The room is so quiet that my heartbeat sounds deafening inside my head. I can’t even process why I have a gun in my hand, or why my sister would have it in her bag.
I don’t bother hiding the fact that I was searching through her belongings, and I wheel myself back into her room. I find Logan searching for something near the side of her bed, in the area that I found her suitcase.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” She spins around and I hold the gun up for her to see, making sure the barrel is aimed toward the ceiling. I study her reaction as her facial features change when she recognizes the gun.
“Where did you get that?” she asks, looking between me and the object of both of our interests.
“In your suitcase, where you put it. What’s going on, Logan?” I look at her expectantly, waiting for an answer.
She looks away, brushing her fingers through her hair. “It’s just . . after you told me about that . . . man–werewolf–attacking you, I–I thought it would be good to, you know, have something to protect ourselves with.”
I feel the need to yell at her, but I know that won’t give me answers and will only upset her. I force myself to close my eyes and take a deep breath before speaking again.
“Logan, we both know you’re lying. I love you and I’m worried about you and I want to help you. Why did you bring this gun?”
“Because . . .” She trails off and looks at the ground. I can tell she’s ashamed about it, whatever it is. Her voice is shaking and it appears as if she’s about to cry. “I can’t tell you why. Please, just leave it alone.”
“Leave it alone?” I ask incredulously. “Fine, if you don’t care enough about me to tell me what’s going on, I’ll leave you alone. But you’re not getting the gun back.”
Her head shoots up. “I need that gun. Give me the gun, Julia.” Her voice takes on an aggressive tone but I choose to ignore it.
“What a shame,” I say, spinning my wheelchair around to leave. Before I pass through the doorway, I feel myself being pulled backwards and let go of the wheels so my hands don’t get burned.
Logan spins my chair around and reaches for the gun in my lap. I reach for it, too, but she catches me by surprise and it slips out of my hand. What is she doing?
“Logan, what the–”
“Julia, I’m so sorry.” She tucks the gun into the back of her jeans and pulls her shirt over to cover it. “Please forgive me.”
“What–” She races past me and out the door before I can get the words out. I don’t know what the hell is going on, but whatever is happening, it doesn’t sound good. She seems conflicted about something, and I need to stop her from whatever the reason it is that she brought a gun.
I follow the sound of her footsteps down the hallway, but with her having actual legs to walk on, she’s much faster than I am. By the time I reach the den, I hear the front door slam shut. My heart seems to stop in my chest upon hearing it, and knowing that she just left with a gun. Everyone in the den is standing up and staring at the door like they expect it to jump on them. No, no, no.
“What just happened? Did Logan leave?” I ask.
“She–she raced out saying she was going for a walk,” Sarah speaks up. “But it . . it looked like she might have been crying and Diana went after her. Did something happen?”
I see Parker looking at me. He must have some idea about what’s going on, but he doesn’t know the severity of it. None of them do.
Ignoring the question, I push myself to the door and swing it open to find a figure making its way toward the steps. At first I just sit there, confused by what I’m seeing, but then I recognize who it is struggling to get up the steps. Diana.
She’s clutching her neck with one hand, the other on the steps trying to pull her up. My throat closes up when I realize why she’s holding hers. It’s completely torn open, like animal’s claws tore it up. Blood is gushing from her neck and she makes it to the last step before falling unconscious in front of me.
I freeze, shocked at the scene unfolding in front of me, before I shake myself out of my stupor. She needs medical help, and at the rate she’s losing blood, she’s not going to make it in time for an ambulance to get out here. Someone has to do something, and I’m the only one here who has a parent in the medical field; the only one who might be able to save her. Now is not the time for me to go into shock.
I hear something suck in a breath of air behind me, and upon turning around I find Rachel, one of Logan’s friends that came, standing in the doorway.
“Rachel,” I start, then see that her eyes are still glued to Diana. I snap my fingers in front of her face. Her eyes come down to meet mine, wide. “Rachel, I need you to go call the police and tell them to send an ambulance, okay? You can direct them here, and say that there may have been an animal attack and another girl is missing. Can you handle that?”
She slowly nods her head up and down. “Okay,” I say. “Go. And tell Luke and Parker to get out here. With a blanket.”
