My Name Is Eri- Ch. 5: "Until I Can Figure Out What You Need

Sep 5th, 2014
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  1. She fell asleep not long after. It was a deep sleep of exhaustion and bliss. You were wide awake, wrapped in the embrace of a girl-turned-something-mythic. She held you close, like a prized possession.
  3. Was this the ancient thing Erica spoke about? It had to be. The amalgamation of blood and animal parts breathed in slumber above you. How long had she been asleep inside of Erica? Or was she Erica all along?
  5. And why did she want to be called Eris?
  7. This was Erica, right?
  9. You looked at her serene muzzle and brushed her silvery hair aside. There wouldn't be many answers now. You stared at the ceiling, trying to imagine what would happen next and realized its futility.
  11. Anything could happen, and that worried you, deep down. But you didn't worry for Erica. You worried for everyone else, and rightly so.
  13. -
  15. Morning came as normal. Erica's eyes opened by a slit. She slid her head into the air and leaned down to give a sleepy kiss. The loops of her hair dangled over your forehead.
  17. “Hey,” she said.
  19. “Hey,” you replied.
  21. You stared deep into her face that was a strange mixture of wolf and deer, and so many things in between, looking for a trace of the girl you met on the bus. The chestnut depth of her skin was covered with gray fur. There were little echoes of her former features -the shape of her eyes, prominence of her jawline, and few other unnameable things.
  23. Or did your mind force illusions upon you?
  25. “Is something wrong?” Her voice sounded alien, coming from that animal's muzzle. Was she hiding inside there, somewhere, working this body like an elaborate costume?
  27. She smelled your disquiet and drew her muzzle down your chest and back to your lips. Her talons hooked around your hand. “I promise, it's still me. I feel more like me than I ever have.” She sighed. “God, I feel...” she rolled off of you and the bed, slumping to the floor.
  29. She stretched out and giggled. “Absolutely amazing,” she declared. You looked at her body in the morning light, noting just how much she changed over the course of your union. Her overall form was serpentine, like a mostly-furred Chinese dragon. She was a biological impossibility with her wings, paws, and claws, but she moved and breathed and laughed all the same.
  31. The pile of her clothes, some ripped, some whole, sat discarded by the bed like a cocoon or old husk that was shed to realize a more remarkable creature.
  33. Her body writhed like a black snake firecracker as she ran her arms across herself in blind bliss once more. You saw the parts you made love to last night. Her fur shaded her lower lips and morning light darkened the curves like dark washes from a painter's brush.
  35. Her wings drew across her legs, not at all human, but retaining a generous feminine curve that elicited a stir below your waist. Erica caught you staring.
  37. “Not bad, hm?” She kicked a wolfish leg high into the air, showing off her inner thigh, and wiggled her paw. “Think of all the tricks I can do with these.” Erica slithered to the bedside and ran a claw over your forearm. “Care to do a few test runs?”
  39. “You're not phased by this at all?” Unsurprised disbelief hung around your voice as you gestured to her spread out body. “We bump uglies and that happens to you, and it doesn't...” you shrugged.
  41. Her ear cocked. “Why should I waste time on flipping my shit? You're not freaking out. Still. In fact, you were pretty enthusiastic last night. ”
  43. “I may be hallucinating. I'm not sure I believe in these past few days.”
  45. Erica slid onto the bed and nuzzled your neck. “You have some messed up hallucinations then, lover-buddy,” her dark lips moved around your hair. “Believe in me, at least,” she said earnestly. “We'll have a lot more fun if you do.” She winked.
  47. “I may as well believe in something. Okay, I believe in you. I also believe I need a shower because I still believe in hygiene. I'll believe that the restroom and bathtub works to make my life easier.”
  49. “That's the spirit,” she encouraged and rolled around as you got off the bed. Standing up took great effort, as your stomach was racked with soreness. She pressed the sheets to her chest and her tail curled around your thigh until you walked out of its reach.
  51. You picked your backpack up from the corner of the room. Inside was your tooth brush and a clean set of clothes. “Take your time,” she called after you, “I'll think of what to do for the day.”
