Meeting Leonard Keaton (Leonard #1)

PLOT: A human living in a furry town meets detective Leonard Keaton who turns his life around…but that does not mean darkness has subsided for the innocent young man.

Meeting Leonard Keaton (Leonard #1)

Equus21

 

I’m a 17 year old  human male named Timothy, I go to school on time, I don’t cause trouble, I love talking to others. I enjoy video games, comic books and a bit of music-big difference with me and most humans? I live in a town full of furries. Majority of them I truly like. Usually they’re huggable and generally quite excitable, good to talk to when you’re feeling down, honest and they tend to be open minded. I truly love living here and going to ‘Anthro High.’ I meet mostly furries actually, some humans my age or older here and there-and most of them are like me, they moved to the city of Boston, MA for better jobs or a new location just because they like the big city.

However, my true ‘welcome party’ was far from typical-because I truly felt I belonged here when I met the most unique and trusting furry ever…if I were to introduce him to you, I’d tell you  he’s a black lab who hates hugs, is easily irritated and doesn’t have much of a filter. Yup-this is our hero.

Entry 1

Anthro High is generally an awesome school, lots of good education, lots of fun and hyper students (some of which get in trouble due to their somewhat over excitable nature.) The teachers are perhaps not quite as energetic, but they’re all quite genuine. Very easy to talk to and get along with. One student gave me issues, a tall and slightly overweight wolf named Buck. Everyone loves a grey, mysterious wolf. I don’t mean to sound whiny, but he picked me because I’m a human. I know. It’s maybe typical for those who are different to sort of be overly sensitive and look down on themselves and think everyone is out to get them, but I will tell you of two encounters I had with Buck-the third I will save for the maybe dark finale.
The first time, he met me at the cafeteria. Things were going well that Monday afternoon, I had talked to a few huskies and panthers about tests and what they like to do for hobbies. I stood in a line of happy looking foxes and dogs sort of conversing, telling little inside jokes and waiting patiently in a sort of long line with my hot meal. The sounds of laughter and talking filled the large place, grey circular tables hooked to stools made walking around a bit cramped. I was still in line at the cash register, so no tables were there, to the left of the registrar was where you picked what food you wanted. The female rabbit taking the student’s money seemed tired-she’s sweet mostly. As I stood with my tray full of food, Buck walked over to me casually. He wore ripped black khakis and a blue denim vest. He sounded about my age, but was much taller than I was. I’m about 5 feet-he’s about 6’1 and much heftier. He forced his paw on my shoulder and smiled a condescending grin. “Hey tailless freak!” I nodded, I knew who this wolf was, he had gotten suspended once for writing obscenities on school property, he also had threatened many students-but rarely carried them out, knowing this I chose not to talk to him. He spoke again, his voice grinding on my nervous system-I hated his look, I hated his tone and I especially hated that he picked on me in front of all my friends. “Hey human…you gonna say ‘hi’ or do your species not do that sort of thing?” I shrug and speak in a low tone, trying to not upset anyone-the furries around me backed away, some scratched the backs of their fuzzy necks nervously. The rabbit behind the counter was to far away from me to notice the trouble. “Please leave, I want no trouble sir.” The wolf chuckled and stood in front of me, throwing the entire lunch line out of order and getting a few students to wonder what would happen. “You’ve caused trouble already Tim…by being a human at Anthro High, let’s teach you how a furry hits…”

Before I could react, the wolf took the palm of his paw and rammed it right into my nose-before I knew it I was on the ground, my lunch had flown all over the floor-the tray fell with quite a loud crash, the cafeteria went to silent shock as I felt warm blood spill out of my nostrils. The principal (who was a fox wearing a tie) quickly walked over to me to help me up… I came home that day with a bandage on my nose and a call to my mom, my mother-Melissa, is amazing. Most teens complain about there parents-but I will not. My mom is super open, her and I watch R-rated comedies, we go for walks, she lets me play video games after my bedtime (she figures if I stay up to late-it’s my fault and as long as I get to school on time and don’t flunk classes-she doesn’t mind.) My father passed away two years ago, so my mom works the evening shift, the weekend is when we hang. When I got home-I was 100% honest with my mom, like the principal was when he called. Of course, she talked to me about taking some days off and Buck’s parents would be spoken to. I was hoping the bullying would stop after that-I thought maybe things would look up as far as Buck and I were concerned.

