They flipped the book over and over, amazed. It was their very own proper book. A proper novel. The small trip to town and carefully scrounged allowance meant this was the best present they could ever get for themself. Something about how it called to them. The paper felt amazing between their fingers, the leather-bound cover feeling just…right. Books…books would never judge them. They smiled brightly, eager to read, wanting nothing more than to lose themself into this new adventure. Just as they had settled down, cover barely opened, a shadow fell over them. Makoto held back a whimper of fear, trying to stand up for themself for once.
“L-Leave me alone, Alan.” The mechanist ripped the book out of their hands, while his cronies, both younger than Makoto, but much bigger, held them down.
“I don’t think so, freak.” They whined softly, outstretched hands reaching for the first thing they could truly call their own. The bully laughed cruelly, spying a puddle left over from yesterday’s rainstorm. He held the book over it, barely grasping the cover with two fingers. No! Anything but that! Don’t drop it in the water, it’ll ruin it! Please…please, don’t!
They could feel a pull, and before their very eyes, the pages tore themselves loose of the binding, floating weakly towards them. Alan stared, then lunged, intent on grabbing either the pages or hitting Makoto. Either way, it wouldn’t be pretty. Closing their eyes tightly, they splayed their fingers, following instinct. They just hoped, whatever it was that was going to happen, would be done and over with soon.
The matron slammed the door close, sneering at the child as they pulled themselves into a ball on the bed. With a swollen eye, broken glasses, and more than a little lost fur and hair, she had deemed ‘the little monster’ in better condition than the three boys with deep papercuts across arms. Alan himself had a nasty cut across his face. And, of course, the matron believed the boys’ story of wanting to ‘play’ with them. Makoto grabbed their thin blanket, wrapping it around their shoulders, sniffling and biting back a sob. Any cries would be punished by other children much harsher later on.
Their book had been destroyed in the end, and the idea of them being a freakish monster stronger than ever ran through the orphanage.
So much for a happy birthday.