Autumn. It's the time of transition from summer to winter. Leaves turn from green to orange or brown and keeps dropping from the stupid trees. Wonder if that is why autumn is also known as fall. Grownups always say autumn is beautiful, but Jo don't get why they say that. To Jo, it's just more chores to sweep up the fallen leaves on their lawn. It is so annoying to that grey wolf. Clearing the lawn is like an impossible task. No matter how hard Jo tries to sweep the lawn clean, his dad will always point out more fallen leaves near the drainage area that magically appear from nowhere.
Good thing for the pup is that he gets to play after piling up the leaves. Jo enjoys the playing part, so it makes enduring though the chore easier. Perhaps he should call his best friend to join in the fun later, the little pup thought.
Jo met his best friend during his first grade. Actually it's a while before that, when Jo's family moved to this area. Typh dropped by upon chance while Jo's family was in amidst of shifting the furniture into their new home. Jo hid behind his parents at first; but his brother was more than happy to make new friends in the neighbourhood. Jo slowly opened up under the encouragement of his family members and made a new friend. It was to their surprise to meet each other in the same school, in the same class.
Four years have passed since then, and both of them have just acknowledged not long ago that they are each other's best friend.
Jo gives an irritated ear flick on his right ear as one of the leaves fall directly on him. Grumbling, he takes the leaf and throws it hard towards the ground. Instead of dropping directly in front of the rake, the leaf floats towards the area where the grey pup had previously swept. Jo goes back to chase the leaf, only to see more fallen leaves that magically ran from the pile he stacked up earlier (or so he thought).
Jo is jealous of Typh, since his best friend never needs to sweep a lawn, plainly because he doesn't have one. Not that Jo's lawn is huge; just a small one at the back actually. But sweeping is still needed and no sweeping is better than some sweeping.
Then again, Typh doesn't have the chance to play after sweeping up the leaves: The chance to play in the pile of dry leaves. Jo loves diving into the pile of leaves every autumn, wriggling inside and trashing about, so long as the mess does not get into the drainage area. It's kind of dirty and sometimes has bugs in them, but who cares?
Yep, Jo never needed to clean up the entire lawn, just near the drainage area to avoid clog ups during a downpour. But to dive into a pile of leaves, well, the bigger the pile, the better!
But it seems that there's not much leaves today, the pile collected so far is kind of small compared to the super huuuuuuge one he had last year.
"Jo!" a voice calls out from the house, "Typh is here!"
Jo drops the rake that he has been using and runs into the house. His mom ruffles his hair and asks whether he finished cleaning the lawn. Jo obviously says yes (like who wouldn't?), and scrambles towards his friend, where his brother is there too, showing off his cards from his new deck.
"... look, it's not just awesome, it has 12000 attack power; equivalent to a legendary card!" Jo's brother shows off his newly acquired card, shining brilliantly.
"Woah... That's so lucky! How many booster packs did you buy to get that?" Typh wonders aloud.
Jo can't wait to go out and play though; he tugs Typh's arm and pulls him away before his brother can reply, shouting "Sorry bro, we gotta go! And mom, we're leaving!"
Jo's brother shakes his head, smiling. He is in a good mood today, he didn't bother to argue with his lil' bro. Shutting the door, Jo faintly hears his mom usual nagging about staying safe and looking out for strangers.
"Secret hiding place, or the new playground?" Typh asks.
"To the new playground, of course! I heard that there are more swings and we've yet to go there!" Jo answers gleefully, tail wagging madly, with a jump in every step.
Typh laughs out loud and says, "Let's race there then!"
Running around, exploring new places is what the wolves love to do. Most of the time they will meet up with their clique, but going to new places, it's usually only the two of them (less responsibility on them anyway).
The new play area, surprisingly, isn't as crowded as they thought it will be. Perhaps the other kids have to clear their own lawn too, or that they haven't discovered this place yet. Here, there are swings, slides, tunnels... pretty much the same as most of others.
Twigs snap and leaves crunch as they run towards the playground. Something about running and climbing around just makes the two pups excited. But they don't have the playing compound all to themselves, unfortunately. In fact, Typh knows one of the other 'intruders'; not close enough to call friends though, just enough to recognise each other.
However to Typh, he don't really care about the other kids in the playground, it's all about having fun with his best friend; yes, that's the most important thing now. Typh immediately wriggles into one of the plastic tunnels, trying to reach the top. There's no reason why, it's instinctive and natural for all kids to race to the top.
Jo, being slightly slower, tries to find a shorter route to the top. He licks his lips before attempting to sprint up a smooth slide... only to fail miserably. He barely makes it half-way before his feet gives way to the slippery slope, resulting in him sliding back, face down.
