Chapter Eleven: Family Secrets

Chapter Eleven: Family Secrets

A Chapter by Joshua Donahue
"

Forbidden. Evan awakens at his grandfather's house where he learns his ancestry. But can he deal with the secrets?

"

FORBIDDEN

 

BY: J O S H U A  D O N A H U E





Chapter Eleven

Family Secrets

 

I ran. My body thrived from the burst of energy that I suddenly had. I didn’t think a single thought -- not about Summer, my mother, my friends, or even my life for that matter. I simply ran. I didn’t have a planned destination; I just wanted to be free from the burdens that I was weighed down with and the daily problems which I faced. Every bit of it now seemed inconsequential, and part of a long and forgotten life. My legs burned to go as my arms stretched to push myself forward. I wasn’t sure what I was. I felt almost human, but the way my body worked made me think otherwise. But I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was run, and that’s what I did.

            I ran through what seemed a familiar backyard at first, but then I swiftly soared through a wall full of trees so that I became cocooned in a forest. My legs halted for what seemed like a millisecond, until my eyes quickly adjusted to the lighting change and I continued on my running spree. My eyes felt a bit different than usual, though. They felt a little more pulled up towards my ears, and not only did I see the average colors of everyday wild objects, but I saw absolutely more vividly -- and what was more odd was it felt natural. Besides my sight, my smelling abilities were also enhanced. I could smell the overwhelming scent of pine sap that overcrowded the place, but I could also smell past that, all the way to the tiniest flower that I had passed potentially minutes ago. It was unbelievable. I could hear the breaking of a small twig, as well as a remote song emitting from the throat of a bird some miles away. I could only imagine what my tongue would extract from a simple bite of something.

            Throughout the labyrinth of trees that stood as stagnant as statues, I ran so tenderly that it could have been mistaken for my natural habitat. Still, I barely paid any attention to my surroundings, and yet, I paid full attention to it. It was like visual multitasking, only I did it far better than ever imaginable. I could focus on a simple vine that withered its way around a full-grown tree to the farthest of my right, and I could still dodge a tree branch that hovered in my path with ease.

            I just couldn’t get over how free and alive I felt. My heart raced with excitement, my body ached to run faster, harder, and my mind was utterly blank. It was a simple adrenaline rush, only magnified by a million. My entire existence felt free from control, like I wasn’t even steering myself in the direction that I wanted, and at the same time, I could. I knew I could stop if I really wanted to, but I didn’t.

            Then, my running automatically died down to a slow stride. No longer was I in a wooded area. I was in a…backyard? It was oddly familiar to me, but still, it wasn’t the same one that I had started out in. I simply walked with ease forward to the tall structure that stood in front of me, my body aching to go out on another run again. Instead, I continued forward. My nose gave a small sniff in the air like I could sense something inside -- something familiar, something that felt like home.

            I crept frontward to the building ahead of me until I was mere yards away. Then I stopped, staring with full concentration at it. My eyes easily dissected every aspect of it in mere seconds. I spotted a shiny glass door that led into the place. Kicking my feet backwards, my body dashed forward. About a yard or two away from the building, I boosted off from the ground, hurdling myself through the air. As I flew and my eyes remained glued to the glossy door, my mind went blank because what I saw staring back at me as my reflection was unbelievable. I didn’t see a human soaring in the air. I perceived an animal, a wolf of some sort that was several times larger and stronger than any I had ever witnessed, heading towards a shiny glass door just like I was.

While glancing more at my reflection in the glass door rather than the door itself, I smashed through the glass as it shattered around me, unaffectedly, and into the edifice. Then I crumpled to the ground.

*     *     *

Boy, did I have a migraine. It was the kind of migraine that was so excruciating to bear that anyone would take anything to dispose of it.

I was still asleep -- knocked out -- and was having one of those internal moments when you’re unconscious and your mind is in sleep mode, but you are still aware of your physical condition. My legs were sore, my arms were numb, and my body felt…contorted, as if it was bent out of shape so much that it was taking forever to slowly whip back into its former self.

            I wanted to wake up, but my mind still wanted to rest; in fact, my entire body wanted to rest. Still, I wanted to know where I was (although, I knew I was on something really soft and comfortable), what had happened, and figure out why my body ached as badly as it did. But I just couldn’t awaken, and what made it even worse was my constantly-growing migraine seemed to never end.

            But for a moment or two, I was able to block out all of my pain along with my screaming head, and I was able to wake myself up. My eyes popped open like they were opening for the very first time since birth -- my vision was a little fuzzy. I could see several figures surrounding me, but I couldn’t make out their faces, although I was sure that they were people whom I knew.

            “Ah, he’s awake!” someone shouted with excitement. “How do you feel, dude? Rough, huh?”

            Dude?’ Okay, now I know that I know these people, I thought.

