“All right,” she says. I grab my chair and drag it over before she begins. “Well, you know who Marcus is. You’re a member of his pack, which I guess you already know that too.”
“How many people are in his pack?” I ask.
“Um,” she says, looking up at the ceiling as she thinks. “Including you and Logan I think there’s thirteen of us. We’re a pretty large group, there’s not usually that many in a pack. Do you know about the ranks?”
I glance at Logan, who furrows her brows at me. “No, what is it?”
“I assume you’ve noticed that we have different-colored eyes, right?” I nod. “Well, the color of your eyes signifies your position in the pack. There are four possible colors your eyes can be. Red, yellow, green, or blue. The only one who has red eyes is the alpha, which there is only one of in every pack. The only way I know of for you to become an alpha, is to kill the previous one. Kill the alpha, and you gain their power and status.”
“Whoa, whoa, kill them?” I ask. “That’s a little extreme, isn’t it? What are we gonna do next, toss grenades at each other?”
“No,” Tiffany replies, shaking her head. “That’s just one of the ways we can get stronger and get more power. Of course, we can get stronger just as we get older, but we can also steal the power too. Anytime you kill a human, you get stronger. Anytime you kill a werewolf, you get stronger. And the stronger the werewolf, the more power you get. So, when you kill an alpha, you get their power.”
“Seems legit,” I nod. “What about the other eye colors? Why are Logan and I’s green?” And why are Kai’s blue? I think, though I don’t say it aloud.
“You guys’s are green because you’re the deltas of the pack. You’re the newest, and therefore, the weakest. Over time as you learn more and get stronger you’ll eventually go up a rank and become a beta. Your eyes will glow yellow then. Like mine.” Her eyes shine a bright yellow at us for a split second before fading back green.
“And what about blue?” I ask, curious as to why Kai’s are so different. Why do I even care? It’s not like we like each other. Actually, he makes me pretty angry, I don’t know why I even bother wondering about his life. I doubt I’ll ever find out what happened to him during the time he was away anyway.
“That means they’re omegas,” she says. “They’re all alone. They don’t have a pack.”
“What happened to their pack?” I already figured Kai was alone anyway, but why? Did something happen to the rest of his pack? Did he leave?
“Well, there’s a lot of things that could’ve happened, but mainly it boils down to their pack being killed, the omega being kicked out, or the omega just leaving on their own. Whatever happened, they just end up alone somehow. Though there’s not very many, because werewolves don’t typically make it without a pack unless they live somewhere in seclusion.”
“Why don’t they make it without a pack?” Logan asks, speaking up for the first time. I glance over at her, but she keeps her eyes locked on Tiffany. She must be finding this as interesting as I am. Even with all the researching I did, I still don’t know very much about any of this, so Tiffany is proving herself to be just as useful as I expected her to be. Hopefully Logan sees that, too, and if Tiffany would stop acting so suspicious then maybe she could stay. Of course, I’m still wondering how it is that she and Kai know each other, as well as who she even is in the first place, so maybe I shouldn’t be so hopeful. She might not be as good of a person as I think she is.
“Other wolf packs might end up killing them,” Tiffany says. “Or Hunters. There’s always been a small number of humans who’ve known about us. There’s not a lot, but there’s not a lot of werewolves either. We don’t just run around biting who we please, though if we chose to we could spread pretty fast. But yeah, if the Hunters find a werewolf, or a pack of werewolves, they’ll kill them. And they’re very good at it. I’ve heard of entire packs being wiped out in a matter of days because of Hunters. So far we’ve never had any in our area, but who knows? It’s possible they could come here one day.”
“Why don’t you?” I ask. Tiffany cocks her head at me and I realize I need to be more specific. “I mean, why don’t you go around biting whoever you please?”
“Oh,” she says. “Well, not everyone who gets bit survives it. Most do, but occasionally there’s people who end up dying from it. And besides, not everyone wants to be a werewolf. There’s kind of just an unspoken rule in most packs that unless the alpha does it himself or gives you permission to, you don’t bite anyone. Very rarely is that rule broken. We know the consequences if society were to find out about us, so we try to keep our numbers small most of the time.”
I find myself nodding as a reply, though the entire time I’m wondering what Logan thinks of this more than myself. I can’t seem to keep my eyes off of her since I had those visions in the warehouse. I still can’t quite believe what I saw, what I felt during that time. I wasn’t just in her body during those memories, I was her. I felt the hopelessness she felt in the woods that night, and until that point I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was enough to make me pull the trigger. Well, technically she pulled the trigger, but it felt like me.
