The place was a sanctuary to me. I finished the book that I was reading, without scrolling through social media platforms. And for one of the rarest moments, I read instead of watching videos about reading. My brothers were glad that I finally got out of my shell and started exploring.
When we had dinner, they warned me again about not staying outside during the night. They’ve been at home earlier before the sunsets. Because of that, I would want to see the sunset and run back home during the night.
“Where are you going?” Felix asked me while he was reading a book.
“Running around the town.”
He nodded. “Don’t go that far away. It’s already afternoon and doesn’t go home after sunset.”
“Fine,” I answered and disappeared inside our house. Felix would’ve been a perfect father to a child if he decided to be one. He had a girlfriend back then but I’m not sure what happened to them. Maybe they broke up because the girl stopped visiting our home.
Jay also had one before. A genius woman, an honor student in her high school, wanting to take law after her undergraduate college degree. Jay was more open to telling me that they broke up because the law would be that girl’s priority after she finished college. Why can’t she mix up things and not break up with my finest brother?
I don’t know if Jay cried after that. We all have separate rooms back then. Now that we moved into a smaller home, he and Felix were already sharing one.
I opened the book the moment I arrived at my favorite spot near the river. Butt on the ground, hands on the book, eyes on the page, mind into a new world. I don’t know how long I can focus while reading in this place. This was a nice place with nice air to read for an hour straight. Then I remembered that my brothers didn’t like me to stay here until the sunsets. But they couldn’t do anything about that. That’s why I will stay here until the time I wouldn’t able to read the words on the page.
The world I was forced into was more magical than I expected. It felt like I was living inside it, the words were devouring me into it. I wish life was like books, bad things were not real and mostly it’s a happy ever after.
I only had to end it when someone grabbed the book from my hand. That’s when I noticed that it was already dark around. Not the pitch-black darkness, but the kind of darkness that creeps out on me. Why does the night in this town look darker than before?
I raised my head, also my eyebrows, to the guy who grabbed my book. He’s thin but not sluggish. Tall, carved face, and attractive. This was the first time I saw an attractive person in this place. He looked like an angel or a campus crush. Still, he grabbed my book without my permission.
I thought he was going to flirt with me, use his sexy ways after pissing me off. “What are you doing in here?” He was serious. I can see it through his eyes.
“I read. Isn’t it obvious?” I don’t care about his looks or how dark he feels. He grabbed my book and stopped the peak of my reading experience. He’s a stranger and could be a dangerous person.
He’s wearing a uniform, maybe a student in the university nearby. And he doesn’t know me so why did he care.
I grabbed my book, hug it close to my chest. “Also why did you grab my book from me?”
He didn’t say a word until a howl crept us. It sounds like a wild beast… or dog. He quickly grabbed my hand, not too tight or light, and ran away from the woods. I didn’t know what he was trying to do. But I was scared of the howl as well. Can a guy like him be also scared of that sound?
“Where are we going?” I asked halfway back home. I recognized that path and knew that it was the same way I walked before.
“Keep your voice low. They might hear us.” He was almost whispering, gasping for air. Maybe he was tired of running. He looked better and more handsome because of the sweat he has all over his face, even on his hands that touched me.
“Who? Who can hear us?” I copied the volume of his voice. I’m new in this town and I don’t know if there were killers or kidnappers in this place. And I even don’t know if this man I am trusting is safe! “And I’m not sure if I’m safe with you. What if you’re the one who’s going to harm me?”
He clicked his tongue, glanced left and right. When he saw nothing, he gazed back at me. “I’m Nana’s grandson. I guess you already met her.”
I didn’t see any patterns of Nana on his face. Maybe he didn’t inherit any of her features. Or her features were already smothered due to her age so I wasn’t able to see it through him.
So what should I call him? Nana’s boy? Nana’s guy? I don’t even know his name!
After running and escaping from the thing he was scared of, we arrived at our home. I’m not sure if my brothers already met him, but they looked so worried about me. Thankful on this handsome stranger. Nana was also sitting on our couch. I don’t know if she was smiling or her reaction was just bland.
“Where have you been, Catherine?” Felix asked. Eyebrows furrowed and his voice was mad again.
“Read my book near the lake.”
“I thought you were already in danger.” Jay sighed. He hugged me. I’ve always loved the comfort of my brother. Before anything else, why were they that worried about me being outside during the night. They knew how much I love watching the stars and the sky.
