I woke the next morning with the dream still fresh in my mind. I lay in bed for a while thinking about the dream, puzzling over it with questions running through my mind. After about ten minutes I finally got out of bed, got dressed and headed downstairs. My aunt was making herself a coffee as I entered the kitchen.
I grumbled in response and she glanced over at me.
"What's the matter?" She turned around and leant back against the kitchen bench. "You usually aren't like this."
"I just didn't get much sleep." I opened the pantry to see what there was to eat trying to do what I could to avoid eye contact with my aunt.
"I see. Anything else? Anything you want to talk about?" Concern crept into her voice.
I turned around, reluctantly looked at her and nodded. I didn't want to say anything just yet in case my uncle, Bartholomew, was nearby.
"If you want to talk about it, you can. Your uncle isn't around at the moment so you don't have to worry about him overhearing."
She knew what I was like when it came to stuff that I didn't want my uncle to know about. So every time she talked to me about something, she made sure to check if it was something safe to talk around my uncle.
"It…it's nothing. Just a weird dream that I had last night that woke me up. Didn't get much sleep afterwards." I was hoping she wouldn't question me about it as I wanted to try and make some sense out of the dream before saying anything.
"Ok." She gave me one last look of concern before continuing with making her coffee. She also seemed to relax a little as if she had been feeling a little tense. "You know you can talk to me about anything Tobias. And I literally mean anything." She looked at me and smiled.
I gave her a small smile and got what I could for breakfast. "I know, Aunty Jane. Anyway, how's things with you?"
My aunt was like a mother to me. You could get along with her so easily and she would always help out when she could and she always seemed to know what to do. And when her deep brown eyes started to fill with concern you knew she was really willing to listen and try and help out and she would always tie up her brown hair when she was talking about serious issues. Just little things she started to do when she first became a lawyer.
"Oh, the same old, same old. Been trying to help prove a man innocent of a murder that he took no part it. Kind of sad really. Has a nice family. Lovely wife, who is a gardener and two lovely children. He's a butcher so it's understandable why people would accuse him of helping someone with a murder but I know he's not the type of person."
That's another thing with my aunt. She seems to be able to look at you and know what sort of person you are. Whether or not you would hurt someone for pure pleasure or only do it out of self-defence. And she wouldn't need to utter a word.
"I hate it when innocent people are accused of something they didn't do. Are things turning out well for him? With proving his innocence?"
She finished stirring her coffee and put the teaspoon in the sink before turning to look at me just as I sat down at the table. She was frowning slightly. "To be honest, it's a little hard. But I know I'll be able to prove his innocence no matter how hard it is. I just wish the court wasn't so harsh on him but I can understand why they're like that." She took a sip of her coffee. "Mmm, caffeine. Good old friend of mine. How are things at school?"
"Alright I guess. Mrs O'Riley had her last day yesterday so we should be getting our new biology teacher today. I have no idea what they'll be like. Don't even know who it is. We didn't get told much."
Aunty Jane frowned at me. "Mrs O'Riley? Your nice biology teacher? The one with the curly hair and frameless glasses that sounds like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter? I liked her. I wonder why she left."
I suddenly started feeling quite sad and sighed. "It's because she recently found out that she has cancer. Decided to take time off work while she tries to fight it off. She doesn't know if she'll be back to teach or when she'll be back if she'll survive."
"That's sad. I hope she gets better. Anyway, you should head to school. Your friend Jack will be waiting for you at the corner of the street for you soon."
I nodded and finished my breakfast. After rinsing my bowl and grabbing my bag I headed for the front door. That's when my uncle came out of his office and stood at the top of the stairs. He looked at me with the most evil look that he has ever given me.
"Tobias, make sure you don't do anything that'll get you in the slightest bit of trouble. And keep working hard."
I nodded. "Yes, Uncle Bartholomew." I kept eye contact with my uncle for a few more seconds before saying goodbye to my aunt and heading off for school. My uncle was quite strict and always seemed to remind me about working hard and keeping out of trouble. I found it a little weird but I didn't want to see his bad side.
Jack and I were sitting beneath a tree. It was lunch break and our class just before break was Classical Studies so Jack was going on about the Greek Gods and myths like he always did. He was really passionate about it. He had even started planning on a trip to Greece. While he was chatting away I was staring out at the field crowded by students while I thought about the dream that I had. I suddenly noticed that Jack had stopped talking and was looking at me. I frowned at him a little.
