My world stops. I hear nothing, I feel nothing . . I can’t move. I can’t think. Just absolute nothing. I don’t know whether or not I’m breathing, or if my heart is even beating. I can’t process what’s happening. All I see is Tiffany falling to the ground in slow motion.
Suddenly, I am pulled backwards and I snap back to reality. Elijah is yelling at me and pulling me.
“Julia, we have to go! Run!”
Still dazed, I force myself to run with him, to the trees opposite the shooter. The only thing in my mind is that I shouldn’t be leaving Logan and Tiffany there.
Arrows fly past us, most of them going behind us. I’m not sure if they’re actually trying to hit us or not; they hit Tiffany plenty accurate, yet they can’t hit us. They might just be running us off, I don’t know.
When we pass into the woods, I only make it ten more feet before I collapse onto my knees. I’m definitely breathing now, but now it’s passed normal and went straight into hyperventilation. My head feels like it’s exploding, with my claws sink into the grass and dirt underneath my hands. My muscles are tight and I’m having chest pains.
Elijah stops and runs back to me, putting his hand gently on my back and speaking to me soothingly. It sounds nice but it does nothing to help me.
Subconsciously, I’m aware that I’m having a panic attack, but there’s nothing I can do to stop it. With my breathing being as fast and shallow as it is, it feels like I’m not getting any air into my lungs. My body feels like it’s in pain and my vision starts blurring in and out.
“Breath, Juliana, breath,” Elijah says, rubbing my back in circular motions. I’m dimly aware that he breaks the few threads holding my shirt together and pulls it off, then wraps his jacket around me.
Then everything stops.
I don’t remember most of what happened after that. I think my brain must’ve used some kind of defense mechanism since I couldn’t handle what was happening, and I just completely blocked everything out.
Apparently, we went to the police and told them some story about an animal attack. I don’t really remember. What I do know, is that whoever shot the arrows took Tiffany’s body, along with an alive Z. I don’t miss him even a little, but I do wonder what happened to him. The police, nor anyone else who wasn’t there, know nothing about Z and Tiffany even being there at all. I don’t understand what happened myself. Why would hunters take the body, and take Z alive? It doesn’t make any sense.
I’d like to say I was there for my mother when she found out. I wasn’t. I waited hours with her to find out news that I already knew. And when she did, I was still checked out while she freaked out. I stood there like a useless lump on a log while my mother bawled and screamed and cried.
I’d also like to say that I was there for her a few days later at Logan’s funeral, but I wasn’t then either. I told myself I was going to be strong for her, but I wasn’t. I was crying before the funeral even started, and the only thing I managed to do was give my mom a hand to hold on to. I tried to go up and say some things about Logan, but it ended with me covering my mouth, crying, then giving up and returning to my seat.
What am I going to do?
I should’ve visited Rachel like I said I would and talk to her, but I never did. I didn’t want to leave my room. Still don’t.
Elijah and Milton came to our house with food, and I think Kai may have been in the car outside. I don’t know, and I haven’t seen him since the day they attempted to leave. I still don’t know how Elijah got away from him and got on a bus to come back here, but I don’t care to know anyway.
Milton saw me crying that day and gave me a hug. For some reason, that hurts me the most: having someone so little care so much and show so much affection.
It seems as if everyone in town shows up at our house at some time or another with food and flowers. I’d bet they’re doing the same with the other families, too. Our house smells like a funeral home and we have enough food to last a month. I have to watch Mom to make sure she’s eating enough. I didn’t know it was possible for someone to cry so much.
Mom is so confused about what happened. And I can’t explain it to her. I say that Logan planned on meeting up with someone, and I was worried about it, so I followed her, and, well, witnessed what happened. She just wants to know what exactly happened, and I can’t give that to her. She blames herself for not being more strict and for not knowing what was going on in Logan’s life; for not knowing who these people were that she was meeting with. I can’t give her an answer on that.
