I sat in front of the elders with my head bowed, they were angry with me and would not listen to my brothers excuses for me anymore. The elders had to hear my reasoning for why yet another human knows about our existence, and not any of Johns’ excuses for why I let this happen again.
The oldest elder called out to me first. This is the first time I have had to represent myself against them. “Zahira Whitepaw, your careless actions of the past have come up to haunt this pack again! When will you learn to check everywhere before you shift. We have told you time and time again about this. And it’s becoming unacceptable. You know that if this human slips up even just a little we will have to relocate once again. Is this what you want?! Do you wish to hurt your family like this repeatedly?!” I could tell by his voice that it was painful, both emotional, and physically, because of my repeated actions. It just so happened that the oldest elder in my jury was my father. I haven’t seen him since the second to last time this had happened, and not the way I wanted to see him again. This was the first time I have seen him since our pack moved to Hocking Hills. And my father seems to avoid me in particular. My father would sleep in Old Mans’ cave until I leave from the area so he can come out the cave. It is no secret that he is disappointed in me, and as far back as I can remember it’s been this way my whole life. I swallowed hard before I began to speak, nervous, but ready. “Jake won’t hurt us, I swear father. I trust him with my life. You know, some humans are not out to hurt us, and like Jake some humans are out there to help us. You have to trust me this one last time. Jake won’t make us run like the others. He would never do that”, my voice broke as I finished the last sentence. I know it was not a very good argument against my repeated crime but I did my best. It was as if he had this conversation already planned out because he responded so quickly to my plea. “Are you aware of what happens if he is not what you expect him to be?”, he dragged out the work ‘aware’ maybe to try to get the point across in my mind. I, on the other hand, had to take time to myself to think of what to say next. But there was nothing I could really say to help much more. I stared down at the ground as I replied, “Yes sir.”, I said with a lower voice remembering what happened last time. “I am sorry that i have disappointed you again. But this time it will be different, I swear on my life! I will make sure this does not turn out like the past. I will do everything in my power to make sure of this. You just have to trust me this one last time father...” I trailed off on the last sentence, side-tracking my thoughts as to what power I really have if Jake turned against us. My plea must have set in, because my father nodded his head at me when I looked back up then turned to walk away. The other elders followed his lead, but my father was the last to leave of them with his last words to ring in my head, “This one last time Zahira. I mean it.”
John had rested his left hand on my right shoulder before soon following after our father. I was left alone with only my thoughts. I sat down where I stood only to let out a huge sigh of relief. I had never had to do something so hard, or so I thought. It had started to rain and this is what made me realize what time of day it was. It had gotten so dark. I decided not to go back to my cabin even though it was raining but to just sleep where I was for the night. I laid down where I was and let the rain drench me from head to toe for the night.
That morning I got up and went back to my cabin. I had to get ready for yet another day of school. Everything from last night seemed like a dream, not real, but yet it was. I was so anxious I felt as though I would explode from it all day. And Jake was avoiding me, which hurt like hell because I didn’t know why. A person avoiding me was becoming more and more popular. Lucky for me it was seventh period, the last period of the day and I had a plan. My seventh period class was close to the back doors so I could ambush Jake on his way home from school. I knew this would work because I was faster than him. I would find out why he was avoiding me in the first place and put an end to this whole avoiding me thing.
When the bell ran I dashed for the back doors and just as I was one classroom from the doors I was shoved into an already emptied classroom. I could hear the door lock from behind me, and I spun around to see the person who had the nerve to shove me. To my surprise it was Jake. I was relieved at first that it was him but then my anger got the best of me. “What the hell Jake?! You avoid me all damn day then have the fucking nerve to shove me in here like some kind of maniac! What is your deal lately? Your my best friend one minute and the next your avoiding me, shoving me into empty rooms. I can’t read you and it bugs the hell out of me!” I noticed that after I lashed out on him, he once again was calm. I turned my back to Jake, as he closed his eyes for a moment and then sighed before he finally spoke, “I guess I deserved that.” I then decided to sit on a desk, and as I did this I crossed my arms over my upper torso portion of my body. My hard eyes softened at the sight of his face. There was pain written all over his face and I didn’t know what from. This look made me feel really bad for lashing out on him. I mean what if one of his family members died or something, and I just gave him more shit than he needed right now. I sighed to release some of my tension and had to ask because that’s what friend would do. “Jake, what happened?” There was a moment of silence before he spoke. I could tell he was choosing his words carefully before he decided to speak. “I meet your father last night.”
