12 - "Blown Away"
Ellie was out of line when she said that my family would have to accept that I was mated to a wolf. She should know better than anyone that it was not easy leaving everyone behind. My family may be scattered between San Antonio and Dallas, but they are my family. Without them I would not have anyone or know who I am anymore. Brujeria* is all I know. I have heard stories about wolves killing witches for their power or stealing witches to turn them and they died in the process. It was only a matter of time that I would be next. Witchcraft*
This being mates thing was just a lure to drag me into whatever plans they may have and I could not believe that Ellie was part of it. I felt betrayed. Granted, Joseph was very handsome; chestnut colored hair and those chocolate hazel brown eyes made me melt. I could see how easy it was for women to lust over wolves. I have not seen a bad looking one so far. Joseph was taller than I, by a foot, but I was five foot four inches, everyone was taller, including Ellie. He was buff, tattooed and scruffy. Every woman’s dream. It was hard to resist him that was for sure.
Joseph kept his distance from me, I assumed to give me space. Still, he did try to talk to me or approach me during our meals together. However, at this moment, I thought it was a ploy to get me to stay here. I did not want them to see my fear.
It was true that I had nowhere to go. I was on my own in Houston. Ellie asked me to move with her and I did not want her to be there on her own just after losing her dad. I talked it over with my mother and got in contact with two members of our coven that lived nearby just so I did not feel alone. Even though I felt more alone than ever. I did not know the other brujas* in our coven, I only met with them when we had rituals and when I first moved here. That was the only reason I was here on pack territory, living in their ranch house amongst other wolves. Except for Ellie, Titus, Joseph, and Hendrick, all the other wolf shifters stared at me nonstop with, what I thought was, fear in their eyes. When in truth, it should be I who feared them. witches*
I felt like I was suffocating, like a prisoner. I needed to get out and enjoy the heat. I was allowed to venture out, but it was my fear that kept me in this room. Although I did go to the university for school, it did not help matters. I liked going wherever I pleased, I loved going running at the park next to the apartment complex. I loved volunteering at the animal shelter. Being at the ranch, I wanted to see the horses, chickens and cows. I missed my cat, Phoebe, who was back at my mom’s house in San Antonio because our lease did not allow pets. I was far from home and I did not have my emotions in check. I knew that the rainstorms were magnified because of my lack of control. I did not control the weather, per se. My power was complicated and even I did not know the full extent of it. We all have different abilities and somehow, my powers have manifested in a way that no one has seen. Even my Abuela had told me that it was best to not tell the other brujas about them. She had never heard of a witch that could manipulate weather, which I can but cannot do. I cannot conjure up a storm, nor can I make a cool breeze appear from nothing. I just magnify it, if it is currently raining then I can turn it into a storm. If there is a light breeze, I can turn it into a gale. The more I practiced, the more abilities I was able to manifest.
It was not until a few months ago I learned I could shift to an owl or Lechuza. It was rare and even my own kind, brujas, were afraid of Lechuzas. It was a common folklore and depending on where you were from, the tale changed. Usually, Lechuzas are believed to be evil witches that warn people about death, or something bad is going to happen. They are also believed to curse people or they run people off the roads. Others claim that they prey on young children. There are claims that they use their talons to carry a full-grown man, for what I do not even know. There are too many stories to keep track of. However, I was or did none of those things and I did not know what it meant either. The only other person that knows this of me is my grandmother, and somehow so did Alpha Titus. How he knew was beyond me, but it only made me believe that I was being played like a fiddle.
I needed to calm myself down in order to get this storm under control. I have only shifted into a Lechuza three times and I had never done it on command, still I needed to try. The first time was on a new moon and I had just got off the phone with my grandmother who I missed so much. She had to go into surgery after a fall broke her hip. I was very close to her, closer than my mother. That was all it took for me to turn. One minute I was on the bed crying, the next was on the ground looking up at the bed. I managed to climb up and look in a mirror and what I saw shocked me to my core. An owl stared back at me, it had a white heart shaped face and it’s coloring was beautiful; light beige and orange feathers lined the wings and on my white chest I had an odd orangish diamond shape marking.
The second was stress induced due to school, work, and Davis. I worked at a retail clothing store and a massive sale resulted in my being yelled at and bullied by customers. At the same time, I had a midterm the next day and Davis was being an ass. I walked out the back without a word, next thing I knew I was flapping my large wings while running, leaving my clothes behind and I took off flying. It was liberating being able to fly and it calmed my mind. It was amazing.
The last was after Davis left me bruised, bleeding and broken. It just happened and it was the most painful thing I had felt, but I coped, wanting to protect myself if he returned. My physical human form was severely injured causing the immense amount of pain. I could not fly, although I really wanted to. I had felt the shifting start and I managed to open the balcony door before it was complete. I stayed the night as an owl waiting on the balcony. For what, I did not know. When I saw Ellie with Titus, who at the time I only knew as a wolf, I ran on my taloned feet to my room and used the wind from the opened window to close the door. The pain was unbearable and I passed out from the sheer force of it. It was only minutes until Ellie came and found me.
