The piercing feeling of judgement in a circle of young eyes felt like a needle pointing in my throat, and everyone could tell of my tenseness once the nurse left. But as strange as kids are, for now, and for luck's sweet arms, I wasn't fish bait for their voices. Perhaps they could smell fear more than they could see strange. But they still looked on before one spoke their greetings, and then another, and then that cold air dissipated as one asked my name.

I gave it the same way I gave those doctors my name, the name I remembered being told to me from those foggy memories of parents that one day just left or something like that. That shaky way, the way any other unsocialized younging would've. And the others shared theirs. All of the same seas as me. We were all of the same seas, so why wouldn't they welcome another? Disadvantaged. To shun one would just be odd.

And so, with those small introductions children did, the small talk of what children liked, and with my silence the entire time because a lot of it was unfamiliar, things resumed, but not before one or two invited me over to a corner for those play-pretend games. It was my first exposure to the system of the city, a pretend game, the younger boy talking of guardianship, the older one some other fleeting importance.

A first exposure could also be a prediction, but I watched, mostly, and that was a pattern that'd continue for a while during those days. Wasn't much of a talker, but nobody really minded enough to shun or bully. Just another kid, with weird arms. Speaking of the claws, they'd be fascinated with them. Maybe that's why I didn't fall through the cracks, because tracing and touching my claws was an experience everyone who passed through that place would do at least once.