I didn’t know it was possible for a human to experience such a huge state of shock until now. I could feel all the color leaving my face after hearing that. And along with shock, I was also frightened like no other. Even though my father did everything in his power to avoid me, I knew him well. My father was not the type of guy to leave humans alive after encountering them. I had lost my focus on the real world with my thoughts, but after moments everything came back into focus. Jake was here, standing right in front of me, alive. That was a load off of my mind, but I couldn’t help but wonder what my father could have said or done to him. I would not let Jake see me like this, I didn’t like to look afraid in front of people, I had to be strong. I shielded my inner feelings once again my eyes were hard with anger. “Jake, what happened?” I asked. Jake wouldn’t reply the first time I asked, so I repeated my question. This time he answered me, “I can’t tell you, all I can say is that I do truly care about you, you have no idea how much. And I would never, never hurt you. I think you deserve to know that much at least.” I tried to continue shielding myself, but as I spoke my voice deceived me and cracked as I said, “I know that Jake.” Then as though nothing happened, Jake smiled like he use to and hugged me. Jake then walked to the door and I heard it unlock. “Hey, I have to go visit my mom today. But I’ll see you tomorrow.” he said as he turned around to face me. He smiled quickly at me and then left.
I longed for Jake to tell me what happened last night, but at the same time I longed for his presence in general. I never thought I would feel this way about a guy, but it happened. And I was clueless on how to handle these new emotions. After I was done with my self-pity I noticed how Jake has changed lately. If he wouldn’t tell me what happened then I would have to find out myself.
For the next few days me and Jake talked like we had just met, barely, nothing like we use to. And he didn’t know that the past couple of days I’ve been following him after school. I would stay close to the woods for cover seeing as summer had come and gone as quickly as it had came. Snow covered every house, and laid on all the dormant trees beautifully. It was much easier to blend in with my surroundings with snow on the ground. When you’re like me and have pure white fur plus there’s snow on the ground the only way to know where I was, was to look for my eyes or paw prints. After two days of following Jake with nothing happening but the usual, I caught Jake meeting with John. Now my brother could be a babe magnet if he would change his fashion sense. But he did not want to look hot and mysterious to the ladies. He refuses to change the way he dressed. John sadly looked like a crazy nerd guy, who would either commit suicide or murder someone someday. He then led Jake to an alley near a local pizza place. The smell made my stomach growl with hunger but I ignored it as I dashed across the street. I quietly peeked my head around the corner; with the eyes of a wolf I had night vision, one of the good props of being a werewolf. I could see my brother, and Jake, then another figure. I couldn’t pin point who it was at first until I walked into the alley. I growled lowly as I approached the group of males, until I realized. The unidentified figure was my father in his human form. I did not notice him because he almost never shifts out of his wolf form. My father’s human form was so creepy looking; you could certainly tell he was old in this form. At first they were all startled by my appearance. Then I shifted slowly walking towards them into my human form. This did not please John or my father.
