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20. How to Forget Details

Day forty-seven of my imprisonment. My new morning routine consisted of waking up before dawn, when the streetlights winked out to greet the sun as it appeared on the horizon. As silly as it seemed, watching the sunrise every morning gave me a sense of peace - a rare feeling nowadays.

I had a few hours to kill before Simon arrived with his breakfast sandwiches. After the first time he came, I didn’t expect him to show up again, convinced that the Alpha would revoke the company. But when he arrived the next day, bearing more food, I realized that this would be a regular thing.

I suspected Rebecca pulled a few more strings to allow Simon to keep coming here.

But Simon wouldn’t be here until mid-morning, at least, so I entertained myself by throwing my mirror shards at the makeshift target on my wall. It was difficult - it was the knuckles on my right hand I’d broken, my dominant hand, so my aim wasn’t at cultivated on my left. But I took the opportunity with seething pleasure, seizing the chance to make my left-hand throw just as deadly as my right.

When I got tired of that, I took a shower, which was also quite difficult to do with only one hand. It’s amazing how much you don’t realize you rely on having two working hands until one is taken from you.

I then would sit down on an armchair with one of the books Simon brought for me. After I told him my origin story, he pulled out the books he’d come in with, telling me about them. Apparently, they were texts on supernatural beings of all kinds, written by supernatural beings, not the silly folklore or myths humans tell.

He’d also brought me a clock, which was great, since telling time by the sun’s position in the sky was nearly impossible. No matter how much I stared at it, no sudden realization of the time had dawned on me. I don’t know how ancient humans were able to do it. So, of course the clock was useful.

I glanced at it now, averting my gaze from the book I was reading, A Summary Of The Supernatural. It wasn’t the most original title. I bet I could have come up with something far better, like Guide To Crazy or What To Do When You’ve Pissed Off An Entire Race Of Mystical Creatures.

Also, it was nearly ten. Simon appeared unfailingly by nine every day.

Obviously, he wasn’t coming today.

I sighed, disappointment swelling through me. I shouldn’t be surprised. It was only a matter of time before the Alpha revoked my one source of company. I wonder, how long will it take before he inevitably storms in here and steals my books? It doesn’t matter, anyways. I shouldn’t care about Simon, not at all. He’s a werewolf. I kill werewolves.

Don’t fraternize with the enemy, Reese.

Still, there was something about Simon I had liked, something that reminded me of...

A mangled scream of pure agony erupted from me as Dad crumpled to the ground, blood streaming from the lethal wound on his throat.

Save him, murmured a voice in my head - a different voice from the one I’d heard earlier. This voice was familiar, a persistent tone that was always there. My conscience. You know you can.

I can’t. I was only fifteen. Though I had my heart set on going to medical school, I had no idea what to do. I knew first aid, and that was all. It’s not like I can slap a band-aid on him and kiss it better.

The jagged flap of skin that hung from his neck told me otherwise.

He’s dead. There’s nothing for you to do.

My head spun. The temperature rose. Sweat beaded on my forehead. Was this grief? Was this how it usually felt? I’d have to ask Mom. Nobody close to me had ever died before, and certainly not while I was watching.

The air grew stifling hot. My skin felt like it was on fire. Cedric, who was gripping my arm tightly, hissed through his teeth. His jaw was clenched, his face tense, like he was in pain.

“Reese,” he said. “Calm down. You need to calm down.”

Calm down? How could he say that? My Dad was lying not twenty feet away from me, blood pooling around him, and the temperature was climbing like we were descending into the fiery pits of Hell. The wind was picking up, but I couldn’t feel the breeze.

“Reese, listen to me,” Cedric repeated. “Control your emotions.”

Control my emotions? Was he suggesting that I was the one making the Earth boil away? Were my pain and rage really that strong?

Forget, whispered a voice - the new one, the one that had warned me about the danger.

I can’t forget.

The wolf, its muzzle and paws stained red, turned away from Dad, its attention now fixed on Cedric - no, me who was standing behind my brother, numb with shock and disbelief. What had I just witnessed? What had just happened? And there was a freaking wolf. Here. In the middle of the city.

Any predators that do show up in Toronto are often scrawny and thin, half-starved. There’s not much for them to hunt downtown, unless they scavenge. But this wolf was strong and sleek, its dark grey coat luscious and thick. It didn’t at all look like it was on the brink of starvation. It looked like it was thriving.

Its eyes, too, were quite unusual. They were a bright, brilliant green, though as I met its gaze, its pupils dilated, overtaking the iris. I sucked in a breath. Cedric’s arm shot out to block me.