Entry 2

The next week, I was certainly asked about my bully experience, it was nice because a lot of the students had made get-well cards and things were looking up for me. I didn’t do great on a few of the pop quizzes (I was excused from written tests however.) I forgot to mention by yellow Labrador friend, Bingo. He was the first friend I ever had at this school.

As I sat during the end of a class, we got a bit of free time. Most furries stayed put, listening to music and laughing at jokes that probably should not be said in a school. Instead of jamming to techno like Bingo normally would, the lab sat himself down next to me and spoke in his usual, upbeat tone. He wore a grey t-shirt and light blue sweatpants with orange running shoes (which made sense, he was one of the best track runners the school had ever seen.) He’s about 18 years old. “Hey buddy! You okay?” I nod and smile, just hearing his voice really made me happy. He had this aura of energy that I embraced every moment of. “Yes, I am. You?” He smiled a bright smile, he had that ‘classic lab’ face-the brown eyes, the brown nose, the big floppy tongue hanging out every time he seemed psyched. “Made the finals for the running team! YUP! Good ol’ Bingo!” I chuckled as he pretended to have a huge ego-a running joke he did. Seriously though, he’s the least egotistical jock you’d ever want to meet. He’s a ‘jock with the heart of a warrior and a protector, but mostly a comedian.’ “Well, gimme a call and we’ll hang out this weekend! I’m free!” I lovingly patted my shoulder, class was over. I had missed the bus that Friday afternoon and mom was working, she normally didn’t but her job was understaffed.

I went through the side exit of the school. The weather was a bit cloudy, but warm enough that I didn’t need my jacket. As I walked away from the school, I slung my bag over my shoulder-sensing that rain would fall. The outside of Anthro High is quite large, made of red brick, with a slanted green roof and brick pillars at the entrance.  Very nice school, quite ritzy actually. I walked down a long sidewalk, a few cars pulled out of the parking lot, filled with teachers and students. Most of the students who had to walk home, were already well on their way. I walked at a brisk pace, sort of in a slight daydream and would be glad to take a nap once I got home. I had just reached the end of the sidewalk, exiting the school.

Quickly, I ended up tripping-something had blocked my way, once I caught myself, I saw Buck with his arms crossed and the same goddamn smug look on his face-wearing a black tank top and black sweatpants and shiny red sunglasses sat on his head. “Hey tattle tale! Got me in quite a damn mess, a few weeks of being grounded to be exact!” The wolf then lifts me up by the back of my neck and my heart skipped a beat a tiny bit, his non-clipped claws scratched my flesh a bit. “You frigging human!” His muzzle was right in my face as he plopped me down forcefully onto the pavement, making me lose my balance and trip, falling back first onto the sidewalk. I felt light headed-no one could come to help me…I was alone. Rarely did I feel anxiety in my life, but this was it. It felt so weird, it felt like a sickness had just gripped my stomach and heart and squeezed, and no matter how long I tried to level myself, it got worse as Buck wouldn’t back off. I then hear, from a few feet ahead of me-a loud yell. “HEY!”