She goes back inside and I roll closer to Diana, seeing the blood still pouring from her neck. I drag my feet onto the porch, move the footrests out of the way, and slowly push myself onto the ground. I hit the ground hard, but ignore it and drag myself over to Diana. It’s hard, but I manage to wrap an arm around her and use my other to pull as backward, that way she’s on the porch. I yank my jacket off and lay her on the side, her back toward me. I hold the jacket as tightly as I can against her wound.
I’m trying to make sure she’s still breathing and figure out the extent of her injuries when I hear someone walk up.
“Oh my god,” Parker says. His face seems to pale and he freezes with Luke still behind him, blanket in hand.
“Parker,” I say, “I need you to–” I see that he’s staring at Diana, not hearing me. “Parker,” I repeat. He drags his eyes away from Diana and brings them up to mine, a blank look still in his eyes.
“I need you to a breath, okay? Don’t think about it, don’t think about anything, just do as I say and focus on that, all right?” He nods and I take it as a yes. I count to three, allowing him the time to pull himself together, then start again with the instructions.
“I need you and Luke to carry her inside, where she’ll be warm and it’ll be safe. Be as careful as you can, and try not to hurt her more. When you sit her down, lay her on her side and try to keep her neck as straight as possible. Hold the blanket as tightly as you can to her neck. I can see her breathing and as far as I know she’s lucky and nothing too major has been harmed–”
“You mean besides the torn-open throat?” Parker says incredulously.
I resist the urge to smack him and continue on. “Yes. So all you need to do is keep her neck straight and slow the blood flow long enough to keep her here, okay? You can do this, Parker.”
He nods and Luke and him both step forward, so I remove my now blood-stained jacket and allow them to pick her up and carry her inside.
I pull myself back over to my wheelchair, grunting as I struggle to pull myself into it. I’m out of breath by the time I manage to get myself in, which I’ve only done a few times before because it’s so hard.
I look down the slope attached to the porch, considering going after Logan, then decide that it would be better if I had more people and go back inside.
I really, really need to find Logan, for more reasons than one. Not only did she just run off borderline hysterical with a gun, but something literally just attacked Diana. Whatever it is could attack us next, or attack her, and she’s off somewhere alone. Whether it’s an actual animal, a werewolf, a man, or a man pretending to be a werewolf, I don’t care. Getting your throat ripped open has got to hurt, no matter which way you swing it, and I don’t want that to happen to anyone else.
It’s actually quite amazing that Logan didn’t get hurt in the first place, considering Diana was chasing after her. If she didn’t. Yeah, I really need to find her.
I see that Parker has done as I said, and has Diana near the fireplace with the blanket on her neck, keeping the blood from going everywhere. She looks pale from blood-loss, but at least she’s still alive. I wheel over to check on him before I look for Elijah.
“Are you good here?” I ask, hoping he is so I can go.
“Good as I’m gonna get,” he says without looking up.
“Good. Just keep her like that.”
I turn around, immediately spotting Elijah come in from the hallway with something gleaming in his hand. I quickly roll over to him as he spots me.
“I’m going to go find Logan before she gets hurt. Do you have that knife I gave you?”
He holds up the gleaming object in his hands, which turns out to be the large, silver dagger I gave him before we came. After the incident in the alley, I decided to do some research over werewolves. From what I found, if anything in this world is going to harm a werewolf, it’s going to be either silver or Aconitum, also known as wolfsbane. The only one I could get my hands on was the silver, so before we left I made sure Parker, Sarah, Elijah, and I had some kind of silver weapon with us. I tried to give Logan one, but she wouldn’t take it.
“Juliana, I really think you should stay here. It’s gonna be really rough out there for your wheelchair to get through and . . . you could get hurt.”
“Pfft,” I scoff. “I could get hurt, yeah. Newsflash: so could you. There’s no way I’m staying here. I don’t care how slow I am, I’m going. Leave me behind if you want, but I can’t just sit here and do nothing.”
“I’m not going to leave you,” he says.
“I know you won’t. We should go now. Wait, where’s Sarah?”
“I’m here,” Sarah says behind me, coming in from the hallway. She’s put on a brown leather jacket and a pair of dark brown hiking boots. “I got that knife, too . . just in case something happens. We’re going to find Logan, right? She can’t stay out there after Diana.”
