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Twisted Reality -- Chapter 24

Deviation Actions

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Camping Trip
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Laid out in front of her was a long, thin strip of olive-drab, wool cloth, arranged with assorted pieces of metal on it. The black, dirt-covered parts dully reflected the firelight, the crackling sound and smoky smell of a few pieces of burning lumber liberated from the Basitin camp's wooden frames permeating the air around the two Keidran and the human sitting around it. They were nestled in a small crevasse for the night, faintly-black smoke spiraling up and away into a dull sky, the moon dimly gleaming through the haze of the stratosphere.

Nianika sighed, stripping off another spring from her nearly-disassembled rifle. The dirt was small, light; it was easy to remove, but it was everywhere, easily blown about by the wind. She dug another, smoother cloth across the joints of the metal, the oiled, slightly-damp cloth smearing across the black steel. The soldier held the half-gun up to the fire, using the light to clarify her work, before she took off a few more pieces and kept at it, glancing up to the others with her. Korin was sitting back, balancing himself on one hand and simply staring into the fire, as men – as she's noticed, anyway – are wont to do. The wolf's emerald green eyes are unfocused, the iris' shining dangerously. His hand, absentmindedly, turned a single, spent shotgun casing in between his fingers, the red plastic scarred with gunpowder smears. His ever-present vest, for once, was tossed to the side, the bare fur of his chest faintly blowing in a wind. She imagined that, had his fur not been covering them, his muscles were toned and fit. In fact, for a Keidran, he looked pretty good; bright eyes, strong jaw, toned, firm as—

Nianika blinked.

Wait. What?

Quickly shifting her gaze, she glanced over to Malini. The white-furred wolf was sitting Indian-style, hunched over the brittle, bloodied notebook that they had found at the base last night. Her mouth was faintly moving, mouthing out the words or muttering to herself about whatever potential meaning she could glean out of it. Earlier, she had tried to chip some of the blood off of the various pages. There was some success, but there wasn't much she could get without tearing the paper or damaging what was written underneath. The wolf turned a page, crinkled her nose at something, and closed the book, setting it to the side of her leg with a vague look of disgust.

"Dare I ask," the human soldier said, bringing an inner joint of the rifle up to her mouth before blowing on it gently.

"Dissections," the wolf replied simply, giving a small shudder. "With pictures."

Nianika gave a small, almost invisible shrug. "You've seen plenty of insides before," she said matter-of-factly, using a small screwdriver to loosen a screw.

"Yeah, but all the pokers and scientific stuff creeps me out," Malini replied, shaking her head slightly as she looked into the fire. She mumbled something about hating needles, otherwise resuming the near-silence that had previously befallen the small camp. The crackling of the fire and small puff of breathing was the only thing that interrupted it. Nianika begrudgingly cleaned her rifle in silence, glancing up at Korin again. Eventually, she reached out with her screwdriver, softly pricking the Keidran's upper arm. He jumped slightly, eyes snapping back to reality and head darting back and forth.

"You keep staring at that and you'll go blind," Nianika said, attention already back down at the skeletonized remains of her gun.

"Sorry," Korin said, completely missing the joke, rolling his shoulders. "Just thinking."

"Shocking."

Malini gave a gentle glare to NIanika that went all but unseen before the female Keidran reached behind her. Her claws dug slightly into a piece of lumber, hefting it into the fire. It was greeted with a calamity of pops and a surge in light. "About what," she asked Korin, glancing up at the wolf.

A small smirk fell across his face, his vision returning to the newly-empowered fire. "Nothing," huffed, "just remembering this one time that Ryan and I went camping when we were younger." His eyes fogged with memory, the grin easing. "There was this forest behind his parent's house that went on for a few miles, and we'd go out and rough around when they weren't home." He sat forward a little, hands coming forward and moving as he talked, acting out what he described. "Somehow, he gets his dad convinced to let us spend the night out there, and we go all out with the tent and marshmallows and everything. We build this big bonfire that took almost an hour to make, and we light it up, right? Turns out we didn't realize that "a little lighter fluid," doesn't increase according to how big the fire was." He laughed, shaking his head and clapping his hands across his knees. "Almost blew up the whole damn campsite. He gets a few burns on his hands and I lost the fur on my face for a good week." His laughing died down after a short moment, his grin fading away and a sigh escaping his lips. An uncomfortable silence tried to rush into the void, but Nianika intercepted it.

"My brother and I did something similar," she said, not catching the unanticipated wince at the mention of Mikhail. "Our foster parents loved to take us outdoors, so we camped a lot. One time lightning hit a tree near our camp when a storm was rolling in. THOSE were fireworks." Nianika raised the remains of her gun up to the fire one more time before, satisfied, she began putting it all back together.

Malini and Korin exchanged curious glances. "Foster parents?" the former echoed, stretching her legs out underneath her.

"Yeah," Nianika said, not looking back up to the Keidran. "Our parents were killed when I was really young. As the story goes, my brother was coming back from a friend's house, from staying the night, and he walks in and finds me under my mom's body. Apparently, my dad was some kind of activist for the preservation of Human society or something. He'd received death threats before, but this was the one that actually carried through."

Korin and Malini, again, glanced at each other, an uncomfortable silence floating between them. "And...you're…okay with that?"