Not from a student, and not a teacher I had heard of. I stared at the dog standing close by, he had a bit of grey in his muzzle, he had slight jowls, about 5 feet and broad shouldered (he certainly worked out.) Judging by his voice, he sounded like he was from Britain, but his authoritative and gruff edge made his voice unlike any other furry. He wore a white dress shirt, the sleeves rolled up revealing a bit of his toned arms.  The top button undone and a loose black tie sort of flew in the breeze, he wore faded blue jeans and black dress shoes-what surprised me the most however? He wore a cop badge around his waist, I had never really come face-to-face with authority here. He walked up, his gaze on Buck-fearless. I was so accustomed to furries cowering at him around the school as he harassed them into handing over their lunch money or even slapping them if they did not give answers to a test he had failed to study. The lab stood, Buck was much taller than he. The cop spoke again as he showed off his FBI badge to the two of us. “I’m a cop who doesn’t take bullying with a grain of salt-there a problem?” Buck backed away from me, clearly nervous-but attempting to hide it. “N-no cop! Honest, we were just fooling around!” I look at the detective, he looked at me. The three of us had a sort of ‘stand off’ moment in the middle of the sidewalk. He was a few inches taller than me, his gaze read ‘tell me the truth’-even though he knew it already. I sigh and stand up straight, my voice  trembled. “Um, well o-officer, I was being harassed by this wolf.” The lab’s tail drooped down, his ears perked as he nodded and approached the wolf, by now the tough wolf backed away. He knew better than to mess with a detective or cop, especially this guy-looked like he had seen a lot of darkness in his life to be honest and wasn’t much for messing around. The detective’s tone was icy cold, he crossed his arms and did not break eye contact with Buck, he knelt down in front of him, gently reached over and grabbed the sunglasses swiftly off of the wolf’s head and twirled them-I swore Buck had peed his pants. “I want you, to apologize to this young man-then I want you to take your ass home, and tomorrow-I don’t want you staring at him, I don’t want you approaching him, I don’t even want you thinking about him-because the moment you do…you will regret it. So, my only question to you. You going to fuck with him again?” The way he spoke sent shivers through my spine, Buck had no broken eye contact either-his fur stood up on end as the detective’s cold stare didn’t break. A single tear rolled from his eye, seemed like this was the first time someone really reprimanded him. “N-no sir…” Leonard nodded, expecting the apology, the quivering wolf turned to me. “I’m so sorry, Tim. Won’t happen again-o-okay buddy?” I wave to him gently, I myself a bit intimidated. The lab took the sunglasses-and snapped them in half with a single click and tossed the now broken shades to the ground, the lab’s tone filled with angry annoyance. “Go.” The wolf ran faster than any furry on a track team.

He walked over and checked over me, I felt quite comfortable around him. “Name is Leonard-you okay?” I nod and pick my bag up from off the sidewalk. He looked at me, not in an icy way-but in a stern way, he certainly had an authoritative air to him. “You walking home?” I nodded and spoke, looking up at him. “Yes, sir, missed my bus.” Leonard reached into his back pocket to grab the keys to his vehicle. “Want me to take you home?”

The police car was stopped at a light, I had never been in a cop car before. The dashboard looked so complex, filled with buttons, a radio and a video screen. The back seat, covered by metal black bars. Leonard hung his arm out of the opened driver’s side window, he held a lit cigarette in his other hand and took a few puffs from it as he drove. To me, he seemed deep in thought. He barely spoke to me, didn’t glance to me-he just looked straight ahead. I kept my hands folded, all I heard was the sound of the car engine going. In the coffee cup holder was where his badge was, his black handgun holstered to his side. I can’t explain it-but he seemed sort of sad. “Leonard, sir? You okay?” The old dog nodded. “Content.” Wow…one word. I really wanted to get a conversation going with him. I cleared my throat. “Can I be honest with you, detective?” He flicked his cigarette out the door, I hoped the smell would be gone soon. “Yes, and call me Leonard.” I speak not so ‘matter of factually’ but sort of nervous, I was a bit worried he might get mad or annoyed. “You’re not like other furries…” He shrugged and turned a corner. “I am who I am. If I acted all excited, it would be dishonest, no one should have to hide the personality they have–especially for the contentment of others.”

Before I left, he gave me his card with his number and address in case anything else should come up. As much as he seemed stern and a bit of a ‘tough guy’ he obviously wanted to help out.

Entry 3

Bingo folded his hands after he was done eating his sandwich, he finished his soda and continued to talk about my encounter with Leonard. “He’s different…” The lab finished his drink. “In what way?” I sigh a bit, knowing I had a bit to explain. “In every way. He just…he’s stern, but really nice. Helpful, but a tough guy. I don’t know. Like-he’s not someone you’d want to run up and hug.” The yellow lab collected the check soon after, Leonard Keaton still bounced in my head a bit.

After going out-I lied on my bed. Unable to fall asleep. I wanted to call Leo-tell him about my day, or something. I didn’t want the bully incident to be the only time I spoke to him. I tried to move onto other things, I tried playing video games, I tried using some social media-it didn’t work. I spent about twenty minutes staring at my cellphone, I sat on the edge of the bed. The room was so silent, I could hear crickets. I looked around my walls, I have one or two video game posters, my nightstand has a lamp and a place to charge my phone. My video game systems are all in the middle of my room, my TV is not too shabby to be honest. I sighed as I looked at the card he gave me and dialed his number-I suddenly got butterflies in my gut as the phone rang on the other end, I REALLY hoped I wasn’t annoying him.

