4) Two Hands

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As Reve walked closer to the woods, she finally broke down and cried. Huge sobs racked her body as she realised how truly alone she was. She stumbled on, trying to put as much distance between herself and her mother. It wasn't until she'd walked a mile and her sobbing had receded that she realised it wasn't evening. The trees glowed brightly, as did the grass beneath her feet.

She blinked once, twice and realised her eyes were allowing her to see in the dark. A part of her was grateful to the never ending changes and abilities her body seemed to give her, but another part hated it. It was just another reminder of her non-human status.

Her teeth began to chatter inside her head, as the cold penetrated the thin layer of clothing. She needed to set up camp for the night, but somewhere hidden. She began to search for somewhere when a loud crashing noise sounded behind her and she whirled round in fright, her heart hammering in her chest.

Someone cursed, and she let out a sigh of relief as she recognised the owner of the voice. Sure enough, Collins thrashed about, a small torch in his hand as he fought his way through the undergrowth, tripping over a small root.

She laughed involuntary as he landed with a hard thud. “Collins! What the bloody hell!” she said, trying hard to hide her mirth “You shouldn't be here!”

He looked at her, the anger blazing from his eyes. “What am I doing here? More to the point, what the bloody hell do you think you're doing! Running off!” He glared at her. “Your mother will be out of her mind when she's realised you've gone!”

At the mention of her Mother, her heart squeezed but she ignored it. “Collins, I have to do this. Look at me! No, I mean really look at me. No human has ever aged like me. But then I'm not human am I!” she spat at him, her disgust for what she was, hidden behind her need to defend her choice to run away.

“Reve, you're not responsible for the way you came to be. You know that!” he pleaded with her.

“I know that, but the differences are only more apparent now. My mother has given everything up for me. Well no more. I want her to be happy with Carl, I want her safe. But she can only do that if I'm not with her. I need to go my own way. I'm not a child Collins, nor do I think like one. I suppose it's down to my heritage”. She stomped on ahead, angry and upset.

He went after her, all the while stumbling and muttering curses underneath his breath. Until, feeling a little sorry for him, she grabbed his hand and helped guide him along.

“So, now you can see in the dark huh?”

“Looks that way.”

“Hmmm that’s a new one. Maybe we should see what else you can do.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well it might be worth knowing your full capabilities Reve. You never know when you might need them.”

Reve stayed silent, and carried on leading him onwards. She'd spotted a clump of trees that would give them some cover from the elements and was close to a stream. The moon, now free of the clouds cast a beautiful silver glow over everything.

“Well, we'll stay here for what's left of the night.” She informed him, trying to show him she knew what she was doing.

They set up camp and settled down for what was left of the night. Collins kept his own counsel, realising that Reve needed the space. Reve, fell asleep but her dreams were haunted by large snapping jaws and fountains of blood.

The smell of something delicious awoke Reve from sleep. She awoke to the sight of Collins cooking something on a skewer over a fire. Her stomach gave a loud rumble.

“I heard that Reve” laughed Collins.

She opened her eyes to see him sat cross legged, poking a stick into a fire. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, noticing her normal vision had returned. “That smells good. What is it?”

“Something your mother wouldn't approve of.” He replied.

She raised an eyebrow at him.

“Fine, it's rabbit. I caught it this morning.”

Standing up she stretched, and went to sit next to him by the fire. The morning was promising to be a full sunlit day. The dew on the grass had already begun to dissipate and the sky was cloudless. Collins carefully tore a strip of the freshly cooked meat and handed it to her.

She sniffed at it and the saliva in her mouth ran free. Ignoring the heat she popped it into her mouth and chewed. It was unlike anything she'd tasted before, her mother kept her on a vegetarian diet and so this new meat was wonderful to her.

Collins seeing how she enjoyed it gave her more and watched in delight as she quickly stuffed the rest of the meat into her mouth. She sat and enjoyed the last mouthful, enjoying the taste as it worked its way into her stomach. A sharp pain raced its way across her stomach, taking her by surprise. The next pain made her gasp out loud and clutch at her sides.

“Reve what is it?” Collins rushed by her side, concern and worry emanated from him.

“I don’t know” she managed to get out between gasps. She led on her side as the pain engulfed her. Her vision turned red and she began to get scared. As quickly as the pain came, it quickly subsided, the red haze finally clearing.

The area behind her left ear had begun to itch, as she scratched at it; skin came away, and underneath a scale had popped up in its place. Hard and unmoving.

She picked at it horrified, but it hurt. “Reve...” Collins moved closer.

“No! Don't!” She scrambled away from him.

She felt something hard push away the skin behind her ears and along her forehead and down the back of her spine. She traced the line of hardened scales and as she did, small slivers of skin peeled away. The scales were a bright contrast against her pale skin.

Drawing a breath, to calm her nerves, she gingerly felt over her entire body and even stuck her finger inside her mouth, searching for any more changes. She was somewhat relieved that she couldn't feel any more abhorrent changes.

“Reve here.” Collins approached her slowly, as if she was some wounded animal. He held out a small shaving mirror. She took it, not daring to look at him.

She put it up to her face, and immediately she saw them. The scales were a varied shade of green; from ochre green right through to a deep forest green. The colours made her eyes stand out even more.

Reve was amazed at the colour and texture, and stared in wonder at her reflection. The scales seemed such a part of her; instead of looking out of place they seemed to enhance her features. But soon the doubts began to creep in, and along with it the uneasiness. She would never be accepted by people now, not with her heritage so colourfully displayed on her body for all to see.

Without Reve being aware of it, Collins had sat next to her. He snaked an arm around her waist and pulled her close. She stiffened at first, unable to look him in the eye. He ignored her resistance and held her to him.

He gently kissed her cheek and held her hand. He entwined his fingers through hers and held them up.  Human hands, his and hers.

“Look Reve, you've still got two hands.” Reve burst out laughing, the tension leaking out of her. As was his intention.

“Yeah”... She smiled.  But the question was. For how long?

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