FANDOM


I Don't Know How I Feel About This

Pages 62 through 88 inclusive. Total pages: 27

Prev-chapter | Next-chapter

Chap4 cover

Cover art for Chapter 4

Werewolf Malaya raises her muzzle to the roiling clouds that darken the sky. Her arms with claws extended are stretched out to the side. She suddenly grips shadowy flesh with her clawed hands, squeezing tight. She silently roars, and her arms lift up a shadowy humanoid form gripped in her claws. With a horrific gout of blood, she riiiiiiips the figure to shreds. With a jolt, fangs still showing in her mouth, she awakens from her nightmare to find she has used her partially changed hands to rip her duvet in half[1]. Calling out a muffled obscenity, Malaya puts her transformed hands to her face. Pulling them back, she watches the change recede as the intensity of the nightmare fades, leaving her shaken and distressed. Outside her bedroom window, a crow in a tree starts cawing loudly, attracting Mal's attention[2].

Elias Ross is in the Crescent Lake University Library, working on his computer with a pile of books in easy reach. A slightly disdainful voice comes from the side of the table asking what he is doing there. Elias looks up to see Vincent looking down at him, books in one hand, the other in his pocket. With a straight face, Elias comes up with an absurd theory that says he is reverse-stalking Vincent by coincidentally being places where he didn't know Vincent would be. Vincent scoffs at this and tells him that's not a thing. Eli claims it is, because it worked great, and he didn't have to do a thing[3]. Elias's answer doesn't sit well with Vincent, and he demands to know what Eli is doing at 'his' library. Eli tells him he's trying to find out how a werewolf could go undetected for so long and if anyone can help deal with it. He admitted he was using pack resources and checking news services to get any direction at all. Conversation runs down, then, looking uncomfortable, Vincent thanks Elias for not hurting his sister, and offers to pay for the door. Looking comfortable with his hands behind his head. Eli tells him that Marisa already fixed the door, then he assured Vincent that he would never hurt Malaya. He'd seen enough new wolves to know that freaking out never helped[4]. Vincent, looking grim, tell Elias he doesn't know if he trusts his motives with his sister. Looking less comfortable, Elias tells him that Malaya asked the same thing, Elias goes on to explain that they're is a bad place and he's in a unique position to help and he willing to try. All that Malaya has to do is get over her fear of hurting her family and embrace being a werewolf, her whole life could change for the better. He admits that, if he left now, his mother would hunt him for sport. Vincent asks if Eli thinks that Mal truly fears hurting her family. Eli replies that was probably how it started, but he believes Mal is now afraid of being a werewolf. brightening up, Eli lets Vincent know that he and Marin have been watching the house and the café. Vincent thanks him and lets him get back to work[5].

Vincent joins his friend Joy at her table at the back of the library. She asks him who "the guy" was, and Vincent tells her he's just of friend of his sister's. Joy teases him about never seeing the elusive sister, and Vincent's reply that she kinda runs with a different pack gets an unexpected reaction from Elias via text about Vincent's inadvertent bad pun. Eli gets quizzed about how he heard the pun and how he got Vincent's number, and Eli replies "Werewolf" then admits he stole the number off Malaya's cell phone. The texting becomes flirtatious, ending with Elias sending an old-fashioned smiley emoji :)[6].

Malaya is asleep on her stomach in the dark, her face innocent as a child in slumber, when a sudden ray of light crosses her face, causing her to crack open an eye. She looks disgruntled at whoever has disturbed her rest. Malaya's mami has peeked under the edge of the blanket Mal had thrown on the couch, asking her what's wrong with her sweet girl. When Malaya tries to brush her mother off with assurances, Maria calls her on it. With concern writ large on her face, Maria reminds Malaya that she's been lying around for days. Mal complains in a distressed voice that "it" keeps happening. Holding her clawed furry hand in front of her face, she tells of how every time she recalls the attack in the back alley … turning into that giant monster … her claws come out and she can't stop it. Running her fingers through her daughter's hair, Maria tries to comfort Malaya, saying she know she's scared: for herself, for her family, for the new thing she does.Malaya answers that she's afraid the stranger will come back and she'll be too afraid to protect them, that she feels paralyzed and useless[7]. Her mother begins braiding her hair and tells her she'll never be useless.

Her mother starts relating how when she was Mal's age, Maria made the trip from the Philippines to study here in the United States. She left behind all her family, all her friends. Maria sees herself watching the sky out of the window of the jet she was a passenger in. Everything was different, she says; every time she left the dorms, she felt like she was always anxious and overwhelmed[8]. One day out of dorms, Maria stopped in a local independent coffee shop. Taking a sip of her hot, fresh coffee while standing at the counter, she blurted out, rather dramatically, that the coffee was very strong. The worried and startled counterman offered an apology and to make her a different variety. Smiling at the man, she answered it was perfect and it reminded her of home. Scratching nervously at his ear, he admitted he roasted the beans himself and was glad she liked it. They chatted about the café, his determination since high school to own a shop like this one, the long hours. Watching him carefully, she told him if he kept making coffee like this, she was never going to leave. He offered to keep make that coffee forever. They finally got around to sharing names: Maria Dysangco and Elliot Walters[9].

