Valentine's Day Sneak Peak
November 6, 1812
Aspen was bored. Curled up around himself. Dark. Quiet. Warm, but wet. He knocked his head into the side of home. Again. Bored. Aspen stretched, scratching home. Crack. Aspen paused. Opened eyes to peer through water. Bright bright bright. Burning eyes through small crack. But through crack, he saw things. Large blurry things-he-didn’t-know. New things. He bumped head against home again. Crack crack crack. More bright-burning light, but more things. But no Mom. No Mom for long time. No Dad either. Sometimes new voice.
Another bump against home. Maybe, Mom and Dad were out there, with the things-he-didn’t-know. He wanted to be out there. He wanted Mom. He twirled in home. He liked twirling.
He flicked his tail on home. It made a funny noise. He liked the noise. He bumped head on home. The crack-CRACK-CRACK again, but then, he whimpered as his head broke home and he spilled out into bright light-new things-cold air. He sprawled, wings limp, weak. Aspen blinked, lifting head. Heavy without water to hold it. But new home was so big. He spun his head. No Mom. No Dad.
But new, other home, beside him. Aspen sniffed. Smelled like his home, but not like his home. Strange home-not-home. He bumped his head into it. Crack. Fun sound, again. But fun sound came on its own, quieter, after.
He sniffed home-not-home. Then bumped head on it. Watched it move. It was leaving. He didn’t like it leaving. Mom and Dad left, now home-not-home. He moved, legs wobbly, after it. Crack. Ah, home-not-home made noise on its own. Aspen sniffed it again. Home-not-home was breaking. New thing sticking out. New thing looked like his foot, but was not his foot. He sniffed not-his-foot. Put his foot on not-his-foot and pushed. Not-his-foot went back into home-not-home. Home-not-home has hole.
Aspen pressed nose into home-not-home. Smelled like home. Maybe this home has Mom and Dad. He pressed nose harder. Crack-Crack-Crack. Home-not-home made lots of fun noises.
Blinked at other, not-him-dragon. Not-him-dragon was darker. Not Mom. Not Dad. Not big enough. Little, like him. But not-him.
Not-him was attached to not-his-foot, and not-his-foot hit him in the face, pushing him out of home-not-home. Aspen jerked backward with a sputter. Not-him followed him out, landing in cold.
Not-him sniffed and moved closer. Aspen stretched out neck as not-him twirled. Like he twirled in home. But it looked easier in big home, until not-him landed on not-his-wings with thump. Thump! Aspen flopped on side. Liked thump. He twirled. Thump!
Mom? Dad? New voice in head. Not mom. Not dad. Not new-voice-woman or new-voice-man. Sounded like not-him.
Mom come home? He sent his thought out and moved feet below him. He spun head, blinking around big home. No mom, still.
Twirl? Not-him said.
He twirled again. He liked twirling, especially when it ended in thump-Thump-Thump. He eyed not-him. You twirl!
Not-him twirled, landing thump-Thump on wings again.
Keahi. Not-him said, standing and seeing him.
No. Aspen. Aspen said, shifting tail. Tail thump-thumped on ground. Not loud Thump but little thump. Still fun.
Not-him moved not-his-tail. Little thumps. Aspen liked the little-thumps better than the Thump-thump. He crouched. Pushed off back feet. He liked not-his-tail. Wanted it. Then he could have two tails, and make two little thumps.
Landed on not-his-tail and dropped his paw on it. Want it.
Not-him moved not-his-tail to push Aspen away. Then Not-Him tried to take his tail.
Want. Not-him said.
Aspen whimpered and pulled tail back, under body. Hiding it. Aspen’s tail. Aspen’s tail gone now.
Not-him moved not-his-nose to Aspen. Then Not-Him dropped down and made loud-not-fun-pain noise from not-his-mouth. Aspen dropped head. Covered ears with paws.
Not-fun sounds. Why not-fun-sounds? Aspen asked Not-Him.
Eats. Mom and Dad bring eats. Not-him stopped loud-not-fun-pain noise. Eats.
Aspen wanted eats. Stomach was yelling at him. But Aspen wanted Mom and Dad more. Mom and Dad bring eats?
Not-him moved head, up, down. Up-down meant yes.
Mom and Dad bring eats. Not-Him started loud-not-fun-pain noises again. Aspen opened mouth and made them too. Now him and not-him made loud-not-fun-pain noises. Throat felt funny. Good-funny. He liked making noises.
Mom! Dad! He sent thought down dark link in mind. Used to be bright. Used to be color-bright-happy. Now dark. Dark since Mom stopped talking. Wanted Mom. Mom still gone.
Stopped making noises. Throat hurt. No Mom. No Dad.
Not-him stopped making noises and laid down on cold. Aspen made loud-not-fun-noises again. Still no Mom. Moved toward brighter-bright but stopped. Cold by brighter-bright. Aspen wanted warm, dark. Wanted home back. Not big home. No Mom in big home. And big home was cold.
