This is a story I have been working on for a while.
I was walking home from town, as always, with my twin siblings, Iris and Isaac, who were trailing along behind me. They were both discussing the things they planned on doing once we got home. While they walked and talked, my thoughts went back to when we were younger, as they happened to be doing a lot lately.
Iris had always been small for her age. She had an adorable button nose with soft sweet features. Being born second to my brother, she had health problems often as a child. Everyone loved her so, especially her beautiful blonde curls, so much like her mothers. She was the most beautiful four years old. I was two years older than my brother and sister. They were identical twins and my parents pride and joy.
Well, one rainy afternoon in February, Iris and I were drawing pictures for our mother to hang on the fridge. Dad and Isaac had gone to the garage to work on making shelves for more storage space. I had been in the middle of drawing a sunflower when I looked up and saw the most amazing thing of my life. I remember everything so clearly. I heard my mom in the background humming while she did the dishes when I peeked at little Iris’ art piece; and that is just what it was, art.
She had this very intense look on her face as she drew the flowers and vase in the center of our dining room table. It looked like an exact replica. There was no way to describe the hurt in my heart, not at that age, but I would later recognize it as envy.
How was it that my four-year-old sister could create such a work of art and at her age too? Stunned into disbelief I dropped my pencil on the floor, which gave her the hint that she was my total focus.
Shy to no end her cheeks burned red at my staring, and she averted her face. That was the moment mom came in from the kitchen drying her hands on a towel. Noticing I hadn’t glanced her way, but still completely focused on Iris, she asked, “Irene, sweetheart, why are you staring at your sister like that, you know how she is?”
Not waiting for a reply, she walked over to admire the work we had done. Looking at mine first she complimented the picture, but mid-sentence paused as her gaze directed itself to Iris’ paper. Her expression changed from total denial to shock to something along the lines of amazement and wonder. She picked up the paper, looking back and forth between Iris, the paper and me.
While mom was in her state of astonishment, dad and Isaac walked in from the garage. Isaac had never liked being far from Iris, so he rushed to her side. Dad noticed how enraptured mom was with the paper and made his way over to her. Taking the paper, he looked at it and was as stunned as my mother was.
At first, he looked at me, but then my mother shook her head and pointed to Iris, still unable to speak. He looked at her and his face lit up like the Fourth of July and Christmas had rolled itself into one holiday. At that moment, I felt that tingle in my gut of pure jealousy. Standing in the background I watched as mom and dad fawned over Iris. How they called all their friends and gushed over her drawing. They enrolled her into art lessons as soon as she turned five, and that is all they praised over for years and years.
Coming back to myself, I realized we had made it to the driveway. I watched as the twins continued to discuss their plans for summer vacation. As I listened to their chattering voices, my thoughts again were drawn to the past. The day Isaac made my father very proud.
The school bell rang as it does at the end of every day. I was waiting at the front of the building as I do every day after school. My sister and brother were not waiting for me where they usually did, so I was a little concerned. I stood there for five minutes, before I heard the words that put fear in my heart.
“Fight, fight, fight!” was coming from around the corner. I ran as fast as I could to where the chanting was. Pushing my way past the shouting children, I came to the center of the group and saw a terrible sight. My sister Iris was over to the side with wet tears still rolling down her face while my brother Isaac was yelling at the biggest, meanest boy in our school. He was a bully to all the smaller children, his name was Jonathan and he was the designated tormentor of the school. At eleven years old he was much bigger than my brother who was only eight and very small for his age.
I pushed my way to Iris’ side and caught the last of Jonathan’s speech. “… Back off tiny, and go take care of your pathetic muted sister.”
I had never seen my brother so angered, and he surprised me by pulling his arm back and whipping it forward, smashing in Jonathans face. Jonathan rocked backward and that is when he began to fight back. I wanted to rush in there to protect my little brother, but I knew that I would not be able to do anything, so I just stood there and watched. Waiting for what seemed like hours, but only lasted a couple of minutes, a few teachers and the principal arrived to split the two of them up.
Isaac had been hit twice, but was a lot less scuffed up than Jonathan was. He had a black eye and a few bruises, but overall was much better off than the other kid was.
The bully and Isaac both went to the principal’s office. Each were questioned and punished for their misbehavior. The principal deemed Jonathan’s crime far more serious since he had past issues with his behavior at school. Isaac got five days of suspension and would have to apologize for his part in the fight.
