"You need to get out of here," Tyler rasps. "I-it's not safe-"
"Why is it so unsafe, Tyler? Your own mom already told us it's unsafe, and now you are, too!" Deya snaps. "I don't see why we need to be afraid of you, of all people! You're the nicest person I have ever met! What is it your not telling us? Because obviously something is wrong when your best friend is breaking his bones by doing nothing, as well as being chained to the fucking wall!" She huffed, looking like she wants to scream. I'm momentarily shocked. That word is never used except when the situation is absolutely horrible, which it is. This thought diverts my attention to this distorted, disheveled Tyler I do not know, that I've never seen. Because this situation is beyond horrible.
There are no words to describe how horrible this actually is.
"I- I-" he pauses for a brief second. "Okay. It's really h-hard to e-explain-"
"Stop- stop talking!" I blurt. "J-just tell us when this is all over, what-whatever this is." I can't stand to see him in pain, and watching him try to fulfill our questions while in this state of agony is just unbearable. I can't handle it.
It's too much.
He nod. "S-sor-" he's cut off by the sound of another crack, this time is right leg shoots toward his back, folding over far more than it's supposed to. I put my hand to my mouth, close my eyes, tell myself to calm down. For Tyler's sake. Being irrational and falling apart will only make him feel worse mentally, and he's already feeling horrible physically.
When I open my eyes again, his head it down. He shouts, "Get out of here! NOW!" His tone suddenly angry, a tone I've only ever heard twice from him.
It scares me.
"I would never be a-able to live with myself if I h-hurt you! So please!" He groans in pain, another crack from his spine. "Go! Find my mom! Tell her you found me! She'll know what to d-do from there! NOW GO!" His head snaps up then, his eyes no longer the vibrant green I know and love, but yellow and orange, the colors swarming together around his almost non-existent pupils. "RUN!" His voice is like a menacing growl, deep and dangerous.
I manage to yank myself out of my place, grab Deya's arm, and we run down the corridor when I notice there are footsteps behind us, quick. Running.
But the steps are all wrong. It sounds almost too quick, even for running. Like he's running on his feet and hands.
I see Deya turn around from the corner of my eye, her already frightened eyes widening even more. "Where the hell did that come from?!" She shrieks, and I turn around to see what she means.
Tyler isn't anywhere to be seen, but replaced with a sleek, black wolf the size of a bear with striking green eyes. There are metal cuffs with chain links attached to them on its ankles.
"Where is Tyler?" I say, frantic, panic gripping my bones so tightly they must've disintegrated to dust and I don't know how I'm still moving because I'm a pile of pulverized bone, dirty entrails and a somehow beating heart on the floor, collecting age by the second.
Then realization hits.
No no no no-
"Is that Tyler?!"
"We'll figure this all out when we're not being chased by a giant man-eating predator!" She snaps, panting when we run up the stairs.
Once were outside, with the wolf - I refuse to think of it as Tyler - only three steps behind us, I shout, "Close the door! Quickly!"
She runs to the other door and slams it shut at the same time I do with the other. I almost die of relief when I see a padlock on the hinge and quickly snap it shut, while grabbing the key that was placed on the tree trunk next to it.
He must've prepared, in case this happened.
"Hurry," Deya says, "that door won't stay intact for long. For now, we just need to go where he said we needed to go: His mom."
I nod, wasting not time getting in the driver seat, not bothering to put on my seat belt. Neither does Deya. I hear loud banging on the doors as I lock all of the car doors and windows, thrust my foot on the gas, which sends us flying through the bare streets.
In normal time, it would've taken 10 minutes to get to his house. But, with going twice as fast as the speed limit, we get there in three minutes, because there's no traffic, fortunately.
I stop the car abruptly, jerking us forward in our seats. We scramble out of the car and to the house, Deya pounding on the door while I repeatedly jab my finger on the doorbell.
I'm surprised when it's Tyler's dad who answers the door, not his mom.
His tired expression is suddenly alert as he reads our faces, understanding flashing in his eyes.
We rush in the house, and I notice Mrs. Crooney passed out on the couch. I look closer and find her eyes are red and puffy from what I assume is crying. I know why immediately.
Mr. Crooney goes to the kitchen and grabs two sodas from the refrigerator. One Pepsi, Deya's favorite, and a Mountain Dew, my favorite.
He sets them on coasters set on the coffee table. We mumble a quick "thanks" and take sips of it, not really having an appetite to want to drink them.
