Chapter Twenty-Two: Hayley
Song of the Chapter: Lose You To Love Me by Selena Gomez
I dreaded the day this conversation would have to happen, I dreaded the day that I would have to tell Joey the truth about his families' death, our family's death. Now I don’t feel an ounce of dread, I feel regret and pain. I know now at this moment that Joey knows the truth, someone has already told him what happened, someone has already told him their side of things and he one hundred percent believes it. No matter what I say now I can’t change that in him, Joey thinks I’m a monster and nothing I say will change that. I’m too late when it comes to him, but, I don’t have to be too late when it comes to these people around me. I don’t have to be too late when it comes to my pack and my mate. Taking in a deep breath I regain myself as I stand. Joey remains seated where he is, probably due to the fact that the moment I stand Dusk moves to my side to support me. Dusk is a good alpha, she and Noah truly care for everyone who crosses their paths, anyone who deserves it. I deserve that care, what I did was an accident, a horrible accident. I can’t change that fact but I can try to move past it, I can try to finally find the life I have been keeping myself from. I can let Joey go, I can let my quilt go because they aren’t mine to hold onto any longer.
“It was a cool Friday evening exactly five days after my fifteenth birthday, it was a full moon. I was spending the night watching movies with my adoptive family, Joey’s family the Sangara’s. Joey had left to go to a party with his friends while I remained home with our younger brother, sister, and our parents. Their names were Sheri, Jim, Crystal, and Conner. I loved them like my own family because they had taken me in at a young age when my own family was killed in a hunting accident. It started off as a normal evening as we started with our favourite movie, Wall-E. Everything was going as usual until… until.” My voice falters as I try to stay in reality and not fall back into memory.
When Dusk’s hand comes down on my shoulder and her eyes meet mine I know I need to stop struggling, I need to fall back into that night in order to be able to truly face it. Dusk nods her head telling me that I should continue when I’m ready.
“Continue Hayley, tell them what you did!” Joey’s voice cracks out as he is trying to be spiteful but fails, his voice doesn’t matter.
None of the voices around me matter, everything fades away from me accept Dusk’s hand on my shoulder. She is lending me the strength to do what I need to do. I take another deep breath and fall back into the memory prepared to face what I’ve done.
It was 8:30 pm when the cramps began in my stomach, I ignored them for as long as I could wanting to enjoy my night with my family but they got really bad. I remove myself from under the blanket we are all sharing and get up from the couch holding my cramping stomach. When I move from the couch I have to bend over as the pain becomes an excruciating feeling, I start to consider I’m getting my first period, what else could this feeling be?
“Hayley honey what’s wrong?” Sheri asked me a clear concern in her voice for my wellbeing.
“I think I’m getting my first period, my stomach really hurts,” I mumble out my cheeks flaming as I know that Jim has heard me, I’m embarrassed.
Without another word, Sheri ushered me to the bathroom where she sat me down on the toilet and proceeded to rummage around in the cupboards for girl products as she rattled away about how periods work and that everything was perfectly natural. I believed her right up until the moment I spun onto my hands and knees and vomited up blood as the pain in my stomach quickly spread through my whole body.
“Sheri?” I had gargled out now terrified.
Sheri had stood over me her face horrified as the feminine products she had found for me fell from her hand spilling tampons and pads onto the bathroom floor. Sheri’s terror quickly turned into recognition and then determination. I was so confused by that.
“Listen, Hayley, we haven’t told you something about yourself. Something pretty scary. After you turned fourteen and you didn’t shift we didn’t think it was going to happen. Listen to me Hayley, you are a Wolf and this is your first shift, you need to run with it or else it will kill you!” Sheri’s voice came out loud and painful in my ears as I began to cry heavily from the pain and the confusion.
“I don’t understand.” I moaned out not grasping a single word that Sheri was saying, I didn’t know what any of it meant.
