Not an animal, but a man.

Scorned by humanity because of his brutish appearence, Zee Coralin, a man that is a mutation between bull in human, lives in quiet solitude in a home where other rejects of society resides. With his simplistic attitude and gentle nature, peoples rejections of him often wounds him personally. Alanna Reel, a former prisoner of concentration camp, is the first to begin the mans healing process.

       Nem was, in all honesty, very apprehensive about introducing Zee to Lanna. He knew full well that Lanna wasn’t easily startled—the woman had seen many terrible things in her young life already—but Zee’s appearance, to say the least, was a bit…shocking.

                And Nem knew Zee was more apprehensive than he was. When Nem had mentioned bringing the woman over, Zee had looked at him with world weary eyes and whispered in a voice as soft as feathers, “Is she going to think I’m ugly, Nem? They usually do.”

                They both sat now, Zee and Nem, in old, dusty chairs that were broken down enough that you sort of sagged into them when you sat. Nem was doing his best to appear calm, picking at his fingernails and licking his lips occasionally. Zee, however, was a total wreck, drumming his large, awkward fingers against his knees and looking furtively towards the door every few seconds. The big man’s shoulders moved up and down constantly as he held his breath and exhaled sharply, no doubt having lucid nightmares in the back of his mind about everything that could possibly go wrong.

                And there were indeed, many, many things that could go wrong.

                Nem allowed his eyes to sweep the room, frowning softly. It was an old room, one he and those staying in his home didn’t often enter, and the scent of dust and old books had been baked into the air. The soft green paint on the walls had lost its luster, chipped away in various places to reveal the contrasting white it’d been painted over, and the furniture all sagged as if the dust that had settled over it were made of rocks. Bookshelves had been crammed into every available corner, hundreds of books causing the boards to sag with their weight, sitting their quietly and patiently for someone to open them. An old, crooked childs mobile of the solar system hung still and unmoving from the ceiling, uneven and faded. The windows had been glued shut by grime, and the ashes in the fire place had remained unstirred and cold for several years. Yet, it was a calming room, quiet and dark, and inspired a sort of easy, lazy peace. Soothing, it was a good remedy for the tension that was already beginning to stir.

                The doorbell rang, and then two swift knocks. Zee inhaled sharply, and bent double, slowly placing his misshapen forehead against the table and beginning to tremble. For such a beast of a man, he was a gentle soul, and often took it personally when people shied away from his horrific appearance. Nem rose to his feet smoothly, swiping his tongue nervously over his lips again, and then exited the room to open the door. The moment he was turning the doorknob, the door was thrust inwards, and standing in the doorway striking a ridiculous pose, was his guest, Alanna Reel.

                She was a small woman in her early twenties, with slender, small-breasted body of an athlete and the defiant chin of a trouble maker. Her eyes were the color of summer thunderstorms, flickering with amusement as she studied her friend, her hip cocked out to the side and her arm raised grandly in the air. She was dressed simply, leaving her dark hair to tumble in loose curls freely over her shoulders, and the woman hesitated when she saw Nem’s apprehension. She was quite pretty, with laugh lines at the corner of her mouth and crows feet from smiling at the corners of her eyes, but her hands were marred with thin, white scars, as was her neck. The woman always dressed in jeans in a long sleeved shirt without fail to hide the scars that covered her limbs in a spider webbed tapestry of thin white lines, and avoided low-backed shirt like the plague lest they should reveal the past whipping scars that marred her back. Lanna cocked her head to the side, her grey eyes narrowing in slight consideration. “You look nervous,” she pointed out, stifling a grin. “You worried about something, Nemmy?”

                Nem smiled wryly at Lanna. “Do you enjoy sharpening your wit on me, Lanna?”   

                “Well, it’s not really sharpening,” Lanna sighed. “Not when what you’re sharpening it against is fairly dull.” The woman chuckled, tapping Nem’s temple with a finger. She squinted at him, frowning. “Where’s this Zee fellow you wanted me to talk to?”

                Nem stiffened, and nodded. “He’s, ah—back here. Follow me,” the man murmured, gesturing to Lanna and shoving his hands in his pockets as he walked away. Lanna followed at an easy trot, her dark eyebrows steadily sliding downwards on her forehead to knit themselves together in discontent. She didn’t hesitate when Nem gestured  to the open door, inhaling the scent of dust and books, and entered the room.

                Zee froze, and for a moment, kept his eyes trained stiffly on the coffee table. He swallowed audibly and looked up at Lanna, excepting her to cringe, scream or wail, and widened his eyes, flummoxed, when she didn’t.

