Chapter 2: Kahlila

Carissa Brill, Staff Writer

My father is lecturing me once again. I roll my eyes; it’s not like I’m three anymore, I’m nearly eighteen. 

“You should have never even left the tribe!” he scolds, “It’s too dangerous. There are hunters everywhere. They have spies, and they are getting better at hunting us each day.” 

“Why? I’m almost eighteen, and I’ve already gone through the training just like everyone else. I should have earned my freedom by now! I held my own against one of them today! Clearly, I can survive!” 

“You got lucky; he was inexperienced.”

“Even so it was barely child play, the little ones could have bested him, and you are acting like it’s the end of the world!” 

“Not all of them are going to be like this! You could have been seriously hurt. God knows why you decided to go after him, to begin with! You risked exposing yourself and us! You claim that you’re almost an adult, but then you need to start acting like one! You even left him alive!” 

I rear back as if I’ve been slapped. My cheeks flushed from the metaphorical sting. 

“You wouldn’t yell at Zeke for it, would you? No. You would tell him that you were proud that he stood up to a bounty hunter. You wouldn’t have even questioned it, just slapped a medal on him, and told him, “What a fine job” he’s doing for his tribe,” I spat. 

It was my father’s turn to look like he had been slapped. I wasn’t going to back down on this one. 

“And for the record, you seem to think that I’m acting like an immature child that went on an impulsive rampage when in fact, he was trying to settle within our borders to hunt us. I was doing us a favor by getting rid of him before he could fully settle in and get comfortable with living right next to our tribe. Maybe you should think about that!” 

He sat there shocked that I had bothered to speak out; finally, he sighed. “I know,” he said. “I know.” With that, my body relaxed a bit, and my hands I didn’t even realize were clenched, slowly uncurled. I took a deep breath and stepped forward, putting a hand on his shoulder. 

“I’m sorry, I know what I did was wrong, and I should have gotten permission beforehand. That was a fault on my part, but I will not apologize for what I did.” 

With that, I  turned and left the throne room. 

As soon as I was out of the room, I felt the pull of the wild running through my veins. The wind whipped around me. Leaves and branches swayed, making the houses and bridges move as well. We were well hidden in these trees, this was our home. I let my spirit form take over while power coursed through me. My form was a mix of several animals. A wolf, a lion, and a hawk. It’s a lion’s head attached to a wolf’s body with wings. Humans often think that we are demons, and on rare occasions, an angel. When in actuality, we are neither; we are humans as well. It’s similar to those who study magic, but because our forms are more powerful than the average magician’s spell, we are feared and hunted. My spirit is said to reflect my soul, and each person’s soul is determined by whatever form their spirit is. I’m not entirely sure if that’s what I believe, but it’s what I’ve been taught. I exhale, letting my wings unfurl, feeling the currents in the wind. With a mighty push, I lept off the side and dove toward the ground. 

I fell fast toward the ground, and seconds before I hit the ground, I swept upwards. Whooping with pure delight, I lifted my hands to the sky, feeling the adrenaline coursing through my body. Nothing felt quite as good as taking a dive bomb off the edge and then feeling the freedom of being in the air. I flew around the tops of the trees and did a few loops to let off some steam. I still couldn’t believe that my father had the nerve to yell at me for doing what any other member of the tribe would do! It’s completely unfair that he would let Zeke out to on missions rather than me! And forgive him if he were to go on an unauthorized mission! The next time I saw Zeke, we were going to have words. Lots of words. I flew towards my bedroom, tumbling through the window and landing on my bedroom floor. I sat up having changed back into my human form, and honestly, I felt most comfortable in it. Sure, it was nice to let loose in my spirit form, but my human form wasn’t that bad either. It lets me feel like I fit in with the rest of society for a while; I can just blend in and hide, far enough away from them while still being able to connect with them. I crawl up into my bed and curl into the sheets. I wonder what it would be like to be fully and entirely human without all the strings of being part of something else. Thoughts of the hunter that I had attacked this morning flooded my brain. Why had I just left him there? I could have killed him, and instead, I left him there, blinking like an idiot. He is the enemy, and now he knows of our existence. Now, he will try to hunt us even more! Maybe it was the fact that he stood up at the end to stare me in the eye. I mean, why else would I leave him there? He was either stupid or courageous, possibly both. Having used my spirit form and sorting through my chaotic thoughts used up all my energy, and I could feel sleep pulling at me. Thoughts and questions still filled my brain, but eventually, my eyelids began to droop and before long, my mind faded into a dream-filled sleep.