Underprivileged but Not Deprived

So Little Thyme 
She sighed as she walked into the small shop, the door chime above causing her to frown and her ears to continuiously ring. She hated having “heightened senses” or whatever Cliff haws said. She was irritable, sure, but she chalked that up to having everything she’d cared about taken away from her. She was still looking for a new place to life, still looking for a new job. Since becoming this transitioning fur-creature-thing, she had to give up her pet snake, her job at the shelter, and her apartment with her sister. Who was still human. At least, as far as Riley knew.

She was hoping to be around something that wasn’t going to try and kill her or be uncomfortable with her presence. It was hard, finding that company. Especially when she didn’t want to keep hanging out at Cliff’s house and bothering him. She always felt like a burden now. She couldn’t help it. She should be pissed at him for turning her life into some strange foreign thing. She felt like she was on the outside looking in and she had absolutely nothing now. She might as well live out of her Jeep. She already used the last of her cash and she needed to keep up the lie and couldn’t ask her sister for money. She assumed she was staying at Cliff’s because he was her boyfriend, not because he too pity on her.

She paused as she walked in the door, breathing in the scents... wait what? She could smell that? Her brows furrowed further, her nose tilting upward as she took in the different scents. She walked down the isle, pausing every now and then to look at the label on the spice against the wall before moving on. She could even smell... dirt?

Beata entered the shop in feeling exhausted. Her deadpanned face looked especially dead. Class had felt especially longer that day. Right in the middle, she felt some more cramping pain in her stomach. The virus still trying to heal her. It wasn't as bad as it had been the first time, but it still took a toll on her.

But her father needed spices and herbs for dinner and, since she was already out, asked if she could go and get some. She knew better than to say she was feeling too bad to do it. Her parents would freak and send her to the doctor in less than thirty minutes.

So, there she was, perusing the aisles like a pouting ghoul. Occasionally reviewing the list on her phone, making sure she didn't miss anything. There was a faint grimace on her face. Everything was a little bit more pungent than usual. She was not a fan.

She grabbed a bottle of tumeric and then sneezed into the crook of her sleeved elbow.

A headache started to form from the plethora of scents hanging around in the air. She could only recognize dirt, but beyond that, it was a jumped mess. Part of her was excited about, yes, dirt. But the other part of her was getting irritated due to over-loaded senses. She frowned as she took a few steps forward, noticing the other girl that was there, she walking down the aisle and grabbing a few spices for herself.

And then she sneezed. Blue eyes settled on the girl who looked sickly. Maybe she shouldn’t be there? Especially if she had something she could give to others or small children. But you’ll never get sick again, she reminded herself as she looked around to see who all was there. Just a few other customers, but no one else. Riley walked over to the girl, pausing a few feet from her. "Are you okay? Do you need help with anything?" Odd question considering she didn’t work there. She offered a small smile, a simple upward tilt of her lips.

Her nose twitched as she placed the tumeric into the shopping basket. The smell had tickled her nose in the most unpleasant way. Beata did not like it, but thought it was just a matter of getting used to change.

She wished the adjustment was quicker.

A voice caused her dark eyes to drift toward a short woman. She blinked at her. Getting into a conversation was the last thing she wanted.

"I'm fine," she said. One part of her was used to others being concerned about her, the other part loathed it. "I know where..." don't say "shit," "everything is."

Riley was hearing what she was saying, but she didn’t beleive the girl. She bit her lip, color rising to her cheeks as she eyed the girl. "No really. You don’t look so well. It looks like you’re going to fall over. Maybe you should sit down," she said, reaching toward the girl but thought better of it.

Her hands fell awkwardly to the side, concern written on her face. Riley didn’t feel so great either, but at least she didn’t look like death. Sure, the girl knew where everything was, but she shouldn’t be out and about if she possibly had the flu or something. It was that season right? "Did you get your flu shot recently?"

Um, she always looked like that, but thank you for reminding her that she was so dead inside that it reflected outwardly. Beata was inclined to say that aloud, but knew better and she was hardly in the mood to start a scene. (Even though the woman was right and she did feel even more dead than usual.)