That elicits a sharp shrilling laugh from somewhere at the top, Jo looks up just in time to see a girl pug yelling down, "Booooo~, you're so lousy; you can't even run up a slide!!" That made the others, a girl and a boy ferret, around her laugh out along with the pug.
"You're being mean, coward," Typh speaks out from behind them. Typh manages to emerge at the top, only to see the 'intruders' jeering at his best friend. Kids have a strong sense of loyalty, and Typh doesn't like others making fun of his best friend. Not only the 'intruders' are rude, Typh also recognises that pug earlier on. They may not be friends, but Typh knows that this pug is no ordinary girl. She is arrogant, hot-tempered and rowdy; too boy-ish for a girl. Typh knew her because their mothers met before around the neighbourhood.
They didn't reply Typh; with smirks on their faces, the three of them make their way down towards Jo. Jo just stands there, not exactly sure what's going on, looking at the three of them approaching him. Typh grits his teeth as he senses something wrong, but stays still while his eyes follows them... no harm has been done yet.
"Coward, am I?" the pug threatens, then pushes Jo down and begin to add in a few kicks, "How's that, weak pup?"
"HEY!" Typh barks out, scrambling down immediately, "What's your problem?!"
Typh hops down to rushes towards his poor friend getting hit for no particular reason. Fangs slightly bared, he raises his arms protectively. Jo is shocked from the sudden change of the situation; after all they were supposed to be playing, right? Jo notices that Typh's tail is rigid and the tip is twitching about while his is tucked between his legs.
"What?" the pug sneers, "That's for calling me a coward. Why so tensed up?"
"You're nuts," Typh growls.
"I'll do what I like to, you won't dare to hit me anyway," she challenges and points, "Real guys don't hit girls. Like that wimp."
Typh didn't care that much though. He clenches his fist let it fly with all his might towards that smug face.
That's when the whole fight starts: when the punch connects. The pug falls down and yells in pain while the two ferrets jump at Typh immediately. The pug stands up, tears staining her muzzle, takes off her shoe as a weapon and joins the fight. Typh, naturally at disadvantage, couldn't fend off all of them. He tries his best not to cry, but the onslaught of the claws and teeth (and shoe?) hurt him till the point where the bruises are starting to bleed a little. Jo, for some reason, didn't move to join in. Perhaps he wants to stay out of trouble, perhaps he doesn't want to get physical, no one really knows.
The tangled mess of kids breaks apart after a while. Typh has been focusing more on defending himself than attacking the other three; so while Typh have cuts and scratches everywhere, the other three of them looks more exhausted than hurt, and that pug is still freaking crying even after she left with the other two.
Typh stands up, facing away from Jo. Typh is exhausted and physically hurt; so much that he is sniffing and crying a little. He tries to stop himself from crying too much because his mother will question him. He tries to wipe away those tears with his paws and calm himself down. For a moment, he forgets about Jo's existence.
"Uh, are you okay?" Jo asks timidly.
Typh turns back and glare lasers at Jo, "Why won't you help me? Why won't you stand up and defend for youself?!!"
Jo didn't answer and Typh didn't expect him to. Typh simply stands and walks away, leaving Jo behind. "I'm going home."
Typh tries to cool down while walking back. Nothing's wrong, he tries to convince himself. Everything is perfectly normal.
When he arrives home, his mom calls for him. "Where were you? What is this?" she starts, with one piece of his homework in her paws, "Look at the remarks, why didn't you finish homework on time? You tell me that your homework is done, but look at the horrendous handwriting! Erase and write it again!"
Typh didn't have the mood and energy to redo his stupid homework now. Even more so when the doorbell rings; Typh just hopes that it isn't who he thinks it is outside on the doorstep now.
Just his luck. Not only the pug girl appears, the entire family is at the doorstep. That girl is wailing as though the world is crashing, and there is an angry bump on her head which made Typh silently proud of his strength. But there is no time to rejoice now though.
"Sally," the pug mom begins, "I want your son to apologise to my daughter. How dare he hurt my girl's beautiful face?! If we were not friends, Sally, I don't know what I would have done."
"You, boy! You dare to hurt my sister?!" says what Typh assumes the girl's elder brother.
Typh's mom is astonished by the sudden news. Her boy hurt another person again? She thought Typh would have known better after the previous fight he gotten into in kindergarten. "TYPH! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!" she roars.
Typh is scared by both the hostility of the pug family and his mom's anger; tears are starting to form back again. Nonetheless, he tries to explain the situation, "But I've got hurt more, and she started it!" Typh shows the bruises that were bleeding a little; but apparently too little for any sympathy from his own mom. Typh tries to look for his dad, but his dad did as much as Jo did earlier: just observing.