“Yes. And we need to go now, before it’s too late.” If it’s not too late already.
We head toward the door, but quickly get intercepted by Rachel. “Whoa, where are you going? You can’t leave, there’s something out there, you idiots. Wait for the police.”
I want to grab her and shove her out of the way, but I remind myself that I can’t go around acting irrational just because there’s a crisis.
“I’ll wait for the police once I find Logan. She’s in danger. If you don’t want to help, that’s fine. If you do want to come, tell us now.”
She stares at me for a moment, then seems to back down and step out of the way. “Oh, hell no. I’m not dying tonight.”
I see Luke coming toward us now and want to hurry up and leave, but he reaches us before I can even move.
“What’s going on over here?” He looks at Rachel.
We’re wasting time, I think, getting annoyed.
She gestures to us, saying, “These idiots are going to look for Logan.” She glances down at me. “Good luck.” Then she walks away, going to sit beside Parker. I see her take the blanket from him and take over, giving him a break, though he stays beside her the whole time.
“You’re going into the woods?” Luke asks, staring directly at me. I find it odd that he’s choosing to talk to me, since we rarely talk, and he’s been good friends with Elijah for years, but I push the thought aside and answer.
“Yes, we’re looking for Logan.” We hold our stare for what seems like hours, and I expect him to either object to it or join us, and I’m not sure which. The tension between us is heavy enough to break concrete, causing my muscles to tighten up even more than they already were.
“Okay,” he says, stepping aside to let us go by. That was way too easy, I think, shocked. Right now I don’t really care about that though, so I just brush past him and lead the way out the door, rolling down the sloping porch outside a moment later.
I know I’m being selfish for not letting Sarah and Elijah go without me, since I’m slowing them down, but I can’t help it. This is my sister we’re talking about. If something were to happen to her, I . . . I don’t know what I’d do. I also know I should be back there helping with Diana, but honestly, there’s not much I can do besides what I already told him. Hopefully an ambulance will make it soon.
I see a set of footprints leading away from the rest, into the woods. I choose to follow them, hoping that they’re Logan’s. Once the gravel and dirt turns to grass, I no longer have any way of knowing what direction she went and hope for the best as I carry on straight.
God, Logan, please be okay. Please be okay.
Thinking back on it, I regret what I said to her in the cabin. I should’ve been more compassionate. She was obviously distraught about something, and I acted like a jerk to her. If she–if she hurts herself with that gun . . . I don’t think I could forgive myself. I don’t think I could handle that. I already lost my dad; I can’t lose my sister, too. Please be okay.
My arms begin to tire after a while and I try to keep going as fast as I can, but I can tell I’m slowing Elijah and Sarah down, and my breathing is beginning to get heavy. I’m starting to think that maybe I should let them go on without me, since they have a much better chance of finding her, when Elijah grabs the handles to my wheelchair.
“I’m pushing you,” he says in a matter-of-fact tone.
“You don’t have to . .” I trail off when I see he’s not going to listen, and honestly, I’m relieved. I must’ve been slowing down a lot more than I realized, but at least my arms no longer feel like they’re going to fall off.
We continue going, with me continuing to worry more and more about Logan, when Luke enters my mind and I remember what Sarah started to tell me earlier.
“Hey, Sarah,” I say. “What was it that you heard Luke saying on the phone?”
“Oh, yeah, “ she says, obviously recalling the conversation. “It was . . really weird. He wasn’t making much sense. He said something about . . getting a ‘her’ alone for whoever was on the other line. After that, he said something like, ‘If I get her alone like you ask, I’m going to get what I want, right?’”
Getting someone alone . . . what does that mean? Why? It sounds like someone’s going to something to the ‘her’ he was talking about, and he’s going to get something out of it. Maybe it won’t happen now that all this chaos is going on, but I still don’t want Logan near him. I finally started to like him, and then this happens. Whatever he was talking about makes him sound . . corrupted.
“What does that mean?” I ask. “Who’s she?”
“I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound good. I don’t trust him. From what I heard, it sounds like someone wants something from one of us, one of us girls, and Luke is going to help him–or her–get it so he can get what he wants.” She pushes the rim of her black glasses higher up on her nose as it was sliding down.
She’s right about what she said. Everything she heard was very cryptic, but, like she said, we shouldn’t trust him. He’s up to something.
