Friday, August 28, 2009

Howling (7)

It took some convincing but I eventually got out of the phasing trip. I don’t think that John really bought that I am sticking behind because of an early shift at the hospital the day we return. I had used that excuse once before, but this time I could tell by John’s eyes that he wasn’t buying it.

I’m not going to bother locking myself in the cage. I know that he’ll spot me in there if I do. Instead, I travel up to the spare bedroom and await the change. If this bedroom gets messed up, it really won’t bother me. I lay down on the bed and allow myself to drift asleep. The sleep should help ease me into my wolf state.

I wake many hours later to the setting sun outside my window. I pad to the window and place my front paws on the sill, taking in the beauty of the sunset. Below me, I can see James’ car. Someone is with him – an older man. It looks like it could be his father. They are pulling a swing up to the front porch. I hear various tools working to hang the swing on the front porch. I wait until the tools stop to pad down the stairs. I stop at the screen door, wishing I had installed a doggie door years ago.

I make a low bark of frustration before sitting down and looking out the window. James is at his car, about to get in. He suddenly turns and heads up the driveway to the house. I can hear him shouting to his friend that he left the front door open. He stops in his tracks at the front door.

“You just couldn’t wait, could you?” He asks, opening the door. I walk up to him and let out a low whine. He reaches down to pet the top of my head. “Wait here.”

I watch as he runs back to his truck. He whispers something to his companion and they both start back up the drive. The other man approaches, holding his hand out in front of him. He’s allowing me to get familiar with his scent, much like you would a dog. I gingerly sniff the air and his hand. It has a scent familiar to James, suggesting that I was right about the relations between the two men. I place my head under his hand and allow him to pet me.

James heads away from me. He stops a few yards from the river and motions for me to join him and sit beside him. His arm loosely droops around my shoulders and I enjoy the feel of his human arm on my wolf back. His companion has a camera in his hand, ready to take a picture. James smiles and I give the best grin I can without baring my teeth. Wolves look vicious when their teeth are bared. The camera flashes once. His friend takes two photos – one with and one without the flash.

* * * * *

James stays with me all weekend, sleeping in the guest bed, me curled at his feet. It is too hot to sleep beside him like I want to. He keeps me fed and talks to me, trying to make out the meaning of my responses. Eventually, I nudge him out of the room, knowing that I will phase soon. I can smell food cooking downstairs as I drift to sleep.

I wake to the smell of bacon and eggs and travel down the stairs to find James standing at my stove. When I first woke, I feared it had all been a dream. Things can be a bit hazy when you recall them from your wolf memory. But here he is – standing in my kitchen making me breakfast. I look out the window and can see the swing hanging from the porch roof. I instantly recognize it as the swing from the old house.

“Why don’t you go outside and take a look at it?” James asks from behind me. “I’ll be out there in a moment.”

I make my way out to the front porch. The swing seems to fit in perfectly – as though it has been there for years. As I watch James walk through the door, I realize that he is much like the swing that I was sitting on. He’s new to my life, but he seems like he has been here for years. It is so natural for me to watch him bringing breakfast through the door. He sits down beside me and spreads the food between us.

“John, would you want to move in?” I ask him suddenly. For once in my life, I’m seizing the moment and it felt nice.

“Under one condition.” His smile spreads across his face. He has something up his sleeve.

“What?” I ask between bites.

“You marry me.” He says simply.


“The sooner the better.” He replies, pulling me close to him. I lean in to kiss him, sealing the deal.

* * * * *

We set the date for one month later in the backyard of my house. The moon is barely visible in the sky and the stars twinkle around us. All of my friends and his family are present at the wedding. His father gives us a framed photo for a gift. It is my favorite gift of them all. The photograph shows a happy man with his arms dangled around the wolf he loves.

When I climb into bed with James, I find the perfect place for my photograph. I set in on my bedside table. That way, James and his love for me will be the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night before I drift off to sleep. I’m a werewolf married to a human – that’s rarer than you would think – and for me, every moment is like a fairy tale.

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Howling by Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Howling (6)

He arrives at my door at the exact time we agreed upon. I’m so excited that I’ve been dressed for hours. None of my friends know where I’m going. I know that over half of them will disapprove greatly.

