The Howl

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FIVE

Deya and I have been sitting in Tyler's room for the past two hours.

And we've both been staring at Tyler's sleeping person the entire time, waiting very impatiently.

"Its been two hours, hasn't it?" Deya says, clearly irritated. "Why isn't he awake yet?"

I shrug. "Well just have to wait a little more. He should be awake any minute now, because like you said, it's been a little over two hours." I look at the window. The world is weeping for us today. It must know what's happened to our dearest friend, him becoming a half-human, half-wolf after all.

I watch as each individual raindrop trickles down the pane of glass stuck in the square opening of the wall. I think about how the quick thrumming of raindrops tumble out of the sky and fall to the ground is like a heartbeat. Sometimes strong and loud, as if it's run a marathon. Sometimes quiet, relaxed, calming. It's like a reminder: clouds have a heartbeat, the sky has a heartbeat. It's never the same as before, even if it's the slightest difference, it's never exact.

Never the same.

I hear a soft ruslte of movement, the quietest of groans.

I spin around to face Tyler, who's striking green eyes are half-open, looking around, trying to understand where he is.

He spots Deya first, who's sitting at the foot of his bed. She's staring back, eyes glassy with emotion. "Tyler," she breathes before throwing herself at him, pulling him into a fierce hug. "Thank God you're okay."

"Hey," he whispers, holding her tightly in response before she breaks away. His eyes widen just a bit. "Where's-" His eyes scan the room, finding my face.

"Good morning, star-shine," I quote, smiling a little. "The earth says 'hello!' "

He chuckles, reaches his arms out, an open gesture for a hug. I waste no time getting up off the chair and meeting his open arms with open arms of my own, wrapping them around his torso. He holds me tight. "Who watches Willy Wonka anymore?"

I gasp, pretend to be offended. I pull back, place my hand on my heart. "I do! It's a good movie!" I smile. He smiles back.

Two timid knocks on the door and his mom walks in, carrying a tray of food. "You guys didn't come down for breakfast, and I thought you might be-" she sees Tyler.

"How are you feeling, honey?" She says, setting the tray down on the chair I was sitting in and moving to the bed. Puts her hand on his forearm.

"I'm okay, mom. Just a little tired. And hungry." His stomach growls in response. Deya and I snicker quietly. His mom smiles. "There's a good amount of breakfast on the tray. You'll have enough. Now eat."

"Yes, ma'am," he salutes. She rolls her eyes, smiles, hesitates, and leaves, gently closing the door behind her.

It's silent for a full minute.

Then

"How?" I whisper, staring at the floor as if I've never seen it before.

Tyler laughs with no humor. "Yeah. . . that." Hesitates. "How much. . . do you know already?"

Deya speaks. "Well, uh, we kinda watched you turn from the sweetest human ever to exist to a very aggressive man-eating dog the size of a bear. . . other than that, though, were clueless!" She shrugs, throwing her hands up in mock surrender. Tyler laughs weakly.

"Yeah, that's one way to explain it," He looks uncomfortable.

"Well, yeah, your explanation will be more complex, but I already know a lot about this stuff, so you won't surprise me," I say, meeting his gaze.

"Oh? Well, what is it you know?"

"I've watched shows about it, although most likely they're not correct. Anyway, there are ones where you. . . turn on a full moon. But the silver bullets thing is just a myth," I hurry to say, for Tyler had made a face that clearly said don't you dare say silver bullets are real. "Some of you turn during the winter. I've only read one book that has that theory, but it was a good story." I pause before continuing. "And I'm just gonna say the name of the series, and you tell me yes or no. Twilight."

"Stephanie Meyers obviously knew nothing about us, because her version isn't even remotely close to correct."

"Yeah, I had a feeling." I try to laugh and fail, repeating the word us over and over again in my head. I decide to address it.

"How many are there? Of. . . you?"

He smiles weakly. "There are six in the pack."

Mine and Deya's eyebrows shoot up. "What?" She exclaims.

"I should've assumed you were in a pack. It's only logical. I shouldn't be surprised," I say.

Tyler laughs. "It's fine. But yeah," he looks at Deya. "I'm in a pack. It's pretty convenient, though. We can communicate with our minds."

"I thought you said Twilight isn't anywhere near correct," Deya says, eyes narrowed.

"Well, yeah, I don't mean reading minds," he says. "We see. . . pictures. That's how we communicate. We don't talk through words. The pictures flash through our minds by the other pack members. It helps when the Alpha wants us to go to a specific location or land."

