Chapter 1: Truth & Gone
13 years it’s been since I last saw my parents. I’ve been living with my Aunt Charlotte since they suddenly disappeared out of the blue. No trace of them. My name is Alayah Kennedy and I want answers.
Why has my Aunt been leaving for long periods of time since a little after I turned 13? What is she keeping from me? Who is she seeing? Those are the questions I want to be answered and I’m going to get them, today.
I was sitting on the couch, waiting for Aunt Charlotte to return from wherever she had gone to, I think she went to the store, but after a while, I tuned her out. While I was waiting I was reading a book. A book transports me to a whole new place, where new things can be discovered and love can be found.
I’ve always enjoyed reading, it helps me forget all the worries that I have and opens up and adventure waiting to happen.
As I heard the front door swing open I bolted from the couch and went to help my Aunt Charlotte. “Leah, I have something to tell you.” She said as she sat the bags down on the dining table.
I looked at her confused, but not really surprised. “What is it?” I asked, waiting for her response.
“I’ll be out of town for the next few days, 5 days tops.” She said as she began to stock the fridge.
“Like that’s anything new,” I muttered under my breath, but Charlotte caught me.
“What did you just say, girl?”
“Nothing.” I quickly responded and began to help put up groceries. “So where are you going this time?” I asked.
“Don’t worry about it. Just a business trip.” She said waving off the answer.
Soon all the groceries were put away. “When do you leave?” I asked curiously. Maybe this is my chance to follow her and see where she is really going.
Maybe then I can get some answers. “Tonight.” She said simply.
Nothing new like I said. “Well, you better get packing I guess,” I told her as I returned to the book I was reading.
“Alayah.” Charlotte began. She never used my real name unless she meant business.
“Yes?” I said putting the book aside.
“Are you okay with this? With me leaving you all the time like this?” She asked wanting to know the truth.
Ha, like I was going to give her the satisfaction of thinking pity to me about her leaving. “Yes, Aunt Char. I’m totally okay with it. I can take care of myself.” I told her.
All she did was nod her head and left to pack her bags. I will find out answers, now or never. I left a note on the counter telling Charlotte where I would be, the woods, like always.
One of my favorite places to go, days like today, I just want to run away, but others I go and read a book, listening to the sounds of nature all around me.
I slipped on a pair of black converse before going out of the house and to the woods at the back of the property. Aunt Charlotte doesn’t mind that I go out here, as soon as I’m back before she leaves anyway.
I sent my time walking and thinking about what I’m going to do. “Okay, so I assume that she is leaving by 6 or 7, depending on when she has to get to the hotel by,” I said thinking out loud. As of right now I was walking back and forth on a fallen tree, trying to test my balance and I have to say, I’m pretty good at this.
I’m interrupted by the ringing of my cell phone. I pull out my phone and see that it’s Aunt Char. calling me. I quickly tapped the answer button and pulled the phone up to my ear.
“Leah, do you know what time it is?” She said in a stern voice, knocking me off balance. I quickly pulled the phone away from my ear and looked at the time; 7:30.
“Sorry, Aunt Char. I guess I lost track of time. Don’t worry, I’m only a skip and a jump away. I’ll be home in about 5 minutes!” I told her. I could hear her sigh over the phone.
“What I’m I going to do with you, Leah.” And then she hung up.
I quickly ran, I’m very fast, at least I think I am anyway and made it back to the house in less than 3 minutes.
There on the porch was Aunt Char. I could tell she was pissed off. I was going to get an ear full out of her tonight for sure, she always seemed to get more angry on full moons. “It was 5 when you left and now it’s 7:34.” She said checking her watch.
“Look, I’m sorry, I just lost track of time. You know how I am.” I said trying to play it off as if it was a joke.
Not a muscle moved out of her. “Inside now, Alayah.”
That was it. I quickly ran inside and positioned myself on the couch. “How much trouble am I in this time?” I asked her.
“Alayah, I’ve got 15 minutes to leave if I want to make it before midnight, all I’m going to say is, behave.” And she picked up her bag and walked out of the house, keys in hand.
