Sunday 7th August
Today has been so wonderful. Even though things didn't happen quite the way I might have envisaged, they happened.
As promised, I was not let out of Leanne's sight over the next few days. She organised lots of shopping trips and things to do like bowling and ice skating. I felt a bit like a tourist exploring a different culture, though I'd lived in England all my life. She took me to museums and galleries and I was never bored. Luckily, she didn't seem fazed by the fact that she probably should have been spending that time alone with Alex. Alex seemed slightly distant, though. I accepted the fact that he was likely to prefer Leanne's company to mine now, but I still felt a little as if I was losing something. He wasn't as eager as he usually would have been for us to do things as a threesome. Leanne usually ignored this and assured me that he was fine. She and I were still as thick as thieves.
Yesterday, Leanne was sitting with me while we were eating breakfast - she'd even been sleeping over to me company - when she suddenly grinned.
"Oh, Rani, last night was really funny!"
"Yeah. You were saying stuff in your sleep."
"Really? What'd I say?"
"You kept saying something that sounded like Ti'thee or Tim'thy."
I laughed. "Oh that's my k..., my friend's name," I amended quickly. I'd been about to say kingfisher. Leanne didn't appear to notice anything.
"No, no," I laughed. "Timothy. What did I say about him?"
"I can't be sure, but you sounded as if you were saying something like rose or dove and kingfisher."
I laughed. "His favourite bird's a kingfisher and my favourite romantic images are doves and roses," I improvised.
Leanne snorted. "You never told me what happened in that cupboard when your friend and I left."
"Ah, well, we kissed. It was lovely." I smiled.
"Why aren't you seeing each other?"
I sighed. "He wants to sort himself out before we go out."
"Oh, well, I'm sure it'll be worth the wait. Especially if when he courts you, he'll be better."
"Thanks. And since when did you use the word ‘court' in that context?"
Leanne laughed. "Alex can be really formal and use fancy language sometimes. We both think that's quite romantic."
"Ah well, I'll know what's happening when you buy a ball gown then."
Leanne laughed. "Maybe if you and Timothy have started going out by then, we could go out on a double date."
I nodded. "That would be nice."
Last night was considerably less pleasant than the morning. I woke up in the middle of it because I'd thought I'd heard a distant howling. I'd been suddenly filled with a chilling sense of foreboding. I'd found myself, quite startlingly, getting out of bed and wandering downstairs and out the front door to investigate. I wasn't usually one to investigate noises in the night, so the strangeness of my reaction added to the unnerving nature of the situation.
The atmosphere was tense and electric as I stepped out into the night. I looked out into the darkness in front of me and almost screamed. What escaped my throat, however, was a squeak, definitely inaudible and totally useless. Frozen by fear, I could only stand and stare.
About ten, twelve feet away, standing tall and erect was a wolf. A wolf in itself was quite terrifying and I wondered why I wasn't running away, but the scary thing about this wolf was the dark energy around it. It was emanating a black aura the colour of outer space. I gulped as it came out from the shadows into the orange, eerie glow cast by the street lamp.
"Oh no," I whispered. "Oh, please no..."
The light flickered as it illuminated the dark brown fur and the malevolent brown eyes.
The fur colour and the aura instantly told me it was Timothy. I couldn't relax, though, not while it was staring at me the way a fox eyes a rabbit. Anyway, Lily had told me a witch transforms into a wolf to show the darker side of their personality. I wondered why he was doing this to me. Why would he want to terrify me this way? Was it a test of some sort?
Cautiously, I stepped forward. ‘What are you DOING?!' screamed a voice in my head. I honestly didn't know.
The wolf stood there, its expression unfathomable - like that was a surprise; it was a wolf for goodness' sake.
I approached, stepping slowly, ensuring I made no sudden movements and stayed as quiet as possible so the wolf wasn't alarmed. I didn't know how much control a witch had over their various animal forms. I didn't really want to find out.
