It was around dawn when…
"Alex! Alex!" Charlie shouted running into my room.
"Charlie…?" I say still half asleep. "What is it?" I add with a yawn.
"Hunters! Get up, we must get moving." She said throwing clothes into a small bag.
I shoot up hearing a loud pounding on the door with shouts to follow, the house was burning. I look around, I couldn't see much of anything, and I was terrified. I could feel my own heart pounding against my chest.
"Where's mother?!" I ask trying to see my way through the ceiling high smoke.
"She's with them, Alex. With the hunters. Please, hurry. Get your things." She says tossing me a small bag of my own.
I almost wished I hadn't asked where my mother was that night, Charlie, seeing the fear and shock in my eyes decides to take the bag from my hands and put some clothes in.
"Come along, Alex," She says slinging the bags over her shoulder and taking my hand. "We must go." She pulls me along behind her when I hear her gasp and pause.
"What's happening?!" I ask, I could hear my own terror.
"Go the other way, Alex! Now!" She demands pushing me forward in the other direction.
I run for a bedroom window I can barely see through the thick and heavy smoke of the fire, Charlie does the same following behind me. I open the window and jump out, as does Charlie; we run for the woods. Once we know we're safe, we watch our house slowly burn to the ground as the hunters check in and around mother's shed.
"Charlie, they're in momma's shed!" I shout.
Charlie's eyes begin to widen when she sees the hunters look as if they paused to listen for something. "Sshh…" She says quietly covering my mouth with her hand, she watches them closely.
"We mustn't let them hear us, Alexandria. Now, come along. Let's find somewhere warm so we can get some rest." She says standing and brushing herself off, she grabs my hand and pulls me along behind her.
I take one last look behind me at our now burnt house and frown. Minutes later, Charlie spots a cozy den, her eyes fill with happiness. She didn't know that happiness would end quickly.
"Let's go inside and warm up, shall we?" She suggests.
I shake my head, I didn't trust it. Good thing I didn't either. Just when she tugged me along to go inside, a wolf jumped out at us, not just any wolf either, a werewolf. He changed into his human form and gave us an icy cold glare.
"What are two lovely young ladies doing out here alone?" He asked, his voice is sharp and strict. Charlie pushed me behind herself, the man then smirked at Charlie seeing the protection she was willing to provide for me.
"Oh, come now. I'm not about to harm an innocent little one like your sister." He chuckled, but it wasn't a normal chuckle. This one was dark and almost crooked.
Just when we thought we were done fore, we all hear and older males voice call out.
"Jonathan!" The voice called.
I know that voice! This mysterious voice turned out to be our grandfather, when he walked in front of Charlie and I we were both shocked.
"Papa?" I ask slightly scared of what the results would be if I walked to him.
"My heavens, child; you two look freezing and hungry for that matter, come inside, eat, warm up." He said calmly, Charlie and I smile and nod at his offer. He steps into the den and we both follow him inside. We sat near a fire in the back of the den where it can't be noticed from the outside.
"What are you girls doing out this far in the woods?" Papa asked Charlie and I.
"Hunters. They tried to trap us in our house while it was burning," Charlie said, she looked at me and frowned. "We had to hurry. They burned everything, Papa. We have nowhere to go now." She added sadly.
I look at Papa curiously; he sighed and looked to Jonathan, "Jonathan," Papa called.
Jonathan walked to Papa and looked to Charlie and I, "Yes sir?" He said.
"Go for a hunt, I need to talk to my granddaughters alone." Papa said.
Jonathan nodded and walked out as he changed into his wolf form, which startled Charlie and I.
"What are we Papa?" I asked innocently.
"You're a werewolf, child." He replied.
"Werewolf?!" Charlie shouted, "Papa, are you sure?" She added.
Papa nodded, "Yes, Charlie. You're a werewolf. As was your mother." He said with a delighted tone.
"She was?" I ask smiling.
'Momma was a werewolf? I had no idea. Why didn't she tell us?' I think to myself.
I look at Charlie, who is sitting in shock.