Looking at Sarah now, I feel small next to her, but I know that if I could stand, I’d be taller than she is. She’s pretty short. If you think about it, it’s funny how Parker is tall, I’m average, and Sarah’s short, and we’re all best friends.
After a few more minutes, I’m beginning to worry I might never find Logan, but then I hear something. Rustling. And it’s not too far away.
“You hear that?” Sarah whispers. We all stop to listen. Something is definitely up ahead, and we’re wasting valuable time–that could be Logan.
“Logan!” I yell. The sound stops as I wheel in the direction it came from. “Logan!”
I assume that Elijah and Sarah are following me, though I never check to see for sure. I burst through trees and bushes to find myself in a small clearing. The first thing I notice is the gun next to me on the ground. The second is Logan staring at her hands, bloody hands, off to the side, sitting on the ground. Actually, not just bloody hands, it’s all over her.
Oh, god, something attacked her. She’s hurt. I gotta– But she doesn’t seem hurt. If she is, she’s hiding it very well.
I suck in a breath of air upon seeing the blood, but all I care about is that she’s okay. “Logan,” I say, wheeling toward her.
She sees me coming and shoots to her feet, backpedaling away from me. “Get back,” she says, but her voice doesn’t sound quite right. It doesn’t sound like her. Almost like . . . like an animal’s growl. Deep and guttural. She keeps her eyes down, staring at her hands and refusing to look at me. If that’s not her blood . . . then whose is it?
I look at Elijah and Sarah behind me, and think that maybe I should get them to leave. I’m the only person who has a chance of talking to Logan, I know that much. Maybe if I can her alone, she’ll talk to me. Something about her is creeping me out–maybe it’s the deep, maroon liquid seeping through her clothes, maybe the fact that she seems to be mentally checked out right now, or maybe it’s something else entirely–but whatever it is, I know she’d never hurt me.
“Can you guys go back to the cabin?” I ask.
“What? We’re not leaving you two alone,” Sarah says.
“No, seriously. We’ll be fine, i just need to talk to her. I have a knife in case something comes, and the police are probably almost here by now, so you should go back and talk to them and lead them here if we aren’t back yet. Plus Parker, he’s probably about to freak out by now.”
I can tell neither of them like it, but by the way Elijah’s jaw is clenching and unclenching, I can tell they’re at least considering it.
“Are you sure?” he asks.
“Yes, I’m sure,” I say, mildly annoyed. “Go.”
Elijah looks from Logan and back to me. “Okay. Okay, fine. We’ll be back soon. Be careful, Juliana.”
“Don’t do anything stupid, Jules,” Sarah says, glancing at Logan once more before turning to follow Elijah back to the cabin.
I immediately spin around to face Logan. “Logan, I’m sorry about what I said earlier. I was just upset. Please just . . just tell me what’s going on. I can help you.”
“No, you can’t,” her growling voice says. My heart sinks into my stomach when she says it not because of what she says, but because I realize there’s no plausible way for her voice to sound like that unless . . .
“Look at me, Logan,” I say. She doesn’t move. I clear my throat and try again. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I do know you’re afraid of me finding out. And you shouldn’t be. I don’t care what you–what you might’ve done, or anything else you’re worried about. I love you, no matter what you do or say. If you ever–if you ever hurt yourself– ” My voice comes out strained and I get choked up. “I don’t know what I’d do. Please, Logan . . just look at me.”
This time she does. She finally does. However, while her eyes meet mine, they don’t look like mine. They’re no longer blue; they’re green–glowing green. That’s–that’s not possible. Yet it is. That’s when I see her teeth: sharp, elongated canines sticking out from her mouth. Her ears are drawn into a point at the tips. I also notice that her hands have claws sticking out from the fingertips, which I didn’t notice before.
Oh my god.
“Look at me,” she spits, her voice somehow sad and angry at the same time. “I–I don’t know what’s going on, but I know I killed Diana. If you don’t go, I’ll–I’ll kill you too.” She pauses, then adds, “Please go.” Her voice drops into a much quieter tone, almost begging.
