Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by thegirlthatwrites

“I simply don’t understand how you can be so intent on hating music you’ve never heard before!”


“I just don’t think I’ll like it.”


“Too bad.”


            Without further ado, I stuck my tongue out at my brother and plugged my iPod in, knowing that he was far too intent on driving to try to stop me. He was the king of hands on 10 and 2, and if it’s possible to use a directional too much, he also wins the trophy for that. He could protest all he wanted (and he certainly was), but I was the one who had all the control, and we were listening to my music this time. Conor and I saw eye to eye on many things, was not one of them. It was about the only thing we argued on, and the car was usually the battleground.


“Look, I see it in this way,” I began my argument. “All summer, we’ve both been super stressed over everything. You’ve been worried about getting a job, I’ve been laboring over my college applications. Now you get let off the hook because you found a job-”


“It’s a temporary subbing position, Maeve,” Conor interjected. “And I had an in. I went to the school.”


I waved my hand dismissively. “It’s a job in your field. Now shush, I didn’t say you were allowed to offer your rebuttal yet.”


“Oh, and have plans now changed from becoming a doctor to becoming a lawyer?”


I shrugged. “Maybe.” I grinned as I turned the volume of the song up a little bit more. “Maybe I can become a DJ.”


“Do they have disc jockey college?”


I looked at him, shaking my head. “Conor, no one says disc jockey.”


Some grumbling noises escaped Conor’s mouth before he finally conceded. “I guess we’ll listen to your music… We’ll be at the campground soon, anyway.”


Satisfied with that, I settled back into my seat, watching as the trees rushed by the window outside. The sun was still setting, and flashes of orange and pink jumped out through the spaces between the branches. By the time we reached our favorite campground, it would already be dark, not that it’d be a problem. Conor and I had been going camping with our parents for years. We were both scouts, too, and earning fire starting badges was possibly the easiest thing we ever did. I glanced over the corner of the seat, eyeing the bag full of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Within a few hours, every last bit was sure to be gone.


It was the first time all summer we’d had the chance to go on what was usually a weekly trip, and we couldn’t even stay overnight. When Conor got offered the substituting position at my high school, though, we knew that something had to be done to celebrate. Admittedly, yes, a part of me was jealous that his struggles were at least temporarily put at bay while I continued to drown in college applications. Still, a greater part of me was excited to know he was getting the chance to get away from the job he’d had at Caroling’s movie theater since he was sixteen.


“Will it be weird teaching at your old school?” I asked him as I rolled down the window a little more and held my hand out to feel the wind rush by.


“No, I don’t think so,” he replied, but I could tell it was practically on cue. He was probably still in interview mode. “Okay, yes, it will be kind of weird. You’ll be there. You’ll probably be in my class. All my friend’s little siblings will be there. And Caroling’s small. Everyone and their mother is going to know within a week if I’m a horrible teacher or not.”


“You’re going to be great. And, I mean, yeah, it’s only a subbing position, but it’s for a few months, right? You’ll get great recommendations from it. And you never know when someone in the history department is going to retire.”


Conor’s grip on the steering wheel visibly tightened. “Still feels like I’m just playing adult.”


            I nodded in understanding, though I guess I only partially knew how he felt. I was four years away from where he was now, eight if med school was brought into account. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like a toddler trying on their parents’ shoes when trying to navigate my way through college applications and make myself seem like the most unique, wonderful choice among thousands and thousands of other applications. Then after college applications were complete, there were scholarship applications to be filled out. As many as could be done and as quickly as possible. I couldn’t help but feel like my summer had turned into one giant application for the rest of my life.


            As the last bits of orange vanished from the sky, Conor’s rusty pick-up came to a jerky stop in the campground’s small dirt parking lot. Armed with bags of food, fire-starting supplies, and flashlights, we headed down the path toward the grounds where a wide oak tree was visibly carved up from recording how much we’d grown every summer. The firepit required little clearing out, as though it’d been waiting for us to return to it after all this time away. Pushing around some of the rocks that surrounded the pit, we moved two of the biggest ones close-by on opposite sides of the pit. The ingredients were set out on a flat rock, and soon I was struggling to keep a burnt marshmallow and melting chocolate from getting all over my hands and clothes.


“You’re disgusting, you know that?” Conor asked me as I pulled away a marshmallow from the flames that was still on fire and threatening to fall off the stick. “That is burnt to a crisp. Who puts that in their body?”


I quickly blew out the flames in one huff. “Me, bro.”


“Hey, wanna hear a joke?”


“Sure.” The poor guy can’t make a joke for his life, but it was my duty as his sister to allow himself to make as much of a fool of himself as possible.


“Why don’t they play poker in the jungle?”


I quickly bent my head to the side to bite into the s’more before the burnt marshmallow completely fell out of one side. “I dun’no. Why?”


“Too many cheetahs.”


            By the time Conor had exhausted his repertoire of horrible, overused jokes (most of which I’d already heard from him before), we’d made quite a dent in the s’more ingredients. Still, we’d made a pact long ago that no s’more went unmade and uneaten, and the Devlins are people who keep their promises. I was just about to bite into a s’more that was certain to cause my stomach to explode when there was a cracking noise from somewhere in the forest. Conor and I exchanged a quick glance before turning to look in the direction of the sound.


“Probably just a raccoon or something,” Conor reasoned. “We’ve never seen anything else around here.”


I nodded, but I couldn’t help but check my phone to see just how late it was. “No one would be away from a campground this late.” Aside from crazy axe murderers. But this was Caroling. We didn’t have those here…did we? “A branch might’ve just fallen.”


“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around-”


“Conor, please.”


He shrugged meekly, turning his head down to bite into his s’more. “Sorry,” he muttered with his mouth full.


“Maybe we should check, just to make sure?”


            Before Conor could offer his opinion, I had already tossed my s’more into the fire and switched on my flashlight. I tried to step carefully as I circled around, shining my flashlight into the dense trees. There was only one path that led away from our campground, and when I looked, there was no one and nothing there. After another cracking sound, very obviously the sound of a branch breaking, I spun to direct my flashlight on the source of the noise. It was still too dark to get much of a look.


“It’s just a small creature or a rotting tree,” Conor tried to explain. He’d never been good at hiding his nervousness, and it was evident then in the shakiness of his voice. “We can leave, if you want.”


“Shhh,” I hissed at him, pressing a finger to my lips as I strained to try to hear more.


            There was another crack that was so loud it made me jump. I snapped my head around in the direction of the noise, but this time there was no silence that followed. Instead, there was a low rumbling sound that it took me a moment to identify as a growl. I peered forward, holding my flashlight out more to try to see even just an outline of something, but nothing could be seen. I could already hear Conor starting to pack things up behind me.


“Maeve, get away from there,” he warned me. “C’mon, let’s go. Maeve!”


            I was so transfixed in trying to find the source of the noise it took a moment to command my body enough to fully tear my attention away. It took a moment before I was suddenly filled with delayed fear, realizing just how dangerous it could have been for me to go poking into the woods after strange noises. Swallowing despite now feeling as though my mouth was filled with cotton, I rushed forward to help Conor pack up our things and try to put the already dying fire out as quickly as possible.


“Conor, can you pass me that-”


            My famous last words as a human.

© 2016 thegirlthatwrites

Author's Note

Please let me know what you think! It's a story I've been slowly working on and would love to get feedback on. :)

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Added on March 16, 2016
Last Updated on March 16, 2016
Tags: family, siblings, teen, forest, camping, supernatural, fantasy, music, werewolf, animal




I just really like to write, and there's not much else to it. more..