LLLuu Jul 7th, 2016 3,522 Never
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- Today smelled of rain, the clouds above seemed to think the same as they slowly moved across town. I looked away from the window, back to my plate of eggs. Chewing slowly, I had time to reflect on my recent move. I grew up on the other side of the country, living in a small farm town with a whopping population of 278. The graduating class was just 14 people. My move was out of an urge to see something more than just a one light main street, and 3 family owned stores. So I picked up what little I owned and left everything I knew, going to the big city. Not just any big city though, it really was THE big city. Crossroad City, home to anyone who was trying to be someone. I moved there for college, taking basic classes to buy time while I tried to figure out what to do with my life. It was culture shock for sure. I’d never even seen a monster girl in person until the move.
- My life at university was going to be quite interesting then, as over half the population there were monster girls. I thumbed through my leaflet I had received in the mail, absorbing random facts and statistics about the school as I finished my breakfast. The library they boasted was staggering in size. I couldn’t help but get giddy at the thought of it. Maybe I would go to the orientation tonight, just for the chance to see it early. The rest of my day was filled with trepidation. Could I really deal with seeing so many people? So many foreign faces and species? I went back and forth all day, before finally deciding it was better to do it sooner rather than later. As evening drew closer, the clouds above held onto their rain.
- When I arrived at orientation, the hall was filled with the sounds of different feet, voices, inflections, and laughing. It took everything I had not to freeze up, seeing more people than I ever had in my life. The quiet roar of the hall filled my head, reverberating through my thoughts. I’d seen videos, I’d seen tv, but nothing I ever knew could have prepared me for this. Small town had never applied to someone better than me right now. I skirted along the wall of the auditorium, keeping my head low, and trying to find a quieter spot than the entrance. The smell in here was staggering, like a spice market. I could pick out honey, nutmeg, cinnamon and others I had no name for. I finally managed to find a seat near the right of the stage, wedging myself in a nice alcove.
- The minutes passed by as the auditorium filled, more and more voices adding to the collective drone. Across the hall, the headmistress strode out from behind the curtain, her spadetail curling around the bottom of her rear, adding a few more inches to her pencil skirt. Those that saw her moved to seating, those that didn’t moved as she tapped the microphone, cutting through the chatter like a blade. Her curt nod of acknowledgment spoke volumes more than had she used her voice. The clutter of noise died down fast, as all walks of life took seat. I felt something bump into me, and as I looked up I was greeted with the sight of what I thought was a Basilisk. I’d seen one on tv once, as a child. The heroes of the movie kept trying to run from her gaze. I looked to her face, only to see a mask affixed over the top two thirds. From behind it, I could see her obsidian hair pulled back in a tight ponytail, a few strands hanging loosely over her bladed ears. My eyes trailed lower, her school uniform was baggy, a plain white sailor uniform two sizes too big, the sleeves hanging past her hands. Her skirt was on crooked, exposing a few bluish red scales that looked...oddly enticing. She moved toward me without hesitation, only stopping as she bumped into me.
- “Oh, I didn’t know anyone was here. Sorry, sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
- She was bowing repeatedly, her hair bouncing up and down. As she moved, her mask fell from her face and clattered to the floor. She let out a yelp, pushing her arm over her eyes and quickly falling to the floor, her other hand outstretched, moving in rapid circles as she tried to find her mask. I looked at her in slight wonder, unsure of what to do. I could see what I thought were the arms of glasses, hung over her ears. I was moved from my thoughts as her head bumped into my knee roughly, her voice squeaking out once more as she moved her searching hand to the top of head, rubbing it tenderly.
- “Sorry, sorry, I just need my mask, and your knee is sharp and I don’t know where it went..”
- Her voice trailed off as she her tail coiled around her, a slight sniffing emanating from behind her sleeve. Stunned, I quickly moved to grab the mask from between my feet. I moved too fast, a sharp pain spreading out from my head.
- “Owwwww! You didn’t need to hit me!”
- In my rush I had headbutted her, stars flashing across my vision from the unexpected impact. I grabbed the mask quickly, my free hand moving to the top of my head. What a sight we must make, off in the corner of the stage bumbling about.
- “I’m sorry, I was trying to get your mask and I hit your head with mine”
- I don’t know if she heard me, as she was sniffling louder now. I gently lifted her hand from the top of her head, placing the mask in her palm. Her breath hitched, and she sniffed loudly.
- “T-thank you…”
- She looked down at the floor, removing her sleeve from her face and sitting her mask back over her face. She looked back up, if her blocked gaze could be called looking. She moved past, me trying to slither away with some dignity from the way her shoulders were held, only to move right into the wall, a dull clang echoing from her mask. She dropped to what I could only describe as her ‘knees’, hunching over and holding her sleeves over her face.
- “Just leave me here. I’m going to curl up and die”
- The sniffing noise drifted towards me again, louder now. I moved to get up, only to hear a slight cough from the speakers. I was so caught up in the girl and her troubles I forgot about the headmistress. I looked up, only to see the entirety of the auditorium looking at me, headmistress included. Slight snickers emanated from various areas, and the headmistress was lightly tapping her heel. She drew the attention back to herself quickly, her voice like silk over my ears. It was smooth like chocolate, yet hot like a pepper. Each vowel sounded as though it took years to form, each consonant enunciated with all the care one would use for a lover. I couldn’t even focus on her words, just drifted through the sounds. It was intoxicating to say the least.
