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the day you came
Lee woke up with a start. His breathing short, raspy, and fast. Lee looked around and pulled a hand through his damp, dark brown hair. ‘Just a dream…’ since he was up he knew that he wouldn’t fall back asleep. Lee sat at the edge of his bed and stood up. Walking to the mirror his dad built, he looked himself up and down and sighed.
His green eyes sparkled; the dull light filtering in through the window next to the mirror. His dark brown hair was a mess as he had been sleeping. The stained tanktop and black sweatpants were hanging loosely on his body. Lee was skinny, about one hundred and twenty three pounds. He was around four feet six inches tall.
Turning on the lamp that was on his bedside table, Lee sighed. The light reflected a dull light around the room keeping the far corners as dark as midnight. Pondering what to do, he grabbed a book and sniffed it. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, a classic book to read.’ He started to read it and went on for a couple of minutes before he gave up, restless energy built up inside of him. He suddenly realized that he had forgotten to check to see what time it was.
His clock on the bedside table blared in faint glowing red numbers 2:52 a.m. He sighed and mumbled in a tired voice, “Only three hours of sleep tonight.” He heard footsteps and quick as a flash turned his lamp off. Turning to face away from the door he faked being asleep. ‘I forgot dad has good hearing.’ The door opened and he guessed his father was staring at his back. After a couple of minutes, the door creaked closed and the footsteps went to his parents bedroom.
Lee quietly hummed and went back to reading his book. He hated that he had bad nightmares. Barely getting sleep when he did have them. He was constantly teased and bullied because he always looked tired. He sighed and gave up on reading, setting the book down, he went and grabbed a jacket then cautiously he started to open his window listening for the sound of footsteps. Opening it the rest of the way, he slipped out. Closing it he walked into the forest.
The forest was big, covering a good chunk of the continent. That's where the creatures lived though. Lee yawned and rubbed his eyes, starting to feel tiredness take grip of his body. He went a small ways down a path before a clearing was present in the forest. He went to a tree that was on his side of a stream. Gracefully climbing it, he smiled and sat up in the tree. He felt safe in the trees being able to see in all directions for miles to go; it was also comforting to him.
Lee whistled a short melody into the night; knowing it would do nothing as he did that quite often. Whistling some more he noticed a pair of silver eyes watching what he did. Waving in the direction of the eyes, Lee started to climb down from the tree. He noticed a teenage female with light brown hair. Deer like ears, wait no, those were deer ears! It was Peach who was staring at him.
His trusty friend, Peach was a half human half deer hybrid. A Doma to be correct. Like the Centaurs that roam the forest, Doma’s also inhabit a good portion of the forest, living in village-like groups. Also like Centaurs, Domas lower half is that of a deer. Their upper half is human, but with the addition of deer features. Males have antlers and both male and females have smaller lower halves, deer ears and noses. Their hair normally matches their fur coat, based on what kind of deer they are.
Peach was a common forest deer, her fur and hair were a light brown. Her nose was tinted black and freckles splashed on her face and arms. Her brown skin helped her blend into the forest quite well. Peaches silver eyes always gave her away though. “One day you won't see me coming!” she declared as Lee walked down to the side of the stream.
“I dunno Peach, terrifying silver eyes looking at me through the tree,.” the boy mocked terror. Peach crossed her arms and walked to the edge of the stream. Lee was there at the edge. The stream marked the edge of Doma territory that the government gave them for this area, thousands of years ago. The folks that lived in this forest didn’t have equal rights as humans after all.
“One day when I grow up I’m going to live on your side of the stream and then we’ll see how scary I am then,” she declared. That remark got a giggle out of Lee. As childish and different the pair was, they were the best of friends. Lee would get even more bullied for being friends with such a foul creature, but he tried to ignore it. Another cause of his nightmares. Someone hunting or killing his best friend. He walked as far as he could without getting wet and held out a hand.
“It's a deal then. When you live over here you have one big chance to scare me,” Peach smiled mischievously and took his hand.1
“It’s a deal then. No backing out when I move over.” A deep bellow echoed across the meadow and Peach looked alert. Lee recognized it as the stray Centaur who lived in a part of the meadow. Peach sighed but still looked shaken. “Don’t worry it's just Catarus. There's probably some unusually shaped rock on his land he doesn’t remember being there.” Peach nodded to confirm her words and actions.
Lee knew none of the Centaur language but knew it consisted of roars, grunts, snorts, stomps, and huffs. “I don’t know, maybe we should go and check it out just in case.” Peach knew that maybe Lee was right and she started off.
“I don’t think that it was about that anyways. I have a creepy feeling about whatever it was.” Lee looked around for a decent stick while Peach was talking and nodded. He found one and grabbed some dry moss, tying it around the stick. He lit it with a lighter and he now had a sort of weapon. ‘Fights for territory are common in Centaurs but I don’t think it was that. The level of distress he was in. If only I had been closer to hear what he said.’ Peach became a little aware that she was putting her friend in danger by seeing what made Caturus cry out in distress and by trespassing on his land.
She trotted on her side of the stream, Lee on his, as they made their way to Caturu’s land. Lee found a spot and jumped over to join Peach. He was jogging alongside her which was abnormal for humans to keep pace with a hybrid animal like that.
“Look at our first adventure together, we haven’t done one in a long time,” he smiled tiredly. Peach had forgotten humans sleep during the night. She was up day and night and slept in the middle of the day, her long day at least. She had also forgotten it was night and that she had a kind of night vision like all Doma’s have.
“Sorry Lee if you're tired and want to go back-” she was interrupted by a roar a few feet ahead of them.
“Not my children anyone but them!” Caturus cried out. Lee jumped seeming wide awake now. “All I understood was no and my. What did he say?”
Peach froze up. “Rose and Marsh? What happened to them!” she rushed forward then skidded next to Caturus. Before her was a sight she wished she hadn’t seen. Vans, human men whipping the two children into cages, crying children and the fury of strong men.
One yelled, “Look another Centaur child! The Centaur must have lied to us!” he roared and pointed to her. Lee was not far behind not believing what he saw. Caturus cried out again.
“She isn’t one of us. Peach is a Doma!” The men approached with whips, leads, and muzzles. Peach backed away afraid for what would happen. Lee held a hand out ready to run when she took it.
“What is going on? Why are they taking those Centaur children?” She took his hand and slowly backed up.
“This has happened to Centaurs before but I thought the men were caught… Maybe these are a new group of illegal child exportation people.” She shook a little. Caturus reared up and charged with his club in hand forward at the men.
“Run children. Run as fast and as far as you can!” Caturus yelled as he charged. “Children run this isn’t a safe place anymore!” Peach started running, pulling along Lee.
“What did he say?”
“Lee we need to run. It’s not safe anymore.! The men are taking all the children and claiming the land.” Lee’s eyes widened.
“What about school? Home!”
“Lee never again can we live, they will look for us as we saw them commit a crime.” Lee rubbed his eyes keeping pace with Peach’s galloping.
“Lee, I have one question that you haven't answered.”
“Peach, I told you that I’m just very athletic. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“I feel that's not the truth, hybrids are faster than humans yet you can keep up.”
Lee sighed, “I told you that I’m just athletic and I’ve been around you for a while so I've had time to try and catch up with you.” She sighed and slowed down as they had been running for thirty minutes.