            “Stand back. Give him some breathing room. It was his first time after all,” another voice said. This voice sounded more controlling, more adult-like. Familiar, nevertheless.

            “He’s right. Everyone under the age of eighteen better be outta this room in the next five seconds, or else there will be consequences,” a different, still adult-like and aged, voice commanded.

            “But―” someone started to protest.

            “Go,” the voice said sternly.

            Apparently the voice must have a lot of power regarding the other figures because I could finally see light pass in front of my face without the silhouettes of people blocking it. Now that all remained were four figures, yet, my view of their appearances was highly pixilated.

            “Evan? Evan, are you okay?” someone said.

            “Mmmm…” was all I could say. I tried to open my mouth, but it felt so dry and my lips felt immobile. There was a dry, hard lump in my throat that ached terribly.

            “Evan? Evan, are you with us?”

            I could hear the voice and tell it was near me, but I still couldn’t make out any faces quite yet. My vision was coming back, but slowly.

            “I’ll get him something to drink,” an aged, female voice said.

            Now there were three figures. I could see blotches of their clothing with clearness, but the majority of their bodies were still blurry to me. I thought maybe I was going blind or I was in some kind of mental institute for the crazies.

 With all the conversation that swirled around me, I had totally forgotten about my pain. But as soon as I remembered it, it plowed me like a hurricane does to the coast of Florida.

            I let out a wail of pain hoarsely.

            The figures automatically retracted from the place where I was sitting.

            “Go tell Susan,” one of them muttered to another. Then he -- I’m assuming it was a he -- left the room.

            Susan? Susan…that name is familiar. Very familiar.

I let out another pitiful cry that had a smaller volume then the last.

It was a name that I had heard during my first weekend in Hale. It was my father’s mother, my grandmother. I knew now that I was not surrounded by a bunch of figures anymore, but I was indeed surrounded by my family.

            After a minute of twitching in pain, someone told me to drink something out of a cup. So I did, wishing more than anything to scream to let out the pain. I barely was able to pry my lips apart willingly to take a sip, and almost immediately, I tasted the bitterness of the liquid. But on the contrary, I felt relief. Not only did my body feel like some of the pain had died down, but my throat felt good and wet so I could let out a word or two if I wanted, and as an added bonus, I could finally see who gave me the drink: my grandmother. I could see her face, although there were still a few minor details that were a little blurred, but I could finally see again!

            I drank some more. I could tell that my senses were washing back upon me, and I was glad too. I could see the faces of Trent, Daryl, and Otis surrounding the couch that I was lying on with Susan kneeled beside me, urging me to drink some more. Whatever that awful-tasting stuff was, I liked its effects, which is why I downed the entire cup and felt back to full health -- almost, anyway. But the liquid wasn’t what bothered me. It was the fact that I was in the presence of Trent, Daryl, and Otis, all of whom had wanted me to join their little “club” and who I had ran away from in the middle of the woods at night (excluding Trent, whom I had not seen that night).

            I leaned up out of reflex, got on my feet, and tried to run forward in order to get away from them. But my head gave an instant spin, and I fell back down on the couch.

            “Whoa, take it easy there, tiger. That concoction may have made you feel better, but you aren’t quite there yet,” Otis said, placing an arm on my shoulder.

            I cringed away as a reaction.

            “I’ll go get you some more, Evan,” Susan said. She left the room. I still didn’t know if she knew about their “club”.

            Trent, Daryl, and Otis came out from the other side of the couch and sat down on the other furniture that made up the living room. That put my body at ease a little, so that I didn’t have to strain my neck in order to keep them all in my view.

            “What happened?” I asked, rubbing my migraine that had now been reduced to a small headache. I wanted to keep the conversation as light and natural as possible -- and to direct it away from that unforgettable night.

            They looked at one another.

            “You tell us,” Daryl said while looking at me.

            “What do you remember last?” Trent asked me, leaning forward in his chair.

            I didn’t want to start a ruckus, so I decided to answer them and to act as friendly as possible until I could get away from these strangers before me. I said, “Not much. I remember: my mom leaving for work and me sleeping until late in the afternoon. Then I woke up out of bed and went downstairs. My body was acting funny: I could hardly walk, my head hurt, and my body began to feel like it was being pulled apart. I became dizzy while reaching for the phone to call my mom, and then…nothing.”

            “That’s it?” Otis asked.

            “As far I can -- Well, there was something else. But I’m sure it was just a dream from when I passed out.”

            “Tell us,” Otis urged.

            Susan then came back into the room with another cup filled with that particular liquid that tasted like trash, and made me drink it all. It left a horrible aftertaste on my tongue, but I felt better and that’s what I wanted.

Then Susan sat beside her husband on the loveseat to hear what I had to say.

