The La-Iin Series
“Stories of Families–Part 2”
“Guess who’s hoooome!” Orlin-Aesth called.
“Hello, Dad!” Dosa-Mina called.
“Hey, Dosa-Mina. Good to see you! Have a good day at school?”
“School’s the same as always. Thanks for asking.”
“Nothing out of the ordinary? No crazy people tying you up?”
“Does that still scare you, Dad? I almost forgot about it.”
“Of course it still scares me! I just act confident so you won’t look at me any differently. I mean….”
“Too late to take those words back now.”
“Argh…hey, do you know where your mom is? I wanted to talk to her.”
“Hm? I think she’s in the bedroom….dunno what she’s doing, though.”
“Thanks for the info!” Orlin-Aesth dashed off to the bedroom.
“Elai-Riya! Are you in here!?” Orlin-Aesth called. “I wanted to talk to you about something!”
“The older you get, the less of a grasp you have on volume control,” Elai-Riya sighed as she fluttered out the room.
“But I like being loud….”
“I know that very well….anyway, what did you want to talk about?”
“Remember how playful Dosa-Mina was as a little kid? He’s mellowed out a lot since then, don’t you think?”
“I think it’s just around us. He doesn’t seem very mellow around some of his friends.”
“I know. But I was thinking that you and I should try to get him to play with us. You know, spark the fires of playfulness in him?”
“After all, it would be a fun family activity to do, right?”
Elai-Riya was silent, a blank expression on her face. “….is that a no?”
“Of course not.” She said, a smile starting on her face. “I like it, actually. I feel like Dosa-Mina’s been a little too serious since he revealed his species to that little girl….there’s that, then he got a little sick on his birthday, and the whole kidnapping incident, not to mention his nightmares…yeah, our son needs to cut loose. And don’t you think we need to as well?”
“Well, we have been working hard…” Orlin-Aesth pat Elai-Riya on the head. “Glad to see you like my idea.”
“What’s with the head pats?”
“Oh, so that’s why Aesthetically Normal Animated Pumpkins bleed? Interesting….does that mean that the normal kinds don’t, or…? This prompts more research. Where’s my AP book?”
“Dosa-Minaaaaa!” Dosa-Mina could hear his mother’s sing-song tone behind the door. A shiver went up his spine. “Come in! ….but please don’t hum.”
“Sorry about that.” Elai-Riya walked into his room, Orlin-Aesth close behind her. Both of them were smiling much wider than Dosa-Mina usually saw them smile and glancing at each other as if they had a secret to share. It worried him. ‘Don’t tell me Mom’s pregnant!’
“We wanted to–”
Elai-Riya and Orlin-Aesth glanced at each other, this time with nervous expressions. “Is something wrong, Dosa-Mina?”
“All of a sudden I have a bad feeling about what you’re going to tell me….”
“You should let us tell you what it is first! You won’t know if your feeling is right or not if you don’t even know what we want to tell you!”
“I guess…” Dosa-Mina glanced back down at his book.
“We want to play with you, Dosa-Mina!” Orlin-Aesth said so loud he nearly barked. Dosa-Mina looked up from the book.
“You mean I’m not going to become a big brother?”
“Oh, phew!” He put down the book and hopped off his bed. “For a moment there I thought you two were going to tell me that Mom was pregnant…”
“I’m not sure having another kid would be a good idea at my age,” Elai-Riya said. “But enough of that. We came here to play with you, and if you’re up for it, I’m sure we’ll have a great time.”
“Sure, why not? I wasn’t doing any heavy research. Or really much of anything…I feel like lately, I’ve just been staring at species study books all day long.”
“Studying is good. But you need to take a break, son! Come on, let’s go outside!”
Orlin-Aesth dragged Dosa-Mina along as the family ran out the door. The sun was shining, and the temperature was on the higher side. Elai-Riya noticed that both Orlin-Aesth and Dosa-Mina seemed to feel the heat almost immediately.
“Dosa-Mina, why don’t you put on short sleeves?” She asked.
“Why bother changing when we’re already outside? So, what are we gonna play?”
“That’s what I was trying to figure out….I’d say let’s have a contest seeing who could get closest to the sun, but I know your mother would win that one….”
“What makes you say that? Siren wings aren’t the strongest, you know.”
“Yeah, she has a point. I’m sure I could beat her. I could maybe beat both of you.”
“You wanna put that to the test!? After all, when we had our jumping competition the other day, it was pretty close!”
“But I still beat you, didn’t I?”
“With you and me going against him, Orlin-Aesth doesn’t stand a chance. He’d be third place, definitely.”
“Well neither of you could win against a levitating Animated Pumpkin!”
