● I ●
I was going to be late for school but I was still going to use the ice on the road as an excuse. I sat on the couch, holding my cup of coffee, and I was watching the news before planning to leave.
A kid from my school went missing about two months ago and he hasn't been found yet. His family haven't stopped searching for him ever since the day he went missing. The last place he was seen was at home. I remember seeing him during the first day of school this year, but after that, he was gone.
No one has heard from him since then.
I don't think anyone thinks he was kidnapped. It's a small town, who's going to take who? Everyone would know about it if it happened. At least, that's what I think.
He probably just ran away, but I knew that kid, and he didn’t seem like the type to leave his family. They’re still searching for him, and I feel bad that they have to go through this.
Hopefully they find him, but for now, it was going to be all over the news because this is the first missing person we’ve had in such a small town.
“...If anyone has some information about the where abouts of Ty Martin, please call...”
Ty was always quiet. He never talked much, he didn’t interact with others. We’ve had class together, and he did his best to never say anything. He was a little shy, too. I don’t see him out with anyone except for his brothers. I’ve tried to talk to him before, but all he would do is nod or quietly turn away because he didn’t have anything to add to the conversation.
Someone will find him, and I hope it's soon. No one can imagine what he's going through.
I didn't want to skip the day so I turned off the TV and got up to get my stuff to leave. I was bundled up in my jacket and my scarf. It's fall, but it's getting cold already. Yesterday was the first day it snowed. I walked to the door and pulled my keys out of my pocket.
The cold air hit my face hard when I took the first step outside. I anticipated the cold air hurting the second I got outside, I had a lot of layers on so it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I should be used to the weather, but every year I get surprised. The roads were already clear for people drive to school or work. I saw the piles of snow on people's law but it hadn't melted yet. The sky was bright and clear, and it meant that it won't snow again for another day.
What ruined the first moment of my day was slipping on the ice on the front step. I knew it was going to happen the second I looked down when I stepped on the ice, but nothing could prepare me for falling on my ass, and spilling my coffee in the snow. Pain rippled through my body as I tried to get up but I realized I wasn’t going anywhere.
I sat there for a second and looked around. The sharp pain bothered me, so I waited, hoping the coldness of the step will numb me up so I could walk.
When I looked over to my car, however, I noticed a large animal standing by it. My hands pressed down on the ground, not feeling the ice on my palm because my heart sank into my stomach.
I've never seen a wolf up close before.
And it was huge.
I was absolutely frozen as I watched it sniff around my car. I couldn't say a word, not even mutter a scream. Wind came from my mouth.
Then it's ice blue eyes were on me, and it saw me shift away from it's gaze. It began to growl lowly as it turned towards me, taking one step forward.
I tried to stay still. Maybe it won't bother me if I don't move. It just came closer and closer. It only took seconds for me to start shaking from fear.
I shuffled for my phone, wanting to call Animal Control but the wolf came closer to me, growling lowly and bearing it's teeth. My fingers were slipping, I just wanted to get the number down but the closer it got to me, the more terrified I was. I tried to back away from it but I was still in pain from my fall.
If I could just get up, I could go inside the house, but I was completely frozen. My heart was beating so hard in my chest, I thought I was going to die. The wolf bared its large, sharp teeth again when I moved.
My hands were shaking, but I was able to at least make the call before moving my hands down again. The wolf was right in front of me, still bearing it's teeth.
For a second, I thought it was going to gnaw my head off. If I scream, it won't matter. It's not like someone would come and help me. The wolf hadn't moved closer. The growling stopped and then it was complete silence.
It...sniffed me. I didn't back away.
From where I was sitting, I could feel its warmth on my body. My eyes trailed lower to see it's white fur when it sniffed me again. I wasn't sure if it was going to eat me or whatever, but I wasn't particularly calm about it sniffing me. When I had enough courage, I looked up again, and saw it's nose flare as it sniffed me again.
It turned away as slowly as it walked to me before. And that was it. It walked away, going back towards the forest at the end of the culdesac. Then disappeared.
My fingers fumbled for my phone. Animal Control was still on the line. My mouth was dry, and I couldn't take my eyes off of where I last saw the wolf.
“...anyone there?” it was a women who was trying to get me to talk.
“T-there was this large wolf that was just here and I’m not sure if there’s more and-”
“Calm down, sir. Did it attack you?” she asked.
“No, it just sniffed me.” I answered, still stunned.
“Animal Control is on their way, please stay where you are.” she said calmly.
Its not like they can do anything now, but I felt a little better knowing that Animal Control was on their way. They handle a lot of situations with the other animals coming from the forests so this should be no different. I put my coffee cup down on the step and sighed, running my shaky hands through my hair. It wasn't till now that I realized how terrified I actually was. My face was numb from the cold air. I sniffed and wiped my nose with the sleeve of my jacket. My arm was shaking.
I was still scared.
Animal Control within ten minutes and started checking the area. An old man had came up to me and began asking me questions to describe the wolf to him. I said everything that I could remember about it, though it wasn't hard to forget a monster sized white wolf with cold blue eyes. I mean, I'm pretty sure I was staring death in the face.
