For 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 guessed his siblings’ features were inherited from his father.
Angelo’s mother and father were both good-looking despite their age in the picture. I wonder why it’s only Angelo and Nana who is staying in their house since the day I came into the town. Were they busy with work?
“Don’t look at my ugly face!” Angelo grabbed the picture frame and sprawled it away from me. He’s already wearing his uniform. He looked fresh from the shower and smells like his cologne.
“You’re not ugly,” I said. “But I’m not looking at your picture. I was looking at your family. I got curious about their faces so I tried to take a look. Where are they?”
“Mom’s dead. She got cancer after giving birth to me but died after fifteen years. Dad’s busy at his corporate job. He wasn’t a boss. I don’t want you to think that we’re rich. My brothers and sisters are also at work. You’re going to meet them later. They’re going home.”
Like us, catching time with our parents was a difficult task. It’s more painful to hear that his mother died. I hope he’ll have a nice dinner along with his brother and sister.
He grabbed his bag and raised both of his eyebrows on me. “Let’s go?”Angelo walked me to my room. It’s his habit to bring me to my place every time we’re walking together. Felix stopped asking me if I wanted a ride. Walking with Angelo seemed normal to them.
Last Sunday, we watched a horror movie inside their house. I was so scared of the killer clowns in the movies, but he wasn’t even flinching while watching. He said those fictional creatures weren’t scary at all. What he was scared of was how dangerous some of the wolf packs are.
“Can you lend me a sheet of paper?” Gwen, one of my classmates, asked. Breaking the silence and imagination I created while reading a thick fantasy book. She was always asking for a paper from our other classmates. She looked expensive in what she was wearing. Why she doesn’t invest money in school supplies? I wasn’t lucky enough that my paper was her chosen one today. At least, she gets to talk to me.
I gave her a thin sheet of binder sheets I have inside my expanding envelope.
“Thanks!” She smiled at me and walked to the back of her seat.
During my observation in classes, she wasn’t part of the mean girls' community of this school. I heard she’s also an omega, commoners in the werewolf community. Most of the time, it’s the betas’ children who are bullying others. They were also the teacher’s pet during class. I guessed I won’t place in the final ten of any class since I was nobody in this town.
Our teacher arrived late. He’s in his mid-forties. Unlike before, it looked like he attended the class more prepared.
“Good morning, class. We have a quiz.”
My forehead creased. I wasn’t informed of the quiz. Or he happened to tell us that but I wasn’t paying attention. Unfair! I hate having a surprise quiz or not knowing that we have a quiz for a day on one of the subjects.
I glanced around my classmates and no one flinched at them. Do they know about the quiz? That must also be the reason why Gwen borrowed a sheet of paper from me.
I would’ve passed a test without reviewing if it’s a history subject. But this is math! Business math to be specific. There are rules and formulas to be considered and I didn’t even read my notes for a week. I knew I’ll fail to survive this test.
Mr. Higgins distributed the test papers to everyone in the class. The first moment I laid my eyes on the page, I knew I won’t going to pass this test. One bad score doesn’t mean I would fail as a student. I was afraid I won’t get a high grade in this class.
I breathe in and out. My classmates were already answering the exam. Stress wasn’t printed on their faces. I wish I am too. But I don’t review in this class. I wish I could get half of the score.
The first twenty questions of the exam were multiple-choice. I could get a correct answer for some of these. Most of it was terminologies I could remember. But the other fifty points of the exam were computation-based. I closed my eyes for a moment and prayed for my score.
I finished last. Mr. Higgins said that he’ll check the papers and those who fail or have a low score shall attend a remedial class. That was an additional thirty minutes to an hour class if I failed. I should be texting my brothers right now that I won’t be going home by four.
“The exam’s pretty easy,” Gwen commented. In our next class, she was sitting behind me.
“Damn it felt like Mr. Higgins didn’t put a spice on the test,” Aki commented.
Aki’s one of my brightest classmates in the class. One thing he can easily be recognized is his looks. He looked like an artist in a Pop agency especially when he’s in all black. I was praising him, but that doesn’t mean I like him. I had to keep on reminding myself that I should not trust anyone in this class. They were all werewolves.
“How about you?” At first, I thought Gwen wasn’t asking me. She tapped my shoulders and talked again. “You’re silent in this class, Ms. Transferee. You’ve been here for more than a month now. You should feel more confident with us.”
Damn. Just now, I realized I was already a month old student in this school. I stayed in this place for more than a month yet I wasn’t talking to anyone except for my neighbor. Angelo said not to trust anyone, but he didn’t specify to talk to anyone. I guessed I can initiate a conversation with Gwen and Aki.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t just confident even before. I’m an introvert.”
