bowl fire

Chapter Three

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Aurora's Memory

My name is Aurora. Hiroshi gave me that name.   


Before I met Hiroshi, I lived with a Mammalion man. The place was always messy with alcohol bottle everywhere which would give me a headache from the smell but I was not allowed to clean because the noise of the clanging would upset the caretaker. The man had scars all over him along with his right eye which had an unnerving light pupil and his tail was completely cut off as well. He would beat me if I did something to upset him. But when he really gets mad he would hold me up with my tail. It was the most painful thing he would do.   


The things that would upset him was: If I woke him in his sleep. If I broke his bottles, especially if it was still filled. If I could not get him water, which was very difficult to get.   


He taught me how to get water only one time. We had to go over a metal fence to the restricted area which was an up the mountain forest guarded my mean looking men. Deeper in the woods, there is metal pipe protruding from the ground. If the pipe was slightly loosened the water would pour out. Before we leave he would tighten the screws and leave. Ever since I have used this method to get water for the caretaker and myself. I have been caught many times and when I do, my water would be taken from me and even gotten beaten by the guards but what was worse is when I got back home. I would get even more beaten, pulled by the tail, and even thrown out of the house.  


At first, I would wait outside until he let me in or even until dawn. It was very cold, it was always cold. But one day I decided to explore and explore every time I got kicked out. At first, I tried looking for a warm place to sleep and it was found in the junkyard. I found a used futon and a cloth for cover under the rubbles. It was my favorite place but I was afraid of getting caught so I would leave soon as I was struck by the sunlight. I would sometime even purposely get in trouble to get kicked out but it meant I would get beaten before I do. I couldn't take it anymore so I started to look for a place to live on my own.   


Every time I went exploring I would put the cover over myself I found in the junkyard. When people saw me with the cover people called or even screamed "a ghost" and ran away, I did not know what a ghost was. There were some that were not afraid instead, they did not approach me after they had a whiff of me, a yard away. I would take advantage of this and take food from emptied homes but this did not last long. People started to hunt for the "ghost". I stopped using the cover.  


One night, a very dark night where there was no moon, I snuck some food but was seen. People started to chase after me. I ran into the alley and climbed on top of the building and got away. While I was on top of the roof, the view was not what I expected. Almost all the windows were lit, making it look like stars. It felt like I was amongst the stars. I stood up to see more of the stars but people who were chasing saw me. I had to run away.  


To see that view again, on another moonless night I climbed to the high place that was easily accessible. The building was attached to cliff walls and it had a rusty balcony which was especially dark, which was perfect for star viewing and it was. It was just like I thought, it was like I was amongst the stars. I was too immersed I started to lean into the rail, then suddenly, it broke. Fortunately, I hung on to the rail and desperately started to climb the rails. When got to safety and catching my breath, the people living below and above started hitting the ceiling and floor. Then suddenly something right in front of her slammed open. When I looked closely there was a window. It was completely dark inside. I took a peek inside and it was an empty room. I climbed into the dark room and in the middle of the room was a square plank. I guessed it was covering the window until the trembling. That was when I decided to live there.  


For a long time, I lived in that room. Bring the futon to the room at night and it was light and small so it was not difficult. Stole many things to survive. Got caught and beaten many times. But one day one when I got caught, of them threatened me while pulling on my tail. He said, "If I catch one more, I cut off your freakin tail!"  


Too afraid to go out I been in the small room for three days having a sip from the clay cup when I was thirsty, but the hunger was too much. Then when I thought about tail being cut off it reminded me of my caretaker. I even missed him. He might have treated me terribly but he still fed me, even if it was only leftovers. So, I decided to go back. That night, on my way to my previous home in the street there was a loud bang, clanging from the direction of my old home. In the street there were people sneaking a peek at the direction of the noise and so did I. Then suddenly my caretaker got kicked out of his own home and what followed was a Mammalion that was much bigger, so big he had to band his head down to go through the door and couple of his goons followed.   


"Stop, stop! I'll... I'll pay! I swear!" My caretaker pleaded. Then the large man walked up to him and kneeled with a knife in his hand pointed at the caretaker's good eye.  


"You said that before, my old friend..." the large Mammalion said with a deep voice.  


"I'll, I'll sell you my daughter!" The caretaker said. The bully stood up and looked around.  


"Daughter? I didn't see any girl, I don't see any girl," the bully said.  


"She... She's taking care of some chore! Sh, she'll be back late... I'll bring her over to you tomorrow, I swear!" The caretaker said desperately. I do not remember what came after because of was going through my head. 


I did not know what "daughter" was but I knew the caretaker was talking about me. Whenever they caught me stealing, people would ask "whose daughter are you?" Or "where is your parents?" But I did not understand. They also mentioned "selling" for example: selling fruits, selling lizard on a stick. 'Am I going to get killed too?' 'am I going to be eaten?' Is what I thought at the moment.  


"I just wanted to live. I did everything I could to live... But this place... This place won't let me. I ran away to live, I stole to live, I came back to live. But everyone, even him, wants me to die." is what I thought at the time and came to a conclusion, to leave this town.  


I decided to leave through the desert instead of the forest. Thinking that people are guarding the mountain and also, I was not in my right mind because of lack of nutrients. I only took clothe on my back and a cloth I was using in my sleep.  


The sun was setting by the time I was on my way out of town. While I was sneaking my way out, I saw a man in a cloak at the end of the street staggering his way in. Then suddenly fall on knee then to his face. Nobody was around but me to see, maybe because it was getting dark. Thinking he might have something useful or valuable I turned him over and searched him. He was the very first human I have ever seen. While I was searching I saw his ears were short and a tail was missing. Thinking he was a Mammalion I sympathized how painful that must have been to get your ears and tail cut but I was desperate and continued to search. While searching he was muttering something. I waved my hand over his face to check if he was awake but he did not respond. I came in closer to hear what he was saying out of curiosity.  


"No... Don’t go... Please... Please, don't die..." he muttered. At the time I did not know who he was talking to, but to me, it would be my salvation. To me, it felt like he was telling me to live, for the first time. I could not hold my tears. After shedding my tears, I came to a decision I could not leave him there. I could not leave, the only person in my life who have told me to live, to die. The man that told me to live, and then helped me live, his name was Hiroshi Yokutake.  


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