2 - A Domesticated Life
Kieran had been told the stories ever since he was a little boy. A human boy and a shapeshifter had conspired to run away together. They had planned everything right down to a tee. Where they would go, who they would stay with, what they would tell people. Of course, she went to the human world and planned to stay there, going against everything they ever knew.
The pack accepted this – they could not tell her what to do, she was an adult and she made her own choices in her life. And if she wanted to live like a human, then the pack could say nothing to change it. But when the human boy started to brag that he had an ‘extraordinary’ girl waiting for him back home, people began to come far and wide to see this girl.
Amazing – they called her, and she relished in the newfound admiration that she was acclaimed for. And the boy wondered if maybe, the others from her homeland may want the same power she held.
They did not. And when their hunting party strove into the glade later that night, aware of exactly what they were looking for, the pack, however, did not know of their intentions. And as animals do when they feel threatened, they attacked. And unfortunately, they attacked first.
Their hunting party did not mean to hurt the pack by any means, but that is what humans do – waltz in where they are not wanted and try to change something and mould it to their wants and needs. Unfortunately, for them and the pack, they did not want to conform to their rules.
He should never have told the village about his wife’s powers, about the wolves inside of the pack. But as any stories of their kind do, they faded into the night and became fables. That is what happens when there were no survivors from the hunting party that night.
Apart from him, the man who shared the story – Kieran and the other young wolves were told that he was left alive, just to remind him of what exactly the pack were, and what the pack could do to him if this ever happened again. Thankfully, the pack must have scared him pretty well. So far, it had not. No one remembered that the pack or their species existed - they did not exist in the same way as what they used to believe, and the pack liked it that way.
But the wolves trust for humans dwindled with the times. It was inevitable, after what had happened.
Kieran had grown up with these stories, which is why, as they stood outside of another similar looking monster, with its mouth closed shut, he felt very nervous. Kieran was now going against everything he knew, what if this had the same outcome of the story? Jason knew the stories as well, but as he was standing with Kieran – he clearly had no regards for their history or cared in the least possible way.
“What is this brick monster? And why are we standing in front of it?” Kieran asked Jason. Jason then turned towards the boy – it shocked Kieran to look upon the man he was, he even looked human, his clothing was neat, unlike Kieran’s. He stood upright, he had not even been in the human world for very long when he was sent to go find him. Maybe just a few weeks, so how he had adapted so well was anyone’s guess. All Kieran knew was that he did not want to become like that, he did not want to appear human when he was not.
That would be lying, and that would be going against the spirits, and that was not something that Kieran wished to do at any point. Even though, standing here as he was right now was just as bad as anything he could ever do to annoy them.
“It is called a building, and there are people inside them that can help them, humans live inside them in order to keep warm and to provide shelter, food and they live with their entire families inside them,” Jason explained, as he reached out his hand and hit the door with his fist three times.
Kieran was startled that he knew this form of communication – because not a moment too sooner, he heard something on the inside of the ‘building’ – a voice of a woman. What was she doing on the inside of the monster? Was she trapped? He said humans lived inside them… why?
Back in the pack’s glade, they would all sleep on the ground with the leaves as protection from the elements, in the colder months they would create stick huts and place fabric we found strewn along the area they were in to cover themselves. That was good enough… at least for Kieran, it was, maybe it was not the same for Jason.
“Who is it?” The voice on the inside asked.
“It’s me, Jason,” Jason said through a small hole in the door. “I have brought a friend, we need a place to stay,”
The woman said nothing more, and something clicked on the inside of the building.
“Jason, hi honey,” the lady said as she stood by the open mouth of the building. It was dark, but I could see her face – a kind face, she was happy to see him. Had he been staying with her ever since he left? “Who is your friend?”
“Maria, this is my friend Kieran, Kieran this is my foster mother Maria,” Foster mother? He had a mother back in the pack, he did not need a foster mother.
Maria smiled, Kieran looked at her, her hand was outstretched. What did she want me to do with it? Was this some strange human tradition? Did I also hold my hand outstretched? Wouldn’t that be awkward? There was many things going through Kieran’s head. It was all so new to him.
“Is he also from the pack?” Maria asked. Kieran looked at her as if she was a peculiarity. Had Jason told her about them? He knew he couldn’t do that!
“How do you know about us? Human’s do not know about the shapeshifters…” Kieran panicked, she shouldn’t know.
Jason grabbed hold of Kieran’s shoulder. A small smirk on his face. He was enjoying this – almost as if he had been wanting this all along. “Relax, Maria is one of us, she is one of the outsiders,” She was an outsider? Kieran had heard the stories of how they came to be. The woman in the story was the reason behind the outsiders. They were not to be trusted. But if Kieran was to live like the humans – just for a week, he needed to learn to trust her because Jason did. Kieran was following the leader, just like he did at home. “He is the son of the alpha of my pack… he has not been out of the pack before, this is his first time,”
Maria smiled once more as she looked Kieran up and down, her smile was sincere, warm and kind, and nothing he had ever experienced before. Kieran’s father never smiled, he just grunted and wanted everyone to follow rules all the time, and if they did not – the person in question earned punishment, but even if he did right by his father, Kieran received no touch, no praise, and no smile
Although, even though the warmness of her smile, there was a look of concern on her face – not for Kieran, he knew she was worried due to the fact that he was the alpha’s son. And if she was caught harbouring Kieran – by anyone in the pack, after I had willingly left, even for a week, that would not be good for any of them. “Please, come in, you must be freezing, we have hot tea inside, and a nice warm bed,”
Kieran was going in the mouth of the beast, willingly. Oh, if my father could see me now… He thought as he took his first steps into the building. All he knew was that he needed to stay for a week, and if Kieran played his cards right, then he would get Jason home as soon as quickly as he had left.
That was Kieran’s plan. And he always kept to his plans.