"Oh, so like Shiver," I say.

Tyler cocks an eyebrow.

"That's how the wolves communicate in that book. I'm telling you, it's good."

He chuckles.

"How long have you, um. . ." Deya trails off.

He scratches the back of his neck. "Uh, a year?" He says it like a question.

My jaw is no longer connected to my skull. "You never went to college." I say. It's not a question.

"Yeah," he agrees, hanging his head. "Sorry I didn't tell you, but I. . . I was afraid."

"Of what? We'd be repulsed by you? Because were not," Deya assures.

He nods. "Not only that, I was afraid I would be disbanded from the pack."

Deya makes a face. "Uh, why? I don't understand-"

"The pack probably didn't want others know that didn't necessarily have to know," I explain. "They probably think it's not safe for humans to be taking part in the wolves lives, to keep them from harm." I turn to Tyler for confirmation my assumption is correct. "Did I get something wrong?"

"Yeah. It's not that they don't think it isn't safe for humans to be around us. They know. Because it's happened before."

"I uh, I kinda don't like what your implying, Ty," Deya laughs nervously. Scratches the back of her neck.

"I'm just being honest. I- I don't want you to get hurt. If I hadn't been able to grab control on myself in that last second, I could've-" He runs a shaky hand down the length of his face, takes an uneven breath.

"You can try all you want, Ty," I look him square in the eye. "You cannot drive us away. And I get it; you don't want your best friends to get hurt. And that shows just how much you care. I appreciate that, and I love you to literal death for it. But you need to know: you'll hurt us even more by trying to stay away."

He swallows, hard. Breaks away from my gaze. Looks down.

"I don't want to hear any talk about leaving us. I've watched too many movies and read too many books to know what's up. It never works."

"Lisanna, the world isn't a movie, or a storybook. The creators of those fictional stories haven't actually experienced what it's like, how dangerous it actually is. Those movies have accidents, but the human always survives, because that's what the viewer wants. And I want you to stay alive, too. But it doesn't always work out that way. Even though I've been doing this for a year now, I'm still considered new, because I lost control as soon as I turned. I wasn't in sight of my person; I became the predator that was born in me. The creature of the night. It's hard to maintain control when your in your other form. It takes decades of practice to correct it, and I've only done it a year.

"So no, don't tell me to not try and keep you safe from me. Because I'm not sure it's worth the risk. And if I were to hurt either of you, I would live in depression for the rest of my life, because both of you mean the world to me. And I need proof," his voice breaks, "I would need proof that you won't get hurt when your around me and who I am. What I am. I just-" he puts his head in his hands. I watch as a single tear seeps through his hands and down his arm, drips onto the carpet.

Deya walks to him and wraps her arms fiercly around his torso, holding him together. "I know you're scared. It's okay, we'll always be here for you whether you like it or not. Because, believe me, losing someone you love most is like someone ripped apart of yourself out of you. And I know it hurts like hell, but we need to stick together. Because if were not here for each other, there'll be no one else there to tell you 'it'll be okay.' " She sighs. "I don't want to argue, especially after what just happened. So let's just be here, together, for each other. Happy. Okay?" She looks to Tyler. He nods, another tear escaping his grasp. She looks to me. I nod.

We sit in silence for a minute.

"I need to use the bathroom," I say, which is true. "Can I take a shower? And Deya, if she wants?"

Tyler smiles. "Yeah, you two reek." Deya slaps him playfully on the arm.

"I do need a shower, though," she says, sniffing her pit and making a face. "Ew."

"You have to use the downstairs bathroom, though. Showers broken up here," Tyler informs me. I give him a thumbs up. "Good to know," I say, and head out.

💛💛💛

The hot water feels so good on my skin, and I'm finally able to free my hair from the rat's nest it's been in for the last twenty-some hours.

As the water massages my skin, I hear muffled voices from the tub wall beside me. It must be his parents, because their room is next to this bathroom.

I know it's rude. But I can't help myself; I'm curious.

So I lean in, press my ear against the door. Listening. I can hear clearer than I thought.

"I can't keep doing this, Abilene," Mrs. Crooney's saying. Weird. Abilene's my dead grandmother's name.

A muffled voice responds, sounding kind of angry.

"What more do you want from me? She'll find out soon enough. She's a very observant and smart young lady, and she already knows about the werewolves-"

More screaming from the speaker.

