“Is he MAD!? How can he be so careless with his own self!?” I slowly lower myself to the floor, trying desperately to make sense of it all. Anxiety scorches every inch of my being. Slinky gracefully slithers over to me, bringing her head up to meet mine. Her eyes sparkles over and she tries to entrance me into a state of calm. It’s a routine we both know only too well. She’s unbelievably mothering, she always has been.
My real mother is not even a spark of a memory in my head. The earliest of my memories are of that horrid dwarf’s hut with the stench of moldy food, stale brew, and encrusted body fluids. There were others with me, all timid and scared, weak. I despise weakness. He tried to break me, but I refused. They have long since been broken. I did my chores, kept my keep, but would not touch or be touched. The first and last time he forced himself on me, I managed to slice a piece of his grotesque, warted nose off with a carving knife. For a brief moment, he let loose of his grip and I ran. I ran so fast, well…fast for my legs at least, I was almost safe in the comfort of the trees, just a few yards away, when he finally caught up. That’s when I saw her for the first time. Her sleek, smooth body moving ever so gently down a tree, watching with incredible eyes. The eyes. They were filled with beautiful colors intertwining, changing, even dancing! They gave me courage and knowledge. Knowledge that I needed her as she needed me. I clawed at the earth trying to grasp a hold. He was dragging me, on purpose of course. At 45 pounds, I was light enough that he could just pick me up like one of his large clubs. It is obvious that this is a part of my punishment, as my stomach is ripped across the rocks and thorns that lay embedded in the ground. She starts to move towards me and I’m shocked and impressed with the swiftness of her movements, since she is not equipped with any arms or legs. She reaches us in 3 heartbeats and launches herself at my arm, fangs digging deep. I let out a cry of pain and horror before being filled with POWER…Her power! She is me, I am her and he will die! At the sound of my cry, he stopped dragging me and turned to watch this horrific scene of this snake trying to sever my right arm. A look of confusion sweeps through him as he realizes that he is our main focus. Before he is able to take action, I meet her eyes and order, “Haffesssss”. His eyes fly open wide with fear. She lets my arm go and with a flash of black speed sinks her fangs into his neck, wrapping her large black body around and around. The light fades from his eyes and he sinks to the ground.
I did not return to the hut, there’s nothing I wanted or needed from there. All I need is Slinky. Until now….
I focus on the present and blink away from Slinky’s entrance. It’s not soothing me now like all times before. This scares me and I wonder for a split moment if I’m going crazy. “How could he? How could he just throw himself off that ledge? Doesn’t he know? Doesn’t he see how he changes everyone who meets his eyes?” The eyes. Warm, compassionate eyes, so filled with hope. I’ve never known eyes like these. I’ve only known eyes of hatred and tolerance. Even in this group of mixed breeds, I am only tolerated. But he is admired, adored, maybe even loved, I think. That word is an unusual, strange word. One that I do not really understand. I’ve only heard stories. At first, I thought that they were only stories, that it’s not possible to be so desperate for another’s touch, feel, safety, awareness. But after meeting his eyes, I’m not too sure that they were completely made up stories. Maybe…just maybe.
Anxiety turns to anger and I grab the worn out filth of a pillow that I’m so grateful for off the bed and burying my face in it, completely aware of Slinky’s body wrapping around me in a comforting embrace.