"Does that mean that you're a…" She said not wanting to finish her question.
We both look at Papa with curiosity written all over our faces.
Papa nodded, "Yes, Charlie. I'm a werewolf."
"And….grandma?" She asked.
"No," Papa chuckled lightly. "No, you're grandmother wasn't a werewolf like you and I." He added.
There was a pause between speaking, but I was still curious as to why the hunters wanted us dead. So, I had to ask.
"Why were the hunters trying to kill us, Charlie?" I asked, glancing up at her.
I watched the fire flicker in her hazel and blue eyes as she looked at me. "I don't know, Alex." Charlie quickly turned her attention to Papa, "Papa?"
Papa sighed as if he didn't want to answer that question, "They're afraid of difference in the village."
"Difference? How much different can we be from them?!" Charlie asked, her tone completely changed, it was fear and anger mixed between her tongue.
"We can change our form, Charlie. That's pretty different from what normal people can do." Papa said in a calm tone.
I looked between them; there wasn't much a seventeen year old could do. I stood and walked until I was standing in the middle of the den looking outside.
"What do we do now? We can't go back home. We have nowhere to go." I say sadly.
"You'll stay here for the night. You can travel with Jonathan and I as far as Black Ridge; you should be safe up there in the ridge, at least until spring time." Papa said.
"Why just until spring?" Charlie asked.
"Because, spring is when the men of the village go hunting." Papa said frowning trying to stand up, he winced and Charlie ran up to help him up. "Spring is the worst time of the year for is werewolves. If they find you…they won't hesitate to shoot." Papa added as Charlie helped him walk to me.
He placed a gentle hand on my shoulder; I turned to him and hid my face in his shoulder. I didn't want to seem pathetically emotional, but I couldn't help it. What was to become of my mother now that the hunters have her? What happens to me and Charlie? Are we to die when we reach Black Ridge? Or, are we to die much sooner?
Later, after watching the snow slowly begin to fall, I watched Papa and Charlie talk, my eyes lids were getting heave, but I didn't want to sleep. What if I had to wake up again and find more hunters at the entrance where Charlie and I rest? Suddenly. I couldn't handle it anymore; I slowly drift asleep with the sounds of the wind and whispers. It was sunrise when Charlie shook me awake, not out of terror but calmly.
"Alex, wake up. We need to get moving if we want to reach Black Ridge by Wednesday." Charlie said smiling at me, I opened my eyes and smiled at her.
I didn't have to wake up and run away in terror again, I was thankful for that.
"Charlie. I had the most wonderful dream! We were in a flower field, and-"I said but Charlie cut me off before I could finish.
"That sounds like a wonderful dream, you must tell me some other time, Alexandria. Now, come along and get ready, Papa says we'll eat and make our travel." Charlie says untangling my hair with her fingers. I looked around the den, I didn't see Papa or 'Jonathan', and I looked at Charlie, "Where's Papa? And Jonathan?" I ask, almost not knowing if I wanted to know the answer.
"They're outside waiting for us, now come along and grab your things." Charlie said handing me my bag. I take my bag from her and stand; I notice that Charlie picks up a pillow from where I lied. She must've put there when I was asleep. Moments later, Charlie and I walk out fresh and ready. Jonathan didn't look too happy about the fact that Charlie and I were tagging alone for most of the trip. "Took you two long enough. What were you doing in there anyway? Doing each other's hair?" Jonathan said, his tone obviously sounded annoyed.
"Watch it wolf boy!" Charlie said glaring.
"Both of you knock it off!" Papa shouted. "We won't be able to reach Black Ridge at this point if you two don't stop fighting with each other," Papa added angrily.
For a moment I was afraid of him, I've never heard him yell, not even raise his voice.
Jonathan backed down but kept an ice cold glare on Charlie.