Sheri kept talking but I couldn’t hear her anymore I was too consumed with the pain and terror I was feeling. My terror only grew as I felt my teeth growing into canines in my mouth and my fingers began to move beneath me even though I didn’t command them to. I began to shift even though I had no clue what that meant. Suddenly I felt something come around me tightly, the pressure of it scared me and I lashed out trying to get it away from me, to let me go because it was hurting me not helping me. Blinded by the pain I was feeling and the pain this constricting thing that was containing me I continued to lash out until it lets go out and the shift could fully break free. My body burst apart before remaking itself as I feel to the floor panting like a newborn. The first thing I tested was my eyes and when I did I was faced with something so horrifying that I honestly panicked. Sheri layed by the door in front of me her eyes on mine as her blood seeped from her where I had ripped into her. I crouched by the toilet pressing myself into the wall wanting to get away from her not believing my eyes as it dawned on me that she had been the thing restricting me, she had been the thing I attacked. She had just been hugging me trying to comfort me and I had attacked her for it. Sheri let out a shaky breath before me as I began to shake terribly before her. She had really good motherly instincts because with her last breathes she said words I didn’t deserve.
“Listen to me Hayley, it’s okay, you are going to be okay. You will get through this. You are going to be who you are meant to be and that is okay. When we took you in we knew this was a risk, we knew what you could become and we’re okay with it because we love you. I love you and I forgive you for this, you didn’t mean to hurt me, you didn’t understand I was trying to help you and for that I’m sorry. I’m sorry to do this to you, my girl.” Sheri murmured her voice becoming quieter and quieter until the light left her eyes and she slumped back into the door dead.
I had killed her, I had killed the one woman left who loved me. That pain was too much for me, way too much for me. I retreated back into myself letting the animal within me come forward as I became half-feral. I let out a pained howl as I scrapped at the bathroom wall trying to get away from this, trying to get away from it all. That’s when Jim heard me, he heard my howl and knowing what it meant he came rushing to the bathroom. I don’t blame Jim for what he tried to do to me, I deserved it after he found his wife mangled and a feral Wolf in his bathroom. My human side cried as I called out for Jim but he couldn’t hear me locked away deep inside the beast. Instead, the animal within me went into protective mode letting out a throaty growl as I pressed farther into the wall sending a crack through it with my unknown strength. Jim ran from the door moving quickly as he tried to make his way to his gun but I didn’t let him as I nipped at his heels. I didn’t care that I was hurting someone else I loved, all I wanted to do was be free of this pain within myself. I dodged around Jim just as he grabbed his gun, he always kept it loaded so I’m not surprised at how quickly he got a shot off at me. I was surprised by how quickly I dodged the shot, dodged the shot that was meant to kill me but instead killed my little brother who just so happened to come and see what the noise was about. His death only added to my pain and insanity causing me to completely go feral. Past that I don’t remember much, I just remember attacking anything and everything close to me. I destroyed everything from furniture to appliances, to memories, and to my own family. Joey’s friends dropped him off at his house two hours later at 10:00 pm. When they dropped him off he entered the house to know something was immediately wrong, that’s when he found me and I attacked him. I came back to over his body outside surrounded by his family members that I had dragged outside and feasted on because I was badly hungry. I couldn’t handle the bloodlust. The moment I came back to I shifted back into human form without evening meaning to when I did that I lost all the feralness that had earlier protected me and truly caused this incident. Realizing what I had done I rushed around to each of my family members trying to wake them, that’s how I became covered in blood. In my haste and panic running around, I cut myself on fragments from the thing I had destroyed which contributed to making me look like I was a victim and not the killer. When the police showed up three hours later at 1:00 am the house was burning from the destruction I had caused and I was huddled in a bundle of bodies holding onto the tiny bit of sanity that I had left.
“Holy shit, sweetheart what happened here, why are you naked?” A female officer’s voice reached my ears, I had looked at her and the moment our eyes meet I broke into insane sobs as my entire body shook and I latched onto her.
I couldn’t form thoughts let alone words to describe what I had done even I wanted to. I never wanted to be portrayed as the victim, I knew I wasn’t. I wanted to give myself up and be killed for my own loss of control over whatever the hell I had become but I couldn’t. How could I explain to these people what had happened when I myself don’t even have the answer to that. Sheri’s words repeated in my mind over and over. I just held onto that officer until the moment another voice reached my ears confirming the best thing I had ever heard.
“We have one left alive Silvia!” A male officer’s voice called out and for the first time since I latched onto the female officer.