Nianika stopped her work and cocked an eyebrow. "Am I okay with it? No, but I'm not really upset about it either. I was too young to remember either of my parents. All I have to go by are some pictures and what Mikhail told me. I think that's why he was the asshole he was." She glanced between the other two. "Oh, don't worry, I know how he was to all of you. He may be my brother, but that doesn't mean I think he's infallible." She turned her attention towards Malini, the Keidran awkwardly staring at the apparently fascinating dirt near her feet. "Since we're having story time, what about you? How'd you and Kat meet?"

The female wolf Kediran blinked, frowning slightly in thought. "Oh…uh, wasn't really much of anything," she said softly, looking down at the ground again. "I was…ah…running from a POW camp, and I see this body curled up in some dead plants on the side of the road." Malini turned, glancing over her shoulder at the pile of clothes and a blanket that made up Kathrin's sleeping form, the fox's back turned to the fire. She was a good dozen feet away, body curled slightly in the fetal position. "She had passed out from dehydration. I nursed her back to health as best as I could, and the rest is history."

Malini turned back toward the fire to find Nianika staring at her, a slight glare in her eyes. Korin smacked his thighs, standing up. "Well, that as fun. I need to take a leak." The wolf Keidran wandered off toward the other side of the ravine, his figure shrinking slightly as he walked.

"What?" Malini said, finding that Nianika had finished assembling her rifle.

"I have a pretty good ear for lies, is all," the marine said, a hand snaking down to her boots and untying the laces. She kicked one off, then the other, wriggling her toes from the stiffness of their confines.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Malini said, glaring back just as strong. Nevertheless, a cold chill ran down her back and into her tail.

"Like hell you don't. What really happened?" Malini asked, laying her helmet on top of her boots and crossing her legs. She glanced towards Korin's figure before turning back to the female Keidran. "C'mon, just us girls here."

Malini bit her lip and sighed. "Promise not to tell anyone," she pleaded, only to meet the soldier's stoney gaze. With another sigh, Malini hung her head. "She was being raped," she said simply, shoulder's sinking. "I was heading east and I see this group of human soldiers raping this Fox Keidran. I shot two before the others knew what was going on, and the rest were down in a few seconds." Silence finally flooded back between the two, Nianika a bit more sullen now.

"I see why you didn't want to say," she said simply, nodding with the statement. "Don't worry, her secret's safe."

Malini smiled faintly, nodding while staring into the fire. Internally, her stomach knotted, her chest feeling hollow. Covering up one lie with another wasn't something she was usually good at.



Kathin's body was curled slightly, warm under the weight of the blanket and back against the fire. Her eyes, however, were slightly opened, irises unfocused as she mentally probed against the other presence. Her throat echoed a barely-audible chuckle.

"So…what are you?"

I'm you, of course. The voice that came from her throat was her own, but not under her control.

"No games," the fox rebutted, clenching the blanket slightly tighter around her. For whatever reason, her body was chilled to the core.

I'm as much you as you are, sweetie her mouth said of its' own accord. What I am is everything that you've denied yourself, an embodiment of what you've always wanted but couldn't have.

"What do you mean?"

You were powerless before, a slave to your low self-esteem. I gave you power. I gave you revenge, strength, passion.

Kathrin shook her head, eyes aching slightly from the tears that would no longer fall. "All you are is black mana that-"

Call it what you want, but we both know that's not true. It happened before, and now it's happening again.

"No, it's not. I got rid of you before."

Then who are you talking to now?

Silence.

Who do you think gave you the balls to lunge out at that sick fuck Mikhail? Who do you think helped you attack him? I see into your inner passions and desires. I know what you need, even if you don't want to accept it. I know what you want, too. One of Kathrin's hand's fell asleep instantly, the arm moving without her will toward the fork in her legs.

"No," Kathrin said simply, forcefully, her arm regaining control before it moved more than a few inches. She folded her arms across her chest, tucking her hands into her armpits.

Suit yourself, she said, laughing again. You're a very sick little girl, Kathy. I'm just trying to help.

"You're the sick one," she responded back.

Whatever helps you sleep at night. There was a pause. I'm not evil, you know.

"Doesn't mean you're not a colossal bitch."

Guilty. But c'mon, you have to admit beating that Basitin to death with his own arm last night was-

"Why can't you just leave me alone?"

There was no answer. The presence – herself – had receded for now. She sighed inwardly, clenching her eyes closed. The fox Keidran was asleep a few moments later.
Eesh...I think this is a new record low for me. I apologize about my unintentional hiatus, peeps. A lot of life, school, and general drama got in my way. When I had the will to write, I didn't have the time. When I had the time, I didn't have the will. And when I had both, it was past midnight. Nothing good happens after midnight (especially Denny's.)

Well, anyway, you won't have to hear me rattling on and on anymore. Saving the thread from being booted to page 2, I now present you with Chapter 24. As always, comments and constructive criticism are encouraged and appreciated. Enjoy.
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Comments6
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HardNocks's avatar
personaly i think that "Colossal Bitch" should be Kathrins crazy voices name becase thats to good to pass up. a genius stoke Jediguy genius.
you are right. MUCH better
JediGuy1490's avatar
Heheh, thanks mate. I'll talk to you a bit more about it later.
Maybe Kathrins "Colossal bitch" and how Malini and Kathrin first met have something in common... I can't wait ta see what happens in the next chapter! ^.^
HardNocks's avatar
i hope we get the story behind that little tidbit. i think malini and kathrin's happened while the "colossal bitch" was a bigger part of kathrins mental picture. and that is a meeting that would been very interesting. I think u doin great keep it up.
JediGuy1490's avatar
Thank you very much. Most definitely more to come.
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