No, not footsteps, paw steps.
In the forest.
Coming faster and faster.
Closer and closer.
Under the whistling of the wind, there seemed to be a whisper.
The wind was speaking.
Predator and prey,
On this world,
All the gift of the Lady.
The Lady of the Hunt.
The Lady of the Moon.
The Great Lady.
The Pack is One.
One is All.
Between detention and playing football, he would rather be playing football.
But of course, Mr. Radin had to catch HIM do something wrong, or slightly inappropriate in class. Not Eric, or Jack, or even Tony. Just him.
On the day before the first day of school, he remembered Tony’s older sister, Aly, short for Alisson, telling him when dropping Tony off at his place to hang out, “Liam, Mr. Radin’s gonna hate you. Watch out.” She had then sauntered back to her car and driven away. She had no idea how correct she was. Or maybe she did.
So, there he was, after the last bell for school rang, sitting in the almost empty classroom, glaring at the ignorant Mr. Radin with agitated blue green eyes. He had to stay there for an hour, and only 10 minutes had gone by.
He then turned his attention to the clock. It seemed to mock him. While the hour, minute, and second hand were moving, he was sitting down and just fidgeting. It felt like there were little points were stabbing in his legs everytime he shifted them. Pins and needles already? he complained to himself. How he wished to be outside.
He swiveled his head around to look out of the large glass windows to his left, fast enough not to be annoyed, but slow enough to not catch Mr. Radin’s attention. The leaves were swirling around tirelessly, with the breeze that was carrying them gently brushing the almost bare trees. Under those trees, there was a pair of lovers eating each others faces off. Probably Todd and Marianna. Moving on... His eyes wandered over to the forest. He saw a blur there. He knew his eyesight was not the best, so he squinted. No. They were much more than a blur. Wait. One of them has a... He never finished the thought.
He didn’t even remember it.
The only memory he had was blood drowning him.
He woke up a couple hours later. He was in a seemingly sanitary white room with a cast around his leg.
Somewhere, a high pitched voice said, “Oh good. You’re awake. You know you’re lucky your teacher isn’t going to punish you. Even luckier that you survived that two story fall. And you survived the glass slivers raining down on you. Its a wonder you didn’t get chopped into little tiny pieces. Oh yeah. Don’t forget that you went through all that and only had a broken leg and a few red marks. You are one REALLY lucky kid, you know that? I’ll give you some advice: DON’T PUSH IT.”
Groggily, he sat up in bed and was rewarded by just being pushed down again.
“Nuh uh uh! Not so fast mister! You gotta rest!”
Liam gave up and stayed down. The doctor or nurse or whoever she handed him a water bottle, so he won’t “dry up like a desert”. Then, she left.
He sat there, waiting. Waiting for what, he didn’t know.
A day later, he came out of the hospital. He was in perfect health. Even his broken bones had mended themselves. The doctors were astonished at such a quick healing, but they didn’t want to traumatize Liam so they let him go.
He went back to school.
And then it started.
His normal routine began again. That day, the sky was a clear azure blue, the sun was shining brightly, the leaves were crunching against his shoes, the seniors were pranking the freshmen. Hope I’m not next, he thought. Especially with this leg... He looked at his bad leg.
Just then, something attacked him from behind. Instinctively, Liam lashed out.
“OWW!!! What was that for? Yeesh, man. Chill.”
Liam turned around and saw Eric hunched over and clutching his stomach.
“You’re strong for one that just recovered, ya know? How’ve you been?”
“Good, I guess, considering that ‘I’m lucky my teacher isn’t going to punish me. Even luckier that I survived that two story fall. And I survived the glass slivers raining down on me. Its a wonder I didn’t get chopped into little tiny pieces. Oh yeah. Don’t forget that I went through all that and only had a broken leg and a few red marks’,” he mocked the nurse’s words with a scrunched up face.
“What...?” Eric’s eyes lit up and he seemed to have forgotten all about the blow he just received.