We ride in his car, eventually ending up at an abandoned house. I don’t think I can find my way back here if I want to. It’s hidden somewhere in the depths of winding dirt roads.

I ask him about the house the second we pull up to it. He informs me that it is just an old house that he came across during a hike. There are no signs warning against trespassing and he knows nothing about the owners. Like me, he can only guess about the terrors this house has seen.

He pushes open the front door for us and I follow him inside. The living room is small and charred. In the middle, a picnic for two is set up. Champagne is positioned in the middle surrounded by two pillar candles. James immediately lights them and the room quickly aglow.

James cooked the dinner himself. It is a lavish spread of various Italian dishes. Some I have seen before, while many are new to me. I enjoy most of them greatly. Following dinner, James suggests exploring the house.

It isn’t a loved house. It’s a house that people forgot long ago. The wood is rotten and charred in many places. There’s an eerie smoke smell that lingers in the house. Mildewed furniture is scattered and strewn about the rooms. The only thing that is still useable is the front porch swing.

We fill the rooms with stories of times gone by and eventually end up snuggling on the porch swing. It is well into the night before we find our way back to the car and head home.

* * * * *

We go on five more dates before he takes me to the old house again. When I ask him why, he tells me that tonight is going to be a very special night. We eat a lavish spread once more and retire to the porch. He asks me what I like about the old house.

“I love this swing.” I tell him, leaning my head on his shoulder.

“So, this swing.” James rocks the swing slowly. “What else do you love about this house?”

“I love that I’m sharing it with you.” I smile up at him, bringing my lips to his.

“Anything else?”

“Why are you asking?” I’m completely intrigued by the randomness of his questions until something hits me. “You’re not planning on restoring this place are you? You’re not the owner.”

“No, I’m not the owner. But I am thinking of doing something – just not remodeling a dilapidated house.” James says, pushing the swing back with his feet. “I’m thinking of surprising you.”

“Good luck with that James,” I tell him, pushing the swing back with my own feet. We find ourselves deposited on the floor soon.

“You’ll be in the mountains for the next full moon, right?” He asks, with a gleam in his eye.

“Yes. Why?”

“Because that seems like the perfect opportunity to surprise you.” James obviously has a plan. And it is a good one if it involves the full moon and me. I’m going to have to find some way out of going to the mountains. I want to watch James try to pull off a surprise.

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Howling by Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Howling (5)

I wake the next morning refreshed and eager to start my day. When I look out the window, the sun is rising on the river. Light shimmers in red, orange, and pink hues across the water. I open the windows of the house and start breakfast.

I eat silently at the kitchen table thinking about the night before. With the fresh light of the sun streaming through the window, last night seems to a distant memory of a dream. I still can’t wrap my brain around the way James reacted. It was as though he had no fear, no human instincts.

I know that I’m not going to be able to let this rest. The other wolves will be back tonight and I have a lot of damage control to do before then. We aren’t supposed to expose ourselves to humans under any conditions. I have done worse than exposing, I allowed him to see the transformation. I may very well have put us all in danger.

I lock the door and head for my car. I roll the windows down to make up for the lack of air conditioning. I’m headed for the hospital downtown. The one the ambulance took me to after my motorcycle incident.

I walk up to the front desk and introduce myself, explaining to the receptionist that Dr. Sinclair had seen me following an accident and that I need to talk to him about something. She politely informs me that the doctor will not be in today – it is his day off. With that avenue now closed off to me, I head back outside to my car.

I reach into my purse and pull out a folded slip of paper. Opening it, I gaze at the number in my hand. One simple phone call and I will reach him. I look around for a pay phone. Finding none, I decide that I’m going to have to wait until I get home to call James. I frown and leave the hospital.

I pull into my driveway to be met by a surprise. A figure is sitting on my porch hidden by the shadows. I’m guessing that John must have come back early from the phasing trip and is checking on me. I approach the porch quickly, ready to send him on his way.

As I reach the porch, the figure stands up. He steps from the shadows and I can see his face easily now. It’s James and he holds a small bouquet of flowers in his hand.