I was the first one to call about a wolf. There's always bears, deer, large birds, but not once have they dealt with wolves
“Well, even if we don’t catch that wolf, its going to have to go somewhere else.” the man said to his co-worker.
“May I ask why?” I asked, interjecting in the conversation.
“You haven’t heard, son? They’re developing this neighborhood. This whole forest will be gone in two months.” the older man said to me.
I haven't heard that at all. When did they decide that that's happening? For years, there's only been a few houses in this neighborhood and as far as anyone is concerned, the home owners like it that way.
“Who’s doing that?” I asked.
Why would someone want to tear down the forest? Almost everyone that lives here is a nature freak, and if not that, they like it here because it’s quiet.
The only reason someone would want to tear down the forest is because they’re going to put something over it.
“Its just Conrod wanting more money. Guess the mall wasn't enough cause now he's developing the neighborhoods." the second sighed, shaking his head.
I wasn't surprised.
I don't think anyone was surprised.
Mr. Conrod shows up out of nowhere and decides that a small town is a great place to put new stuff. I've read about his buildings in the city. He's greedy. But he's rich, so it's hard to run him out of town when he can buy anything he wants to shut us up.
“I know this place has some animal problems but now we got wolves? Damn, that's a change." The man said. "Bet you these animals aren't excited about being run out of their own space."
“We can’t out buy Mr. Conrod’s project. We might as well let this go.” the other said. I had no idea what that meant, and I had no idea what was going to happen. “Hey, kid, you should probably go to school about now, you checked out fine.”
I gathered my things and got my keys.
All I could now was what was I going to tell my parents. I was late for school because a wolf was wandering around in the front yard. I don't know what to do with that. I don't know what my parents will do either.
I got to school in the middle of a class change to second period. The halls were crowded and I blended right in with the others like I didn't just skip first period. I went to my locker to get my books, and I closed it, turning away to follow the crowd of people going down the hall.
For some reason, I felt like someone was watching me. It almost made my hair stand on ends, and that was bothersome. When I looked around, I found two people staring at me from across the hall.
It was just a quick glance before I looked away, making it seem like I didn’t notice anything.
But I could feel their eyes on me.
Two of the oldest Martin brothers were staring at me, and they did not look happy. I can't say they ever look happy. It's definitely none of my business but I felt like they were staring right at me.
I tried to ignore it.
On the way to class, I passed by two other brothers. There were two younger Martin brothers in my class, the twins, and they had shifted when I got close enough. I even noticed it when I got passed them with other people walking down the hall. They looked confused and I caught their glance towards me. To them, something was wrong so they stared right at me as I walked by.
I wanted to say something, and I turned to do just that, but I was quick to decide against it. I should just get to class and mind my own business. I don’t know these brothers, and I don’t want to know why they’re staring at me. When I turned to continue walking again, I was surprised to find Cina, the third oldest, standing in front of me.
I didn’t see him coming so it was a shock when he was just there. I almost bumped into him, and it was abrupt when I had to stop myself from doing that.
“Looks like you’re in a hurry, sweetheart.”
I stared at him. I know he’ll “touch” anything that moves, but I never thought it would include me. I knew he wasn’t flirting because his other brothers were staring at me. He was the only one to confront me.
I continued to stare at him, not able to say anything at first, and when he didn’t move, I looked to the side.
“The bell just rang, Cina.” I said, my voice flat.
“I heard it.” he said but he didn’t move. I just held on to my book closely and waited because there was something he wanted to say. “Now, I’m going to ask you a question, and I hope you have the right answer.”
This was a waste of time.
Instead of asking me the question that I was prepared to answer so I could leave, he got even closer to me until his nose gently brushed against my cheek. He...sniffed me.
My eyes narrowed. What the hell is wrong with him? I don't know if he's okay. It made me uncomfortable, but I didn’t move away. What the hell is his problem? I wanted to shove him, but my fingers were pressing tight on my book, and I couldn’t move away. What is wrong with him? Why would he do that?
When he backed away, I continued to stare at him, now in disbelief more than a minute ago. What the hell is wrong with him? I should ask him, because it’s kind of rude to get into people’s personal space.
He just smiled at me, and I scoffed, shaking my head as I walked around him. He knows I don’t necessarily like him. The fact that I’m going to see him throughout the day makes me feel worse.
The twins were in my class, and they shifted in their seats as I walked to mine. I noticed that too, just like earlier. It’s kind of hard to play like I didn’t see them look at each other as I sat down. They didn’t say anything, they just nodded to each other and faced forward.
The entire day, I felt like I was being watched by every single brother. By the end of the day, all eight of them were together, just watching me walk down the hall. This is harassment, and if I don’t say anything, they’ll keep up the behavior. The only reason I didn’t go near them was because Channing, the oldest brother, is not necessarily the nicest. And if I were to try to stand up for myself, he won’t let that go.