I heard the car crack up and back out of the driveway. I tapped my foot on the ground as I waited a few seconds before grabbing my jacket and following her. I was going to find out answers, and she was going to give them to me.
I made sure that I had my phone on me before leaving. “She better have to answers, or hell is going down,” I muttered before leaving. I knew this town like the back of my hand, it wasn’t that big but it wasn’t that small either.
I knew there was a stop light ahead, but I didn’t know which way she would turn, 1 because I didn’t know where she was going and 2 because for all I know she is in the woods dancing naked for all I care. I just want answers.
As I approached the stop light I saw her silver, Honda. I ducked behind the bushes so I wouldn’t be seen. As soon as the light turned green, she was off, turning left.
“She better have a good explanation for going to the bad side of town,” I said as I ran, trying to keep up with where she was at. Like in all towns, Smokey Keys had it’s good parts of the town and its bad ones as well.
As I focused on her car, I saw her pull over onto a dirt road. I looked at the sign at where she turned, she is going to a dead end road? Why? “Please don’t be dancing in the woods naked of all things. I do not want to see that.” I said aloud before turning where she turned and going down the dirt road.
It got really dark and I couldn’t see a thing, not her headlights or anything. “This is going to kill my battery,” I said aloud before turning on the flashlight on my phone before continuing to walk in the darkness.
Soon enough, her car came into view, parked on the side of the road. “You’ve got to be kidding me. She better not is in those damn woods, after she fussed about me being in them! Is she even going on a business trip?”
The leaves crunched under my feet as I walked, careful of what I might find. Finally, I spotted something, something like a tan color, it’s brown eyes boring into my own blue ones. It took off. “What the hell?” I said and chased after it.
You know in these horror movies when it’s usually the victim running away from the killer, well this was opposite of that. I was chasing the killer, or beast, whatever it was!
I stopped to catch my breath, as I was about to start running again I heard a twig snap. I shined my flashlight over to where the noise came from, and out popped Aunt Charlotte from behind the treeline.
“What the hell Aunt Char! Why, what, how?” I said starting to stuttering and babble like an idiot.
“You weren’t supposed to see that.” She said in a quiet voice. I through my hands up in frustration.
“I need answers, and I need them now! You can’t keep stuff from me, lying to me. You know how much I hate lying after what my parents did. Explain. Now.” I said in a huff.
She motioned for me to follow her and we ended up walking to her car. “I said to explain and all you’re doing to driving,” I told her as she began to drive us home I suspect.
“It’s better if I talk about it at home.” She said. It was quiet the rest of the way.
As soon as we reached the house I ran inside and waited for her to get in the house. I sat on the couch like before she left and she sat down beside me. “Alayah, I never meant for you to see that.” She said like she was ashamed of herself.
“I don’t care Aunt Char. Why, what the hell are you and why do you have to sneak out and pretend you’re going to a business meeting?” I shouted a bit at her. I was beyond pissed, farther than how angry she was earlier.
“Alayah, you most likely don’t remember, but your parents dropped you off here for a reason. They did it to protect you.” She began.
“Protect me from what?” I said to her.
“From the war.” She finished.
“War? I don’t remember there being any war? What the hell are you talking about?” I said still angry she won’t tell me the truth.
She sighed. “Alayah, our family is different. We are werewolves.” Aunt Char. looked up at me in silence. I busted out laughing.
“You’re really funny Aunt Char. Werewolves, as if they exist.”
She hit me in the arm, not hard but just to stop me from laughing. “Alayah Grace Kennedy. I’m not joking. What you saw in the woods tonight was me. You’re one as well. Why do you think you run so well, have good balance, love to be outdoors? That’s the wolf in you.” Aun Char. explained.
I looked her right in the eye and saw that she was telling the truth. What the hell?
“I know you’re going to need time to think about all of this, but I will help you.” She said. I got up and backed away.
“No, just leave me alone,” I said.
“Alayah.” I heard Charlotte say, but I began to ignore her. “I’m here to help you.”
I looked at her one last time. “Yeah, if you really were looking out for me, you would have told me instead of keeping it from me,” I shouted, then I took off outside, into the one place that keeps me calm.