That would be the end of that friendship. My ears seemed to go into a complete listening mode as I heard his voice on the other end, unmistakably his voice. “This is detective Keaton.” I stuttered a bit and stood up-the butterflies increased. “Hey Leonard, it’s Tim. Just calling to see what you were up to.” The lab I think was taking a sip of some drink, but I had no idea what it was of course. “Came home from work, put my son to bed-now just sitting…” I froze a bit. “You..um, have a son?” The lab seemed to be happy to speak about him to me. “Yes, his name is Christopher. I adopted him a few weeks ago.”

We then got into a whole conversation about Chris. Leo told me he’s 17 and is in the special Education class at my school, which gives reason to why I never really saw him. He told me that Chris was sadly abused by his biological parents, his mom was a drug addict and his father locked him in a closet on a daily basis, not wanting to hear from him. From what Leonard said, he assumed Chris’ biological father was ashamed of his son’s disabilities. Gosh, I’d like to meet Chris and tell him about myself and maybe become friends. The lab actually seemed the most sad when he spoke of a bus incident-by now it sounded like he had had a few drinks.

“I got Chris off to school one morning, and as I got ready for work-I got a call from his cellphone. Some madman had somehow gotten control of the bus, a psychopath with a gun. It ended up this huge chase, I shot the furry who was responsible and no student was hurt. I still think about the day-because I blame myself for what happened. I can’t help it.” By now I was sitting on the bed, intently listening to the detective-I think my jaw hung open. I had never heard of such evilness around here. Sure, on TV-but not so close to home. “Leonard, I-I’m really sorry. I don’t mean to-pry or tell you how to run your life, but I’ve talked to buddies who deal with depression, and a few of my gaming friends online deal with stuff to. I tell them that life will throw stuff at you, but you’re still the same kind person-it’s all in how you react to things. You’re a great lab, you helped me so much-and I wish you the best.” Leonard took a deep breath, whether he was annoyed of hearing the same thing over and over again, or he was tired-I don’t know, his tone low-so low that I had to turn up the volume on my cellphone all the way. “Shit, I know you’re right kid.” I sort of regretted giving someone like Leonard a lecture like that. He didn’t seem to mind I suppose. We didn’t talk much after-but we would be meeting again for sure.

School became quite normal again, and what’s even better is that I got to meet Leonard’s son, Chris. We hung out during academic support class, he dresses quite preppy, his hair short and his tone has a certain nervous edge. To be honest though, he seemed like he was quite with it. See, I had never spoken to anyone in the Special Ed classes before for a long while (I hate using these terms, a student is a student-doesn’t matter there mental ability, but for the sake of expressing my true feelings, I think using this terminology is okay…I hope.) Anyway, I don’t know what I expected-perhaps I expected someone who I’d have to really explain things to and be careful about joking and teasing, in case he got overly sensitive. Truly though, I loved talking to him and he did even joke around a bit with me. He’s very smart and extremely caring (way more caring than some of the quote ‘regular ed’ students I’ve met), he does sometimes speak with a stutter, but it doesn’t matter to me. To me, it seemed like he was pretty much the least judgemental student ever-he seemed to be friends with anyone as long as they accepted him for who he was. School isn’t always that easy for me sadly. I asked him about Leonard a bit, and Chris said that he’s rather stern and perhaps isn’t always 100% loving as far as hugs and words of affection, but it’s no doubt Leo and him get along very well, Leonard is the best for him as far as I can see. Chris referred to Leo as a ‘protector’ and a ‘fighter of evil.’ Not those terms-but I think that’s what I got out of it. I talked to him about how his dad saved me from a harsh bully of course, we talked about movies and hobbies as well. We ended up sharing cell phone numbers. Meeting him ended up being a huge highlight of my time knowing Leonard. Best part was I got to tutor Chris a bit during math, which was quite rewarding-I got a thank you text from the detective himself.

