Don't Look Back [Rewrite]

Don't Look Back [Rewrite]

Postby Iri » December 21st, 2014, 6:10 am

[Author's Note: I was re-reading Chaltuu's story and I found many flaws within it which I don't intend to discuss, but one thing is the format- it bugged me.
The whole thing isn't being rewritten- it has a similar plot, but it won't be as... for lack of a better term, redundant. I found that the old one was boring and I didn't really want to get reviews telling me that the story was repetitious and bland. This one will be more interesting and have more plot development- the other one just was, in my eyes... poorly written. Please, ignore the first one.

A few things: some characters have been cut, and some have been giving larger roles. Also, Kivuli's personality has been altered slightly.

Also, I've changed my critiquing rule: Please don't critique this. I know you might think I'm saying that just because I'm afraid of being critiqued- I'm not. This is just for my own fun to write. Correcting grammar and spelling errors or story inconsistencies is fine, but anything else will just annoy me.

WARNING: This story will deal with concepts of abuse, be it verbal or physical. If these topics bother you, I recommend that you do NOT continue reading this.]


Chapter One

Chaltuu had been a rather large child- or cub, rather- at birth. That in itself told her parents that she would be a stronger, more massive youngster, as opposed to being swift and agile. They did not yet know what colour her eyes would be- blue, green, hazel, amber? Nobody could really guess until her eyes completely opened, but her parents were content with waiting. Her fur was thick, and her mother safely assumed that when Chaltuu was an adult, she would cope well in harshly frigid conditions.

There was one major... flaw, one could call it. Of course, she undoubtedly had other things that subtracted from her overall appearance, but one trait stood out more blatantly than anything- her red-hued fur.

Her pelt was not like crimson blood, nor bright red like a scarlet evening sky, but instead, a dark hue of ochre. It was so peculiar, not even the medics themselves could surmise why her fur was that way. To her parents, it was absolutely dreadful, positively atrocious. Kivuli and Uangaze themselves did not know of any forefathers of theirs with the same russet pelt that their daughter had- even though neither Kivuli nor his mate knew much of their ancestry, and neither of her parents themselves looked anything like her. It would always be one of her many absurdities.

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Chaltuu scampered around the den, her perpetually unkempt fur sticking up everywhere. She skidded to a halt under her father's stern glare, silently reprimanding her to quiet down, not be so noisy. She rather sullenly huffed and scowled, scuffing at the smooth cave floor querulously. In her eyes, she wasn't being all that loud, but her father was not a lenient being.

Churlishly she stomped out of the cave, grumbling and cursing quietly. That was yet another thing she was notorious for- her constant glowering and habit to mutter undoubtedly profane things under her breath when in a poor mood- which was quite often.

From a young age she had been taught that she was an abnormality- she had been told that having russet fur was not normal, and the other cubs had avoided her because of this. She was known as a public oddity, the aberration, the freak. A few of the much bolder cubs picked on her, taunting her with calls of "little weirdo", but a vast majority of them just cringed at the sight of her or avoided her as often as possible. That wasn't too bad- she preferred to be alone anyway. At heart, she was an introvert. Not necessarily shy, but not one to socialize much.

"Chaltuu," Uangaze barked grudgingly, capturing her cub's attention.

Jerking at her mother's voice, Chaltuu trudged towards her with her usual scowl. Her mother wasn't as severe as Kivuli, but she didn't speak to her child much, and when she did, she would either criticize her daughter or act like she was ashamed to be related to her.

"What, Mum?"

Without a response other than a grunt, Uangaze pulled Chaltuu towards her and started to pick the burrs and bits of dirt out of her daughter's disheveled fur. After a short period of time, Uangaze rose to her feet and nudged Chaltuu. "You're clean now," she said shortly. "Your father is hosting a meeting for a couple of ally prides and he wants you to look your best, should you be seen."

"What does that mean?" Chaltuu demanded indignantly.

"It means you are not to converse with any of the lions that come here," Kivuli intervened harshly just as Uangaze was about to reply. "I forbid it. Do you understand, Chaltuu?"

There was a short pause before Chaltuu said flatly, "Yes, Father."

"Good." Kivuli turned on his heel and padded inside the den, practically ignoring his daughter's existence just like his mate.

Despite being a middle-aged child, she knew much better than to be daring and attempt to defy her father's orders, because if she did, she knew that it would result in a severe punishment. But at the same time, the idea of the council meeting interested her greatly and she almost couldn't resist the temptation of the idea of listening in. Her logic was that if she didn't show her face, she could eavesdrop and it would be fine.

Chaltuu glared at some of the younger cubs as they stared at her quizzically. "What is it?" she snapped at one of them, a small child called Dafina.