“Yes, but none of us are Animated Pumpkins, are we?” Dosa-Mina said.
“Besides, Animated Pumpkins are cheats at any how high game. And instead of making bets, why don’t we actually start?”
“Should we go somewhere safer? I don’t wanna crash into someone’s house….”
“Dad has a point. Let’s go somewhere he and I won’t get hurt!”
Elai-Riya fluttered ahead of them, scoping for a clear area. She found one almost immediately and flew ahead to it, Orlin-Aesth and Dosa-Mina close behind her–so close that she could overhear their conversation.
“One of us will win. She’s wasting her strength before we even start,” Orlin-Aesth said.
“Yeah, it doesn’t seem very smart to fly right before you’re going to fly in a competition….”
“If I win,” Elai-Riya said as she landed on the ground, “I’m going to make you two eat those words. And maybe some liver and hot sauce onions.”
“No!” Dosa-Mina shrieked.
“That’s pure evil, Elai-Riya. I thought you were for the good side!”
“It’s not evil to punish the losers of a competition. And I’m neutral.” She beckoned them to join her and the two stood nearby her, all getting into position to take off.
“Now that I know the stakes, it’s more important than ever to beat you, Mom.”
“And besides, I’m the one who cooks! Don’t tell me you plan on cooking that!”
“Okay, now I definitely have to beat Mom.”
The three stood there for a few moments longer, then got a running start before taking off. Elai-Riya could tell that neither Orlin-Aesth or Dosa-Mina had any idea how high they were going to go, or where they were going to land. Still, she was going nowhere near as high as the two of them were, and she was quickly getting tired out from flying. ‘Dammit, I’m out of practice….’
There was no way she could make it as high as them at this rate.
Orlin-Aesth and Dosa-Mina reached their highest point before falling to the ground. They slammed onto some nearby grass. Elai-Riya landed nearby them.
“Mom, did you see who won?” Dosa-Mina asked, blood streaming from his nose. Elai-Riya sighed and started to wipe it off. “What makes you think I’d know?”
“You were lower than us the whole time.”
Elai-Riya glared. “I’m sorry, Mom! I think it’s just that maybe you haven’t been eating enough meat lately…”
She gave another sigh. “Fine, fine, you’re right. Except for that little bit about not eating enough meat. I’m just out of practice. ….Orlin-Aesth was a little higher than you.”
“YEAH!” Orlin-Aesth yelled. The injuries were obvious on him right away. “I saved us, Dosa-Mina! Now we don’t have to eat that terrible meal!”
“Yeah, that is a good thing!”
“Woo!” The two gave each other a high five. Elai-Riya rolled her eyes. “Alright then, I don’t think we should stop here. After all, you two don’t have terrible injuries. You should still be able to play.”
“I suggest for the next game, species impersonation!”
“Oh, I’m good at this, Mom. You’re setting yourself up for failure.”
“Yeah, Elai-Riya. He does know a lot about species!”
“Yes, well I do too. All right. Each of us will take turns impersonating three species. Whoever guesses the most and also stumps the most wins. And also, suggests the next game.”
“I have this in the bag.”
“We’ll see about that. Orlin-Aesth, you should go first.”
“You’re the man of the house.”
“Well, you’re the oldest! And your name comes first in alphabetical order!”
“Not if you sort it by last name and use my maiden name.”
“But then both me and Dosa-Mina come first….but wait, Dosa-Mina….Dosa-Mina comes before Orlin-Aesth….”
Both Orlin-Aesth and Elai-Riya looked to him. “You go first.”
“No. I want to save myself for last. Mom suggested the game. She should go first.”
Elai-Riya sighed. “Fine….”
“And no impersonating a Siren!”
“I know, I know….”
“I wonder what this game would be like for the hypothetical person of all species?”
“Hell.” Was all Elai-Riya said before she started to cling to an invisible pole. She fluttered up it and glanced at Orlin-Aesth and Dosa-Mina before twitching one of her legs.
“Is it a Catori?” Orlin-Aesth called. Elai-Riya shook her head.
“Mom, this one is too obvious. It’s supposed to be a Lizardfoot, right?”
“Damn it!” She came down from the invisible tree. “All right then, smarty-pants, try this on for size.”
She glanced up at the sun and started to sink into the ground.
“Hm….something seems wrong….I doubt this is a Groundiser….”
Elai-Riya glared. “Oh, even if I beat you once it’ll be satisfying at this rate.”
She dropped to the ground and started to crawl around. Dosa-Mina opened his mouth to speak, but Orlin-Aesth was faster.
“Now that’s a Groundiser!”
“Good job, honey,” Elai-Riya said as she stood up. “That may leave me with zero points, but Dosa-Mina won’t get all the answers right now, will he?”
