The last thing I wanted to do in the most boring event in the history of werewolves was to meet the very people who forced me to run into the woods in tears and almost got killed in the end. If my brother wanted to blame someone for our migration, he should look at himself and his pack full of jerks first.
I tried to tell my dad that it was okay to celebrate Full Moon on our own, but he seemed to make up his mind. It was all thanks to Selene who just had to reminisce all the good things we had in Grassmere.
I was lifting some stuffs in Ashborne High School gymnasium when I accidentally knocked down a stack of boxes that my friend Olive Hartwell arranged five minutes ago. An uncontrollable strength was unleashed alongside my anger that one of the boxes was dented.
Gasping, I quickly kneeled down to fix it. The box contained sets of gold-colored draperies that would be use to decorate the gymnasium. In exactly four days from now, there would be a homecoming party with the ‘night under the stars’ theme. Both Olive and I were appointed to be part of the homecoming committees.
It was so exciting at first, but when Dad told me he wanted to make a big Full Moon celebration as well, I was already through.
“THEA—OH, MY GOD—WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
Olive’s loud shrieked reverberated through the high ceiling of the gymnasium. I moved my body to cover the dent on the box, but Olive was actually looking at something else.
“I told you—no red decorations!” She pointed at the round, red paper lanterns I hung just before I was reminded on how I had to be a ‘committee’ in the Full Moon as well.
“That’s what in the box,” I replied while quietly stacking the boxes before she realized that they fell down.
“Well, that’s wrong! Which box?” She turned around right after I put the last box on top of the stack.
“Uhh,” I pointed at any random box, “That one, I guess.”
“RONNY!” She wailed again. This time, a boy who was drinking a glass of water beside the bleachers, spurted out the water out of surprise. “YOU BOUGHT THE WRONG LANTERNS!”
I just laughed and shook my head in silence. We were all here in the same positions, trying to take care of any homecoming stuffs, but Olive somehow put herself in charge. Nobody even tried to go against her, so they just nodded and did what she said.
“I’ve reminded him a million times to buy yellow or white paper lanterns—look how he ruined it!” Olive came back to my spot after scolding Ronny. She sighed heavily. “Good Lords, I don’t think we can finish this on time.”
“Hey, it’s three days away. Still plenty of time,” I said, trying to calm her down. “We work as a team here. Look around you. The decoration is half finished already.”
Olive looked around for a while and then grumbled, “It’s barely 30% finished.”
“You need to relax, Olive. I know it’s our first homecoming and you want it to be perfect, but you don’t have to beat yourself over it.” I place both hands on Olive’s shoulder and gave her a little massage.
Calming down, Olive nodded. “Thank you, Tee. I guess it’s because I don’t have anyone to go with, I just let myself to focus behind-the-scene.”
“Really? How about Jim from PE?”
“Jimmy Roth? Are you kidding?” Olive turned around and stared at me with one of her disgusted look. “I shouldn’t have told you that I had a crush on him in fifth grade. He was cute then—he is not now.”
I laughed. “So, you’d rather stressing about the homecoming decoration instead of going with Jim?”
“Of course!” She seemed to have more words to express, but Ronny came between us. Frowning, she chided, “What again, Ronny?”
“I just called the shop. We can exchange the lanterns but they currently can’t do a delivery,” told the boy in glasses.
“I don’t have a car to fetch it.”
Olive reached into her pocket and took out her car key. “Take my car.”
“I can’t drive.”
“Take somebody else to drive you.”
My eyes darted around the gymnasium. The other students had something to work on, even I did. The only one who didn’t really do anything was… Olive.
I quickly patted Olive’s back before she exploded. “Teamwork,” I whispered.
She tried to breath her fury out. “Please clean these boxes up, move them to the backstage,” she told me. “Don’t think I didn’t see you messed them up earlier.”
Leaving my awkward smile hanging on my face, Olive walked away by stomping her feet on the vinyl floor. Ronny had to practically run to go by her side.
I started picking up the boxes one by one. To speed up the process, I stacked a box on top of another and lifted them altogether.
Being a werewolf, I had too much strength in this tiny body. Since I was ten, my Dad trained me to repress my powers that included super strength, healing, and enhanced senses. I had a hard time controlling it at first, but now it was easier than controlling my emotion towards Nathan.
I finally was on my last box, which apparently, was the biggest and heaviest of them all. I took a peek of what was inside. It was a set of sound system that Ronny was supposed to set a day before the event—and it shouldn’t go with the decoration boxes. Afraid that Olive might burst into another rage, I decided to save Ronny this one time by putting the box where it belonged.
Unfortunately, my human strength couldn’t even move the box by an inch. I could try pushing it with my might, but I still had to pass through a small flight of stairs to reach the backstage area.