  53. “No karaoke,” you answered before closing the bathroom door. She cackled in the other room.
  55. You rested your hands on the refurbished sink and studied your reflection. You looked a damn mess. Hair out of sorts, eyes heavy. Bite marks and scratches dotted your neck and shoulders. Every muscle in your body hung with terrible fatigue. Your balls were pinched and drained like an African water well. You needed water, food, and the number to a good therapist.
  57. The water ran when you turned the faucet on. You stepped into the shower like a normal human being and tried to wash away the last twelve hours, but the memories would stain you forever.
  59. You dried yourself off and brushed your teeth, but Erica's taste, human or otherwise hung on your lips.
  61. On came your underwear. Pants and shirt, wrinkled, but clean. Socks, etc. etc. You were going slow and didn't bother lying to yourself. You needed to think. What were you going to do after going back into that room? You stared at the closed door and felt bottomless uncertainty. Is this what people felt like when waking up next to a stranger?
  63. But Erica wasn't a stranger. That's why you weren't panicking, or screaming, or running around at the sight of the strange creature. Her voice was too familiar. You kissed her last night. She kissed you. Was this normalcy the desperate act of a mind who realized the rules were now obsolete?
  65. The lack of decisiveness felt worse than fear.
  67. You opened the door. She was slung around the window pane like a giant cat. Her wings hung off her shoulders like a robe. The brush of her tail flicked in contemplation. Her red eyes held still.
  69. You had no idea what to do. What would any other person do?
  71. “I'm bored of this place,” she said, not looking at you. “We've been here too long. Let's go somewhere. Somewhere we've never been before. But where? Where, where, where...” her voice drifted off.
  73. “Do think you can go outside and not cause a scene?”
  75. “I like scenes,” she said with no mind to you. “Scenes are fun.”
  77. “I think we should take this slow.”
  79. She blew white hair off her forehead and looked at you, annoyed. “Fine. No crowds, no riots,” she conceded. “God forbid I inconvenience you in some way.”
  81. “Don't be like that, Erica.”
  83. “Eris,” she prompted with a sharp glance.
  85. “Fine. Eris,” you said. She eased back, satisfied. You walked to the far side of the room and set your backpack against the torn curly-q wallpaper. “I think we need some space to ourselves, so you can, I dunno, adjust? Last night scared the crap out of me, okay? Don't roll your eyes, I was...I didn't have fun.” She raised her eyebrow defensively. “I mean, before hand. In the streets. Okay, I was scared.” You sat on the bed and took a deep breath. “Between that and you,” you pointed to her lengthy body. “The last thing either of us need is a crowd panicking around us. That may be your bag, but for God's sake, let's try and space it out.”
  87. You shook your head. “But yeah, let's get out of here. Both of us need fresh air, someplace far away from people and tight buildings.”
  89. Her features softened. “You're right.” She turned her neck towards you and drew her wings close. “Thanks for staying with me last night and not bolting off once my skull decided to redecorate itself. I'd probably be passed out in a gutter surrounded by wrecked cars if you weren't there.” Her extended ribcage rose and fell as she breathed. Her brow raised. “Although that'd be quite a sight...”
  91. “And you didn't even drink last night.”
  93. She threw a pillow at you.
  95. “Just name a place already, you dork, or I will need a drink. Where do you want to go?” she asked.
  97. You thought. “Hm. Someplace by the ocean. Someplace sunny.
  99. “With grass? I like grass,” her voice popped at the prospect of seeing grass.
  101. “Grass is good.”
  103. Erica-Eris drew down herself and padded to the closet door. She knocked a few times on it and slinked inside, leaving the door open a crack. The tip of her tail drifted out and beckoned you close like a tassel teasing a cat.
  105. “How the hell did you fit in there?”
  107. “Magic, now shut up and come into my cave of wonders,” she echoed from within.
  109. “Didn't I do that last night?”
  111. Her tail hung in the air and for a brief moment she considered leaving you in that room. “You're a really dumb boy, you know that?”
  113. “I'm still hanging out with you, yeah I'm dumb.”
  115. “Your fault, not mine. Now c'mon! C'mon!”
