Chapter Twenty Four
“Angeline? Can you hear me? Angeline?!”
Was that Daniel?
“ANGELINE!! Wake up! Can you hear me?!”
I can feel him shaking my arms.
“Do I need to call an ambulance? Hello? Angeline!”
Blinking a few times, the first thing I see is Daniel‘s face mere inches from mine.
He breaths a loud sigh of relief before sinking back into his seat.
“Holy crap, about freaking time! I thought you’d never wake up.”
Taking in my surroundings, I see that I’m lying down in the backseat of his car. Daniel sits in the passenger seat, leaning over me with a relieved expression.
“You passed out.”
I wracked my brain for the last thing I could remember. I think I remember a.. wolf. A wolf! And Daniel! I could’ve sworn he… changed? Transformed? Mutated?
I don’t know, all I know is that one minute he was Daniel and the next minute he was… not.
“What- what are you?”
“What? I don’t know what you mean.”
“But I saw you! I saw that… thing!”
“Angeline, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I know what I saw! I’m not crazy!” But even as I said it, the doubt started creeping in. “I. Know. What. I. Saw!”
“And what exactly is it you think you saw?”
“You-you turned into something else! That animal thing was huge! It should’ve killed us both! But you barely have a scratch on you! How?”
“The stray dog just wanted food; he was no threat.” He wouldn’t meet my eyes.
“Are you lying to me?”
“No!” But his eyes were saying yes. He’s a bad liar.
I stared at him long and hard, “what are you Daniel?” I asked again.
His face looked panicked and I almost feel bad for putting him on the spot, almost.
After several more seconds of silence, I shook my head and went to open the car door.
“Angeline wait!” I stopped and looked back at him.
“You-you just wouldn’t understand!”
“I’m scared you’ll think I’m a monster!”
Now I look at him warily, “why? Would you ever... hurt me?”
“Of course not!”
“Then why would I think you a monster?”
“Because of what I am.”
“What are you?”
Once again, he said nothing, but seemed to be concentrating hard.
“I just want the truth Daniel. You can tell me anything, we’re best friends, remember?”
“Promise you won’t freak?”
“Promise me, you’ll let me explain everything before you make your judgment?”
He expelled a long sigh, “okay, here goes nothing. I am… a werewolf.”
“Oh.“ I said, raising my eyebrows.
“So like, do you turn into one on a full moon? Were you bitten? Do you eat people?”
“What!? No! No to all of those questions! We can transform anytime we want. There’s no such thing as being bitten, I was born this way, and my diet is the same as anyones, we just need extra protein.”
“Does it hurt? To change?”
“At first it did, now it’s not so bad.”
“Do you know any others… like you?”
“Yes, there’s a whole pack of us. We have a hierarchy and everything. Very few humans know about us.”
“What do you mean by hierarchy?”
“We have a ranking class that we live by, a status we’re born into. At the very top, is the alphas, the family that commands the rest of the pack. Then there’s the betas, considered second-in-command. Then come the deltas, zetas, and at the very bottom of the hierarchy are the omegas, practically servants.”
“I hardly understood a thing you just said but from what I gather it sounds like the medieval times.”
Daniel chuckled, “yeah… we live and breathe by this hierarchy.”
“So which one do you belong to?”
Daniel grimaced, “uh…”
“Oh sorry, is that a sensitive topic? You know you can tell me, I wouldn’t care about your rank.”
“I know, and I appreciate that, but I’m not an omega or a zeta… I’m the next in line to be alpha.”
“Isn’t that like the leader?”
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“That explains so much.” I said.
“You being an alpha, now I know why everyone follows you around and does everything you say. It makes sense.”
“Wait! I’ve been doing that!? I thought I stopped. Dammit!” He exclaimed and sheepishly looked at me.
“ Oh no! I didn’t mean it like that! Just that you’re a natural born leader. It’s not like you don’t make anyone do anything. They listen to you, because they want to. I don’t know what an alpha does exactly, but I think you’ll be a great one.”
Daniel smiled, and I could tell my words really did bring him some comfort. “Thank Ang, that means a lot. I’ve always wondered if I’d be a good leader, always had my doubts.”
“It’s the truth.“ I shrugged.
“Why aren’t you running away screaming right now?”
“Should I be?”
“Well most people would. I just told you I’m half human, half animal.”
“I have accepted that I was a weirdo a long time ago.”
“Do we go to school with any other werewolves?”
“Yeah, our entire cafeteria table.”
That shocked me, “holy crap! Really?!”
“Yeah, but there’s more, far more, we are 300 strong in our pack. We actually have our own werewolf schools.”
“Then why do you go to a human school?”
“I wanted to. I wanted something different. My father was definitely not happy with my decision, he’s not… fond of humans. I spent freshman and sophomore year in my father’s school. I felt like I couldn’t relate to any of them. Everyone expected something from me, my every move was always being watched, analyzed, or criticized. I couldn’t be me, I had to be what they wanted me to be.
“Everyone that sits with us at lunch are my closest friends,” he continued. “They decided they wanted to follow my decision to switch schools. I trust them with my life and my secrets. Although we have to keep ourselves secret here, I feel more liberated than I have ever felt in my werewolf school.”
“Was the wolf that attacked us also a werewolf?”
Daniel nodded, “he used to be a member of our pack actually, he was exiled two years ago.”
“My dad doesn’t take kindly to anyone who questions him or his decisions. Doesn’t like anyone having opposing views or speaking reason.”
“Did you… Kill him?”
“No, I chased him out of our borders. He wasn’t himself, he’s gone rogue.”
“A wolf without a pack will eventually go rogue. They spend so much time alone that they go mad, they become more and more animal than man. Harder to reason with. Going rogue is still better than going feral though. No wolf can come back from going fully feral. They are all beast, no ounce of humanity left inside. Very unpredictable creatures and can’t be reasoned with.”
“Is that common?”
“No, not at all. Rogues still instinctively try to avoid human civilizations, and sometimes even form their own packs to keep themselves sane. Ferals will slaughter anything and everyone in their line of sight, driven by the need to hunt or kill.”
“Why? Why do they go ‘feral’?”
“Usually when something extremely traumatic happens to them, such as the death of their mate.”
“Their mate? Like their friend?”
“No… like their soulmate.”
“A soulmate!? How would you even know who your soulmate is?”
Daniel sat quietly for a few seconds, sadness filled the air between us, and it was obvious there was something he couldn’t say.
“That’s a story for another time Cat Lady, right now, you’re almost an entire hour past your curfew.”
“Oh shit!” I screech and sit up in a panic. I realize that we’re already outside my house. We have been there the entire time.
“I don’t know if it’s obvious or not already, but you can’t tell anyone, like, ever.”
“Don’t worry,” I grinned at him, “your secret’s safe with me.”