“We must steel ourselves against the influence of our wild counterparts. They walk among us, undetected and deadly. They look like us, speak like us, mate with us. But do not be fooled, they are not us. They are not what they appear to be. Underneath their skin is an animal, wild and uncontrollable, dangerous and feral. They are a menace to our society and in my belief, they must be eradicated.”
The applause was deafening as hundreds of people in business suits stood and clapped, tight smiles on their faces. Mothers whispered in their children’s ears, explaining to them why it was important to listen. Young radicals whistled, throwing their fists into the air. I clapped politely, even though on the inside my stomach churned sickly.
The speaker, my father, turned around and gave a small ‘thumbs up’ to me behind his pedestal. I grimaced and waved, the action not settling well in the pit of my stomach. He turned around, adjusting the black tie at his collar.
“The werewolf race is a genetic mistake that must be fixed. They claim they do want anything to do with us, yet they steal away our young girls to mate with. They claim they are peaceful, yet they have packs that’s sole purpose is to destroy. They claim they are in control of their own population, yet their Alphas lose control of their rogue wolves. Do you want to know what I think they really are? I think they are animals that belong in cages.”
My father’s words were met with an outburst of appreciation. Everyone in the room agreed with him, they all believed that werewolves were our worst enemy. Since the Feral War began five years ago, the existence of werewolves was common knowledge.
“They claim they too, are human, but what they can do is not human. Their habits aren’t human, they’re relationships aren’t human. Perhaps you could say that they wear a human skin, but that very skin that sits on their bones is shredded when they become monsters. They are not human; they simply wear the masks of mankind.”
I swallowed back the bile that rose in my throat and smiled tightly, I knew people would be watching me. The daughter of the most recognized anti-werewolf activist. My dad hushed the crowd, looking at them seriously.
“Last year, my daughter’s friend Sophie was abducted. She was dragged into a pack and has never resurfaced.” My father paused and looked out at the crowd, gripping the podium. “How many more of our daughters are going to be taken? How many more innocent girls will be kidnapped by these savages before we do something about it?” The crowd screamed and jeered, adding fuel to my father’s fire.
“They are poison to society. They have claimed the more heavily forested states and have inhabited most of Canada. They lurk around our towns, recruiting our young to their packs. They must be stopped.”
Everyone in the room cheered and screamed, the topic of werewolves was enough to get them riled up. I yelled out encouragement as well; keeping up appearances was important.
“How are we going to stop them? We are going to do what humans do best, we are going to overpower our enemies. We are going to burn them out of the forests they love so dearly. We are going to shoot them out of our towns and run them out of our schools. We will take back our country, we will get rid of the threat that is aimed at our throats and is ready to lunge. Stand with me against them!”
The crowd roared defiantly. Young children jumped around screaming death threats, parents yelled and jeered, cussing out werewolves. Old men spat on the ground and threw their hands into the air, young men planned hunting expeditions in harsh tones while my father sat back and watched the crowd with satisfaction. He had convinced another five hundred people of the threat the werewolf community posed to humans. He had done his job.
He turned to me, his grey eyes shining with a defiance that he had held his entire life. A thin sheen of sweat shined on his forehead and his brown hair was pushed back. He held out a hand for me and I walk over to him, hugging him from the side. The crowd’s applause grew even louder, pictures were snapped of us, the flashes blinding my eyes temporarily.
The war between werewolves and humans had escalated and I was caught in between. This was my life, hate rallies and bigoted speeches. Lux Freemen, daughter of Stan Freemen, the most famous anti-werewolf activist in North America. The man who inspired hate in the hearts of millions, the man who planned on killing every werewolf alive.
Every werewolf besides his own daughter.
“They want to end us,” I said, “They want us dead. They want us stuffed. They want us to be turned into rugs and tested on in laboratories. They believe we wish to harm them, they ignore the fact we’ve lived in harmony with them for thousands of years. Well, I say it’s time to rid ourselves of that harmony. It’s kill or be killed.”
The packs in front of me barked, howled and clapped in response to my words. I drew in a deep breath and continued, “The human race has chosen the wrong enemy. They believe there is no force that is great enough to oppose them. But they do not know the strength of the wolf.”
Howls erupted around throughout the crowd, causing my own wolf to be more on edge. I felt him lurk in my mind, snarling just behind my consciousness. I looked to my left to the older man just off of the stage. He inclined his head slightly, telling me I was doing a good job.
“Our own Goddess begs us not to pick up arms,” these words made the crowd grew silent. “She wants us to make peace with the humans, even when they kill us, even when they test on our pups and lock us up. She is not looking out for us anymore; she no longer cares about her children.”
“Damn right!” a man shouted. This was followed by, “Forget the Goddess!” and, “Traitor!”
“Her pack of special wolves, the Pura Lupus, have fallen. No longer do the White Wolves rule over us. Do you want to know what this means? It means that we no longer have to follow the Goddess that does not care for us. It is time we defend ourselves! It is time we stand together to annihilate our enemy.”
“Let’s kill the humans!” a group of rowdy young wolves yelled.
An older lady yelled, “We have to protect the pups!”
“They’re dangerous,” I stated. “And we have to be aware of the threat they pose. If we go into this naively and do not educate ourselves on their war tactics we will lose. The human race has great experience in warfare, yet they have never faced another species as old as their own. They have greater technology, but we are stronger and faster with better reflexes. We can win.”
“Damn the Goddess!” a man shouted, many others followed suit. I had to resist the urge to flinch. A few years ago it would have been considered sacrilegious to speak of our Goddess like this. But since the Feral War started, worse things had been said.
“I have travelled to your pack to ask if you will stand by me, if you will stand by your brothers and sisters against the threat that is ready to exterminate our race at a moment’s notice. Will you fight the Feral War?”
There was a strong reply as everyone cheered and howled for me, showing their support. I nodded once and waved before shuffling off of the stage. The older man clapped my shoulder and walked with me, waving at the crowd of werewolves as we passed.
“You did great, Keegan,” my uncle whispered in my ear.
“Thanks, Victor,” I mumbled back. I felt feverish and sick, my head was spinning. Inspiring hate was something I was good at, but it wasn’t something I liked. Keegan Stone, the man who encouraged hate and bloodshed.
And I hated myself for it.