As she finishes the braid, she finishes her story, telling Malaya she eventually got used to her new home. She tells her that so many good things have happened, and she wouldn't trade them just for a chance to back and not have done the scary thing. She goes on to say that the werewolf thing is only scary because it's a new thing, she only has to be brave until it's an old thing. And she knows she's brave. Leaning into her mother for comfort, she admits she doesn't feel brave, just tired and shaken. She offers that maybe it's time for her to stop trying to be a normal human and go find "that nice werewolf boy" and make him teach her all he knows, so she can learn to be really good at being a normal werewolf. Malaya allows that maybe that's true, she just need some time. Her mother tells her that's okay, but not to take too long[10].

Marisa is hard at work at her computer, a small pile of books close at hand. Marin gives her an affectionate back hug and sweetly asks her to come to bed. Marisa tells her she's almost done. Marin insists, arguing that all species need their rest, especially lawyers and their R.N.-slash-witch girlfriends. Getting a smooch on the side of her head from her lawyer lover, Marisa reminds her that she just came off a four-day workweek, and she has a lot of witch business to catch up on. She further states that the lawyer has a case to present, while can afford to stay up. Marin expresses her displeasure and then asks Marisa what she's working on[11]. She tells Marin that she's trying to track down the spell that was cast on Malaya, but there are no answers yet. She says the spell was cast once, over the whole town, long before Marin arrived. Pinching the bridge of her nose, Marisa admits the spell is powerful and beyond her resources, noting the caster was likely old and experienced. She informs Marin that the spell has a living power source … a big one. When Marin creates a spell, she says, she uses small amounts of power directly from the Earth. This spell uses a huge power source that needs to have something to feed off of to be maintained[12]. Because there haven't been any massive forest die-offs, Marisa opines that the power source must be huge. Marin wonders why someone would need to hide a bunch werewolves. She claims it's common knowledge that the Walters have an unspoken claim to Crescent Lake, and since no one would challenge that, there's no reason to hide. Marisa runs her hand through her hair, frustrated at not knowing who or why. Thinking out loud, Marisa considers casting a tracking spell, with Eli's help. Marin tells her it's a good idea, and that she should come to bed as a reward. Taking little time to decide, Marisa admits she might deserve a reward and heads off to bed[13].

The cell phone announces that it's 4:30 a.m. by sounding an annoying beep-beep-beep. Malaya picks up her phone and silences the alarm with a sleep-grumpy pout on her face. Growling constantly, Malaya brushes her fangs and takes a shower, washing her hair. In the kitchen, the boiling teapot whistles for attention, and she makes herself a cup of tea[14]. Malaya is leaning against a counter with her hot tea cradled in her hands. Her father asks if she's okay with opening the shop today, She assures him she's fine, that her control has improved, and that the March full moon is having less affect on her due to the moon being farther from the Earth this month. Her father offers to come in later if she needs, then he tosses her the keys to go warm up the car. Stepping out of the front door onto the porch and pulling the door shut behind her, Malaya turns and sees something that gets a surprised "What the hell?" out of her. There is what appears to be a ruminant's hoofed leg sticking up[15]. With a yell, Malaya tells her papa that there's a mutilated deer on the front steps. Calling out his disbelief, he goes out to look for himself, and like father like daughter, he comments on that with a confused "What the hell?" Suddenly angry, Malaya announce that she doesn't need this, and grousing about werewolf shit and angry customers, she drags the deer through the snow toward the woods, leaving a bloody trail behind her[16].