"COME HERE AND APOLOGISE NOW!" Typh's mom insists. Typh wonders whether his mom actually cared to listen to him or not. He bit his lips and shakes his head.
"Typh," his dad warns, speaking for the first time.
Why is everyone now turning against him?? Typh thought. That pug really started everything!
"How dare you not listen to me?" Typh's mom says, moving back to the house to take something which Typh knows it all so well: the feather duster.
The first swipe at Typh hurts so bad, far worse that those claws just now. "Go apologise NOW!" Typh's mom says.
Typh's tears are flowing uncontrollably, but he knew he had no say here. Not only it hurts, it's humiliating. He walks towards that damn pug and mutters, "I'm sorry."
But that pug brother didn't want to back down, "What? I can't hear you."
Typh grits his teeth and yells, "I'M SORRY!" before running back to his room.
Typh hated everything here, how his family didn't believe him, how Jo did nothing. Typh is both physically and emotionally hurt. To Typh, that freaking bump on her head meant nothing to his cuts and bruises. If anyone wondered why he didn't want his parents to know anything earlier, this is a prime example. His parents never cared to listen to his story. Whichever arguments he got in, his parents never sided him. His parents cannot accept that his handwriting isn't up to their standard. His mom always uses that damn feather duster to force compliance even when Typh is absolutely sure he has done no wrong. This kind of things may be small to them, but they are everything to a kid like Typh. Other than food and shelter, Typh realises that he cannot depend on his parents on anything else. Perhaps it's time I depend on myself, Typh thought. Typh just stays on his bed and cries. He can't even cry out loud, his parents will scold him. And his parents didn't come in to check on him for the next few hours too.
Jo, on the other hand, is feeling downright guilty. When he got back, his family asked him if something happened. It's funny to Jo how his parents always know something's up. When he finished his story, his dad and bro was like, "What? Why didn't you retaliate and help Typh? You should have hit them back!"
His mom swat the both of them away, ticking her husband off for supporting violent behaviour, then turn to Jo, "Sweetie, I don't approve you getting into fights. But I do hope that you would at least pull Typh away from the fight or call an adult next time."
That was enough to put Jo in a depressed mood. Yes, he should have done more than just nothing. He hopes that Typh won't blame him too much and lose a best friend. Jo decides to apologise to Typh in school tomorrow...
Typh skips school the next day. He decided not to care anymore. He knows that if his teacher phones his parents, he will get to meet the feather duster again. But he doesn't particularly care right now. He hates everything in his home, except maybe his sister. Yesterday, his sister was the first to come and ask what happened. She consoled him only for a while, before a call diverted her attention. His parents did came in and ask, but Typh no longer had the will to tell them anymore. He used a claw and hurt himself on the left wrist by scratching himself deep too; he just hated the idea of not being able to do anything to control his life. The new mark didn't hurt much to Typh, it seems minute compared to his situation.
Typh stretch out in the 'secret hiding place' underneath the bridge to the next city. He just can't be bothered right now. He didn't want to care anymore. It's just a day and so much of the things in the kid's mind have changed. The incident yesterday is like the breaking point of his pent up feelings about his parents. Now, he doesn't want to explain anything to anyone anymore. He has shut himself away from the world. To him, why bother? No one will listen.
Typh turns, and sees Jo standing in front of him. Typh don't really know what to feel right now, he doesn't want to care. Jo now, to him, is just Jo.
"Typh, I'm sorry about yesterday, please don't be upset," Jo says.
Typh didn't reply Jo. He don't really care what Jo wants now actually.
"Typh... Talk to me, you're still my best friend to me... What happened? You didn't come to school today either," Jo continues.
Typh just sighs and leans back, using his left arm to cover his eyes.
"Typh, I'm very sorry... Look, I'll buy you an ice cream and a booster pack. Wait, what happen to your wrist?" Jo asks.
Typh chuckles to himself though, "Jo, it's okay. You know I don't play card games or a console, my parents don't allow that."
Jo smiles when Typh actually replied him. "We're still friends right?"
"Cool! Let's go my house to play today! I have collected dry leaves!"
The first scar on your wrist, Typh... marks that day where I decided to protect you and stand up for myself as well... or that's what I told myself...
Quick shout out to my relatively close friend (the one I mentioned here) for his persistance in chasing my tail all the way here even though he ain't furry.
Anyway, here the next chapter where we dig up the past in a third person view, something I wanna try out too.
Parents shouldn't be toooooo harsh, it backfires.