“You’re still not listening to me, Cath!” Felix said. He glanced at the strange guy. “Thank you for looking out on her, Angelo.”
So that was his name? Angelo. I thought it would have been a more complicated one because of how he looks. I guessed his parents were tired of thinking names for him.
Jay released my body. “You should thank him.”
I turned to Angelo, a bit of a smile was on his face. “Thank you. But can you tell me why are we running away from the night? It wasn’t even midnight. And what’s the howl that I heard?
My brother’s face turned pale. Everyone didn’t even open their mouths. My eyes focused on Nana.
“Werewolves, dear. Humans turn to wolves. Like us. Like everybody in this town.”
Like them? Was Nana saying that they were also werewolves? They were the same creatures as the ones who killed my parents?
We left our previous home because our parents were killed by werewolves. And now, we’re living in a village full of them? Even these people, not actually humans, were like them?
“How? If you’re like them, then you’re also capable of killing me and my brothers? Werewolves are killers. They killed Mom and Dad!”
I can’t help but turn emotional. The same night my parents were killed came back to me like a precious memory. Except that it wasn’t precious. It was a nightmare.
As far as I can remember, my brothers brought me here because they said this place was safe from those creatures. They said that if we stay from our previous home, I would be in danger. How come this place was safe when I just ran from the night?
“You’re not like your brothers and sisters. This young girl has difficulties in understanding,” Nana said as if her words were magical. Was she saying that I have a problem in my brain?
“They were not like them, Cath. They weren’t part of any pack. They were good werewolves and they will not hurt you. They took care of us when we were younger. They promised our parents that if something happened to them, Nana’s family are the ones who are going to take care of us,” Felix explained. This was one of those moments where he’s calm and not scary.
“Cath, do you remember when Mom and Dad always tell us stories about werewolves?”
I reconciled that moment. Mom and Dad told us a story about a family of werewolves who were bullied most of the time because they weren’t Beta or Alpha. They can’t be Nana and her family, though the main character of my parents’ story was an old woman who has the exact features like Nana.
“I remember. I thought they were kind back then. But they are the same creatures who killed them.” I strode to Angelo. Our faces didn’t have any distance. “If you’re also like them, tell me who killed Mom and Dad!” I shook his hard body a little bit. “Tell me!”
I let my tears fall from my eyes. The revelation had hit me directly to my face. Overwhelmed, is the only word I can describe to myself.
Angelo shook his head, clueless about my question. “I’m afraid we don’t know about it as well.”
I can’t accept it... I can’t embrace anything when I’m overwhelmed and thoughts were scattered in my mind. They brought me here because Nana’s family are going to guard us, and no one from them knew who killed Mom and Dad. The thought of living in a town full of shapeshifters shivered my whole body. From this day forward, my life wouldn’t stay the same. No, it already flipped when some other creatures attacked our house and killed my parents.There must be a reason. I can’t be something special that they wanted to capture like the chosen characters I’ve read in books. Was I?
CHAPTER 4Tornado, that’s a word I can describe in my current situation. Strong winds and twists flipped my world upside down. Was there something I didn’t know about myself? I don’t completely believe in them. Everyone in here cannot be werewolves. There must be humans somewhere else.I was stunned even after Angelo and Nana left the house before we had our quiet dinner. No one talked about what happened again. But Felix pleased me that I should be more careful about my actions.I don’t want to believe them that this town was full of werewolves. I haven’t seen Nana or Angelo turn into werewolves. Even last night, I only heard the scary sound and growls but there are no creatures who appeared in front of me.In the first place, I wouldn’t believe in werewolves if I hadn’t seen them kill my parents before. Having another creature living in this world was unbelievable. It sounded like a fantasy.At the same t
CHAPTER 5I don’t know what Angelo means by not trusting anyone. I don’t trust him either. I was forced to trust his family for the sake of our safety. Not trusting others was an easy task for me. I don’t talk to strangers, especially social people who only know how to talk a lot.Angelo’s first class was different than mine. My brothers were familiar with my previous classes that’s why they picked the same for me. I picked AP US History before because I thought that would be amazing and entertaining. I was wrong. The teacher we had was boring. It felt like an hour of speech and not an engaging lecture. I took European History back in junior year and the teacher was great. In US History, we are forced to finish a certain number of pages for the recitation next class.I do love reading. Being a reader since I was a child was an advantage for that class. It took me a few minutes to read fifty pages while others took more than an hour.
