❝ Stay low key. Not everyone needs to know everything about you.❞
"Start from the beginning," I say, after the long tense silence between us. "I want to know everything," I emphasized.
He sighs, running his hand down his face. "All right," he sighs once more, "Okay."
I watched as Dad leans forward, resting on his elbows while his knuckles were interlocked, he intakes a deep breath, "Sarah was just like you, born from a human mother while having a werewolf father – my brother." he starts, looking me dead in the eyes.
"They call you guys halflings, half human and half werewolf."
He pauses once more and I could see that it was difficult for him to speak the things he was about to say, the way he runs his hands through his hair and the light sheen of sweat glossing his forehead.
"Go on," I say, waiting for him to talk. He glares at me and I shrug, intrigued.
"Back in 1213 BC, Egypt, our kind revealed their true selves to the humans but they weren't like the wolves you know now," he shuts his eyes, "Only shifting when the moon was full, they were called Lycans."
"Why 'were'?" I ask.
Dad's eyes flicker open, swirling with a darkness I've never seen before. "I'm not sure they exist anymore, no one does, now since wolves can shift whenever they feel the desire to do so," he replies.
"After the Lycans uncovered who they really were in Egypt, others began to do the same around the world and humans didn't take the realization of living among the supernatural too well." he shook his head. "So, a war began that extended for years upon years."
He paused, leaning up, his back popping before he walked around the island counter and to the living room, I twisted in my seat and watched as he bent, gripping the straps of my bookbag.
"Hey!" I called out when he reached inside.
He pulled out the thick, black covered book I had borrowed from the school library. He dropped my bag and made his way over towards me, sitting down on the bar stool beside me while opening to a page.
"Years of bloodshed, death, pain, and war still fresh in black and white," he points to a picture that takes up half the page.
It was gruesome, even though the color was in black and white. There was a lot going on and hard to tell where it started and where it ended; bodies laid on a field the battle was happening on, and dark spots indicated blood splatters and even separate body parts were scattered. A wolf had its jaw locked around a man's neck and in the distance stood out a full moon. My eyes glided down to the caption beneath the picture.
"Battle between Lycans and humans."
"Oh wow," was my response.
Dad shook his head and turned the page telling the story as he went, "The Lycan community finally decided that enough was enough after losing so much of their kind, vice versa to the humans, and decided to create a peace treaty."
Another picture showed a group of older men sitting around a table and one animalistic looking man at the head and a document resting in the center of the table with an ink quill. I could tell this picture was taken in digitally, every person had different expressions on their faces; again, my eyes shifted down to the caption.
"Treaty of 'Γούνα και δέρμα'."
"What does that mean?" I say, pressing my finger on the printed words, frowning.
Dad leaned forward, eyes skimming the letters. "It says Fur and Skin.”
'Treaty of Fur and Skin, huh?' I think to myself.
"After the treaty, Lycans and humans began to coexist together for centuries and as the years' passed human leaders started to forget all about the peace treaty and stopped teaching its the significance to younger generations and how its evolutions began.”
“Lycans were forced into hiding once more not wanting to start another war." Dad continued.
I hum, turning to look at him fully, a question burning on the tip of my tongue until I blurted it out. "What does this have to do with how Sarah was killed?"
He looks at me for a long while, his expression hard and cold, different from his usual happy self but his eyes holding the same tenderness.
"One of the rules of the treaty was that humans and Lycans couldn't produce any offspring together," he pauses, searching my eyes, "And the other was that humans couldn't hunt or kill Lycans."
My blood runs cold in my veins, and all movement seems to slow in my eyes besides the words that zipped through my head.
"Our government that controls all wolves had those offspring killed so they won't expose our kind. They were considered dangerous and problematic."
I suck in a sharp breath, "But why Sarah! She hasn't done anything wrong, I bet there are other halflings all over the world." I exclaim, looking for reassurance in his eyes, all I see is grief and something else in them.
"They're not taking any risks." was all he said.
My mouth was working faster than my mind could keep up with.
"What about Mason?" I ask, the name burning on my tongue, "He was born a halfling, too, where is he?"
His expression deepens, "For some reason, the genes in a female's body that are mixed with a werewolves' DNA doesn't fully develop as it does in a males', a female can half shift while a male can fully shift."
"So, you're saying Mason was seen like any ordinary wolf," I conclude.
I purse my lips together, "Where is he now?"
Dad's face goes blank, leaving me with no clue into reading what he's thinking. "I don't know."
I stare at his face a while longer, trying to disperse what he was thinking. But I got nothing, I turn away, staring down at the countertop.
"So the reason we moved here was because. .?" I trailed off quietly.
"To keep you safe," came his immediate answer. "They were getting too close to home and we had to move somewhere to keep you out of their path. It's only a matter of time before they're on our path once more."
I nodded, the feel of rough fingers under my chin had me looking over into Dad's eyes that were soft along with his expression – no longer blank looking.
"Everything I'm telling you now is all for your benefit." he says, "There's more but I'll let you digest this all."
With that, he closes the book and slides it towards me before backing out of the kitchen and into the living room area where I'm left to stare at the wall and listen to his steps as he carries mom upstairs and into their room.
The door shutting encases me in a world that has changed into something I don't even recognize anymore.