“I’m also an introvert,” said Aki. “Gwen’s also an introvert.”
“Aki’s the only friend that I have in this school. Don’t worry. We won’t be judging you.”
Why were they so nice? I’m afraid this was only their actions to put me into a dangerous situation. I wanted to trust them and make friends with them. But I don’t want to worry my brothers about putting myself in danger.
Catherine, you just have to talk to them. No deeper connections. No trust involved.
“So what are your thoughts with Mr. Higgins’ exam?” Gwen asked again.
Gwen and Aki shared a look. Aki spoke in a baritone voice, “Is it?”
“Oh, maybe it’s difficult for her since this is the first time she took an exam in Mr. Higgins’ class. It’s the easiest, Cath. There is more challenge to face in the future. He knew it is easy enough so he didn’t bother to announce it to us.”
I wish I heard Gwen right. Our teacher didn’t announce the exam to us. I should be reviewing though there wasn’t an announced exam. In my previous school, there are only quizzes after classes that are easy enough to remember the information. Surprise exams are a norm in this place. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore.
By afternoon, Mr. Higgins took a few minutes in our last class with Ms. Score to announce those who will attend the remedial class. And I’m the only one who failed the exam.
“I thought the exam that I gave was easier than what I gave before. But there’s still a student who failed,” said Mr. Higgins. He wasn’t mad but there was a seriousness in his voice.
“I’m sorry, Sir. I didn’t review for the test.”
“You shouldn’t be reviewing. You should know the lesson since the day I taught you that. Now listen.”
He started lecturing me about the lesson we had last week. Now, I can easily understand it. If the exam took place after it, I would surely nail it.
“Do you understand?” I nodded. “You’re going to take a four-item and twenty points quiz regarding the lesson. You should pass or you’ll be seeing me tomorrow.”
He gave me a new test paper. He sat back on his chair in the front and watches me as I answer the test. I’m sure I’m going to pass this. This is easier than I thought. I should’ve reviewed last night though the test was a surprise. Then I wouldn’t be here in the first place.
Halfway to the last item, I smelled something. It was a strong sensation I can’t explain. First, it aches my head. Then it’s making me feel sleepy.
“Sir…” I called in a sleepy voice. “I…” I didn’t finish what I said. Before I closed my eyes, I saw Mr. Higgins smirking at me.
“I’m sorry if we had to do this.”
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
Chapter 12Three kilometers into my pedometer and I can’t run anymore. We didn’t have a proper warm-up. And the rule was that we can’t walk around. My muscles were soaring and I can’t handle this anymore.I was gasping. I needed water to hydrate myself. I lost more than a liter by all the sweat all over my body. Angelo was either beside or behind me. I was never behind him.There’s a huge gap between our conditions. At this moment, I already lost all my energy. But he’s fine as if he didn’t run at all. It made sense that he’d been doing this since the day he trained her.I wanted to stop. I wanted to quit. But quitting is for weak people. It is for those who can’t handle things anymore. If I didn’t continue to train here, I wouldn’t be able to gain the strength to protect my brothers. This isn’t just for me, I reminded myself. This is for my brothers and justice on the death of
CHAPTER 13I finished the contemporary book I was reading just after Angelo took a bath. He asked me yesterday if we could bake cookies at his place, but it turned out he wasn’t expecting me early. As a morning person, I would go to him early if he didn’t specify a time.I don’t have anyone to talk to. Minnie was still asleep. Sage was in his room—as always. Except for Nana who sat on the couch the moment Angelo entered his room to wear an outfit.“What are you going today? It seems that you have plans, dear?” Nana asked. I never met my grandparents on Mom and Dad. Maybe they’re as sweet as Nana—who would ask questions and take care of her grandchildren.“He asked me to bake cookies.” I don’t have anything to do at home that’s why I agreed to the plan. Besides, he’s my only friend. And I should do better as his friend.“Oh, that is his favorite pastime
CHAPTER 14“There’s another person in this town. I mean human like you and Felix,” I told Jay. He was reading one of my books while the television was on. Felix was in the kitchen, preparing our dinner, which I can smell was java rice and some kind of pork dish.Jay slipped the bookmark between the pages of the book. He placed it on his lap and turned to me. “Why do you look so amazed?”“I thought everyone in this town are all werewolves. I kind of had confidence that not everyone will attack humans. Before, I was afraid to think of werewolves. I thought they were going to attack every human in their way.”“No, they don’t. Like us, they have a purpose in doing those things.”I glanced at the book that he was reading. A self-help book about having a purpose in life. He’s only saying those because of what he read. “You mean they have a purpose in killing our parents. What k