Iris, and I were waiting in apprehension for the doors to open and when they finally did we saw that our brother was not even fazed, but looking a little proud of himself.
We were already an hour late getting home and it took us a good forty-five minutes to reach our house. When we opened the door to get in, our mother rushed us.
“Where have you been, your father and I have been worried to death.” She was hugging Iris and me, but as soon as she saw our brother, there was a catch in her breath and she nearly fainted.
That was about the time our father walked into the room. He came up to me and demanded to know why we were late. How it was supposed to be my responsibility to watch my brother and sister and make sure that they were safe. I was going to explain all of what had transpired that afternoon, until Isaac stepped forward and took the blame.
We were all to go to the family room for a detailed report of the events of the day. Isaac surprised me by telling the entire thing. He even got me off the hook. I could tell that when my dad had been yelling at me, I was going to be in the worst trouble of all, but as soon as Isaac stepped forward, all was forgotten.
He explained everything to my parents, but instead of the grounding I would have gotten, he got a disappointed look from my mother and a very proud and excepting look from my father. After the initial upset, my dad was excited and asked again about the details of the fight.
As the details were again discussed, I stole away to my room. Once there I picked up my music player put on my headphones and turned on the music. On my nightstand laid the book that I had already read a couple dozen times. Secrets of the Wolf by Saranne Dawson, I picked it up and began to read.
As the memories of my childhood evaporated, I was again in front of my home. Having remembered why I felt so empty, the answer hit me hard. It was time to move on. I realized I was a nineteen-year-old college dropout still living at home with my parents. My life was supposed to be just starting, but I had no idea what it is that I want to do. I felt like there was something I needed to do, but the answer wasn’t clear to me yet.
When I realized that there was not anything special about me, it was hard. I had no hidden talents, or any unique gifts. The only thing anybody knew about me was that I was very knowledgeable.
I had dropped out of college, not because it was too hard, but because it had been extremely easy. Everything they were teaching me were the things I had already read in books. Our local library had been my one true friend when growing up. I volunteered during the summer and spent my afternoons there throughout the school year. All the books I could get my hands on were read and reread whenever I found the time.
Having figured out that staying in a home where I didn’t feel appreciated, in a town that wasn’t helping me decide my future; I walked into the house and straight to the family room. Mom and dad were in there usual seats across from the twins who were on the couch. Mom in her rocking chair knitting while dad was in the recliner just relaxing and listening to Isaac and Iris tell of their summer vacation plans.
They had already been talking for a while and things got very quiet when I entered.
“Where have you been?” dad asked.
Mom then asked, “About what?”
“That maybe my life would move forward if I went somewhere else.”
Dad’s tone became suspicious when he asked his next question, “And where would that be?”
“Anywhere that isn’t here. Moving forward requires a sense of freedom I don’t feel I have here, and in order to find my purpose for living I need to get away from this small town; out into the world that promises so much more.” The strong emotion in my voice gave my parents pause.
My mother’s face held a protest and my brother and sister seemed very sad, but those weren’t the faces I wanted to see. The face that said it all was my father's. His held no sadness. No regret for my decision. Nothing. If I saw anything, it looked almost like relief. I had never felt so out of place, and never as unwanted as I did right then. I had always looked up to my father and when I needed his appreciation, he gave nothing.
My heart broken, I heard nothing, as I turned right then and left the room. Heading to the only place, I felt safe; I closed the door and let out a long sigh. My mind began to race as I thought of all the possibilities.
The first thing that came to my mind was to leave immediately. I went straight to my closet and pulled out my largest backpack. Taking my time, I chose the things that would last me for a while. I grabbed clothes, shoes, and anything else I could find for myself that I wanted. The only thing I really wanted to bring were my millions of books, but seeing as how I only had room for so much, I picked out a few of my favorites.
Once I felt confident I had packed everything I would need I was about to head out. It was then I remembered that I would need money.
The thought of money filled my head with images of Grandpa George. He was my rich grandfather on my mother’s side and he had died when I was seventeen. In his will, he had left each of his grandchildren twenty thousand dollars. Each month another ten thousand was calculated in and it had been two years since his death that put me around two hundred sixty thousand dollars, but the only way to access it was the debit card that I got when I was eighteen. That was a problem seeing as how my mother had it in her wallet.
