Hood

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11

The hood flew off my head, my cloak staying attached around my shoulders.

My feet came to a halt as I looked back to see the wolf still chasing me. This was now an everyday occurrence. It never ended. I ducked down when a white wolf came from behind me, running at the wolf in front of me.

The white wolf, Phillip, attacked the gray wolf. The wolves tumbled and ended with Phillip on top, growling and baring his teeth, threatening the life of the other wolf. His teeth nipped at the gray wolf, getting a cry to arise.

The gray wolf must have surrendered since Phillip got off, letting him run into the woods.

I sighed, shaking my head as Phillip followed me back home. I threw some shorts and a t-shirt at him, watching him use his mouth to hold the clothes as he walked into another room.

Phillip walked back out dressed up and human. He tugged the shirt. “Your brother is big.”

I shrugged. “Not really. He just likes baggy shirts. You owe me some explanations. I need to know more about your kind.” I sat down on my couch.

Phillip followed me to the couch, sitting beside me. “What is it you want to know?”

“I need to know the weaknesses. I swear not to use it on you. I just have to be able to fight off the bad wolves that come after me. They won’t quit and we have to do something. I’m getting extremely pissed off at this point.” I rubbed my forehead.

Phillip frowned and nodded. “I can tell you. Iron really hurts us. We can normally heal within a few hours but iron injuries take days, and sometimes weeks depending upon the severity of the wound. It can kill us if it’s in the right places, like the heart or something.”

“Iron...okay, okay. I get that.”

He nodded, seemingly a bit nervous. “Yes, iron.”

I reached out, rubbing his arm. “Philly, it’s okay. You have to trust me. I will not use this against you. If you believe I’ve never killed anyone and I only hurt others out of defense, you have no reason to worry.”

He nodded a bit, standing up. “I need to get home. I have to go to work. Just please stay safe.”

I smiled a bit. “Don’t worry, my hero. I will not get myself killed. I’ve made it this far. I know how to defend myself. If I can’t, I run away.” I winked at him.

His cheeks tinted red and he left my home in a hurry.

I walked outside for a smoke, looking at the boards and nails that were scattered on the grassed. Jason was building something. I believed it was his attempt at building a hot tub. That boy was very hopeful.

I scoffed when I caught sight of the nail gun. He was so lazy. Jason never cleaned up after himself. He left his mess until he returned, and who knew when that would be?

I pressed my lips together to hold the butt of the cigarette in my mouth. I used my lighter to light up the other end, watching the smoke begin to drift into the air.

I inhaled, grabbing my cigarette with my index and middle finger. I blew the smoke from my lungs. It was a bad habit and I knew that. It was my bad habit. Smoking was my go-to for stress and I wish I somehow had another stress reliever but I wasn’t able to decide what would replace my nicotine.

The moon wasn’t out tonight and I knew that meant the dark side of the moon was facing us. The woods seemed extra inviting on this black night.

I leaned back against the wall of the cabin. Humming came from my lips, bringing about a smile.

I closed my eyes as the gentle breeze kept the temperature just right. It wasn’t too hot and I needed to take advantage of that tonight.

A little scene started playing in my mind, and not a scene I had expected to see.

Phillip’s laugh echoed in the air, causing a laugh to erupt from me as well. His laugh was infectious and pure.

I stopped laughing and kept my eyes on him, observing every little feature of his. His face was structured so well. It baffled me that so many women in this town didn’t get lost in his blue eyes. It was impossible not to.

“What are you staring at?” he asked me.

“You.”

“What about me?”

I smiled, shaking my head. “You’re perfect, Philly. It’s crazy that you’ve gone twenty-five years without any women on your arms. You’re a good looking man. You’re so respectful and sweet. You’re smart. Who doesn’t want that?” I gestured to him.

His smile fell. “You don’t.”

Coming out of my daydream, I grabbed my chest, taking a deep breath. It felt so real. It hurt my heart hearing what he said like that. I couldn’t believe he thought that way. Surely, he had to. I was his mate. He really wanted to be with me but I didn’t feel the same way.

I felt guilty. I was doing something wrong, wasn’t I? How could I initiate feelings? I wanted to like him. I really wanted to like Phillip but my body wouldn’t allow me. It betrayed my trust. The one guy who was so perfect for me could not ignite my desires. He was even made for me and yet I felt nothing. Was something wrong with me?

I had slept with a few guys in my past who were no good for me. How could I want that and not a man like Phillip?

I dropped my cigarette, using my boot to put out the flame on the end. I rubbed my eyes, groaning. “Fuck! Why can’t I feel something for him? He’s so good for me and I’m...” The thought hit me. I was no good for him, was I? He was good. I was this girl who was perceived as the town killer. I was killing my lungs slowly. I was a bad influence on the guy. I couldn’t feel anything because I didn’t believe I was good enough for such a great guy.