“What are you doing? You could have been seen! See this is why humans always find out our secret. Because your careless about when and where you shift.” my father hissed at me. I didn’t care about what my father had to say; I didn’t snap back either. I could not believe that Jake would go behind my back like this. I thought I could trust him. Jake interrupted my thoughts when he whispered lowly to John, “This is awkward.” Then I finally spoke, “I was worried about Jake, and now I know I have an even bigger reason to be worried. Anything involving you should have a big billboard with the words ‘DANGEROUS!’ in bold. What are you guys doing?” Jake was the one who answered my question, “You can’t know that yet, Z.” Jake didn’t have much confidence in his voice; he said it so low it was almost a whisper. This was not the answer I was looking for. John decided to put his two cents in this when I didn’t have a quick reply, “This means that you will either be very happy or very angry; possibly both. But right now Zahira we cannot afford to find out which it will be.” The voice John was using was a coo-ing voice as if to calm a baby, I have heard this voice often when I was upset. I looked at all three of the males in front of me to see their expressions. The one my father had I have never seen before. “Zahira, my child this will help everyone in the long run.” my father said. He was staring at me with this dark look in his eyes, and I knew then that this was good. That in fact like I said earlier it was dangerous. Jake cleared his throat after my father had spoken. And I guess this gave Jake an idea to copy Johns’ coo-ing voice and try to talk with more conviction now. This time when he spoke he was doing his own form of the coo-ing and spoke more loudly than before. “Yeah Z, your dad is right you know. So just calm down, kay?” I couldn’t help but to glare at all of them after seeing my father’s look and hearing Jake agree with him. I mean what the hell! Jake doesn’t even know my father and what his background is. When I finally spoke I was yelling, “What the hell is going on?” I looked at each face of each male; I knew they could see in my eyes how angry I was because I could feel it.
Everything was quiet for a minute after my outburst. Then like someone flipped the light switch everything clicked in my head, ‘it would help everyone in the long run’, the look my father was giving me, and Jake acting different since meeting my father. As all these thoughts ran through my mind, it just made my anger stronger. And I could feel my anger getting the best of me again, but I couldn’t control it. Before I knew it I had lunged at my father, tackling him to the ground. I couldn’t believe he would try to do this to me again. After everything that has happened, he would try again. He, of all people should know what this does to the human body. Then John and Jake were pulling me off my father as I kept attacking him. They succeeded in pulling me off of him and they pinned me against the alley wall. “How dare you two! How dare you, Dad, for putting this damn idea in his head. Did you tell him how he would end up? What would happen after 20 times of shifting?! Huh?! Does he know how excruciating painful it will be for him, and then he would die! Don’t you remember what happened to mom?! Or did you forget?! You bastard! I hate you, I hate you, I HATE YOU!!!” By the time I was done I was breathing heavily, and my eyes were starting to tear up. I kept trying to get free from John and Jake’s hold but it was a struggle. “She died because of you trying to change her. She DIED, but you don’t care do you... You never did. You sick, sick man!” And with those last words I finally broke free of the boy’s that had hold of me. I fell to the ground landing on my hands and knees, by this time I was full out crying. I needed to get away, far away from this man. The man who had killed the woman he loved, who had killed my mother, and now wanted to do the same to my best friend whom I have yet to admit having feelings for. I just couldn’t handle this, and surely wouldn’t allow for this to happen. So I shifted and took off sprinting through town. I did not even care about who could have seen me, all they could have seen was a half-crazed wolf running through town, nothing crazy about that. At first I had no idea where I was going until, subconsciously, I ended up in the meadow. I collapsed once there; I laid there crying tears for the past and possible future. I must have ended up crying myself to sleep, because time past without me aware of it.
I woke up around noon the next day, unrested and sore. I stood in the clearing, starring at potentially nothing for a few minutes before I decided to start heading back to my cabin. I needed a shower, badly, and a new change of clothes. I stayed in my wolf form until I could safely shift back in my cabin. After I had my shower, and put on a new change of clothes I trudged off to school. As I left, the pack all had worried looks that they were attempting to shoot at me, I just ignored them and continued on my way.
