Standing on the snowy ground of a hill that over looked the entirety of NightShade town I brought the could air deep into my body through my nostrils, the scents of hundreds of werewolves mingling in my head. Some I could have named from their scent it was that strong, or my nose was that sensitive, either way I knew Kellan was in bed, Brina was at the library studying late and Mr. Lightman was in his office study as he always was. One of the dorm houses had music thundering from its windows and was lit up like a Christmas tree as giggling students poured inside the huge building, laughing and dancing their way through the streets merrily. I couldn't help but smile. Under Mr. Lightman no parties were ever allowed on school days, but this new headmistress was slightly more lenient, although I did get the feeling she didn't want me here.
Staring up at the bright silver half moon that peeked through a gap in the swirling gray clouds I felt my mind drift...the other members of the Lightning Pack, my family now. What they were doing on their month of leave...Redtooth and Frost said they were going to see her family, and make preparations for the wedding. Ghost went back home to Russia, Silver Fur said he was off hunting with his son. A young man of seventeen in his final year at the Douglas Academy in Scotland, White Eyes was back in China, sitting atop a mountain in some Buddhist monastery meditating; Black Rose was going to do whatever she did on her holidays. Hera was going back to Greece to see family and old friends and Scarlet was taking a month long holiday with her husband. And I'm here...the only place I can call home now. My so-called Father had disowned me after I joined the Lightning Pack...he didn't want a son that was a 'glorified bounty hunter ' to use his own words. No, he wanted me to go into politics...to kiss ass like he does and find my way to the top...'That isn't me father...'
A branch cracked in the tree line behind me. My ears pricked at the sudden noise in the silent landscape, turning quickly my instincts and training kicked in. I nearly changed but just managed to prevent it. The tree line was thick and impenetrable to even my eyes, but the heavy musk of werewolf hung in my nostrils. 'Who's there?' I asked. Muscles tightened. Ready to change at a moment’s notice. Something's there. I can feel it. 'Hello?' Something big and dark darted between the trees. It’s scent disappearing as it ran. For a moment I debated running after it, but as I stood more scents drifted on the wind. Elk. I'm getting paranoid...but...no you're just inventing enemies now. A part of my mind said, but another part knew it was a werewolf. Shaking my head of the incident I made my way down the hill back into NightShade. Deciding to take a shortcut through the main dining hall to my house I entered the deserted building. My footsteps echoing off the walls as I walked. More scents drifted through the stagnant air, one above all others...another wolf smell but this one laced with so much fear it made me gag. 'Hello.' I cried out, my echo the only reply. 'Go to sleep Balthazar you stupid fool.' I muttered to myself. I was tired.
'Mr. Bane Mr. Bane!' shouted a small girl above all the others. This class of second years were delightful, I loved teaching them. They were so enthusiastic they made me remember why I love teaching.
'Yes Miss. Ecklby.'
'I know the Legend of Romulus and Reamus!' she smiled.
'Everyone knows that one Jenny!' said Richard at the front, a large rotund boy with short spiked hair and a crooked nose.
'Even so Mr. Cracktooth it will be good to hear Miss. Ecklby tell it. Legends of our people need to be told over and over, that way we never forget them.' The other hands of the children lowered slowly as Jenny stood up and began telling the story of how the two werewolf twins built Rome. She was half way through her very detailed story when a sharp knock at the door cut her flow. All eyes turned to it as it opened. One of the harsh female teachers took a step inside; Mrs. Finch was a tall thin woman with sharp eyes, pointed nose and a pair of lips that looked like they couldn't smile if they tried. I didn't like her so I don't want to know what the kids thought of her. But they did as he taught them, when an elder enters the room you stand, and they all did. 'Mrs. Finch what a pleasant surprise.' I lied.
'Can I speak with you Balthazar.' she said shortly. Her voice a gravel pit of shifting stones. I hate it when she uses my first name, she never saw me as a teacher.
'Not right now Eleanor I'm in the middle of a class.' Turning back to my students she took another step inside.
'It involves a student of yours.' Her claw like hand pulled Mio into the classroom, her bony fingers locked onto the young girls shoulders. She looked awful, her makeup was smeared her clothes were torn and mucky and her eyes were red raw from tears.
'Mio!' I said concerned. 'Are you alright?'
'Miss. Phiale was found in the main dining hall at six in the morning, probably stealing food!' spat Eleanor before Mio could answer. 'When she was caught she demanded to be brought to you.'
'Excuse me class.' I said before walking through the door. The small girl looked up at me with watery eyes when we were in the corridor. 'Mio what's the matter?'
'I'm sorry sir...I didn't know who else to go to...I...I need help...'