Lakiya turned to Warrick and asked, “Can I get another outfit from you, now that church is over?”
“Don’t you like your dress?” Jed inquired.
Lakiya shrugged her shoulders. “It is beautiful, and I’m grateful that you let me wear it, but pants are much more practical for facing an enemy.”
I smiled as I walked towards my room to change out of my church clothes and pointed out, “We really don’t want the dress getting wrecked if things go bad tonight, do we?”
“I’ll have a different outfit for you in just a moment.” Warrick stated, then he rushed to his room, and came back out with an outfit for her.
While she changed her clothes Jed and Warrick went to their rooms to change as well. Once we were all out of our Church clothes we had a simple sandwich and chips lunch with chocolate milk to drink. Then we all took naps to rest up for the evenings celebrations.
We got back up about an hour before dusk. Jed made dinner while Warrick, Lakiya and I set the table and washed everything up from the other meals. Lakiya and Warrick kept sniffing the air and listening to things Jed and I couldn’t hear. When we sat down to eat Jed asked them, “Is there anything us mere humans should know?”
“He is staying just at the edge of where we can keep track of him, probably to keep track of us. Not close enough to know exactly what is being said, but to know we are here, and the tone of our conversation.” Warrick answered, in a hushed tone.
Lakiya added, “I think he is working on his own plan, or searching for something particular. I hope he doesn’t do anything to the one who bore me.”
Jed dropped his taco as he stared at her and finally asked, “Who are you talking about?”
She replied, “Narine of course.”
Warrick turned to her and asked, “How are you so certain?”
“I told you these are my first seasons.” Lakiya explained, “I was born the day before a full moon in winter. My Mom found me by a tree, abandoned and with a strange voice, but she could smell my Father’s blood in me, so she took me home and raised me as her own.”
I snapped my fingers and excitedly exclaimed, “That’s why you weren’t there when they went to look for you.”
She nodded her head and added, “If I can smell the blood connection I’m certain he can too.”
“That’s why she smells familiar to me in a way I never noticed before?” Warrick confirmed as he turned towards her.
Lakiya smiled gently as she stroked her fingers through his golden brown hair, shimmering in the last of the sunlight coming through the window. “You’ll get used to the changes, I think. I’ve had to deal with them all my life, so they are normal to me.”
Jed declared, “We’ll have to keep an eye on Narine tonight, as well as keep ourselves safe.”
We finished dinner and as we put the dishes in the sink I pondered, “Does Narine know who you are? Or was her reaction to you a coincidence?”
Lakiya shrugged her shoulders. “All I know is she can sense the connection between us.”
The sky was becoming black. “We’re running late!”Jed announced.
As he turned to rush to leave Lakiya grabbed his arm and told him, “We need to be.”
“Why would we need to be late?” I asked excitedly.
As if in answer to my question Warrick changed from Human to Wolf right before our eyes in a change faster than we had ever witnessed. Then he slowly changed back to human, pulling his shorts up as his body lengthened again. Once he was fully back to himself he shook his head and asked, “What the heck was that?”
Lakiya smiled weakly as she informed us, “The first turn with the moon is usually beyond ones control, sometimes it takes a few moons to get used to the change, and be able to decide if you want to or not. At least that's how it works for the Due-Weres, I was worried it might be the same for you.”
Jed furrowed his eyebrows as he stared at Lakiya and asked, “Is this why you had to be in the woods before dawn last month?”
Lakiya nodded her head and stated, “I turned back to a wolf briefly after the sun came up, and only after could I change back. Now I’m stronger and can resist, but Warrick is brand new, which is why I worried he might have similar problems.”
Warrick concluded, “This means we need to be back before dawn, or things could get very strange out there.”
Jed groaned and headed for the front door. We followed, none of us certain what to say. We walked quickly trying to make up for our late departure. Half way to the town square Warrick asked Jed, “Do you remember that book Mom liked so much called the eyes are upon us?”
Jed started to shake his head, but caught the half wink Warrick was trying to give him, turned his response into a shoulder shrug. “Barely, but we can talk about it later.”
I was feeling a bit left out of the conversation so I volunteered, “I never heard of it, but sounds like I might want to read it.”
“Don’t worry.” Warrick stated, “We’ll tell you all about it.”
When we got to the dance we were welcomed by all, as well as teased for being late by some. Lakiya led us through the crowd to Narine, who looked up at her and smiled as Lakiya sat down. Marie said hi to Jed and Warrick. While they were talking for a moment Narine asked Lakiya, “Why do you care so much about me?”
