• I don't know why I never listened to my protectors when they said that in my lifetime they would all die. Sitting beside their deathbeds was like realizing it over and over again, I was going to outlive so many generations that I might even see the end of this sorrowful planet before I even turned 25. But I had been there for two years already, and already had I known too much loss. My lifespan was so long that I had lived for what I counted as 2 years which, on the planet filled with humans, counted as 200 years. In the early 1800's I crashed in the backyard of this family, and for the years that have passed they have promised to protect me while all I could do was watch them age and eventually die.

    Justin was my last protector. He had no children, nor did his brothers or sisters, who died before him, and he had lived to the frail age of 98. The family doctor had announced to the staff that he had little time left. They were outside the room waiting for me to confirm it and then hand out the last checks, the Christmas checks, the recommendation letters for other jobs and other things. They knew my secret also, but I wouldn't allow them to make the same mistake as Justins family.

    His hand shakily ran through my hair, and then over my ears, the large blue fenine ears that looked like what the humans called cat ears. My tail thumped sadly on the floor as a small purr rumbled my chest. He gave a coughing laugh, turning his face weakly toward me.

    "Justin, please, save your strength," I whispered, lifting my hand. I hesitated for a moment, and then touched his face. I had held him when he was born, took him to school on his first day, bandaged his skinned knees, watched him do his math, got mad when he grew taller than me, watched his first love, comforted him when she broke his heart, was the maid of honor at his wedding, kept him sane when she got sick, was there when she died, and then swore to be there when he passed. He took his hand in mine, holding back the stinging in my eyes and managed a smile. "After all, you're not as young as you used to be."

    He smiled. "Nes," He whispered, his voice dry and almost hallow. He squeezed my hand weakly. "Hold me."

    I stared at him. He still had his wedding band on though he was a widower. He coughed. "Like you used to when I was young. Hold me, like you did when I skinned my knee all those years ago."

    I smiled lightly. He was making it so hard to keep from crying. I carefully managed to maneuver around his form, bringing him into my lap and hugging him lightly. I hummed, rocking back and forth as his hands managed to find my blue hair. He tugged it; I smiled, like the first time I held him in my arms when he was first born. He had flailed his arms about, staring in wonder at my ears, my tail eagerly flailing about like his arms, then above his head. A strand of my hair had fallen over my shoulder. He took it greedily, tugging on it. I laughed as my tail frizzed in shock. His parents laughed also.

    His breathing shallowed. I snapped back. I didn't want to lose another. If there was any way I could reverse the process, take his place, I would. I watched his eyes as they flickered in and out as he stared at me. Before long his heart was quiet and his hand fell limp to my side. He was gone like so many before him. I let go, holding him tightly, my tears flowing in a way I thought wasn't possible since the last death in the family. But now I was all alone. I cursed myself for being so selfish. This family that had taken care of me was gone and all I could think about was my loneliness.

    I wiped my eyes, placed him carefully back in his bed before kissing his forehead. I closed his eyes for the last time, standing and walking toward the door. I turned back, looking at him. "Farewell," I whispered.

    The staff looked as I stepped out, my tail low and ears folded back. I sighed, looking at them, clearing my throat. "He is gone," I said in a strong voice. They all let go. Justin had been so kind to everyone who worked for him; it was a shame that he was gone.

    I shuffled through my bag, going down the lines of people. "I can't stay here anymore, it was a sanctuary once, but now it holds too many ghosts. I have written all of you letters of recommendation, Justin signed your checks and I pray you will all find new jobs. If you ever need me, though, you know who to call." I sighed, turning to walk away.

    Brenda, a husky maid who had been there for about 30 years and was like a mother to me caught me in her arms. She pulled me back and refused to let go. But I didn't struggle. I hugged her back, letting go again. My wails had echoed so many times through the halls that it was nothing new to the house, but everyone was staring. I couldn't hold back and when I was done she wiped my eyes and stared into them.

    "You know where to find me," She whispered quietly.

    The staff left later that day, leaving me to the mansion alone as the family lawyer read the will. Justin had donated half the family wealth to several charities, and then put the rest in my account, which had grown so much that I lost count in the 1950's. But, the will wasn't over after the material items had been sorted.

    "Netasha," the lawyer looked up at me. "It says here that Justin wasn't the last of the family."

    My ears perked at this. He looked at them, then to my eyes. "Though he has been removed for several reasons, he is still a part of this family. Maybe you can go live with him?"

    I felt as if hope was still alive after he said that. I stood, taking the will from his hands. "Yes," I said, laying it out and looking at the address, along with the list of reasons he was removed from the family. I sighed, shaking my head. "He might've done things in the past, but that doesn't change the fact that he is a part of this family." I whispered. "I'm going to find him." I stood tall.

    "I'm going to find Kellen Whiles."