Looking around, I planned to borrow some of my wolf’s strength. I closed my eyes, concentrated to call it out, and felt much more refreshed once I opened my eyes. Reflected on the transparent flower vase on the table, I could see that my eyes were flashing yellow once.
I bent my body to lift the box easily, as if I was carrying a box of cottons. My face was covered by the huge box, but I knew exactly where I was going. One step, two step, three steps of stairs I passed through.
“…yeah, I was looking for the sound system as well.”
When I was about to enter the backstage, the approaching voice took me aback. I lost my balance at once. I couldn’t help but to let the box fell on me rather than having Olive turning into a Hulk for finding a broken sound system set.
“Holy sh—” Someone who appeared in front of me was surprised as well. If I kept walking, we would have bumped into each other and the box would still have fallen. “Are you okay there?”
Setting the box aside, I tried to stand up. The two boys helped me even though I didn’t ask for it.
“T-thank you,” I muttered.
“Be careful,” said the boy in a Nirvana shirt—which I knew as Jim Roth, the one Olive used to have a crush on.
“You shouldn’t have carried this yourself,” the other boy with dark brown hair widened his eyes at the box. “Hey, Jim, isn’t that the sound system?”
Jim checked the box. “Yes, it is! We found it, Carson!”
Carson tried to pick it up, but was astounded with the weight. He then switched his attention at me. “Weren’t you just carrying this box?”
I shook my head in twice a normal speed. “I was… pushing it.”
“Come on, let’s just bring it to the studio,” Jim said in a rush.
“Wait—” I stopped the boys from lifting it. “The studio? This sound system was rented by the homecoming committee.”
Jim chuckled awkwardly. “Well… the band needs a sound to play, so—”
“Ssshh!” Carson shushed, putting his finger on his lips—and at that very time, a surge of memories came to my mind like a flood.
The night where I transformed for the first time, the arrow that scratched my leg, and the boy who came to take care of my wound…
I was in a trance. I stared at Carson blankly, and when those pairs of green eyes caught mine, my brain could finally put two and two together.
“We just wanted to borrow it. We have to practice for our performance in homecoming night,” Carson’s voice echoed in my mind. I had heard this voice before—but it was softer, higher, and… nostalgic. “I’ll tell Mrs. Keener myself. You’ll have your sound system back, I swear.”
Seeing the girl in front of them not blinking and not responding, the boys exchanged looks.
“You should come with us,” Carson took my hand, “This way, you’ll know that we’re not lying.”
The touch of Carson’s hand sparked a bit of electricity inside me. I immediately repulsed, creating a more confused look in their face.
“Uh, so-sorry,” I stuttered. “You know what, do whatever you want. Just, please, make sure to return it tomorrow or Olive will kill me.”
“Olive Hartwell?” Jim’s terrified face was so funny, but I couldn’t even show a smile. “Yeah, we don’t want to mess with her, dude.”
“What’s your name?” asked Carson all of a sudden.
“T-Thea Whitlock,” I replied with a trembling voice.
“Thea Whitlock, I’ll make sure I’ll tell you when I return it. Okay?” After I slapped away his hand earlier, Carson tried to give another hand to shake.
I reluctantly shook it, only for me to have another memory of the little boy wrapping his handkerchief around my wounded leg.
“Thank you so much, Thea,” Carson smiled before leaving with the box—and that just confirmed it.
Carson was the boy who saved me six years ago in the woods.
After waking up with a new bandage the day after I had my first transformation, I remembered asking my mom where the handkerchief that was used to cover my wound were. She admitted that she had thrown it out, but I managed to rummage through the trash bin to take it back.The white handkerchief turned red because of my blood. I had to wash it numerous times to get its original color back, but the best I could do was to leave a faded red stain on it. At first look, nobody would notice that it used to be blood because it looked like some kind of splattered paint.Going back home, I found Selene hanging out with Nathan in front of the TV. I walked past them and went straight to my room. I crouched by my bed and took out a turquoise box containing some memory stuffs. The handkerchief was rested well inside the box and it bloomed a smile on my face.After six years, I couldn’t believe I would meet the boy again, who already grew into a gorgeous, tall boy with t
I was staring at the handkerchief for the millionth time when I heard footsteps approaching. Two knocks on my door were enough to send me into a tidying up frenzy. It wasn’t safe to bring the handkerchief around, so I put it back to the box along with other stuffs and slid it under my bed. My door was opened as soon as I jumped on to the bed, posing as natural as I could.“Hey, Mom,” I grinned widely as my mom opened the door. She couldn’t just find out that I had been keeping the dirty handkerchief she had thrown out before. She would ask questions and that would end up with me having to tell her about Carson.“Someone’s here to see you,” she said.Another figure appeared behind her. A boy with a neck length, black hair smiled radiantly as our eyes met.“Elliott?” I gasped. I got on my feet and just received the hug from his muscular body, still with a bewildered expression. “Elliott Calloway?&r