My heart is racing and I almost want to run after seeing her, but I won’t. This is my sister, even if she doesn’t look like her. She needs me right now, and I can’t let the shock of what I’m seeing prevent me from helping her. I don’t believe for a second that she could kill me, and–and if she does, so be it. I try to change my face and keep a straight expression since looking scared won’t help anything, even if I am. I grip the arms of my wheelchair to keep myself from running away, and hold myself firmly in place, struggling to contain my fear.
Logan’s demeanor changes and she stares at me, her mouth hanging open in shock, for some reason. “What?”
“I said no. I’m not going anywhere. I can see that you need me, and I know that you won’t kill me, even if you could. I still love you, Logan. No matter–no matter what you did.”
Her hands fall to her sides and the next time she blinks, her eyes return to blue. I take it as an invitation to say more.
“You–you didn’t kill Diana,” I stutter. “She’s going to be fine. Can–can you please just tell me what’s happened? What’s going on?” I speak slowly and carefully, hoping not to induce a rise out of her.
“Yes. The police will be here soon and she’ll be okay.” At least I hope so.
I can see the relief written all across her face, and I realize just how much she was caught up on that. And I get why: Diana was one of her closest friends. I can’t imagine what’d it be like to think that I killed Sarah or Parker.
I’m not sure saying anything else would be good, so I sit and wait for her to come to. It’s silent for a good minute.
“Four months,” she says out of nowhere.
“That was when this all started. Four months ago.” Four months? She’s been struggling with this for four months? Wait, wait . . . four months . . . four deaths. Did she–did she kill those people?
I push the thought out of my head. “You–you should’ve told me. I would’ve helped. We could’ve figured it out . . together.”
“I was scared,” she says. Her voice is high-pitched sounding, and tears are running down from her eyes. “Scared of what you’d do when you found out, scared that I’d hurt you, or Mom–” She pauses as she cries.
God, how I want to help her, to make it better. But I can’t. There is nothing I can do to help her.
“I–I killed those people,” she sobs. “All four of them: they’re dead because of me. Aunt Isabelle was one of them. I–I couldn’t control myself, but I still remember it. I remember every bit of it,” she whispers, staring so hard into my eyes I’d swear she’s looking into my soul. Tears are starting to stream down my face as well as hers.
I’m completely shocked by this revelation, but for some unknown reason, it’s not affecting me very much. It should, I know it should, but all I care about right now is that Logan is okay. Looking at her right now, I can see that she’s not. Even with as many emotions I’m feeling right now, none of them knocks me speechless.
“Logan, I–I know nothing I say can fix this, but please, let’s just get out of here, and we can go home. We’ll find a way to help you. And if we can’t change you back, then we’ll find a way for you to control it.”
“You don’t get it,” she says, shaking her head. “I may not have been able to control it, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to. Because I did. I wanted to kill them. I–I enjoyed it.”
It’s hard for me to swallow that, but I try my best to. Maybe I should be mad at her, or scared of her, or just something, but I can’t. I love her, and to see her in so much pain, see her feeling so much guilt, I can’t be angry with her.
I swallow the ball rising in my throat to answer. “It’s okay. It’ll be okay. Let’s go home. Please, just come home with me. I know you feel guilty and probably think that you deserve to die, but if you die, so will I. I will die too. So don’t you ever think that you’re not affecting someone with the choices you make, because you are. I wouldn’t know what to do without you. I need you.”
The words that come out of my mouth are completely true, and they’re more than I’ve ever admitted to anyone, including myself. If there’s anytime for me to be making self-revelations, I guess now’s the time.
Whatever it is, I’m glad I said it. It sealed the deal. Within two steps she’s made it to me and she’s squeezing me so tight I can barely breath, but I don’t mind one bit. I squeeze her back, feeling her body shuddering from crying.
A small amount of relief fills me, glad that I’ve managed to defuse the situation, though I still know that it’s only temporary and this will more than likely come up again later. The situation may be over for now, but this is not the last of it. I’m going to have to do everything I can to help her.
“I’m so sorry, Julia,” she cries. “I’m so–” Suddenly, I hear a loud smacking sound and feel her body veer to the left. She crumples to the ground, unconscious, and a bloody rock falls next to her.
Though maybe I shouldn’t be, I’m shocked when I look up and see who it is. Judging from the conversation he had earlier, I should have known this was coming.
Because the person who knocked Logan out, and is now standing over me, is Luke.