I remember when the days were perfect. Back in the days when I was a little boy growing up in an upper middle class neighborhood in the peaceful town of Riverview. Everyone was friendly and everyone almost knew everything. You couldn’t hide anything, half of the town would know about it already.
We been living on Dogwood lane officially for a year, I always hated the name of the street but it was one of the best areas to live on in Riverview. Our old house was getting too small and my parents wanted to buy their first home together as a newly married couple. They got married when I was 4 and half and we got this house when I was almost 6. After my parents found this house, they decided to rent out the old one to earn some extra income.
I remember being so excited on moving day, this house was much better than our old one. We have a bigger backyard and even a pool with a hot tub. Plus all of my family who lived in Riverview lived on Dogwood lane, so it was perfect for my parents. My dad had other kids and he could see them easily now since living here. Our houses were always opened to family and their houses were too. Sometimes if we didn’t like what mom cooking for dinner, we could have dinner at another family’s house. My parents didn’t mind. It was like we lived in an open community. Even my non-related neighbors opened their homes to us too. I remember when everything was so perfect.
I had a pretty good childhood for the most part. Although it was tough to make friends because of this one annoying part about me. I was born part genie and part wolf, two set of genetics that can’t be split. You were one or the other, you couldn’t be both unless you were some medical history like me. But what I was made my life difficult. It left me with a medical condition that didn’t allow me to live much. When I was born, my heart and lungs were extremely under developed, I didn’t respond to medicines due of my occult status. Doctors were unsure to treat me but managed to figure something out for the short-term at least.
My heart and lungs are 2 times smaller than it should be, they are amazed that I am alive, but they believe it’s cause of my genie DNA. To play it safe, I’m not allowed to do anything that would could my heart and lungs to work hard. Such as running, jumping, swimming, bike riding or basically being a normal child. My dad is a strong guy and often had to carry me if walking had gotten to be too much. I wasn’t allow to learn how to walk until I was 2. I made many attempts to walk on my own but my parents always stopped me until the doctor said it was okay.
I’m seen as a freak or a weird to most kids, ever since a sleepover that I attended to when I was 5. That night happen to be a full moon and my parents had forgotten and sent me off. Since I’m half and half, when it’s a full moon, I can’t properly turn into a full wolf. Instead I turn into a freakish man-wolf with dark flowing long hair, glowing red eyes and huge wolf fangs protruding from my mouth. It scared the living daylights out of everyone at the party. My parents had remembered and attempted to get to me before I turned, but it was too late. All the kids saw what I am, although I told them all that I was genie who hasn’t come into my power yet. Since that night, no parent wants me near their child. In a town like Riverview, news spreads fast.
Not only can’t I be a proper wolf but I can’t be a proper genie either. I can’t do what most genies can do, well at least not properly. My grandma over in the near by city of Richdale believe I can if I have the proper training like at the school of magic for witches, genies and fairy in Richdale. But they have a no wolf or vampire rule, I’m not allow to attend. Whenever we visit Richdale, my grandma trains me herself which it’s kinda cool. I want to be just a genie and do genie things like other genies. I don’t wanna be a wolf, I don’t know other wolves and being a genie is much cooler. I’m confused of why I am born the way I was. I mean both of my parents are genies but my dad said there was a wolf in his family and that’s how I got it. But why only me? Something about his story seemed off but I didn’t question it. I was just a kid who dreamed that one day I would wake up as a full genie.
I didn’t need an alarm clock to wake up me up, just the smell of my mom’s cooking awakens me. My mom loved to cook and didn’t use magic to prepare our meals. My mom told me that food conjuring was a developed ability during the genie slave trade era. It was used as a survival skill when genies had to go into hiding. Most modern day genies don’t conjure food unless they plan to spend a weekend roughing it out in the woods and failed to catch food.
My mom always said a genie who conjures is a genie who is lazy. She would say that as she looks over at my dad and smiles. My dad always explained himself, saying he didn’t know how to cook but my mom likes teasing him. Of course playfully tease. I always admired my parents marriage, they were always in love, even until this day. I hope one day I’ll find another Navox lady like my dad.