            “Well, I dreamt that I was something like an animal. That I ran through the woods with enhanced senses. I mean it. I could see everything, smell everything, and hear everything that I could possibly imagine. I was like a dog or something -- a wolf, I suppose. And then after I came out of the woods, I came into a backyard and ran straight through a wall of glass and fell. I blacked out. But like I said, it was just a dream,” I explained.

            They all glanced at one another with a particular gleam in their eyes. I couldn’t quite tell what their emotions were on this, but I just hoped they didn’t think I was crazy or something (like them).

            “Evan, what makes you so sure that it was a dream?” Otis asked me with a serious look.

            “Well, for one thing, how could I possible be a creature running on all fours and wake up as a human? And two, there’s no way that I had those abilities in the wild, because I’m human. Not an animal,” I said matter-of-factly.

            “What if I was to tell you that what you say you dreamt was something that you didn’t dream at all? What if I was to tell you that what you experienced was actually real?” Otis said, still with that same serious expression. I wanted to believe that he was actually joking, but the look that he gave me told me that he was dead serious.

            “Well, if you told me that, then I would say that you’re crazy, and then I would walk off in search of a person that still withheld their sanity,” I said in a half-hearted way. I didn’t want to sound rude or anything because after all, he was a blood relative.

            “Fair enough. But what if, not only did I tell you, but I told you that I could show you?” he said.

            Trent, Daryl, and Susan seemed to be like statues. I thought they had gone deaf or something and had not completely registered what this old guy was saying to me. But they seemed well-aware of the conversation. Nevertheless, they simply stared at me with a serious face, waiting to see my reaction to every word that exited Otis’ mouth. Maybe they were waiting for me to get the joke or something, I didn’t know. But I knew that if this was the way that this old man wanted to play it -- pretending that I was a fool -- , then I would play along for now.

            “Then I would tell you to show me,” I said, knowing that I had gotten him where I wanted him. What visual evidence could he possibly have to prove I was actually an animal?

            “Follow me,” Otis said.

            Trent and Daryl got up from their seats and crossed over to me to make sure that I could walk okay, and I could. Forgetting that I needed to get away from them, I left the living room with everyone else and went to the other side of the home. Then we stopped. I saw sparkles of light hitting small objects on the carpeted floor, allowing reflections of objects from outside to move freely on them. It was the glass door from my dream, the one that I had shattered.

            I looked at it in horror. Then I stepped across it and looked outside and saw the proverbial woods on the other side of the backyard.

But…all of this was impossible, was it not?

            “This is absurd, you know that?” I said, regaining my sanity. Then I began to walk back towards the living room so I could find the front door in order to leave this wretched place.

            They followed me.

            “Oh, really?” Otis asked, raising an eyebrow, as he tailed me. “Then how do explain my glass door shattered to bits? How do you explain the intense agony that you felt before and after the transformation? How do you --

            I stopped. One word out of what he said caught my attention. “Transformation? What are you talking about?”

            “I’m talking about you!” he said with a finger jabbed in my direction.

            “What about me?” I questioned.

            “You’re a werewolf,” he stated.

            “A…what?”

            “A…A…werewolf,” Otis muttered softly, as if he were afraid that his other family members may hear him, even though I knew good and well they had heard everything this nut job said.

            I let out a hysterical laugh, and they all looked at me like I was the one who was crazy.

            “Whatever you say,” I said. I began to continue my walk to find the front door. A werewolf. I mean, a werewolf? Come on, they can do better than that, I said psychologically.

The entire conversation that had just occurred was entirely preposterous.

            Yet, they followed me as I walked.

            “Evan, please! Listen to what your grandfather has to say,” Susan pleaded to me.

            “No, I won’t! Do you have any idea how crazy you sound right now? Werewolves don’t exist. They are fictional characters that have been posted through films and books, but they are not real!” I said, trying to make as it easy as possible for these people to understand what is was they were actually saying.

            “Okay. Well if they’re so fictional, how come my glass door is broken? How come your body felt like it was being torn apart for no good reason? And why do you think we asked you to join us that night?” Otis said, still begging me to listen to his nonsense. His two sons, however, merely trailed along behind him, looking at me, and waiting to see what would happen next.

            “I am sure there is a logical explanation for your door and a clinical one for my body. And I don’t know why you wanted me to join, probably because you all are a bunch of crazy a*s people.”

            “There isn’t any other explanation for any of it, Evan, except that you’re a werewolf!”

            Ah ha, I finally found the front door. I made my way for it, opened it, and began to walk out while Otis and his other crazy buddies remained in the doorway.

            I was almost to the road, which I was planning to travel along, when Otis shouted out, “What about Summer?”

            I stopped in my tracks, turned around to face them, because once again, one word―well, name rather -- caught my attention. “What about her?”

            He looked around anxiously. “Don’t you want to know about her, what she really is, and why it’s so obvious that nobody hangs around them, especially our family?”