“Julia?” Logan asks. I blink a couple times and realize that they’re waiting on an answer while I’ve been zoning out.
“Is there anything else you want to ask me?” Tiffany asks.
“Oh,” I say. What else is there? “What about our, like, powers? Is there any we don’t about? Plus, the--the thing that keeps happening to Logan and I. With the visions and the feelings and all that stuff. Do you know anything about that too?”
“Well, I’ll start with the powers thing. I’m sure you’ve already noticed, but you have increased reflexes, you can run faster and longer than before, you have incredible stamina and strength, you can see, hear, and smell things you shouldn’t be able to see, hear, and smell, you can rapidly regenerate from practically any wound that you could possibly get, hell, you can even help other people by taking their pain away if they get injured or something. Some–”
“Wait, what?” I interrupt. “We can take other people’s pain away? Like, physical pain?” I can feel Sarah’s eyes on me out of the corner of my eyes, but I ignore it. I wonder what’s in her mind about this whole mess. She seems plenty accepting of me, but I bet that there’s some part of her that’s curious about me. Curious as to who I am now, if I’m the same person. Or maybe not, I’m probably thinking too much about this. She accepts me and that’s all that matters.
“Yeah, totally,” Tiffany says. “You didn’t know that? If a human, let’s say, gets stabbed with a knife or something and they’re in a whole bunch of pain, you can touch them and share the pain. You’re not taking it away completely, but sharing it. It definitely helps. We just choose not to do it often because it really drains us, and doing it too much can cause you to lose some of your powers. It makes us weaker, but it will help the other person if they’re in dire need of it.”
“Can you teach us to do that?” Logan asks. Her hair falls into her face and she combs it back with her fingers before looking back at Tiffany again. Her jade green eyes meet Logan’s as she turns to talk to her.
“It’s not really something I have to teach. It just sort of . . . happens when you touch someone in pain. I’ll show you if you want, but really, don’t worry about it. It’ll happen on it’s own, though if you want to learn how to touch someone and not take their pain, it’ll take some time. But that’s not really a necessity anyway, so I’d figure we’d focus on other things first. You want me to show you later and then you can try it?” She glances at me, her eyebrows raised.
“Yeah, yeah, I want to,” I say. I look at Logan. “You?”
She shrugs. “If you’re gonna do it, I might as well, too, I guess.”
“That’s the spirit,” I say. I glance at Sarah, but she seems intent on just listening so I focus back on Tiffany. “So what else? Not that there’s not enough already, but you sounded like you were gonna say something else earlier before I cut you off.”
“Yeah, a couple more things. We rarely get tired. Like, it takes a major lack of sleep or a whole buttload of exercise before it can wear us down. So that’s nice. But, um, this is going to sound really weird, but sometimes there are some sort of . . mutation. I don’t know how to explain it. Actually, I don’t even know what it is really., if it's a mutation. It’s like . . .” She sighs. “I don’t know, but for some reason some of us develop unique powers while others don’t when we, you know, become a werewolf.”
I furrow my eyebrows, looking down at the couch and thinking. “Like–like that thing Marcus does? How he can control us just by speaking?”
“Exactly,” she says, nodding. She opens her mouth to say something else, but Sarah jumps in before she can.
“Wait, hold up just a second,” she says. She kicks her legs off the couch and onto the ground, scooting to the edge in excitement. “You’re telling me that, besides everything else you’ve already mentioned, you guys are about to turn into the X-Men too?” I hear Logan scoff at the comment and I smile a little.
“Um, not exactly X-Men,” Tiffany says, “we’re not going to be turning blue or growing wings anytime soon, but yeah. And they’re never the same. I, for example, can not only heal myself but others as well. Cecilia, she’s a woman in our pack, can blend into the environment, like a chameleon. She can practically go invisible.”
Sarah leans forward. “That’s freaking awesome. Both of them. Do you feel any pain? How well does it work? And does this Ce-cecilia person have to take off her clothes for it to work?” Logan and I look at each other, smiling, and I can tell we’re thinking the same thing. Typical Sarah to be asking that. Always there for the important questions.