- The clatter of feet greeted my ears harshly, knocking me from my stupor. The rest of the students were standing, their voices returning to the low roar that had greeted me at the start. A few pointed towards me, a group of Oni’s looked at me like predators. I looked to the floor, trying to find anything else to focus on. As if I had headbutted her again the thought of the Basilisk hit me. I turned around, searching for her figure in the alcove of the wall only to be greeted with the floor. I grabbed my bag, moving slowly towards where she was. At my feet were a few wet spots, tear drops that had slid from behind her mask. I looked to the wall, and noticed the thin line in the paneling. There was a door here!
- I pushed on it lightly, and it swung open on oiled hinges. Inside, the hallway was lit with a low lighting, various instruments and boxes lining the walls. I moved inside carefully, closing the door behind me and slinging my bag over my shoulder. I could hear faint moans coming from the farthest wall from me, two figures bent over each other moving in vague motions. I looked at the floor as I stepped towards them, turning off to the right and up the stairs that ended with a set of double doors. I set my shoulder against the right one, pushing it open as I walked into, and I was greeted with a side hall, small groups of lockers lining the walls.
- I wasn’t sure where the Basilisk, or girl had gone. Should I call her a girl or a Basilisk?
- It didn’t matter really. I doubt I’d see her again. I looked towards the ceiling, the sign above listing various locations with an arrow pointing in every which way. The words Library were scrawled out in flowing font, the arrow pointing behind me. I turned around, greeted with a set of doors that lead out onto the campus. I adjusted my bag, setting off once more into the unknown. The night air was cold, the clouds above fit to burst with rain. The headmistresses speech must have taken longer than I thought, the ornate gas lamps along the sidewalk flickering to life. The autumn breeze caressed my cheek, crisp and sharp.
- The signs set into the hedges pointed to the massive building ahead, a triple story monster of elegant engineering curves and pillars. The front door was much less imposing, a simple wooden feature, the knob worn smooth over years of use. The air inside was musty, in a good way. I’d always loved the smell of books, especially old ones. It reminded me of the times I visited my grandmother, and played inside her study. The foyer was open, a simple desk set to one side, rows of monitors and stacks of paper adorning its top. A sign hung out towards the door, proclaiming that everyone should enjoy the library for orientation, but no fluids were allowed near the books. I paused, thinking of the odd wording before moving inwards, rows and rows of shelves towering well above my head. The carpet beneath my feet was worn yet still soft, a good two inches of deep wine red fabric.
- Upon each shelf was a sign, denoting the genre and last names of authors. The lettering was faded, but still elegant and flowing. They clearly spared no expense here. I wandered through the shelves, in a world of my own, as it seemed not a single person from the auditorium had come here. I remembered hearing something about a party in one of the dorms, and figured most people would be going there. Still, it was oddly empty in here, the soft yellow lighting casting shadows that danced across the carpet. I moved further in, finding an ornate staircase that spiraled up around a pillar. A chain and sign hung limply on the left side, the clear proclamation of DO NOT CROSS having been cast aside.I moved up the stairs, the railing passing under my right hand as I circled higher into the air.
- I had to duck slightly to make it up to the second floor landing, it being just a bit too cramped. The layout of the second floor was much the same as the first, though the smell up here was much more cloying. These books were clearly old, the spines that faced outwards showing signs of wear, abuse, and age. I followed wherever my feet took me, moving through the room without care, getting lost in it’s space. I saw authors I recognized, others I didn’t. Some of the books were in foreign languages, different alphabets and characters imposed on their spines. Some of the books made my head swim just to look at, their shapes shifting and rotating as if they were trying to escape the very space they occupied. They gave off pungent smells, some of them sharp like ozone, others a rich cream.
- My head was in a haze, and I didn’t notice the next staircase until I walked into it. The steps of this one were much dustier, though it seemed as though someone had went upstairs recently. I followed suit, my shoes moving through the path that was cleared in the dust. My hand moved to the railing as it had before, lightly gliding along the smooth stone. The landing here was even more cramped than the last, my backpack catching on the edge as I bent under it. The smell up here was lighter than the floor below, a cool breeze moving down the center aisle, likely from the set of stairs at the far end. Odd, I didn’t remember seeing a fourth floor. I moved with a purpose finally, striding through the aisle, rows of shelves to either side. The length of the room was starting to set in, as it seemed like ages before I reached the stairs. A few leaves sat at the base of it, the cool night air making them dance across the floor. I stepped onto the stairs, looking upwards.