The day was slow, but now the tables had turned with me and Jake. Instead of him ignoring me I was the one who was ignoring him,again, but unlike Jake I was a pro at being invisible and hiding in the background of scenes. At the end of the school day I was exhausted, I just wanted to go home and sleep. Sadly, the universe didn’t want that for me, it had other plans for my day. The form of those said plans were in the form of Jake, bugging me. “Z, can we please talk?” Jake was blocking my path on my way out of the school so that I had no choice but to acknowledge him. “Z, please?!” I just stood there waiting for him to move. “I’m sorry, Z!” Jake was pleading with his voice for me to talk to him but I ignored his attempts. I stepped around him, seeing as he wouldn’t be the one moving, but that did not faze him. Jake started to follow me as I continued on my way to what I wanted to do for the day, regardless of the universes’ plans. For a while on our walk Jake didn’t say much, he must have been trying to figure out what to say that would get me to talk. When we finally reached the bottom of the schools front steps he decided to try again. “Z... Please talk to me!” I could hear in Jakes’ voice that he was pained to have me ignore him. I guess his own medicine did not taste too good to him. So he would leave me alone, I decided to talk to him. “No Jake! You are going to stand here begging me to listen to you when all you are going to say is that you’re strong... An... And you can live longer than my mother did. But you can’t! And what you don’t seem to get is that if you go through with this stupid ass idea my bastard of a father put in your head, I will leave the pack without them having to force me to. You can’t do this, and I won’t allow you to. End. Point. Period.” I was at the verge of tears again after telling him this. Jake said nothing for a moment, and then he started to shake his head from left to right slowly as he looked down at the ground. “I wasn’t going to say that.” Jake sighed lightly, and reached out to grab my left arm with his right hand. He pulled me close to him, like really close. “I’m so, so sorry I hurt you Z. And I never intended to do that because you know I would never want to hurt you intentionally. I hope you will forgive me for believing what your father said. After how you reacted when you found out, I decided not to go through with it, because it would hurt you if I did.” Jake then kissed the top of my forehead, pulling me closer and hugging me. I just stood there, letting him hold me at the bottom of the schools’ steps. A moment of silence went by, when Jake held me away from him just enough to see my face. Jakes’ face had a worried look on it; I did not want anyone to ever see me like this. “Z?” I coughed slightly as I turned my head to the left some, and whipped my tears with the back side of my left palm. “I’m fine. Just... Just don’t ever think of doing that again, please.” I finished in almost a whisper. I could see that Jake was smiling when I faced to look at him again. “Whatever you want, hun.” Jake really was different from the rest.
That night I didn’t go home, I never wanted to go back to that place again. So for the night I stayed with Jake, sleeping at the end of his bed. It felt so comfy and warm; man I haven’t felt this warm at night in ages. He was my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without him around me. Maybe he was more than my best friend, and I just didn’t want to admit my feelings for him. But he was still my best friend. Jake made a big difference in my life, I shifted less and less, mainly only in the morning and at night lately. I was the first one up in his whole household, so I took a shower and raided his closet in need of a new shirt to wear. After finding a new shirt of my liking I left Jake a note besides his pillow. Since no one knew I was there I climbed out his bedroom window and walked to the coffee shop, before Jake’s sister could find me in his room when she came to wake him up for school.