            Damn him! I screamed inside. I was leaving with the belief that they were crazy people and they needed therapy, but here he goes and rambles off about Summer, and now he has me where he wants me instead. What was I to do now?

            As if reading my mind, Otis said, “Look, all you have to do is sit with us, and we’ll talk while you listen. Then, afterwards, if you still don’t want to stay, then I’ll drive you home myself.”

            I knew I would get into trouble with somebody for egging on a crazy person’s ideas, but I had no choice, especially when it concerned Summer. Reluctantly and doubtfully, I went back inside and sat in the living room with everyone else.

            After seated with as much comfort as I was going to get, I said, “So tell me about Summer.”

            “First, you. Then, Summer,” Otis said.

            “Fine.” I was stubborn, that much I already knew, but I would do anything I needed to, concerning Summer.

            “Well, as I said before…you’re a werewolf. In fact, you’re not the only one; your entire family practically is, with some minor technicalities, of course,” Otis said to me as if it was just your average conversation that you would hear all over the planet at some point in your lifetime.

The other three relatives of mine just remained sculptures in their sitting positions just as before, except Susan, who excused herself to go and make everyone a cup of tea -- like that would help any.

            “So wait, you’re telling me that you, me, my mom, my grandmother, my aunts, uncles, and cousins are all beasts that transform under the full moon and hunt through the woods like a bunch of savage animals? Thanks, but no thanks. I’m just a normal average teenager that is going through changes in his life, and I’m going to learn to deal with those changes just like a normal -- let me repeat that: a normal person. Got it?” I began to get up from my seat, but I instantly remembered Summer.

Damn!

            Then Trent surprised me by speaking instead of Otis. “Actually, only the males on your father’s side of the family are werewolves. And try to refrain from the whole ‘savage animals’ thing, because that could really get a few of us fired up, if you know what I mean.”

            “So you’re a werewolf, huh? Look more like an average father and husband to me. More like a human.”

            “That’s only because you see my human half,” Trent said.

            I grunted. “You say all the males on my dad’s side of the family are werewolves? What about -- ” I had to recall her name because I hadn’t talked to her since the cookout because she was on some “world adventure” or something. “ -- Rachel. She’s a part of the family. What about her?”

            “She’s part of the family, yes, but she’s a female. Only males receive the necessary gene to morph into a wolf,” Otis told me.

            “Does she not know then?” I asked.

            “She knows. But she doesn’t really care. She’s a…free spirit, if you will,” Otis said.

            “Carry on,” I muttered. I figured the more interested I seem into their world of nonsense, the easier it would be for me just to fall back behind the curtain unnoticed.

            “Have you ever noticed strange senses of smells around here, like the mounds of cologne we sometimes wear?” Daryl asked me.

            “You mean, like when you showed up to my house our first day here, and I could smell Adidas a mile away? Yeah, so what of it?” I said.

            “Well, typically the more mature werewolves wear strong colognes because of the smell we sometimes let off after spending so much time in wolf form,” he said.

            Being quite rude and blunt, I then replied, “Oh, I just thought you were one of those people that had smell problems. No offense, of course.”

            He grunted, and his brother gave a smirk.

            Then Susan returned with a tray full of mugs filled with tea and some cookies. What is this, Little Red Riding Hood or something? I thought. These people obviously don’t grasp the fact on how nuts they sound right now.

            Still, my mouth did wish for something to wash down that horrible aftertaste that liquid had left behind. Undesirably, I snatched up a cup of tea and drank.

            “While being a werewolf, you have certain abilities, Evan. Abilities that must be exercised, mastered, and put to good use. For example, on your first run earlier, right before you smashed down my door -- ” Otis said.

            “Which I’ll pay for, by the way, if I really did do it,” I said.

            “Nonsense. Anyways, on your run earlier, you experienced some of the basic abilities that you receive while being a werewolf. The extra sense of smell, hearing, sight, and eventually, taste. And then there are other abilities, like your ultimate strength, your quickness, and your hunting skills, that are used while in the wild.”

            I decided to play along for right now. “So, what about the whole silver stuff? Will I get burned if I touch silver? Do I have to change during the full moon whenever it comes out?”

            “The silver stuff is false. You can touch all the silver you want, and you won’t get harmed. As for the full moon, we can change whenever we want: day or night. Moon or no moon. But when the full moon is out, you are granted what can be referred to as a ‘charge’, I suppose. You are at your greatest strength, and you feel practically invincible,” Otis told me.

            It had seemed that Trent and Daryl had resumed their figurine positions, and Susan sat beside her husband, sipping her tea.

            “Okay. Well, if you can transform whenever you want, show me. Transform into a wolf right now,” I demanded, still trying to prove them wrong.

