Saturday, 11 February 2012
I have edited one of my short stories and posted it on Amazon's Kindle Store!
It's only 77p if you live in the UK, and from 12pm PST tomorrow, you can download it for free for 48 hours.
There is a mild same sex relationship between anthropomorphic animals, and uses of strong language. You've been warned. :)
Thursday, 2 February 2012
After a hectic January, I have finally edited one of my short stories and posted it on Amazon's Kindle Store!
It's only 98p if you live in the UK, and from 12pm PST, you can download it for free for 72 hours.
There are no relationships of any kind in this one, so its pretty much safe for anyone over the age of 12 because of one use of bad language.
After a hectic January, I have finally edited one of my short stories and posted it on Amazon's Kindle Store!
It's only 98p if you live in the UK, and from 12pm PST, you can download it for free for 72 hours.
There are no relationships of any kind in this one, so its pretty much safe for anyone over the age of 12 because of one use of bad language.
Monday, 9 January 2012
Friday, 6 January 2012
Hey guys, this is the final part of Endangered. I know it's short but I wrote this at a time when I couldn't quite figure out the future. I have a vague idea now and the saga will be finished. At some point. :)
Without further adieu, here's the final chapter.
Without further adieu, here's the final chapter.
After Lucas had entered the church, his werewolves had followed. They made perfectly sure to growl at us just before they left their sight. I half considered growling back but then we would have had a challenge on our hands, and that was something no-one on Lucas's side would want.
Just as my emotions were beginning to subside, I thought of something that made my blood run cold. And that was quite feat considering I was a werewolf.
Arc and Zoe were nowhere to be seen. The last time I had seen them, they had been standing by the fountain used for the Holy Communion just before I had run out.
In my adrenaline fuelled panic, I considered ringing Zoe's phone, but I quickly realised that if they were in hiding, it would give them away. But I had to let the others know what was going on. Thankfully Shadow realised our overlook as well. He stared at me with an expression that could either be interpreted as shock or complete horror.
But to be honest, both were appropriate. Zoe may be a witch and Arc may be a shape shifter, but in a room full of werewolves, I wasn't sure if they would survive.
I just hoped I was wrong.
Stephen noticed our faces and frowned.
"What's up with you two?" he asked.
"Zoe and Arc are still in the church" I answered.
At my words, Jenna and Doug stiffened.
"We have to get them out of there" Doug growled.
"But how? If we go in, we're dog food, literally" Jenna snapped back.
"We can't just leave them in there" Shadow yelled.
"I know but we need to think this through" Jenna yelled back.
"Will you two calm down" I yelled.
At my words, they both looked at me with glowing eyes. For a moment, I considered running but before I could make a choice, they were calm again.
"I'm sorry guys" I said after a moment.
"No need to apologise, we shouldn't be fighting each other" she said in the same light voice.
"So what are we going to do?" Doug asked.
Before we could decide, a loud howl and several yips came from the church. And to my great relief, I saw a cat jump out of the broken window by the front door. By it's markings, it was clearly Arc. He ran over to us and shifted halfway. I had got so used to seeing him naked I didn't even blush.
"Thank god you're ok" I said when he reached us.
"Don't thank him just yet, Zoe's still in there, and she's trapped" Arc said breathlessly.
I suddenly wondered if a rescue was necessary. She was a witch after all.
"Can't she just use a spell to escape?" I asked.
"No, they've got the place full of nullifying artefacts"
That was bad. Without magic, Zoe couldn't shape shift and escape. And with no defensive spells, she was literally trapped. And with at least thirty werewolves in there, she would need all the help she could get. But seeing as how we had been effectively banned from the church, going in was suicide as well.
"Seems there's no way but to go in" Jenna resigned.
Unfortunately, we had to agree. Zoe was one of our family and we would do whatever it took to rescue her. But before we could make a plan, the alpha wereleopard walked into our group.
"There is one way we can do it with no need for anyone to be harmed" he said.
"What is it?" I asked.
He shook his head.
"Not here" he said and gestured over toward the field. When I realised what he meant, it made sense. Lucas would be able to hear us if we were too close to the church. We all walked into the field and he whispered the plan to us all.
When he was finished, Jenna looked slightly afraid.
"Should we really do that?"
"We have no choice, they will kill us all" the alpha replied.
Considering, we all agreed it was for the best. Then after going through it one more time, we set our plan into motion.