For two weeks, everything remained normal. I hung out with mom, by this time she had spoken to Leonard on the phone-thanking him for all the good he’d done, and Bingo and I got to hang out for a bit as well. As I said, Leonard and I would meet again-and it seemed that bad luck would follow. The next experience is something I actually have trouble with speaking about out loud, even to psychologists. This is the first time I’m writing it out, I am missing a few details of what happened after the attack-but I will try my best.

It happened Friday night, I was in my pajamas and my mom was working. I had been messaging a few friends on various social media sites using my laptop downstairs. The house in complete silence, I was just about to head to bed, when I looked over and saw the trash at the back door. I sighed a bit, but knew that if I didn’t take it out-I’d regret it and have to do it in the morning. I grab a flashlight before heading out. The night was a bit cold, I threw on my sweatshirt and headed off. The garbage bin is located about 2 minutes from my house, it is not located out front-but out back. Now, out front is a nicely lit suburban area where people can walk and big street lights light up the entire area, outback is basically woods. I step onto the cold grass, I had sandals on though because stepping on stuff is sort of expected when you’re walking through an area many people use for morning jogs normally.

The woods was not an uninvited area, but at night it did sort of have a foreboding atmosphere. Holding the heavy bag and walk at a brisk place, my house begins to disappear. At first I was able to see the faint shapes of the leafless trees, but as the light got dimmer, so did my vision. I knew there were trees now the left and right of me, I feel leaves and dirt touch the tips of my toes-I now wish I had worn sneakers. The wind picks up, I get a slight shiver as I now approach the garbage shoot, I shine my flashlight directly onto it and toss the bag in with a slight grunt and turn around to head back.

I then feel something that could only be described as terrifying, I feel two paws yank on my shoulders and toss me to the dirty ground below-I had no idea who the attacker was, because he or she had quickly taken my flashlight. The figure pins me down with its weight, using his knee to press against my chest, I yell and I kick and pinch and try to fight..but the furry does not move. The attacker kneels on top of me-as I hear the canine’s breathing, I know who it is…Buck. He was doing what he’d been wanting to for a long time, get to me outside of school. The wolf covers my mouth with extreme force and slaps me across the face. His muzzle inches from my face, I felt his warm breath and his cold voice-sounding more evil than ever. “Bye human…” I hear the sound of metal for a brief moment, I have now exhausted myself from trying to scream. The pain excruciating, I remember groaning loudly-I felt the stab go straight through my stomach again and again, I then felt it a bit above my gut. Five times I felt the stabs and five times I heard the disgusting sound of flesh being speared by the serrated blade, I want to close my eyes…but know that if I did I may never wake up.

Time seemed nonexistent, I stare facing upward towards the now slightly blue sky-the sun was coming up. I take one of my hands and ever so gently pat my stomach, I winced right at I felt the pain again and felt the warm blood slowly oozing out. Breathing became difficult, I took little gasps-but really felt like my chest was being suppressed, no doubt the knife had hit there as well. I feel liquid right in the back of my throat and cough harshly-red liquid quickly and violently came out of my mouth, the taste was nothing short of  nauseating. As I turn to my left, through the trees beginning to take full visual form-I see four flashlights dancing about, I hear footsteps nearing closer. I feel cold, not because of the outside-but I felt freezing from the inside.

The three furries who approached me were dressed in cop uniforms,  two were male German Shepherds and the other was a female snow leopard. They spoke to me, but I could barely make out what they were saying. I then felt a pair of paws grab me from the shoulders-he was closer to me, so I heard what he said-his tone urgent and melancholy. “Tim…stay with us…talk to me if you can and tell me where you are….come on Tim…” It was Leonard, and his presence at this seemingly random search and rescue team gave me hope.

The next thing I remember is the intense smell of medicine coming in and out of my nostrils and a plastic oxygen mask around my mouth. I looked around in a sleepy and surprisingly calm state. The room completely white, doctors and nurses running around-all different species of furries speaking to me I think, but again I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. I saw someone with a pair of scissors, I saw all sorts of instruments around me-my breathing became a bit rapid, I groaned slightly as now I was coming to and had no idea what was going on, I felt a paw gently take my hand and sound of a low ‘hush’, the smell of the medicine became stronger and I dozed off…

       Entry 4

The sound of beeping filled my ears, darkness surrounded me and I had no idea if any of this was real-or if it was my mind shutting down, how with it are you right before death? My eyes felt sort of sticky as I opened them, I look at my arm and see an IV-I look to my right and see a giant heart monitor, I looked to my right and saw Leonard standing and watching me intensely. The lab wore a tight grey t-shirt and dark blue skinny jeans with white sneakers. He had an air of calmness, but with his ears perked I could tell he really was not calm on the inside. I wore a hospital gown, so I really had no idea what sort of state my stomach was in. The black lab knelt by me, I reached to his toned arm and began patting it. Patting a dog actually did help me stay calm-he didn’t pull away as I thought he would.  “Tim…are you in pain?” My throat was a bit sore, but I managed to speak. “N-no Leonard…I’m…just…confused.” Leo nodded understandingly. “You had been missing for the entire evening, your mother called the police. You were…hurt, do you remember?” I nod slowly. “Buck was more than a bully…he was a psychopath. He knew he couldn’t get to you in school, so he followed your bus home on his way out of the school parking lot. Doctors said you…probably wouldn’t make it..I’m sorry I couldn’t be there that evening sooner.” I shrug, still patting him. “Leonard, you’ve been a-amazing. None of this is your fault, you were one of the detectives to find me…”

TWO WEEKS LATER

Yes, Leonard Keaton changed my life-I am so proud to be part of this town and to know someone as amazing as him-and his son of course. I thought being in a furry town would be always happy and bubbly-and maybe get boring like a kids TV show-always happy WOULD be boring. Emotions keep life going in my mind. I realized the exact opposite…and I was fine with it, as long as terror wasn’t to often present in my life again. Furries are part of who I am I guess.

Monday afternoon, I had insisted on seeing detective Keaton one last time. Nightmares were getting unbearable, images of Buck with a knife and laughing-I wake up in a cold sweat still to this day about that wolf, I sometimes even skip school if memories get to awful. I sat in Leonard’s home, with a beverage in front of me, I was in a wheelchair at the time due to the damage done to my back as well as my stomach. I still am in a wheelchair as I write this journal, probably won’t get out at this point. He was dressed in the same outfit as when he visited me at the hospital, he had a glass of scotch in front of him, his home very clean. It was strange to see him out of his element-kind of like seeing a teacher at a store-oh! You don’t live at the school?! I look up at him. “Leonard, um-thank you for letting us over. The main question I have for you is…what happened to Buck? D-did you see him after the attack?” He nodded. “Right after they loaded you onto the ambulance, I followed his scent, even though the cops told me not to. I didn’t care-this wolf would go after more humans, I knew he would. I know killers. I caught up with him-quite nightmarish actually….” He stopped-thinking I couldn’t handle it. “Please Leonard, tell m-me….I need to know.” He nods and takes a sip of his drink. “He was covered in blood, I took my gun out and told him to get on his knees-he refused and charged at me…like his mind had snapped, I fired two shots into his face. Tim-I don’t want you to be afraid of life after this. Realize that-you can still find happiness after a tragic event-yes, it will linger with you…I won’t lie. However, don’t let it consume you-like I did before I found Chris. Furries and humans will change your life for the better if you give your new life a chance.”

I smiled and nodded. “Makes sense, um…do you have any new cases?” Leo shrugged. “Not at the moment, but this is about you-not me. You’re a good kid who really pulled through-I wish…everyone who’s been through a horrible experience like that came out as level headed as you have.” I take a deep breath. “I guess what I hate is…I know this sort of evil doesn’t just exist in horror movies. It bothers me that this sort of hate and violence happens.”

Leonard nodded and we didn’t speak for a bit after. We were now ready to eat, my mother sat next to me, Chris sat next to his father and Leo, who sat at the head of the table (he insisted I did-but Chris wanted his dad there.)

The vegetables and meat sat on Leonard’s large table, a bottle of wine and a jug of milk sat there as well. We all sat silently, until my mother spoke in a soft tone. “Leonard? Do you want to say grace?” The lab seemed a bit taken aback by this offer, he folded his hands slowly-silence filled the room, what would he say? His tone went up a bit, not in an unhappy way-but in a sort of excited way. “I got nothing!” Mom and I chuckle-the food is then passed around.

END

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