6) Friend or Foe

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The darkness was her friend; holding her close and protected her from the awful truth. A voice tried to take that away, but she didn't want to let go. ‘Please let me stay here,’ she silently begged. Not wanting to leave the sanctuary of ignorance. It was bliss.

“Reve...Reve!” The voice was insistent, angry even.

No, leave me alone. I wanted to be left with my darkness. I wanted to fade away with it.’

Cold water shocked her into the real world. She spluttered as her anger began to rise.  “What the FU...” She shouted. Collins, held a now empty water canister.

“You weren't waking up. I panicked!” He quickly bent down and began to rub at her face with a large cloth. “What the hell have you gotten yourself into this time? I couldn't find you for ages, then I see your body lying next to that”. He pointed at the scaly body next to Reve. “Reve, you nearly gave me a heart attack, what the hell happened?”... Collins waited for her to speak, but just seeing that body made her clam up.  She couldn’t, wouldn’t speak. Not wanting to admit the truth that she had turned into a monster. She shook her head.

“Come on, let's get you back to the tent.” He helped Reve up onto her feet up, and half pulled, half dragged her to where the tent was. Her body seemed unable to co ordinate any purposeful movements. Collins laid her down on the sleeping bag, and zipped her up. Sitting next to her, he gently began to stroke her cheek not saying a single world until she drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

The following morning, Reve awoke to a twitter of birds. The day promised to be bright and warm. She looked for Collins, and found him asleep on the other side of the camp fire. Gently she eased herself out of the sleeping bag and inspected her body.

Her skin appeared smooth and unblemished. Not even a bruise. She checked her arms, legs, hands, ears and teeth. All looked human, she felt for the now familiar scales along her back and forehead, they were still there. Although slightly disappointed, she surmised to herself, that it could have been a lot worse. She could have been trapped in that other body. Instead, She was more or less herself again.

“You're up then.” a sleepy Collins said.

“Yeah.” She answered.

"Good me and you need to talk about what happened. I'm not letting it go Reve" he said, before she could begin to protest. "And then we can discuss our next move." He got up, and pulled a large rucksack out of the tent, opened it and threw something to Reve.

She caught it, and saw it was an apple. Her stomach growled, and she bit into it.  She deligted in the fresh crunchy apple the juices trailed down her throat. And with a couple more bites she’d finished it. Collins laughed and again threw Reve some more fruit, which she caught deftly. He'd given her another apple, an orange. In between mouthfuls, She thanked him.

They ate together in silence, enjoying the morning sun. But soon enough Collins looked at her, waiting expectantly to hear about yesterday’s event. Reve didn't want to tell him, she wanted to hide the fact of how much of a monster she had become.

It still scared her that she could transform to that extent. Even the fact she turned back to herself, it occurred to Reeve that maybe if it happened again she would stay in that form. Something which she wouldn't be able to bare. She hid her face, not wanting to see the disgust and horror that was to surely come as she explained what had happened, including how she tore the things throat out with her new claws.

The silence seemed to last forever, and she finally found the courage to look at him. He had his eyes closed, and a small frown appeared between his eyebrows.

“Well?” she demanded.

"Well, I think we've found how far your capabilities can go." He opened his eyes and smiled. "You're just going to have to try and focus on what you want your body to do instead of letting your emotions rule you".

It wasn’t what she was expecting, as her mouth hung open in shock. Reve had been expecting profanity, horror and downright disgust. But instead he sat calmly and smiled at her.

“Reve, please understand. Me and your mother were expecting something like this.”

His last remark hit her hard. As she thought about what could have been. She stood as her anger fuelled her.

“Oh, well. You know, thanks for fucking sharing!” She screamed at him. "I'm beside myself worrying that you'll think me a monster, not to mention how much I loathe myself!” She began to stomp around, pounding the earth with the force of her fury. "And here you're telling me, you were EXPECTING this! Did you not, for one minute think I'd have appreciated knowing just exactly what my body could do. And to what extent!”

Reve was a whirling mass of hurt, loathing and fury.  Her own mother had never mentioned anything like this. And to know that Collins had discussed these things with her, made Reve even more angry. Collins began to approach her.

“I'm sorry Reve, we never thought.” He held out his arms to embrace her.

"FUCK YOU!" She shouted and ran.

Tears streamed down Reve’s face, blinding her. But she ran on, trying to put some distance between herself and Collins. She felt hurt, so much hurt. Her mother had explained to Reve from an early age that she was different to other children and she had been conceived. But nonetheless, she was always quick to point out, that she was her mother and she loved her, no matter what the circumstances of her birth.

Eventually Reve calmed down enough and focused on the words her Mother spoke before they parted, 'I'll always believe in you', did she mean that? Did she mean she believed in my humanity? She thought to herself. Questions, so many questions. If I kept on running would I ever find the answers?

The only person Reve knew who could at least answer some of them was Collins. Ignoring her wounded pride, she turned around and headed back to him. Some things are just too important for pride to get in the way.

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