|Once Upon a Blue Moon
Author: writersBLOCKacilin PM
Mollie, an inexperienced werewolf, and her best friend Nadia run away to a strange beach town which seems to attract supernatural type people. Mollie struggles to figure out her wolf as well as how to fit into this world into which she has stumbled and how to protect it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Adventure - Chapters: 15 - Words: 53,142 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 09-21-12 - Published: 02-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 2997321
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Os and I stood on the roof the next night. Os had convinced Mrs. Goll to let us use the greenhouse as a quiet place for me to get in touch with my wolf. Well, convinced isn't really the word I would use. He practically fell to her feet, begging like a child. He gave her a long list of reasons why the greenhouse was the perfect place. She just stood there, humoring him, with the slightest trace of a smile on her face. She had every intention of letting us work up there. She undoubtedly knew what Os wanted long before he did. Still, she let him make his case before acting as though he'd convinced her despite her initial opinions. Of course, I knew when she was lying. She'd winked and whispered to me that it did a man's ego good to think he'd taken care of things.
"Keep your knees bent," Os told me as we repeated the first motion he had taught to me. We'd been doing it for an hour and I still apparently wasn't getting it. "Feel your arms pulling and pushing at your chi, like the moon to the waves."
I furrowed my brow. "My chi? You still haven't really explained what my 'chi' is. Is it dirty? I mean—"
"It's best not to talk," Os groaned. He was standing next to me, demonstrating as I practiced. I was standing (with my knees bent OBVIOUSLY), my feet turned out, holding my "core" strong, keeping my shoulders square and moving my arms in a circular motion. From my chest, to the side, straight out before me, to the other side then to my chest again, clockwise. It was weird and tedious and I kept feeling like I should be calling Os sensei or something.
"But why is it best not to—"
"Because you'll become out of breath otherwise," Os snapped, trying to keep his cool. "And…you'll become more aware of your—"
"Flowing chi?" I scoffed, dropping my pose. I popped a hip out and crossed my arms in front of my chest, staring exasperatedly at Os sensei. "Seriously, how is this supposed to help me?"
Os sighed and pulled himself gracefully from the pose. His movements were so fluid and beautiful. I wasn't sure if they reminded me of a dancer or a warrior more. "It's to help you get in touch with your wolf."
"So you've said, but I think you just brought me up here to watch me do stupid things so you could laugh about it with Ben later," I growled. Os just looked blankly at me. I dropped my arms and tried to be less irritable. I was just tired from yesterday with Sadako and work and these exercises. "I just…when I think of getting in touch with my wolf I think more…primal. You know? Like, freeing the beast within."
Os smiled and sat on the side of one of the planters. "And how would you propose we do that?"
I shrugged. "I dunno. Getting in touch with nature. Just...more wild and less calm, planned and calculated."
"You want to get in touch with your wolf," Os chuckled. "Well, I've met her. She doesn't act without thinking. She sits and observes, listening to and watching everything around her. She is calculating and calm."
I glanced up at the moon which hid behind a few clouds but still shone brightly. "That just…doesn't sound like a wolf to me."
"Well, it's your wolf," he explained. "When we're infected with the essence of the wolf it finds this little part of us and makes it our wolf. For some it is this out of control thing and they end up Jekyll and Hyde-ing it up, being mild mannered and reserved most of the month then becoming a wild, pleasure driven thing when they wolf out. Your wolf is this little part of you which would have remained dormant most of your life. In order for you to get in touch with your wolf, you have to understand her. She already understands you. She's been watching you your whole life."
"Huh," I sighed, crossing my arms in front of my chest again. So my wolf was good at these things. She was calm, she paid attention and she was calculating. I couldn't do any of that. Hell, I couldn't even feel my chi flow or…whatever.
Os jabbed me in the shoulder with two fingers. "You are the one who acts without thinking." He jabbed me again. This was getting annoying. "You are the one who falls victim to her emotions." He moved to jab me again so I quickly grabbed his fingers to bend them backward. He had expected this so he reached out and grabbed my wrist, smiling as he did. "And you are the fighter."
I pulled my wrist from his hands and pushed my hair out of my face. "Alright, I get it," I chuckled, trying not to show my insecurities.