Her steps crunching in the snow, Malaya continues dragging the deer ever deeper into the woods. Finally deciding she's gone deep enough, she drops the leg she was using as a handle, says some apologetic words over deer's carcass and turns to leave. A voice calls out, stunning Malaya, and asking her if she didn't like their offering[17]. Turning around and crying out, Malaya sees five pairs of eyes watching her from the shadows of the woods. Four angry looking humans and one slightly demented partially transformed werewolf step out of the shadows to confront her. The one in the middle is Aubrey, who offers a grim "Hello"[18]. Somewhat diffidently, Malaya guesses that they left the deer at her house. Aubrey angrily replies that of course they did, and it was rude of her to refuse their offer. Now Malaya gets angry and says she didn't even know what was being offered and that a dead deer was not a message she understood. Aubrey shouts it's an offer to join their pack, claiming it's SOP, and asks if she knows anything. Malaya denies having the knowledge, asking how she's supposed to know. She then growls out that she doesn't want to join their pack, and Aubrey tells her she has no choice. She asks if Malaya is going to become the monster wolf again, doubting she even then could take them all. Starting to change, Malaya declares that she can freaking try[19]. Suddenly, a crow begins to caw furiously, feathers flying in the air. Malaya looks to the treetops, confused at the bird's actions, while Aubrey looks around with concern.The sound of the bird's calls get louder and louder, causing all the werewolves to protect their ears and cry out in pain[20]. In a flurry of feathers, the crow flies out from the trees and lands on a outstretched gloved hand. A beautiful, dark-complected woman with many small braids in her hair, and wearing a long belted coat, steps out of the light blazing behind over her shoulders. The crow is perched on her hand. Eyes wide with surprise, Malaya squeaks out "Charlene?!" Ignoring Malaya in favor of dealing with the gang of five, Charlene muses that they seem to think they can force Malaya to join their pack. Malaya tries to surreptitiously look over her employee, curiosity blazing on her face. Charlene tells the pack they don't want to do that, her stature and demeanor speaking of power barely leashed[21]. Trying to be intimidating, Aubrey asks who the hell she is, and telling her to butt out of werewolf business. The tall, dark-haired pack member tells Aubrey to stop it or she'll make things worse. Disdainfully, Charlene questions Aubrey's assertion that she's interfering. Behind her, many pairs of glowing eyes are appearing in the woods. Charlene carries on like nothing's wrong. She tells Aubrey that she's the one interfering. She claims that Aubrey is the one that hasn't a clue, offering up a small, useless, old deer and not following protocol. Malaya finally sees the eyes behind them, whipping around to face them. Charlene continues to chastise Aubrey, claiming she hadn't notified other packs of her intentions, and then finally denouncing her as not being the alpha of her pack and not having the authority to move on Malaya. Malaya is frantically trying to call Charlene's attention to the eyes while Charlene sarcastically remarks that it's as if Miss Werewolf is the one that hasn't a clue[22]. Trying to keep an intimidating mien, Aubrey announces proudly who she is, and that despite the watchers in the woods, she was going to force Malaya into the pack. At this point, the rest of the pack mutinies and moves off, leaving her alone to try to deal with Malaya and Charlene. In a last act of bravado, Aubrey threatens that the matter was not over and that Malaya wouldn't have a choice. Charlene and Malaya are left staring out over the deer carcass at the retreating pack with relieved looks on their faces[23].

With the pack gone, the two women turn to each other. Getting a bothered look on her face, Malaya asks what just happened. Charlene diffidently admits to being a witch. A now confused Mal asks rhetorically if that's really a thing. Her look of bother changing to one of hope, she asks if Charlene had come to help her fight. Now it's Charlene's turn to be bothered as she states that she came to bluff their way out of a fight, so that nobody got all clawed up by five werewolves. Confused again, Malaya worriedly asks "Bluffing? But,the creepy eyes?"[24] Charlene snapped her fingers and the eyes start popping like the small, black bubbles they are. Charlene tells her they were only an illusion her mother had taught her. When Malaya asks her about her lecture on werewolf etiquette, Charlene says it's Werewolf 101, and admits it's all she knows. She calls herself a real confident one-trick pony. She tells Mal that her specialties are illusions, talking to her crow, Alphonsus, and seeing bits and pieces of the future. When Malaya asks why Charlene is in Crescent Lake, she claims she's been keeping tabs on the town, having seen the situation coming from a mile away[25]. She chides Malaya, saying she can't control her change, but she was going to take on five strange werewolves. Malaya confesses she didn't know what came over her. Aubrey had brought it all to her, agitating her, just as the full moon approaches. All of her work controlling her transformation, she was right back where she started. When Malaya asks how she knew she was a werewolf, Charlene said she had a premonition and Malaya was hairy in it. Claiming she's not important, Malaya is curious why Charlene needed to find her. Charlene tells her she's obviously more important than she thinks[26]. She tells Malaya to pay attention because something weird is coming to town and that Aubrey seems to need her now. She tells her that she needs to get herself together now before she puts her family in danger. Malaya whines that she just wants to be left alone, but Charlene lets her know it's not an option. Malaya claims to not know how to get stronger, and Charlene scolds her. She says that all she has to do is ask that tall, weird kid, Elias, for help. Malaya owns up to knowing that, but she's terrified of the whole werewolf thing. Charlene points out she was ready to fight five werewolves, and now she's scared of learning? Mal confesses it sounds bad put that way. Charlene mentions that her father has gone ahead to open the shop, so Mal has time to recover and regain control over the change. Mal claims that no one would notice if she showed up furry, but Charlene offers that her claws might compromise operating the cash register[27].

Prev-chapter | Next-chapter



References

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.