All That Remains @ladyoftheshield
All that Remains Does Redwall know what ADHD is? no, but too bad bc Keyla has it anyway

He hated this room. The silence was unrelenting, and the walls pressed around him. The white embroidered blankets wrapped around him like a noose. Suffocating in the heat, Keyla kicked the heaviest quilt off the bed. It slid to the ground, into a patch of moonlight. Its bright colors bored into his brain, red and oranges and yellows bordering a white so vivid it almost hurt his eyes even in the darkness. It reminded him of fire.

Closing his eyes, Keyla turned onto his other side. The bed creaked mournfully, and the soft mattress sucked him in. With a strangled moan, he turned onto his stomach. Better. Somewhat.

But even with his eyes shut, his mind would not slow down. The silence around him sealed him alone with his thoughts. Like a squirrel- fast, active- it leapt from thought to thought like breaking waves. Events (Felldoh, heavy and still in his arms) and plans, (use the net as an entry point) could haves (arrow almost hit her through the throat) and things that still may be (Barkjon’s knee festering to gangrene, then to death) mental reminders (see Teaselpaw and get more medicine for Barkjon) and regrets (should never have let Felldoh leave) and things Keyla could not change (Martin unmoving, unresponsive) all swirling in a maelstrom and splitting his focus in a thousand different places at once until it made his head spin.

But even with his eyes shut, his mind would not slow down. The silence around him sealed him alone with his thoughts. Like a squirrel- fast, active- it leapt from thought to thought like breaking waves. Events (Felldoh, heavy and still in his arms) and plans, (use the net as an entry point) could haves (arrow almost hit her through the throat) and things that still may be (Barkjon’s knee festering to gangrene, then to death) mental reminders (see Teaselpaw and get more medicine for Barkjon) and regrets (should never have let Felldoh leave) and things Keyla could not change (Martin unmoving, unresponsive) all swirling in a maelstrom and splitting his focus in a thousand different places at once until it made his head spin.

Only deliberate focus and a simple exercise Barkjon had taught him pruned away the buds of his thoughts, aided by the steadily encroaching exhaustion. He owed the old squirrel more than he could ever repay. Some days, more and more as time passed, the urge to call him father stirred behind his teeth. He hadn’t said it before Felldoh, and could never now. He couldn’t do that to Barkjon.

The night aged. His mind slowed down. Thoughts and details of his brain clacked against each other less. Manageable. There was room to breath now, and he was no longer suffocating so much. But as he began to float away, unease spiked down his spine. Something around him was wrong, even if he could not place it.

Half asleep, his paw reached out, searching for warmth and soft fur. It found nothing. All at once, he realized that there was nothing but silence around him- that the heartbeats of his father and siblings had stilled, and the room was cold.

With a murmur of distress, Keyla jolted fully awake. The sensation of the strange, soft white sheets against his body reminded him. Martin was getting treated for his injuries both mental and physical far from here. Barkjon and Tullgrew were just in another room. Just down the hall. Only Felldoh and Hillgorse were dead.

He hated this room. The silence was unrelenting.

Keyla turned again because stiffness was setting into his tail. The mattress let him rest on top of it for a moment before it ate him. With a frustrated sigh, Keyla admitted defeat. He wrestled himself out of the web of tangled quilts and sheets, briefly wondering why anybeast needed so much cloth to sleep, and stood by the bed in the pale moonlight. A faint impression of his body could was pressed into the suffocating mattress. Shaking his head, Keyla exhaled. Stripping the bed, he claimed only the hardest pillow (too soft and it feels like you’ll fall through) and the thinnest sheet (anything more was too hot and weighed him down like an anchor that had been cut loose.) He was cut loose, sinking, and there was no one to haul him up again.

He took a shaky breath and forced the tears back before he eased the door to his room open and slipped into the hall. He paused before what he thought was Barkjon’s door- they all looked the same- then hesitantly swung it open. The bed was empty. He went to close the door, but something moved in the darkness. Stepping inside the room, he saw a lump of shuddering blankets on the floor. Two pairs of brown eyes looked up, then wordlessly made room for him. Mindful of the knobby bandage on Barkjon’s knee and Tullgrew’s splinted arm, Keyla squeezed between them.

So close. He had come so close to losing everything. “Couldn’t sleep in that bed,” he muttered as he flattened his pillow against the ground. “Too soft.”

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