This was the single word on Mikeís mind during his entire journey along the very same path taken when he had first journeyed to Tao Village by himself. His feet had trod over many different sensations along the way: from the melting snow covering the ruined Tao Village and Ranch, to soaked grass between Tao Lake and the neighboring forest, to the many fallen branches of Windswept Woods... and finally, to the familiar warm patches of thin and thirsty grass that peppered the plains leading to Gambitville. He knew he had arrived at that one place he could remember ever since first opening his eyes: home.
It was a long walk. He had at least walked for about two and a half days after leaving Castle Draclugia. There wasnít any time for him to take a break along the path; he was simply too tired to rest in unfamiliar territory, odd as that may have been. All he had wanted was to go back to his fond abode and rest there. After all, his new home back in Tao Village was destroyed, and he had little to no hope that it would ever be rebuilt. Too tired to think about rebuilding, about Sorbet, about... anything. Hopefully his old room, and the much desirable bed, would be where they had previously been.
Mike went up to the door of his home, and as he clenched his claw into a sort of crude lizardy fist, he hesitated to follow up with the expected knocking on the door. "Aw man, I almost forgot, didn't mom leave me and sis back in Tao with a sort of sour note? Man, whatever... If she's gonna scold me, I'll take it. I just want my bed..."
Mike knocked on the door with a rhythm familiar to his mother and sister, and was greeted with no reply. "Huh, that's weird..."
Mike knocked once more with the very same beat, and again, received no reply. It was then that Mike decided to grab ahold of the single handle on the door and pull on it. As he pulled on it, he instantly heard the sound of metal resisting Mike's tug on the door as it barely budged an inch, obviously locked."Wow, mom's out? Well I guess I oughta let myself in for the moment..."
Mike walked around to the left side of the house and searched around the wood for a bit. "It should be around here... Ah, yeah! In here!"
Mike placed a claw at a knot in the wood and pulled on it, revealing a hidden compartment within the wood containing a spare key to the house. "Mmm, it feels good to not forget about this little trick... it's nearly impossible to even figure this out...
Mike grabbed the key and headed back to the front door, where he proceeded to unlock it.
With a turn of the key in its proper keyhole, the metal bars that prevented the door from moving slid away and Mike was finally granted access to his motherís abode.
A deep breath filled his lungs as he entered, the scents that accompanied it were one part dust, and nine parts his mother's... particularly pungent aroma, it was good to be back home to remember her smell. It was as if she hadn't left at all.
He simply walked to his room and was glad that it was left practically untouched, albeit a little dusty. His mother was particularly not the kind to clean her own room, much less her son's. It just didnít matter now. All that mattered was shut eye. Mike pulled a small lever by the side of his door to reveal a sunroof opening in his room that allowed the sun's blistering rays bleach the curved stone platform which Mike would call his own bed. Sure, he was used to the somewhat plush beds that he had back in Tao, they were a different sort of bed, and his own mother and sister have the same sort of bed here too! It's just that for a fire-breathing lizard, nothing could beat baked rock and the constant sunlight.
Part 1 of "Reprieve" by