“Who are the flowers for?” I ask, unlocking the front door.

“This lovely girl I met a few days ago. Have you seen her around?” His mood is light and quirky. He smiles his special smile and I realize that I haven’t seen him in a relaxed setting before. I like it.

“Depends. What does she look like?” I turn and ask him. I motion for him to follow me into the house.

“She has striking topaz eyes, long chocolate hair, and smooth skin.” He smiles and then winks. “Sometimes she even has a tail.”

“Are you always this elegant in your descriptions or have you been thinking about that one for a while?” I tease, setting a pitcher of lemonade on the table. James still holds the bouquet in his hands.

“I thought about it all night.” He says, his face motionless. I can’t read him. I can’t tell if he’s serious or joking.

“And that was the best you came up with? Seems like a lot of effort.” I comment, pouring the lemonade.

“It does. But I’m hoping it’s worth it.” He says, holding the bouquet out to me. I take it with one hand, surprised to find that the flowers are silk. They are the most realistic looking silk flowers that I had ever seen.

“These are lovely,” I say, as I search for a vase under the sink.

“I agree. That’s why I picked them out.” He’s smiling again. I’m beginning to love his smile and quick wit.

“Well, for a guy, you have great taste.” I say as I finally locate a vase and set them in the center of the table.

“I just thought of you as I was picking them out.” He says.

“And why do I deserve flowers?” I ask him, still trying to figure out why he’s here again.

“Because you’re beautiful. And because I was hoping they would soften you up.”

“For what?” I can’t help but be intrigued by his secrecy.

“Well, I was wondering if you would like to go out sometime?” He asks me, fiddling with a string on his shirt.

“I would love to, but you have to answer a question for me first.” I bargain. He has seen me phase and yet he’s still here.

“Go for it.” He looks intrigued.

“Are you sure you want to date a werewolf?”


“You’re sure?”

“I’m sure. I’ve actually done a lot of thinking on the matter.” He tells me, changing seats to be closer to me. “And I’ve come up with a theory. You don’t get a choice in who you love. They may be crazy; they may be different. But they are still the one you love. They are still the one that you keep coming back to.”

“Are you saying you love me?” I ask. Was it possible that I had found my one? John had told me that I would know it when I found him. He said it was a trait of werewolves – the ability to recognize love at first sight, even if they didn’t realize it at first.

“I guess I am.” James says, pulling at the string again. “I’m finding it impossible to do anything but think about you Molly. I want to know every inch of you – the human you and the wolf you.”

“That’s great James, but I don’t think that you know what you’re getting yourself into.” I tell him, thinking about the consequences that could come from falling for a human.

“I know that. And I don’t care. I would rather spend an eternity with you and never fully understand everything happening around me than spend an eternity wondering what might have been.”

“You’re scaring me.” I tell him, shocked by the sincerity of his words.

“That’s a switch. I would think it should be you scaring me, not the other way around.” His hand is cupping my chin now. I tilt my head back as his lips approach mine. His lips are soft against mine. He’s kissing me and I’m kissing him back.

“I don’t believe it.” I say, coming up for breath.

“Believe what?”

“I’ve found a man who can love me for who I am. Who can see my darkness and still get past it.” I tell him, cupping his chin. I whisper to him before kissing him. “I think you might be my one, James Sinclair.”

“I would like that very much.” He says, smiling back down at me.

“You would, would you?” I ask. I pull him to me for another kiss. This one is longer and deeper. We allow our bodies to take control. They seem to fit so perfectly.

I finally pull myself away and look into James eyes. They are full of love and trust, something that I haven’t seen in a long time. My father certainly never looked at my mother that way.

“Fine, I’ll go on a date with you.” I tell him. We talk for several more hours and make plans for our first date. As I show him to the door, I inquire about the location and he tells me it will be a surprise.

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Howling by Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Howling (4)

The three days of my phasing period pass slowly. James doesn’t return again until late on the eve of the third day. By this point, the wolf is beginning to take sway over me as it always does near a transformation. It is only the familiarity of his scent that stops me from reacting furiously when he approaches the cage.

