If you haven’t read Devastation (Wyrillian I), click here to catch up.
A tear escaped his eyelid, landing on his desk. Wyrillian wiped it away with the back of his sleeve and tried to focus back on the teacher. A myriad of thoughts were running through his head – was his father responsible? Was this evidence that Wyrillian Sr. was up to more nefarious business on his departures? His thoughts were interrupted when one of the school’s administrators walked into the classroom, pulling the teacher into the hallway.
Wyrillian hoped that he was being picked up from school early but he knew it wasn’t – his parents never allowed him to miss school. Whoever was getting picked up was lucky – they’d get to go home and didn’t have to worry if their father was a kidnapper and/or murderer. However, something was wrong – usually, this exchange between teacher and administrator was much briefer. The class was beginning to get restless while they waited for the hushed murmuring in the hallway to cease. Eventually, the teacher walked back in and addressed the class.
“Class, we’re going into a lockdown.”
This was new.
She continued, “There has been an incident with Rossi and her family. As a result, the school will be shutting down for the day. You will wait in this room until your parents come to pick you up.”
The room broke out in chatter. Our school had never canceled class before.
Wyrillian got up and walked past his noisy classmates. He reached his teacher and asked what was going on. She brushed him off, telling him to ask his parents when they arrived. Wyrillian settled for asking to use the bathroom.
Wyrillian set off to the bathroom with Oscar as an escort, part of the lockdown enacted buddy system.
“Alright I don’t need any help peeing, so you can wait here.”
Wyrillian walked into the bathroom, past the stink of the toilet holes. He walked by the basin of hand “washing” water, heading straight toward the window at the end of the bathroom. He then took off his shirt, shorts, and moccasins before pushing them through the window, to the other side. With a glance back to ensure he was alone, Wyrillion began to change. In seconds, he was the size of a thumbnail and flying out of the cracked window. He was thankful his form wasn’t too large or the forever stuck-open window would have ended his adventure before it had even begun.
He flew farther than he ever had in his form, beating his tiny wings as fast as they would go – Wyrillian was headed to the town infirmary. He’d check there before going to Rossi’s house. The infirmary came into sight shortly before Wyrillian heard a bird chirp behind him.
The bird was heading right for him. Did Wyrillian’s tiny yellow and black form have a natural predator? Either way, he had no time to think. He made a beeline to the closest cover he could find, an overturned bowl. Wyrillian zipped under the cracked bowl. A short two seconds later the bowl shook with the impact of the bird. The crack widened as Wyrillian frantically looked for an alternate escape. A few moments later the crack widened, seconds from shattering the bowl in two.
Wyrillian dropped into the grass, holding as still as possible as the bowl broke into two, falling on both sides of the bee-formed boy. The bird’s head quickly turned from the left to right, finally settling its eyes on Wyrillian. It reached down and plucked the changed boy in its beak and threw its head back, forcing Wyrillian further into its throat. His legs scraped against the beak edges, simultaneously feeling absolute terror and relief.
His six tiny legs began to retract, changing quickly into the fair-skinned legs of his human form. Wyrillian quickly became too big for the bird’s mouth and fell out, unfortunately taking the bottom portion of the bird’s beak with him.
The now naked boy hopped to his feet and scooped up the bird before sprinting into a nearby alley, continuing in the direction of the infirmary.
Wyrillian had found a rag to throw around his waist on the way and soon reached his destination, zooming in through the doors. He made his way to the front desk, still carrying the injured bird, and asked the attendant for Rossi’s room. She pointed him down the hallway. Wyrillian dropped the bird on her desk, leaving it in more capable hands.
The boy turned the corner and came immediately to a halt. His father was standing outside the room, looking in through the open door. Wyrillian Sr. turned and saw his son. Neither spoke until the boy’s father turned and began to walk away. Wyrill began to walk after his father, but took no more than one step before he was grabbed from behind, feeling a cloth now obstructing his breathing – he blacked out.
Wyrill woke up to the bouncing of a galloping horse. He was slumped, masked, in a saddle with strong arms holding him upright while maintaining the reins. He heard a familiar voice from ahead.
“Ah, Wyrill, you’re awake,” said his father.
“What…? Where?” was all the boy could manage to say.
“You’re in good hands, Panther is strong and careful. Panther, you can take the hood off now.”
The mask over Wyrill’s face was removed and the sunlight briefly blinded him. His father was indeed on a horse, trotting ahead. Around them was a dense forest – they could be anywhere. Wyrill turned around to look at his captor. It was a woman staring back down at him with stunning blue eyes. She wore a serious look on her face, surrounded with dirty blonde hair that flowed as far as he could see. Her face was pretty enough that Wyrill couldn’t turn away, despite feeling shudders traveling down his spine from her glare. She wore a top that wrapped around her torso, leaving her stomach exposed. Wyrill also noticed her matching shorts – they were similarly tight, made of the same fabric, coming up to just below her belly button. Eventually, she took her hand and placed it on the top of Wyrill’s head, swiveling it back to facing forward. Even facing forward, he could see the fabric straining against her impressive quads.
“If you weren’t my son, she probably would have thrown you off that horse by now, boy,” his father’s voice snapped him from his daydream. He heard her giggle in agreement from behind, but he didn’t dare turn around.
“What is going on?” Wyrill thought this was a decent all-encompassing question.
“Long story short, you’ll be joining the family business a few years early.”
“I don’t even know what that is,” Wyrill said.
“You’re in luck, then. This business has no name. Essentially, we run South Settlement. Every life belongs to me. I give food, and therefore life,” he held out his hand, “and I take,” he closed his hand. “We do a variety of things, really. From transporting the aforementioned goods to removing the occasional troublesome individual.”
Wyrill paused. “Who? Wait, no- Is Rossi okay? Did you kill her?”
“No,” his father laughed, “I thought about it, but in the end I just had Panther give her a little scare. She wouldn’t have talked. But, your little naked jaunt changed our plans.”
Wyrill looked down and saw that he still wore his impromptu rag, but someone had at least thrown a blanket over him.
His father continued, “I didn’t kill her because it would have just been undoing my work from the past. Do you remember the miracle delivery? That was me. Why rush my crew to Ikalga for medical supplies just to take her life a few years later?”
All Wyrill did was nod. The three of them rode in silence for several minutes. The two horses took them off the path, trudging up a mild incline and eventually bringing them to a cliff. Wyrillian Sr. dismounted and Panther assisted (dropped) Wyrill in getting down. Wyrill took in his surroundings. They were overlooking a path, although, their view was partially blocked by the tree tops. Wyrillian Sr. placed his hand on his son’s shoulder.
“I know it’s a lot, but I have a demonstration planned to show you what we do.”
Wyrill looked up at his father’s face. Though it was covered in dirt from the long ride, his face had a softness to it that he had not seen in years. The boy could tell his father was at ease in this position – whatever it was. It was at this moment, Wyrill noticed his father was wearing the same fabric as Panther. Wyrillian Sr. saw his son’s gaze and spoke before his son could ask.
“All in due time, Wyrill. I’ll let you know all you need to know to replace me one day. Now, sit here and watch.” He didn’t give Wyrill much of a choice as Panther tied him to an adjacent tree before the two crouched, looking at an approaching wagon.