CHAPTER 6For my next days as a high school student in the community high school, Angelo became my walking buddy. It wasn’t awkward between the two of us. Aside from Saturdays, we get to spend other days with each other. He’s a more open person than I thought of. I guessed I earned my first friend in this town.I was waiting for him when Nana offered me cookies. It looked like a normal cookie, then I remembered that she was a werewolf. I’m afraid there’s something in the ingredient of that cookie.“It’s a normal treat, dear. You don’t have to be scared of us. I told you to trust us,” she said and I accepted the cookie.Inside their house, I saw a family picture near the television set. Angelo got his features from his mother. They almost looked the same. His brother was also good-looking like him though they didn’t have the same face. His sister, like his brother and Gelo, was also attractive. I guesse
CHAPTER 7My parents were covered with blood. I was at the staircase and they were at the door. Werewolves did these things to them. And I wasn’t able to save them.They were screaming for help. They screamed for pain. I couldn't move my body from my position. I want to run towards them. I want to help them to stand out. But I was frozen in my place.“You’re always my girl, Cath,” Daddy said in a low monotone voice. His voice sounded like he was losing blood.“You’re always our baby.” My mom smiled despited of the pain she was struggling with.I love you Mom and Dad, I thought to myself. I wasn’t able to let it through my mouth. I love them and I wished I was able to protect them.My eyes opened. Everything was a dream. A nightmare. I found myself in a dark place. Old classroom chairs, broken tables, dirt on the ground. I was tied around a chair. Where am I?I almost forgot that Mr. Higg
CHAPTER 8Jay was massaging my nose with an ice pack. There’s a stream of blood that bled from it earlier. The way Ms. Durrant spanked my face with the plank must be that hard to cause bleeding.Angelo saved me. I don’t know what happened to me if he didn’t arrive there. Those three teachers must’ve killed me. The two other werewolves he was with were Minnie and Sage. The two of them looked the same as what I saw in their picture frame.The night was already dark when we left the basement of that building. There was no other person in the school aside from the three teachers who kidnapped me, me, and three people who saved me. The school was surprisingly open during the night even without bodyguards. We’re lucky that we didn’t encounter any wolves. I mean, there were werewolves in human form around. But none of them shapeshifted into a wolf.“What happened, Catherine?” Felix asked. He wasn’t mad at thi
CHAPTER 9Gwen and Aki chaired themselves on both of my sides. Their face was curious. I knew they were going to ask about what happened yesterday. I had to thank them for telling Angelo where I was. They indirectly saved my life.“I’m flattered to see that you’re perfectly fine. We knew what happened yesterday,” Gwen said. Her dazzling hair was blown by the wind coming from the outside. I hope they were not gaining my trust for the worst-case scenario. I reminded myself to socialize with them but not put my trust in the first place.“We’re still unable to shapeshift. We knew Gelo already learned how to shapeshift. Our parents were slaves of betas. Fighting them would put our life at stake,” Aki explained. Then he narrated a whole lot of a story about his friendship with Gwen since they were kids. Unfair justice was also applicable in the life of these werewolves. We can’t go wrong on our steps, especially if we&rs
CHAPTER 10Today, my brothers will kill me. At least on the inside. I have to tell them my decision on training with Angelo wherever he was training. This wasn’t for my safety—for them. The family who took care of me. This was my way to give back on their efforts on me.I expected Felix would open up a hot debate about the matter. They won’t let me go. For them, it would be too dangerous. They didn’t want me to open up as a half-blood werewolf. They wanted to keep things normal to me. But life wouldn’t be normal because I’m different. And I belong to these creatures living in this town.Felix was watching a thriller action movie on our television—Jay was folding clothes. I choked my fears as I approached them.“Catherine,” Felix muttered. He has strong instincts as he felt my presence though I wasn’t too close to him. “You need anything?”We weren’t siblings only in paper
CHAPTER 11The training grounds look like a gym.There were a few attractions like hurdles and sit-ups. It wasn’t a typical training ground where we are going to train outside. There’s an apartment-like house near the low-lying grasses. Inside the building, there were gym types of equipment like stationary bikes and things I don’t know the name of. I wasn’t going to the gym even before. Running and walking was the only exercise that I know.I didn’t care about how our training would be. Walking our way here was more of a training than a warm-up. If Angelo described it as a warm-up, I’m afraid that the training would be vigorous.The last time I count the number of young peers in here, we were eleven. I lost count when I answered the registration form. I don’t know how things work in this place. But it’s a similar process to what humans do.Unlike the classroom in the community school, this place was f