This is the last day to get my debut novel for free until I can set it up to be forever free.
of Vrozia from “LOVE AWAKENS”
by Colleen Michelle Johnson
Shapeshifters and Parasitic Limbs
In the Middleborders Territory at the Animal Blood Farms – “This is different,” Cilla commented as she looked around her. “It looks like a place someone would board their horses but the smell tells me otherwise. It does look deserted though.”
“You are partially correct. The middleborders are in charge of the animals that live here and these animals are bred solely for their blood. Thus, this is called the blood farms. The animals here are raised to a certain age and then their blood is drained to be used in the nourishment I create. I assure you that never does an animal feel pain or experience terror,” Sias motioned towards the high black metal fence with sharp tips.
“These fences completely encase these farms. As you can see, they go on for miles and miles. The royal family thought that if they kept the middleborders within this fenced area that they would never mix with any outerborders but of course they are wrong, and in fact, know it too. But the royals like to play their games and pamper themselves too much to actually find out how the middleborders are truly living. And the queen is heavy handed at punishments which I assure you, we will make changes immediately.”
Sias led her to a large metal door and waved his hand making the door open. “Let me introduce you to our lovely middleborder citizens,” Sias smiled as he took her hand and walked with her through the door. Once on the inside he sealed the door shut behind them by waving his hand again.
“Cantaber!” Sias called out. Cilla looked at the strange long, rectangular structures within her line of sight. It didn’t truly look like any farm she’d ever known, but this wasn’t her home world. She knew they had horses but was curious to see what other types of animals were bred here for their blood.
A man came out of the one of two matching triangular buildings to her right. Looking at him, Cilla thought he looked normal except for the way he walked until he got closer. When he stopped and stood in front of them, Cilla counted four legs and three arms.
“Ostramethusias!” The man’s voice was very high, almost painfully high to Cilla’s ears.
“Cantaber, my visit today is to bring you nourishment but first, please meet my mate, Cilla,” Sias held her hand out towards the four-legged man who stared at her hand. Cilla felt a moment of déjà vu as she watched him study her hand very seriously.
“Her blood smells different,” he said before stretching himself up and forward, extending his body to what seemed to Cilla, a very uncomfortable length. And certainly not something a human could do! He bent his head and licked her palm, leaving a slightly pink mark. She thought it had felt like very rough sandpaper, and the feeling wasn’t pleasant.
“I see, she is like you. She is welcome here,” Cantaber bowed to them awkwardly before walking down a path she hadn’t noticed before. It was made from light red bricks and it formed a ‘T’, with them, starting their walk at the bottom of the ‘T’.
As they walked, they passed the long buildings that all looked the same to Cilla until she noticed that there was a different symbol next to the door of each building. And she thought that the doors were not your average door size. It looked like they were made for elephants to walk through. Cilla turned to Sias, but he just shook his head while placing his left hand against her lower back, encouraging her to keep walking. When they reached the end where different types of buildings filled up the top of the ‘T’, Cantaber turned to look at them.
He whistled and along the top of the ‘T’, doors opened, showing people standing in their doorways. But there was no light behind them and under the night sky, she couldn’t discern their true shapes.
“This is the center of our territory. All the buildings behind me are for the workers of these farms. We are a family and have mixed with the outerborders now and then. There are one hundred and fifty adults living here, working these farms for the royal family. We are a clan, a group unto ourselves with our own rules. We sense change in the air, Ostramethusias. Would it be that your mate here has triggered these changes we see in you?” Cantaber asked, curiosity clinging to his words.
Cilla had to give him bonus points for bravery.
“Yes my friend, there are changes in the air. As I have always done, today I have brought you nourishment. I know the queen handed out some in that ‘special ceremony’ of hers not too long ago, but I also know that it wasn’t enough for all your people. My regular monthly visits will not cease. My mate and I will always return to keep you well,” Sias pointed to Cilla before turning back to the four-legged man.
“We are called the middleborders and we are given land of our own and shelter here in exchange for our work. Ostramethusias always provides us with more than enough nourishment. We are very thankful for his visits though I do believe this is the first time he has used the front door.” Cilla noticed that his teeth were brown, but not decaying, just their natural color. Cilla bent down until she was on her knees and sat back on her heels like she had with the outerborders. She looked up at Sias, who smiled down at her before bringing back that beautiful bowl from nowhere and placing it in her hands.
“Please come to us so that we may ensure your health is well and provide each and every one of you with the nourishment you not only need but greatly deserve,” Sias called out.
For a few minutes, no one moved, but then Cilla saw the farmers leave their homes and come towards her. Her stomach clenched when she saw that they didn’t exactly walk, more like dragged themselves closer. Each movement looked painful and when she became aware of their pain, she noticed all of them had extra limbs that she just knew deep down inside, weren’t supposed to be there.
“Please come and drink,” Cilla spoke softly and encouragingly towards the farmers now lining up in front of her. As before, her bowl filled up and never ran empty. But this time after each farmer drank what they needed, they would then go to Sias standing to her right.
She watched as his magic flowed through each of them, tweaking a heart that beat too fast or clearing out bugs that had nested in a farmer’s ear. They had many physical deformities and their medical issues greatly concerned her. She was proud to see Sias heal everyone that allowed him to address their medical issues. They bowed to him before returning to their homes. She wondered how to help them rid themselves of their painful abnormalities.