I scrambled through the destruction I had produced to where the male officer held Joey’s limp body in his arms, Joey’s chest rising and falling slowly. I can’t even describe with words what went through my mind at that moment. I can’t even process to this day what I was feeling. All I knew is that suddenly I had a purpose again, suddenly I didn’t have to try and figure out how to explain what happened because Joey would be able to tell them. Only when Joey came to he couldn’t tell them anything more than they were attacked by a Wolf and I wasn’t a Wolf. I didn’t know what I was. All I know is that I’m not a Wolf and that I want to listen to Sheri’s words and believe that this wasn’t me, that I have a future. So, I never told anyone what happened and lived with it from that moment forward.
Dusk’s hand leaves my shoulder as she pulls my trembling form into a hug, bodies come around me embracing me to them as they hug me trying to comfort me. This pack, these people accept me for who I am and what I did.
“What happened to you is called a first transformation feral-state. Because you didn’t know what you were or how to properly deal with it you lost all control over your animal side. It took over and used it’s nature to do what it thought it had to in order to protect you. Unfortunately, it happens more than anyone ever thinks, normally it is fixable because the family is Wolves and can heal but in you’re case they couldn’t. You could have healed them but you wouldn’t have known how to do so. What Sheri did trying to comfort you by hugging you actually triggered it all because your animal would have viewed her as a threat to your shift and tried to fight her off so that you could survive the shift she was preventing by holding you so tight. Hayley, yes this is your fault, yes you did this but it isn’t all your fault. Sheri and Jim knew what you were, they should have known what to do and they didn’t. The world failed you, Hayley.” Crane’s weak voice comes from the bedroom doorway where he leans against the frame looking at me sadly.
The people surrounding me move as I move through them making my way to Crane where he leans arms open ready to embrace me the moment I reach him. When I reach him I throw my arms around him as in that moment my heart slams hard against my ribs and I know I love him. Just as my heart slams my ribs my head cracks with pain before I can feel Crane everywhere within me and around me. I can feel our mating bond and my heart sores causing tears to prick in the corners of my eyes. This means maybe I can shift, maybe I can finally be with Crane fully.
“Hey, your okay Hayley,” Crane whispers as he kisses the top of my head clearly thinking the tears are sad ones from the memory I just relived and told everyone about.
“I am now,” I tell Crane, a smile plays on his lips and I know he can feel what I’m feeling.
“No, no he should be dead. The Colonel promised me that the wolfsbane would kill him. It would kill him and then Hayley would back to me…” Joey is saying almost manically when suddenly Noah lunges forwards and sinks his teeth into Joey’s bicep causing Joey to scream.
“Noah!” Dusk’s surprised voice comes out as she and Danny both reach for Noah at the same time.
Turning Noah’s eyes are clouded as he lets Joey go before slamming his fist into Danny’s face hard causing him to stumble back into Secora. Crane and I turn at the same time moving to help just as Noah’s eyes uncloud and he falls back away from everyone landing on the ground beside Joey.
“Noah, what the fuck?” Danny groans as he grabs onto his bleeding nose casting an annoyed glare at Noah.
I study Noah’s face noticing it has gone completely blank and confused as he sits on the ground mystified at what just happened.
“Why did you do that man?” Garth asks as he kneels down beside Joey using a cloth to dab at the bite mark on his chest where Noah’s teeth ripped his clothes.
We all look at Noah waiting for a response even though I think I already have an idea, I just don’t understand how it’s possible because Penny discontinued the idea long ago before this place was even built.
“I don’t know,” Noah mumbles out his eyes flitting from face to face as clear confusion sits on his own features.
Dusk crouches before him worry written on her features, worry for her mate and something else that she quickly hides from everyone. My eyes move from Noah’s to Joey’s hooded pained ones. I move to Joey, Crane follows me closely. I crouch in front of Joey and grab his chin digging my fingers in order to get his attention.
“Tell me this isn’t what I think it is, Penny discontinued this idea so how is it happening?” I ask Joey as I squeeze his chin tightly.
“Interrogating me now are you, Hayley, you really are one of them.” Joey laughs out a cold wet laugh.
I squeeze my finger tighter causing him to hiss as his eyes meet mine, I can’t believe I once loved those eyes.
“Fine, I gave John’s blueprints of the idea to the Colonel. It turns out John had already made the chips before Penny scrapped the idea so they were with his personal effects locked in a safe case in Penny’s office. We just had to slip them into a meal when the time came, and we did. The chip is supposed to work on a Wolves neral system and take control of it allowing the Colonel to take control of you and use you how he sees fit but apparently it is only working about half of you. It seems Noah here would be in that half as the Colonel just used him to bite me so he could start tying up loose ends.” Joey explains a smile playing across his pale lips as a sweat line forms under his hairline.