            Otis looked at Daryl, and he gave a small nod. His eldest son got up from his seat and backed away into a vacant corner, and before I could even ponder over what he was doing, his actions were revealed. No longer was there a man standing on two legs in that corner. No longer was my uncle there. But in place of him, was a wolf. It wasn’t the size of a dog, either. It was a very large wolf. It was covered in reddish-looking hair, had a small tail at the rear end, pointy, animal ears on top, and it remained on all fours. And yet, it still withheld Daryl’s eyes.

            Otis looked at me for a reaction.

            I was shocked -- dumbfounded -- in disbelief. I thought I had whacked my head, or I needed some serious medicated glasses.

            “How -- What -- Impossible,” I stammered out, trying to regain my rational thoughts that just seemed to fly right out the window as soon as I witnessed the transformation of a human guy to a animal wolf.

            Suddenly, however, the wolf disappeared and Daryl was standing right back in the same spot once again on two legs again.

            “Now you see, Evan, that I am one-hundred percent serious,” Otis stated.

            “No duh,” I accidently said back, still in La-La Land. “So wait, I can do that too?”

            They all nodded.

            “But -- I still don’t understand. How is it even possible?”

            Otis then gained a look on his face that I couldn’t quite place; I guess the look that one would have right before he or she told a story. He had that look.

           

Colonial times, Year 1776

 

“Ah c’mon, William!” the leader of the group encouraged.

“Grant, can’t you find some other dare for me to do? I mean, look at this place,” William said. He was lucky it was night; otherwise, the fear in his eyes would have been completely exposed to his three friends.

“I know. Look, all you have to do is go in, walk around a bit, and come back. Simple,” Grant said, as if it couldn’t have been any easier. He had a small smirk on his face, knowing he had William exactly where he wanted him.

“Do it! Do it!” their two other friends began muttering as a small chant, hoping William would go through with his dare. After all, he had never backed down from one in his life and this was the most extreme of them all for William. It went against everything he believed in.

William looked back at his destination. It was filled with total fog, blocking any hope of actually seeing the ground. The trees were as dead as doornails, looking like they had been stripped completely naked of all their leaves, allowing them to be completely bare for the midnight sky to view.

William looked up at the sky, hoping that there was a greater power out there that could help him through what he was about to do. However, all William noticed was a black blanket covered in white specks and a huge, brightly-filled full moon looming above.

He looked back at his friends, but they were only looking at him with shiny, eager eyes.

“Fine,” he mumbled, seeing no escape from his dare.

His friends relaxed a little then because he was actually going to do it.

William opened the gate slowly, striking the silence with an elongated squeal of rusted hinges. He looked back at his friends one last time, and then he passed through the wall of fog inside the gate of the Indian burial ground.

The gate slammed shut behind him, but William didn’t care. He was just ready to get this dare over with so he can add another accomplishment to his book. He began walking forward, deeper into the fog of obscurity. At first, it was difficult to see, but then the fog began to subside, allowing the moonlight to flow in so he could distinguish his path. He didn’t know exactly where he was going; he just knew he had to move forward.

As the fog dissipated, William edged forward as best as his trembling legs could muster for him. He was scared, and he knew it. His entire life he had believed that those dark-skinned people were nothing but a waste of a soul. After all, they didn’t believe in God like he did. They didn’t go to church like he did; and they must certainly did not speak the same language as he did. They were just a bunch of wild animals that made themselves look like fools, dancing around a fire with colors spread on their faces and animal skins on their backs. He despised them and the fact that they were not white like him. All they were good for were their crops and land.

“Stupid Indians,” William muttered, even though he knew his friends were too far behind him to hear anything.

Then William realized the deafening silence that surrounded him within the fog. He looked around, seeing nothing but wispy whiteness, and shuddered.

William felt like laughing at himself for being such a chicken. “Keep your head on,” he told himself for reassurance.

He took one more step onward when, suddenly, a robust growl erupted behind him. William hit something solid and tripped forward.

The teenager looked up, expecting to see some sort of animal, but he only saw fog. He was now lying on the dirty ground and saw that he had tripped over a broken gravestone. He instantly picked up the chunk of rock and threw it into the fog out of hatred for the red-skinned people and their dumb burial grounds.

Abruptly, another furious growl resounded behind him.

William moved forward across the ground to get away from whatever it was, but when he looked back, it was nothing but fog again. Then a howl ignited from somewhere in the distance.

William’s head began jerking every possible way, trying to discover what was happening. His breathing pace quickened, his heart raced, and his body trembled. The fog around him seemed to be swirling around rapidly, forming a mini tornado with William in the vortex.

“Guys!? Grant!?” William pleaded to no one.

In return, a growl sounded from right beside his ear. William pulled away quickly. The tornado picked up speed within seconds, and William could not see anything but swirling whiteness.

“Guys cut it out! This isn’t funny!” William shouted.

Another growl sounded by him.

William began feeling his friends weren’t behind whatever this was. It was something darker and more dangerous.

