Totoka River I sometimes wish I had never been born at all.
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Ooc — Talamasca
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He had been feeling much better lately, far better than he'd ever remembered feeling, and knew it was thanks to the wolves of Undersea. The ribs that had cracked were now mended. The pelvis that appeared so certainly ruined was now able to bear the load of his meager body, and even his legs did not quake as much when he roamed. Mou had lived.

It hadn't really sunken in to his mind until he'd seen the land bridge that morning. It was exposed beneath a candy-pink sky as the sun rose. Sprawling across a section of it was a large object β€” maybe it had once been alive, but it had attracted a conflagration of birds, the origin of the chaos that roused him from an uneasy sleep. They were squabbling over the rotund carcass of one of the sea beasts. Mou didn't know if it was a seal or a walrus, or something terrestrial that had met an unfortunate end, but he wasn't afraid to test his body and investigate.

As he approached the carcass the birds lifted from it in a wave of surprise; those that recognized the haggard boy also knew that he was not going to harm them, so the wiser gulls descended again. He spied sections of blubbery flesh that had been peeled back, smelled the sting of blood and salt in the air. There were flies buzzing around the creature β€” and he wondered if this was his fate too. If he was destined to do nothing on this island but be a burden, and then one day bless his new family with his death. It was all he could give to them, he thought.

When you had no way to communicate, it became easier to keep counsel with yourself.

He picked at the carcass too, but he was not hungry and the meat had long since spoiled. The flies erupted from the wounds they were harvesting in a flurry just like the birds; he squinted his eyes against their dark bodies as they careened in to his face and once the air was clear, he looked upon the dead thing. He'd managed to grab a section of slippery hide and so he tugged, wrenched, and fought against the flesh of it until something gave way. As it did, he sat back. Blood pulsed from the wound freely. The taste was like nothing he had ever experienced in his memory, but in realizing that he scoffed β€” his memory was faulted.

But the wound kept bleeding. There was a shudder to the beast's flesh which startled him backwards, and as a pathetic bleat hit Mou's ears he realized something else β€” the creature, whatever it was, had not yet died. He should have been empathetic to the struggle because of his own circumstances or at the very least given in to his animalistic nature, fulfill the purpose of the wild wolf. End the life of something weak and struggling.

Instead he just stood there, watching as that blood collected across the leathery skin. He watched as the red became dominant, became everything, coated the sand at his feet β€” stained his toes β€” made the wet, cold sand in to something warm and alive. Without a sound or even a look back to the island he was indebt to, Mou slipped around the dying creature and trailed his way along the bridge until his pale silhouette hit the mainland and became but a speck.

Behind him were bloodied marks in the sand from each dazed step, and already the sea was licking them clean.