Opening my door a crack I heard dad talking to mom about me. Nothing distinct was said, just my name here and there. Taking care to be very quiet, I made my way to the entrance hall and found my mother’s purse where I knew it would be. Rummaging quietly I quickly located my card, stuffed it in my pocket, and rushed to my room closing the door silently.
Feeling confident that I had now gotten everything that I would need for my journey and could later buy the things I was missing, I put my backpack over my shoulder. Pushing aside my large green curtains, I opened the double-sided window-like doors and walked onto my small terrace. Going over the sides of the terrace, I walked through our garden and into our wooded surroundings.
As I got to the lining of the trees, I looked back, just a glance, and saw Iris staring back at me. There was so much regret on her face, but all she did was lift her hand to wave goodbye to me. I nodded in her direction, and then turned towards the road that I knew lead away from this dead-end town. Headed the way I was, I would be led directly to the Mardi gras capital of the world, New Orleans.
The road was a long one, but I didn’t feel like going into town and renting a vehicle, because the people that I knew would never let me leave. Walking was going to take some time, but it wouldn’t matter. I was just going to keep going until I made it or someone was kind enough to give me a ride.
During the summertime, no one traveled the long stretch of never ending road to New Orleans, so the highway was empty. Realizing I had been walking for roughly over an hour, I decided to munch on some of the snacks I had packed. I was overly grateful that I stored snack foods in my room, and that I had packed them in my bag.
Finding a nice patch of green on the side of the road, I took a short rest. While I filled up on food and hydrated myself, I began to hear the sound of an engine. Turning to look back towards the direction I had just been coming from, I saw little black dot growing larger in the distance. Picking up my bag I started walking forward, thinking that if they did not pick me up it would be good to get farther down the never-ending road, especially since within the next two and a half hours I would lose the suns light.
Ulric was driving down the expanse of road at top speed. His brother, Lyall, was sitting next to him, singing rather loudly and very off key to whatever was playing on the radio. I was cruising down the highway in his big black Dodge Ram 2500, when all of a sudden Lyall shot forward in his seat and pointing toward something that looked like a person.
“Why would there be a person walking on this very deserted highway?” he asks me.
“How should I know, but it looks to me like some kid who is running away from home.” I replied.
Easing up on the gas pedal, I slowed down so that I could pull up alongside her, since I knew Lyall would give me grief over it. Now close enough to make her out, it was hard to think straight. She was stunning. Her hair was a fiery red and when she turned her face towards me her emerald green eyes blazed back. She was a very tall girl at around five feet six inches.
She was wearing a green t-shirt that matched the exact color of her eyes and nice worn out jeans that hugged her every curve, along with a pair of tennis shoes that looked great for walking in.
The truck rolled to a stop, and pressing the automatic button, I rolled down the window so we could talk. “Excuse me, but could I ask you where you’re going so late in the evening? This road doesn’t reach civilization for miles in the direction you’re headed.”
She looked directly into my eyes and answered, “I’m heading to New Orleans. Living at home was monotonous. The only way to achieve anything in life was to get out there and do it, which is precisely what I am doing.” This girl with the intensely green eyes seemed rather blunt, to say the least.
Turning to look at Lyall, I muttered to myself, “So you’re a kid running away from home. That’s just great.” I felt annoyed. For one this was just a child leaving home, which by the looks of her didn’t look like it was that bad. Secondly, I was really attracted to her and for her to be so much younger than I had initially thought sucked. There was also something different about her, this supernatural aura, but her scent was completely human.
When I turned back to look out the window at this mystery girl, she was not there. Confused as to why I had not noticed her absence, I glanced around to discover that she was walking again. All ready with a good head start she was thirty to forty feet ahead, and by the looks of her stiff body very tense.
Without a thought for Lyall, I turned the truck off and got out. Running after the girl, who turned out to be a lot harder to reach than she should have been, I cut her off.
“Where do you think you’re going? You cannot just walk the fifty or so miles to New Orleans, not when it is getting dark. You are just a kid and it would be wrong of me to leave a runaway out here. Come on you’re what, fifteen sixteen possibly seventeen at most. Your parents are probably worried sick about you.”
“I am not a kid!” She shouted at me, “I am nineteen years old and an adult. I was just living with my parents because they happen to be over protective people. I had dropped out of college and they just didn’t understand. I realized life there was getting me nowhere so up and left. I thought going into town would be a waste of time, so I thought I would walk and someone would be nice enough to give me a ride.” Expelling a long sigh and taking deep breaths, I realized that she had just let out a lot of pent up frustration.