What if I finally fell for him? What if my day came and I fell for him and he no longer wanted to be with me? Could wolves do that?

I was scared that when my feelings came, it would be too late for us. I didn’t blame him if he didn’t wait forever.

I screamed when something sharp stabbed into my leg. I looked at the cause, seeing a wolf attached to my calf. “You monster!” I grabbed the back of its neck, digging my sharp fingernails into its skin.

The wolf let go, yelping. I used my good foot to kick its jaw. I needed iron.

I needed iron to injure it.

My eyes shifted to the nail gun. The wolf got back on its feet and I dived for the weapon, grabbing it. The wolf dug its claws through my shirt and into my back. I straightened my arm at my side, aiming the nail gun at the wolf and pressing the trigger. I heard a howling cry.

I was able to roll over and scoot back against the wall, aiming my gun at the wolf.

The wolf growled a bit and stood up, limping and trying to bring on another fight. We were back at an equal level with our injured limbs.

“Don’t move or I will shoot.” I coughed into my hand, keeping the nail gun on the wolf.

This wolf was asking for it as it kept coming towards me.

Keeping my word, I shot more nails at the wolf, watching the wolf slow down with each nail that stuck in its skin. The wolf dropped to the ground after another shot, going silent. Not a single growl or cry left its mouth.

I kept my gun aimed at it, barely shaking. After minutes passed, I made the daring attempt to use my foot and poke it. The wolf moved at my nudge but stayed still otherwise.

Blood soaked its fur. Nails stuck out all over it’s head and front legs, bringing about the blood that once ran in its veins.

I used the wall to pull myself up, limping towards the wolf. I pushed my foot into its stomach, not getting any response.

I walked back into my cabin, closing the door and locking it. I checked out of my window. The body was still there. I grabbed my phone, fumbling for the buttons. I finally heard the ringing begin and I took deep breaths, trying to tone it down. I failed that attempt.

Phillip’s voice answered the other end and I leaned against the wall, calming myself down. “Are you able to come over? I... I need to talk to you.”

“Are you okay? You sound scared.”

“Phillip, please.” I hung up before he could ask more questions.

I limped to my couch, looking at my leg. The bleeding had slowed almost to a near stop.

The pain was a bitch and I knew I was going to need some kind of help walking around.

After ten minutes of me trying to catch my breath, Phillip knocked on my door. I told him to come in and he listened to me. “What is going on?” he asked, coming to see me. His eyes landed on my leg, growing to the size of the analog piece of a watch. “Shani!”

I pointed to the window by the door, grabbing a pillow for support. “Is the wolf still there?”

He looked at the window and nodded, sitting down, careful to avoid my leg. “Why?”

I squeezed the pillow, cursing to myself. “I didn’t mean it. Phillip, I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean to kill it.”

“Whoa, whoa, what? Kill? Did you...?”

“It attacked me first! I was just trying to have a smoke and the wolf attacked me on my own property. The nail gun was the closest thing to...” I rubbed my head. “Oh shit, Phillip. I’m a killer. I’ve killed a werewolf. They’re really going to hate me now. I’m already a damn human mated to a werewolf. I’m never going to be able to make it up to them.” I shook my head. “I... There’s so much going on in my head.”

His hands grabbed mine, making me give him my attention. “Hey, take deep breaths. This is not the end of the world. We will sort this out. I’m here.”

I nodded a bit, going through my thoughts. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“For not being the mate you need. I can’t return the feelings.”

“Don’t worry about that.” He smiled a bit. “Let’s worry about getting your leg better.” He went to my bathroom and brought back supplies he found. He sat down and cleaned up the blood, using alcohol wipes. I bit down on the pillow, trying to overcome the stinging.

He looked at me and frowned a bit, finishing up the wipes. He checked the wounds and gently wrapped them in bandages, making sure to keep it solid. “That should help. Don’t walk if you can help it. Please.”

“I can try.” I sat back, sighing. “It was out of defense.”

“Of course. The wolf attacked. You were trying to save yourself. It’s a natural instinct we all have. Don’t you think it’s your fault. It’s not. You’re the victim.” He nodded to reassure my fears.

I shivered, staring at my leg. “If you say so.”

“I do.”

“If you say it, it must be true. You’re a better person than I am.” I looked at him.

He scooted closer. “Don’t think that way. I am not better than you.”

“Yes, you are. You’ve finished school. You’re a virgin. You’re so good. I’m not.” I refused to cry in front of him.

Phillip laughed a bit. “Shani, don’t think that way. You don’t know everything about me and what I’ve done. Your worth is not defined by your past. I’ve seen you in the past month. You’re so much more than everyone says. You matter. I will never be better than you.”

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