  117. You went from the bed to the closet door, and edged past the threshold. Erica's lion paw closed the door. Her tail ran up your back. You felt like a kid playing hide and seek.
  119. “So what happens next?” you whispered for some reason.
  121. “I'm not sure,” she whispered back. “I've only done this once before.” She knocked on the door. “Feel like making out until something happens?”
  123. “I don't know, last time I made out with a girl she turned into a dragon-thing.”
  125. “Ooh, that's harsh. You should get that checked out.”
  127. “Probably.”
  129. “Mind, I don't think I'm a dragon,” she touched your stomach in the dark, making you jump. “Dragons eat people, right?”
  131. “Sometimes.”
  133. She snapped her jaws. Clack.
  135. The door opened. Sunlight flooded the closet.
  137. “Wow, that's bright,” she said after you both tumbled out of the closet and onto a flat spread of grass. She rubbed her eyes and snapped at the wind that blew across her wings. You stood up and blinked, trying to find out where on Earth she took you.
  139. You heard the billow of wind and the rush of waves. You stood several yards away from from a cliff that dropped out into the ocean. Rocks thrust out of the ground at irregular intervals. Grass waved in the wind at differing heights. The caw of seagulls echoed on the winds. Heady salt filled you nostrils when you took a deep breath.
  141. Erica's muzzle rested on your shoulder and tasted the air along with you. Her white hair whipped in the breeze. Your reached around and scratched her ear. Her eyes closed and she bit her lip, tilting her head towards your fingers.
  143. “ god,” she muttered. “Never stop doing that...”
  145. You continued scratching her. Her muscles melted and her wings fell across your back. “Oh....ohh...” she cooed.
  147. You stopped before it turned too weird, but wrote it down as a very important mental note for later abuse. Erica looked disappointed when you stepped away from her, leaving her to hang in the air, dopey look on her face and all.
  149. “That's not fair, guy,” she called. You shrugged and walked along the cliff face, noting the very long drop.
  151. Erica leaned over the edge, looked down, then looked up at the sea and saw who-knows-what across the horizon. “It's quiet here,” she observed. “But it's an open, natural quiet. Not a stiff, cramped quiet like at the apartment.”
  153. A bird squawked on her seaside nest. Erica opened her mouth and loosed a similar caw.
  155. “Do you know what they're saying?” you asked.
  157. Erica shrugged with her wings and pulled at bits of grass and tossed them into the wind where they blew across the water. “I guess? Normal bird stuff. They're not the brightest animals. I don't think they have much to say, really. But what about you? What do you have to say?”
  159. She dipped over the edge of the cliff and dug her claws into the rock. You watched her tread over the stone and dirt like a salamander. “I think you're showing off,” you said.
  161. “A bit, sure. Just testing, though. Just testing.”
  163. You smiled. “It's nice out here. Good breeze, good sun. I haven't seen the ocean in a long time.” You bent your knees and picked up a thumb-sized rock and tested its weight.
  165. “Was the last time know?” Erica asked.
  167. You nodded and threw the stone into the sea. She watched the rock sail downwards and make a puttering splash in the water.
  169. “That was a really bad throw,” she said. You heard a quick whistle and the wet rock thudded into your chest. “Try again.”
  171. You popped your shoulder. “Miss Critical here,” you sneered. You wound your arm back and made a throw for all it was worth. It flew some ways further and hit the water with an unimpressive plip. “It's the wind,” you explained, “It's blowing the wrong way, messes up my throw.” Erica's bright eyes didn't move.
  173. The wind eased back, bit by bit. Your shirt stopped flapping. “Did you, uh...” you waved a finger in the air.
  175. “Yes. I did.” You caught the rock as it flew out from the ocean again, trailing water. “Walk the walk,” she teased.
  177. “Christ,” you muttered. “There's no leaving well enough alone with you.” She laughed and clung to the rocks.
  179. You threw the rock for a third time with as much juice as could be mustered. It flew straighter, but not so far as to impress any baseball fans. You beamed.
  181. “Woo, think I pulled a muscle there. Hot dog, what a toss.” You sat down, legs dangling over the edge. You looked down from your high vantage point and saw the stubborn plants that clung to the rough, jagged earth jutting out from the ocean. Birds nested on a few of them.