I watch as he slides something on a newspaper under the gate. I sniff the air, taking in the smell of the raw meat. I approach the package, hungry and eager for the food. John left me some food, but not quite enough. He always underestimates how much the wolf in me likes to eat. After eating the meat, I stare up at James. In his hands is a brown paper bag with the logo of a nearby butcher printed on it. I can smell more meat inside and wonder if any of it was meant for me.

James takes a seat by the cage. He looks around the yard anxiously, as though he is waiting for someone. I follow the direction of his head and allow my gaze to circle the yard with him. His gaze keeps landing on the house and its emptiness. I hear him ask where “she” could be aloud to the night air.

The moon is almost overhead and I know that my transformation will be happening soon. I can’t have this human hanging around during that. I rear back on my hind legs and let out a loud growl. I continue to growl as James slowly backs away from the cage, whispering soothing phrases.

He doesn’t leave though. He simply backs away and stands staring, trying to process the sudden shift in my temperament. The moon creeps higher and higher in the sky. I can tell that there are only moments left before the shift from wolf to human will occur. There is no way that I can let James see that. I can vaguely remember from my younger years before I was able to change what the phasing process looked like.

To me, it had always looked like a fairy-tale. The body of the wolf would shake and twist as a deep magic surged through it. The animal’s eyes would go blank and no sound would be heard. Not the beating of the heart. Not the soft breathing of the lungs. It was as though time stood still as the animal lifted up on its hind legs and allowed the bones to fall in and out of place. Eventually, a human would be standing where the animal once stood. The human would be stark naked and a bit dazed from the experience. The experience was painful, but the pain was more than bearable.

The moon is quickly approaching the top of the night sky and I am all out of options for sending James away. He stands several yards from the cage still staring at me. Every time he thinks it’s safe to approach and begins crossing the yard, I let out a low growl. Each time, he backs away and waits again.

My body begins to shake uncontrollably. I sit down and allow myself to be hoisted onto my hind legs. Time stands still for a moment and I black-out for a fraction of a second. I come to and find myself staring into the eyes of James, who had now come directly up to the cage at some point. I stare at him from human eyes for a moment before the fact that I am stark naked registers with me.

I scurry to the corner of the cage and grab a blanket to wrap around myself. I am thankful to John at this very moment because he actually thought to give me a blanket. James continues to stare.

“Do you think you could advert your eyes?” I ask harshly.

“Sorry.” He places his hands over his eyes and turns away from the cage. “What just happened?”

“You saw?” I ask, astonished that he had watched me transform. I am more astonished that he stuck around.

“Yeah.” He seems to be waiting for an explanation.

“That’s who I am.” I say, fumbling to unlock the cage. Luckily, wolves can’t use keys so it’s safe to leave it in the cage for after the transformation.

“Let me help.” He cups his hands over mine and takes the key from me. From the outside of the cage, it is much easier for him to unlock it.

“Can I ask you something?” I ask while he unlocks the cage.


“Why haven’t you run yet?”

“Let’s just say I’m a sucker for animals.” He says with a crooked smile.

“Have you been around a werewolf before or something?” I am thoroughly confused by his calm reaction.

“Is that what you are?” He asks, following me to the house.

“Yes. It is.” I reply, waiting for him to run. He doesn’t.

“Then, now I’ve met a werewolf.” His smile is lopsided again.

“And you’re not afraid?”

“Should I be?”

“I don’t know.” I give him the honest answer. “Why are you here anyways?”

“Well, I’ve been trying to catch you all weekend. I hope you don’t mind – I found your address in your wallet.”

“Why did you look in my wallet?” I ask confused.

“Because you left in such a hurry that you forgot it. I was trying to find a way to reach you.” He says, holding the wallet out to me. I take it carefully and finger it for a moment.

“Thank you.” I say, politely. I am standing in the open door. He seems to be waiting for an invite despite the late hour.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you around?” He asks, seeming to have given up.

“Maybe.” I say before heading into the house.

I head straight for the upstairs and my bed. A phasing period always wears me out. It takes a lot of energy to shift your body from one shape to another.

