Myrna smiled at Xavien; “Honey, you know I love you so much. I know you’ve had a rough go of it. But let’s face it, dear… We can’t always alter our paths to the precise direction we would prefer. I know that you’ve got one hell of a rough road to hoe, but you can’t help what you are, who you’ve become or the things that brought you to this point any more than that hideous monster could. You are who you will always be, and that’s just what you have to accept. As much as you would like to be a cold machine, the softest and hardest parts of you refuse to be silenced. The last time I checked, you were a werewolf, not a werepussy. I know you’ve done your best to spurn your nature… But it is obvious that your calculating, analytical mind, code of living and good looks will not be enough this time. And honey… I don’t know if it ever was. It is a credit to your stubborn nature and wits that you’ve pigeonholed yourself this far. Tell me, because I don’t know… are there werepigeons?”
Xavien gave Myrna a wry smile and shook his head; “No, Myrna. There aren’t. But I’m sure you suspected as much.”
Myrna feigned disappointment; “Oh, well… okay. There goes that career opportunity. Sorry, honey… guess you really are up a creek without a paddle, here.” She then broke into a smile that flowed through the wrinkles in her face.
Xavien chuckled, he wasn’t exactly amused, but she loved him dearly. She’d done everything she could for him in her life; to the point where it revolved around his every waking moment. Many children would have become spoiled by this attention, but she had never been soft on him and had never made it a policy to give him everything he wanted. She gave him only the things she wanted him to have, but willingly dropped everything if there was a lesson there to teach him. There was never a doubt in his mind that he was the most important person and object in the world to her. She always seemed to have exactly the amount of energy that was necessary to keep him occupied or mentally stimulated.
Myrna had fallen victim of a drug side-effect in her early twenties that had rendered her infertile and was a major factor in her eventual divorce from the man she adored. After the divorce, she cohabitated with a young policewoman by the name of Leslie Brady. The two became very close and that friendship lasted a full fourteen years before Leslie Brady’s murder.
After ten years on the force and four years of night school, Leslie was promoted to homicide detective. She served in this capacity up until her death. In the year prior to her murder, Leslie shared a moment of passion with her former partner Detective Charles Van de Leur, which resulted in her pregnancy with Xavien. Charles was murdered the very next night.
It was of great importance for Leslie to keep the name of Xavien’s father a secret to all but her and Xavien. It was clear to Myrna that Leslie feared political implications as well as potential danger that she had ultimately been correct about. Myrna had been astonished at the level of fear that had overtaken her dear friend, but had complied with all instructions even after her death. It an unspoken understanding between them that Myrna would adopt Xavien if any happened to Leslie, and it was with a marked sense of ownership and understanding that she had accepted this responsibility.
Throughout his infancy and young childhood, Xavien appeared withdrawn and reserved. His preference was to quietly observe rather than give into the impulsivity that is the traditional trademark of childhood. He would often grab his mother’s picture from the coffee table and Myrna would try to hold back tears as she tried her best to explain who the woman was that held him as a baby. This often led her to ramble wistfully about her, then express anger and sadness that she had been taken away from him. The intent look in Xavien’s eyes belied understanding but, outside of a few guttural sounds, he had not spoken a single word.
When he was three years old, Myrna, who worked as a third-shift nurse for Hyde City Memorial Hospital, used her knowledge of the network of medical personnel to have his psychological, physiological and cognitive aptitudes tested. He had reached all the basic physical milestones by this time, but had yet to speak or interact on any social level beyond silent, thoughtful observation, grunt or a pointed index finger to communicate. The lack of speech had confounded the evaluators and the only diagnosis that they could agree upon was a form of high-functioning autism. A scan of his brain indicated that it was fully developed and Xavien tested well above-average in many of the other tests of intelligence and understanding.
He had gone through several sessions with each evaluator, both individually and as a group. His demeanor had never shaken from the calm and quiet that he had exhibited all his young life up to that point. On the car ride back from his fourth session, he spoke with clarity and calm beyond his years and said; “I do not like going there.”
