He doesn’t know how long has passed, but he does know that his “boat” has run aground, it’s dark and there’s a rustle of grass and leaves. In a pain filled daze, his arm slips off the boat, the ice cold moisture in the soil, sending a chill through every vein, snapping him into complete wakefulness. He musters the strength to raise his head, his eyes slowly adjusting to the dim light of a new moon. Not too far away, he sees tall squarish structures with many, many yellow lights, what is it? His only hope to survive at the source of those lights, forcing himself up on his feet the thief starts his slow limp through the long, dewy grass.
The moon rose and reached its peak overhead, a smile in the glittering void above, grinning like it knew a secret that it would never tell. Staring up, he manages a weak smile back, hoping the goddess watching him could spare a shred of kindness. He looks down to find himself on the edge of a camp, his heart jumped, beyond the camp are the structures. He sneaks into tent after tent, searching for a single morsel of food, but all he found was strange equipment, hoops, ribbons, bouncing balls of various sizes and weighted bottle-like things that don’t open or hold liquid. Surely the giant tent would have something… No, it was just an… Arena? Do people fight here? Executions? He doesn’t want to linger.
After leaving the arena tent, he noticed a small patch of cultivated land, with a beautiful wooden caravan beside it. After a thorough search, not even a single berry could be found, the plants were far too young to bear fruit. The closer he got to the caravan the more he noticed a strange smell in the air, it made his adrenaline rush. There was a strong buck rat nearby that the thief certainly didn’t want to tangle with. Backing away from the caravan and the crops realizing they must be the buck rat’s, he feels cold sheet metal against his back, he finds a whole new structure with a completely different fragrance. This one was a doe rat, young, healthy and fertile, what seemed to be her home was a block of metal and glass with what seemed to be a smaller building of the same kind built on top to create another floor.
In his starving desperation, he breaks the glass in the door and scurries in. To the right was a little kitchen, opening the cupboards he finds jars of dried fruit, rice and a tall pot of little yellow bows and spirals that snapped when he bit them. The fruit was so sweet, he’d gotten through half a jar of pitted apricots before the room suddenly became bright. Turing to see who was there, his gaze was met by two long adjoining pipes with a wooden handle at the other end, holding this strange object was the fiery-haired buck rat he detected earlier.
“Just what do you think you are doing here?” snarls Alroy, shoving the shotgun into the thief’s chest, pushing him onto his back, “Well?”
“I… I… I just…” the thief stutters, his voice was dry and rough, “…wanted…”
“I don’t care what you want, you break into someone’s home, you steal their food. What will you do next?” Alroy snaps, he opens his mouth to speak again.
“DAD!” Teagan cries, rushing to see just what was going on, tugging at her frilly blue night dress to keep herself covered up.
She walks around the island counter to see the thief cowering for his life. The panic clear as day in his earthy brown eyes, tears and burns stain the sandy coloured fur on his face. Looking at his body, she can just about see his ribs beneath the dark bruising on the right side of his chest, he has no shirt, no shoes, just some torn and bloodied brown trousers, a belt and a bandanna. Clearly an agouti buck, a wild rat, that’s has been suffering for some time.
His eyes widen at the sight of her, she could feel her own eyes welling with tears and her lower lip trembling.
“Daddy… how could you? He needs help why would you do this?” she wails, “LEAVE NOW! Do something helpful instead, get the doctor.”
“And what if he attacks you in the meantime, Teagan?”
“As if he’s in any condition for that! I can protect myself.” Teagan yells, pushing Alroy through the doorway.
The thief watches as Teagan rushes around her home, she finds a large, clean blanket and throws it over the settee, before returning to him. She lifts him up, one arm over her shoulder and her hand on his waist and lays him down slowly on the settee. Dashing off once again for scissors, bandages, a bowl of hot water, a clean cloth and some strong smelling antiseptic liquid. She kneels on the floor beside him and gently cuts the bloodied fabric away from his thigh and tends to his wounded leg.
He can’t help but stare, her fur is as bright and white as the moon he prayed to just hours before. Her hair is long, thick and as red as blood, her eyes were a green that not even the lushest forests or purest gemstones could match. She was very short, her figure was plump, strong and generous with large hips. His heart beat louder than it had ever before, he was scared she would hear it.
Her eyes shift up to meet his.
“Teagan…” he mumbles.
“Yes?” she responds softly.
He blushes nervously, unable to say anything, for a long minute.
“Doesn’t this hurt?” she asks, dabbing the deep scrape on his leg.
“So, um… what’s your name?”
“It’s C… It’s Coinneach”
“Co-in-ock? Co-in-ock?” she repeats to herself slowly, breaking it down, “Such a strange name, I love it.” she smiles.