Larry and the alpha leopard walked to the door with another of the leopards. They knocked three times on the wooden front door and eventually Lucas opened it and sniffed the air.
"And just what do you alley cats want?" he asked.
"We want to call a truce" The alpha said.
Lucas rubbed his chin.
"I suppose I may as well have a few uneasy allies" he said and gestured for the three visitors to go in through the door. After the door closed, we breathed a sigh of relief.
Inside the church, Larry and the alpha talked to Lucas. The other werewolves were fast asleep on the floor. The last leopard looked around and finally spotted Zoe lying on the floor. He got her up onto her feet and she stared at him.
"Don't worry, I'm here to help" the wereleopard growled.
Zoe didn't argue. Together they crept through the sleeping shifters and eventually they got to the front door. But just as he opened the door, Lucas howled and the wolves awoke.
"Did you really think I would fall for that?" he spat.
"It was worth a try" The alpha wereleopard replied.
In a second, Lucas's sleeping comrades got to their feet and snarled.
The alpha flung open the doors, grabbed Larry's arm and pushed him out. Zoe and the other wereleopard also left. Lucas roared and went to attack the alpha, but he dodged effortlessly.
Zoe ran over to us and gave me the biggest hug she could.
After she was done, she went over to the church doors.
"Get out of there" she yelled to the alpha.
But the alpha didn't listen, as futile as it was, he wouldn't let them get to us. Zoe sighed.
She raised her heads and yelled a loud command into the sky. A huge gust of wind came out of nowhere and the door slammed shut.
"Zoe, what are you .." I started to say, but she held up her hand.
When she had finished signalling em, she began to chant a verse of words that had no meaning, as she did so, the air grew thick with the energy of her magic and her body left the ground a few inches.
"Zoe, stop!" Doug yelled.
But his words fell on deaf ears. Her chanting got louder and louder until she was almost shouting. Finally, she said the final word of her spell and flung her arms toward the church.
The church swirled with translucent energy and before anyone could move, a loud clicking noise echoed through the open air.
We all gasped. Jenna knew what she had done, and thanks to Markus, so did I.
Zoe had done something we never thought she would ever do. She had locked Lucas, the alpha wereleopard and the whole werewolf pack in the church. And unless Zoe took the spell away willingly, they would be trapped. Forever.
Zoe turned back to us. She looked dishevelled, exhausted and most of all horrified at what she had done. Jenna walked over to her and embraced her in a hug. As soon as she had, Zoe thanked her with a single glance, and then fainted.
Arc rushed forward and took her in his arms.
"I'll take her back home" he said after a moment.
Without waiting for an answer, he walked back to the car. As he drove away; part of me wondered how we were going to get home. But then I remembered. As werewolves, we could run home in minutes. I mentally face palmed myself for not remembering this. But a second later, my attention was drawn toward something else.
The leopards were mewing at the front door, trying to get their alpha back. With a gulp, I remembered we hadn't told them about locking them in. Only the alpha knew. Eventually, one of them walked over to us, shifted and finally, he hissed in anger.
"What the hell did you do?" he roared.
For a second, we were all silent. But Jenna walked forward to him.
"We had to lock them in; it was the only way to protect ourselves and the rest of the world"
"Protect yourselves you mean" another leopard said from behind.
"That's not what she meant" Stephen said with the volume of his voice raised.
"Lucas doesn't care who he hurts, if we would have let him out of the church, he would have gone into the town and revealed our existence to the world for the worse" Jenna continued.
The leopard who had spoken first blanched. He could see the logic in her words.
"But why did our alpha get locked in as well?" said the other.
"He knew we wouldn't make it if he didn't" Stephen said sadly.
"I promise we'll get him back. But till then, you're more than welcome to be with us"
At Jenna's words, the leopards were mostly calm. I could tell that they weren't exactly happy about being with a pack of werewolves, but they were grateful for the hospitality. At that point, the wereleopards decided to leave.
There was a long silence among all of us. The last half an hour had left us both physically and emotionally drained and who could blame us. I was just about to suggest that we should leave when a loud crash echoed through the clearing. We spun around to see Stephen in wolf form, he was transfixed with anger and pounding his fists onto one of the church walls.
Doug rushed forward to try and pull him away but with a single swipe of his paw, he was knocked to the floor.
“Doug!” I yelled and ran over to my lover.