Myrna had burst into shocked but joyful tears that were jarring enough that she had to pull to the side of the highway. After she had calmed, she told him that he would have to tell the doctors what they wanted to know so that they could understand that he was capable, but had chosen to be uncooperative. What came out of his mouth brought Myrna to the stark realization that he was several shades beyond average intelligence.
Xavien then asked a question that he had asked wordlessly many times before. “Myrna, why is my mother gone? Who did it?”
After another onslaught of tears, she could only weakly respond that she did not know and that person had never been caught. A small measure of fear overtook her when he spoke up afterward; “I will arrest them one day.”
Although Myrna attempted to goad further conversation from him, he did not indulge her. After her composure had returned, she called his care coordinator and was relieved when he eagerly urged her to bring Xavien back, that he would be seen immediately.
When they returned to the office, Xavien complied. He passed all of the speech tests he had previously failed, and they concurred that his intellect was advanced well beyond any they had ever seen. They marveled that he had somehow picked up on the basics of reading and math on his own, and wondered at the potential of such a prodigy and urged that Myrna enroll him in an expensive school for gifted children. Myrna simply stated that she could not afford it. When they pressed further and mentioned that there was income-based tuition assistance, she stated that she did not want to deprive him of the experience to grow and learn with average kids his age.
She wanted him to learn how to successfully interact with those that were below his level, so that he could have a more fulfilling life as he grew and be able to “fit in” socially with those of his own age. She also did not wish to stunt his intellectual growth so, beyond the formal school day, she took it upon herself to enrich him in every way she was able.
She enrolled him in preschool but, as he advanced with each new grade in school, she worried that his contrasting intellect would make him an easy target for bullies.
Myrna was proven right and he was targeted frequently, but Xavien’s natural intuition always allowed him to avoid injury or major conflict. There had been a select few incidents where a coincidental accident injured would-be assailants. The teachers grew to eventually understand that Xavien intentionally positioned himself so that his environment acted as a weapon in his defense.
Myrna watched in amazement as he absorbed each learning experience, be it social, mental or physical. She was grateful that he accepted her explanation as to why he must stay in an otherwise unchallenging educational environment.
By the time Xavien had reached the age of ten, her own academic knowledge had been exhausted so she took it upon herself to enroll in school. She already held a bachelor’s in science She opted for the master’s program in developmental psychology through Hyde City University’s online, so that she could not only gain the knowledge, but to see if Xavien could learn in tandem with her. This proved challenging at first, but after Xavien adapted to the teaching method, he caught fire. Although she would never submit his scores, she was amazed as his work started out slightly below hers and then eventually far surpassed her own.
She effortlessly attained both her master’s degree and a post-graduate degree almost as an afterthought as she had not truly done it for herself, but as a function of her efforts with Xavien and with the hope that she could help him. Her thesis, based upon her observations of Xavien, focused on the importance of the social development of gifted children and became a highly-regarded work within the university and the teaching community.
His level of intellect astonished and frightened her. Myrna had long understood that he was something extremely special, but as the days whipped by like cars on a freeway, she began to wonder how long until someone or something threatened this amazing child.
Xavien’s mental and physical aptitudes were beyond compare, and his behavior was unrealistically perfect. His one flaw, however, was that he seemed to lack genuine emotion. He always doted on her and provided affection at appropriate intervals, but she knew him well enough to understand that this was a learned behavior. It saddened her, even though he expressed his love for her frequently.
Unfortunately, she had been so incredibly focused on feeding his hungry brain and quenching thirst for knowledge, that she had been remiss in attending to the lighter aspects of childhood. His assertion did not set her at ease in the slightest; “It’s not exactly as if I would have been prone to frivolity in the first place. I prefer it this way.”
Up to this point, his behavior had been impeccable. He had not knowingly crossed a line or broken a rule and had masterfully excused himself from any potential conflicts that would have put him into position to do so. This was not to last and it all came to an end the year he turned twelve.