My guest room was on the second floor with French doors leading onto the porch. The lightning claps were incredibly close, causing me to worry for the men and livestock out in the storm that I had strengthened. The need to shift was necessary for everyone’s safety. I tried to meditate but the rain and roar of the storm would not allow it. My stress and unease were building up. I brought all my angst forward in hopes that my owl would emerge. I repeated the words like a mantra.
“Finals, mates, wolves, banishment, family…” I whispered to myself. “Abuelita, Ellie, Joseph, Titus.” I echoed the words again, the panic rising; and there it was. My heart sped up uncontrollably, my muscles tensed, my spine compressed and I felt relief. It was not painful, it usually was not, just the last time. I flapped my wings, knowing the weight of the falling water would limit my ascend, but I managed.
I was in the wet air, flapping with all my might, lifting higher and higher. Slowly letting go of my worries. My hearing was amplified, my eyesight clearer than my human self. I listened to the raindrops hit the ground, the sound of the creak of a wind vane, the bellows of cattle and the whining of horses. I listened to every noise I could focus on, whatever calmed my senses.
“Leave it to Hendrick to be in Austin for an auction when the weather turns on us!” I heard Titus holler to someone.
“Do you believe that shit he was spittin’? About a secret mate?” I heard Joseph reply with the same volume. I might not have given in to his ‘mate bond’ but I knew his voice anywhere.
“It’s Hendrick! There’s only so much bullshit you can believe.” Titus laughed.
“How’s it goin’ with Ellie and the mate bond?” Joseph asked.
“Man, she’s fightin’ it. One second, she pushes me away. Next she begs me to mark her.” Titus answered. That’s interesting I thought. I look around me, zeroing in on the sound of their voices. I could get used to this owl thing.
“Dude! She’s my cousin. I don’t need to know that.” Joseph gagged. I focused on him as I searched the fenced pastures.
“That’s not what I mean. We haven’t even kissed. We were playin’ ’round and then… It’s like she has a wolf’s instinct, but she don’t have a wolf. It makes no sense.” Titus returned.
“Weird.” Joseph said in agreement. It took me a moment in the air to find them.
“What about Selena? Any progress?” Titus inquired, causing my interest to pique. I finally located them in one of the far east pastures, close to the lake.
‘Oh no!’ I thought in my head. The water was high, up to their horses’ knees. They sat upon them as they watched men and wolves herding the livestock to higher ground, in a northern pasture. I noted that they were both soaked and covered in mud up to their chests. While Titus was wearing a cowboy hat, letting it puddle on the brim, Joseph had a baseball cap, water rolling down the bill. They must have been taking a break from the work, because they both had large thermos in their hands.
“There is none. Honestly, I’m not tryna force her. I already convinced myself she’ll reject me. No reason to hope for the alternative.” Joseph’s voice was filled with sadness and something else I could not decipher. I perched my feathered self on a nearby fence a good a hundred feet away, still able to hear and see them. My owl vision allowed me to fixate on their manly figures.
“She’s your mate. You can’t give up on her yet. You need to show her what being mates means. Doing nothin’ will get you nowhere.” Titus advised his friend.
“Yes, let me just go to her and profess my undyin’ love for her, even though I know nothin’ ’bout her other than what Ellie Mae has told me.” Joseph said to him.
“Well, it’s a start.” Titus shrugged, just as he turned his head.
“That’s cool. A barn owl.” Joseph stated aloud. My nerves jolted at the statement causing a shift in the wind to blow in their direction. I watched as both men stiffened all of the sudden. Both their eyes glazed over in an odd milky film. That was strange, to say the least. I was not sure if I should be worried.
After a minute their eyes returned to normal. ‘What the fuck was that?’ I asked myself. I observed as Joseph got off his palomino horse and gave the reins to Titus. I knew I should fly away, but Joseph taking off his clothes took precedence. ‘What is he doing?’
He was well defined, every bit of his torso was carved to perfection. He had a tattoo on his upper arm of a wolf with a diamond on its forehead. ’That’s interesting’. In the opposite inner arm, was a geometric design with the phases of the moon.
As much as I wanted to analyze every detail about the man who called himself my mate, the sound of bones breaking caught my attention. Before my eyes, Joseph’s body grew and hunched over within seconds. What beautiful coloring, similar to my own from what I could see from the lightning flashing in the sky.
‘Oh shit!’ He was charging towards me. Before I flew away into the woods behind me, I saw it. The diamond marking on his forehead, like the one I had on my owl’s chest. That could not be a coincidence.
"Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood