The oracle looked him over, poking his stomach, bending his joints, and checking his eyes and ears. “He is changed,” The oracle announced.
A loud knock resounded through the wooden beams holding the hut together. Gerard let Frank slide off him onto the fur beneath them, rubbing the sleep out of his hazel eyes.
The messenger boy, Nathanial, stepped in a moment later, his high cheek-boned, fatless face flushed and sweaty. “Council wants me to alert you that Checkups are in 5 minutes, Master Gerard.”
“For Christ’s sake, stop calling me that, Nathan!” Gerard groaned, his head rising from the pillow as he sat up, hitting his head on the ceiling lamp when he stood. He let out another groan and picked up his bag.
Nathan apologized and backed out of the room, on his way to tell the rest of the village.
Frank followed Gerard in getting lighter clothes on, not the normal, thicker layers they would usually wear.
“Checkups!” a strong male voice commanded from the center. Gerard and Frank joined the line, their eyes set downward at the dirt.
The male council members sat at the semi-circle table on the other side of the atrium. The females had all gone to the second colony center. One by one, pack members entered the middle of the circle to be checked by the oracle.
Nathan stumbled in line behind the two, his hair disheveled and his lightweight clothing looking as if he’d thrown it on in two seconds, which he probably had.
Gerard watched emotionless as the men and boys in front of him shed their clothing to be screened. It was routine by now, something that happened whether you liked it or not every three months.
“Troy Belington, step up,” The voice commanded.
Frank was next. He stepped to the middle, only the slightest hint of self-consciousness in his movements. He was undeterred by the deep gashes and tooth marks on his neck, shoulders and back, also ignoring the hand-sized bruises at his hips.
The oracle looked him over, poking his stomach, bending his joints, and checking his eyes and ears.
“He is changed,” The oracle announced.
While the council clapped, Frank gaped.
The oracle instructed Frank to flex his muscles and open his mouth. After he was finished the man inspected his wounds.
“Who inflicted these upon you, boy?”
Who the fuck talks like that?
The oracle nodded and motioned for Frank to stand next to the council table. He slipped his clothes back on and obeyed.
“Next, Gerard Way.”
Gerard was up. His own body was marked with two cuts ripping down through the tendons in his shoulder. There were scratches on his lower back and arms.
He finished as well and stood with the rest of the guys, looking toward Frank in puzzlement.
The flustered looking messenger boy was unscarred, his skin perfectly smooth other than the slight scratches on his arm from being shoved into the dirt by an older man. Frank felt sorry for him; he was just as much of an outcast as him. He was only about a month younger than Frank.