"Now, come along. We have to find something to eat. Then we'll make our travel as far as we can." Papa said. Charlie nodded as did I. Almost an hour later, we found a nice spot to hunt, we were right near a stream, so, Charlie and I decide to clean up as much as we could before we made our travel to Black Ridge. Jonathan went out almost two miles from where we sat and hunted for something to eat. Five minutes after he set out he came back with four rabbits and two squirrels. Papa looked impressed, as did Charlie. "Well done, Jonathan," Papa said. "And there's some to take with us for the trip." Papa added. Charlie smiled at Jonathan, which was strange; for this is the first time she's smiled at him. I nudge her shoulder and shake my head. "What?" Charlie asks.
"Don't start smiling and giggling around him now, Charlie," I say crossing my arms.
"I'm not!" She replied almost blushing.
"Charlie, this isn't a joke. I don't trust him." I say.
Charlie sighed, "Alright, but there's something about him…I don't know what it is." Charlie says.
I couldn't stop my eyes from rolling, I continue to wash up for breakfast and the travel.
Moments later, after we've cleaned up, we sit down as Papa splits on of the rabbits into little pieces. I start a small fair so that we can cook the mean, but Papa and Jonathan eat their share of meat raw. Charlie and I look at them with disgust. Charlie finds a few sticks and puts our share of the meat on them and then places it over the fire. After the meat is fully cooked we slowly eat. Once we're done, Papa wraps the extra rabbits and the squirrels in a blanket and puts it in a bag.
"Come…we should reach Shadow Creek by sundown." Papa said lugging the bag over his shoulder.
Charlie and I look to each other.
Shadow Creek, sounds like a horrid place. I thought.
"Papa, I don't think Shadow Creek is a good idea." Charlie said nervously.
"And why is that, Charlie?" Papa asked curiously.
Charlie sighed; did she know something I didn't? "It's just…momma told us about that place. She said it was horrible."
Moments later we all heard footsteps coming close to us. "Hide." Papa whispered to me and Charlie.
"What about you two?" My own voice cracked with terror.
"Don't worry about us, Alexandria. Just hide." He demanded.
Charlie pulls me along, I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay and help, but my sister was stranger than I was, she pulled me behind a nearby bolder and told me to stay quiet.
"Holt!" A voice cried out.
'Oh no! That sounds like the man that was shouting outside the door of our house! I thought.
I tugged on Charlie's dress sleeve, "Charlie," I whispered, "That's the man that was shouting outside the door of the house." I said quietly.
"Are you sure?" She replied peeking over the bolder slightly.
I nod. I'm not sure what to think, I'm not sure if I should be scared or terrified.
'What should we do? Run? Continue hiding? He's sure to find us sometime if we continue hiding. I hope Papa can get rid of him. I think to myself, Charlie looked to me frowning; she reached over and held me close to her seeing the fear in my eyes.
"What are you doing out here, old timer?" The voice asked.
"Traveling. Me and my son," Papa replied. "We're headed to Green Cross, just across Black Ridge. We had to rest here for the night, there's no telling what lurks out here during the evening, yes?" Papa added.
"I suppose so," The voice said replying to Papa's statement. "Carry on your travel, sir. And have a nice day."
The footsteps start again, the sound of heavy boots crushing the leaves under his feet. Charlie tugged me over to the side of the bolder.
"Oh yes, and be safe. You're right about not knowing what lurks during the evening." The voice added as he paused.
Charlie peeked around the bolder slightly once more and then immediately stopped and turned to me, her eyes are filled with panic. I mouth the words 'Did he see you?' she shrugged. We heard the footsteps continue and fade away slowly. "Alright," Papa said. "You two can come out." He added.
Charlie and I walk out slowly and nervously, she looks down the pathway for the man but there was no sign of him. She sighed of relief and continued her way out of the hiding spot.
"That was really close." Charlie said softly chuckling.
Jonathan nodded, "Agreed." He said with a grin, he patted Papa on the shoulder. "Nice move old man."
Papa chuckled then looked to me. "Alexandria," his tone was much different from when he was talking with the man.
"Yes papa?" I say nervously.
"When I tell you to hide, you do so," Papa sighed softly. "You can't worry about me and Jonathan. That's not your responsibility. You could get hurt or worse not doing as I tell you to." He added.