“Seriously? You know what? Nevermind. Stop getting all excited!” His eyebrows became two black slants facing the bridge of his nose and it seemed like his eyes became greener than the grass healthy deer chewed on. He raised his fist for emphasis. When Eric cowered away, Liam quickly put his fist down. “Hey, hey, I’m just joking.”
“Oh... O-okay...” Eric lowered his guard a little.
“So, what about you. How have you been? Sorry I punched ya by the way. I’m just... I dunno, jumpy?”
“I’m... I dunno... Okay? Ow.” He winced. “Man, you’re more than jumpy, you’re a friggin’ wolf right now! Aarroouu!!! You leap at your prey and you hurt them enough for them to be in pain but not enough to have an excuse to go home and play video games.”
Liam tried looking as innocent as he could. “Do you want me to send you home to play video games?”
“Then lets be a pack and face the terrifying forest of school!” Smiling, he began walking, and Eric, who was bent over like a boomerang, hobbled after him. As he went along, a bunch of his other friends welcomed him back and playfully laughed at Eric for the earlier incident. The racket the high schoolers were making eventually died down to complete silence.
Soon after all of the high schoolers had went to class, the keen cry of a wolf resounded in the air, but everyone in the school seemed to ignore it or not even hear it. No one seemed worried at all. No one, except for Liam.
The noise had rose and fell quickly, but it had clanged around Liam’s head for the rest of the day like annoying bells. At first he thought it was a wolf’s howl, but then he thought he heard words coming out of the sound. Now, he wasn’t sure what it was. It seemed to be a mixture of both a wolf cry and human speech. Must be my imagination, he had thought, ‘cause no one had seemed worried at all. Who wouldn’t be scared of a wolf near the school? He had calmed a little bit when he thought that, but then he remembered the words coming from the howl...
Come to us now,
You are not alone.
Bend down and bow,
Bow down to the wolf throne.
Our kind is dying,
And with it our king.
If you hear me crying,
Turn to me and sing:
Long live the wolves,
Long live the king,
Long live the wild that lets us free,
And last but not least,
Long live our Lady.
The Lady of the Hunt,
The Lady of the Moon,
The Great Lady.
The Pack is One,
And One is All.
Those words. He knew that he had heard them before. As the last bell of the school day rang, he remembered.
He shivered at the thought.
The last two stanzas were the same two stanzas that he had heard in a dream before.
The dream that came to him the night before he jumped out that window.
That night, Liam almost didn’t want to go to sleep, for fear of having another psychic dream. He knew it was silly and that it was foolish not to get sleep while he was able to, but his experience with the howl that day completely unsettled him. Though, sleep won over fear, and at two AM in the morning, he finally fell deep into the murky waters of sleep.
Normally, people don’t remember their dreams or nightmares. They only remember little bits and pieces of it, and when they wake up, they try recalling exactly what happened at their favorite parts and fail.
When Liam had woken up the next morning, his dream was clearer than crystal and sharper than diamonds.
His dream had started off normal enough. He had dreamed of waking up in his messy bedroom, changing, brushing his teeth, taking his shower, then sluggishly stomping downstairs to the kitchen, where he had made his breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs. But the normality of everything washed away as soon as he walked out of his house.
After he had closed his house’s door and locked it up tight, he heard it. The same wolf, he was absolutely sure of it, howling the same song as he did during the day. Liam remembered that he had ran towards the sound and in five minutes, he found the wolf. Surprisingly, he was not afraid of the wolf. He was truly intrigued by it, and it seemed like he was drawn to the wolf. And then the wolf talked.
The wolf wasn’t just making grunting, whimpering, and growling sounds. It was really talking. And the wolf sent him a message. The wolf had said, “Remember my face. Find me when you Change. You’ll sense my location.” Liam had then studied the wolf carefully to remember it.