When I was into my deep thought, I heard Elliott shout.“Oh, look!” He almost jumped excitedly. He looked over my shoulder and then walked past me. “It’s a spring!”I caught up with his steps. From the distance, I could see a small waterfall above a pool of spring, glistening under the moonlight. The sound of the water was serene and soothing. The stones were reflecting the luminescence of the moon. It reminded me of this one spring in the middle of the woods in Grassmere, but this spring was wider and deeper. The waterfall just made it more exquisite.I had gone around these woods before, but I never realized that there was a beautiful spring here.“Do you remember when we were kids, there was this tale about Moon Goddess descended to the Earth on the night of the brightest Full Moon?” Elliott asked, almost with a whisper because he didn’t want to ruin the nature’s sound.Mom used to read it to
Dad wasn’t amused hearing my story about how some people were hunting deer at night in the woods that wasn’t even a hunting ground. Elliott, who joined the dinner, backed up my story. “The place was perfect for gathering, but we don’t think it’s safe,” he said. I really thought he would hold on to his ‘hunters-don’t-exist’ view in front of Nathan, but fortunately, he went with what I suggested. “It’s forbidden to hunt outside the hunting ground,” Dad said. “I should report this to the Sheriff.” “And tell him what?” Nathan chimed in, with his mouth still full of mashed potato. “That two teenagers—one happened to be your daughter—snuck into the woods at night and witnessed the shooting?” Here we go again. Nathan gaslighting someone on the dinner table wasn’t really a new thing. “Yes, that’s exactly what he should say,” I insisted, ignoring how the wording could put Dad into shame for having a teenage daughter going into the dark woods wi
The decoration for the homecoming night was already 80% finished, making it a forbidden room for any students other than the committees. It was decorated with black, gold, and silver color. Sparkling star decorations were hung on each corner, the paper lanterns were arranged as an arch in the entrance, and gold draperies was put as a background for the photo booth. The high ceiling was covered with black cloth, which would be luminated by light projector, making it look like a sky full of stars. Olive was raving about it this morning, but she couldn’t help after school because she had to take her mother to the clinic. So, she listed all the stuffs that needed to be done today and sent it to me. A little advice for those who bore missions from Olive Hartwell: do it right or have her knock on your door at night just because you put the wrong size of cups on the table. At the same time, Mom also sent me the list of groceries I had to purchase for the Full Moon.
The stories about hunters had been circling around werewolf tribes for long, as the history of supernatural beings was shaped partly because of them. There were two kinds of hunters—the ordinary one, humans who just liked to hunt wild animals; and the ones who hunted the supernaturals. The latter was what we always feared of, although many werewolves just fended it off because there had not been many cases about our kinds dying because of them. Nathan was definitely one of the skeptical ones. He thought being hit with a silver arrow was just a coincidence, or just Little Thea craving for attention. He couldn’t prove me wrong back then, but he still stayed with his principle: hunters were real, but they were not a threat to us as long as we stayed hidden. Mom’s explanations just struck me like a lightning bolt. If Nathan was right, both kind of hunters didn’t just threaten wild animals out there, but also humans. I heard from my parents once that hunters would
Nathan looked around the empty garage which was turned into a small music studio. From the radiance in his eyes, he actually admired the view. I wasn’t wrong about him being a guitar player, but he did it just for fun because he didn’t seem to care much about music that time. “You had friends over?” He glanced at me. “These are their stuffs?” “Yes,” I answered lazily. I truly didn’t want to deal with Nathan tonight after Dad gave me a cold shoulder about the garage being used by my human friends. Besides, Nathan didn’t even discuss about what he found last night over dinner. If he really did want to change like Mom said, he would let me know that a human was hurt and I witnessed it. “Are they performing for the homecoming tomorrow?” He asked again as his hand snatched an apple on the table. “No,” I replied, still focusing on my homework. “Too bad. I would like to see them perform,” he said and then bit the apple. “Mom, is my suit for the homec
The cancelled Full Moon celebration obviously made Elliott curious. Dad had talked to the Elders about the cancellation with a client’s death as a reason. While it was true, he didn’t say anything about hunters and such. Elliott called me when I was busy at school. I had to go out of the gymnasium to take his call and it only just full of him trying to dig deeper into the ‘reason’ that apparently didn’t satisfy him. He wasn’t this nosy when he was a kid, but it really wasn’t a surprise for me. “Is it because those hunters?” He asked after I refused to give him a clear answer. “Come on. I don’t think Elder Whitlock is that paranoid. He’s one of the strongest wolves I’ve ever met.” “He’s not an Elder anymore and he’s not paranoid,” I sighed. “He just feels like it’s not the right time to celebrate when he’s mourning.” Another thing I didn’t tell Elliott was Dad’s client who died was one of the hunters we saw back then. I would trust 10-year-old Elliott