The book shelf then quietly sung open, starting to walk into the opening. I stopped to look back at Jake who was in shock and just stood there wide eyed. His shock amused me, “Come on curious cat.” Jake shook his head some and then followed me. After we stepped in the door the door had shut behind us, Jake jumped at the noise. “Scaredy cat” I laughed as we headed down the steps that were hidden. I knew it was coming and I could count down in my head ‘3, 2, 1’, that’s when Jake asked “What is this place?” I did not know how to explain without it coming out sounding weird so I decided to go with the casual way of saying it, “This is the library for shifters and other guests.” By this time we had reached the bottom of the steps and there were chairs in the middle of the room, along with book old spider-web covered shelves. I motioned for Jake to come over and sit with me. Jake sat in the chair that was closest to mines, looking around in awe. “What you’re going to make me research this all myself. or something?” Jake said as though he actually believed I would make him do that. In a way he was right though, I would if we didn’t have Vladimir to do that for us. “No Jake. Vladimir is the best at telling the history you want to know, silly.” A few minutes of silence had gone by and I could hear Jake sighing impatiently. “Well...?” Jake said, “Where is he?” This kid really did not want to wait, doesn’t he know that patience is virtue. “Impatient much?” I replied. “Very Z, you should know this by now.” Which I did know I just thought he would learn some patience by now. “Ugh, fine.” I glared at Jake and sighed. “Vladimir! Oh my dear Vladimir. Come out, come out wherever you are!” I said as you often heard parents use on their little ones. There was a moment of silence after I had called for Vladimir, when a black wolf walked out from between the bookshelves. Once out in the clearing nearing the chairs, the wolf shifted into a man that looked to be in his late twenties, maybe early thirties. This was Vladimir. To someone who has never seen Vladimir before he would look as though he never grew out of his goth sage as a teenager. He was wearing a long black leather coat, with a black Metallica shirt underneath, with dark jeans, and black converses. Vladimir walked over to the chair that was in front of Jake and I, siting down. “Ah! Zahira my darling. It has been to long. How are you my dear child?” The chair he sat in was close enough so that he could take my right hand and kiss it. “I’ve been good. Yourself?” I smiled at him as he released my hand. “Oh, you know. Just very lonely, you know not many people come to visit me.” Vladimir has paused, and this is when he seen Jake sitting next to me. “Oh, and who is your friend Zahira? Two guests in my library I am ever so pleased. Welcome... ?” Vladimir held out his left hand and trailed off in his sentence as for Jake to fill in the blank. Jake took Vladimir’s hand and shook it firmly, “Jake sir. It’s nice to meet you.” Vladimir did truly look happy to finally have visitors, “You know Zahira here doesn’t have all her manners to introduce us herself.” He laughed some at the end of his sentence, and I knew he was joking. “Jake here is my friend from school. He’s the one who found out our secret. He wants to know the history behind us.”, I told Vladimir with a smile still on my face. “Well Jake, what a common name, anyways I hope you don’t have anything to do that is urgent at this moment, because it is not a short story.”, Vladimir said teasingly looking at Jake. Jake’s face showed he was eager to hear the story, “I have plenty of time sir.” This made Vladimir smile even more, this was Vladimir’s favorite story to tell. “Well good, though I do have to warn you. Since you are a human this may seem a bit strange to you.” I guess this made Jake feel as though he had to explain why he wanted to know because he spoke again instead of letting the story begin. “Well you see sir, I just want to know more so that I can understand and protect Z better.” Jake was looking at me when he said this. “Okay, where should I begin, hm...? Let’s see.” said Vladimir.
Vladimir had paused for a moment as he thought back through the years of our history. As he did this I got more comfortable in my chair, seeing as I knew we were going to be sitting here awhile. Jake did not move he was too excited to hear this story. “I got it. It all started back in one A.C. as you humans would put it. Things were defiantly wild back then. When all hell broke loose amongst the world, our kind came to be.” Vladimir paused again, and I stood up to go get him a glass of water. As I walked over to the little area that looked like a teacher lounge, I could hear that Vladimir had continued on with his story. “We started though not as shifters but as demonic spirits sent by the under lord himself. I do not see why he was called this, I mean he does not live under anything. Quite silly if you think about it long enough like I have. Actually right before he died he lived in Las Vegas, and then his daughter took over. Crazy bastards.” He shook his head some as he finished his last sentence. I had gotten a water bottle from the fridge and was sitting back down into my seat as he started talking again. “Anyways back to the story, you see we actually did not like humans... In face we despised them so much that we did not want anything to do with them. That’s when we came across the wolf, beautiful creatures really. But we were cruel back then and sent their souls off to Lucifer and took over their magnificent bodies...” Jake spoke up cutting Vladimir off mid-sentence, “But that doesn’t explain the shifting.” Vladimir did not like to be interrupted and his smile had disappeared from his face. “All in good time my boy, patient is a virtue. In fact when I get to that part of the story it will explain Zahira’s fur to you. Even though I bet she's not too pleased with it.” I lost my facial expression as soon as he had mentioned this and shook my head, “Not even close. I was trying to avoid telling Jake that.” I growled some at the end of my sentence to make sure Vladimir got the point.