I heard my litter mate Montell, it’s an inside joke in my family since we are apart of a set of quints, making up his bed on the top bunk. Of out my 4 other litter mates, Montell known as Monty was the one I was closest too. Naturally we would be since we were side by in our mom’s womb.
“Rai, get up or you won’t get a spot at the table.”
“I am up. Shut up.”
The dining room table only seats 8 and only 9 of us actively live in the house. That means that one of use would have to eat alone at the breakfast bar. It’s less depressing when a guest decides to have a meal with us.
“You don’t look like you’re up. Are you feeling okay?”
“Ugh…yes Monty… I just wanna relax a bit.”
“If you’re not feeling okay, I’ll tell mom. She’ll save you a sat.”
“Monty! Don’t baby me! I’m okay!”
“Um.. if you say so.”
I always felt annoyed if Monty seemed like he was trying to baby me but he was the only one who seemed to have any real concern for me since we were kids unlike my other litter mates. I know he was just looking out for me but it annoyed me.
I was late getting up and like predicted, Monty saved me a sat at the table like he does most of the time. He made sure it was close to mom, I know how she was gonna question me during breakfast since I was a bit sluggish this morning.
“I’m okay mom. I was just having a really good dream.”
“Are you sure? You have an appointment in 2 days.”
“I know mom but really I’m okay. I can go to day camp today.”
Doctor visits are a monthly thing, I have at least 3 appointments a month. I’ve had 6 surgeries since birth so seeing the hospital walls is a normal thing for me, sadly. My doctors are unsure how to treat me still, everything is short-term until they finally find a long-term solution. I hope before each visit, they would finally figure it out but they haven’t. However they notice I seem to improve health wise as I get older. It is the second week of summer and I was approved to do some light swimming. The doctors felt my heart and lungs can handle it this year.
My mom headed off to work while we spend the rest of the morning with dad. I found my dad behind the bar like usual. My dad didn’t start his day with coffee like most adults, his day was start with rum or whiskey. Dad isn’t suppose to be drinking in the morning, mom usually scolds him. Dad doesn’t have to work until later on in the day and mom doesn’t want him to be drunk while we were at home. But dad has his drink or two anyway.
“Dad, you’re suppose to be having a morning drink.”
“Yeah? Your mom isn’t here. You’re not gonna tell her?”
“Maybe if I can have a candy bar then maybe your secret is safe.”
“You know that I can’t do that, Rai.”
“Then I guess I can’t promise you anything, dad.”
“Wait a sec… I am the dad! Don’t tell your mom unless you don’t a cool present for your birthday next month.”
It’s fun to mess with my dad time to time. He tends to forget that he has authority over us and when he does, he goes “Wait a sec. I’m the dad!”. He may have been a father for over 30 plus years but he’s still brand new to the whole parenting thing. He was never a hands on parent until he met my mom. I promised dad that I won’t say anything cause I really want something cool for my birthday next month. I’ll be turning 7. July 10th doesn’t seem to come quick enough. My grandma said that the year of 7 is always the luckiest years with Navox.
“So are we getting a big party again?”
“Maybe but its a surprise. You’ll love it.”
“Just give me a little hint.”
“I can’t do that. But what I can tell you is that…remind me to not forget Stella today.”
“Ha ha ha!”
“I’m serious, Rai. Your mom wasn’t happy that I left her at camp yesterday.”
I always wondered why dad always forgot about Stella. I know my dad is forgetful and all but there’s something about him and Stella that doesn’t seem to click. For the most part he looks at her like she’s a stranger and sometimes mentions to my mom how she just came out of nowhere. My mom laughs at him and tells him to stop being silly. But what if that’s true? I mean when you look at Orion and Solar, they look alike but their litter mate Stella is completely different from them. It makes you wonder.. there’s a lot of mystery with aliens and all.
The doorbell rang at 9:30 like usual, Orion and Solar came over from our sister Topaz’s house from across the street. Orion and Solar are living at Topaz’s because of our brother Saffron. About almost a year ago, Saffron’s mom went missing and the only ones who could make him feel better was Orion and Solar. Instead of moving Saffron in with us, Topaz felt it was best if he stayed with her since he had his own room. However Orion and Solar wanted to live with him since they have a fairy bond. They often stayed a night at Topaz’s and she took notice on Saffron’s mood was better when Orion and Solar were around.