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Howling by Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Howling (3)

John drives me home. My home is a simple two story, three bedroom structure on John’s Island. A river runs directly behind it and I enjoy spending nights sitting out on the dock staring at the moon that has control over my life. John is fumbling around in the garage as I stretch my newly-healed legs. He comes out carrying a large metal pen. It looks like the ones you find at a hardware store for keeping dogs penned in. I know where this is headed and I am not going to be a happy camper. No wolf wants to spend three days caged in when she could be roaming the mountainsides.

“You’re really going to make me do this, aren’t you?” I ask John.

“It’s for your own safety and you know it. We could all be in danger if someone saw you wandering free.” He points out to me.

“I know, I know. It just doesn’t seem fair.” I tell him as I step through the open door. He shuts it behind me and places a small lock through the hole.

“Well, maybe this will teach you not to steal motorcycles.” He says with a laugh.

“Borrow.” I retort. “I borrowed your bike. I had every intention of returning it.”

“But you can’t now, huh?” His smile is reaching from ear to ear now. His canine teeth stand out amongst the rest. His smile could be viewed as scary at its widest point. “I have to go. Sleep tight.”

His car peels out of the driveway. I listen as it pulls into the driveway next door, where my friends are barraging him with hurried expressions. They are running late and they need to reach the mountains before midnight – before we phase. I have about four hours to wait out the night before it will be the midnight hour. I decide to take advantage of this time and sleep. Phasing is always easiest when you were asleep. I prefer going to sleep a human and waking a wolf. It cuts down on the pain you experience during transformation.

* * * * *

I wake to the changing colors of the sunrise and footsteps approaching from across the yard. I remain with my stomach against the ground and my head between my paws, allowing my eyes to follow the sound of the footsteps. What I see shocks me more than I could have thought possible.

Dr. Sinclair is walking up the driveway. He is swinging his keys in a circular motion around his pointer finger. He whistles a small tune that I can’t make out. He is no longer wearing the white lab coat of the hospital. He walks quickly to the door. I can hear the knock from my cage across the yard. There are two more knocks before he starts heading down the driveway. About halfway down the drive, he turns to look around the yard.

In a matter of moments, his eyes have found my cage. He is staring at me carefully, a puzzled expression taking over his face. He slowly begins walking toward me. I keep my head between my paws. I can’t bring myself to close my eyes, even though I know I should. I reason that he will be more likely to leave me alone if he thinks I am sleeping. His eyes take hold of mine and he continues to hold my gaze as he approaches.

He’s holding his hand out in front of him, as you would for a dog. He is probably hoping to keep me calm by approaching gently. I’m not even sure if he realizes that I am a wolf and not a dog. He is inches away from the pen now and his hand is as near to the fence as possible without going through its tiny holes.

I don’t need to sniff him in order to know that I trust him. I recognize him from the way he walks and gently says “nice doggy”. The familiar smell of his shampoo is comforting as I struggle with my inner wolf. I press my nose against the fence near his hand.

He slips two fingers through the hole and gently pets the side of my nose. His eyes are traveling towards the door of the cage. He moves his other hand towards it, fingering the lock. What was it about humans that make them ignore the warning signs? Such as a cage with a padlock?

He mumbles good-bye and pulls his hand back. I almost let out a whimper, but think better of it. No need to put this man in danger because I want him to stay. He walks to his car and I watch him go, placing my head between my paws once more.

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Howling by Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Descendant (2)

Placing the book on the shelf, I was startled by someone coming into the room. I spun around quickly, tripping over the rug and falling onto the stone floor.

“Hi.” I said feebly from the ground.

“You okay?” The man I knew asked maintaining his distance. I nodded and stared at him.

“Sit down a minute, will you?” He indicated the chair beside me and I sat. “I need to tell you something and I’m not completely sure how you’re going to handle the news.”

“I bet I can handle it.” I challenged his doubt.

“Ok,” He started, hesitating. “I’m over five centuries old. I’ve lived this long because of a curse I put on myself. A curse where I cannot die until I re-earn my position within the Ennea. You remember the magical group of nine that is supposed to be finding a way back to Aurum?”