"But Mollie," Os added, kindly, "none of these are bad things. You're the one who came to Gwen's defense. You care about people and your thoughtless acts tend to prove…useful. Like when you followed me out that night at the Sea Breeze."
"Or telling Angel to move in here?" I suggested, feeling a little better. (Angel had spoken to Mrs. Goll the night before and asked if she had a vacancy and she immediately said yes. He was moving in that night and I hadn't brought myself to tell Gwen. She'd been through so much already.)
Os shook his head. "No, I still don't see the use of that."
"Yet," I reminded him.
He narrowed his eyes. "Yet? Why yet?"
I thought for a moment. "I'm…not sure why I said that." And I wasn't.
"Okay, then let's hope that ends up being useful." He grinned. "We can stop for tonight if you're too tired."
I shook my head and resumed my pose. "No, I want to do this."
Os smiled proudly at me as I began the motion again. "Try counter-clockwise now. It's best to do things evenly."
Os and I came down from the roof about an hour and a half later. As we came to my floor and turned the corner we ran into a box. It fell from the carrier's arms but Os caught it quickly and with ease. The box carrier smiled up at us. "Hey guys!"
"Angel, hey," I chuckled taking another box from his arms. "Need a hand?"
"Thanks, I brought up more than I could carry, little arms and all." He opened the door and led us in. "I'm sorry, I've totally forgotten your names."
"We never gave them to you," Os sighed, setting the box down with a groan.
I glared at Os. Wasn't he just saying I don't think before doing and saying things? Who was he to talk? "I'm Mollie and this is Os. I actually live just down the hall and Os lives on the floor below us." Os stared at me. I could feel him thinking Why are you telling him so much?!
"Then why were you upstairs?" Angel asked.
Os opened his mouth, looking disgruntled. I figured I'd cut him off. "We were using the greenhouse on the roof to practice yoga and tai chi and meditation."
Angel's eyes widened excitedly. "Wow, that's neat." He turned to start pulling some dishes out of the box he'd brought in and I grinned defiantly at Os. Any pride he'd felt about my commitment up on the roof was now instantly replaced with irritation. "So have you found anything else out about the bleedings?" Angel asked, hopefully.
"I'm not at liberty to say," Os answered, looking over to find that I had already been shaking my head no. I quickly changed it to a shrug but the damage had been done.
"I see," Angel sighed, carefully pulling ceramic plates from the box and placing them in the cabinets.
I saw his sadness and asked, "Are you worried about your friend?"
Angel smiled grimly. "I know it's stupid to say yes. I pretty much know without a doubt that he's dead but…the illogical part of me really wants to believe he's alive somewhere. That you two could just bust into wherever he's being held and rescue him."
He seemed so dismayed. I put a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry. Were—"
"I thought I heard your voices," Nadia said from Angel's doorway, with Gwen, Ben and Joss following her. Since learning about what goes bump in this town the day before Joss was afraid to go home. Ben and Os were letting him crash at their place. "What are you doing?"
"We ran into, literally actually, our newest neighbor, Angel," Os told them. "Angel, these people are Nadia, Gwen, Ben and Joss. Three out of four live here and one is just a barnacle."
Joss frowned. "Hey!"
Angel laughed loudly. "Oh, you're the barnacle. Pleased to meet you all." He stuck out his hand to shake everyone's hands but quickly realized his hands were incredibly dirty from the boxes. "I'll…shake your hands later."
"You're a vampire," Gwen suddenly stated, glaring at the little guy.
Joss and Nadia stared, Nadia with excitement (because she loved meeting new mythics) and Joss in terror. "A vampire?!" Joss squeaked.
Ben put up a hand. "Honestly, dude, I don't have the time or energy to deal with your ignorant human crap right now. Okay?"
Angel's eyes widened. "I…I am."
Gwen narrowed her eyes, sparking a little bit. I shot a concerned look to Ben but he just nodded and motioned for me to relax. He was ready to keep Gwen calm. "Mrs. Goll doesn't rent to bloodsuckers."
Angel furrowed his brow. "I feel like that's a derogatory term," he replied, considering whether or not he should be offended. Gwen sparked a little again and Angel forgot all about being offended. "Yeah, she doesn't rent to vampires but, since I don't eat human and stuff, she rented to me. Plus I'm not all…violent like the other vamps around here so she trusts me to behave myself."
