The Mournful Howl

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Chapter 8

Gabriel couldn't believe what he'd seen Jayne do to herself. He'd been confused yesterday when he found her cutting herself, but to witness that she had literally clawed herself open was an entirely new problem.

He wished he could ask his mother about it, but contacting her was forbidden to him, his father had made that clear the last time he tried.

Instead, he was left with two choices. He could forget about it and just let her continue to hurt herself while she studied the wolves or, he could try to figure out a way to help her.

Sighing, he already knew what he was going to do. The thought of what his mother would say if she knew he didn't at least try to help Jayne deal with her demons.

Returning to his home, he stripped down and tucked his clothes, boots, wallet and car keys into a backpack that his wolf could carry in his jaws as he ran through the wilderness to the closest town.

Before shifting, he wrote a quick note to Jayne in case she came looking for him.

'Gone to town.'

With that done, he shifted and grabbed his bag before heading south to the nearest town. He could have taken his truck, but the road had so many twists and turns that it was just easier to run on foot.

Thankfully with the speed of his wolf, and the fact that he could go cross country he made it to Concrete by lunchtime.

Shifting back to his human form at the edge the woods, he quickly dressed and walked into town, his backpack slung over his shoulder.

"Hey Gabe," he heard a man say as he reached main street.

Looking around, he saw Victor crossing the street to catch up with him.

"I haven't seen you in months," his friend said, gripping his hand in a quick shake.

Gabriel shrugged in response.

Thankfully Victor knew that even if he could talk, Gabriel would still be a man of few words and he was more than happy to fill in the void.

"We've missed you around here," Victor chuckled falling into step with him.

"Especially Lizzy," he added, elbowing Gabriel in the ribs. "Make sure you stop in the cafe and say hello to her before someone tells her they saw you before she does."

Gabriel rolled his eyes, annoyed with the thought of dealing with yet another emotionally needy woman. Yeah, Lizzy was great for a night or two of sex every once and a while, but other than that she was annoying.

Reaching the library, Gabriel motioned to Victor that this was his stop and waved farewell.

"See you around," Victor said with a grin.

Thankful to be alone again, Gabriel stepped inside his favorite building in the whole town.

Reaching the front desk he found Mary, the elderly librarian who reminded him of his mom.

"Hey Gabe," she said, her face breaking into a big smile. "What can I help you with this time?"

Gabriel had thought long and hard during his trip to town, trying to figure out how to find the information he needed, and he'd just decided to tell the truth.

'I have a friend who is cutting herself and I want to help,' he wrote on a piece of paper Mary had already placed on the counter for him.

"Oh dear," the older woman gasped, her hand going to her mouth.

"Let me see what I can find," she offered, pointing to her computer. "While I do that, take a look around, though I don't think there's a book here you haven't already read."

Nodding his thanks, he walked up and down the aisles finding a few new biography's on historical figures that were new since the last time he'd been to town.

Picking four of them out, he made his way back to the counter.

"I found some articles in our reference section about self harm, some of the reasons behind it and ways to help someone cope with their problems without hurting themselves," Mary said, looking sad. "I made copies of everything I thought you might find useful so you wouldn't have to take those heavy books with you.

"Though," she smiled looking at the books tucked under his arm, "it looks like you found some to take with you anyway."

Gabriel smiled back at the kindly librarian.

She knew that he lived up in the mountains and took care of the few cabins that scientists used for forestry studies and he didn't make it to town very often, so she allowed him to take the books he wanted for two months instead of the one everyone else in town got.

Thanking her for all her help, he tucked loose papers and books into his backpack before heading to the local Walmart.

Gabriel didn't have a lot of technical knowledge, but he'd managed to pocket the one earbud he'd found and hoped the clerk could help him replace them.

Thankfully, the Goddess was on his side and he was able to find a perfect replacement set for Jayne.

Gabriel couldn't help smiling to himself as he picked out a frilly pink bow to put on the gift for Jayne and went to pay.

Shoving his purchases on top of everything, he made a mental note to wrap the small box in his clothes to pad it before shifting and running home.

Stepping out of the store Gabriel found himself face to face with Lizzy.

Seeing her gaze brighten, he let out an internal groan of exasperation. He'd hoped to leave town without meeting her.

"Hey Gabe," she said, a little to sweetly. "Haven't seen you in a while. Thought maybe a bear or a wolf got you."

Reaching his side, she slid her arm around his waist and reached up to kiss him deeply.

Turning away, he saw a petulant pout form on her lips.

"What's wrong sweety?" she asked, batting her overly mascaraed lashes at him.

Stepping away from her, Gabriel pulled out his note pad.

'Have to get back,' he wrote.

"Oh," Lizzy sighed, looking longingly up at him. "Well, maybe I'll come up to see you some time."

Shrugging, he waved goodbye before hurrying away from the annoying woman.

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