At dusk, the last bit of the blizzard's rage glinted the fiery light of the setting Sun and fluttered to the forest floor, blanketed with a foot of snow. The crisp wind shrieked one last time and slowly fizzled into a whisper. Silence followed. The great forest breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, the storm was finished. Yet, every single branch and pine needle was glazed with pure white snow.
It was only the silence did I dare crawl out from the icy chamber of my cave. I pawed through the bleached fluff and emerged into a world, different from the fresh greenery forest, I remembered. The snowfall was so deep it nearly touches my belly. I shake the snow from my silver fur and look to the sky. In between the pines, I glimpsed the star filled void.
I felt a familiar tug on my soul, suddenly the moon's pull over took me. My muscles tighten, demanding that I never shift, but my soul longs for another form. I look to the ground, with my fangs clenched tightly together. I don't want to change. The Wolf embedded in my heart never will.
Yet, I feel the full moon drawling me out of the forest, beaconing for me to bask in it rays. No, I silently cried, I must remain the Wolf. My forelegs plow through the snow towards to clearing, a minds of their own. I saw the moonlight showering the exposed frosted field in stardust through the snow drizzled thickets. My body squirmed, desperately trying to refuse the moon. My charcoal tipped tail draws inward between my legs. I don't want to be human.
I step out into the light and a great aching pain weaved it's way to my very bone. I lock my amber gaze onto the snowflakes, willing every muscle to retain it's form, but the pain—the enteral feverishly pain filling my very soul—is far to great. An unholy force grips my snout and forces it to the beady white eye gazing down upon me.
Other wolves begin to eagerly howl to the moon for there human form in the distance. There deep melodies surround me, reminding me of the change and all that came before the first. I remember my father's face the night he found me, naked and shivering. The terror in his eyes, that looked similar to mine own. I know my father won't be there this time, but a howl escaped my muzzle.
I howl until the melodic sound became muffled cry of a human girl. My entire body twisted and elongated. My jaw snapped out of its socket and is pulled back into my skull. My sliver fur contracted under pail vein-traced skin. With a splintering pain, my entire backbone re-alined. I would have screamed if my throat wasn't coiled into another form.
The change only ends once the last howl dies down. I blink a few times while my vision changes. The shadows on the edges of the field become too dark for me to see through and all the familiar scents of the trees faded. I was standing there, knee-deep in snow, naked and violently shaking. The change is over. For now.
I watch the humans from window of my father's wood cabin. Some of huddle around the fire laughing, joking and even dancing. Children so heavily bundled inside their coats waddle through the snow banks. They all remind me of the pack. Destructive, playful and beautiful like the wolves.
A sigh escapes my lips. But just like the pack, I don't belong with them. The humans are content with their skin and unable to skin shift, even if they wanted to. I, however, will never be as happy nor as stable in their form. Once the full moon calls me again I will leave the campgrounds as quickly as I came.
My former pack members are similar to the humans in someway. They all want to be human and are the first to howl once the full moon rises, but I am not.
I shake my head and pull the warm buck skin closer to my body. I burry my smooth flat face into my hands and stifle a sob. The wolf in me has chased away everyone. My parents, my friends, and even my own pack. Benkei's growl rings in my hears for awful moment along with his message: Olivia, if you really were one of us, you would have joined us in the moonlight.
I clutch the tuff of the blanket and scream into it, until the memory fades. I try to let smells of the buck remind me of the hunt and the time when I was free, but I catch the sweaty-smoky smell of my father.
I raise my head with tear streaked cheeks and toss the buck skin on the wooden floor. It hurts to remember any good part of him because I know my father hates me, now. He hates the Wolf.
As my sobs shorten down, I find myself looking around the cabin. The front door was left unlocked when I found this place, after wondering through the forest. Wether it was left open on accident or by some miracle, on purpose, I know not. Many things are familiar, but covered in layers of dust. The walls are inked with rings of aging trees. There are small embers the cobblestone chimney's fireplace that casts shadows everywhere. High above the mantle is the familiar shoulder mount of a buck, staring forward with expressionless black eyes. It's massive rack glints the light of the fire.
My father, Harrison McSmith was an expert hunter, with hopes of passing his abilities to me. He had no idea what one simple hunt would result in. I glance at my boney hands. He didn't know anything about me. He didn't know about the wolves.
I search the cabin's shadows, again in hopes of finding the inevitable; my father. Then, I see the eyes. My body tenses and a low growl emanates from my throat, instinctively, but once the cerulean eyes move in unison my own, I realize it's me. My reflection in the gold rimmed mirror hanging on the wall.