"Sorry," Dafina apologized hastily, flinching at Chaltuu's dour tone. "It's nothing."

"Come to gawk at me because of my repulsive red fur?" Chaltuu snarled irately, quoting her father's words. "Well, go ahead! I'm used to it by now!"

"Er, no," Dafina replied meekly. "Sorry again..." And with that, she scurried off, looking downright sheepish.

Chaltuu felt a small stab of guilt for yelling at a youngster like Dafina and jumping to conclusions too swiftly. It wasn't right of her, she knew, and Dafina hadn't meant any harm... Brushing the thoughts off of her conscience, Chaltuu perched herself upon a rather flat boulder, her forelimbs dangling from either side and her chin resting on the stone surface.

Just forget about it, she scolded herself angrily.

At least, she supposed, she had the meeting to look forward to... despite the nagging feeling that it might not be worth risking being caught. She wasn't able to shake that thought from her mind as easily as she had been able to after snapping at Dafina.

Drifting off into a light doze, Chaltuu tucked her paws underneath her chin but was jolted awake what felt like mere moments after she had fallen asleep. Looking up, she expected to see her father or perhaps even her mother- though it was somewhat unlikely. But instead she saw Naima looming above her, prodding her shoulder with her forepaw. "Your dad says to go in the cave or get lost," she declared with a smirk on her pretty little face.

Chaltuu rose to her seemingly oversized paws and deliberately shoved past her, making sure to roughly bump against the other girl's shoulder. What a little stuck-up snob Naima was, she thought. She couldn't help but consider raking her claws across Naima's smooth, neat fur.

"Kivuli!" Naima wailed. "Chaltuu pushed me!" Kivuli glared at his daughter and lashed out at her, smacking the side of her head with his claws and scoring them down her flanks and forelegs. Without a word, he simply padded away from her, glaring frostily over his shoulder, as if to send her a silent message telling her that she had had it coming to her all along.

Sitting down with a thump, Chaltuu turned to lick at the fresh scratches on her pelt. She let out a small growl as she saw Dhakiya approach her, but she relaxed a little when she saw what the other cub was carrying in her jaws- a small clump of herbs. Perhaps this one time, somebody could be on her side. The greyish youngster dropped the plants at Chaltuu's paws.

"I got you some geranium," Dhakiya announced. "It's an herb that Zelunjo says will help cuts and stuff. She says it'll sting a little at first."

"Thank you," Chaltuu muttered grudgingly, giving a small inclination of her head. She softened after following Dhakiya's instructions on applying the medicine to her scratches. Perhaps not all of the cubs were bad... But she still wanted to be alone, looking out for herself- or at least pretending to. She was used to isolation and anything else just felt awkward and strange. She felt impatient to reach the age where she could go on hunts and bring back kills for herself, not having to rely on others for food... After all, she had practiced plenty on small rodents and insects, and even though her attempts had been unsuccessful, she had tried to climb a tree to reach a bird's nest.

"What do you think about siblings?" Dhakiya inquired. Upon viewing the slightly confused look on the other child's face, she said, "I mean, how would you feel about having a little brother or sister?"

With a small shrug, Chaltuu grumbled, "I don't really know. Really little cubs are annoying."

"You were a really little cub once."

"I wasn't loud, nor did I scream all the time. I guess I was fussy, though," Chaltuu confessed. In one of her rare moments of brief motherly affection, Uangaze had teased her daughter about being a rather grumpy child, always dissatisfied with this or that and sulking about nearly everything.

"Sorry that we can't all be like you," Dhakiya joked, prodding Chaltuu's shoulder with her forepaw.

Chaltuu snorted. "Pfft... Are you stupid? You don't want to be like me, you dumbo." She winced, seeing Dhakiya's hurt expression. "Sorry," she mumbled, "that was mean."

"It's okay. Hey, Chalty, can we be friends?"

Narrowing her eyes with a snort, Chaltuu rested her chin on her paws and looked away from her. "Don't call me Chalty," she growled, not failing to notice how she had ignored the other girl's question; as a matter of fact, she had done that deliberately. She did feel grateful for the herbs, but she wasn't sure she was ready to really "socialize" with others or whatnot. She expected Dhakiya to pester and prod her, but she only heard the slightly smaller cub's pawsteps slowly become quieter and quieter until she heard nothing more than the faint buzz around her.

[Author's Note: Yes, this is short. I'm sorry. The next one will hopefully be longer.]
"I'm pretty, but tough like a diamond. Or beef jerky in a ball gown."
- Titus Andromedon

"Titus, cherish this time. One day you'll wake up and you'll say, 'Who's that old woman in the mirror?' And then she'll punch you, and you'll say, 'That's not a mirror, that's an open window'."
- Lillian
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