I nod, "Yes papa." I say looking at the dirt.
"Good. Now, let's get out of here before he comes back, yes?" Papa said with a calmer tone.
"Sounds like a good idea if we want to get to Shadow Creek by sundown like you said." Jonathan said throwing a bag over his shoulder.
A few minutes later, after we've put the fire out we make our way toward Shadow Creek, it was a long and quiet walk before I started to try and remember my Grandmother. I thought back as far as I could, but I couldn't remember anything about her. I was curious, so I walked until I was standing side to side with Papa.
"Papa?" I ask trying to get his attention.
"Yes, Alexandria?" He replied.
"What do you remember about, grandma?" I ask.
"I remember everything about your grandmother, Alex. I remember the way she would walk around our house humming her favorite song we sang at church," Papa said looking ahead at the trail. I couldn't help but let out a small soft giggle.
"I remember the scent of her perfume when we first met. It was a mixture of Lavender and Peaches," He added with a smile then he looked at me, "You remind me so much of her, she used to laugh and smile just as you did." He said, but his tone wasn't sad or happy. I couldn't make it out.
"I miss her, Papa." I say frowning.
"I know, I do too." He replied.
He stopped a few minutes to hug me; I smiled and motioned for Charlie to join in.
"You girls are all I have left now." Papa said choking back his tears.
I hug him tighter, and then notice that Jonathan had continued walking. Papa pulled away and wiped his face free of tears.
"Let's continue, shall we?" He suggested.
Charlie and I both nod; I cross my arms as Papa turns around.
I look to Charlie, "That's why I don't like this Jonathan man, Charlie. He just kept walking during all of that. Doesn't that say something?" I ask, then I notice that came out a bit stricter that I thought it would've.
"Maybe he's not one for, hugging...?" She said, but she didn't sound too sure.
Despite the negativity in Jonathan's behavior, we decide to drop the subject and continue moving. A few hours pass and the sun was just starting to set when Papa suggested we rest, me and Charlie quickly sat down with a delighted sigh.
"How long have we been traveling?" Jonathan asked.
"Thirteen hours, if not more." Papa replied.
"Thirteen?" I ask. "It only felt like four hours." I add with shock.
Jonathan chuckled bitterly, or that's what is sounded like. I shot a glare at him.
'Pathetic.' I think.
"Look there." Papa said pointing eastward.
"What is it, Papa?" Charlie asked.
"I don't see anything." Jonathan stated.
Papa laughed, "Look closer." He said.
All of us took a look closer, and there just down this mutinous hill was a village. I gasp, 'we're so close!' I think. I look at Charlie, she doesn't seem too comfortable with us being this close to the town Mother told us to stay away from.
"Mother would want us to go down there and be safe," I say trying to sound as reassuring as I could.
"I know," Charlie replies. "But, it's just I hate going against Mother's wishes. Especially now that she's with the Hunters." She adds.
I cross my arms, "Charlie, she'd want us to." I say with a more demanding tone.
"Fine." She says and starts making her way to the trail down.
I looked at Papa and he grinned, "Good work, Alexandria." He said patting my head and walking toward the trail.
I and Jonathan follow behind Papa; I can't help but smile proudly. 'I can't believe that worked.' I think to myself. Moments later I hear Charlie scream, Papa, Jonathan and I rush to where we all heard it.
"Charlie!?" I scream, "Charlie, where are you?!" I add with terror.
Papa pushes me behind him, "Stay behind me, Alex." He says.
"Charlie!" I scream again, my eyes begin to water.
Jonathan changes into his wolf form and rushes into the woods where we heard the scream disappear to. I burry my face in Papa's chest, he hugs me so tight I can feel his muscles begin to weaken.
"This is all my fault, Papa," I say crying into his shirt. "I told her we would be safe if we went into Shadow Creek." I add.
Papa rubs my back, "This isn't your fault, Alexandria."
Minutes later, Jonathan had come running back; he changed into human form and rested against a tree.
"Charlie?" Is all I could muster up.