The day after Xavien’s twelfth birthday, he was in the car with Myrna on the way home from a nice dinner as they were T-boned by a speeding sports car that had blown through a red light. The driver had slammed into the passenger side of Myrna’s mid-sized sedan, where Xavien had been seated and compacted to the point where Xavien’s mangled form had been pushed into Myrna’s lap. The other driver was killed from the terrible force of the impact.
As emergency vehicles raced to the scene, Myrna watched as Xavien bled to death in her arms; wincing in pain yet still with his natural, eerie calm. She implored him through hysterical sobs to stay awake. She implored him to fight to survive. Myrna’s final agony-drenched request of him triggered the event that would change them both forever.
“Xavien… no matter what it’s been, you’ve been able to do it. You’ve been amazing. I swear, if you put your mind to it… you could save yourself… I’m sure you could even surprise me and save the both of us right now. Use all of your strength… honey… use everything you have… and then find more.”
Myrna knew that she had begun to blubber on like an idiot and that a twelve-year-old was incapable of this, no matter how remarkable. She merely said what she could to keep him awake until help arrived.
At least, she thought she knew.
He merely said “Okay”
She suddenly heard a crunch and felt a shift in his weight. At first, she thought that the car was about to explode, but then screamed in horror as Xavien’s body began to distend as he forced his arms into the side of the car that had pinned him. His body had suddenly gained an otherworldly bulk and his size quadrupled within seconds. Her scream attenuated as she came nose to nose with a creature that simply should not exist.
She would later understand that it not only existed, but that it was still her darling Xavien. In the moment, however, the last thing she remembered was a silver-coated werewolf that had pulled her free from the car. She awakened to a frightened Xavien, who had cuddled next to her in her hospital bed.
The intensity of the moment had stricken her with a bit of temporary amnesia as her brain simply refused to accept the events and imagery that had confronted her only hours before.
After her release from the hospital, she refused to believe that he had become this ‘demonic’ beast. It was her denial of this that caused Xavien’s behavior to deteriorate, as he was hurt greatly by her rejection in a vulnerable time when he, too, was scared.
At first, she even denied that his behavior had changed, which only served to further anger the confused boy. He felt remarkably trapped in a situation where he felt he was in danger if he should step out in his new capacity, but could not remain cooped up unacknowledged and unfulfilled within his old capacity. Xavien became incredibly sullen, irritable and stand-offish. This was unusual for him, but she did not attempt to correct it as she chalked it up to a temporary lull in communication.
As her injuries healed, she could no longer live in denial. His teachers had begun to call her about potential concerns that he had begun to bully the other students. They, too, wondered what had come over this otherwise model student. Xavien never bullied the weak but rather chose to direct his strength toward foes that would bully others. He knew enough to hold back, but it was clear that his torment of others had changed the very atmosphere of the school. Further frustration came when the younger and weaker students also began to fear him, when he believed that he had done them a service.
Things came to a head when his newfound beast revealed itself to a boy that had taken things a physical step too far with a female student. Xavien, in his human form, had not been seen or identified; however, the news began to spread of the savage animal attack, which began to stoke the hysteria over the size of the claw-marks across the back of the severely wounded boy. Myrna happened to watch a telecast about this county-wide hunt to locate the animal capable of this. It was then that Xavien showed her a shred from the wounded boy’s shirt.
Myrna still denied even the remote possibility that Xavien had the capacity or drive to such violence, given his logical and calm nature. It was then his frustration began to mount and he allowed his primal nature to reveal itself in her presence a second time. Myrna watched in stunned horror as his body and features distended and filled out with lush, silky silver fur, long teeth and features that befit a creature that was an unholy ten-foot-tall combination of both man and wolf.
He felt so awakened and alive while in this form that it frightened him, but he needed the only mother he’d ever known to understand what he had to contend with. There were several tense moments in which he expected her to faint, but instead she scanned him in fear and anticipation of a fate most brutal.
The only thing she could bring herself to say was simply; “Ok.”
