We’re back with our second drabble / short for the Anthropomorph series. Here we’re getting a better look at Vree and meeting a couple new neighbors who will likely make an appearance later. Not to mention one more character I’d like to bring in as often as possible. Anyway… in this bit, Vree is attempting to study but things do not go as she hoped they might. At all. XD
Warm sun soaked into ebony fur pleasantly. Vree sighed, a happy sound humming in her throat. The slightest of breezes tickled loose strands and tugged at the paper pinned in place under her right hand. Her left scribbled along the faint lines, copying notes from the textbook beside her. She blinked and wrinkled her nose at the text, tilting her head to the side. Brows dipped as she tilted her head in the other direction, eyes narrowing. She leaned closer, as if doing so might make the text suddenly understandable.
One ear perked up, swiveling outward and to her right. Footsteps. Hooves on concrete. Someone running. Without looking up, she sniffed, catching hints of the satyr and faun siblings from just up the road – sun warmed hide mixed with salty sweat – and Vree snorted, shaking her head. “Focus,” she told herself.
Unable to help herself, Vree looked up, locking eyes with the siblings, one after another. “Hey Pax. Pora,” she waved, the pen perched lightly between her fingers.
“Studying?” Pora wondered, tugging at a strand of greenish brown hair.
Vree’s heavy sigh was answer enough.
“Aw. Well, don’t study too hard,” Pax warned, shaking one finger at her playfully.
Vree waved him off with a snort. “Not likely.”
“Good luck studying then,” Pora encouraged, offering a sympathetic smile before she took her brother’s arm and tugged him after her. “Catch you later!”
Already turning back to her text, Vree waved her hand in parting. Receding hooves clacked away, leaving her in silence again. But then she heard one of the doors inside open and close. Both ears flicked back, listening to see what Fen was up to. Was he going to make lunch? One ear flicked to the front when a bird landed in the tree nearby, wings flapping loudly. It was almost lunchtime, wasn’t it? The other ear flickered to her left when something scratched around in the bushes. Another bird probably. The sound of feathers rustling. Yep. She tilted her head to try and see what kind of bird it was. Probably a sparrow or something.
The top page in her book rustled and she grunted, forcefully shaking herself. “Focus!” Determinedly, she leaned over the text and the page, staring at both of them without blinking. A few seconds passed. She blinked once and threw her hands up in the air. “Why doesn’t it make sense?!” she grumbled in frustration, ruffing the fur on her head up.
She paused and her tail started wagging slightly when she heard someone trying to sneak up on her from behind. The scent of feathers, fire, and ash danced to her nose and she pretended to resume her studying. One ear flicked, warding off a fly. What was taking him so long? Was he honestly trying to sneak up on her? Ugh. He was so slow. She scratched at the back of her neck with long claws and felt him pause behind her. Really? That would have been the best time to move. He never learned, did he?
Stretching with a noisy whine, she held still for a fraction of a second longer than necessary. He was close. Close enough? Probably. Why not? With a wolfish grin, she whirled around and snarled at Fen, baring her claws and fangs in a joking manner.
Fen shrieked, his feathers fluffing in every direction while a small cloud of white poofed from him. “Vree!” he gasped, stumbling away and then running in a panicky circle as he desperately tried to flatten his feathers and wave away the clinging down.
Vree laughed in delight and shook her head. “It’s impossible to sneak up on a werewolf,” she reminded him, pointing one long finger in his direction.
“I will do it one day!” he countered, pointing a sharp tipped finger back at her in response.
“As if,” she scoffed, giving him a sidelong look before focusing her attention on the text. The passage still didn’t make much sense but it was going to be on the test so she at least needed to be familiar with it. But she heard Fen coming around and there was still that bird in the tree and… “Ugh!” she grumbled, shoving the text away before she collapsed on it, lying out over the top of the table.
“That difficult?” Fen wondered, tugging at the text so he could see for himself.
“Yes…” she sighed, watching him without lifting her head.
Fen hummed thoughtfully and flipped through the pages. “I could help you, if you’d like?”
Vree wrinkled her nose at the idea.
“What was that?” he laughed, closing the book and holding it close against his chest.
“Hey! I wasn’t done with that,” she objected, sitting upright and glaring at the phoenix.
“You weren’t having much luck with it anyway. Come help me with lunch instead,” he grinned, nodding towards the house behind her.
“You just want me to make lunch,” she responded, eyes narrowing warily.
“Not giving your book back until you do,” he teased, sticking his tongue at her tauntingly.
“You brat,” Vree frowned, standing up and awkwardly pulling her legs out from under the table.
“Ah!” Fen yelped with a giggle, moving to keep the table between them, a mischievous gleam in his blue eyes.
Vree grinned despite herself as she spread her arms to either side. She jerked one way and Fen flinched. When he moved the opposite direction, Vree switched and leaned to counter him. He shrieked in high pitched delight and scrambled to flee to the other side of the table. “Get back here!” she called, lunging after him.
It would have been easier if she didn’t have to worry about stepping on his tail feathers. Awkward strides kept her lagging as she chased after him in a bowlegged manner. A few laps gave way to a sprint towards the tree in the corner of the backyard. The same one the bird had been in earlier. Fen fled behind it, peeking around until he laughed with childlike glee when Vree reached both arms around the trunk to flail at him harmlessly.
Amused herself, Vree heard wings flap and a chirp echo above her. Fur stood on end and eyes focused, tracking the flash of movement in her periphery. Fleeing creature. After it! Every muscle tensed and she growled low in her throat. Legs bent. Claws dug into the trunk. Launch! Midair and reaching for the rapidly fluttering bird, she realized what she was doing and grunted in confusion. “Ah!” she yelped, giving up the chase as soon as it started. Her feet touched a wooden surface first. It groaned plaintively under her weight and collapsed into a splintered heap of ruined planks.
“Agh,” Vree groaned, carefully picking herself up amidst the pile of debris.
“Are you okay?” the phoenix asked worriedly, feathers all fluffed up and dull.
“That was not how I imagined that ending,” she admitted, already clacking her teeth together nervously.
It took Fen a second to realize what she was talking about but then he grimaced too. “Wrenne’s not gonna like this.”
Vree clapped her hands on top of her head, her tail swaying limply behind her. “No. No she’s not…” she sighed dejectedly.
For a brief moment, they stared at the wreckage in silent contemplation. But then Fen spoke first. “Wanna help with lunch now?”
She was tempted to say no, just because. But that wouldn’t change anything. Taking a breath and lowering her hands to her sides, she shrugged. “Might as well.”
“Come on then,” Fen encouraged, snagging her wrist in his hand and tugging her along after him.
“I’m not a child, you know,” she chuckled, glancing down.
“You sure about that?” he shot back, head nodding towards the ruined table.
“Oh, shut it,” she grumbled, an amused laugh bubbling just beneath the surface.