  183. “Forgive me,” you intoned, “If my throws don't go past the stratosphere.”
  185. Erica circled around you. Her tail fluttered in the wind and she crossed her arms, laying on her stomach. Her head leaned against you. You clasped your hands together.
  187. “What did you do to that guy anyway?” you asked in all seriousness.
  189. She looked at you with a slow movement that made her antlers look ponderous. “I sent him away,” she explained.
  191. “Sent him where?” you pressed. “Did you kill him?”
  193. “Of course not,” she added, thinking you were being dramatic. “That would be too easy for him. I don't know where he is. Somewhere far. Exotic. Pretty sure they don't speak english there.”
  195. You rested your elbows on your knees. “Could you bring him back, if you wanted to?”
  197. She thought. “If I felt it was pressing enough. With some time, I don't see why not. But you could say that for anybody. As is, I don't care where he landed. Why do you care?”
  199. “It just seems a bit extreme, don't you think? Neither of us got hurt, you could've just knocked him out and tossed him in front of a police station or, something.” You sniffed. “Not that I feel ungrateful. I almost pissed myself.”
  201. She blew a raspberry. “You're way nicer than I am,” she said severely. “He tried to hurt you. Why would I want to go easy on him? This'll probably work out better for the bastard in the long run.”
  203. “How's that?”
  205. She ran her talons across her paw and touched at the space between her pads. “Well, for starts, he spent half the night creeping around a slimy back alley waiting to stick a knife in people's necks. And who knows how long he's been at that. Do you think he was happy with a mugger's lot in life? Things have not been good for him.”
  207. “Second...yeah, I could've smacked him silly, tied him up and left him for the cops, but that's no good for anyone. Then he'd be in jail, and that'll only make things worse for him -sitting in a cell all day, looking at a wall. That's way too boring. It's a total dead-end. No. I like my way better. I gave him the gift of relocation to some far off and exciting place where he can either sink or swim. A fresh start at life where nobody knows his name or past grievances. If he's smart, he'll make different choices and be just fine, and if not...well, other people don't hand out chances like me.”
  209. Her voice dropped. “And third. Third. He almost hurt you.” Her tail curled around your bicep. “I'm half-surprised I didn't break his neck then and there. You said you don't want to see me hurt. Well, I want to see you safe too. After all, you drove all the way to an ice cream shop you didn't even know closed down, you're such a dummy!”
  211. You blushed, having no defense for that one.
  213. “But that does take some balls. I like that.” Her fur rippled over you and she kissed your cheek. You closed your eyes and returned the kiss. Your hands wandered across her snout. “I'm not a dog,” she muttered, but didn't stop you. She blushed beneath her fur.
  215. You stroked the subtle coloration of her fur and felt the bone structure beneath her skin. You touched under her chin, across her dark eyes and ears and thick threads of her curly hair. You closed your eyes and kissed the black lips of her muzzle. Your tongue entered her mouth and touched the pointed tips of her teeth. Her dexterous tongue brushed over yours. She felt real. She tasted real.
  217. “Is this helping?” her lips moved against yours. “Is this going to take a while to get used to?”
  219. “Maybe not as much as I thought at first.”
  221. “I'm sorry about last night,” she said, her mouth dancing around your lips. “I'm sorry about this, but thank you for letting me bring it out.”
  223. You laid down, legs still hanging off the edge of the world. Erica hugged you for warmth, funny as she was so hot, as the wind picked back up. Her wings filled with air and lifted with the half-purpose of sheets on a clothesline while the two of you touched each other on the grass with no particular purpose.
  225. Erica directed your hands across her length and slowly grinded against you. She liked her new body. Most of the day could easily be spent exploring it.
  227. For a moment, flashing, but powerful, you wondered what it would be like to have Erica laying with you instead of 'Eris.'
  229. “Something wrong?” she asked.
  231. The wind hiked up more and her wings fanned out wide. The feathers shook and her taught skin billowed, taking her into the air.