He looked up at me unharmed, but he was definitely winded.
Fury rose within me and I went toward him. He anticipated my approach and tried to do the same to me as he had to Doug. I swerved out of the way and grabbed his wrist with all the strength I could.
“Let go of me you bastard!” Stephen roared.
I blanched. Although we had shared differences of opinion sometimes, he had never been angry at me directly before. But hurt as I felt, I wasn’t going to let it get to me.
“I’m sorry Ste, but she’s gone”
They were the last words I wanted to say, but they had to be said. I did feel like a bastard for saying them, but they had to be said. He growled at me, and if I hadn’t had got his arm, he would have bitten me for sure.
I looked into his eyes, and they fixed onto mine. His growl got quieter and quieter until it eventually disappeared. As soon as he did, he fell to the floor and began to sob.
“I should have saved her. She didn’t deserve this” he bawled.
Stroking his fur, my eyes began to leak but I was so focused on keeping Stephen safe I didn’t notice. Everyone else in the clearing all surrounded us one by one and after a while, he had stopped.
He got to his feet carefully.
“I think we should go home” Jenna said, choking on her own blocked emotions.
We all nodded in agreement. Zoe had taken our car so me, Doug and Shadow would have to walk. But we didn’t mind considering the circumstances. But just as we were about to set off, Jenna walked over to Doug.
“Would you mind coming with us? I think Stephen needs the support” she asked him.
“Do you mind?” my boyfriend asked.
I shook my head and Shadow did the same.
“You be with your pack, they need you right now”
Doug gave me both of us an affectionate lick, but there was a hint of a thank you mixed in with it. He walked over to the car with his sister and got in the back alongside his grieving pack mate. As they drove away, it occurred to me that there were another two seats in the car so we could have had a lift.
“Do you think she did that on purpose?” Shadow asked.
He had clearly thought what I had done. After Campbell’s death she had given me a wide berth to say the least. She was friendly enough, but there was something deeper than that.
My son placed his hand on my shoulder.
“You ready to go?” he asked.
Looking at him, I smiled. Today may have been full of misery and regrets, but I could try to cheer us up at the very least.
“Last one back gets to wash Arc” I said and shifted whilst starting to run.
Shadow realised what I had said a second after I had start moving.
“No fair!” he said with a laugh.
He fell flat to the ground and changed into his wolf form faster than he had ever done. But then again, he had an incentive. Using our natural glamouring ability, we were able to hide ourselves from view as we ran back home.
We may have had been in mourning and our very lives had been endangered but at that moment, the world seemed to be nothing more than a peaceful place. When we reached home, I howled in displeasure because Shadow had beaten me. Taking human form, we went through the front door and closed it carefully behind us. Sitting on the sofa, was Arc.
“How is she?” I said.
“She’ll be fine, she’s just asleep. It was a massive spell, not even a sorcerer could have done without a small after effect”
I could see his point. But we both knew she’d pull through.
“There’s some food left in the oven if you want it. I did something for Zoe in case she woke up but it doesn’t seem like she will for a few hours”
Shaking my head, I smiled.
“Appreciate the offer Arc, but to honest I just need some sleep”
“Okay, well I’ll be here if you need me”
Walking over to the bedroom door, I noticed Shadow was behind me.
“Do you mind if I stay with you a while Dad?” he asked.
He had never asked me this before, but given the events of the day, I didn’t blame him for needing the company.
“Of course not” I answered
When we were both through the bedroom door, I closed it and turned around to see that Shadow had laid down on my bed. It wasn’t made but I didn’t care. A little thing like that was the least of my concerns. Exhaustion had flooded him so quickly, he had fallen asleep.
I thought I would feel slightly awkward sleeping on the same bed as my son; I got dressed quietly and lay down beside him. But to my surprise, I didn’t. I guess now I was a werewolf, sleeping next to family was instinctual, if not completely natural.
About half an hour later, Doug came in and get onto the bed with us. He seemed just as tired as we were. He got undressed as I had done and held me close with his perfectly toned arms. Cuddling up to my wonderful boyfriend, I eventually fell asleep.
Life was far from perfect, but at that moment with Doug and Shadow, it felt like it was.
To say I was speechless would be the understatement of the century.