From then on, she listened. Her doubt had not been completely washed away by the revelation, as she doubted her very perception; but he was still in pain and apparently needed her more than ever. Eventually she brought herself to request his transformation. This time, she was braver and reached out to caress the fur on his arm, then gingerly pressed her fingers into the tight, sinewy muscles beneath. Finally, the doubt had left her mind and her truest fears gained new momentum in a direction she could never have imagined. He could not possibly be the only one, this world was much darker and deeper than she’d ever imagined and this must be why Leslie had been so adamant that he not be allowed to connect with his father’s family.
Up until this point, his name was Xavien Brady; even though he knew of his father’s last name of Van de Leur. She begged his forgiveness for her doubt, but his newly awakened being had also unlocked a wellspring of emotion. Tears streamed down his face as he wrapped her up in his arms and told her that he, too, was sorry. They expressed their mutual tearful forgiveness and all was well between them once again.
Life appeared to become more vivid and full for them. Something within Xavien’s nature excited Myrna and unlocked a part of her that had long been hidden. She began to date and he, too, began to seek out members of the opposite sex to explore this new side. Overnight, it seemed, his voice had lowered two octaves and a natural, sly charm crackled through his demeanor as if it had been there all along.
Myrna was plenty protective of him, still, and was less than pleased with many of the females he presented to her. He took her disapproval to heart and promptly informed these rejected females that it would not work between them. This led to many issues around the school. So many issues, in fact, that by his sixteenth birthday she was forced to withdraw him from the school before they opted to expel him due to the overall number of accusations that had been levied against him; though they were all false. He and Myrna agreed that he should refrain from romantic intent in his new school until he obtained his high school diploma.
As much as Xavien listened to Myrna about his potential romantic partners, he soon learned that this was not a two-way street. She would hear no criticism from him, as she deemed it ‘none of his business’. This was a difficult standard for him to understand, and he merely took to subtle tactics to unsettle her dates and frighten them off. This new misbehavior on his part did not go un-noticed by her and she expressed her vehement displeasure, although she had no idea what she could do to prevent him from this activity.
In his mind, he saw too many flaws in these would-be suitors, and too few within Myrna; they were simply not good enough. He attempted to reason with her and said that ‘he’ would know when she’d met the right one. She had emitted an exasperated laugh as she asked the most obvious question; “Dammit, boy, what about what I want?”
He did not have an answer, and she eventually began to sneak around with whatever male she pleased. When the inconvenience and the guilt got too much to work around, she merely gave up and re-committed herself to Xavien. She was displeased with this new development, but understood that it had merely become a natural progression of her duty to educate him and raise him. Myrna would often shake her head at the road behind her and the road in front of her; she’d come this far but still felt she had so much more to go. Xavien understood that, despite the difficulties he posed for her, that her love was even greater.
With his unlocked emotional capacity, he became much more expressive of his affection for her. The genuine hugs and tender kisses on the cheek were innocent on her part but a great conflict stirred within her. On one hand, she worried that the public perception would be incorrect. On the other hand, she worried that she craved this affection from him because of some dark desire that hid behind the recesses of her subconscious. For the most part, however, she allowed his affection in the manner it was intended.
Once he graduated high school, he eagerly began talk of the police academy. She had understood that this had been his unwavering intent for the entirety of his childhood to this point, but was fearful of the implications. She was equally concerned for his safety, as she was worried for the safety of the public. However, she recognized a calling when she saw it and felt powerless to stop it. He also informed her that he refused to ‘dumb down’ and expressed his intent to give his everything so that he could ascend quickly.
Xavien not only excelled in the academics, but surpassed many of the records as it pertained to physical tests. Many of these records had been set by Charles Baskerville, who had become the current Chief of Police for Hyde City. Between the rumors and casual conversations, Chief Charles Baskerville had become aware of this young upstart and began to follow his progress with great interest.
The background check revealed that the mother had not listed a father on the birth certificate, but he certainly did recognize the mother’s name. With multiple levels of interest, he provided direction that Xavien be tested by the harshest of standards and, should he succeed, that he be groomed for sights much higher.
