He was adopted when he was six. Took the hand of a lady with a white streak in her left temple just like his and walked out of his parent’s corner house.
(He later learned that he was technically abducted, but his parents weren’t around anyway, so was there really a difference?)
The woman, never let him call her ‘mum’ (which in hindsight should have been the biggest clue he wasn’t actually adopted). Instead, they both went by the nicknames big skunk and little skunk.
While his peers memorized the periodic table and learnt about integration and differentiation, he learnt about the chicken in the woods and Polaris. He entered adulthood without a certificate to his name, but he knew how to survive almost any terrain completely off the grid.
“That’s it,” big skunk said one evening as they reset their crab traps, “I’ve taught you everything I know. The rest is up to you.”
“The rest of what?” he asked.
“The rest of your life. Every bird needs to leave their parent’s nest one day.”
“But you’re not my parent,” he pointed out.
For some reason, that sent her into a giggling fit. Between laughs, she said, “You’ll understand one day.”
The next morning, she was gone, and he wouldn’t understand what she said until almost two decades later, when he held his baby girl in his arms and looked at the white streak of hair at her left temple.
Genre: science fiction/fantasy
Time loop story: 3/8