"You weren't listening to a word I said were you?"
I sighed. "No, I wasn't listening. Been thinking about something."
Jack looked at me with concern, "I thought something may have been wrong. You seem to have been a bit distracted during classes today. What's wrong? Are you gay? Is your aunt ok? Your uncle been giving you trouble?"
I just stared at him. "Did you just ask me if I was gay? Really? That's the first thing that you ask?" He just looks at me and nods. "Well to be honest I am gay but that's not the reason."
"Well if the fact that you're gay of which you've been hiding and not saying anything isn't troubling you then what is? Talk to me Tobias? What troubles you?" Jack walked round in front of me and knelt on the ground forcing me to look up and make eye contact. I couldn't help but notice his bright blue eyes. They always seemed to get my attention. I have never told Jack this but he was attractive.
I let out a sigh. "If you really want to know then it's this dream that I had last night. I was in a forest clearing surrounded by an assortment of animals, including mythical creatures. A phoenix flew down and landed in front of me and changed into an elderly man who claimed to know my father and that he was on his way to get me. It was so vivid and realistic that it feels like I won't be able to forget it. It was weird."
Jack started to speak but stopped. He slowly stood up with a look on his face that I knew meant bad news. I looked over my shoulder and saw that Hannah was heading towards us with a few of her friends. I slowly stood up, mentally preparing for what I knew was going to happen. Hannah always went around the school during lunch breaks to pick on anyone she liked and her friends Lizzie, Krystal and Penelope were always following her around though they didn't really do much, they were mainly just moral support for Hannah and laughed at the shame and humility she put others through.
"So what are you two twerps up to? Talking about some random stuff like usual? Or have you gotten up to making out with each other? Because I swear I saw you two kissing each other the other day." Hannah smiled while the others laughed quietly amongst themselves as if what had been said was highly amusing.
I was trying to keep calm. I'm sure Hannah didn't know a thing about me being gay. Jack is the only person I've told, all because he mentioned it earlier.
"You better keep your mouth shut Hannah!" Jack placed a hand on my shoulder as a warning.
"Or else what? You'll pray to one of the Greek Gods in hope that they'll help you? They didn't help you earlier Jack when you were rejected by me. Seriously, I can't believe you would embarrass me so much in front of the whole class. I never knew you had a crush on me until you confessed it earlier today." Hannah smiled a little.
That didn't go down well with Jack seeing as he was really into the Greek Gods and myths and he didn't seem to like the fact that Hannah brought up his confession. Jack's face had gone completely red with anger. I couldn't stand seeing my best friend being talked to in this way and being laughed at. So I lightly pushed Jack's hand off my shoulder, walked over to Hannah and looked her in the eyes. Her smile grew even more. She thought this was all fun and games. I was sick and tired of what she had done to not just me and Jack but to others as well.
"It's time for you to finally stop humiliating others and getting pleasure out of it." I glared at Hannah as she started laughing.
"Is that a threat coming from the weakest teenager in school?" She grabbed one of my cheeks like an aunt would do when the family met up for birthdays and such. Hannah continued to laugh.
I slapped her hand away and punched her in the face twice before kicking her in the side of her left leg with so much force that I heard the bone snap. I knew Hannah's leg was now broken and that it wasn't my ankle. I then turned to Lizzie and the others.
"The three of you have a chance. You can either fight me and end up like Hannah or run off and leave without a scratch." Lizzie, Krystal and Penelope just stared at me as if weren't sure what they should do. I then gave off a rather menacing wolf-like growl which was enough to convince the three of them to run for it.
I then felt a hand grab my shoulder with an iron grip. I knew it wasn't Jack because his grip wasn't usually that tight. I looked behind me and saw the principal, Mrs Jefferson. I wasn't scared, I was satisfied. Not because I got caught but because I did something that was worth it.
"Tobias, my office. Now. I expect a full report with what transpired between you and Hannah. And do not forget a single detail. And don't think your uncle will be kept in the dark about this. I'm sure he would like to know what had happened."
I glanced over at Jack. He didn't seem to be as disappointed as I thought he would be. I smiled at him a little to let him know I would be ok. I then headed towards Mrs Jefferson's office. The principal followed me after telling Jack to escort Hannah to the nurse and giving him a stern look.
