The air smelt strange this morning and it wasn’t the pollution that was stinking. Something was coming, and it wasn’t going to pretty. I knew this scent from somewhere, though I couldn’t tell where. It didn’t bother me; I didn’t let it bother me. Today, Tahi and I had to take care of the little ones while Uncle Marlow, Betsy and Granny Amy went to buy supplies. We were the oldest now, it was one of our household chores, and I did not detest it.
Tahi is nice human boy; slightly cocky and overbearing, but as gentle as a butterfly. He can’t throw a punch to save his life, and he is a coward among cowards, but he has the loyalty and honesty of a wolf, a true wolf, not the wolves we the elders bread us into, the incompetent, competitive, fighting monsters.
I slipped into my day clothes and galloped down stairs. Tahi stood waving a frying pan over his head. Succulent pieces of bacon lay cooling in the pan. The small hungry little kids stood clawing at his shorts, almost as if they were trying to climb on top of him and get the hot bacon.
"Come on ya' lil brats!" He yelled, "It's hot damn it, you'll burn you’re tiny little fingers off!" He tried to shake Tama off his leg, but the little one clung onto him for dear life.
"All of you, get of your big brother." I yelled from the staircase. They ran up the stairs and hugged my legs. Tahi gave of a breath of relief. I guess learning how to command a pack from my father helped.
"They listen to you but not me." Tahi grumbled as he set the table. Hanny and the other older kids were playing soccer outside. I rang the bell to call them at the table, and began to take role call.
The odd smell grew closer, it began to bother me. I hadn't smelt this scent for a long time, but it was so distinct. I knew it so well. As it grew closer, my heart began to race.
"Xannya, is something up? Your face is all pale. Tahi asked worriedly. I couldn’t find the words to reassure him. I knew everything was not fine. That smell, I hadn’t smelt it for four years. It was the scent of a demon, a fox demon.
"Stay in with the kids, I...I have to go outside." I couldn’t let the fox demon enter she would hurt the humans, probably kill them. Silence erupted on the table. Everyone looked at me as if expecting me to blow up into a thousand little pieces like a bomb.
"Sorry I sound all solemn, it’s just, um....I forgot something ...precious to me outside that I want no one else to see!" Lame excuse, but the little ones bought it well. The older ones...not so much.
Tahi raised one eyebrow. "Really?" he whispered, "You really think that will work?"
"Should I call Marlow?" Hanny asked, stuffing her rather large and chubby face with bacon.
"No. Please, I promise, it will be ok." I wasn't good at lying, but I couldn't possibly tell them that they may get ripped to shreds.
I ran outside the gate. Tahi, who must have been watching me, bolted after me, as did most of the others. Hanny stayed behind to reassure the little ones that we were playing an early morning game of tag.
"Xannya!" He yelled after me. I stopped dead in my tracks. The fox stood in front of me, looking so doll-like and innocent.
"Who...who is she?" Tahi asked as he gripped my shoulder. Even a human could tell, she was dangerous.
"Should we go somewhere to...talk, wolf, without the humans?" The fox asked.
I nodded my head in agreement, bur Tahi held onto my hand tightly. I aint leaving you alone with this....chick.
The fox curled her lips. "Suite yourself, human." She answered.
"Run, Tahi. RUN!!" I yelled.
“NO!” He yelled back.
“I’m sorry.” I mumbled as a quick whack to the head, knocked him unconscious. I caught him quickly, and lay him on the floor.
“Now we can go, fox.”
“No....” Tahi muttered, as he grabbed onto my foot.
“How are you...?”
“I aint going nowhere!”
“YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT YOU’RE DOING! I had lost it with him. He needed to get out. “YOU DONT EVEN KNOW WHAT I AM, WHO I AM AND WHERE I COME FROM, AND YOU THINK YOU CAN ‘PROTECT’ ME?!”
“No I don’t Xannya, I know your not normal, thats about it,” He mumbled as he got to his feet. “ But I don’t care. Whether you’re a dog or a demon or a fairy, a robot some kind, a chicken or even the freaking hulk, I don’t care, cause it doesn’t matter! You are my sister, related or not, whether tyour human or not!”
I knew humans were excepting but not to that extent. How the heck had he guessed I wasn't human? The fox stood her mouth open, completely stunned and speechless.
“My my, what a spectacle.” A voice came from out of the shadows. A tall, muscular girl leaned out from the darkness, her black hair shinned behind her, and her beautiful blue eyes flashed in the silhouette.
“Panther...” I whispered beneath my breath.