Topaz’s husband Mirio said that Orion and Solar see Saffron as a lost fairy and naturally they want to stay close with him thus creating a tribe. It’s fairy nature that this type of thing happens, since they are siblings, the force is stronger. Mirio being an older fairy, they see him as the king of the tribe. This is now a little fairy tribe that should not be broken. Since Topaz and Mirio had extra room, they asked my dad to move in Orion and Solar once school was over. My dad felt it was best and allowed them since we live across the street.
“So where’s Saff? Isn’t he coming over and going to day camp with us today?”
“Saffron isn’t feeling well today. He’s extra sad today. He really misses his mommy.”
“I thought you and Orion was making him happy?”
“Yeah but sometimes he’s super sad still. Topaz said today makes it a year since their mommy went missing. I think he’s gonna stay with Mirio and the babies today. But maybe you can help.”
“Just say the weird stuff that you always say. Be weird. He thinks its funny.”
“I’m not weird!”
“Sometimes you are but its okay. You are what you are and I love you.”
Honestly you can never get mad at Solar. Even when she gives you a backhanded compliment. She always ends it with a “I love you” in the sweetest voice ever. When she says that, you can’t get mad. Instead your heart just melts and feel like the most special person in the world. And I wish I had her sorcery. Solar is sugary sweet for the most part and if she says anything mean, she didn’t intent it to be but with the sweet “I love you” which is genuine, all is forgiven. All does she do that? Is it a Navox thing?
I let my dad know that I was going over to get Saffron and was given the okay. I feel bad for Saffron, it sucks if your mom just goes missing without a trace. When Topaz shared the news that she was pregnant, her mom was gone the next day. Topaz mention to my dad how her mom was often depressed but seem to start getting better. She was dating a guy but he suddenly left town without telling her. Topaz is afraid that something happen to her and as been searching for her non stop.
Mirio said that sometimes lone fairies just up and leave to find a tribe to be apart of. They having a need of feeling belonged. He thinks he she searched for a tribe or may returned back to her true home. However Topaz doesn’t believe her mom would just leave Saffron behind. Police didn’t find any signs of foul play and maybe its true what Mirio said. Police tend to not search for fairies because sometimes they just leave. Of course, Mirio promises Topaz they he wouldn’t do that to her. They are married with kids, he has no urge to leave that behind.
I searched for the spare key and let myself in. I announced myself, letting Mirio that it was me. I could hear him upstairs with his screaming set of twins. Topaz gave birth late spring and today is her first day back to work, leaving Mirio alone with the babies.
“Mirio! It’s me Raiden! I’m here for Saffron!”
“Hey man! That’s cool! Can you do me a favor?!”
“Can you see if your sis Janaya can give me a hand?!”
Before I could turn around to go get Janaya, she was already at the door.
“Great… Did dad send you to look after me?”
“No Rai. I got a text from Topaz asking me to check on Mirio before I headed to school.”
“Oh.. Well Mirio needs you.”
“Yeah.. I can heard that. Poor guy has his hands full.”
I found Saffron sitting at the table in the dining area. It looked like he was writing down something. I sat down next to him to see what he was writing.
“Writing a letter to my mom.”
“Do you know where she is?”
“Then why are you writing her a letter?”
“Cause the lady said it will make me feel better.”
“What lady? How is that gonna make you feel better?”
“A lady! It’s none of your business, Raiden! I don’t have to tell you anything.”
“Sorry… I was just asking..”
“Nobody said you had to!”
I never seen Saffron like this. He’s not like him to snap at anyone. He was always friendly, even after his mom went missing. I stop talking and sat there watching the ticking clock on the wall.
“So you just gonna watch me?”
“I thought maybe you wanted some company. But you seem mad. Guess you not coming to camp today?”
“No. Yeah. I dunno. Maybe.. I just need to write this letter.”
“And the lady… It’s my therapist. I gotta see one.”