Beata stared at her, then her gaze dropped to her hand when it looked like she was going to touch her. Like, don’t. Thankfully, she didn’t.

Her question seemed really... personal. Who just asked a stranger if they got flu shots?? Her brows furrowed a little.

"Yeah," she said monotonously.

Riley frowned as the girl answered. To which question or statement, she didn’t know. Riley paused, absently straightening the items on the shelf before sighing and turning back to the girl. She didn’t seem like she was going to sit down at all, so fine. That was on her. If she fainted, she hoped she didn’t hit her head.

Hit her head?!?!

Gosh Riley was becoming more and more grumpy. Cliff told her this would happen, but she still didn’t like it. She wasn’t a mean person. She couldn’t even be mean to those who were down-right cruel.... unless they were cruel to animals then that was a different story.

She wanted nothing more than to take some CBD oil and chill out. Her anxiety was on a level ten and she needed it at a one. "You know what. That’s fine, that’s on you. Just so you know you don’t smell fine, so you should probably sit down and take it easy." Her cheeks heated, oh God. Did she really just say that?

She turned abruptly, hoping the girl hadn’t caught that particular detail. Did she really smell weird? It was just the herbs in the air. It had to be.

Beata stared and blinked. What a damn drama queen. One of many types of people she didn’t like. She even went so far as comment on her smell, which was ridiculous. Beata showered every —

It almost looked like they both had the same realisation, but in different ways. Next thing she knew, the woman was trying to leave.

Um. Fuck that.

"Hey, you one those things?" she asked. Her voice dropped a little in volume. Beata knew the term, but preferred feigning ignorance in case she was talking to some regular Joe.

She was probably the color of a fire truck. She felt like one too. It could have been her level of embarrassment or the virus, but she wasn’t going to stick around to find out.

”Hey, you one those things?”

Oh god. She stopped, pausing before she turned around, forcing herself to try and smile. Right. Like that helped at all. She wasn’t like this. She was happy, bubbly, a little clueless and over all a nice person. "No. Not particularly," she nearly squeaked.

"I mean. I have no idea what you’re talking about...." she offered, her voice low. She reached up, hooking her golden hair behind her ears, blue eyes looking up at the tall girl. She didn’t want to consider herself a “thing.” Especially since she was new to all of this.

Beata stared, trying to take in the woman's expression. She might suck at conversation sometimes but she liked to think that she was fluent in body language.

"Alright," she said, opting to buy her excuse.

"Then how do I smell bad? Or are you just some rude bitch?"

She would have folded her arms but it would have looked awkward with the shopping basket. Instead, she decided to furrow her brows together in severe scrutiny.

Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.

Why could she have just kept on walking? It was like she was in an inferno and everything she wanted to say came out jumped. She wanted to walk away, to go bury herself in a pillow. Maybe if she woke up, she would have never been attacked.

The girl spoke and Riley’s mouth fell open. What? What? she wanted to apologize and she tried to do so. "Excuse me? I’m not the one trying to get little children sick, sneezing and coughing and touching everything." Yeah, so not What she was going to say. "Sorry for caring."

If she died right now, she probably would have been okay with that. She didn’t have a whole lot to live for in that given moment anyway. But still, her body language didn’t match the hostility of her words. Probably because she didn’t mean it.

She wasn't answering her question at all. Not the important one. It was annoying.

"I sneezed because of the fucking turmeric, lady!" She shook the basket with the yellow spice for emphasis. "I'm not sick. But nice job at fucking deflecting."

Beata was tired and sore and stressed and the smells were making her a little dizzy. The only reason she was still bothering with this conversation was out of pure stubbornness to get an answer to a question that the woman seemed keen on avoiding. Honestly, she thought the answer was pretty obvious but who knew whatever supernatural thing she might be.

Maybe she was just some normal person with a fucking good nose.

Or actually just straight up rude. She didn't really look like it, though.

She looked like death. Anyone could see that. Riley probably wasn't better off. But stiiilll. She had been trying to be nice. She could already feel her muscles tensing at language this girl chose to use let alone her attitude. Of course she wanted to just walk away and go lock herself in one of Cliff's rooms but she didn't. Because something had been keeping her here.