Even with the unforgiving and harshest of standards placed before him, he effortlessly graduated at the top of his class. Myrna, although expectant of his success, beamed with pride as she cried out of fear and sadness for the road that lie ahead. She was sixty-two years old and had fostered his growth for his full eighteen years; she was not ready to let go. She didn’t want to lose him to the bullet of a criminal or worse, the claws of some other ferocious beast that was like him.
She attempted to prevent this feeling of powerlessness, but it came to her nearly every moment she was without him.
Xavien, through his promotions and career success, continued to live at home. He’d refrained from dating and still had not yet engaged in sexual contact of any sort. She was worried that she was the reason for this, but he mentioned that there was too much at stake to confuse himself with the drama associated with relationships. She was secretly pleased that she would get to have him near her for a little while longer, but knew that it would eventually come to an end.
It came to an end the year he turned twenty-one. He met a sweet young lady by the name of Clara, a sweet sixteen that had just begun to work her first real job at the doughnut shop down the street from the precinct where Xavien worked. The platinum blonde locks and enchanting hazel eyes bewitched him in a way that no other human being had in his life. She was quite tall at five feet eleven inches and thickly proportioned at about two hundred pounds; almost in direct contrast to Xavien’s form, as he was six feet five inches tall and a wiry two-hundred and twenty pounds. It started as friendly banter that quickly grew into playful flirtation. This was quickly recognized by his partner, Officer Victor Clayton, who both warned and teased him in equal parts for his choice in age as well as body-type. Xavien, for the most part, did not even understand that he had behaved in a peculiar fashion, but merely understood that he wished to spend more time with her.
Their courtship did not yet venture beyond the doughnut shop but, she continued to work there and he continued to patronize the establishment. It became such a dalliance for him that he’d consume a dozen doughnuts daily from his constant trips. Victor’s warnings waned and turned into a kind, yet wistfully romantic about how the two of them were remarkably well-matched and should potentially explore the world beyond fried dough.
Xavien, well aware of the age difference, kept his intent between Clara and himself. During this time, she remained chaste as she waited for him. The closest she came to the dating scene came was when she attended her senior prom with a homosexual male friend of hers by the name of Sergei Nuevos. On the week of her eighteenth birthday, Clara’s boss gave a knowing smile as she asked to leave early. Xavien was ready and waiting for her. He took her home and met with her father, to inform of his intent.
Her father, Richard Dawkins, seemed to expect that this was coming and had been pleased at the caution and patience that they both had exhibited. He seemed to be pleasantly surprised that her boyfriend was not only an upstanding citizen, but an accomplished police officer. To their relative amazement, Richard was not upset by the age difference and that he not only gave his blessing but expressed his admiration for Xavien’s chosen profession, which he claimed that he would have liked to know sooner.
Xavien presented Clara to Myrna as his final test. His eyes pled with Myrna; he did not wish her to be rejected. Myrna’s skeptical gaze was melted by the fervent nature of Xavien’s earnest affection for Clara, but obvious deference to Myrna. Her face and voice purported approval, but her insides were churning and her heart ached as she knew the inevitable had finally come to pass.
Xavien’s work had been impeccable to this point but, during the months that he officially began his relationship with Clara, he began to exhibit an uncanny and intangible sense of intuition. From a safe political distance, Charles Baskerville monitored his career with pleasure and interest; for he knew with great certainty who Xavien’s father had been. The chief greased the wheels of Xavien’s promotion ever so slightly, but cautiously remained at a distance as to remain free of suspicion from any angle.
It took only three months into the official relationship, before Xavien and Clara knew that they would not be able to restrain their physical desire much further. Together, they informed Clara’s father, Richard, of their intent to marry. This was met with no surprise, resistance or advice to the contrary; the same from her joyful mother, Adele. However, Myrna had bitterly scolded him in private for his haste to marry. It burned Xavien to meet with resistance that he’d not been able to anticipate. It did not dissuade him, however. By the time the wedding rolled around, Myrna had acquiesced to the situation and reluctantly provided her blessing. She then expressed her desire for his happiness and sad pleasure at the fact that it certainly appeared he had found it with the young Miss Clara Dawkins.