The girl who stares back at me looks different from the ten-year-old child whom shared my reflection years ago. She grew up. The baby roundness of her ghostly pail chin is gone. I notice she bares many new scars and scratches on her cheeks and chestnut hair is short, hardly making it past her chin and filled with silver streaks. There is even a bend in her nose that hints the presence of the Wolf.
It has been four years, I think, since I last set foot here. Four years since I was a human being. Shivers drift down my spine. Benkei warned me once that werewolves that cling to their animal forms can lose themselves to the beast. Yet, sometimes a small part of me wishes I could be a wolf forever, no longer bound by the burdens of the world of man.
Abruptly, something hits the window so hard, it makes a sound that sends vibrations through the cabin. A huge wad of snow is slowly slithering down the window. I frown at the projectile until I finally register what it is. Snowball.
A human part of me wants to run out in nightgown in the snow and fling snow at whoever decided send the ball spiraling at my window, but my instincts tell me it's a threat.
"Come on out old man! We all know your in there." A muffled voice taunts from the outside. An other snowball is hurtled at the window and this time the glass shatters into million sparkling shards. I roll across the floor and cover the back of my neck with my hands as the knifes descend. The fragments pierce the very fabric of my gown and then deeper into my skin. I waste no time crying out to alert my enemies of my presence.
I jump to my feet, ignoring the pain the glass beneath my bare heels. I know message of the wounds to my brain will fade, once the adrenaline courses into my veins. I dart to the door, where Harrison's gun rested along it copper hinges.
I have always known that humans play dirty. I doubt the snowball, alone shattered the window. The snow must have concealed metal or another deadly projectile. My fingers instantly cling around the obsidian handle direct to my shoulder. Anger toward the people who destroyed my father's house empowers me to bust the door open.
The crisp air greets me with a stinging kiss. The sky has already shifted from a deep starry black to a warm pink. The full moon has already set. My glaze quickly flies to the snow banks, tattered by the boots of man. The happy campers are all sound asleep in their cabins, now. Three figures—presumably male teenagers in black hoodies—stand out easily to my keen eyesight.
With a gun raised high, I snarl in voice still twisted from the shift,"Get off this property or else I'll shoot you!"
"What the heck?!" One of teens said.
"Holy cow! Is that a chick?" The group suddenly burst into laughing that feeds fuel to my rage. I pull the scoop lens to my eye and get one of the snow in front of their feet the crosshairs. It has been a long time since I had my hands on a gun, but this is natural technique to me. Simultaneously, my index finger pulls the trigger.
Bang! The youths jump in fright, the most fowl of words spew from their mouths, while his partners cussed directly at me.
"Yay?!" I shout. "I got news for ya! That was a warning shot! Next bullets are heading for your skulls!" That gets the bums running for their worthless lives. I even fire again at the snow just make them speed up. Even the goon with the limp runs at that point. Their shadows dash across the snow and leap toward a ebony convertible that I see through the trees.
For a moment, I feel triumph, but then I hear the cry of an infant. It is so faint I think my mind is playing tricks on me, but the fact that it comes in direction of the criminal's car terrifies me. Once lights of a police car flashes off the snow, everything snaps into perspective. There kidnapers and they're getting away.
I run out into the freezing weather as I hear the car doors slam shut. My bleeding bare-feet go numb quickly as they tread across the rocky snow. The car engine starts up and here the wail as clear as day. A child is in there, surrounded by it's enemies, much like the night I was bitten. No living being deserves such an awful fate.
I jump over logs and drive under branches. Twigs snag and tear at every part of me. The campers are shouting somewhere in the distance, but I can only focus on is the shiny surface of the vehicle backing out into the dirt road. I hoist my gun to my shoulder while I run and aim one of the wheels with extreme caution for it passenger. Then, I fire.
The car comes to a halt and seconds later the door on drivers' side pops open. While the door is open, the child cries out to anyone for help. Only ten feet separate me from the driver that emerges. I see the silver rings on his brown and a scar on his lip, but rest of his features are obscured from view.
" You come here for a show on the mattress, chick?" He asked as he produced his hand gun.
"What's a kid doing in your car?" A smile curls menacing on his lips.
"Her folks didn't pay the boys back." He pauses and looks into my eyes,"Why do you care, Wolf?" His eyes are green and crazed like a wild animal's when he asked me the question. I realize instantly he is no human because of that savage look. He must have seen it in my own eyes. The siren of a police car wails, making us both jerk are heads in the direction of the approaching vehicle.