Gwen glared a little longer then immediately switched back to being happy Gwen. "Okay, I'm Gwen!"
Angel looked nervously at the rest of us then smiled tentatively at Gwen. "Yeah, I know. Vampires are warned that you will kill them if you see them eating a human. Rumor has it you're a Cloak agent."
"What the hell is a Cloak agent?" Nadia scoffed. "That sounds really sketchy."
Gwen waved her concern away. "Just sort of like CIA for mythics. Meant to keep us in line. But I'm not a Cloak agent." Angel started to ask what mythics meant but Gwen plowed right through. "Anyway, if Mrs. Goll trusts you then I trust you!" she said with a smile.
Os stared skeptically at Gwen. "Really?"
Gwen shrugged. "Uhhuh. But, it's only fair to warn you that if you do anything to betray that trust I will cut you up into a bunch of little pieces before you have time to turn to dust," she said, smiling sweetly the whole time. "A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend."
Angel brought a hand to his cheek and cocked his head to the side. "I think that is the cutest death threat I've ever heard in my life," he cooed, as though he'd just seen a puppy yawn and not been threatened by a terrifyingly powerful mermaid.
The next day was Nadia's birthday so we celebrated with a big party that night. I rented out the whole Sea Breeze Room for the night (which was surprisingly cheap due largely to the fact that the main bartender/owner's son had a HUGE crush on Nadia) and invited all of Nadia's friends. And boy…did she have a lot of friends. We had been there for a month and in that time she had befriended practically everyone she'd come in contact with. Everyone she worked with at the salon, everyone who shopped at or got their hair done at the salon, people she'd met dancing at the Sea Breeze, people she'd just gotten to talking to on the street. They were all crazy about her and her fashion and her sense of humor. She was a frigging social butterfly suddenly.
We surprised her with the party and she was so excited. She ran around talking to people, getting gifts and hugs. She had never had a real birthday party her whole life. Back home we'd done little things to celebrate but we had to party on our own. No one had liked either of us. At all.
Nadia had always told me, "That's their issue if they don't like us. Because we're awesome and anyone with half a brain could see that." Clearly it was true…for her at least.
I felt like a terrible friend. I'd look around and see her giggling with people and be torn between being jealous of her for being able to make friends so easily and being jealous because I had competition. Ben got how I was feeling and snuck me a beer which we drank out in the alley.
"Os has always been super well liked wherever we go," Ben explained after I tearfully confided my terrible feelings in him. "Whereas he's always said I'm more of an acquired taste. You know? People have to get to know me before they like me. I guess he's more attractive than me?" He shrugged as though he was skeptical but made it obvious that he knew as much. I wouldn't say Ben wasn't attractive he just didn't have the same looks as Os. Which was probably for the better because I don't know how well his African American features would have looked on Ben's extremely pale face. "Anyway, I understand feeling left out and jealous. It doesn't make you a bad person. I mean, you want her to be happy otherwise you wouldn't have thrown this party and invited all those other people."
I nodded. "Yeah, that's true. I mean, I wouldn't sabotage her friendships just because I'm jealous."
"Exactly," Ben chuckled, taking a swig of his beer. I did the same but…beer is gross. I don't know how people can drink it. So I made a face. Ben laughed. "You get used to it. If nothing else, it can briefly shut off the overtly angsty part of your brain."
"A lot of experience in that department?" I asked.
Ben gave an exaggerated nod. "Oh yes. I cried into many a beer over stupid dating issues."
I laughed as he demonstrated, sobbing about some girl named Katie. "Speaking of, how are things with Gwen?"
Ben blushed and opened his mouth to answer but the door swung open and Os appeared. At first he was just surprised and relieved to see us, then he saw the beer in my hand and glared at Ben. "You got her a beer?"
Ben looked between Os and me then shrugged and took a sip of his beer. "It'd be stupid to say 'no' now," he sighed. "I mean…we're standing here, she's drinking a beer…"
Os rolled his eyes. "Mollie, give that to me. You're only eighteen."