"Um..." Deya starts. "I- I don't know what to say." She looks at me for help. I oblige.
"He said to tell his mother that we found h-him," I stutter, "and that she'll know what to do from there." I take a shaky breath.
"Ah," he says, taking a sip of dark liquid from a mug. Coffee, I assume. He sets the cup down. Sighs.
"I won't tell you what happened, because I know that's something he wants to share with you himself. But you'll want to go back at sunrise and then bring him here. Once you do that, I'll take care of him. And since it's summertime, I suggest you go at five-thirty. He'll be in his normal state by then."
Deya and I both nod. We sit in silence for a few minutes.
I finally whisper, "it's not possible."
Mr. Crooney nods. "I've always known you as the observant one. I'm assuming Deya understands as much as you do?" I look over at Deya. She nods.
He nods again. You'll understand more when Tyler tells you. Speaking of which, you two should get to bed. It's already so late, I'll just call your parents and tell them you got back late and decided to stay the night."
"Okay." I nod to myself over and over and over-
"You can sleep in Tyler's room, and I'll wake you two up at five. Okay?"
"As long as he's safe in the end," Deya starts.
"It doesn't matter to us," I finish.
We're lying in Tyler's bed, still wearing the same clothes as earlier. I check the time. 4:17 a.m. We've been sitting in complete silence for basically the entire night. We have to be up in less than an hour, but my mind won't let me sleep.
I decide to say something, knowing Deya's awake. I open my mouth to speak when she beats me to it.
"Yeah?" My voice cracks.
"What do you think?"
I hesitate. "I don't know, honestly. I mean, I just saw my best friend turn into a damned-" I stop myself. I can't bring myself to say it.
She sighs. "Yeah, I hear you." Sighs again. She whispers so quietly I have to strain my ears and move closer to hear her.
" 'On the darkest days you have to search for a spot of brightness, on the coldest days you have to seek out a spot of warmth; on the bleakest days you have to keep your eyes onward and upward and on the saddest days you have to leave open and let them cry. To then let them dry. To give them a chance to see fresh and clear once again.' "
I hear Deya sniff and snuggle close to me, resting her head on my arm. I drape my opposite arm around her shoulders in response.
"You and your quotes," she says, a weak attempt at humor. I smile.
"I know. He'll be okay. We'll get through this; all of us. Together."
She scrunched her eyebrows, looks up at me.
"Positive. We'll find a way. We always do."
She nods once. "Okay."
And with that we finally fall asleep, exhaustion crippling us to nothingness.
I wake up from hands gently shaking at shoulder, and I'm so tired and exhausted, but then I remember what I need to do, I remember Tyler and I mentally yell at myself to wake up wake up wake up-
"Wake up, girls," I hear Mrs. Crooney's voice say and Deya and I are both jolted awake. I immediately look at the clock. 5:36 a.m.
My eyes meet with Deya's tired, bright blue ones. We nod at the same time, acknowledging what we both know we need to do.
"Thank you," I say to Tyler's mother. She nods, says, "bring him home."
I nod. A question slams into my conscience. I decide to ask.
"Of course we'd prefer to get him, but," I ask, "why can't you get him yourselves?"
"Because that's what he'd prefer, especially after what his two best friends just saw become of him," she smiles a sad smile. "And there's another reason, but I'm afraid I cannot tell you. One day you'll know. Now you must go," she hurries to change the subject, handing me a blanket. "Trust me," she says, "you'll need it."
I nod once more. I feel like a bobble-head, I'm nodding so much. I guess we don't have much to say.
Deya grabs my hand, ushering me out of the room. When we reach the door, I grab a pair of sandals one size too big and my car keys on a stool next that's for some reason next to the doorknob.
I practically rip the door open in my haste; it slams on my shoulder and I wince, but I keep rushing to go outside. Deya is only a couple step ahead of me, but she rips the car keys out of my hand and complains I'm not going fast enough.
"Whatever, just don't jack up my car or there'll be hell to pay." She rolls her eyes at me in response, shakes her head a little.
Once the car is started, she goes almost faster than when I did last night. "I hope he's still in there, and not in some random spot in the woods," Deya says.
"Don't jinx us!" I hiss.
"Sorry, but it needed to be said. We can't just expect that a giant wolf the size of a bear wasn't able to break a wooden door with a tiny-ass padlock. It's just not logical."
