Definition: an outcast
That’s what I am, or at least that’s the best term generally used to define me. I’m overall an outcast but social pariah is absolutely how I’m treated. I’m 18 years old, a senior at Crestwater High, and a werewolf who is part of the, of course aptly named, Crestwater pack. My name is Aurelia Bell, daughter to David and Lily Bell. I’ve always thought that names had meaning, maybe it’s because I don’t find meaning in any other part of my life anymore. However, in my case, I think the meaning is for sheer irony. The reason because Aurelia means ‘golden’ in Latin. Not a big deal and really not something super cool, but to me, it just puts more light on the fact that I’m an odd ball. To be named something that equitable to generally being considered to be quite precious, but be considered the dorky, unwanted, pariah, just didn’t make sense.
Aside from the name, like I said, I’m a werewolf. Wolves are social creatures, werewolves even more so. For someone to end up an outcast with no social group, and still be part of a pack, is pretty uncommon, but here I sit. Alone. And I’m really okay with that fact. I try to make that perfectly clear. I don’t want anyone’s sympathy on this.
I’ve always been quiet and more of a loner, but it wasn’t until after my dad died that I truly was alone. My mother couldn’t and sadly, wouldn’t cope with the loss. Her mate, the other half of her soul, was gone. He had died during one of his patrolling shifts, protecting our pack from rogues. The child they shared wasn’t enough to sustain her. I wasn’t enough to keep her going, keep her wanting to survive. She fed the bottle instead, an easier out, I suppose.
I was 11 when it happened. That is how old I was when my life changed, when it went to hell. I was an only child, and my dad loved to spend time with me. He taught me how to hunt, how to care for myself in the wild, so many things that I think others take for granted or don’t even bother to learn. He was the only person with me when I shifted for the first time. We were camping right after my 10th birthday when it happened. Most wolves shift around puberty, age 12 or 13, sometimes later, so I was an early ‘bloomer’. I’m grateful for that now. Because of that, dad had time to teach me how to truly connect with my wolf, be one with the natural side of my soul. It’s like it was fate that she came to me so soon because it was just after I turned 11 that he died.
My mother did try and keep up appearances for a few months. Going grocery shopping, being seen with me. But it was all a big fat ruse in the end. She didn’t want anyone snooping around, so she put on a show. She got more money, having a child and being a widow. Because of that, she made sure that no one would notice that she wasn’t really a mother. She’d play the grieving widow and supportive mom cards when we went out. Then she’d run back to her room after we got home and start drinking. After almost a year, I stopped trying to pull her out of it. Her fits of rage weren’t worth it.
I started doing odd jobs like mowing, snow shoveling, or other yard work around town until I was old enough to get a legal job. That way I could at least feed myself, mom sure as hell wasn’t concerned about that. The money she got each month she spent on booze, maybe some random stuff for herself, but definitely mostly booze.
Even if the other pack members had started to notice how bad she was, no one did anything about it. They did distance themselves from us, knowing what was happening or not. No one wanted to go down with what appeared to be a sinking ship. My grandparents on my dad’s side had passed years prior and my mother came from a different pack. We really never spoke about what pack and I didn’t know any of my relatives from her side. She never made friends with anyone and was a real home body, like she didn’t want to socialize. There was no one else from my family to step in either. She had basically paved the way for me to be a loner, it was really easy with her example.
Kids in school slowly started doing the same as I got older. Again, social pariah. By high school, they barely remembered that I was there. I think the only reason they did was because I got some of the highest marks in school. I am smart. Besides having to be just to survive, it was one thing that dad always encouraged. Use my brain, learn everything I could.
By the time I was 15, mom started disappearing more and more. At one point I wondered if I should just leave, but a 15-year-old can’t get an apartment or anything like that. I spent a lot of time in the forest where dad and I had trained and where we bonded when I was younger. But I’d always go home. It was a roof over my head after all. My odd jobs and such kept the lights and water on, and some food in my stomach. I don’t know what mom did with the money from dad’s passing or that she got for being a widow with a child, but I never saw it, and it hadn’t paid the bills in years.
Even still, I took pride in the fact that I took care of our, or I guess my, home.
I didn’t have shiny appliances or even a TV, but I did keep it very tidy. I tried to keep the outside pretty up to date too. Wherever mom was, and she was gone all the time after another 6 months, I didn’t want anyone to notice her disappearance. I don’t even know if she’s still alive, but I didn’t want to end up being thrust upon someone else as a foster kid. So, I kept quiet about her absence and just kept moving.