Then several growls pitched in simultaneously, surrounding William. He had no where to go, he knew. He was too petrified to even think about getting on his feet and rushing through the fog; it looked like it was a solid white, brick wall that would merely push him back down if he even tried.

Then the growls stopped, but the fog did not.

“You have defied the Indian gods one too many times, William. You have tormented our people with your words of hate. You have tried to destroy us by acts of violence and harassment. It is now time to pay the price,” said an unseen voice in William’s head. He didn’t know how it even entered his brain, but he knew it wasn’t his.

“What?” William spoke aloud.

In answer, a huge wolf entered his head through the wall of fog. At first, it stood still, looking sadly at William as if he felt sorry for him and what was about to occur; but then, it let loose a ferocious growl and leaped at William, entering his body and taking over his soul.

           

“So, what you’re saying is that all because some prejudice guy walked into an Indian burial ground, the Indians got revenge by giving him the burden of being half wolf, and that some how, we’re related to him?” I said.

“Yes, if you wanted to paraphrase it like that,” Otis said.

 “But what about Luke? Is he a werewolf too?” I asked.

“Yes, he is,” Trent said, speaking for his son.

“And he knows about it?” I asked my uncle.

“Of course. He turned about a year ago, at fifteen. At the standard age,” Trent informed me.

“Fifteen? Then how come I never changed into a wolf in California?” I asked.

“Well, I’m not quite sure. Otis?” Trent said, requesting advice from his father.

“It’s possible that because you never set foot on this land, nor even met your werewolf side of the family, your blood has forgotten what it means to be a werewolf. But now that you have come back, you are able to change,” said Otis.

I was still shocked to learn that I could change into an animal, but this place needed something cool like this to happen to it anyways. However, I was still in sheer disbelief. I knew there has always been something big hidden behind the curtain, but I have never been able to pull the curtain back. Now that it was revealed to me though, I wasn’t quite sure if what I had uncovered was either a good thing or a bad thing. It’s like when you’re a child, wanting the most enticing toy you had ever laid eyes on, so you whine, beg, and even pitch a fit in order to get it; and when you finally do, you come to find out that maybe there’s some other toy on the shelf you would rather have.

“Oh.” I gave a small pause, thinking of what else I could ask these strange, and yet still my family, people before me. “So, are we like a ‘pack’?

“Yes. That’s one of the traditions that have never changed, and probably never will. See, the pack consists of four levels with the alpha having the greatest strength of the pack,” Otis explained, as if he were a teacher explaining Newton’s Laws of Motion.

“Okay. So who is the alpha -- you?”

He nodded. “But enough about all this pack stuff, all you need to know right now is what you are. The rest can be explained in the future, in due time.”

Suddenly, I pictured Otis no longer as the type of grandfather that just sat on his front porch, whistling tunes like in the movies. Abruptly, I pictured him as a wise man that was in charge of an entire pack of wolves. A new perspective was forming on the horizon for my mind.

“What about that night? That night that Luke took me out into the woods, where you guys and a bunch of other men were around that fire chanting weird stuff. What was all of that?” I inquired, recalling that dreadful memory.

“It was one of our ‘meetings’. A meeting for werewolves,” Otis told me.

“Who were the other guys? And why wasn’t Trent there?” I asked, glaring at Trent to point him out.

“The other men were other werewolves from other nearby towns and counties, whom you will meet in the future. And Trent was not attending the meeting that night because he was running an errand for me. And I am very sorry for the trouble we caused you that night, Evan. But it really would have been easier if you wouldn’t have run off like that. It would have made your recent transformation less painful upon awakening,” the old man said.

All I could say, however, was: “Oh…”

Of course! It all made perfect sense to me now. The smell of cologne. The weird stares and behavior. The --

“What about my dreams?” I asked them.

“What dreams?” Otis questioned.

“Ever since I arrived in Hale, I’ve been having dreams about a wolf with shiny brown eyes that has been attacking me,” I stated.

“I wasn’t attacking you. I was merely trying to get you to accept the existence of werewolves,” Otis clarified.

“You!? You made me have those dreams?”

“An alpha-only talent.” He winked as if it was all fun and games. I didn’t like the fact that he could manipulate my dreams in such a way, though.

A part of me was still frantic with crazy thoughts about how to escape this nightmare, and the other half was accepting this…this…information with ease.

But then, something hit me. Something that I hadn’t even realized before until just now. “What about my dad?”

Everyone stood still. It was probably because not one person had spoken about my deceased father since I had arrived -- at least, not up front like this.

“Was he a werewolf too?” I continued.

“Yes. Although, he was still pretty young in it before he…” Otis trailed off. My father’s brothers had a sort of sadness in their eyes, and my grandmother’s had it even worse.

I assumed he was referring to my father’s death, but I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t feel like opening that can of worms. I hadn’t cried since he died, and I didn’t plan on it any time soon. So I changed the subject. “Tell me about Summer. Is she a werewolf too?”  