“No.” The word echoes around the room as everyone takes in this news.
“No.” The last no comes from Noah who curls in on himself as a tone of desperation seems to settle into all of us.
I let Joey’s chin go as I pull away from him leaning back into Crane. This can’t be happening, I’m just finding myself and it’s all going to be ruined. How can we tell what the Colonel wants from us and how can tell who’s chipped and how to fix it? Is there even a way to fix it?
“What do we do?” Secora asks Dusk who looks down at Noah with pain in her eyes.
“I don’t know.” Dusk replies quietly clearly trying to process this all but she’s distracted by something.
Something I’m not sure is Noah or something else, something more. I let out a breath as my mind clears and suddenly I know what to do.
“I need to talk to Penny, find out what these chips are fully capable of. Maybe we can confront the Colonel and get his plan from him.” I say my voice ringing out clearly over anyone else.
“Wait are you sure this is something the Colonel would do, is this something Penny would do?” Victor asks before anyone can respond to what I’ve said.
“Come on Vic this sounds exactly like something he would do, you can’t stand up for that man anymore he’s always been an ass,” Diana says pointedly and Victor doesn’t fight her.
Surprisingly none of the other humans fight her either so I can’t help but wonder if perhaps they might have known something about this. That’s a worry for another time as right now they clearly are more on our side than they are on his.
“No, I don’t want you going to Penny. What if she’s in on this, what if they hurt you?” Crane says to me as if those words alone will stop me.
“Crane, I have to do this. It could be the only way to help, what if Penny knows an over-ride or something that could help.” I try to sound convincing but Crane simply frowns at me.
“Hayley if you do this, you have to be careful and find something useful before the Colonel uses those chipped again,” Dusk tells me as she turns to me grabbing me by the shoulders to talk to me and make sure I know her words are firm.
Dusk believes in me and that helps, that feels good.
“No, I won’t let you risk my mate just to try and help yours. I’m sorry Dusk, I love you and Noah but I can’t let you tell her to do this!” Crane growls out as he steps between Dusk and me, his eyes glowing.
“Crane!” I say my voice firm behind him but he doesn’t seem to hear me.
Joey laughs from where he still sits on the floor Garth tending to his bite mark. My eyes flit to his and I see dark happy mirth there, he is enjoying this. Joey is enjoying seeing the siblings fight. Dusk growls at Crane unhappy that he would challenge her though I know she understands where he is coming from.
“I’m not asking her to do this Crane. Hayley thinks she can do this and if it will help then great!” Dusk snaps at Crane as she steps into his face her own eyes glowing.
For the first time I notice the change in her that I was missing, I notice the thing she is most worried about right now and I understand why she needs this fixed, I understand why she needs Noah now more than ever. My eyes move from the siblings to Noah where he is huddled on the ground his eyes wet as they meet mine and I see complete defeat there, I see horror and pain. My eyes move from Wolf to Wolf seeing the same horror and pain in each and every single one of them, these used to be free people. Now they are assaulted, tortured, broken apart and used. I am the only one who can do this, I am the only one who can help them.
“Crane, I’m doing this. I will be safe but you do not tell me not to. You do not tell me not to save our people, our family!” My voice booms commanding the attention of Crane as he turns to me eyes wide.
His eyes return to normal as a fury bites its way through me, I understand he wants to protect me but he doesn’t get to decide this for me.
“I decide to help us, I decide to help Noah, I decided to help everyone. I will not lose anyone when I have just found you all. I will not lose my family after I just found you. I won’t lose this love I just found!” I snap as I move into Crane where he stands raising up as far as I can on my toes so that I can almost look him eye to eye.
My own glowing eyes are reflected in his normal eyes surprising me almost as much as he does when he sweeps me off of my feet and kisses me. He kisses me roughly and passionately in front of everyone before letting me go but still holding me against him.
“Okay, I’m sorry. You can do this.” Crane whispers to me and I nod my head at his change of mind.
I know he believes as much as everyone else. I turn to look at everyone and they look back at me belief evident in their eyes and that gives me confidence. I can do this, I can help my own kind to flourish and get past this. I can do this.