Jenna was so shocked by the fact Lucas had defeated the reverend that she had completely forgot her hatred of the man. Kari and Stephen had held each other close upon seeing the body fly through the window but now, they were barely holding each other. Shadow and Doug were both as dumbfounded as Jenna, although Shadow was admittedly as clueless as I was about the significance of Lucas obtaining the highest rank.
We all just stood there, staring at him as if hoping it was all a dream. But sadly, it wasn't.
Lucas raised his head to the sky and howled. To see it coming from something that appeared human was nothing short of disturbing. When he had finished his celebration, he looked at us and smiled a curt smile that didn't look in the least bit friendly.
Within a few seconds, a noise started to echo through the air around us. If I didn't know better it sounded like faint growling. Then, when I noticed every living member of Campbell's pack were surrounding us, almost as if they would attack us, I realised I didn't.
Lucas raised his fingers to his lips and whistled. And in that moment, they transformed into their wolf forms, and attacked us.
Thanks to my quick reflexes, I ducked a few smaller betas and ran away from the battlefield. Or at least I tried. A middle aged werewolf knocked me on the cranium and I fell landing on the trodden mud. I swung to the left as quickly as I could to avoid his snapping muzzle and to my great relief, he slammed his face into the ground. I took advantage of the opportunity and hit him on the nose using my left foot.
He whined in agony and his weakened appendage began to bleed. Half of me felt I should apologise. But self defence was paramount. We couldn't win this battle, I knew that for sure. So the only sensible thing to do would be to escape.
I ran into the fray of swirling wolves and transformed. I lost my clothes in the process but to be honest, it wasn't important. I had to get the others out. I may not be part of either pack, but they were my family. Stephen had changed as well and was fighting off a male with looked like he belonged more in a gay porno than a wolf suit. Thinking I would sort my first impression later, I snapped at his ear and tore it from his face.
He screamed in pain as it fell to the floor. I motioned for Stephen to follow me and he nodded without a second to consider. We ran through the crowd and eventually found Doug, who seemed to be holding his own against a wolf who looked more feminine than most. If I had taken a closer look, I would have seen that he was a hermaphrodite but at the moment, either rescuing or escaping was number one on the list of priorities.
When Doug had finished immobilizing his opponent, he ran over to us.
"Have you seen the others?" I asked.
"No, but we need to get out of here now" Doug replied.
Glad his attitude mirrored my own; we split up and continued the search. After circling twice around the group, I found nothing but unfamiliar or enemy wolves. The only thing that I could think of was that I had to find Jenna and Shadow.
I needn't have worried about Shadow, he was fighting off the wolves just like Doug would do and using the same tactics I would employ. Like the old broken nose trick I had pulled earlier. When he noticed me, he ran over and rubbed against me. I licked him and he did the same. The next sentence that I spoke came out like I had run a marathon.
"Are you alright?"
When he spoke, he was as breathless as I was.
"Yeah, but we need to find Jenna, she didn't look good"
To my horror, he was right. Unlike Shadow, Jenna was finding it a bit harder to defend herself from the attack of the werewolves under Lucas's command.
Her grief had weakened her skills, making her make the wrong choices. I felt like I had to help her somehow so I charged forward and snapped at one that had bitten her leg in several places. To my relief, Doug pounced on him at that moment and he fell to the ground. A horrible snap indicated that either his back or his neck was broken. Either way, he wasn't moving. Which made me feel ever so slightly sick.
Lucas's whistle rent the air. The wolves attacked us pulled away and changed back into human form. Once they did, they turned tail and went into the church. Stephen bounded over to us and thanked our lucky stars we were still alive, although bruised.
But to our horror, not all of us did.
"Where's Kari?" Stephen asked.
When he asked, we all stared around looking for her. But she was nowhere to seen.
A deep laugh ran through the air. Realising the direction it was coming from, we spun to see Lucas, holding someone in his arms. It was Kari, and his teeth dripping with her blood.
I knew I didn't have the strength to face him head on, so for the moment I bottled my emotion. It was like keeping a volcano from erupting but I did it, just. The tears fell from my face but I paid them no heed. I had to hold onto my self-control, without it, I would end up just like her. She must have tried to challenge Lucas to protect us all, but her effort had been in vain.
Stephen however, was reeling from the effects of losing his father, and now his lover. He ran forward so fast no one saw him go past. Lucas saw him and held up a large hand to stop the werewolf colliding with him. He tutted, grabbed his muzzle and flung him to the ground.
Stephen got up almost immediately and howled with pure rage.