“Yeah, Cecilia has to take off her clothes for it to work, though I don’t like to think about that. It’s a bit disturbing. And the healing thing that I do works perfectly. Heals them completely, and I don’t feel a thing. I don’t know how it’s possible for any of this to be true, but . . it just is. Can’t really find logic in a supernatural world. I can’t do the healing thing very much though, it like . . depletes my energy if you get what I’m saying. Like the pain thing that you guys do. It’s tiring.”
“This is so freaking cool,” Sarah says. She pushes her glasses higher up on her nose. “Does this mean that these two are gonna get, like, powers or whatever?” She points back and forth between Logan and I a few times.
Tiffany shrugs. “It’s possible, but you never really know for sure until they show it somehow. It seems like a fifty-fifty chance. It could happen, but then again it could not. I guess we’ll find out, right?”
“Yeah,” Logan mutters, though I can tell her heart really isn’t in it. Not that she’s wrong. In her mind, who’s to say we’ll be alive long enough to find out? We’ll be alive. I’ll make sure of it. I’ll make sure of it, Logan. No matter what. The thoughts give me some comfort, though I’m meaning them more for Logan. But Logan can’t read my mind, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. Like Tiffany said . . we’ll find out eventually.
“Anyway,” I say, wanting to change the subject. “Is there anyone else with powers like that we should know about?” Tiffany runs her fingers through her blonde, shoulder-length hair, leaving it parted uneven along the top. I have an urge to run my hands through and fix it myself, but I shove my hands underneath my legs so I don’t.
“The only other one in our pack is Roman. He can sense death.”
“Roman,” I say, squinting toward the floor. I’ve heard that name before. Where? “What’s his last name?”
“Roman Griffith,” I announce, mostly to myself. Then it clicks. “The one who teaches history at our school?”
“That’s the one,” Tiffany says. I stop and take that in for a moment. My history teacher is a werewolf. Not just a werewolf, but one who’s in the same pack as I am. One that I see nearly every day. I almost laugh at the irony of it. He was right in front of me during all the time I spent wondering if werewolves exist, researching them to try to find out for sure. Right in front of my face.
“So what do you mean he can sense death?” Sarah asks. She furrows her brows. “Does he know when everyone will die?”
“No, no, nothing like that,” Tiffany says. “He knows if someone is going to die, but he doesn’t know when or who. It’s always someone nearby, within a few miles, and it usually doesn’t take very long for someone to die after he starts to get the feeling. Usually no longer than a few hours. We thought he was crazy at first, but every single time he got the feeling, someone died, and immediately after the feeling went away. He’s never been wrong, not once. So we listen to him when he tells us this stuff.”
“Huh,” I say. “I guess that’s pretty cool. What would happen if he got the feeling while he was alone? Can he detect his own death death?” There’s a long pause before anyone speaks up.
“Welp, that’s enough of that,” Sarah says. “That would be terrible. I bet having the three of you together makes a pretty good team though. You know: you, Mr. Griffith, and Cecilia. She’s probably a hell of a spy.”
“Oh, she is,” Tiffany says, smiling. Then she winces, like she regrets saying it. Not sure what that’s about, but whatever.
To be honest, I’m not sure I want any of these powers. I don’t want the responsibility of having one. I’m just grateful I have my legs back, and I’d be content with that and that only. No werewolf stuff, no special powers, no strange men out to kill my sister. Just my legs, my family, and my friends. What a beautiful hallucination that is.
“So,” Logan says, “what about the–the twin stuff we mentioned earlier? I recall you saying you knew something about it.”
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t know what is happening to you, but . . I have an idea.” She stops and glances between us like she’s waiting for permission or just scared.
“Well? What is it?” I prompt. She opens and closes her mouth, gulping, like she’s struggling to get something out. Her eyes drop to the floor. Normally I’d feel like smacking her, but she seems genuinely worried right now, so I’m concerned more than anything.
“Um, okay. But just so you know, everything that I’m telling you is only rumors that I’ve heard. Myths. Okay?”
So . . . not only are we a real life myth to humans by being werewolves, but now we’re also a myth to other werewolves too? What are we, the outcasts of the outcasts?
“Yes, yes, that’s fine,” I say. “Just tell us what it is.”
“All right, well, it’s rare for identical twins to be werewolves. Like, really rare. Actually, identical twins are pretty uncommon in general, so for not just one but both to be a werewolf is practically unheard of. But from what I–what we’ve all heard, it may have happened before.” My fingers tap along my chair as my left leg bounces up and down, and I’m itching to tell her to hurry up. Instead, I fight the urge and just listen to her.