An image flashed across my mind, a mental photo of the boy who’d called Dad a Hunter. He’d had green eyes too, in that exact shade. And those strange, terrifying paws with razor-sharp claws...

“No...” I whispered. “Impossible?”

“Reese?” Cedric’s voice was tight with tension. “What is?”

“The wolf... the boy... it’s impossible.”

The wolf was still staring at me, its eyes unreadable. It took a step towards us. Immediately, my gaze flickered to the dagger still clutched in Dad’s hand. If I could somehow get to it...


I jumped as somebody else strode out onto the scene of the murder; a boy, not the same one as before. His hair was thick, wavy, and black, the same as the other boy, though his eyes were a pale, cold shade of blue. He was younger, too, closer to my age, maybe sixteen at the most.

His hands were a bright, scarlet red. Blood.

It was only then that I was aware of the screams echoing in the distance, toward the University.

The wolf growled - and, as I watched, it transformed. A crack sounded out, a sound that made me cringe. I knew what it was. It was the same noise that had came from Thomas when he broke his arm last year.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“Cedric...” I whispered hoarsely. “What is that?”

“It will be okay, Reese,” his hand came up to stroke my hair - a familiar gesture, one he’s done since I was a screaming toddler seeking comfort.

The first boy, the one with the paws, stood where the wolf had, and he was completely streaked with blood. I knew instinctively that most of it was Dad’s.

The rest came from the jagged gash on his chest, where blood was still continuously streaming out.

“Nic,” the boy nodded at Dad - or what was him, anyways. Without life animating him, he was just a corpse. A useless body.

The second boy - Nic - stared down at Dad. A sadistic grin spread across his face. “Is that him? The last one?”

“Yes. But there’s a problem.”

“What could possibly be wrong now, Elijah? The last Hunter’s dead. There’s nothing keeping us hidden anymore.”

Elijah spoke softly, the words unable to reach my ears. I knew Cedric and I should get out of there, but I was frozen, numb, and terrified. Elijah gestured, pointing out the body of the wolf Dad had killed.

A growl erupted from Nic. “I’ll kill him.”

“I believe I’ve already taken care of that.”

With a ferocious snarl, Nic kicked at Dad’s body. I heard the crunch as his ribs shattered from the impact.

“Stop it!” I screamed out before I could stop myself. Nic’s head jerked up, and I took a step back at the sight of his eyes. They were black - pure, pitch black, inhumanely so.

His grin returned. “Well, it appears that the Hunter has a few Hunterlings. Did you really just kill their father in front of them, Elijah? What a ruthless Alpha you’ll make.”

Alpha? As in, a pack?

Elijah’s gaze swept over me, and then Cedric. His entire demeanor seemed to change as I saw realization creep into his eyes.

“Well, Eli? What are you going to do with them?” Nic’s voice was eager. “Are you going to let me kill them?”

Slowly, Elijah turned on his brother, his expression carefully blank. “Kill them? Now, why would I do such a thing?”

“Their father killed ours. It’s only fitting - ”

“I’m not going to murder a couple of children, Nicholas,” he turned back to us. “I have... other ways to exact revenge.”

Children? He’s not much older than Cedric! Who’s he to call us children? I knew Cedric wouldn’t take kindly to the comment either, but luckily he held his tongue. Unlike Thomas, my older brother knows when to talk and when to keep quiet.

“Well, Hunterlings?” Elijah raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to come say goodbye to your dear father?” his voice was taunting. It’s amazing how much somebody’s demeanor can change in the span of a few minutes.

I didn’t want to move. I wanted to leave. I wanted to go home. I wanted to wake up and hope that this was all some horrible nightmare.

But it wasn’t a dream. I wasn’t asleep. I was awake, and this was very real, no matter how much I wanted it to be otherwise.

I let Cedric take the lead on this one, knowing he’d pick the smartest decision, and I was only half-surprised when he tightened his grip on my arm and walked forward, toward the two... boys? Wolves? Monsters?

We knelt next to Dad’s body, the grass wet with his blood. The red liquid stained my jeans as I kneeled, but I didn’t care.

Elijah crouched down, and I was startled at his proximity. I didn’t dare look at him. If I did, I’d probably do something I’d end up regretting. They say taking a life does something to you, and I don’t ever want to find out.

I’m not a violent person, but I’ve never wanted to hurt anybody more.

“Making them confront their dead father? That’s your plan?” Nicholas scoffed. “You’re going to send them off with nothing but trauma?”