I sigh. "I know, but. . ."
"You don't want to believe it's true?"
I look down. "Yeah."
She nods. "I feel you," is all she says. Parks the car. We scramble out of the car, looking around for the doors in the ground. Then I see it, the doors still intact, padlock still secure on the handles.
I could cry of relief.
"Deya, look- the door- he must still be here-"
"Yes! You got the key?"
I stop. Stare. "I thought you grabbed it-"
"I thought you-"
I slice my hand in the air to cut her off. "No need," I say as I reach in my hair and search for it. "Aha!" I exclaim when I pull it out and show her.
She stares at me. "A bobby pin? Really?"
"What?" I put my hands up in mock surrender. "It works, I've tested it on my sister's diary-"
"Who uses diaries anymore-"
"Oh whatever, I saw yours in your drawer on Sunday, so don't even-"
She gasps. "You were snooping-?"
"Oh, it wasn't like you were there, and I was genuinely curious-"
"Why were you-"
"Bobby pin. Door," I say, pointing at them as I say it. "Remember?"
She huffs. "Hurry up, then," she mutters, along with something like "nosy snoop."
I roll my eyes and insert the key into the hole, turning it around and trying to find that spot to unlock it. I put my ear to the lock, listening for that satisfying sound. Click.
"Ah, there it is," I say, pulling out the bobby pin and ripping it off the handles, onto the ground. I rip open one of the doors, Deya the other.
We dash down the stairs and through the corridor. When we reach the little room, we find an unconsious Tyler in an interesting state that a boy's best friend, that's is a girl, does not want to see.
Deya rips her eyes away, with a "ugh!" And hastily throws the blanket that I did not know she was carrying onto his lower half.
"I did not need to see that!" She exclaims. I roll my eyes.
"Quit complaining and grab his legs, will you?"
"Fine." She lifts his legs while I pick him up from his armpits. Once we've got him up, I grab his legs out of Deya's arms and carry him bridal-style.
I look down down at him, glad we had the blanket. I agree with Deya, though I wouldn't tell her that. We may be close, but we're not that close.
"Don't worry, Ty," I whisper, knowing he can't hear me. "We'll get you safe, in a nice bed, at home. Okay?"
No response. Figures.
We walk down the hallway and back up the stairs. Deya has to close the doors for me because my hands are full. We make it back to my car, and I open the back door behind the driver's seat. Set him laying down in the back, head behind the passenger seat. Pull the thin blanket up to his shoulders, concealing his whole body except his head.
Once he's situated, I get in my seat, Deya already in hers.
"When do you think he'll wake up?" She asks.
"Well," I scrunch my eyebrows, "I guess it depends on when he fell unconscious. We got here around six, and his father said he'll be back in his normal state by sunrise, which was around 5:30, I think. After he passed out, he would be out for about two hours. I don't know when he fell under, though." I put the key in the ignition and put the car in drive, pull out and into the streets. "In any case, he won't be up for a while."
I expect her to say something like, "could that explanation be any more nerdy?" Instead she just makes a face, but nods.
"Alright. We'll get him home and let him rest for a bit. I'm not going to school, and I think it's safe to assume you aren't, either?"
We sit in silence for the rest of the ride, it taking ten minutes to get back because we're actually going at a reasonable speed.
This whole thing is just insane, like I'm just waiting for another crazy thing to happen. Werewolves don't exist. Am I dreaming? No, more like a nightmare. But despite this, everything feels so real. Seeing Tyler like that, changing into a completely different creature that only exists in stories. Like, what's next, vampires? Witches? At least I now understand why his mother said it he was dangerous, and I've read enough stories to know that the silver bullets are a myth, but the full moon is not. With real werewolves, anyway. There are what they call shape-shifters, that can change at will, or change when the temperature reaches a certain coldness. Most of the time it's painful. Other times it's not (Twilight). There are a lot of ideas authors have that make up the make-believe creatures. And I also know while some just look like wolves and still have their person in control (again, Twilight), most others aren't in full control of themselves as wolves, or sometimes they aren't in control at all. So that means they're wolf instinct could take over, becoming creatures of the night; the predators wolves are.
But does that mean Tyler could possibly lose control over his humanity? No, he couldn't right? He'd never live with himself if he hurt us. So that would be strong enough to keep his true self, to not hurt his best friends, let alone any person in general.
He wouldn't lose control and hurt us.