She Runs with Wolves
She Runs with Wolves
Author: Jemima Forrester

“Ellis!” Kathrena yelled up from downstairs. She sounded angry.

I scraped my long, blonde hair up into a high ponytail. It fell in loose waves down my back, and as I combed my fingers through it they caught on a knot. I tried to tug it out as I scrambled around my bedroom, scuffling my feet into my white sneakers.

I gave myself one last, quick once-over in the mirror before I left. My brown eyes looked fierce, determined, beneath their thick dark brows, so I tried to soften them somewhat. I realised that my teeth were gritted beneath my plump lips, too, so I forcibly relaxed my jaw.

Other than that, I thought I looked okay. I was wearing a white crop-top, decorated with a faded gold print of celestial moons and stars. With it I wore a pair of faded mom jeans, which were belted severely around my thin waist. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, so I rummaged around through the pile of clothes on my floor for a sweater. I wouldn’t feel the cold, but in early autumn it would look strange if I didn’t have one with me, at least.

“Coming!” I called back to her.

I thundered down the stairs, and rounded my way into the kitchen. It was bright and airy, with white-painted cabinets and a large, bright orange table in the centre. A mason jar full of wildflowers sat on it, and had been pushed off-centre, presumably by Falmer, who was reclined on one of the chairs, his feet up on another. He grinned wickedly at me as I ran through to the back door.

“Late on your first day?” He teased.

“I’m not late yet,” I scoffed. “I just will be by the time I get there.”

He laughed, his teeth glinting in the early morning sunshine, which streamed in waves through the wide windows. His slick, shoulder-length black hair glinted as his head turned, following my sporadic movements through the kitchen.

“Have fun,” he taunted.

I rolled my eyes. “Thanks,” I replied, my tone laden with sarcasm.

“I’ll see you later,” he called out after me as I slammed my way through the back door.

Falmer was my best friend in the Clan, and, since my parents’ death four years ago, now, he was the only person I’d let myself get close to. He was easy to be around – always teasing and taunting me, but he had a sensitive streak that showed most when I needed it to. I’d not disclosed much to him, but he’d been eager to listen when I’d garnered the courage to speak.

I didn’t remember the night my family and I had been attacked. But I did remember my parents – I remembered their warmth, their spirit, and their courage. I missed them terribly, but since that night I’d been irrevocably changed – in more ways than one.

I swung out of the door towards my truck. It was rusted, and the white paint was fading and flaking around the wheel arches. But it did the job, and the rust was not my problem right now.

Sat in the passenger’s seat was Kathrena, her dark eyes narrowed as I raced out of the house. Her black bob swayed, brushing against her pointed chin, as I launched my rucksack into the back, and then yanked open the driver’s side door and hopped in.

“Sorry,” I wheezed, buckling myself in.

“We’re going to be late now,” she sighed. She seemed to resign herself to this fact, though, of which I was immensely glad. Starting at a new school was nerve-wracking enough without her complaints ringing in my ears the whole way there.

“Sorry,” I said again, though I didn’t particularly mean it. I almost immediately felt bad for thinking it, and mumbled “I really am sorry,” to her, this time in a much more genuine tone.

“It’s fine,” she shrugged, turning to look out of the window. “This is your first time at a new school. I suppose I should be used to it, by now. It still makes me nervous,” she admitted, letting out a small, embarrassed laugh.

“I just – I’ve already been through it all once. I don’t know why we have to keep going back,” I sighed. “I mean, I’ll go, and I’ll do my best. But it just seems a little pointless.”

Kathrena turned to face me, then, and her dark eyes had softened beneath her neatly plucked brows. “As long as you reside with the Clan, I’m afraid you’ll be attending high school. Aspen High doesn’t seem so bad, though.”

As we pulled in to the school’s car park, I had to admit that she was right. Trees, their leaves burning amber and orange, shrouded Aspen High, though they were, for the most part, still attached to their boughs. The school buildings themselves looked relatively modern, composed as it was of large windows, and set back into the sloping landscape amongst the trees. A few pines and conifers overhung the front building.

“Now, remember,” whispered Kathrena. I pulled into a parking space as she spoke, and then turned to look at her once I’d turned the key in the ignition and slipped it out. “We’re sisters.”

I scoffed aloud at that. “Sisters? We don’t look anything alike.”

I was fairly short, lithely muscled and skinny. My skin was pale, and I had long, blonde hair. Kathrena, however, was tall and slender, with sweeping curves, darker skin, and inky black hair.

“Adopted sisters, then,” she shrugged. “Besides. It’s better if people are gossiping about that than something more… substantial.”

“I suppose so,” I said, kicking open the car door. “Come on, then, sister,” I laughed. “Let’s go!”

I towed Kathrena towards the front building. I tried to run through our fabricated backstory as we marched across the car park. My bad temper from before had dissipated suddenly, and I was full of enthusiasm. I supposed it was because Kathrena had reminded me of my allegiance to the Clan – if they wanted me to attend high school, then not only would I do so, but I would perform my role to the best of my ability.

I owed my life to the Clan. Without them, I had no idea where I would have ended up.

The day passed slowly, as I had been sure it would. I tried to keep my distance from the other students as much as possible, fearful of how I might react to their scents. I edged my desk as far from the others as I could, and found myself doodling idly along the pages of my notebook, drawing the delicate orange leaves that fluttered to the ground outside. My timetable differed largely to Kathrena’s, so I saw her only at lunch.

Having completed high school once already, I found the work easy – boring, in fact. It was nice to feel confident with each new task that I was given, but after the initial buzz of knowing the answer it became tedious.

I was surprised by how friendly and welcoming everyone was. I’d been popular at my old high school, but only because I’d grown up alongside most of the people there. I’d grown up in a small town; a town not unlike Hawthorn, where the Clan resided. Hollowbridge, where I’d grown up, was teeming with farmland, however, rather than the flowing woodland and rolling hills of Hawthorn.

I wondered how many more homes I’d have; how many more times I’d have to move.

I traced over a large moon that I’d spent most of the morning drawing. At lunch, Kathrena had seemed even more bored than I was by the day’s proceedings. I’d realised that the scents of the other students and teachers had not been so overwhelming as I’d worried, and without that anxiety drilling into me, keeping my brain alert, I found that the afternoon dragged.

As such, in my final period, I sat myself at the back of the classroom and shut my brain off. In a few years, I’d be changing schools again, and undoubtedly repeating the same curriculum again. As I filled in the moon’s craters, though, I felt an unnerving tingle run down my backbone, raising the hairs on my forearms and thighs.

Someone was watching me.

Comments (1)
goodnovel comment avatar
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