"It's over," I smile for moment, "Wolf."
It all passed by in blur and the ringing in my ears ceased to end. It seemed to surreal to actually be happening and my body is nearly in shock with the pain adrenaline tried to hide. The police filed out of there cars as the sun's morning rays filter into the forest, making the snow sparkle. They ordered us all to drop our weapons and raise our hands above. I could barely move, but somehow I willed myself to give in.
We were all arrested. I couldn't speak. I had been drained of all the rage that gave me the power to do it. I noticed one man and women with blood-shot eyes full of fear running through the snow together toward the scene and an officer coming out of the bums' car, with a baby girl that had nearly turned pink in the cold. The sight made my chest flutter with warmth and relief.
"Young lady, it's dangerous to be so underdressed in this weather." A gruff voice of a man said. The warmth of a coat enveloped me and a hand gently pushed toward the flashing light of the officers' car. My knees give way beneath me and I am forced to rely on that hand for support.
"Wait! Officer, she's not apart of the Snake Gang!" Another voice calls from somewhere. My head started to spin.
"Ma'am, are you are alright?" My head bobbed back. The ringing in my ears grew louder. I'm freezing. I'm freezing. Though in a daze and finally, I blacked out.
I dreamed I was running through the woods with Benkei and the rest of the pack, on a late summer night. We ran as one under the starring night, but they I started to fall behind. I tried to run faster, though it seemed like the harder I tried to keep their pace, the slower I became.
"Benkei, wait for me!" I cried. The rest of the pack kept running, but Benkei stopped. His charcoal fur, filled with orange streaks, was highlighted by the moon. His placid golden eyes met mine for a moment. He through his massive head back letting out a long laugh that shone off his fangs.
"Oh, Olivia, why would I wait for a wolf that's about to die?"
With the wolf shifted into my father, armed with a rifle. His brow wrinkled furrowed, deeply and even with his grizzly beard hiding his frown, the hatred was clear in his graying blue eyes. Without hesitation he pointed the pistol at my snout.
"You're no daughter of mine, demon!" He yelled.
I tried to tell it was me, but whenever I open my mouth, only the whine of the Wolf could escape it. Nooo! Dad it's me!
I watched his finger move to the trigger and pull it back.
"Dad?!" I shrieked as my eyes flew open. My cheeks were streaked with hot tears. I nearly jumped out of bed, but a hand above the covers kept my chest down.
"Hey, take it easy." Said a boy hovering over me like a nurse. The guy gave me a pearly white grin, with two small dimples. His chocolate brown eyes were bright, although they had large bags hanging under them. He had olive oil skin and long dusty cinnamon hair that just grazed his eyelids. He looked amount fourteen, which was probably my age as well, but I had stopped keeping track a long time ago.
"Who are you?!" I demanded, instantly. The dude frowned at me for a moment.
"I think I liked you better when you had hypothermia."
"Oh, gosh," I slapped my hand on head,"I'm in a hospital." The pristine white walls all made sense now.
"My house actually." I sat up and took in my surroundings, instantly. I was in a small round in a bed. A real bed with actual covers. Judging my the clear blue sky I could see from my window it was midday. I longed to break out the cage of this house and absorb the wilderness beyond.
"You've been unconscious for three days and you talked about...things in your sleep."
I gave the boy a fierce glare and snarled,"I not going to explain anything I said." The guy raised his hands in surrender.
"Hey. Relax, I'm not going to charge with questions. Although," he gave me a nervous glance, "I do have them, but you saved my little sister."
"I.." I stared to choke on my words,"don't deserve credit for that." The human's eyes nearly popped out of his head.
"Are kidding?! You rescued a baby and got the leader of the Snake Gang arrested! You're like Supergirl!" I could feel roses blossoming on my cheeks. I knew this was wrong. If this boy knew what I was he'd be willing to shoot me, just like my father had.
"Oh! Yay, I forgot. My name's Caleb and...well, the authorities couldn't figure out who your parents are so my parents though we could let you stay here until everything is figured out."
"Nothing needs to be figured out," I said, flatly, "I'm going home." I slid off the mattress.
"But my name's Olivia...by the way." I wasn't sure if the comment was normal to humans. Caleb grinned at me again and said, "Okay, Olivia." The way he says my name makes my heart skip a beat.
I can't love Caleb. He won't love me because of the Wolf, but I might anyway. I'm domed.