He shook his head as he tried to catch his breath, "I….looked everywhere." He said, "There's no sign of her. I'm…sorry." He added.
I dropped to my knees and covered my face. 'No, this isn't happening. This can't be happening.' I told myself. I felt Papa's arms wrap around me again and hug me.
"It's going to be okay, Alexandria. We'll find her. I promise." Papa says, but there's doubt in his voice.
I back away from him, I continue to back away until I change into my werewolf worm for the first time. My eyes widen as I look at myself, 'what just happened?!'I ask myself. My fur is as black as the midnight skies, it glows blue in the sunlight.
"Well," Jonathan began still trying to catch his breath. "You've finally reached your time." He adds after pausing to swallow.
'My time?' I ask myself.
I let out a low whine as I lowered my head to the ground.
"Alex, change back and we'll go look for Charlie in town. We have plenty of light left." Papa said.
I focus on trying to change back to my normal form, but, I can't. I'm too focused on Charlie. I shake my small wolf head and look up at Papa sadly.
"She'll learn to concentrate," Jonathan said finally had caught his breath.
"I'll watch Alex, you go look for Charlie." He adds.
Papa looks to Jonathan, "Are you sure?" Papa asks.
Jonathan looks at me with half a grin and nods, "Yeah, won't be a problem." Jonathan says.
I let a low growl pass my thoughts, Papa leaves to find Charlie. I start to grumble and growl to myself, Jonathan sits there against the tree watching me pace and growl with an amused expression.
"Just let it out, Alex." He says standing. "If that's what it'll take to get your mind off of things." He adds amusedly.
I can't help but growly harshly at him, I watch his hands go up quickly after I do.
"Take it easy, just trying to help you out." He says.
'Yeah, help. Some help you are!' I think, by the look on his face I can't help but think her heard me.
"At least I'm trying." He says.
'Wait, you can hear my thoughts?' I ask him.
He nods, "Part of being a werewolf, hearing each other's thoughts. That's how sensitive our ears are." He says.
I shake my head and roll my eyes, 'Sometimes I wish my ears were too sensitive to stand your voice, I'm tired of hearing it.' I think sarcastically.
"Ooo, sassy. I like it." He says with an enlightened tone, he smirks crookedly.
I'm about to think of something when I hear footsteps nearby, I perk my ears up hoping its Papa. But, the sound of the steps hitting the ground is much too heavy to be Papa. Jonathan moments later hears them as well, he quickly stops leaning against the tree and listens carefully. Now there is more than just the one pair of footsteps. I want to run but I go against it, I see a carriage coming toward us, I notice that the driver sees me and panics. He grabs a spear with a silver ending and throws it at me, Jonathan quickly changes into his wolf form and rushes in front of me, the spear hits him in the right shoulder near his neck, I hear him yelp in pain. I growl at the driver as he makes the carriage come to a stop, I watch him approach me with another silver ended spear.
"James?" A voice called inside the carriage. "James, what's going on out there?" The voice asked.
I run off while I could, my fear made me change into my human form while I hid behind a tree.
"Nothing important sir." James says.
He hopes back onto the seat, just about to take off, "Wait," The voice said. "We've been driving for hours; I need to stretch my legs." The voice adds, it sounded as if he was stretching.
James hopped down from his seat and opened the door, from what I could tell a man, with smooth brown curling hair, dressed in a nice dark blue suit came out of the carriage; he took a deep breath in and smiled.
"What do you say, James." He asks James.
"What do I say to what, sir?" James asks shutting the door of the carriage.
"What do you say we stop in the next town, take a rest. You look like you need one," He tells James. "I for one could use a drink." He adds.
James looked as if he was grinning, but I guess he was too tired to show a decent grin, "You're sure about this, sir?" James asks.
"How many times do I have to say it, James? Call me Charles." He says patting James on the shoulder.
'Charles. That's a nice name for someone like him.' I think.
I feel my foot slip from under me, I grasp the tree to keep me from falling anymore, I gasp and hold on to the tree, I see Charles and James turn me, Charles walks in my direction.