"Temper temper young wolf" Lucas said with dark humour clearly present.
"How could you do that?" Stephen screamed.
"She was weak, and thought she could challenge me. Stupid child" he spat.
"She was not weak you fucking psychopath!"
"What did you call me?" he asked slowly.
"I called you a psychopath! Kari was the best friend I ever had, she was my lover!"
Lucas's face contorted.
"You dare argue with the word of an alpha?" He snarled.
"Yes I do, because you will never be my father!"
Lucas pounced and landed on Stephen's right leg. It snapped and he screamed.
"I am more of an alpha than he will ever be. Because I am his sire!"
We all gasped, even if we didn't know what he meant by the term. Stephen was clearly shell-shocked.
"That's not true! That's impossible!" he yelled.
Lucas laughed another cold laugh.
"Who do you think trained him to be a good leader? Who looked after him until he was ready to take his place as alpha in the pack he had joined?"
"So why didn't you challenge him yourself?" I asked.
He snorted at the interruption.
"I had already lost a challenge to the former alpha. He was too strong for me. I surrendered and vowed I would try again to be an alpha. But I couldn't challenge him again, because I had already lost to him. So I would have to wait for a space of alpha to become available"
"So that's why you waited until Campbell was dead?" said Shadow.
"Yes, I didn't want to challenge him because I made him. So I decided to wait until he fell"
Jenna and Doug started to growl, as did Stephen. Shadow kept silent as did I. We had no place in this disagreement. For now.
Lucas let loose another heartless laugh.
"Well as fun as this has been, I must warn all of you. If you dare come on our patch without our permission, we will hunt you down and eat you for breakfast. Am I understood?"
After waiting for answer, he smiled.
"Glad you understand. You may as well go home. It's time for the pack to eat"
And with that, Lucas walked into the church with Kari in his arms and slammed the door. Stephen launched himself at the door and banged at it to get it open. But it wouldn't budge.
Jenna ran over to him and grabbed him. For a second, he tensed but then he fell into her arms and sobbed.
"I can't believe he did that to Kari" I gasped.
"Neither can I" Shadow echoed.
I half expected Doug to go over to his pack. But after looking at them for a while, he turned slowly around. His eyes were glistening once again. After a series of short soft glances, we joined together in an embrace that solidified our family bond. Not enough to be a hug but just enough for us to feel comforted by each other's presence.
To our relief, the wereleopards hadn't been hurt. They had escaped through the back of the church when Lucas had arrived and now, they tended to our wounds and gave us the support we needed.
The loss of Kari hit us really hard. People say life's a bitch, they've got no idea.
For a few more moments, the graveyard remained silent. Campbell looked at the two of us with confusion in his stare.
"What are you two doing?" he eventually asked.
Neither of us spoke. He sighed and sat on the wall.
"I've never seen you two act this way, what is going on?"
Doug looked at his former alpha.
"Why are you here? We can settle this ourselves?" he snapped.
"If you could, I wouldn't be here" Campbell replied.
So Campbell was here to be our supernatural Jeremy Kyle, an odd choice to be sure but it was certainly better than having a real councillor.
"But why you?" I asked.
"Because I am the reason for all this" he answered.
That was the cold hard truth, he was the reason we were fighting like this. And it was my fault. More things to add to the pile of guilt that was already as high as Everest.
Campbell cleared his throat.
"So, what is wrong?" he asked again.
Doug answered first, his voice seemed to be clouded with anger and pent up frustration.
"Taylor doesn't care that you died. He has done nothing but try and avoid mentioning you at all times. After you helped him so much. I only came out here because I felt he was finally showing sorrow but he punched me in the face. I got so angry I attacked him"
I spun to my boyfriend with my mouth wide open.
"I don't care? I don't care! You really think that?"
"Why not, it's the truth" he spat.
I raised my hand and slapped his face.
"How can you think that? I admired Campbell more than any other werewolf I know apart from you"
"Then why did you treat it as if it didn't happen?"
"You really want to know?" I yelled.
After no reply, I continued. As the conversation drew on, my composure faltered.
"I feel guilty about Campbell's death all right? If it hadn't been for me, you and Shadow, he would still be alive! And my dad is dead too, he might have been an insane bastard but he was still my dad. The only reason I didn't show how I felt is because I wanted to stay strong for you, to make sure that you wouldn't be hurt by my mistakes!"