“Who said I’m letting them go?” Elijah didn’t move. “What’s your name, Hunterling?”

I glanced at Cedric. He nodded, obviously tense.

“Reese,” I whispered. “Reese Hearne.”

“Well, Reese Hearne, I believe we’re going to become very acquainted with one another in the future.”

Leave, whispered the voice. Get out of here. Run.

Metal flashed out of the corner of my eye. The dagger.

I moved.

Cedric was faster.

He swept up the dagger in his hand, spinning out. He sent the dagger stabbing into Nicholas’s thigh and turned toward Elijah.

Elijah didn’t move, even at the sound of his brother’s cry of pain and rage. He was still staring at me, his green eyes steady.

I knelt, numb, staring into his eyes, even as Cedric screamed at me to run.

“You’d better leave, Little Hunter,” he said. “I’m much faster than any human.”

“You killed my dad,” I said softly. “I’ll never forget it. One day, I will find you, and I will make you regret it. I promise you that.”

He chuckled. “Oh, I have no doubt that we’ll see one another again, Reese Hearne.”

The next thing I knew, Cedric had yanked me up by the arm, and then we were running.

“What were those, Cedric?” I asked when we’d reached the nearest subway station. The streets had been in chaos, and I felt like it had something to do with the screams I’d heard earlier.

“Werewolves, Reese,” he said. “They’re werewolves. And I think everything is about to change.”

Later, I’d ask him about Dad. Why they’d kept calling him a Hunter. Cedric would say that I wasn’t meant to find out, not yet, and that I wasn’t ready. The temperature around us would rise, and his blue eyes would sparkle with golden flecks.

“Forget, Reese,” he had said. “I need you to forget, until you need to remember.”

I forgot. I forgot the finer details of the day. Everything I’d learned about Dad, I forgot. I didn’t hear the word Hunter again until two years later. I forgot about the stifling temperature and the way the blood had pulsed out of Dad’s throat as he died.

But I never forgot the pain. The rage.

And I never forgot my promise to Elijah.

My eyes strained. I fought to focus them, forcing myself to concentrate on the page before me. I was still reading A Summary of the Supernatural, in the section on Hybrids.

Apparently, they’re a thing. Supernatural beings that have supernatural parents, but the parents are from different races. As there’s a natural dislike between the supernatural races, though, hybrids are rare, the rarest of them all being the vampire-werewolf hybrid. Though there’s no official name for them, I think the author should have come up with something original and called them vampwolves or something.

It’s no secret of the intense hatred between vampires and werewolves, so it’s rare for them to have any sort of positive relationship. What’s more, female vampires can’t carry children, as their bodies are unable to change in order to support a fetus. Male vampires, however, have no such problem and can impregnate a werewolf.

Gross. I didn’t think this book would be a supernatural sex-ed lesson.

Hybrids are also even more dangerous than your average supernatural being. Their parents have conflicting abilities, and sometimes that much power can make a person unstable. There could be a child who acts like a vampire but can also wield magic, or a werewolf who has additional vampire strength that makes them much stronger than any other supernatural being.

Honestly, everything in this book is kind of interesting. Even the gross stuff.

The door to the room opened. I glanced up, expecting - and hoping - that Simon had finally shown up.

I was disappointed, though. It wasn’t Simon. It was Luca, along with - ugh - Keith.

“Ah,” I slammed the book shut, setting it on the coffee table, and lay back in the armchair. “Come to give dear old me a visit? While I appreciate the company, I’d rather it wasn’t you,” I swung my feet over the arm. “I tend to avoid the company of those who tried to kill me.”

Keith growled. It really was easy to piss some people off.

“Technically,” Luca said, his voice as calm and neutral as always. “I never tried to kill you. But we’re not here to visit. The Alpha wants to see you.”

A surprised laugh exploded from me. “Well, this is certainly a surprise,” I looked carefully at Luca. “Can you tell him I received his request and put it under careful consideration? I’m not really in the mood for conversation until I eat my breakfast.”

Luca stepped forward. “I think you misunderstand me, Reese. We’re here to escort you to him.”

“How thoughtful of him,” I unhooked my legs, leaning forward. “Do I need protecting from someone, or does someone need protecting from me? Or is it both?” I sighed as I got no reaction from either of them. I pushed myself into a standing position, hissing in a breath as a sharp pain shot through my right hand. “Right, let’s get this over with, then.”

And that is how, after forty-seven days of being in a time-out, I made my own triumphant return from solitude.

It was just as glorious as I thought it would be.

Which is to say, it was neither triumphant nor glorious.

Not at all.

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