I can sense Saffron wants to be left alone. Janaya came downstairs with the twins, Sabelle and Sabrina and put them in their swings. She told Mirio to play some music, it will calm them down. As Mirio played the piano, the twins got quiet and cooed in their swings. Janaya was always great with kids. I’m glad she’s attending the fine arts school in town instead of attending to school of magic in Richdale with her litter mates. Janaya’s school is all year around, so she doesn’t get a summer break like the rest of do.
I didn’t really get the fascinating about babies. They cry, poop and sleep all day. However I did like Sabelle and Sabrina, they were the only babies I could get close to without their parent freaking out. Even my own sister Leda got a little weird when I was too close to her newborn son. She try to make it sound like she nervous about kids wanting to hold her baby but I know the truth. When the twins were born, Topaz asked me first if I wanted to hold one. I didn’t want to but did anyway. I figure why not, no one else is gonna let me near their baby.
Sabelle and Sabrina like me, it makes me feel less like a freak.
I was getting ready to go home until Saffron stopped me.
“I could use a funny joke now.”
“Um… well. Oh I got one!”
“Cool! Tell me.”
“Why is 6 afraid of 7?”
“I dunno. Why?”
“Cause 7 8 9! Get it?”
“Huh.. Oh. Ha ha ha ha! That’s funny!”
I told Saffron a few more jokes that made him laugh. He was feeling better and decided to come over to hang out for a bit before we all had to go camp.
It was time to head to day camp. My dad pile all of us into his car, mom said they he needs to get a van but dad said he can’t. Something about him being a man and men don’t drive vans. But day camp was at Eberly farm, which is a pretty fun place to go as I remembered. They had all kinds of activities do there, even for someone like me. They had hay rides, swimming, horseshoes, arts & crafts, fishing, gardening, and some game that you throw sticks to knock over trolls.
I was usually on my own once we got to the farm. My siblings all had friends and their friends were scared of me. I couldn’t play like normal kids did, so sometimes I just watched other kids have fun. Sometimes I would imagine that I was out there playing with the others, living like a full genie, showing off my magic. But I’m quickly snapped into reality when some kid shout out “Move out the way, freak!”
My dad does work here part time before he heads to his real job at the stadium. This gives him some time to hang out with us. Dad usually gave hay rides and swim with everyone. All the kids like my dad and thinks he’s cool. My dad can fly and sometimes let other kids fly with him.
Last week, a kid asked how he was so cool and why was I a freak. My dad told him that I wasn’t a freak how I was unique. Having “cool” dad still wasn’t enough to earn me any popularity. I think that’s why my dad took this part time job here. He knew kids liked him and maybe it would help me gain some friends.
“What’s wrong freak? Are you scared?”
“I’m not scared and don’t call me a freak or I’m gonna tell dad! “
“Don’t be such a baby, Raiden. I was just joking.”
“Yeah? But did you have to call me a freak just like the other kids do?”
“Sorry… I was just-“
“Shut up, Devi! You’re just a jerk like the others. You’re sister.. I thought you wouldn’t call me that.”
“Look. I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
“Whatever.. You don’t see me calling you “Devil” like the other kids do..”
“Yeah… but I’m really sorry.”
“Fine. Just don’t me that again.”
“I won’t. I promise.”
I wasn’t sure what was Devi’s deal. She never called me that before but I guess she’s been hanging out with the other kids so long. After the hay ride, Devi attempted to tell me how sorry she was but I didn’t want to be bothered. I headed over to the petting zoo and played with the baby chicks. They just hatched last week and so far they have been my only friends here.
“Hi Stacy! Do you like your name? You look like a Stacy so I’m gonna call you that.”
“What’s up Bill? Today is pretty nice out, huh? So are you and Tiffany back together yet? I hope so cause you guys are kinda cute together ya know.”
My chat with Bill was cut short when my niece Valerii caught me chatting with the chickens.
“Can you be less of a weirdo, dog freak?! Stop talking to the chickens! The others think that you’re about to eat them or something!”
“Mind your business! I can chat with them if I wanna!”
“No you can’t, dog freak! Stop it or I’m gonna make you!”
“Geeze… I dunno. Beat you up! Whatcha think? Stop being so dumb!”