I used some of my extra money to buy flowers, updated the gutters, and other thinks to keep it homey. At first, I was surprised that no one paid attention to obvious purchases, stuff that adults would buy for a house, not a kid. I bought all the supplies from our local stores, some with human employees, some wolf. Eventually I figured out, no one pays attention to you when you’re virtually invisible.
So that’s where I live, alone. Hell, I even changed the locks last year. I continue to use the money I earn from stocking shelves at a grocery store to purchase food and necessities. Forward momentum or some crap like that. I bought secondhand clothes and didn’t pay attention to fashion, fads, or anything else for that matter. I really didn’t care about any of that stuff anyway. I didn’t have a lot of the electronics that other kids had either. The only somewhat up-to-date thing I owned was an iPod that I bought from the pawn store in town. Our school computers weren’t locked down so I could use them and the internet at school to download songs. I used the technology there to keep that up to date.
My only goal right now is to keep my grades high in hopes I could get a scholarship and move far away from here. My pack was fairly well off, we had schools, offices, stores, all the things to make us appear like a full-blown normal town. There were a lot of humans in the area, so appearances mattered. Regardless, I wanted a better life than what I was currently living. One away from this shit show. The only way I could fathom that happening was to get a scholarship to a good school and work my way out.
My pack was pretty progressive in comparison to others. Many young wolves go through continued education to have careers. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, and more. Usually, they all came back or went to universities nearby. This was mainly because many wolves found their mates within the pack.
Mates. That was the other future many wolves went or sought after. Finding their mates, starting a family, all of that wholesome garbage. Some held off on the family part until they had finished school, but not all of them. There were many families where pups came right after or right in high school. Teen Mom anyone?
Many wolves find their mates after they turn 18. We can only find our mates when both reach at least that age, maturity or whatnot, I guess. It’s supposedly a magical experience where your soul connects to its perfect match. But not everyone finds their mate right away. There is no guarantee that our mates will be within the same pack either.
Those who don’t immediately find their mate after they turn 18 will sometimes after they graduate. Because then they have more freedom to travel or visit packs that we have treaties with. But even then, there are some don’t find them at all. Then they have to either travel far and wide, choose a choice mate from others with the same situation, or choose to live without one. Sure, many have a girl or boyfriend and be with others, but actually taking someone as a mate is a whole different level. True mates are our perfect match and although they are the best fit for us, choice matings are also extraordinarily strong when each party marks each other. There is rarely a “divorce” or “separation” in werewolf society.
To that end, I haven’t found my mate, and frankly have no real hope or desire to do so. I’ve been around everyone in this pack my whole life. I have had classes with all the other wolves my age since before my birthday and have felt nothing. And when I graduate, I’m out. Basically, none of the people around my age notice me or give me a reason to stay otherwise. As I mentioned, I’m nearly invisible. Nearly but not entirely.
Besides not being the most stylish person, and being a “geek”, I’m also quite small. At 5′ 2", I’m pretty tiny for a wolf. Most females average about 5′ 7" to 6′. So small–check, geeky–check, no family to actually speak of–check. I couldn’t be more of a statistic if I tried here folks. So, that were my mentality about forward momentum comes in. Many of my classmates, being that I’m the geek with the grades that put there’s to shame, don’t hide their distaste. What’s the point in wanting to stay here after all that?
I’m pretty good at ignoring or avoiding any drama. Dad had taught me to be tough. And the years of having a worthless mother and no one that really gave a shit have solidified my emotional strength. Or erased any emotional need at least. I decided long ago to just get rid of any emotions that implied weakness. The point of this being that I’m not easily effected by the idiocy of others anymore. Those that pick on me only really throw verbal insults. Rarely is it physical, probably because I’m pretty quick and nimble, so they can’t get their hands on me. They’re like wasps. Annoying as fuck, sometimes they get aggressive for seemingly no reason. But if I avoid them entirely and stay the fuck away from them, no real issues. Just don’t swat at them because they might sting.
This is my life. It’s not glamorous or anything but I don’t envy the cliché popular people. Sure, I’d love to live in comfort and be enveloped with love, who wouldn’t? But I refuse to cheat, steal or sleep my way into comfort like some do. And I won’t taint myself for lust motivated “love” either.
My wolf thinks I’m horribly jaded by my circumstances. She’s probably right too. But like everything else, it doesn’t bother me. She longs for her mate, the one who will comfort and care for us. I, however; live in the real world. Where parents die, neglect their young, or just drink their lives away. Where neighbors forget you existed and never ask what happened. Where the pack leaders, frankly, having a huge job to do as it is, easily forget about one little girl and their children don’t bother to say jack shit about what they know. Yeah, I’m definitely 100% jaded.
I graduate soon and as long as nothing rocks my plans, I’ll move on to college and live my life. I just have to make it to that goal.