“Okay, so you are nineteen?” it probably wasn’t the right thing to say but she seemed too young to be her age.
“Yes I am and I may seem young to you but I know about things you wouldn’t even begin to understand.” The way she said this gave me chills.
Feeling that I didn’t even want to go there I asked her what her name was. “My names Ulric and back there is my brother Lyall.”
“I am Irene. It was very nice to meet you Ulric, but at the moment the sun is setting and I am losing what precious light is left.” Finishing that last part, she turned on her heels and again walked away from me at lightning speed.
She wasn’t supposed to leave. It was this feeling that I got whenever I knew something. This girl was not just human, but something more. It made me curious about her. “Irene, wait,” I shouted after her. She turned to face me, speaking I said, “Why don’t you come with us, we can give you a ride to the city. We won’t make it there tonight, so we will camp alongside the road, but in the morning we will get you to the city.”
I watched as she turned towards the expanse of road, contemplating her decision, while glancing at the fading sun. With my enhanced sight, I could see something come over her. At the same time, I felt a surge of power. This force was unlike anything I had ever felt before. Irene must have made her decision because all of a sudden she was right in front of me. No one had ever been able to move that fast without my knowledge before, not unless they were of the magical variety.
“I’ll come, as long as you promise to drop me off at the first hotel in sight.”
It was hard to promise her this, especially since I wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do. I was both attracted to her and something made me instinctively realize that she needed to be here.
Once I promised to do what she said she walked over to the truck. I had forgotten all about Lyall for those brief couple of moments but now that I remembered him, I could tell that he was stunned with disbelief. Being so old to the world, I was usually uncaring and rude, so my interaction with Irene floored him.
Walking back to the truck, I spoke to Lyall. “I’ve decided we will call it a night and in the morning head to New Orleans.” Even though he had probably already heard every bit of the conversation with his sensitive ears, I told him to keep up appearances.
I got in the truck and turned the key in the ignition. Starting the engine, I pulled onto the side of the road into the grass. Turning the truck off, I got out and rounded to the tailgate. It was a good place to camp with the huge trees in the wooded area just beyond the darkening green blades of grass.
Lyall kept giving me nervous glances, but I just ignored them. Opening the truck bed, I started grabbing everything we would need for the night, sleeping bags, backpacks, and the cooler. As we did this Irene, who was still standing on the side of the road, began to walk toward us.
Both men are rather odd, I thought to myself. Lyall seemed hesitant and reserved while Ulric seemed, I don’t know, different. Neither one of them was normal by any means, yet I felt completely safe. I had this way of knowing things, almost like a gift. It was that feeling I had now, knowing that both of them were good and wouldn’t hurt me.
These things were running through my head as I made my way to the truck that both men were unloading. “Can I help with anything?”
Lyall answered, “Rick, why don’t you and Irene go gather some wood, so we can make a nice fire and aren’t caught in the dark too long.
Opening the backpack on my shoulder, I pulled out the flashlight, that I had used countless times to read in the dark. The last rays of sunlight were now hidden behind trees and I knew that the darkness could consume you if you weren't careful.
Without really saying a word to me, Ulric began picking up all the branches he could find. The dark had settled in and I found it odd that he wasn’t using a flashlight to find his way around. I bent over and started picking up branches as well, deciding that what he chose to say or not say wasn’t any of my business.
To try and balance the wood and keep the beam of light in front of me became a challenge, as the wood piled up in my arms. As I was juggling everything that I was carrying, I failed to see the large rock right in front of me. The wood and my flashlight went flying, as I was falling. Sprawled out on the ground awkwardly, I tested my limbs to make sure I was all right.
Embarrassed enough that I had fallen, I tried to get myself off the ground quickly, but my ankle hurt too much, so once I had gotten to my feet, I yelped out in agony and was about to go down once again, when out of nowhere Ulric was there holding me up.
“I’m alright. It’s just a sprain. No big deal.” I thought about telling him how I was used to being slightly clumsy. Anytime I sprained something it was healed within ten minutes, which most people thought was peculiar.
He said nothing as he brought me to the sleeping bag his brother had thoughtfully rolled out for me, even though I had protested to his help reverently. Sitting carefully, I took my bag off my shoulder and watched as he and Lyall immediately went to collect the wood I had gathered and my flashlight.
I was nice and toasty once the campfire was made up. Both Ulric and Lyall had skillfully crafted it. Everyone was now seated and the silence was awkward, so to break it, I asked, “Where are you two from, ‘cause you sure aren’t from my small town?”
Ulric was the one I had tried to direct the question to, but all he did was study me very carefully. Instead Lyall answered, telling me that they lived in a large gated community two hours outside of New Orleans, but that essentially they were from all over.
Lyall then began to talk of this girl back home. You could tell he was in love by the way he described her and how he just wouldn’t stop his ranting on and on. I wanted to peek at my watch, but didn’t want to be rude. Lyall was very nice, and it was charming the way he spoke of her.
I noticed Ulric seemed as bored as I was, when finally Lyall paused. Thankful for the end of his seemingly never-ending speech, I was about to respectfully say goodnight, when Ulric surprised me by asking a question.
“Earlier, you said you dropped out of college. I was just wondering, why?”
I thought it was entirely odd that he had been pondering over this, but decided the truth wouldn’t hurt any. “Ever since I was a child I had been fascinated with anything magic and that had to do with the supernatural. I had gone to college to further study it, but found it was a waste of money.”
“How is going to college a waste of money?” Lyall asked, thoroughly confused.
“College wasn’t a waste.” I explained, “Paying for something I already had was. When I was growing up, I read extensively. Mythical beings and the supernatural were my favorite subjects. People thought that it was weird that I read so much, and they weren’t too proud of what I read. My favorite thing to read is anything on werewolves. I read all that I could get my hands on about the subject. When I finally went off to college hoping to further my education, I found that I should have been the one teaching the class, having had to correct the teacher more times than I could count.”
Startled faces stared back at me. By their expressions I could tell that I had really surprised them with my answers, which puzzled me greatly. While they continued to be speechless, I sank down into a very soft sleeping bag and yawned. Realizing how late it had gotten and how tired I felt, I decided to break their unnecessary silence.
“Thank you both for all that you have done, being nice to me and giving me a ride into New Orleans tomorrow, I really appreciate it. Its very late though and I am beyond tired,” I paused to try and stifle a yawn, ”so I think I am going to go to sleep now.” My eyes were already closed, and I felt my last bit of consciousness leave my body, as I slid into dreams.
Irene was out before either of us could say a word. I knew that the moment she was unable to hear us talk my idiot brother was going to bombard me with his millions of questions. We both had a lot to talk about and before he could start in on me I decided to probe the night in order to see if I could detect anything unusual or out of place.
The air was crisp and clear; there were no disturbances that I could sense.
“What did you think of her very remarkable answer to your little question? I know it stunned you and the emotions that I felt coming from you were things I haven’t felt for a long time.”
“Just drop it. Seriously, right now we should be focused on how to address The Pack, and what we should report to them regarding to Aeronwen.” I so did not feel like getting into it with him over that matter.
“Aeronwen has been hard to follow. We have little to nothing to inform them of for the past couple of years, especially since a while ago when we lost track of her whereabouts. During all that time since we have been unable to find her she could have begun tracking us following our scents. Irene might not be safe, and she seems to be a very nice girl, I wouldn’t want anything to happen to her.” Lyall finished speaking and an eerie silence fell into place, both of us staring at the sleeping girl.
Not even wanting to think of the danger to her, or think about the feelings that kept creeping in, I finally replied, “By tomorrow Irene will be gone, out of our lives, and Aeronwen won’t know anything about her.”
I didn’t know what to make of the absence of Aeronwen’s scent or if Lyall had noticed the lack of it for the past couple of days. Needing to know I decided to ask.
He answered, “I haven’t noticed anything in regards to her, not for a while, and I can usually detect her little surges here and there.”
It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear, but it was the answer I had expected. I looked down at Irene’s sleeping form. She seemed so peaceful, it was hard not to look at her and get lost, but for things to go right I needed to discuss more with Lyall about recent events.
Pulling my gaze from Irene I looked at my brother and talked. “Aeronwen isn’t close, or if she is I can’t find her scent anywhere near us. The Pack won’t like the uncertainty of not knowing where she is, especially since the last time we knew of her location and the ambush plans she had been working on.”
The Pack had assigned my brother, Lyall and I to do some reconnaissance on Aeronwen’s every move, wanting us to report in on any of her possible plans. As far as we know she was searching in this region for someone. Her death toll has been rising in the process. If we knew the location of the person she was searching for, the both of us would have recovered the person a long time ago, but we don’t even have a clue as to who it might be.