That hit Doug hard. He was speechless for a long time. As he looked at me, tears fell from my eyes and landed on the cold hard soil that had been trampled to form a path.
Finally, Doug's voice croaked out, he had begun to cry as well.
"You were only staying strong for me?" he asked.
I nodded. He dropped his head in shame.
"You must think I'm really selfish" he said after a moment.
For a moment, I stayed silent.
"Of course not" I replied.
He looked at me with his glistening eyes, then fell to the floor, sobbing harder than I had ever seen him. The sight of this caused my tears to flow freely. Carefully, I walked forward and placed my arms around him. He closed his arms around my torso I did so.
And then, for the first time since Campbell's death, I truly cried. The other times had been to release the pain of the emotional strain but now, it was being released as true unfiltered emotion.
"I thought that you needed more than I did. That I didn't deserve to be pitied" I said through the sobs.
Doug's tongue brushed my ear to soothe me.
"Of course not, I love you and if you ever need me, I'm there" he replied.
"I'm so sorry, I shouldn't be so stubborn" I blubbed.
"But then you wouldn't be the man I love" he said reassuringly.
I laughed faintly then licked his ear as he had done to mine.
"Can you ever forgive me for trying to hurt you?" he asked.
"Only if you can forgive me for being so naïve" I answered.
We drew for a closer hug, then joined our lips together. Afterwards, we drew apart and wiped each others tears from each other's face.
Getting to our feet, we turned to face Campbell.
"Thank you" I said.
"I didn't do anything. I just helped" Campbell said, feigning modesty.
"Are you leaving?" Doug asked him.
"Unfortunately yes, I only had one chance to come back and this was it"
After a moment, another portal of light appeared. Campbell walked up to it and turned back.
"Tell Jenna and Stephen I love them" he said.
"Of course" I replied.
With a smile, he walked into the light and vanished. As did the light.
Me and Doug looked at each other again. Then we joined in a massive hug once more. When it was finished, we smiled at each other.
"I'm so sorry" I repeated.
"Don't worry about it. I'm sorry too" Doug answered.
"You're forgiven" I said with a smile.
"So are you" he echoed the words with the same smile.
We kissed once again and this time, we showed each other how we really felt. But just as we pulled apart and were about to walk back to the church, something awful happened.
One of the stained glass windows of the church blasted into a million pieces. But it wasn't due to a stone or a misplaced note on the organ, it was due to a body. A dead body. Without thinking, I ran toward the church. Doug followed closely behind but before we could see who it was, Shadow burst from the church, followed by Jenna, Stephen, and Kari.
"What the hell is going on?" I asked.
Although the faces had been stricken by grief a few minutes ago, they were now the faces of people ready for action, or at least avoidance.
"The other pack, without Campbell, they've gone AWOL" Jenna replied. Her voice was strained, like when you have choked after drinking water the wrong way.
"But why?" I asked.
"Now they've mourned their alpha, they need a new one. And they all want the title"
"But I thought only people who have earned the title could be alpha"
"No, the titled ones are most respected, because the position can't be won unless conceded. Now the pack doesn't have one, it's free for all"
"Can they become titled?" I asked.
"Yes, if they kill the delta wolf"
That was something I hadn't been aware of. Only an alpha could create a delta I assumed, but if a delta was killed, that would mean they had won the authority. It made sense, just about.
Without me noticing, Doug had gone to check who the body was. It was just a straggling beta but still it was worrying. The pack would tear themselves apart until one of them killed the delta.
"So as long as the reverend stays alive, they'll continue to fight?" I asked.
"We have to get him out of there now" Doug said to Jenna.
That sounded like a good plan. But before anyone could move, another window broke and a body flew through after the falling glass. This time, the body landed metres from us. And to our horror, it was headless. And, it was the reverend.
An explosion of bright light shone in the church.
"Looks like we have a new alpha in town" Kari said carefully.
"But who is it?" Stephen asked.
We didn't have to wait long to find out. The back doors of the church had blown shut in the wind but within seconds, they had burst open to reveal a man carrying the head of the headless corpse.
And to everyone's disgust, including my own, the man was Lucas.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of our good friend Campbell. He was a great man, a loving father and a disciplined but considerate alpha"
Needless to say, that sentence caught me off guard. I had assumed that not only was the reverend human but everyone else bar the pack was. But upon taking a second look at him, I realised he was one of Campbell's former deltas.