“I was going to say Groundiser…Dad was just faster.”
“So, Dosa-Mina, you said you wanted to be last? Guess that means I’m up next!”
Elai-Riya sat down next to Dosa-Mina as Orlin-Aesth began to lick his paw and bring it over his face.
“Catori,” Dosa-Mina said simply.
“That’s way too obvious.”
Orlin-Aesth glared. “I’ll show you obvious.” He fell to the ground and started to flop around, his expression completely blank.
“Dad, are you having a stroke or something!?”
“No, this is still part of the game!” He stopped briefly. “Come on, son. Guess.”
“Um, um, um….”
“Hard, isn’t it?” Elai-Riya said.
“You don’t even have any points!”
“I know. But seeing you struggle is fun.”
“You’re a sadist, Mom….” Dosa-Mina put his hands up. “I surrender. What is it?”
“Narwhaltae! One that’s been dragged out the water and surprised by it.”
“Dad…I sure hope you know that Narwhaltae breathe oxygen….”
“Huh? What? I knew that. Of course I do! I work with a Narwhaltae!”
“For a moment there, I thought you forgot….”
“But yeah! Onto my last species!”
Orlin-Aesth’s ears went straight up. He started to sniff around and his front teeth slid out. He started to hop around.
“Why you little smart a–!”
“Now it’s my turn. I hope you two can guess what species I’m trying to do. It wouldn’t be fun if you couldn’t.”
As Orlin-Aesth took his place next to Elai-Riya, Dosa-Mina spun around in a circle. He straightened his clothes, then rested on an invisible object.
“We surrender!” Orlin-Aesth said.
“Could you guess what it was, Riya?”
“It was supposed to be a Witch!” Dosa-Mina’s smile was confident as he moved his hands up to his head as if stroking invisible horns. He started to charge.
“Minomix?” Elai-Riya asked.
“So you actually do know something,” Dosa-Mina said. “But I think it’s already hopeless for you two. Alright then, guess my final species!”
Dosa-Mina leaped into the air once again, spinning around once before landing.
“You’re cheating!” Orlin-Aesth yelled.
“No, I’m not. I wasn’t trying to imitate a Werewolf. But what was I trying to imitate?”
“A Catori?” Elai-Riya asked.
Orlin-Aesth and Elai-Riya looked at each other and grimaced.
“We’re done for, Dosa-Mina. You already have most of the points. What is it.”
“One of my personal favorites–an Animated Pumpkin! Oh, but I guess favorite’s sort of a biased word….let’s just say interesting!”
“We should’ve known he’d pick that eventually,” Orlin-Aesth sighed.
“I guess…so, what’s your game pick, Dosa-Mina?”
“Let’s race around the neighborhood!” He said.
“That should be good and fair. No horrible disadvantages here.”
“Sounds like fun!”
The three got into their positions from earlier, except instead of jumping and flying, they ran off. Elai-Riya found herself getting a good head start, although Orlin-Aesth and Dosa-Mina were quickly closing in on her. ‘Well, using a wing as a propeller isn’t illegal in actual races…’
She flapped them to gain speed. Her husband and son started to fade into the distance. “Ha ha!”
‘Each of us getting to win….that might be fun. Predictable, but fun!’
She kept the lead, even as Orlin-Aesth began to close in again.
“You won’t be able to beat me, Orlin-Aesth!”
“Why should I stop? I’m finally winning!”
She stopped in her tracks. “What!?”
“He passed out!”
Orlin-Aesth didn’t need to say any more. Instead of continuing to run the race, Elai-Riya dashed to her son’s side.
“Oh, finally, you’re awake!”
“Mom? Dad? Huh? What about the race? Are we inside?”
“You passed out during the race. I think it was the long sleeves.”
“Summer and my fashion sense don’t agree….” He sighed. “I’m sorry. Did I ruin the race?”
“Yeah. I still won.”
“You finished it?”
“No, we didn’t! She’s just saying she won because she was the farthest ahead when you passed out.”
“That still counts as a win!”
“You didn’t cross the finish line!”
“Which was where?”
“Did you two have fun?” He asked. They looked at him. “Did you?”
All three of them smiled. “Yeah, it was a pretty fun day, wasn’t it?”
“And it was all thanks to my idea!” Orlin-Aesth said.
“I did win, you know.”
“Hey, Dad, I have a question…”
“Did you call Mom Riya earlier? Are you biting off of Mr. Molshei?”
“No! I called your Mom Riya before!”
“I won,” Elai-Riya said. “Both the race and the argument.”
“No you didn’t!” Orlin-Aesth said.
‘Today was a good day,’ Dosa-Mina thought.