The worst part of it was that as I walked to my car outside, Channing was the one to get my attention, calling my name, as he walked towards me. I did turn around to greet him, but I kept my expression plain instead of scared. I wasn’t going to say anything either. Next thing I know, he thinks whatever I say is fighting words and tells me to get ready to go at it.
He stood in front of me, obviously taller than I was. He had long dreads that were tied back from his face. His eyes were a dark brown, but cold as he stared at me. I told myself I wasn’t scared, and I actually wasn’t. But to say I wasn’t intimidated was a lie. He crossed his arms over his chest as he looked down at me, wanting to ask a question, but he didn’t know how to phrase it. I waited patiently.
“Do you know anything?” he asked me, his voice deep.
Know anything? About...what?
“Know what?” I asked.
Because I know a lot of things, but what does he think I know? He looked around again, and this time, he had this expression like he was trying to decide how to ask another question. He’s not slow, in fact, Channing is very smart, but for some reason, he didn’t know what to say. Not because of me, but maybe this was something serious.
In the sun, his skin was smooth, but not free from scars. There was always something I noticed on Channing’s darker skin, and that was the white tattoo on his forearm of a wolf. I never said anything, and I don’t think I will, but when he moved his arms to his side, I got a glimpse of the tattoo when I looked down. He had other tattoos, but the white one was always something I would notice when he walked by.
“Have you seen...” he didn’t finish his question. He just looked somewhere else and slowly walked by me, not finishing what he was going to say. It was like he was being pulled away by a ghost.
He didn’t lose his train of thought, and he didn’t stop the question abruptly either. When I turned to see where he was going, another brother was waiting for him, the second oldest.
I stared as Channing walked over to him. Brendan wasn’t talkative. Though, his eyes were just as cold and frightening as Channing’s. He didn’t do much, though he certainly wasn’t the greatest of the brothers. Just like his older brother, he was covered in tattoos, if not more than what Channing has. His hair was dark with thick curls, just like the other younger brothers. He had a septum piercing, and I know that was recent because he didn’t have that at the start of the school year.
He was looking at me while Channing made his way over to him. He didn't...glare, but there was this look on his eyes like he didn't want to confront me but would if he could.
I turned away so I could get to my car so I could go home. It’s been a long day, and harassment can be draining. Today was just odd. The Martin brothers don’t usually talk to me, besides Cina, and I don’t know what I did but something definitely happened.
And they think I have something to do with it, which I’m sure I don’t, whatever it is.
My parents were home. I didn’t want to tell them about what happened today, especially about the wolf that happened to be around this morning, but I’m sure they already know. We live in a small town, so it’s definitely difficult to keep secrets. I walked inside, feeling the warmth that drew me in further. I set my bag down and took off my jacket before I walked into the kitchen, going to sit with them when I heard them talking. My mom opened her arms so I could hug her.
It was so cold outside and she's so warm.
“Oh Gabriel, you aren’t hurt, are you? What happened this morning?” Mom asked me.
It's a small town. Someone said something to my mom, no doubt about it.
“I’m fine, mom.” I said quietly.
“They better take care of that wolf.” Dad said. And by take care, I know he means he doesn't ever want to hear that there's a wolf nearby again.
“No dad, its fine. I’m sure it was just as scared as I was.” I said to him, though that didn’t change his expression. My dad doesn’t like animals.
“I don’t care-”
“Honey, leave it alone. The forest is getting torn down anyway, there’s nothing that’s going to live there now.” Mom said, though she sounded sad about it. She’s more of an animal protector, more than me but my dad doesn’t feel the same way. He’s not going out hunting and all, but he doesn’t like the animals that run by.
He gets upset a lot.
“Mr. Conrod thinks he can just destroy anything he wants just to make this place ‘better’ and ‘fit’ for ‘human life style’.”
My dad and plenty of other people in this small town do not like Mr. Conrod at all. They dislike how he’s destroying this town and attracting more tourists. There’s a large mall that’s not too far away and it's making it hard for local stores to stay open.
I grew up here, and it’s mostly been the type of life where I was always outside playing with the other kids in the forest behind our house. I practically lived out in the forest at one point.
To think that it might be gone makes me sad.
My dad was going to rant more about it, and I didn’t want to get in his way. I had homework to do and I wanted to go to sleep, too. It’s been a long day. I left the kitchen to grab my bag that I put down by the door so I could head upstairs to my room. I closed the door quietly and put my bag down on my bed.
The windows to my room are big, and I don’t usually close the curtains just because I like seeing the snow and the forest from here. The view was nice, even when I’m laying in bed. I went by one of them to stare at the snow for just a second. I thought it would be a clear day today, but the sky was cloudy and more snow began to fall to the ground.
As I looked towards the forest, I saw something white making an appearance. It was the wolf again. It left a trail of prints in the snow as it walked into the yard. It just got down in the snow and rested there quietly without doing anything else.
I was almost tempted to go out there and sit with it.
But it just made me think that it wanted some peace and quiet for the rest of the day.