I was sitting in the principal's office and I had just finished telling Mrs Jefferson about what had happened. She just looked at me as if I was the worst thing that could be in the room. I could see that she was trying to decide whether to expel me from school or suspend me. As Mrs Jefferson sat there looking at me I started to think back to when I had kicked Hannah in the leg and how that one kick had broken it. I never really thought how I could have the strength to break someone's bones with just one hit. Mrs Jefferson interrupted my thoughts as she started speaking.
"Tobias, you are stupid for thinking about hitting a girl let alone breaking her leg. There are better ways to deal with school bullies but with the way you dealt with the problem I have come to the conclusion that I will only suspend you as a warning rather than expel you."
I nodded in agreement as I thought it would be fair enough, "How long for?"
Mrs Jefferson glared at me, "I was getting to that. You are to be suspended for a month. I will have your teacher's send you work to do while you're home and I expect you to put in some effort or else as soon as your suspension is over you'll be getting detention. How long for will depend on how much effort you put into completing the work. I called your uncle while we were on our way to my office. He should be here soon and when he gets here I will fill him in with everything that has happened and with what has been decided."
I felt the blood drain from my face. This wasn't good news. My uncle would surely make my life a living hell because of this. My heart was starting to race just at the thought of what my uncle would say or do just as somebody knocked on the door.
"Come in!" Mrs Jefferson called out.
My uncle entered. He gave me the death stare before turning to the principal. I started to wish I was completely invisible or that I didn't exist.
"Now what's this all about? What has my nephew done?"
Mrs Jefferson signalled me to wait outside her office. I was a little grateful that she did. And so I waited outside her office for what seemed like hours. When my uncle finally came out of the office followed by the principal I figured it had only been half an hour. My uncle glared at me and didn't say a word. He then headed towards the front doors, plainly obvious that I would be wise to follow.
The car ride was uneventful due to the fact that my uncle kept quiet. I just sat in the passenger's seat enjoying the view. But once we got home, that's when things started to get really ugly. We had just gotten inside when my uncle gave me a look that told me he wanted to kill me right where I was standing.
"Put your bag in your room and meet me in my office." He was so quiet due to how angry he was. And I mean really angry. "If you take your time about it then you'll be getting a damn beating."
I literally ran for it. I dumped my bag onto my bed and as I came out of my room I heard my aunt and uncle talking. Uncle Bartholomew was almost shouting but I could tell he was trying to restrain himself and Aunty Jane…she was almost crying from what I could tell. She was trying to calm him down without any luck. This was the first time I ever heard my aunt cry or my uncle be on the verge of shouting. I decided to quickly take a seat in my uncle's office before he stormed up the stairs. I tried to prepare myself for what was to come. It didn't take him long to finish having his little fit downstairs as he entered his office not long after I had taken a seat which didn't really give me much time to prepare. My uncle went to stand behind his desk and slammed his hands down on the desk
"How dare you!" Ok yea…he was angry. "What the hell were you thinking when you punched that girl in the face? Not once but twice? And then you decided to go ahead and break her leg? How did you even manage that in one kick? I don't understand you at all! I feel like I don't even know you anymore! I thought you were my nephew! Not your damn father!"
He sat down in his chair heavily and covered his face. I could tell he was trying his best not to hit anything or throw anything in case he damaged something valuable. I kept quiet for a while as I didn't want to anger him further, plus I didn't know what I could say even though I was slightly surprised at the mention of my father. I decided to finally say something…I didn't know what it would cause my uncle to do.
"I…I really didn't know what I was thinking. Hannah has…" I took in a deep breath. "She has picked on just about everyone at school, threatening to fight anyone who dares to try and stop her. Telling teachers has never worked and the only thing that crossed my mind that could possibly stop her is to give her a taste of her own medicine to try and teach her a lesson. And about my dad…do not bring him into this. He isn't here anymore. He's not alive. And it's all thanks to you. You made sure my mother and father died! So then you could keep a closer eye on me and make sure I wasn't a threat. To make sure I didn't give you the sort of trouble that my father would probably give you! I blame you for my parent's deaths. And you know what I think? I think you can go to hell and leave me and Aunty Jane alone. We don't need you in our lives any more. I can't even call you an uncle anymore."
I stood up and my uncle looked at me. I had no idea what I saw next. My uncle's face completely changed for a couple of seconds. And I don't mean with emotion. I mean it physically changed. Just for those few seconds his face looked like that of a corpse. Skin looked like it had decayed a little, irises were red and his hair receded a little. Once it was over I wasn't sure if it had been my imagination or not.
"Get out…get out of this room and leave me in peace you little swine!"