Aeronwen is every person’s nightmare, come true. Not a monster like you would think, she is tall and beautiful, almost unreal. She is regal in her stance, with long wavy brown locks of pure silk and tanned skin. Her crystal blue eyes pierce the soul. Don’t let her appearance fool you though, not even for a second. She is a heartless woman with ice in her veins. A killer with no remorse, she has created a small but deadly army of nearly seventy-five men and women who hunt every full moon. She is the werewolf of legends, hunting and killing many, giving all werewolves a bad name.
As one of the oldest living werewolves she has an unbelievable amount of power. There are rumors that she is well over two thousand years old, but no one knows her true age.
There are other rumors that she is searching for one of our oldest legends. Every werewolf in existence knows the tale is just a story told to give hope to those of us just wishing to be human again. The story says that there is one human out in the world somewhere with werewolf blood of the most pure lineage. This human being would have the ability to shift as we do, but wouldn’t be forced on the full moon to do so. That is why it is supposed to be so hard to find the mystery being.
He or she will be plagued with dreams of things from the past, present, and future. Theses dreams will derive from the first werewolf ever created. The secret ritual to freeing werewolves from their curse, making them human again would be in the dreams.
Of course, I, as an old werewolf don’t believe any of this to be true. Having been apart of The Pack for well over one hundred years has taught me that hope is not for our kind, and that is why I am on this mission. The Pack is dedicated to stopping those who would use this hopeful story to kill innocent beings.
To break me from my reverie Lyall began to ask questions. “Hey Rick, what are we going to tell The Pack council members. It’s been well over a year since we last saw anyone and with the full moon tomorrow night Aeronwen is going to kill more people because of that blasted legend. What we need to do is locate her and gather a hunting party and try to stop her.” Lyall’s words only brought one thing to mind and those were images of a bloodbath.
Just as I was about to comment on his statement, Irene began to squirm in her sleeping bag. She was rolling and rustling at first, but then she began to murmur incoherently. The mumble changed slowly into actual words.
“La libero dalla maledizione di vecchio, Lei era una volta umano e può essere di nuovo, Con queste parole la sciolgo da ciò che era fatto, l'Essere Umano al licantropo e sostiene di nuovo.”
Over and over Irene kept repeating the same phrase. It took me a few moments to locate the language and its meaning.
Irene was speaking Italian. It translated to, “I free thee from the curse of old, and you were once human and can be again, and with these words I unbind thee from what was done, human to werewolf and back again.”
I was completely puzzled by what was going on, and one look at my brother told me he was feeling the exact same way.
Who is this girl? What is going on here?
I was dizzy.
The room was spinning around.
The lights were dim.
After a small moment my gaze came into focus. Candles illuminated the space around me. Taking in my surrounding, I noticed that to my right by just a few scant feet was an altar looking thing. Standing behind it was a young, handsome man reading from a leather bound tome.
Around the perimeter of the room were men speaking in an ancient and beautiful language. They were cloaked in large black robes, their faces masked in darkness.
The handsome man reading from the book paused, his attention fixed entirely on me. His intensity made me squirm. That was the moment my senses caught up with me, and I realized I was bound to a pole. I began to move in an attempt to escape the bonds that held me, but the process was futile.
I really wanted to be released, so I tried to appeal to the man gazing at me. The words coming out of my mouth were in a language I had never even heard before, but I fully understood everything I said.
“I will be saved Amara, so be quiet,” he said, speaking to me in the same language I had spoken to him.
At his words the men and women who had been mumbling in the background began to chant. They all got up off their knees, moving towards me. Behind me a cold, sweaty hand started the process of untying my numb lifeless wrists that hurt from the previous struggle. The black blobs gathered closely, stopping all escape routes and rendering me helpless. I was unbound for mere seconds before someone had me tied up again, this time not to a pole.
My arms relaxed now that they weren’t strained against the rough wood of the post. I felt a little relief now that there wasn’t any pressure running through both my arms, but it was short lived. My view was no longer obscured as everyone began to follow the creepy man with the book out of the room. From behind I was shoved forward very rudely to follow after, the force of which made me grunt.
We left what seemed to be the basement, going through a couple of tunnels and up a flight of stairs. I could feel the call of the night as its clear freshness surrounded my being. A circle of lit torches surrounding a stone slab, were the only source of light in the dark. For reasons unknown to me, my heart started to race, pounding like a drum in my chest, and I knew that I was in real danger.