                You see, Zee was a bull.

                Not entirely. But, partially.

                He had, at one point in his life, been a subject to scientific experimentation. Held against his will, the man had formerly had a decent life. Then, with some dna and a little bit of magic, his body had been drastically altered to half-form that of an animals, leaving him caught somewhere between human and beast. A monster, to be kept out of the public eye, and a scapegoat of those who enjoyed preying on the misfortunate and different.

                At the present moment, he was indeed quite ugly. The transformation had caved his skull outwards, giving him a long, sloping forward that hung over his small eyes. The hair on his head was a short, reddish fringe, revealing two short, stubby bull horns that protruded awkwardly from the side of the top of his head colored a pale white. The bottoms of his ears were pale and human, but the tops sagged over and forward, the same dark, rich reddish brown as his hair, and someone had been cruel enough to piece the tops of his ears at one point. His nose seemed to melt into his mouth, pushing his jaw out awkwardly and forcing his teeth to protrude at crooked, uneven angles. He had practically no neck, his head melting into too-wide, powerful shoulders that rippled with muscle whenever he moved and caused him to sit with a hunch. His legs were disproportioned to his body, perfectly human up until his feet, where his toes had decided to blend together into two split groups as if they were trying to form hooves. Zee fumbled with a piece of paper he’d been holding, his short fingers too thick and clumsy to grasp it properly, and stared hesitantly at Lanna. He had scars across his face where somebody had hit him repeatedly with something sharp, and some sadist had found humor in putting cattle brands along his arms. When he stood, he was just over eight feet in height.

                What the woman did next seem to astonish and confuse the bull-man. She had done it many times with those Nem had taken in, the things rejected by society because of something they couldn’t help, and now she did it again. Seeing the apprehensive fear on Zee’s face made the woman move forward, placing her hands that seemed miniscule compared to his on either side of his face, and very gently kissing the middle of his sloping forehead. She smiled softly, speaking in the tone of someone approaching an injured animal. “Hullo, you must be Zee. I’m Lanna. It’s a pleasure to meet you, dear.”

                For a moment, Zee froze, as if expecting Lanna to suddenly hit him. Then carefully, like a child attempting not to hurt a particularly fragile new pet, he lifted his enormous arms, and gingerly wrapped them around the woman. Although Lanna wasn’t exactly child-sized, standing at about 5”3, she almost disappeared, completely dwarfed by the bull-man’s immense size. Zee had unintentionally lifted her feet off the ground when he hugged her, and Nem stood in the doorway, holding his breath.

                The bull-man smiled, hesitantly, his soft brown eyes uncertain as he studied Lanna. His voice emerged in a low rumble that started in his chest, “Lanna is a. Ah, friend?”

                Lanna smiled, nodding slowly, her dark eyes gleaming. “Si, fratellino,” she murmured, using the Italian word for “little brother”. She kept perfectly still, aware of the possibly fragility of Zee’s mental state. “I can be.”

                Nem glanced sideways at Lanna, mouthing thank you, but she waved him away. She’d done this many times before with those Nem had taken in that were still too apprehensive about accepting the fact that were indeed people who could be kind towards them, and she had yet to mind the job. She’d had a terrible chunk of her past that had nearly destroyed her, and it had softened the bitter womans towards certain people. Zee, and people like him, were such people.

                The bull-man still hadn’t released Lanna, the astonishment leaving his face to be overtaken by childish delight. He stared at the woman, gingerly setting her down, and scrambling under the table, pulling out, of all things, a Candyland board game. Apprehensively, he prodded the board game towards her, his voice hoarse. “Play?”              

                Lanna nodded, swallowing her horror at the prospect of playing a board game. The last time she’d played Candyland, it had been with her brother, and she had gotten so frustrated she’d ripped the board in half. She allowed her smile to fill her eyes, something she rarely did, and gestured for Zee to set the game up. “It’s fair to warn you, I’m going to try and cheat, I’ll still lose, and the board will probably end up spontaneously combusting by the time we’re through.”

                Zee’s face split into an awkward grin that wrinkled his entire face, crinkling his nose and making his eyes all but disappear between his forehead. “Okay,” was his only responsible as he began to set up the game, humming under his breath. For the first time in years, the man was being treated as just that.

                Not an animal, but a man.

Ooc|| Ah. Nice to meet you guys ;o; I'm new to this site, obv. I'm Becca. I have no idea what I'm doing here 8DDDDDD

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