Mariah woke up in her human form. She was wearing the same clothes she'd
worn before, and she was lying on the steps of her front porch.
Mariah quickly jumped up and rushed inside. The entire house was a
mess from her flight from Craig. She looked at the clock on the microwave
in the kitchen and saw that she had a half-hour until her parents got home.
The next thirty minutes were even more frantically busy than the
entire day had been. Mariah cleaned up after herself, changed her clothes
into pajamas, mussed her hair and washed the make-up off her face, and
climbed into bed and pretended to sleep as her mother pulled in to the
"Honey, why are you home?" Mariah's mom called after she'd entered.
She must have seen Mariah's car.
Mariah faked her best groan, and her mom found her way into Mariah's
room. "I was too sick to go to school today," she said.
"Oh, well, why don't you just lay down and get some rest?" Mariah's
mom said gently. She left, and came back a few moments later with a cup of
Needless to say, Mariah wasn't allowed to get on the computer or to
go online that day because of her "illness." It wasn't until the next day
that she was able to check on the pack and see what was happening.
All of those who'd disappeared were back. When asked what had
happened, some said they didn't want to talk about it, some told others
what had happened on instant messenger, and others posted vague answers on
the message board. Mariah was one of the people who used general answers.
It wasn't so much that she didn't want to tell everyone what had happened,
she just thought it was too unbelievable.
The major story on the news the next several days was that many
children who had gone missing had mysteriously all reappeared at their
homes. Police had decided most of the children needed therapy because many
had crazy stories about wizards and being turned into animals, but other
than that they were all fine. Mariah and the others who'd been involved
believed these were other groups who'd been terrorized by Craig.
And what happened to Craig? No one was really sure. Maybe he'd died
without the power in his staff, or maybe he was still alive but unable to
do harm anymore. No one ever learned, and Mariah never saw him again.
Life overall returned to normal. In the pack, all those involved
stayed. Some other members stayed, others left, others became inactive.
Everything went back to the same old rhythm, and for those pack members who
hadn't been changed, the disappearances just became part of the pack's
history, like Aiivan leaving and the hacker.
And life went on.