When it comes to the bodies, it seems whoever shot at us tried to cover it up by setting the woods on fire. The fire department shut it down before it got too big, but it did char the bodies a bit. We had to have a closed-casket funeral because of it.
I’m not sure the people we’re dealing with are hunters. They took Z alive, they didn’t kill Elijah and me, and they took Tiffany’s body for something. None of these are things hunters would do. Hunters simply come in, wipe out the werewolves in the area, then leave. I don’t know what these people want or what they’re goal is, but I doubt they’re done yet.
The killings are huge on the news. Five people being killed at the same time, all from an animal attack, all having their hearts ripped out, then a fire being set off at the same area . . . people are intrigued. Since Logan was one of them, her picture is on the news a lot, and in the newspaper, which means my face is on the news and in the newspaper. The rare times I’m out I get stares from everyone.
I end up getting a job at the mental hospital cleaning, where, oddly enough, Matt works, too. I don't see him there much, since he works at the desk up front and I just clean things wherever I'm needed, but it's strange that we ended up at the same place. I wonder what he's been doing with the book I gave him.
I go back to school and start working after two weeks. Everyone plus their grandma comes up to me and tells me how sorry they are, and asks me how I’m doing. I want to take my anger out on them, though I know they mean well, but I don’t. I just smile, thank them, and say I’m doing better. I’m not. I get so many stares at school. Not only was my identical twin sister killed in a mysterious attack, I’m also the girl who used to be in a wheelchair and can somehow walk again.
I throw myself into my school and work so I don’t have to think. Not just about Logan either; I don’t want to think about any of it. The woods . . . that’s the most disturbing thing I’ve ever witnessed. Not only that, but I was a part of it. So I spend every spare moment I have keeping myself busy. I hung up an old punching bag in the garage, so I either beat up on that or go running when I have too much time on my hands.
Elijah and Parker are always calling and coming over to my house uninvited. They keep trying to convince to go somewhere, do something, but I rarely ever do. I don’t feel like doing anything anymore.
My life doesn’t just feel like a storm, it feels like a tsunami. And I’m drowning in it.
I remember the question I asked when I first got my legs back, when I first became a werewolf. What’s the cost? I think I finally have an answer. This. Logan was the price. I’d do anything to have her back. I’d give up my legs, my lycanthropy; I’d die if I needed to. Actually, I want to. I want to, but I’ll never do anything to hurt myself. What would happen to my mom if something were to happen to me? No, I couldn’t do that to her. And not just her--all of my friends. Elijah, Parker, Sarah. I could never do that to them.
I forgot what it was like after someone so close to you dies. Even as you despair and sorrow over your loss, everyone else moves on. Life continues to go on, even if you don’t.
Two months has passed since that night in the woods. It’s been a whirlwind of numbness and pain. I still feel absolutely devastated. And guilty. So guilty.
Though I love Elijah, and I’m glad that they’re back in a way, I’m not going to keep dating him. It wouldn’t be fair to either of us with the state I’m in. Oddly, I want him here, but I also don’t. He told me he would leave and not come back, but he went and did it anyway. With him being so close to me, even with Marcus gone, he’s always going to be in danger. So I want him to leave so he’s not in danger, but I also want him to stay because he’s my friend and I love him. Though right now, I’ve been keeping to myself.
I haven’t seen Luke since that night, though I have met with the rest of the pack several times. For the most part, it’s going good. They have all seen what I’m capable of and they respect me. But we’ll see how far that goes. I think Cecilia only puts up with me because I’m stronger than her now. I wasn’t supposed to kill Marcus like I did. I’m sure that deep down, that upset her some. If it does, she refuses to show it.
Lorraine is going to be hard to get through to. She keeps her distance from everyone else, and she obeys all the rules I’ve set, but I know she doesn’t like it. She knows that she was on Marcus’s side, and that makes her an outcast to the rest of the pack. I’ve forgiven her for it, and will gladly accept her, so she’s an outcast because she makes herself one. I don’t think she’s actually changed very much. I’ll have to keep trying.