The wolf had a silvery grey pelt. There were several faint scars along its body, face, and legs, but the scar that stood out to Liam was the one on the side of her right muzzle. The scar had been comprised of three pinkish slashes, and most of the fur on and around the scar was gone. Probably got it in a fight or somethin’, he thought. Above the scar was a calm, goldish-yellow eye, and across its snout was its other eye, which was not gold, but was emerald green. Its mane was pure white with little black dots speckled in, and it covered part of the wolf’s back and chest. Finally, after burning each detail into his memory, he asked the wolf, “What is ‘the Change’?”
“You’ll know it when it comes. Do not, as humans say it, ‘freak out’. You’re one of the few that can do more than one Change. You get use to it after a while.”
“After a while? You mean there’s more than one Change?”
“Yes. Now do not be scared. Be brave. And when you wake up, believe in this dream. We are in the dream realm, and I can only communicate with you this way until you Change. Take this necklace as proof that this really happened. Liam just noticed a necklace made of fluffy, golden feathers and sharp, black teeth, the cord probably being made of twine or some similar material. The wolf picked it up with his jaws and handed it to Liam.
Before the wolf left, he told Liam, “Remember.” With that, the wolf turned and sprinted back the forest, but before it entered the forest, it howled. Liam heard the low but clear note. The world seemed to howl back, and when the wolf was satisfied, it looked at Liam one more time and then backed away into the forest, where it camouflaged with its surroundings.
When Liam woke up, he had the necklace in his hands, and air was whispering, “Remember...”
Liam really remembered. He kept on wondering what seeing a wolf in his dream meant, so even though he didn’t really believe in getting dreams interpreted, as soon as he finished breakfast, he went on the Internet and searched: “dream interpreters”. A ton of results popped up, and he clicked the first website. In that website’s “Search” box, he typed in “wolf” and hit the “interpret my dream symbol” button. The website brought him to another page. The first thing that showed up was “Werewolf”. I don’t think that was a werewolf. What’s next? he thought. He scrolled down and saw that the next subject was “Wolf”. Excitedly, he read the first sentence.
It said: “To see a wolf in your dream symbolizes survival, beauty, solitude, mystery, self-confidence, and pride.
Not convinced that he found any solid evidence of what his dream meant, he searched up “necklace” afterwards.
The first sentence was: “To see or wear a necklace in our dream represents unsatisfied desires.” Yes. I know. My desire is to understand my dream, and I’m very unsatisfied at what I found.
Feeling defeated, he closed his laptop and picked up his backpack. After a moment of hesitation, he took his necklace and shoved it into the front pocket of his backpack. He opened the front door to his house and stepped outside.
He almost expected there to be a howl.
He stood there for a solid two minutes, then started walking to his bus stop. The fresh morning air cleared his foggy mind, and he ended up marveling at his surroundings. It was 6:50 in the morning, and the sun just rose moments ago. A rosy glow had illuminated everything. The pure blackness of night became the pink, orange, yellow, and blue of dawn. The tiny blades of green grass and large, almost bare trees were like cheering audiences, waving at the leaves which were like flying acrobats, elegantly flipping around their large stage. Neighborhood dogs were having a competition of who was the loudest. Early joggers’ feet were rhythmically pounding the cement sidewalks, their faces flushed with perspiration. Overhead, birds chirped and tweeted, singing their melodious morning songs. The corners of Liam’s mouth automatically went up. None of his worries from the night bothered him in this beautiful landscape.
By now, he reached his destination, and his bus-stop-friends were beginning to come. One by one, like sheep, they absentmindedly wandered over to Liam.
“Wassup? Glad you came back from the dead!” Sean said.
“Ha. Sure felt like I did. Considering that I jumped out a 2 story building.”
“Whoa! You jumped off the top floor?!”
“Dude, there’s only two floors.”
“But still! Dude, I’m not joking. Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I just got a broken leg. Healed pretty fast too. Nutin’ more.”
“Seriously? ‘Nutin’ more’? Are you Superman or somethin’?”