"Hello?" He asks, he ducks under a few branches to see me. "Come, I won't harm you." He adds holding a hand out to me.
"Sir, I don't think that would be the proper thing to do." James says nervously.
"Come now, James. She's just scared," He replies. "What's your name, miss?" He asks with a gentle smile.
"A-Alexandria." I say nervously.
"Pleasure to meet you, Alexandria; I'm Prince Charles Cross," He says gently. "May I help you out of this tree?" He asks.
I couldn't pass up the offer; I couldn't gather enough strength to pull myself up anyway. I nod. He extends his hand towards me once again; I take his hand and pull myself up and out of the branches. I see Jonathan still lying on the ground in his wolf form; I gasp and run to him after Charles helps me out.
"I would stand back, Miss Alexandria. That a dangerous animal." Says James.
"I'm well aware of this. You've wounded him!" I yell.
"You own this creature?!" James exclaims.
"Not own, he follows me! He has been for a while now." I tell him.
"Come," Charles buts in, "I have-" He begins.
He pauses as I pull out a knife; I bend down near his ear, "Forgive me." I whisper. I take the knife and cut the wooden spear in half. I toss the end half aside.
"I wouldn't look." I tell James and Charles.
Charles and James turn away; I let out a heavy sigh and close my eyes. I quickly take the spear out of his shoulder, he yelps with pain. I tear a small piece of my dress off of the bottom and wrap it around Jonathan's wound.
"There you go, I just hope is doesn't get infected." I say patting his head softly.
Jonathan closes his eyes and rests his head on a pile of leafs. Charles and James turn around to face Jonathan and I.
"Where did you learn how to do that?" Charles asks me.
I look at him and sigh, "My mother taught me a few things before she was taken from me and my sister." I say, I watch Charles look around at the surroundings.
"Your sister? Where is she?" He asks.
"She's missing," I say sadly, I look to Jonathan and stoke the small lengths of fur on his head. "She was taken away; my Papa went to look for her not long ago." I add.
"Oh dear." James says, but there's not a tone of care in his voice at all.
"Can we help in anyway at all?" Asks Charles.
'Should I let them?' I ask myself when Jonathan begins to growl at James.
"Protective of you, isn't he?" James asks suspiciously.
I could practically see the wheels turning in James' mind, I try not to show how terrified and nervous I am. I look at Jonathan's wolf form at the corner of my eye.
"He's been doing that all day," I say choking on the nervousness in my voice. "It's strange." I add.
"When did he start following you, Miss Alexandria?" Charles asks with curiosity written over his face.
"Um, yesterday I believe," I say, I look up at the sky; you can almost see the stars begin to shine. I look back at Charles and James. "I'd love to stay and explain everything, but I really must be going. Papa will be back soon. Please, accept my apology." I pick up the skirt of my dress to stand; once I've stood I reach down and take Jonathan in my arms. I run into the woods, deep, deep, into the woods. I find a spot near a small, slow flowing stream; I lay Jonathan down on the bay and cup some water in my hands.
"Just hold still." I tell him. I slowly pour the water onto the wound, he whines.
"Oh, don't be a big baby." I say.
I watch him turn back into his human form, he looked almost charming. I watched his blue eyes look at me. I cup water in my hands again and pour it slowly onto his wound.
"Ow!" He cried. "Stop that!"
"We need to get it clean, Jonathan." I say, pouring the rest of the water on his wound. "There." I mutter.
I tear another part of my dress off and wrap it around the bloody cloth.
"Why did you do that?" I ask.
"Do what?" He replies as he looks at me.
"Why did you jump in front of that spear for me?" I ask rubbing the left over blood running down his arm.
"Your grandfather would kill me himself if I wouldn't have stepped in front of that spear," He said.
I looked up at him with a frown. "That and he just lost Charlie. I don't think he can stand living with himself if he lost you as well, Alex." He adds.
"Please, Alexandria. Call me Alexandria." I tell him.
"And I thought here we were having a moment." He joked.