- The landing here was more open than the others, allowing me to see the glass dome that arched into and out of view. I stepped onto the stone floor, looking out at the stars that had begun to shine. It was beautiful up here, as if it was a whole other world above the ground. I heard a sniff, someone breathing in through their nose roughly. I turned to look at the far side of the dome, the familiar outline of the Basilisk from earlier silhouetted by the now rising moon. Her hair moved gently in the breeze, her face pointed towards the sky. I noticed the mask sitting beside her, sitting atop a blue backpack. I hadn’t the feathers before, beautiful purples and blues, bright tufts of orange scattered amongst them. They looked soft, as they waved with the wind.
- I moved towards her, while I looked at every inch of her. Her tail looked so smooth, even in the low light it gleamed a bright blue. It must have been a good six feet long, tapering out from her waist, coiled over itself multiple times. The feathers at the end swished idly side to side, to and fro with the breeze. I moved up beside her, looking out the open window into the night sky.
- “Beautiful isn’t it?” I asked casually
- Her voice was as smooth as her scales looked, ringing out piercingly into the dark.
- “It really is, especially when I can see it.”
- I caught a glimpse of the side of her face, her skin looking even paler in the moon, as if her hair was the darkness itself. Light freckles dotted her cheek, what little of her lips I could see were turned in a smile, as if in wonder. In a moment this changed, as if the fact someone had spoke dawned on her. She let out a gasp, dropping to the ground and covering her face, her shirt sleeves slipping down her slender arms.
- “What are you doing up here?! Did you follow me?! Please don’t make fun of me!”
- I could hear her begin to sniffle already, a tear rolling down the side of her face I could see. I felt awful, to see such beauty cry. I quickly reached over her, grabbing her mask, the metal rasping over the stone. I knelt next to her, setting the mask atop her head, pulling my hand away as hers darted to grab it, affixing it sloppily over her glasses.
- “Thank you…”
- Her voice was soft, almost a mumble, and it trembled in the night air like a thin wire now.
- She moved her sleeves back over her hands, stuffing them under the mask to weakly wipe away her tears. She stood up slowly, before finally looking at me. Well, as best she could under the mask.
- “Are you the guy from earlier?” She asked in a whisper
- “I am. My name’s Anon.”
- “Did you come to yell at me for making everyone laugh?” Her voice faltered halfway through, the last part coming out as a choked squeak.
- “Why would I do that? It was just an accident.” I replied.
- “Everyone always laughs, because of this stupid mask.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest as if to illustrate her point.
- “I just came to see the library, I didn’t know you were here. Besides, it was just an accident, nothing more.”
- The relief was visible in her body, as she became just a bit less tense, her shoulders drooping slightly. She cast her face towards the ground, one of her hands fumbling towards her bag. When she grabbed it, she clutched it over her chest, as if to shield herself from me.
- When she finally spoke, it was so quiet the breeze could have taken it.
- “Can you please go? Or just go to the other side of the room. I want to look at the sky…”
- Her voice trailed off, her lips trembling as she stood before me.
- I was stunned. I wasn’t sure how to respond at all. Her lips continued to quiver, her sleeve covered hands tightening over the backpack, pulling it closer against herself.
- “Can you go or not? If you can’t I will!” Her voice was almost shrill at this point, the effort she was putting into sounding tough was palpable.
- I stuttered out something, tripping over my words, before my gut clenched into a knot. I moved from home to see the world, and here was a beautiful girl who was nearly in tears because she couldn’t see the sky. I moved quickly, lifting the mask from her face and turning in the same motion, setting it over my face and moving the darkness into place. It smelled sweet and flowery, like rose petals or lilac. I heard her gasp, at first in anger and then in wonder. I could only wait and listen for a response. I just hoped I hadn’t gone too far.
- After what seemed like hours, she finally found her voice. It was much smoother than before, but no less quiet.
- “You’re Anon right? That’s what you said your name was?”
- I nodded in response, the mask holding tight against my face. I wish I could see what she looked like right now, and I began to wonder what color her eyes were. Her voice pulled me back from my thoughts.
- “Thank you Anon.”
- It was a simple response, and she said nothing more for a time. The silence was broken only by the light patter of rain beginning to fall against the glass roof above. The darkness was overwhelming, but the smell was so wonderful. I heard her shift slightly, heard the creak of the window as it was opened more.
- Suddenly I felt a covered hand gently wrap around mine, pulling me forward. Her voice was more confident, and the sound of it danced with the drops of rain in the air, a crystal note bouncing off every drop.
- “Trust me Anon, let me guide you.”
- I moved slowly, unsure, shuffling my feet until they hit the edge of the glass in front of me. I could feel the ledge from the open window pressing against my thighs, a soft hand moving to grab my other that wasn’t already taken. The girl gently pulled me forward, slowly, to give me time to awkwardly move over the ledge and onto the roof.
- The rain greeted me, drops falling atop my head and shoulders, the darkness of the mask blocking any others. Her hands fell away from mine, and I let my arms swing back to my sides. I moved my head upwards, looking towards a sky I couldn’t see.
- “They’re so bright tonight. Perseus and Andromeda especially.”
- Her voice was soft like velvet, any trace of doubt or fear gone. She continued on, narrating what she saw in the night sky, pointing out various terms and phenomena I had no understanding of. I nodded, and I think that made her happy. She continued on, her voice and the rain the only constant in the dark.
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