When I was inches away from its muzzle, I stretched out a hand to stroke it. I very much deserved what I got next. The wolf snarled and snapped at me.
"Ow!" I cried out as I quickly withdrew my bleeding hand. Oh, gosh, what if this wasn't Timothy.
I stepped back as the wolf growled. Oh, what was I doing? I found my heart was pounding in my chest and I was starting to hyperventilate. An involuntary cry escaped my throat, "Don't hurt me!"
I heard the terror in my voice. I was shaking as the wolf stopped staring at me and just stared at me. My knees were wobbling and I wished he'd just go away. I was too scared to even turn and run back to the house. Something told me this would not be a good idea.
"T-t-timothy, if that's you, please stop this..."
The wolf showed no sign of having understood me. I was starting to think that this wasn't Timothy after all, that I had made a terrible mistake and was about to die.
A crazy voice in my head was telling me to try and stroke him, to distract his attention with one hand whilst petting him with the other. I really didn't want the wolf to bite me again, so I just stood there. I felt tears in my eyes. I was so scared I was crying. I wasn't crying quietly; I was sobbing: loud, racking sobs.
"Oh no, oh no! What am I doing?!" I didn't even realise I was saying these things, they were just coming, some reflex reaction I couldn't control. "Oh, gosh! No, no, no!" I collapsed to my knees. ‘Run away!' I was telling myself.
‘Get out of here! He's going to rip you to shreds!'
I felt sick. I was still gasping out sobs. I looked at the ground before me, not wanting to look up. But when I did, I screamed. It worked this time - a high-pitched, loud, piercing scream. I screamed because the wolf had moved towards me and was now inches from my face.
"Go away!" I yelled, unable to think clearly. "Leave me alone!" I swore, terrified for my life. "PLEASE! JUST GET OUT OF MY FACE!"
The wolf stayed there. Tears streamed relentlessly down my face. My right hand, however, had a different agenda. It was reaching for the fur behind the wolf's left ear. It brushed the coarse, unfamiliar-feeling pelt. It went rigid as I closed my eyes to focus on the space that had opened in my mind.
‘Why isn't she running away? Stupid idiot. I could kill her.' It was Timothy, but his thoughts were dark and icy.
‘Timothy, please, don't hurt me! Change back!'
Shut up! I want to know why you're not fleeing like any sensible prey would.
‘Prey?!' The thought was a squeal.
Yes, prey. Wolves eat humans, Tirana. And you are being very foolish unless you're feeling suicidal again.
‘You wouldn't eat me!' I hoped he wouldn't
Why? Your meat's probably as good as any other human's. Now, why aren't you running?
‘I... don't know! I really want to, but I'm just frozen... Rooted to the spot. Please don't hurt me.'
Frozen by fear. I suppose that's possible. Well, that just makes you easy to attack, doesn't it?
Yes. You smell so tasty. Like lamb, but warm in a different way. Your blood will be hot as it travels down my throat.
To my alarm, he was salivating.
‘NO! Timothy, it's me!! Your rose-dove! Don't hurt me.'
I screamed as he suddenly turned and bit my arm. Ow, ow, ow. His teeth were tearing my flesh. It was more painful than anything I'd ever felt in my life. I tried to pull my arm away but he was gripping it in his jaws.
"Timothy, please!" I yelled. "You can't eat your rose-dove! Ouch! Get off me you stupid boy, wolf, witch, whatever! I found myself punching him with my other hand. My other arm was in agony. I couldn't bear to look at it. As my fist made contact with his skull, Timothy's thoughts took on a new direction.
What am I DOING?! TANI'S NOT FOOD!
The wolf suddenly let go and backed away. It looked terrified. It gazed down at my arm. I followed its gaze and wished I hadn't. I could see the bones in my arm. Everything was a mass of blood which streamed out like the tears which were still flowing down my cheek.
I felt nauseated. Thankfully, I was spared prolonged sight of this bloody mass of flesh and muscle when I fainted.