"I'm sorry! I don't want to hurt her, and Tyler will be devastated-" screaming. "It's not like I'm going to tell her she comes from a line of witches, and a father who was a wolf-"

Wait, Tyler will be devastated? A line of witches? A father who was a werewolf? Was a werewolf? Who is she talking about? And who is she talking to?

"Why do you want her to become this heratic hybrid so badly? Why would you want this for a 17-year-old girl, your own flesh and blood? To use her as a weapon for your own cause? She thinks your dead. How do you think she'll handle this-"

"She'll be temporarily dead; she won't have time to react until the drive for blood controls her, and she'll have magic and a deadly bite that kills other vampires! This life was destined for her!"

I can hear the other person through the phone now. Mrs. Crooney must be leaning on the wall or something.

"But- why Lisanna? What did she do to deserve this life, from her own grandmother-"

"Don't talk back to me, you little bitch! Or I will kill your mate and your son in a blink of the eye! I've worked so hard to do this, so she'll be strong enough to fix this world! She'll be strong enough to- I don't have to tell you. Now do what I say, or all of those you love die. Do you understand!"

Tyler's mom whimpers. "Yes, ma'am. I'll do as you say."

"Good. Do not keep me waiting."

Click.

I'm shocked into silence. She was talking about me. Me.

I come from a line of witches and werewolves? I'm not human? My own grandmother, who isn't actually dead, wants me to become a killing machine? My whole life. . .

Is a lie?

🖤🖤🖤

I wrap myself in a towel and head back up to Tyler's room. I need to talk to him, and Deya. But I don't know what to say, or how to say it.

I open the door, to find them sitting on the bed, waiting for me. "Hey," I say. My voice breaks. Dammit.

"How was the shower?" Tyler asks.

"Fine," I lie.

"Great! My turn," Deya says. "See you bitches later." She heads to the door.

"Wait," I say, reaching my hand out.

"What? I need to showerrr," she whines, dragging out the last word. She read my face, and it turns from pouting to concerned. "Lisanna? You okay?"

I drop my hand. Sit where she was just sitting. Wrap my arms around my knees, dropping my head in my arms. "I. . ." I hesitate. Maybe I shouldn't tell them. We're all worried about Tyler, and with everything that's happened, they don't need to hear anything else about supernatural shit.

"Lisanna?" Tyler wraps his arms around me, comforting me.

"I'm really tired, sorry. I don't know what got into me," I lie. My weak voice fits well enough to sound like I'm tired, so she should buy it.

". . .Okay," she says, sounding unsure.

"Really, I'm fine."

She nods, slowly exits the room.

"You sure your okay?" Tyler asks. " Did you just not want to tell Deya because we've already been through enough crap?"

"Yeah," I say. "But I can't tell you either. If I do, then she'll be more hurt that I left her out. I'm just not ready to say it, because it's still so shocking and scary and. . ." I trail off.

"Hey," he holds me tighter. "Take your time, okay? Tell us when your ready to tell us. Of course, I'll be dying of curiosity and nervousness the whole time, but take it at your pace. Okay?"

I nod. "Thank you."

"Anytime and always."

For the next few hours, we all just talk about stuff, mainly Tyler wanting to catch up on what's happening with us, and vice versa.

At last, we go to bed at eleven.

I wake up at 3:26, feeling restless. My body won't let me sleep any longer.

I decide to get a cup of water. My throat is really dry.

I walk downstairs, careful not to step on the creaky parts of the boards so I don't wake anyone up by mistake.

My mind wanders back to the shower, and the conversation I overheard. I don't want to know what my apparently alive grandmother wanted her to do that involved me. Kidnap? That was probably the case. She said it be temporarily dead, right? What did she mean? I'm a pool of questions on the floor, leaking and flooding the kitchen.

Then that water turns to fire, burning me alive with realization.

Temporary death. That's the only explanation because you don't just die temporarily. No no no that's the way a human turns into a

"Vampire," I whisper so quietly I'm not sure I even said it.

"That's right, love," a male voice says behind me. "You're smarter than you look."

Before I can react, someone's hands reach over my my mouth, while something else is stabbed in my neck and I'm trying to scream but oh no, only in my imagination because my lips have stopped working and my mind is hazy and I'm swimming in darkness and I'm losing myself and

"Sweet dreams, sweetie"

Is all I hear before I'm out like a light.

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