And so I did. I went to my room, slammed my door shut and punched a hole in the wall next to me. That little prick who calls himself my uncle. I didn't want my father to be mentioned at all let alone be compared to my father. I didn't know what my father was like though I'm sure he was a pretty decent guy and did what he thought was right. I went over to my bed, picked up my bag and placed it down next to my desk. I was just about to lie down on my bed when there was a soft knock on my bedroom door. I went over and slowly opened it. My aunt stood there looking worried.
"Can I come in?" Her voice trembled a little. I nodded and stood back a little to allow her in.
She headed over to my desk and leant against it. She watched me as I sat down on the end of my bed.
"I heard Bartholomew shouting at you. Your father was mentioned."
I stiffened at the mention of my father. "Tobias, I wanted you to know your father was a nice guy. He really was. He treated my sister, your mother, like a queen. He did every he could to try and keep her happy. He respected her…he also had respect for me for the person that I am and for the job I pursued. The night that they died in the car crash was the saddest time of my life. I still think of them from time to time…"
A tear started rolling down her cheek, "Aunty Jane, please. Don't cry."
She shook her head, "It's alright Tobias. It really is."
I got up, went over to her and hugged her. "There's something I want to tell you. About what we kind of talked about this morning before I headed off to school."
She looked at me and said "If you're going to tell me you're gay then I already know."
I sighed, "Not you too…Jack said something similar. But it's not the fact that I'm gay. It's the dream I had. It has been on my mind all day. Though the more I think about it the more I'm sure it was more of a vision than a dream. An elderly man contacted me during my sleep somehow, I don't know how. He mentioned something about my dad; he said that he was alive."
My aunt looked at me in surprise, "Are you sure?" I nodded. "Tobias, there's something I have to tell you. About your father…" At that moment there was a knock on the door. My uncle yelled out to my aunt about answering the door.
"Go. Answer it. Please. I don't want Uncle Bartholomew to answer it if you take too long." My aunt ran downstairs while I followed her at a bit of a slower pace. I heard her open the door and gasp. I got to the entryway in time to see my aunt hug the guy who had been at the door and was now in the entryway. He looked vaguely familiar. They stopped hugging and my aunt looked at me and smiled. I had a feeling that this tall and stocky guy with long black hair tied in a ponytail was my dad but I wasn't too sure.
"Tobias, this is Lysander, your…"
I cut her off. "Dad? Is that really you?"
He didn't need to answer because everything clicked when I looked at his face a little more. His face was quite angular but his eyes were a strikingly bright green with hints of gold. I ran up to him and hugged him and he laughed a little.
"Yes, it's me." I looked up at him and he was smiling. "It's been a long time Tobias. Too long. There's a whole lot of people wanting to meet you, with a few others that haven't seen you since you were little."
We stopped hugging and my dad looked behind me, his face distorted a little with disgust. I looked over my shoulder and saw Uncle Bartholomew standing there, his face completely white and full of anger.
"You! How dare you set foot in this house! You and your kind are not welcome here! I made sure you and your stupid little tribe knew that!"
My father let off an inhuman growl deep in his throat. "That was a sad day for everyone. You killed too many people. And you still have to pay for it! I have only come here for my son."
"Why? So you can corrupt him with your stupid little fantasies of making the world a better place for your kind?"
My father growled again, but this time a little louder and a little more menacing. "It's your god damn kind that is trying to take over the bloody world you disgusting demonic scum! Now back off and leave us be or I'll make sure you wish you didn't exist."
This wasn't exactly the best reunion that you could have with your father but it was better than nothing. My uncle glared at my dad before storming off while I had a few more questions running through my mind. My dad turned to Aunty Jane.
"Jane, the best thing you could do is leave this house and don't come back until I have sorted a few things out. I think you'll know when things have been sorted out seeing as you know what Bartholomew is but I'll send you a message when I can just to be sure."
Aunty Jane nodded, "I'll pack some things before heading off to a cousin's place. Or maybe even a hotel."
"Good. You remember what we taught you whenever you needed to contact someone in the tribe?" Jane nodded and my dad turned to me. "Now, it's about time we left. I think we have overstayed our welcome. Grab what you can as long as it's nothing electronic. We don't have power at the village."
I grabbed what I could as fast as I could, packed it all into two bags and arrived back at the entryway. Jane and Lysander were chatting away about what had happened over the years while there was no contact between them. They finished up just as I came up to them and put one of my bags down. My dad looked at me and smiled.