A delta, as Jenna had explained a few weeks before, was the member of the pack who dealt out punishment the alpha or beta could not. The betas were considered to be the final measure. From what I heard, they were ruthless in trying to catch offenders who ran and when they caught them, the consequences were fatal.
How a delta werewolf ever got to be a religious man was beyond me. He must have had squatter's rights in the confession box. Either that or he considered himself pure in the eyes of the lord. Whichever option was true, the man was a force to be reckoned with.
It was only by pure chance that we were able to save Doug when we did from being attacked by a delta after his banishment from Campbell's pack. As soon as she had claimed him, Jenna rang him and told him in no certain terms that Doug was one of her wolves.
But enough about the past, it was time to focus on the present.
Looking around, I noticed a few wereleopards around, including Larry and his best friend Karlos. The alpha of the leopards was a few seats to the left of them and seemed to be deeply lost in his own reverie.
I know it seems heartless to say, but at that moment, I felt very little grief. Maybe it was the shock of the situation and I needed more time but in a strange way, it was like I had moved through the five stages of grief in less time than it took to wait for cress to grow. I also felt guilty for not feeling more upset, especially since my own father had been the one to fire the bullet.
I did feel grief for my dad, because he died from an attack by Campbell. But it was overshadowed by the rage I felt from his ignorance and intolerance of werewolves. That and the fact that I was in love with one and the fact I was now one to boot. But his death had taught me a valuable lesson, there's a fine line between love and hate. It was just a pity that my dad chose to hate me. And because of his choices, I had chosen to hate him. And I would let my feelings be known to his grave soon enough.
But for the moment, it was time to grieve for Campbell.
Eventually, the first part of the service was over. Doug and a few other werewolves had left without me noticing and a second later, they walked in carrying a mahogany coffin with golden fasteners. A few minutes of slow walking later, they lay the coffin on the centrepiece by the lectern that had a grate on top of it.
The coffin bearers returned to their seats. When Doug sat down, his eyes were glistening with uncried tears. A few had leaked out and were drying on his face. His messy golden brown hair looked more dishevelled than usual but I didn't care. The last thing he needed right now was for me to lecture him about personal hygiene.
That, and the fact I would be a hypocrite. Because my hair looked like someone had run a lawnmower over it and left most of it behind.
When our eyes met, he couldn't hold the tears back anymore. I held him close and stroked his back until he was done. When he stopped, I gently moved his face with my hands so it was facing mine.
"Thank you" he said quietly.
"No need to thank me, it's what I'm here for" I said graciously.
He smiled and kissed me gently. I returned the favour and after a second, I got him back in a sitting position. When I let go, he smiled and continued to watch the service in silence. Turning around, I noticed several people had laid items of great importance or emotional significance on the part of the centrepiece that was not occupied by the coffin or the grate.
Just as I breathed a sigh of no real importance, the church doors burst open and slammed shut. Within mere seconds, the temperature in the room felt as though it had dropped at least thirty degrees and everyone huddled themselves close to each other to keep warm. I held my thin coat to my chest to regain my composure but before I could regain my warmth completely, a low growling noise caught my attention.
At first I thought it was the sound of the heater kicking in but when I turned to face the direction where it was coming from, I noticed that it was coming from Jenna. She had got to her feet, her teeth were bared and she was definitely on the cusp of transforming into her werewolf form.
"Jenna, what's wrong?" I asked her.
As could be expected, she didn't answer. But Kari, one of Jenna's pack, pointed in the direction of the door.
I turned around, and saw the target of her rage.
A six foot tall man, with shining black hair and crimson eyes had walked into the room. He was built like a brick shithouse and his cheeks bore scars that looked as though they had been gained after being ripped apart by a pair of rusty nail scissors. He walked up to the coffin and bowed before it. He then strode back out of the church, opening and closing the door in the same way he had entered.
Jenna stopped growling and returned to her seat.
Stephen had been sat on Jenna's other side but now he was stood in front of her making sure she was alright. He too had been tense, but not growling. He didn't need sound to explain how he felt. His aura had been enough. It had been so full of unfiltered ire that if it were visible, the whole room would be obscured by its luminescence.
I decided to find out what the problem had been. Maybe not that wise in hindsight but at least I would know why everyone had treated the stranger as a threat. I turned my attention to Stephen because he seemed to be more likely to answer. Not that he would, but it was worth a try.