  233. “Oops,” she said as her mouth drew off you. She giggled as she angled her wing this way and that to hover several feet over the cliff and above the sea. The clear image of a Chinese kite came to mind as her snakelike body and tail swam through the wind.
  235. You sat back on your knees and couldn't help but smile at the joy bubbling inside of her.
  237. “I can fly,” she smiled. “This should be lame, but I don't care. Should I kick the breeze up some more?”
  239. A cold gush went across your back. Your hands dug into the ground. “Take you by surprise there? Sure would suck if-”
  241. A vicious gale swept over the seaside plane and blew you over the edge. Your stomach dropped, as did everything else.
  243. Erica closed her wings to her body and zipped down. She coiled around you midair as you shouted the same surprised curse word over and over while your eyes bugged out at a rocky ocean scape that rushed towards you far too fast.
  245. She spiraled the two of you into a clear patch of sea that threw up great bubbles and thrushes of water upon dunking. You opened your eyes and saw sunlight wobble and bend through the water's surface. Sea water burned your eyes. Bubbles foamed upwards. You saw a long, dark thing slither through the water like a sea serpent. Wings rushed like blotches of ink. You kicked and struggled to the surface, chest burning and eyes feeling fit to pop out of your skull.
  247. You broke past the ocean, feeling sick and thirsty for air. You coughed up seawater and held you thumping head.
  249. “Erica,” you gasped when she surfaced, laughing. “Was that on purpose?”
  251. “Eris,” she said. “And calm down.” She filled her mouth with water and shot a spout over your head. “You're fine.”
  253. “Fuck, that wasn't fun,” you spat. Your skull lurched. You paddled and looked for something to grab onto in vain. The waves were growing rough.
  255. “You know lots of people run over sea cliffs for fun,” she said while calmly bobbing in the water. She hooked her tail under your arms for support. “I mean, really, don't tell me you didn't see us winding up down here.”
  257. You rubbed salt from your eyes. Her hair hung around her shoulder, glistening sea water. “I wouldn't let you drown, I promise. Even if it was stormy. Like this.”
  259. The sky inverted itself. Clouds kneaded themselves from the blue plain above and turned dark and grumbled in anger. The wind howled along the rocks and spraying waves.
  261. “Eric- Eris,” you said, looking at the billowing clouds and choppy waters with uncertainty. Water flooded into your mouth which you swallowed.
  263. “Thank you.”
  265. “Let's just...go back up there, okay.”
  267. She looked down. “Why? It's just water.” She splashed you. “Don't be scared.”
  269. Thunder rocked the sky.
  271. “Ah, that was nice.”
  273. The waves made you feel dizzy. “Eris, please.”
  275. Her brow furrowed and her teeth flashed. “Christ, can you go five minutes without acting like a baby when I do something flashy?”
  277. You responded, but she cut you off before starting.
  279. “No, don't say anything. You liked it well enough when sticking your tongue into me or getting your dick wet, huh?” She jerked her tail away and left you to splash in the rough ocean. “Selfish.”
  281. Your head dunked underwater from a spasm of current. “Dammit, if we're going to argue can we do it on dry land?”
  283. She dove and grabbed you by the elbow. She rocketed into the air with little regard for you shoulder and dropped you on the ground without ceremony.
  285. Rain fell. So much for dry land. Her eyes lit with agitation as she shook the water from her mane. You stretched the pain from your shoulder socket.
  287. “Alright, solid ground. Happy?” She stomped the ground with her hind leg. Lightning flashed nearby.
  289. You shook water off your face and asked “Why the mood swing?”
  291. “The whole reason for coming out here was to let me have some stretching room. Look at me,” her wings shot out, “Look at me. Do you think I'm going to take it easy like this? That I can afford to? I can't just-” She shook her head, blinking, “Can't play it safe because it makes you nervous. I need to know what I can do.” Her tail whipped in wild circles. You heard a low hum.
  293. “Don't treat me like a rag doll to splash around with.”
  295. “You can walk back through that door if you're going to keep soiling your undies,” she spat.
  297. You turned and saw that free-standing frame whose door flapped open and close in the wind. You step toward it, stopped, stepped back towards Eris, and groaned. “Dammit, don't you get it? I can't just -leave- you.”