“Apparently, it starts with what’s happening to you,” Tiffany says. “It starts with the emotions, feelings. You can feel each other, connected in a way you weren’t before. Then, it’s like–like you’re brains start to mingle. The first thing that happened with you guys was the memories. I mean, it’s one-sided memories for now, but it’s possible that you could get some of Julia’s memories later, Logan.” She glances at Logan before continuing to stare at the carpet as she resumes her story.
“Anyway, along with the memories, you might start having the same dreams as each other while you sleep. You could possibly be able to communicate with each other telepathically also. Yeah, um, I know this sounds crazy, so remember it’s just a rumor,” she laughs. “You might start having the same thoughts. So, I’ve heard that not only would be connected thought-wise and feeling-wise, but it’s been said that your powers will combine too. You’re supposed to grow incredibly fast with each other. Which means you’ll become faster and stronger than other werewolves would typically be, especially being new werewolves. And if you could combine your powers . . you’d be a force to be reckoned with.”
“In some of the stories, the twins can use telekinesis; move objects around with their mind. Together, they’d be practically unstoppable. You’d be practically unstoppable, “ she says, finally looking me in the eye. She quickly glances away again. “And who knows if that’s all you could do? Who knows what powers you could develop along the way? And I see how this all sounds pretty amazing right now, so I bet you’re wondering why we haven’t bitten twins in hopes of this before. Well, if it happens like it’s suppose to, you’ll be incredibly strong, mentally and physically, and that’s just on your own. Together, you’d be like nothing anyone has ever seen before. So just imagine it this way: if you had someone in your pack, that’d be great, right? You’d never have any problems with any other packs again, most likely. But, there’s also the unpredictability of doing something like that.
“You could easily become alpha. Either one of you. Why would someone turn you and take that chance? The chance that you would turn on them and kill them? And . . it’s not just that. There’s more. And it’s what scares them the most. What scares everyone.” She stops, and at this point there’s so much tension in the air that I don’t dare to break it. She’s piqued my interest, and, like a child listening to stories, I’m on the edge of my seat waiting. Though Sarah has no problem breaking the silence.
“Well, what is it?” Sarah asks. “Quit pausing so much, you’re making me nervous.” I agree, I think. Even though Sarah is the one that says it, she seems to be as captivated and worried as the rest of us. She doesn’t take her eyes off Tiffany. I don’t think she could if she tried.
Tiffany clears her throat. “Sorry. Like I said earlier, you become linked to each other. You’ll have an unbreakable bond–actually, strike that, you seem like you already have that. You’ll be connected to each other in so many more ways if what I say is true. But . . it can go too far. Your powers combine, and you combine mentally and emotionally, and . . . after that there’s only one more way to be connected.”
I realize where she’s going and finish the thought for her.
She nods, making solid eye contact with me for the first time during her story. “Everyone’s terrified of you two. You’re–you’re literally the myths we hear about. And even though it might not be true, didn’t we all think the same thing about werewolves? No one wants to be around twins-like you guys-and no one wants anything to do with them either, in fear of what could happen. And it could happen.”
I lean back in my seat, soaking in this new information. Is this the real reason Marcus is so steadfast on killing Logan? And . . if we do manage to get out of the mess we’re in with him, what will happen to us. We’ll combine . . into one person. How does that even work? Not only am I worried and scared for us, but so is everyone else. It won’t matter if it is only a myth; no other werewolves will ever take is into their pack. We will be outcasts. Omegas. We’ll already be hunted by the Hunters, but now the other werewolves will be, too, hoping to get rid of us before we–before we become this . . this monstrosity.
It’s complete silence until I decide to voice my feelings aloud. Both Sarah and Logan have been shocked into it. There’s already so much that we need to do, and now we have this to worry over to. And now that Logan and I know, we don’t even have any of stopping it that we know of. I’m not even sure what to do with this information.
“So we’re basically the abomination of abominations,” I finally say. Nobody turns to look at me, including Tiffany, but I still hear her answer.
“If that’s the way you want to put it, then yes,” she says, her voice nearly as quiet as falling snow. “But . . it’s more like everyone wants to get rid of you because they’re afraid, not because they hate you.” She stares at me with those emerald green eyes of hers until I sigh and look away.
To me, it doesn’t matter what’s driving them; it’s all the same outcome. They want us dead. With so many out there–Hunters, werewolves, they’re all the same–it’s bound to happen. Even if Marcus doesn’t kill us, someone else will.
And I can’t say I blame them.