Deflecting. Yes. She had been. Because Cliff told her not to tell anyone.

"Why do you want to know?" she asked, her brows furrowing. It was none of this girls business but she couldn't just lie. She wasn't a liar and just because everything else in her life was turned upside-down didn't mean she was going to start doing that as well. She sighed and ran her fingers through her already tousled hair. "You know what, forget it. Have a nice day. I hope you feel better," she said in an attempt to turn around and leave.

The attitude kind of sort of worked. She didn’t say “no” again; she asked why she wanted to know so... she was going to assume that she was in fact something. She might have been freaking out a lot more if she were a human. Or a lot less.

Beata tried to look softer, but it only made her look more tired.

"Well, I’m one, too. But whatever."

Her shoulders lifted in a shrug as she glanced back at the shelf of spices. If she still wanted to leave, then so be it. She felt satisfied enough with what she had been able to weasel out of her.

How exhausting.

It was hard not to hear what the girl said. Everything was louder these days, her sense on complete overdrive as she went through the transition. She stopped walking away, blinking as she took the time to process what was said.

She turned, taking the few steps back to the girl. "There’s a place we can talk upstairs if you’d like," she said softly before walking past her and heading up the stairs to the green room. She hadn’t seen anyone walk up there so she assumed it was empty. But it was a perfect place to talk, away from people over hearing and benches for them to sit on.

She sat on one of them, playing with one of the leaves of some pepperminty-smelling plant, gently flicking the leaf as she did so, waiting to see if she’d hear the girl’s foot steps coming up after her.

Beata grabbed the second item on the list: paprika. She had placed it into the basket when the woman spoke again. Honestly, she thought she had already left. Beata probably would have, were the situation reverse — although, she might have left a long time ago. No, she wouldn't have started the conversation to begin with. So. Never mind.

She turned to follow the woman. Then her eyes landed on the stairs. She sighed silently as her frown deepened. The stick-figure hardly had the energy for stairs.

Curiosity cracked its whipped and she begrudgingly trudged onward and upward.

The greenhouse was kind of pretty. Beata had never been in it before. Never had the inclination to and she had usually gone with her parents, who always kept the tightest leash on her.

As soon as she sat down she bluntly asked, "What are you?"

She already knew there were bears. Assumed there were wolves (because that was so terribly obvious). Thusly, she figured there were probably other kinds of animal. Unless she wasn't even a were at all. That was still very much a possibility.

She was surprised when the girl actually followed her. It was weird, hearing the sounds of foot steps as if thy were right next to her. She could even smell those horrible herbs, or whatever they were, as she came into view.

Riley just watched her with her blue eyes that were far too large for her body. The girl sat down getting straight to the point. Something in her wanted to say something snarky, but she didn’t. Instead she tilted her head, wondering if Cliff would kill her for this.

"A bear. You?" she asked, her voice quiet and full of exhaustion. She was tired of the secrets, the feeling of hostility and the sensitivity. She felt like she was on an extremely long period and she hated it. She couldn’t even bring it up to Cliff.

"I had no choice. It’s not something I wanted to happen, but it’s better than dying," she said just as quietly, a sigh parting her lips right before she reached up to rub her eyes.

Beata had been hoping for something other than a bear. She was curious what else one could be. Oh, well.


The explanation — or excuse, as Beata saw it — seemed a little dramatic. She imagined only a real freak would want to become one. Although, she did not think it was all that bad. Beata dreamed and wished all the time of becoming an animal. Would a bear have been her first pick? Probably not.

"I was scratched after scaring off a vamp," she said.

Riley fidgeted with her nails, they were already short and useless buuttt it was something to do. This was just a weird conversation, not one that she thought she’d be having so soon. After being attacked. Well, infected - changed - whatever.

Especially with another bear. Wow. There seemed to be quite a few in the area. Obviously she kept in touch with the person who scratched her otherwise she wouldn’t know she was a bear. Riley frowned... could it have been Cliff? He hadn’t told her. "Who did it?" she asked, nearly holding her breath as she waited for an answer.

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