There was a place in which the world was smaller but more diverse. This place was commonly known as Verice. It was a dwarf planet inside its own solar system in a dimension nearly connected to the dimension of the human race. But in this realm, monsters were more than legend. As real as they were, there still lived a version of humans who populated the world ten thousand to one. Some would find it lucky to be born as a monster, but recently, they were afraid to be one. The humans began to fear them and in that fear, they became violent. The safety of their children is the excuse they would use to justify such acts of savagery. Quite sad the times have become...
On one evening in the brutal winter, the rain pelted down from the clouds like ice needles. There were a clopping of hooves splashing about in the soaked grass. The wind powered through the leaves of the trees, whistling and howling, ripping branches from the trunks. Soon, the sounds of barking emanated from behind. With heavy breathing, a shadowy figure slammed into a tree in an effort to stop. The barking got louder and the being’s break was cut short as it began to sprint once more through the forest. There was an opening approaching between the trees.
The creature came to a halt. A deep and rough voice spoke out. “Oh no,” it said. The man walked forward and touched his hand to the walling of a steep cliff. As he turned his head, he could see it was a naturally made trap. The walls of the cliff circled around the clearing and connected to the tree lining. The only entrance and exit was the opening in which he thought he had escaped through. He tried to gallop back out but he was too late. In the archway stopped a large dog. It had black fur, blue eyes, and small red spikes going from its head to the tip of its tail.
“You can not escape you beast!” A voice bellowed out from the woods behind the dog.
“Get him!” Screamed another.
In a fit of desperation and terror, the creature could do nothing but scream. “Leave me alone!” He cried. “I just want to go home!”
“There is no home for you.” As the petrified, tearful being looked up, he could see a human man coming out beside the dog. He wielded a torch in one hand and a sword in the other. “You dared to enter our town, and now you will pay the price.”
The rain stopped and the clouds began to part. The moon shone down to reveal the monster that the humans began to surround. The creature had his bottom half as two deer legs. The fur was a royal blue, the color of nobility in his species. His hooves were made of sapphire which was a priceless jewel to any being in this realm. His torso was that of a human but on his head were two small, blue horns protruding from his forehead. These creatures were called hooflings.
The hoofling was on his knees. “Please,” he begged. “I was just passing through. All I wanted was to get back home.”
“Well it’s too late for that,” said the man. “Monsters are forbidden to step foot on our lands. You should have read the signs and learned to abide by them.” The man raised his sword, causing the hoofling to shake and quiver. Gravity took the work from the man as he let his sword drop. Thunder crashes, then the sound of a couple splashes. Red began to tint the puddles and cheers rang out through the air.
The sounds of celebration traveled a great many miles away and entered the ears of another hoofling. Tears began to spill from its eyes. The sun began to rise a few hours later, revealing the white furred female whose hooves were made of diamonds. She had stood there the rest the night, quietly sobbing, for she had known exactly what those sounds meant.
A soft and quiet sound of clopping could be heard coming from the nearby rock housing. “Mom?” Spoke a soft voice. A small child hoofling was standing in the doorway of a home made entirely out of rocks and clay. It was just a large box with openings for the door and windows. It didn’t have any roofing and the insides only consisted of a few humps bedding and whatever their meal for the day was. The bedding was made by pushing dirt into a shape, then allowing the grass to grow all over and around it. Each housing is hand made, so once the bedding was grown, the hooflings would begin to place rocks in patterns of how they wanted the home to be shaped. They slathered clay on the rocks as a sort of adhesive that could withstand a fair amount of weather. Each new family of hooflings had to place their own home as a sign of pride for their race and family.
At the sound of her child’s words, the mother turned around and held him closely. “Mom? Where’s dad?” When the words left his mouth, his mother drew a breath.
“He is elsewhere, Honeydew,” she told him as she looked to him with a smile.
“When is he coming home?” The child asked. “He promised to take me on my first gathering today. I don’t want him to be late.”
His mother suddenly had a lump in her throat. As she fought back the tears, she looked at her boy once more to see concern set all across his face. “He should hopefully be coming along real soon,” she said. She knew, deep in her heart, that the words she spoke were not true, but for her dear child, she had to do her best to keep strong and give him the best life she could.
“That’s great!” The boy shouted. “We will pick raspberries, blueberries, and definitely apples! Oh! Mom, do you think we will be able to find some watermelons? I love watermelons!” He began to gallop around the front yard as he spoke more and more about what he and his dad could possibly find. He would talk on about where they could search and what plants grew where. The excitement made his mom smile.
Like all things, the truth has to come out at some point. That night the boy was sitting on bed with his head hung low and his hands fiddling with the grass. His mom came in and placed a hand on his shoulder. With the touch, the little hoofling got up and clung to his mother, arms tightly wrapped around her hips and his face stuffed into her stomach. All she could do was hold the poor child. She bent down onto her knees and placed her arms across his body, bringing his arms over her shoulders. They held each other in silence for a few minutes until the boy finally found his voice.
“Why?” He softly asked his mom, refusing to let go.
“They are afraid of us,” she told him in response.
“But why?” He asked, his voice raising up in volume and intensity. “What is it that they have to be afraid of? We haven’t done anything to them.”
“It’s because we are different,” his mother tried to explain to him.
“That is the reason? That is why they took my father? Their dogs are different but I don’t see them being killed!”
“Dear one, calm down.”
“NO!” The child exclaimed, startling his mom. “This isn’t right! Why must we suffer for their ignorance? It’s not right!”
The boy then let go of his mother and ran out the doorway. His mom cried out to him but it was too late, he had already trotted way beyond ear shot. His eyes were clouded with tears, impairing his vision. As he entered the forest, he tripped over the root of a tree. All he could do was lay there and sob, devastated that his father would never be seen again.
In a matter of minutes, there was an eruption of shouting and black clouds of smoke. The boy’s head lifted up and turned to look behind him. A horrifying scream shrieked from his home. “MOM!” He shouted as he bolted back to his house. He was stopped dead in his tracks by the sight of flames engulfing his home. His mother was off to the side, in the middle of a group of men, tied up and restrained.
“We got her!” One shouted.
“To the dungeons!” Yelled another.
“Slice her to pieces!”
The crowd was getting louder and louder the more they hollered out different ways to kill the female hoofling. “Aro-” She tried to shout before she was gagged and silenced. As the men lifted her from the ground and took her away, the child stood there in horror as he watched his childhood burn to ash. With his mother kidnapped and his father gone, there was only one thing left for him to do. Hide.