Balancing Act“Come on Bert, it needs to stop!” He snapped, glaring at the man amid the burning crimson mist.The black haired young man grinned and shrugged, “It’s not a habit, relax. Honestly, you’re making it sound like I’ve missed a week’s sleep or something. I just got distracted, no biggy!”“No, look, I’m going to be exhausted all day during work because of this. How hard is it to ask you sleep your half? Four hours, three at least, it’s not much to ask.” He grimaced, the exact double of the other one, down to the hairs on his head.“Why aren’t you sleeping just now then, Rob? If you’re such a big fan of it, why drag me into our head and waste time?” He smiled, hands spread out, “For that matter, what’s our body doing just now without a mind?”“Resting.” Rob muttered bitterly and spread out his hands, red mist gathering there, collecting into a thickly bound book with a
Emergence 10. Halloween (tf)The world looked like a map, scattered far below, every route of road and track evident to her amber eyes. The town looked strange, she hadn’t seen how grey the roofs were from below, but from here it was a grey splodge, the edges wobbly and haphazard, growing greener and greener until it joined fields and farmland. She could even pick out tiny people walking in it, and Karen banked, catching a gust of air to propel herself further towards the forest. She still wasn’t sure if she liked being seen in this body, people had already made the link to her human form, but… but it was a lot of fun to show off. They couldn’t fly, and she could.The gryphon beat her stormy wings downwards to rise higher again, and glanced westwards for a second to watch the sun descend below the horizon. The orange ball was leaving her sky, and she felt a cold gust push her down slightly with dread touching her mind. What would winter be like? She knew beyond a doubt she wanted to fly mo
Emergence 9. Holidays End (tf)“Sorry, but that just looks weird. The pair of you are creepy together.”Karen glanced sidelong at Maddie, meeting her nevous green eyes, and scowled. It was true, her veiled form has similar eyes, and her hair looked to end up the same shade of blonde. Their builds still differed though, Karen remained a tiny bit taller and broader, “Well, seeing as I’m bald, it shouldn’t be that hard to tell us apart.”“But still, you’re really similar, you both even went for skirts.” Lorcan pointed out, hand sweeping over his messy dark brown hair as they walked through the corridors of the school. A few other kids and pupils glanced at the three unfamiliar faces, but they ignored them, and kept chatting.“They’re easier to shift in.” Maddie said quietly, she still seemed terrified to learn Karen was the gryphon, “Don’t need to worry about trouser legs.”“Yeah, I wrecked another set of clothes last night.
Emergence 8. Day Off (tf)“Are we done yet?” She sighed, hands twiddling with a dirty rubber ball she had smuggled out.Doctor Morris looked at her over the tablet, his lean face somewhat lined, hair greying. “Ah, don’t you have any patience Karen? Yes, I’m done.”She froze, “Seriously?”“No, I was being sarcastic.”“Aw, come on!”“That was a joke, I am actually done.” He chuckled, one finger stroking the tablet, “Would you like to see?”“Yeah,” She nodded and leaned forward on the floor, taking the slim screen from his weathered hands, and glancing at the top. There were three pictures there, the first of a familiar face with black hair around it, hazel eyes staring at the camera with a small smile. Then there was a picture of a gryphon, dark grey with her wings spread out, talons set on the floor, looking at the camera in surprise. He hadn’t given her any warning for that picture, she hadn’t
Emergence 7. Morning After (tf)“When you feel overwhelmed, go away somewhere and calm down and take it all in.” He had said, bent on one knee so that his big face was level with her small one. She had chewed her lip nervously and wrung her hands, glancing over his shoulder towards the building, with its high windows and crowds of big noisy children around it. So many, talking and walking and playing, all so much bigger than her like she was to the baby. She had asked if she could go back home now and take it all in, and he had laughed and shook his head and told her she’d be fine.Her feet tore up the ground with huge, clumsy paces, the black scaly talons first, gripping too much and slick with blood, and then her hind feet, feline paws filled with muscle. She barely swept around and tree and tucked her black feathered wings closer to their shoulders, hating the dark enclosed forest bitterly. There was no space here, no space to spread her wings, she had to run, run away, and get away, as fa
Emergence 6. Ruined Sleep (tf)“Come on, it’s a cool idea.” The tan skinned teenager exclaimed, smiling earnestly.Karen punched him lightly on the chest and shook her head, black hair swinging wildly “No! No it’s not, Lorcan, I thought one of the points was for people to be in their real forms, why would we use veil!? It’d just freak everyone out. There’ll be young kids too.”“Ah, you managed alright, young ones are better at taking it in than adults. This crowd’ll deal with it.” He argued. “Plus it’d give me a bit of experience, I’ve been just making human disguise veils all week. With the dragons around that’s easy, I want a challenge.”“Well, challenge yourself then. Don’t you sell the human veils anyway? You’re basically working, getting money doing that.” She said firmly. “If you find it’s easy, then that’s good, loads of people get lumped with jobs they hate.”“
Emergence 5. Eldest Wings (tf)The chatter and muttering was a sea of noise, flowing and ebbing around her, but Karen couldn’t make any of the words or voices out. There were too many. Old woman gossiping, grandfathers holding the newest generation aloft, and mothers catching up. Busy, stressed looking men shared their valuable opinions and ignored each other’s, while teenagers like her speculated and wondered, building theories. Theories about the non-humans, about the mystical and the magical, tall tales, dark stories and empty boasts.She stood a little aside from the crowd, feeling like an island. She felt too off to talk to the classmates she did see, withdrawn. Unlike them, she knew most of the truth, how the beings could use a potion, Veil, the shapeshift to human form, to blend in. She’d seen dragons, snakepeople, goblins, monstrous furry creatures, kitsunes, and wizards, the people around her knew almost nothing. But she kept waiting quietly for some reason.A hush ran through the crowd as
Emergence 4. High Noon (tf)“Hey! Karen, get up!” Ollie yelled and shoved at her bed, jolting the fifteen year old awake.She huffed and sat up, brushing jet black hair away from her eyes to glare at him with sharp eyes, “What is it!? It’s Saturday in case you forgot. Sa-tur-day.”“I know what day it is, I’m eleven, not three.” He said and jerked a hand over his shoulder, “Anyway, Mum and Dad told me to wake you, they’re acting weird and they want to talk or something.”“Did you tell them we weren’t in school?” Karen asked quickly, climbing out of bed, it would be just like him to give that away and get her in trouble.“No, of course not.” He snorted, walking out in front of her, “It’s a letter or something.”Their parents were sitting at the kitchen table downstairs, their father, big and bulky with receding brown hair, and their mother, thinner and slender with dark black hair, a few greys appearing