I held the beer out of his reach. "No, I want it! I'm dealing with my emotions."
"Well find another way to deal," Os scoffed. "You're too young to drink."
I glared at him. "Stop telling me I'm too young for things. Jeeze!"
"Actually it's the law telling you you're too young."
I paused for a moment then shook my head. "Whatever! You're the one trying to enforce the law and—" Suddenly I heard something. It was the barest sound of a muffled shout and something being dragged. Os and I both turned toward the noise.
"What is it Lassies?" Ben asked. "Timmy fall down the well?" Then we heard a pained cry. "Seriously guys, what's—"
"Something's wrong," Os said quickly as I dropped my beer and we all started off down the alley. We rounded a corner to find a figure, dressed all in black from hood to shoes, standing over a man with a knife. "Hey!" Os shouted. "What's going on?"
The figure turned slowly to face us. It almost moved like a cloud, as though it had no real body to speak of. But that couldn't have been right. I couldn't see its eyes but it sure as hell felt like it was looking at me. At all of us. It was inspecting us. Ben stepped forward. "We don't want any trouble," he said calmly. "Just put the knife down and—" it tucked its knife away and took off down the alley. "—and run the hell away. Goddammit!" We ran to the man's prone form and Ben turned him over. "He's alive but he's lost a lot of blood. I'm going to call a healer. Mollie, go help Os."
Os had already started off down the alley but I quickly caught up. We came up on a tall chain link fence. I figured we had the guy cornered. I figured wrong because he practically floated over the fence. "How the hell are we supposed to catch him now?" I huffed, having trouble breathing. I was in no shape to be running like this (which was a shame since I was on the track team before becoming a wolf. Both in middle school and my freshman year of high school. I was fast. Now…). "We can't exactly—" Os ran at the fence then quickly turned, bounding up the side of a building before clearing the fence. "What the hell?" I shouted, coming to what was a dead end for any normal person. "Os since when are you a frigging ninja?!" But he was gone.
I thought for a moment. I'd gotten to know Avalon pretty well. Where could someone who was running from a pursuer head towards? An instinct hit me and I decided to run with it. I started running back down the alley. I passed Ben and the injured guy then, a little ways away from them, the person I figured was the healer. My mind was racing as fast as I was running. What would I do? How would I help Os stop this person (or thing)?
I tried to concentrate on my breathing as I ran. I tried to meditate and think clearly. But I couldn't. That wasn't who I was. So instead I tried bargaining with my wolf. Alright, I thought. I need you. You think rationally, you observe things and you plan. Me? I fight. I act. You need to help me out. I need your clarity and I need your strength because this isn't going to cut it.
I'm not sure how to explain it, but it worked. I sped up and my mind felt more expanded. I noticed little things around me. I could tell if someone was watching me run down the street. I could hear people coming around a corner and dart around them with ease. My senses felt heightened. I reached the end of the alley out of which I was certain the attacker would come. As I got there I smelled something. It smelled like fog rolling in. Misty, humid air.
Half a second later I was looking at the remnants of what could have easily been a small steam cloud dissipating. I stopped and stared. I could have sworn I saw a Cheshire cat smile in the steam before it completely vanished. Os appeared only a moment later and stared at me. "Where did he go?" Os panted. "He rounded the corner just before I did. You should have seen him."
I took a few deep breaths, waiting as my wolf and I analyzed what we'd just witnessed. "Os, that guy didn't have a real body." Os looked at me funny for a moment before we looked down at his feet, where I'd seen the cloud dissipate from, and there was the being's black outfit. Os and I glanced at one another. "What kind of creature can turn into steam?"
Os's brow furrowed and jaw tightened as he thought. "I'm not entirely sure."
"That sounds like a…sea dweller type of ability, doesn't it?"
Os's eyes opened wide. "You think he was Sadako's?"
I shrugged. "I don't know but…he did seem to know us. You, Ben and me. He looked us over like he was weighing his options. Like he knew…something about us."
Os cocked his head to the side. "That's not the kind of observation you usually make."
I grinned. She'd gone away, back into hiding, but I could still kind of feel her. "I think I've made some progress when it comes to getting in touch with my wolf. You're definitely going to need to keep teaching me because she and I work really well together."