“I don’t have anything else to do.”
“I don’t care! Just stop! You’re making me look bad!”
“Cause my friends know that you’re my uncle and you’re being all weird!”
“I’m not being weird…”
“Yeah huh… Says the boy who talks to chickens.”
“No one wants to talk to me..”
“Not my problem! Just stop talking to the chickens or you’re gonna regret it!”
Valerii had always been a jerk towards me. She picks at me for every little thing that I did. I left the petting zoo and headed over to the pond. My dad was swimming around and he spotted me.
“C’mon Rai, your doctor said it will be okay.”
“But I don’t know how to swim.”
“I’ll hold ya like I did when you were a baby.”
“But I’m not a baby! I’ll be 7 next month!”
“Oh well we can-“
“No dad. I’ll go do something else.”
Soon as I turned around, I saw other kids running towards the pond. Once they all saw that my dad was swimming, they wanted to swim too. There was no way I wanted everyone to see me being held by dad like from my toddler days. They tease me enough already.
My litter mate, Antonio who is knows as Tony came over with his usual words of encouragement.
“Haters are gonna hate. So put on your freakum dress and dance with fierce!”
“What does that even have to do with anything?!”
“I am saying that you need to not worry about what these basic children think of you! Let dad hold you in the water! Your doc say it’s okay now do it!”
“I wanna swim but not like that!”
“Child boy! Dad is gonna teach you how to swim. Now on with the freakum dress and dance!”
At 3Pm, mom comes and picks us up from day camp. She ask us if we had fun and she asks me if I made a friend. The answer is always a no and she scolds the others saying how they need to let me play with them. But I always told mom that I didn’t want their friends out of symphony. She didn’t care and felt that they should introduce their friends to me. I told mom it was okay and they didn’t have to.
My brothers and I went into our bedroom to play while mom made dinner.
“Rai, wanna join us? We are building a city.”
“You can if you wanna.”
“Child boy, we home now. Play with us!”
“So it’s cool to play at home but not at camp?”
“Well… you know how my friends are, Rai.”
“Maybe tomorrow we should ditch our friends and hang with Rai?”
“No Tony. Don’t do that. I don’t want a pity play…”
I think mom’s scolding had some affect on them since they are willing to break away from their friends for me. But I didn’t want them to play with me at camp cause mom told them to. They kept trying to convince me that mom wasn’t putting them up to it but believe that mom did have a point.
The rest of the evening went as normal. The house was full of kids, Valerii decided to stay the night while Orion, Solar, Saffron and Devi went back to their homes.
It was bedtime and I was the last to brush my teeth before heading to bed. I went a little weak and doing that task took longer than usual. I found myself on the bathroom floor, I must have passed out for a little bit.
I was my dad sitting on the couch, something was bothering him. He wasn’t his usually happy self when he got home from work. I thought maybe he had a bad day at work but that unusual. Dad likes his job at the stadium. He’s the fitness trainer for the basketball players and off duty soldiers.
“It’s going to be okay, B. I’m sure the kids will understand.”
“How are we going to explain this to them?”
“We will find a way. We kinda knew this was coming.”
“But not this soon… I know they’ll have questions when they are older.”
“I wish I didn’t check my voicemail.. I got worried thinking it was about Chanel but Astrid or Jasmine would had called me.”
“We own it to them to tell the truth.”
“Yeah.. But it’s gonna hurt..”
“I know baby, but we gotta.”
Dad looked up and saw me. Mom took noticed and told me to go to bed. She looked at the clock and notice I should had been in been 20 minutes ago. I didn’t want her to stress over me passing out in the bathroom, it was clear something was already bothering my parents.
“Raiden Enrique Montigo! Why aren’t you in bed yet?”
“I had to pee, mom.”
“Oh, I didn’t see you come out of your room.”
“I really had to go bad. I ran.”
“You aren’t suppose to be running, mister.”
“I know mom. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again!”
“Alright, you get to bed right now.”
“I will. Goodnight, mom and dad!”
I wanted to ask my parents what was they talking about but I knew they wouldn’t tell. I pretend like I heard nothing and went to bed but I am curious. What happen?