Taking in more of the area, I noticed the leather straps on the stone rock. They were the same ones that I could feel held my hands immobile. To the immediate right of the stone was the man with the book, at a podium of sorts.
At this point of my surveillance I had either blacked out or was knocked unconscious. When I came too, I was looking up at the starless night and bright full moon. The man who had once held a book but now held what looked like a ritualistic dagger suddenly blocked my view.
As the moon made its way to the center of the sky I felt this wrenching throughout my entire body. My bones and organs were on fire, and reshaping all on their own. The pain was too much and I screamed out in agony.
Next thing I knew I was being shook awake, and someone was yelling at me.
“Irene, Irene, get up. Are you okay?”
Opening my eyes, I looked up into the faces of Ulric and Lyall. They had worried looks upon their similar faces.
“What is it?” I asked feeling embarrassed for the second time in front of the brothers. They had been staring at me and I really hoped that I hadn’t been talking or, God forbid, drooling. Oh how humiliating.
“You were thrashing around and speaking in your sleep. Both of us became worried and thought it best to wake you.” Lyall spoke.
Sitting up in the sleeping bag I looked around. The fire had dwindled down to nothing and the sky was beginning to lighten. They both looked apprehensive, like they had something else they wanted to say or ask.
“Is there something else the two of you wanted to say? Is it time to go?”
Turning away from me Ulric started packing up, leaving Lyall to answer.
“No there was nothing else, and sure we could start out. We are going to cook some breakfast, so you can go behind the trees over there and change while we pack up and cook food.
I got up and headed to the trees with the clothes I decided to wear. When I finished dressing I tool out my portable mirror and hairbrush. Quickly I combed my long unruly curls, doing the best I could to tame it. Finally deciding it was hopeless, I put it up in a ponytail.
Grabbing my things I headed back to the fire and the smell of food. The fire was going strong and both men had sausage and eggs frying. I made my way over and sat down next to Lyall, who seemed the friendlier of the two this morning. Ulric had this expression of deep thought, and whatever he was thinking didn’t seem to be good.
Lyall smiled at me and offered the first plate of food my way. I thanked him and ate what was offered. The eggs were delicious and I ate them all, but only tasted small bites of the meat, not wanting to be rude. I forgot to mention to the two boys that I was a vegetarian by choice.
When I felt that I had eaten enough to satisfy my hunger they were both on there second helpings. Smiling at how fast they seemed to eat, I couldn’t help but turn my head and giggle as they shoveled spoonful after spoonful of food into their mouths. Each bite they took seemed synchronized which was even funnier.
Startled by my small giggle they both stopped stuffing their faces and looked at me with the same confused almost annoyed look. This time I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. I laughed so hard my sides hurt. The confused expressions became more puzzled and as they looked at each other making them look identical it had me almost rolling on the ground with hysterical.
Lyall looked very concerned as he set his food down and touched my shoulder. “Are you alright? What was so funny?”
At his words and touch my amusement at them died down quickly, and with the most serious voice I could muster I said, “You have no idea how funny it is to watch the two of you eat.”
“What?” Ulric asked.
“Do you both rehearse? Every bite each of you took was synchronized. Even your expressions mimicked one another.” I couldn’t help but smile as I felt the humor building up again at the memory.
“Oh.” That was all Ulric seemed capable of saying.
Feeling a little guilty that I may have hurt some feelings, I decided to apologize. “I’m sorry if I hurt both of your feelings with my thoughtlessness.”Lyall was the first to brush off my apology. “It wasn't that, its just we've never been laughed at for the way we eat. I mean, people say we look alike, but they've never found it comical. It was just really surprising.”
“Still I really am sorry.”
I felt bad for what I had done by making fun of them, even if they forgave me for it, so I sat back and tried to let them eat in peace. Watching quietly while they ate turned out to be a lot harder than I ever would have thought possible. My eyes had nearly popped out of my head they were so wide. Both the brothers had eaten, a lot. They were on there seventh plateful of food, and would have kept going if they hadn't run out of food.
When they had been on there fourth, or maybe fifth plate they had both paused momentarily to offer me some more, but the smell of the sausage they had cooked filled my nostrils making me nauseated, so I had to decline.
By the time they had finished eating and cleaning up after the mess it was around eight in the morning. We finished loading the truck with the last of the stuff lying around, then we finally started on the road to New Orleans.