  299. “How's that?”
  301. “How do I know you'll come back? How will I know you'll be alright?”
  303. She growled and bounded towards you like a jaguar, throwing streams of water off her wings and claws. “Get this through your stupid round head: I'm going to be great. I'm freaking peachy. I'm at the top of the world right now, it's you, you” she stressed, “that I'm worried about.”
  305. You laughed. Hard. “You're gonna have to explain that.” Her horns whined across the cliffs.
  307. “Look at you,” she cried. “You came halfway across the country to some crappy city to a crappy shut down ice cream shop,” her jaw hung open in disbelief. “All because you wanted to catch some long gone moment of your past in a bid to get your life back on track. Do you know how insane that sounds to me? You go hunting for ghosts and when I showed them to you, you have a seizure.”
  309. Her anger turned to sadness on a dime. “Going back there was the last thing on Earth you needed.” She ran her thick paw through her soaked hair. “I'm trying to-” she closed her eyes and her nostrils flared. “I swear to God, I'm trying to show you different things until I can figure out what you need, but dammit you're hard to pin, and honest to God, I can't understand why I'm trying.”
  311. You blinked as cold water ran down your forehead. “What I need?” You looked up at the dirty, angry clouds. “I need dry clothes and something to eat,” you muttered. “Or is that too plain for you?”
  313. She deflated and looked at the ground. “It is. But I'm not having fun anymore. Let's leave.” She tread past you, kicking up water between her paws.
  315. You walked to the door, but told yourself you weren't following her. Mud squelched beneath your shoes.
  317. She leaned against the frame standing in the middle of the seaside. “You first,” she said. “So I won't be tempted to make the door disappear when I go.”
  319. You entered in silence. Eris shoved you aside when she entered and closed and opened the door back into that musty, dirty room that smelled like dirty laundry and dust. The walls seemed to creak with pressurized frustration.
  321. The two of you stood on opposite ends of the room, stewing in your agitation, trying to parse them into a manageable size. You shivered, feeling like a washrag.
  323. “This is a lot for both of us,” you ventured. “We're not feeling horny, so, I guess...I guess we're both...crashing into the emotion and reality of the situation. I don't know the right way to grip this.”
  325. “Maybe there isn't a right way,” she replied.
  327. “Probably not,” you admitted. “I don't want to imagine how you feel. How can you not be scared?”
  329. “Never said I wasn't,” said Eris with her face towards the wall.
  331. You looked at her. Her hips and legs were slumped against the floor. She let the water drop from her wingtips and low-slung chin. You both looked miserable.
  333. “I'm tired,” you said. “Sorry to say that, but I'm not as special as you. Just flesh and blood here.”
  335. She let her shoulders go slack. “No, I understand. Swimming tuckers me out, too.” The sky outside was showing late afternoon. You didn't know how her trick played with time, but you weren't going to question it.
  337. You sogged onto the bed like a swamp monster. “I'm going to take a nap,” you said with a plainess that sounded ridiculous in your ears. You kicked off your shoes and stared at the warped floorboards without comment. Behind you was the movement of fur and scales.
  339. “I'm going outside. I won't cause a scene,” she lied.
  341. You didn't comment, only saying “Be careful.”
  343. For a moment you considered stopping her, but that seemed a fruitless endeavor. Both of your minds were far outside of the current moment and place and rationality.
  345. Besides, a little space between the two of you seemed necessary. Very necessary. You were on the verge of losing your mind, but against all reason she was likely the only thing keeping you sane. But still. Too much time together was too much time together. And she'll be fine, after all. Completely fine. Nothing to worry about. She kept saying so herself.
  347. “Hey,” she said, soft as silk, weighted with concern.
  349. “Hm?”
  351. “Don't hang out in here all day. It's not good to be in this place alone. Get outside for a bit. Walk around.”
  353. “Sure. I can do that,” you said from someplace else.
  355. Her claws clacked on the floor while she thought to herself before leaving the room. The staircase creaked under her weight. The door to the back alley opened and closed.
  357. You closed your eyes and left the world, seeking a bit of oblivion because you knew things were only going to get worse.
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