I’m not ready to see Luke; I’m not sure I ever will be. So for now, I’m happy he hasn’t shown up to any of the meetings, and I hope it stays that way. As long as he stays out of trouble, he is free to do whatever he likes out of the pack.
What I’m mainly worried about, is the other packs in the area. I’ve managed to get in contact with all four of them so we can discuss things. I’m willing to put on the performance of a lifetime to ensure that they’re our allies, not our enemies. I know Marcus has done things that has probably enraged all of them, and they all probably want to come after us. We wouldn’t be able to handle it if they did; our pack is one of the smallest. As alpha, it’s my job to talk them out of it. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure my pack is safe. I don’t want anymore death.
I also think that I’m going to go see Rachel soon and talk to her. She’s been calling and I keep avoiding it, but she deserves to know so I’m going to suck it up and help her, like I said I would.
I head into my room, and change out of my work clothes into something I can workout in. I’m tired, but I also feel like I need to take out some anger on my punching bag. As usual.
Every time I come out here, in the garage, I end up with my eyes glowing. I don’t fully shift, but I can tell by my change in eyesight that my eyes start glowing.
I start punching the bag, imagining it as all my problems. My dad comes into my mind, and even now, I can’t help but be angry at him. How could he keep something like this from us? Sure, Logan and I were young when he died, but that’s no excuse, and we weren’t that small. Not just us, but Mom, too. His wife. My heart still aches to see his smile again though, even if I am hurt by him.
I’ve had to go to so many funerals in my life, especially here lately. My Aunt Isabelle's, Logan’s, Marcus’s. I didn’t want to go to Marcus’s, but I went for Mom. He used to be a good friend of hers, so I’m sure that along with Logan, she’s hurt that he’s dead, too. I can’t help but be curious as to how he was whenever they were younger.
I feel sorry for Marcus’s wife. She lost her daughter and her son recently, plus her other daughter, Tiffany, is missing. And if they ever find her body, she’ll find out that she’s dead, too. At least she still has her eldest daughter. Oddly enough, they remind me of Mom and I. Just one daughter and mother left out of the family.
I keep punching, harder and harder as different memories come in my mind–the most prominent being memories as Logan. As hard as I try, I just can’t get her out of my head.
Her last words echo through my head even now. I can still see the look on her face as she turned to me, knowing she was going to die. I love you.
I stop punching and start sobbing yet again, covering my mouth so it doesn’t get too loud.
I need something to inspire me to try moving on. Right now, I’m stuck and I don’t want to try. I want to be happy again and get better, but I just don’t have the motivation to get out and try.
The phone on the wall starts to ring, and though I normally wouldn’t answer it when crying like this, I check the caller id and see that it’s Sarah and decide to answer it. She doesn’t call much anymore, and definitely not this late unless it’s important.
I wipe my face off as if she can see me, gather my strength, and answer the phone.
“Julia?” Her voice sounds quiet and scared, and I can instantly tell something is wrong just from that one word. All other thoughts exit my mind and I have to know what’s happening.
“Sarah? What’s wrong?”
I hear nothing but heavy breathing at first, and I worry something happened, but then she answers, still talking quietly. “There’s-there’s someone in the house. I think they’re trying to kill me. . . They’re outside my bedroom door trying to get in.”
She’s definitely crying, I notice.
“I’m coming now, Sarah. Did you call the police? You need to call them right now.”
“No, I–I called you first. The police . . . the police can’t help.”
I pause, thinking I’ve misunderstood her but realize that I heard her exactly right. “What do you mean they can’t help?”
“Please hurry,” she whimpers.
“Sarah–” I start, but she’s already hung up.
“Damn it,” I hiss, hanging the phone back up. I quickly grab my jacket off the floor and sling it around me, jumping in the jeep. Hopefully, she’ll be all right until I get there, and hopefully I don’t wreck on the way.
God, god, god, Sarah please be okay. I can’t lose you, too.
I fly backwards out of the garage and down the driveway, then speed down the street toward Sarah’s house, praying that I make it in time.