“Hopefully the time will come when I can explain it all to you.” Lakiya replied.
Narine nodded her head and sat quietly, content that she might someday know.
Stan approached our group and asked Lakiya to dance. Lakiya looked to Warrick for help. Warrick declared, “I’m sorry, but she promised the first dance to me.”
Then Warrick reached his hand out to Lakiya who gladly took it and followed him onto the dance floor. Just as they got to the dance area the fast song ended and the band began to play a slow song. The song was almost over when Lakiya suddenly turned around, staring off into the darkness with Warrick staring in the same direction. Neither one moving with the music, but frozen in their own reality.
Lakiya began shaking her head as she whispered, “He can’t be. I can’t...” She turned to Warrick and exclaimed “I must...”
Warrick nodded his head, and she took off without finishing her sentence. Warrick ran to us and told Jed, “I have to go help Lakiya, stay with the party until dawn. Don’t come after us.” Then he took off towards the now rampantly howling wolf.
Many people turned towards the howling, but they couldn’t see anything, including Warrick since he was already past the lights. The singer of the band took a moment to chuckle and exclaim, “It’s been a long time since we’ve heard that much howling in a night. Let’s remember to stay together, and we’ll all make it ’till morning.”
Then the music started back up and most of the town went back to what they were doing before the howling. Jed and I worried like crazy about Lakiya and Warrick, but every time someone asked Jed where either or both were he’d reply, “I’m sure they’re around here somewhere, they’re old enough I don’t have to keep track of them every moment.”
Eventually even Stan quit asking, as he was certain they slipped away together for romantic reasons, and went off to sulk.
Meanwhile Lakiya and Warrick had changed into their wolf forms and ran as fast as they could, leaving their clothes where they fell behind them. Lakiya was the wolf who howled so many times. She was calling out to her clan mates, “Run the enemy is coming!”
Most of them were in human form and couldn’t understand the howls, but some of the elders had chosen to stay in wolf form, and hearing her warning changed to human to warn the others. A few of the younger Due-Weres listened and ran for safety, but most of them either ignored the warning or grabbed sticks preparing to fight the Humans. The Council of Five Wise chose to leave with the younger ones, to be on the safe side.
What arrived in their clearing was not a human. It was a very large gray and black wolf with red eyes, a ferocious growl, and saliva dripping from its mouth and it stared from one to the next. Then it leaped on the man standing closest to it, tearing his neck out as the stick in his hand fell to the ground. The clearing erupted with screams as the Due-Weres either tried to change back to wolf or ran in fright. Some froze in fear making themselves easy victims to the beast among them.
Lakiya arrived to a field covered in blood and bodies, most either looking human or partially transformed, but with some wolf bodies scattered among the wreckage. She charged at the Sheriff in his wolf form while screaming in Thought Transfer, “You horrible creature, how could you!”
Bruce grinned mischievously as her much smaller body cascaded into his, barely causing him to flinch from the impact. “I had to get your attention somehow.” he replied, as she plopped onto the ground next to him.
Lakiya tried to get up, but Bruce stepped over her and placed one of his paws on her chest. She told him, “This isn’t the way to get me.”
“Oh, but I think it is.” He stated, “And I will keep on killing every last one of these creatures you consider family, until every last one is dead, or you are mine.”
“She’s already taken!” Warrick’s Thought Transfer growled at him, from the other side of the clearing, “Why don’t you try someone closer to your own size.”
Bruce was amused and snickered, “You may be larger than your girlfriend, but you’re no match for me.” as he crossed the clearing towards Warrick ignoring Lakiya on the ground behind him.
Warrick stared past him to make certain that Lakiya was alright for a moment, and once assured he looked back into the Sheriff’s glaring red eyes and declared, “We’ll see about that!”
The two of them jumped at each other, but it only took Bruce a few moments to get Warrick on the ground, belly up, but before he could strike a kill blow Lakiya screamed, “Stay away from him!” and jumped into the fight.
She meant to attack his throat, but he moved just enough that she got his ear instead. With the quick snap of her head she tore a rip in his ear, and filled her mouth with blood.
Bruce jumped back and away from them as he told Lakiya, “I could finish you both off right now, or just kill him, but I can do that any time, so I’m going to leave you to decide. When the moon comes up tomorrow if you haven’t changed your mind, more will die.”