He had been two years older than his sibling. A sibling time had long erased the face and voice and name of, but a sibling none the less, no matter how blurred and static they appeared in his memory. He knew that he and the faceless child were close, closer than his mind could recreate. But whatever bond associated with the sibling was corrupted, just like all the other strings of memories coiled in his skull like a fraying ball of yarn. When he tried to imagine a face to call family, he saw fire licking at wheat as his people were smoked from safety straight into the burning jaws of a mob. When he tried to believe they had spent their youthful days wandering vague forests and teasing each other like he had observed outside families do, he saw blood leaking from a crack in the nameless child's face, head pressed close to Beck's chest as he frantically tried to keep him awake with rambling anecdotes and questions. Sometimes a few memories slipped through whatever blockade was protecting his psyche, brief glimpses of a grinning dimple and tanned skin a stark contrast to his pallid tone. Beck wanted to ensnare them and lock them away for his selfish needs of identity, but they always arrived at the slightest signals and slipped through his grasp when he lurched for them. When he tried to claim he had a family who had loved him in life, he saw his brother dead in his own ash-caked arms. It was his fault, he shouldn't have run for cover, he should have saved him -- and in an instant, Beck was struggling to remember his thoughts, regressing back to his amnesiac state. He supposed it was for the better; having no identity to fall back on meant he had no responsibilities, right? Beck was merely the commander of Tanglewood, and that was his only purpose left in the world.
Sometimes, he couldn't help but wonder what it would've been like to reunite with his family. To have been welcomed into the dead's paradise instead of refused at the pearly gates, to have been embraced by loving arms. But he never saw them again, if that wasn't obvious. Snorting at the thought, Beck's scarred features darkened, slouching against the trunk of a swamp tupelo and glaring out over the murky waters from the soggy banks. Not even God liked us, Becky. If there even was a God. Beck had seen enough progress in the world to grasp the firmly-planted laws of science, for the sake of explaining his existence, and the abstract thought of a higher being controlling every minute detail was laughable to him. The afterlife was probably something his deranged mind invented to fill in the truthful void of nothingness after death. But, then how did that explain the shackles around his wrists? It seemed like nothing could saw through them, much less scratch them no matter what he tried -- and according to his post-mortem fantasy, they were forged by hellfire itself. Why wasn't Beck hanging with the Devil then? So many questions, and nothing to answer him. As he pouted to himself over his enigmatic existence, his frigid paw fell to his side, patting around until he brushed against a flat stone. Even if his mental memory failed him, muscle memory didn't. With a bored toss, the stone was flicked out over the water in an imperfect skipping arch, an old trick he learned through the ages of haunting woodlands. A couple more smooth rocks were skipped over the duckweed-infested waters, until he ran out of the convenient pebble supply. Visibly gnawing on his tongue in unprecedented frustration, the poltergeist shifted from his lazy slump against the tupelo's roots, sulking off to gather more. Maybe he could try to hit birds or something instead of just skipping with the next rocks he found.
Instead of finding ammunition, he found a creature rustling the overcrowded foliage, ears perking at the faint footsteps from the direction of the border. Curiosity dimming into agitation, Beck squinted at the dense undergrowth with a sour look twisting his freckled face. A trespasser? No, not a trespasser. Whoever was behind those bushes would have been closer if they were inside territory. Rolling his bony shoulders, the mangy feline advanced anyways, slinking through buttonbush shrubs as nonchalantly as he could manage, unable to disguise the irritation curling his bloodless lips into a trembling snarl. Farsighted eyes flitted over the lynx and his bizarre features; something about the glowing ring-thing and stumbs sent his demonic instinct on edge, and rightfully so. Tilting his gaze upward to look the familiar stranger in the eye, Beck was quick to rasp out, "Ya know, loiterin' ain't allowed here -- who exactly are ya?" He wasn't sure what else to stay, unable to formulate sentences to tease about the flimsy fluff jutting from his shoulder blades or how there was something unspoken he couldn't just quite place.