“Hmm... Let’s see. Do I have arms of steel? Nope. Do I wear a cape and fly around? Nope. Am I-”
“Yes you did! You flew out of the school!”
“Oh shut up.”
“No! Seriously, is something wrong? Like, are you depressed or somethin’?”
“Then why did you jump out of the...” He stopped his blabbering when he saw Sara. Perfect, perfect Sara. His jaw dropped, but he remembered that he had to look “manly” so he took a deep breath and sucked in a bunch of air to puff up his chest. To add to his “manliness”, he put a scowl on his face and tried make his arm muscles look bigger. All in all, it was pretty funny. Liam just smiled.
“Good-” Liam started, but when he caught Sean glaring at him, he went quiet.
Sean said in a deeper voice, “Hello Sara. How are you?”
“Um... A little freaked out by your act of being ‘manly’. What is up with guys these days?”
Sean turned away and blushed. He felt stupid for, well, looking stupid in front of Sara.
“Um, nothing.” He returned to his normal voice. “But, uh, how are you, uh, now?”
“Better, thank you very much. Look. Bus is comin’.”
Liam heard the bus, but he didn’t see it. When he turned, he saw a wolf.
The wolf from his dream last night.
Its eyes glowed gold for a second, sending him a message. The necklace in Liam’s backpack along with the wolf’s eyes. Remember...
Then the wolf disappeared and blew away into the breeze.
Have you ever tried to forget something that someone has told you because it is outright disturbing, but can’t? Then you spend the next week worrying about it until you forget what you’re worrying about, then someone brings up something that is similar to what you’re trying to forget, and all of a sudden, something clicks and you remember all over again? Well, Liam knew what that felt like.
He hated it.
The rest of the week went on without any other appearances of ghost wolves or wolf dreams, though the necklace, that now hung over Liam’s bed like a dreamcatcher, dimmed and brightened at scattered times. Liam had tried to look for a pattern; every time the necklace lit up, he recorded the time and then went back to what he was doing. But after three days, he gave up, noticing that there was no possible pattern at all.
He wished it was all a dream, and in a way, it was. Almost everything began with that one dream of the talking wolf. If not for the necklace, he would have thought it was all his imagination.
And he really remembered.
No one knew of his experiences, even though he knew that everyone else was curious of what was bothering him.
But everytime he began doubting his saneness, a shock went through his body followed by a vivid image of the wolf. No, it was all real.
Sean finally stopped bugging Liam about “flying out of the school”. At first, Liam thought that something was up with Sean, but it turned out that Sean just gave up, knowing that Liam wasn’t going to say anything.
“You know that you weren’t gonna say anythin’. So why bother?” Sean asked.
After thinking everything over, he decided that he needed someone to actually know what happened. Keeping secrets for a long time was difficult, and it was really beginning to bother Liam. But that “someone” can’t be Sean. He’ll tell the whole world. No, it has to be someone that I know well and trust. He went through a mental list of who he could tell.
After school ended, he still didn’t think of anyone who could have helped him or he could’ve told, so he went home and dug around on the internet a little more, but he still wasn’t able to find anything. The rest of his day went by in a blur, and soon enough, he was in bed, dreaming again.
He slept calm at first. He was breathing evenly, his fingers twitched occasionally, and his face seemed to be at peace.
His quiet sleeping ended an hour later. His eyes were darting back and forth under his eyelids, his arms and legs were thrashing around, he seemed to be like a trapped animal trying to get out.
Then he opened his eyes and felt the pain again.
The same pain that he felt when he jumped out of the detention room.
And he jumped out of his bedroom window.
Those who were awake at that time would’ve just thought that a giant dog leapt out of the Aer’s house. But that wasn’t true.
Liam was a wolf.
He had the necklace on him.
He was going to find the wolf who appeared in his dream.
What do you guys think so far?
And by the way, I will be changing a lot of stuff here, but I will keep the story line the same.