up and grabbed Beruka’s chin lightly. “Hello.”

I really didn’t like this guy. Not only did he make me feel inadequate as a male, he just seemed like the type of guy that had a scoreboard of how many girls he had slept with on campus. He looked like the stereotypical pretty boy that could do absolutely no good.

Beruka smacked his hand off of her and growled, seeming like she was about to bark like a dog. “Go away. Now. Can you not see that I am busy?”

Priam looked at me, almost with contempt. It was as if he was asking why someone like me was even worth her time. It left me to wonder about the relationship between these two. Were they a couple in the middle of feuding or was it something more complicated than that? Did Priam actually have feelings for Beruka, seeing me as some sort of obstacle he had to overcome?

Just as quickly as I had caught that look of contempt, it disappeared behind a blinding white smile. “Ah yes, I see, the crazy that I had to tranq in order for him not to kill anyone. Which, by the way, you’re still welcome for.”

“He’s not crazy, it’s just part of his Blesstem. God, Priam, do you always have to be such an uptight jerk to everyone?” Beruka barked. “Stop treating him like a freak.”

Priam raised an eyebrow and chuckled. “Ruka, there’s something that you’re conveniently forgetting. We’re all freaks, and this is our asylum. Nobody wanted to deal with us, so we’re stuck here. The moment we forget that is the moment when we truly become cocky bastards. I mean, honestly, let’s not forget your--”

She cut him off by punching him across the face. The sound echoed across the tiny dorm room. She growled and balled up her fists, grinding her teeth as her face twitched angrily.

“I said…” Her body began to convulse, the sound of bones popping and cracking coming from within. I watched as her face began to expand into a muzzle, long teeth jutting out from her lips. Her body expanded until it towered above us, her clothes shredding all around as fur began to explode out of every pore in her body. Soon, staring back at me was the combination of some of the most fearsome animals I could think of.

She had the horns of a bull, the face of a wolf, the body of a bear, the tusks of a boar, the mane of a lion and the eyes of a murderer. Basically, I was looking at a living nightmare covered in fur.

“LEAVE ME ALONE!” She roared, panting heavily as drool dripped from her mouth down to the floor.

“Beruka…” I trailed off, unsure of what to do. I kept racking my head for ideas of what to do, but nothing really seemed plausible or like it would actually work. I didn’t want to just leave her alone, though. She was the first person that had really been nice to me at this school, and I wanted to help her back.

Use us… The spirits whispered to me.

No. I wouldn’t rely on them this time. I had to help her.

Just as I began to panic, Priam whipped out a pager and hit a button on it, a look of urgency on his face. Lifting the pager to his mouth, he quickly muttered, “We have a Code 9 on our hands, I repeat, a Code 9, backup requested to contain Beruka Rosen.”

Beruka growled at Priam, her giant paw ready to slash him across the face. I didn’t know what else to do. I quickly stepped in front of her and held my arms out.

“Please, don’t do this.” I begged her. “Violence is never the answer! I should know!”

She roared at me, strings of saliva flying everywhere. Her golden eyes were full of animalistic rage, a primal urge to kill or seriously maim something. I felt as if it was my duty to try and calm her down. I knew that I had only known her for a few minutes, but I felt like she would at least appreciate it if I kept her out of as much trouble as I possibly could.

“Come on, Beruka,” I begged. “He’s not worth it. Please, calm down.”

She cocked her head at me, as if she was intaking what I said. She then looked down at her own body, and I swore a look of horror came across her face. Once she realized that Priam was in fact, still there, Beruka got angry again. She snarled and lunged towards him

Priam jumped out of the way, leaving a series of long gouges in the wood floor where he once stood. I then just realized what kind of a situation I was in. If I wasn’t careful, I could get killed.

Use us… They trailed off again.

At this moment, I wouldn’t lie and say it wasn’t tempting to use my powers to help her out, but I knew I had to not give into those temptations. The consequences were far too great. I couldn’t have the risk of going mad again. As much as I wanted to make friends and protect possible allies, I knew that it would be better for everyone if I just kept my powers under control. I couldn’t risk it.

That broke my heart even more when I saw Beruka shot in the neck with a round of tranquilizer darts and carried away by multiple people. I had failed her, my first and possibly only friend.

 
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