"You have my good looks." He winked at me and smiled. "I'm sure all the girls back at our village would be talking about you once they see you."
My aunt and I glanced at each other and my dad must have gotten some of the meaning behind it.
"Wait…you're telling me you aren't really into girls?"
I shook my head. "No dad. I've never really been interested in girls."
"So you're gay?" I nodded and my dad smiled. "Well that's no problem then. Our tribe is very open about pretty much anything. So you'll be just fine. There's even a guy in the village who shares your interest in guys. I think he'll be your sort of type too. He's seventeen and he's quite cute. His name's Remus. I'm sure you can guess what animal he can shift into." My dad winked at me but I was slightly confused.
"Lysander, I don't think Tobias fully understands what you're talking about."
My dad looked at Jane in surprise. "So Bartholomew told him nothing?" Jane shook her head. "Well then, that will just add a little extra something for you to soak in. Anyway let's go. We're running a little late. It was nice to see you again Jane and hopefully I'll see you again soon."
We headed out the door and up the street, Jane waved and I waved back. I really was hoping that I would see her again soon. I then turned to my dad who was muttering to himself a little.
"Dad, how exactly are we going to get to this village?"
He looked at me, "You thought we were going by car didn't you?" I nodded, "Well that is where you are wrong. When we get to the top of the street there's someone I'd like you to meet. He's a nice guy but can be a little intimidating when you first meet him. He can shift into a horse so he'll be handy."
Soon enough we were at the top of the street and like my dad said there was someone waiting for us. He had quite a lean body and you could see his abs through his shirt that was probably a little too tight for him.
"Tobias, this is Alex. Alex this is my son." Alex nodded towards me and shook my hand. "Now, Alex, I need you to take Toby's bags and go ahead without us. Tobias and I will take things a little more slowly as he hasn't travelled by wolf before. We shouldn't be too far behind though. I hope."
What's been happening hasn't been making much sense though I was starting to get that Alex and my dad were shape shifters of some sort. But I would ask my dad about it just to make sure this wasn't a joke or anything. Alex asked me for my bags and I handed them to him. I was told to wait here while my dad went off to help Alex get my bags and stuff strapped to Alex once he had "changed". After about a minute or two my dad came back with a brown horse by his side with my bags strapped to him.
"You ready to head off now Tobias?" I nodded. "Right then Alex, you may be on your way. Remember to see my father first. He'll know what to do. The chief always knows what to do."
Alex headed off at a slow pace before gaining some speed. I kept my gaze on Alex before turning to my dad with confusion.
"What?" My dad gave me a look that seemed to say that I should have figured things out already.
"I think you are completely nuts…" My dad laughed and just looked at me with a smile on his face before going completely serious.
"You haven't figured it out have you? Or if you have then you don't believe anything that has been going on, am I right?"
I nodded. "I have come to the conclusion that either everyone is suddenly mental or there are shape shifters that I had no idea about and I'm finding it hard to believe. If shape shifters are real, it would make my dream that I had last night a little more understandable."
"Dream? That was no dream. That was a vision. A way for us to contact others while they sleep. My father, your grandfather, had to contact you in order to tell you that I was on my way. He did find it difficult which is why he was only able to contact you the night before I arrived, otherwise he would have given you a little more notice. Now let's head off, you can ask more questions when we stop for food and rest."
"But how are we going to travel? You said by wolf but I see no wolf anywhere and I don't think a wolf would be able to carry two people let alone let anyone near it…"
My dad chuckled. "Follow me and you'll see what I mean."
He led me into the bushes that were big enough to hide the both of us. "Now just stay there and watch this. Don't be afraid of what you see. You will be completely safe."
I stood there keeping a close eye on my dad. He then started to softly glow with a white light and his form started to shift and change. Before I knew it a large black and grey wolf with green eyes stood before me in the spot where my dad had been except the wolf was my dad. The wolf of which my dad had become was large enough for me to ride.
"That's…..amazing. Only question is, how do I hold on if there aren't any reins?"
The wolf or my dad, whatever you would want to call him, motioned his head towards his neck and I felt something touch my mind leaving me with the idea of wrapping my arms around his neck and holding on with a gentle but firm grip. I then hopped onto the wolf's back and wrapped my arms around his neck.
I nodded, "I'm ready."
And so the wolf walked out of the bushes and started heading down the main street that led to the country side. Slowly he picked up his speed and so we were on our way and I would have to say it was an interesting experience riding on the back of a large wolf.