Xavien had plenty of money, enough for a large wedding, but he’d never had the desire for opulence or spectacles. The two of them were married in Clara’s parent’s backyard in the presence of Clara’s mother and father, Myrna, his partner Victor Clayton, and Clara’s boss and co-workers from the doughnut shop. They honeymooned for two weeks in Hawaii, where they enthusiastically consummated their marriage. It was during their honeymoon that their son Scott was conceived, although there was some lighthearted debate about exactly which precise event had been responsible.
They felt so perfect together and pleased at the poetic nature of this conception, that the pregnancy flowed without any of the standard worry or concern. The two of them seemed to live a charmed existence. For the four months following their return from Hawaii, they lived with Myrna, as they searched for a home. They soon purchased a condo in Dark Foal Estates East, which sat four blocks from Hyde City Memorial Hospital and seven blocks away from the precinct where Xavien worked.
Clara gave birth to their son Scott nine months and seven days after their honeymoon, and the two parents could not have been happier. Myrna had lost all prior dislike of the situation and gleefully welcomed the addition, much to the new parents’ delight. Clara’s relationship with her parents had always been close, and the new life brought the two small families together.
The family enjoyed a frictionless existence, and Xavien had earned the respect and cachet amongst his peers on the force. The calm and detached manner had also been supplanted by a more fun-loving and jovial one since the birth of his son. This created a fantastic work environment for him and greatly impressed his secret admirer, Chief Charles Baskerville. The morale in the department reached unprecedented highs and the crime in their jurisdiction seemed to diminish in response. Captain Bruce Crane, unaware of Charles Baskerville’s already well-focused attention, wrote several letters of recognition which placed the credit almost fully upon Xavien for this amazing turnaround in what was otherwise a hot bed of criminal activity.
As each letter passed his desk, Chief Baskerville could do nothing but laugh. These were not a surprise and he expected greater. However, he responded with a visit and a private meeting between Captain Crane and Sergeant Xavien Brady to discuss career goals and to suggest a date with city hall where Xavien would receive official recognition. However, Xavien respectfully declined official recognition but expressed a strong desire in the cold case that involved the murder of his mother. Both the captain and the chief discussed with him the potential avenues and the decision was made then to allow him to quietly investigate this matter. Neither of them were very eager to re-open these old wounds, but they could not deny Xavien’s contribution deserved some reward.
This is when Xavien’s trouble began. All remaining evidence had been placed before him, including the sealed records that surrounded the most controversial case the department had ever investigated; the case of Wesley Landau. This case had been the final one that Xavien’s birth mother had been assigned to before her demise. It was Officer Leslie Brady’s diligence and relentless nature that led to its re-opening, but her efforts had flushed out a vicious killer that was intent on the continuance of Wesley Landau’s ‘vision’ as it was labeled. It was widely believed that her persistence is what led to her demise and it was the subject of much controversy that the case was closed in an unheralded fashion a year after her death. As far as anyone knew, the killer had vanished into thin air, never to return.
Xavien, finally allowed free reign to work on the one thing that had been a driving goal for the majority of his cognitive life, began to work tirelessly an effort to discover something that may have previously gone unnoticed. The obsessive nature he had with this case never took precedence over his time with Scott, but did cut into the time that he would have otherwise spent with his loving wife Clara. She suffered in silence and remained by his side in a strong show of support, as she knew how important that this was to him. Vacations were canceled, date-nights got forgotten and most nights Xavien didn’t come to bed for long, if at all. Silently, Clara prayed to a God she knew did not exist; would he allow Xavien to find closure?
This was not to be the worst trial that would hit their marriage, for there was much worse ahead as Clara was the unlucky observer to see another facet of Xavien’s being come to life. He’d kept his true nature a secret between himself and Myrna, but his bestial nature would not doom them. It was the family that he had been shielded from his whole life in addition to the enemies of the family that he had been shielded from. The problems they would cause would not only complicate his life, but the incidental fallout would attract the attention of a most undesirable element.