Mom and Dad come after sleep. Not-Him said. Aspen looked at Not-Him. Not-Him laying on cold. He walked towards Not-Him and lay on cold. Warmer by Not-Him. He moved closer. Much warmer by Not-Him.
Aspen closed his eyes. Darker with eyes closed. Warmer by Not-Him. And Mom and Dad were coming. Happy.
July 1st, 1959
Keahi decided he no longer wanted to be in the States. He didn’t like them anymore. He didn’t like anything anymore. He hated the rain the most. He stared down at the mud as it caked his shoes and soaked into his socks. It didn’t matter. None of it matter. He stopped listening to the pastor speak. The man who didn’t even know mom. Who didn’t even know what she looked like or smelled like. This person wasn’t anything to any of them except the man who spoke fake words to try and make them all feel better.
But Keahi didn’t feel better. The more the man talked the more Keahi wanted him to stop. How could he speak about her laugh and smell when he didn’t know her? Keahi shut his eyes and tried to turn off his ears. He didn’t want to listen no more. He wanted to go back to the last night when mom was tucking him into bed. When mom was kissing him and promising to spend the afternoon chasing after the red, white and blue banners.
He felt Aspen’s hand in his. It had been a few years since they held hands last. Back when they were little and the only thing they had to worry about were the guard in Aisyth’s palace.
Kaehi shifted closer to his brother, keeping his eyes lowered as the man finished and began to lower mom into the ground.
After it was done Dad walked over, patted the boys on the shoulder and continued to the car. Keahi shifted and followed after. He’d only made it a few steps when a little face came into view. He paused, eyeing the toddler.
“Sorry.” The young vampire prince said. He tipped his head at Keahi, his little eyes searching. Keahi had only seen the vampire prince, Aldis, twice since their trip to his house. The last several years ago.
“What?” Keahi frowned.
“Sorry about your mom.” The Prince reached out and took Keahi’s other hand. “Please don’t be sad.”
Keahi blinked at him. “Oh.” He didn’t know what he was supposed to say. Did you say thank you? Or… or what was proper?
Aldis moved closer, wrapping his little arms around Keahi’s leg in a hug before shifting to Aspen and hugging his leg.
Aspen patted the boy’s hair, unsure. It seemed to be enough though. The vampire prince blinked up at them with a smile. “It’ll get better.” He darted back over to his parents.
Keahi watched him go, wondering what the boy was thinking when he said that. It sounded nice and made Keahi feel a little better. He peered at Aspen. Keahi wasn’t sure about his brother, but he just wanted to go home and sleep for weeks. Who cared about the Independence Day party? He felt Aspen squeeze his hand before starting to the car. Keahi followed behind.
Dad was already in the back of the limo when they claimed in. He was quiet, face stern. Keahi knew dad was upset but he didn’t tell them anything. Hardly said more than a few words since it happened. Keahi curled up next to Aspen. He wanted to be home in their own room so they could cry. Aspen kept hold of Keahi’s hand the whole ride home. Dad didn’t say anything, even though Keahi knew he was watching.
They pulled up to the house, the car ride taken in silence. Aspen was the first to get out, pulling Keahi with him. Dad followed them into the house, but Aspen didn’t speak, just took Keahi toward the stairs and their room. He heard the shutting of the study door a few moments before the top of the stairs.
Once in the room, Keahi let go of Aspen hand to move to the bed. He didn’t want to cry. He had gone all day not crying. But it was just too much and after a moment Keahi began to sob. He hated everything and everyone and life. Why did life have to take mom?
Aspen shut the door, sinking to the floor and leaning against the door. He wrapped his arms around his legs and cried too.
“Why did mom go?” Keahi asked Aspen. Burying his head into the pillow to soften his sobs. He felt Aspen’s arms around him.
“Everyone goes.” Aspen whispered.
“I don’t want her to go. I want her to come back.” Keahi whimpered. “Don’t leave me, Aspen.” He couldn’t take it if Aspen left. He wouldn’t be able to stand it if brother was gone.
“Never.” Aspen said. Keahi nodded, shifting to lean against his brother. “You… you’re not going to leave me either, right?” Aspen whispered.
“No.” Keahi shook his head quickly. “Never. Ever.”
Keahi didn’t leave the room for the whole day, or the next. He only left the bed twice. Aspen stayed close and Dad didn’t make them leave, though he checked in and asked if they wanted food twice. Keahi didn’t want any food ever again. He didn’t even want to think about food or anything else for that matter.
Aisyth showed up on the second day. Early in the morning before his lessons. He knocked on the door. Aspen crawled out from under the sheets and over to the door. He pulled it opened, motioning for Aisyth to come in, then returned to the bed with Keahi.
Aisyth watched them a moment before walking over and climbing into the bed by them. “I’m sorry, Keahi.” He whispered. “I’m sorry, Aspen.” He laid down against them, curling an arm around both of them. Keahi buried his head into his brother, giving a little nod at the Prince.
“Everyone goes.” Keahi whispered to the boy.