My two uncles looked at my grandfather with worry on their faces, and the sentence: “Should you tell him or should I?” seemed to be sent mentally back and forth. My grandmother had her hand on Otis’s leg, and I noticed that she gave a small squeeze to it when I said this.

“Remember, werewolves are only males,” Otis pointed out.

“Well, what is she then?” I begged. I was pitiful. I felt like a child in a room filled with wise adults. I was extremely new to all of this information, and all I seemed to be able to do was ask for even more, eating it up like chocolate.

“Well, you see, Evan, she’s -- she is -- Well, she’s not a werewolf, let’s just leave it at that,” Otis said. I noticed he was trying to avoid the conversation, but I held up my end of the deal, now it was his turn.

“You said you would tell me!” I argued. My anger swelled up inside of me like a hot air balloon. I felt like striking something or someone at the moment. I sensed my face become hot and my hands clench together.

“Whoa! Whoa! Take it easy, Evan. It’s just us, kid. We’re family,” Trent said with calmness and insecurity, although he and everyone else in the room knew he could take me down if he wanted to, especially in wolf form since I had no idea how to use it yet.

I calmed down reluctantly.

“Yeah, that can be a drawback for us, that anger can get a little outta hand. You have to learn to keep your emotions under complete control. But it’s your first day, so it’s okay. You’ll get it,” Daryl said to me.

“But you did promise,” I said back at Otis, ignoring Daryl and his dull words entirely.

My grandmother, who remained oddly silent this entire time, nodded as if to give permission to her husband to let me in on the scoop.

“Oh alright, I suppose I did. But it’s nothing good, Evan. Trust me. Do you still want me to tell you? Because after I tell you, you two are going to have some…complications. Because after I tell you, you will be expected to abide by the pack rules,” Otis said.

I nodded for him to go on.

“Well…” Otis began. But then he paused.

I gulped, and I could almost bet that everyone in the room had heard it, as if it had shattered the creeping silence that was intoxicating me.

Otis started again: “Well, Evan, she’s not human. She is what would be called a nymph.”

Nymph? I remembered that in English when we were studying ancient Greece, gods, goddesses, and all that mumbo jumbo back in San Francisco. But of course, I was a teenager, meaning I was paying attention to the world around the school than the actual school itself, so I didn’t recall the meaning of the word.

Otis stared at me for a moment to see if I knew what a nymph was, but apparently he knew teens too well. “A nymph, Evan, is a minor female deity or spirit that inhabits the mountains, woods, waters, and seas -- at least that’s what history tells us. But actually they are not spirits like ghosts and whatnot that you kids learn from those Goosebumps books. No. Instead, they are real human beings like you, me, and all the rest of humanity.”

“Except we’re not exactly human either,” muttered Trent.

I almost gave a smirk at that, but Otis shushed his son and continued. “Anyways, they are humans like us -- regardless of how human some of us may be. They do in fact inhabit the mountains and woods, and sometimes, they may visit the waters like the oceans, just to see it, but they eventually return to the green that they love. You see, they live in nature, worship it, and protect it. They even cherish animals…except us.”

Then I asked, “But I thought nymphs live in Greece or something?”

“In history books, they do. But in reality, they live all over. In fact, they don’t really have any lineage to the gods and goddesses. After all, those stories were made up,” Otis told me.

He paused for a moment. “Evan, long ago, when some of our early ancestors settled here in Hale, they loved every bit of it because of its small size, the open fields that surrounded it, and the small community that they could help conceal themselves from so nobody could discover their secret. For a while, it was great. But soon, they came.”

“The nymphs?” I asked.

He nodded. “Immediately, they smelled the presence of us and found us out. An argument broke out between the werewolves and the nymphs. They demanded that we leave town and never come back. We refused. So, after much discussion -- and fighting -- we both agreed that we could stay in the same town, just as long as we didn’t communicate with each other. We would stay here in Hale and live, while the nymphs would enter, live in nature for a while, and move along. They tend to come and go as they please. Ever since then, both sides have been against each other.”

“But why did the nymphs want us to leave? Couldn’t we all just live in the same town?”

Instantly, a flash of anger engulfed the faces of my relatives, but it quickly evaporated.

“No, Evan. You don’t understand. They protect nature and its natural animals while we roam the lands of nature, and we are hardly natural animals. We kill other animals and roam the woods with freedom. The nymphs view us as a threat, because they feel like we destroy nature. We, on the other hand, see differently. We believe that nature is for everyone to use for their own benefit. Which is why you can never see Summer again.”