"Who was that?" I asked him slowly.
The werewolf turned from his alpha and looked at me with a face that definitely screamed danger.
"His name is Lucas Bane; he's the werewolf who killed my mother"
My face drained. At least I felt like it did.
"He killed your mother?" I repeated.
Stephen growled in response. I know he wasn't aiming it at me directly but he must have felt like he didn't want to explain. So warning me away was the only way to get me to stop. I tilted my head slightly in respect for his sorrow then pulled back to sit in the pew next to Doug. He looked just as shaken as I was.
"Did you know him?" I asked.
For a second, it looked like Doug was going to blank me. But he nodded his head slowly after a few seconds then returned to his mode of silence.
The rest of the service continued in much the same way as any other funeral I had ever attended or seen on TV. Admittedly I had seen more of the latter than the former but it did bring me to expect certain things.
After closing the book on the lectern, the reverend cleared his throat.
"You may now pay your last respects" he said as calmly as he could.
Slowly but surely, the packs stood up and formed into a queue. Being a member of neither pack, I stood right at the end of the line. I wasn't sure about my motives for doing this, either I felt it was a mark of respect to let them go first or just because I still felt a pang of doubt and guilt about his death being caused by my father.
But whatever the reason, I did anyway.
Shadow stood behind me a second later and licked my ear gently to ease my uncertainty. I returned the favour and afterward, we turned to face the coffin. It took a very long time for the queue to go down, several people broke down into sobs, some transformed and howled in anger, others simply cried silent tears and some, did nothing at all.
An hour later, it was my turn to stand before the dead alpha. I walked slowly like a puppet on a string and eventually, I reached the carved container. I bent down on one knee and bowed my head in respect. In that moment, the grief hit me. I had been naïve to think it wasn't coming and now I felt it. Not just for me, but for my father as well.
"I'm so sorry Campbell"
After the words left my mouth, I got to my feet. Then, I ran out of the church. After forcing my way through the crowd and the vestry, I finally made out into the graveyard.
"Why did I have to do it?" I screamed and pounded my hands onto the stone fence by an open field. I could feel the stone crumbling but I was not in a state to care.
Before anything else could happen, I heard someone come up behind me. However it was placed their hand on my shoulder. But that proved to be a big mistake.
"Get off me!" I roared and threw my fist at the stranger.
As soon as my fist collided, I knew I had made a huge mistake, all my anger left me and shock and sorrow quickly surfaced again.
I had hit Doug.
"Oh my god" I gasped.
For a second, he was stunned. Then, he turned nasty. His eyes glowed with rage and he punched me back. The pain was gone almost instantly, but my anger was back.
"I said I was sorry!" I snarled.
The next thing Doug said shocked me to the core. There was no emotion, except for pure hatred and contempt.
"Not good enough!"
He punched me again. And again. And once more. Thankfully, I dodged the fourth attempt and delivered a blow to his chin. He slammed against the bark of an old oak and slumped slightly. But a second later, he was charging back in my direction.
"What part of sorry don't you understand?" I bellowed.
My voices didn't even reach his ears. His wolf had taken over almost completely, feeding on his anger and making him almost immune to reasoning. This would work in my favour, because the wolf lacked reasoned judgement, which I had.
I leapt into the air and landed a few metres of another tree by the fence I had almost destroyed. He roared and raised his fist ready to strike, but something happened.
Something none of us expected.
A bright flash of light appeared in the middle of the path. Then, before either of us could move, an ethereal image of a man walked through the light and over to Doug.
The presence placed a hand on my boyfriend's shoulder. For a second, Doug looked like he might rip off the man's genitalia but upon seeing him, the human side of him broke through and his mouth fell open in shock.
The spirit turned to face me and smiled. I didn't speak for a short time, and when I did, it croaked worse than I when last had a cold.
"Who are you?" I asked.
The image laughed, and the laugh was familiar. An idea came into my mind, but it couldn't be him, it just couldn't.
"But, you're dead?" I said with a half tone of disbelief.
"Turns out you can't keep an old wolf down" said the familiar voice.
After he had spoken, the vision smiled, and it was definitely a smile I had seen before. And thanks to both the answer to my question and the familiar mannerisms, my suspicion was confirmed. To my disbelief, my horror and to some extent, my intense gratitude.
The translucent man was a ghost. And it was none other than Campbell.