I nodded, indicating my comprehension of what he was relating to me.

“When I get back into the Ennea, I’ll be able to die or be killed and only a descendant of mine can replace me as a new member of the Ennea. Well, having lived that long, I’ve fallen in love a time or two and had a family, but I thought that all of my descendants were gone. Just to be sure, I did a spell that would locate any living descendants.”

“I understand what you are saying and it does not frighten me, but I don’t understand your point.” I told him slowly.

“The spell located you. You and I are family. You get your Carialle gene from a woman I loved long ago.” As the man told me this, I experienced the feeling of human eyes going wide.

“You’re my ancestor?” I clarified. I felt the urge to fly – not run – but fly far away from this place and its unexpected discoveries.

“I am. And I’m sorry that you’ve been alone for so long. Do you realize what this means though? You finally have somewhere that you belong. You have an important destiny.” He eyes glowed with enthusiasm, but the only thing I felt was fear.

Jumping up from the chair, I ran toward the open window on the far side of the room and leapt through it. As I transformed from human to bird, the clothes I wore fell in shreds from my body and fluttered to the ground below. My animalistic instincts told me to flee and that was exactly what I did. I flew straight into the forest and landed in my tree. My entire life had just changed and I hadn’t been strong enough to deal with it.

I spent the next week constantly changing my mind and my form. I couldn’t decide whether I should enjoy the freedom of being a bird and fly away from reality or if I should spend the majority of my time as a human; the way I was born. I would be walking through the trees and become angry with the fact that my life had changed; my muscles would contract, my limbs would feel like they were being grinded together, and my mouth would stretch and harden into the beak of my bird form. The rapid transformations were beginning to take a toll on my mind. It was becoming difficult to remember which form I was when and the changes left a searing pain shooting across my cerebral cortex. I realized that I had to make a decision.

Finally, one day, I took my last visit to the castle tower. I informed my only acquaintance that I had made a decision. Lying, he said that whatever decision I chose would be okay. In reality, I knew that people were relying on me to fill a vital position that could affect the future of an entire world separate from the one I’d spent my life in. The fact that he could empathize with my need to reach a decision for myself was touching. He patiently waited while I composed myself and prepared to deliver my decision.

“I’ve decided,” I started. “Should the time ever come when a replacement is needed for you in the Ennea, that I will fill that position.”

“The time will come.” The man said managing a somber tone and a smile simultaneously.

“However,” I clarified. “Until then, I don’t want to be involved in any way. You know where to find me if you ever need me and I’m sure you can come up with a way for the rest of the Ennea to contact me if anything happens to you, but, until then, I want my life to be the way it was; peaceful and free like a bird.”

“You enjoy the life you have now.” He tells me. “One day you’re going to have to take my place. Your life, your destiny lies with others like you – not in that forest, not isolated from the world. I know that this is what you’ve known and that you’re used to going from walking to flying in a matter of moments and that’s fine. You’ll still be able to become a bird anytime you want at will, but you’ll learn about your other powers and how you’re going to play a bigger role.”

I wasn’t sure if or how I would find out any news about what became of my ancestor and the Ennea, but some time later, a carrier pigeon stood on a branch in my tree squawking until I woke up. Attached by a string, the pigeon carried a rolled up parchment. I told the pigeon to follow me and I flew to the ground. Transforming into a human without any pain at all, I took the parchment from the pigeon, gave it some seeds and sent it back from where it had come.

Unrolling the paper, I read:

My dearest descendant,

It is essential that you make yourself available to the Ennea. The members will be able to feel your presence, so you need not worry about locating them. They will find you. I assume that, by receiving this letter, you understand what has happened. I wish you the very best in life and apologize again that you did not have the relations you deserved growing up. The people you are about to meet are good people but you must earn their trust. Keep that in mind as you get to know them. May magic lead you to a world of wonder and awe.

Your ancestor.

Just like that, my entire life had changed. I had a new road to follow and a journey that would lead me to a new world. Luckily for me, I possessed the capabilities to run or fly to my destiny. All that was left to do was wait for them to find me and meet my fate.

~Back to Part 1~

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Descendant by Crystal MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.