I caught that last bit, stunned. “But -- Why --

“Evan, I told you before that after I told you what you asked of me, that you would be forced to abide by our rules and you agreed. And seeing Summer again is not an option. You cannot see her.” Otis seemed understanding and sympathetic, but underneath, I knew he could turn on me in a moment’s notice. But I didn’t care. This time, it was my turn for anger to flash over my face, but mine didn’t disappear, it remained. My small little anger issue that I had had earlier seemed like a pebble compared to a boulder. I was furious because my own family -- whether I had just met them or not―were all looking at me, expecting me to understand their rules just because I can do some freaky thing with my body.

“I can and I will see her,” I lashed out verbally at them.

I leaped up from the couch, knocking over the coffee table in the center along with the tea and cookies, and began for the door. I knew they were technically my family, but that didn’t require me to like them. And right now, I didn’t.

“Evan! Evan, come back!” I heard Otis holler behind me. I even heard Trent and Daryl say the same thing, while Susan tried to piece back together her living room. I kept on walking forward because I had no remorse right now, especially after what they were asking of me.

I walked outside into the fresh air, hoping my anger would simmer down, glad to be free from all that talk about werewolves and the supernatural. I began walking down the sidewalk. My head and thoughts were in such frenzy, my life was all screwed up, and my relationship with Summer was in trouble. So much for some “little adventure” that I had always wanted since I had arrived. So much for “family secrets” that I have been dying to know. That’s exactly what it was: so much. Too much, actually -- for me, at least.





© 2010 Joshua Donahue



Author's Note

Joshua Donahue
v4.0 UPDATE: Thanks to Adina, I fixed several of my sentences an word uses. :) See, told ya I can make mistakes too!

v3.0 UPDATE: Thanks to a reader, I fixed a sentence that was crossed out, but it was suppose to be deleted altogether. I also fixed a grammatical error. Thanks, Kira! :)

v2.0 UPDATE: Sorry guys for the random quotes! For some reason, hyphens from Word show up as quotes in here. So I have to use the classic hyphens: --- . Sorry, again!

this was a hard chapter to write because if one single fact wasn't right, then it would complicate with later chapters. but if this isn't really your kind of supernatural, then i understand. just don't slander it, please. :) and any mistakes that you point out would make me happy! so please review this! stay tuned for the next chapter. tell me what ya think!

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Featured Review

Just a couple things this time:

or even my life, for that matter.
what my tongue would experience from
but still, it wasn't the same one that I had started out it. (confusing to me)
placing an arm around my shoulder. I cringed away as a reaction. (one paragraph)
to leave this wretched place. They followed me. (one paragraph)
meaning I was paying more attention to the world

It's really good so far. The plot is really thick and amazing, and I'm sure that it's going to stay just as amazing for the rest of the story.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Just a couple things this time:

or even my life, for that matter.
what my tongue would experience from
but still, it wasn't the same one that I had started out it. (confusing to me)
placing an arm around my shoulder. I cringed away as a reaction. (one paragraph)
to leave this wretched place. They followed me. (one paragraph)
meaning I was paying more attention to the world

It's really good so far. The plot is really thick and amazing, and I'm sure that it's going to stay just as amazing for the rest of the story.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Is it intentional that Evan keeps vacillating between calling his relatives 'family' and then alternately 'strangers'? I couldn't really tell. If it's written that way to create an atmosphere of confusion on Evan's part, then I guess it may work. There was a sentence that you may want to change, "I would do anything that concerned Summer." Maybe it should be, "I would do anything I needed to concerning Summer." I just think it would read better. During the sequence from colonial times, I'm guessing the character probably wouldn't have used a phrase like "Get a grip," back in those times. And also the sentence..."a growl appeared behind him," sounds odd. I would change it to something like, "a growl resounded behind him." Now I'm done with the critiquing! This continues to be a favorite read of mine, and I am ecstatic that it isn't a vampire story! Once again, great writing!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow, this is really great! I love your writing style and the rich descriptions. The details are incredible and very vivid. You have a really strong vocabulary in your writing. I didn't catch any mistakes. I plan on subscribing! :)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh, and udder disbelief should be utter. :)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

When it says "Colonial Times, 1776" I think time is redundant. Maybe "Colonial America"?

Why's that sentence about Spiderman senses crossed out but not deleted?

When you say he picked up a cup of tea, you should use a word like 'reluctantly' instead of 'undesireably'.

When Will's moving into the graveyard, you say he's going into the "fog of obscurity". Your style of writing is, as I'm sure I've said before, pretty wordy, and that's one of the things you should think of saying differently.

Wow, I'm such a nitpicker. But I know if I were me, I would appreciate the smallest corrections. Oooh, Nymph, that was unexpected. Keep going, alright? This is getting good!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The story seems good but you might want to read through it again, there were a lot of random quotations marks and missing spaces where there were quotes.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Joshua Donahue
Joshua Donahue

Jefferson, SC



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UPDATE! 06.27.13 Hello, WritersCafe! I realize that I have abandoned my account since the summer of 2013. Since then I have started college, and I have experienced... a lot. However, this does no.. more..

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