strike: a faerie tale
Author's note: This a sequel; check out the first. This second book took me one month during a summer vacation... Show full author's note »
delusionMAN MAULED BY WOLF IN MEMORIAL PARK
Yesterday, thirty-four-year-old Frank Santali, father of Josh and Amy Santali, juniors here at Lincoln High School, was mauled by a wolf. He is currently in critical condition. Investigators have found no evidence in or near Memorial park, where the incident had occurred, to see that it was truly caused by a wolf.
Wolves being seen around this town is a rare occasion, especially being attacked by one. But animal experts have concluded that the teeth
I couldn't read anymore. The fact that everyone was talking about it was enough. I had never expected it to have appeared in our own school newspaper after seeing the headlines and news reports repeating the accident. But as I sat in the quad during lunch the next day, I shouldn't have been surprised.
All day I've heard nothing except "I'm sorry about your dad" or "He'll be okay right?" and "At least he's still alive" was one I received from jocks and brain dead potheads who didn't even know me. Josh didn't want to come to school so I had to endure the day of sympathy alone. Liz helped with the explanations and Jake shoved the idiots away from me.
The teachers didn't ask me questions or assign a lot of work as to give me peace, which was grateful. After last night, I wasn't sure if I was alive enough to do much. The girls from P.E. laid off my case. They thought it would be going too far as to giving me hard time about Jake at the moment.
Lunch was the best part of the day for me. We thankfully ate quietly, at least Liz and Jake did; I never ate when I was upset. I simply looked around till I became aware that I was actually looking for Roxanne. I realized I shouldn't be expecting her at school. She probably didn't want to risk the chance of running into me and Jake.
Jake and I never told Liz or Josh about our little run in with Roxanne. The last thing they needed to worry about was a werewolf on the loose.
My worries were starting to make me feel like crying--which was something I definitely didn't want to do.
I mumbled something about the bathroom as I got up and walked away from Liz and Jake. I headed to the bathroom as I my phone buzzed in my pocket. I didn't risk answering it then, a security guard was passing by. As soon as I went into a stall, I checked my phone. I had received a message from Alloid. 'U need 2 come ASAP! Very important -Alloid.'
I had an idea what this would be about. I had no time to dwell on that for the bell rang. I made my way to the tree but it was deserted.
They probably went to class
As I stressfully made my way through the hall, more people noticed me. I carefully shoved through crowd after crowd; I felt like I was in a rush. It was probably my irrational irritation; my emotions were on the fritz. Jake was waiting for me outside the door to history, carrying my backpack.
"Where've you been?" he asked. "I just got--"
"A text from Alloid, I know. I got one too," I said as we walked into class. We were continuing the film from yesterday. Yesterday… it never seemed to have left my mind, and if it did, it simply clawed its way back. Jake and I made our way through the dark classroom to a pair of lone seats in the back.
"Should we go right after school?" Jake whispered when the film began.
"What about your tryouts?" I replied. I suddenly remembered the results of my tryouts were posted today.
"Oh, yeah. Well, I'll just make sure I'm first," he answered. "Did you see if you--"
"Shhhh!" said a student in front of us. He thought he had silenced us and continued watching the film, satisfied.
"Go suck an egg!" I hissed into his ear. He scowled at me and quickly moved up a seat. I leaned back in my chair as Jake had raised his eyebrows at me.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm peachy keen, Jake. Peachy keen."
History wasn't so bad afterwards. I simply took a nap while everyone else tried to watch the film. English went sort of the same way. We watched a movie on Shakespeare though we had covered the subject in 9th grade. All through class, however, Jake didn't strike up conversation; 'Don't bother me or feel my wrath' was probably written across my forehead.
It was bad enough I had to continue to endure everyone's pity, but it just added more to the fact that Roxanne was still around. I didn't want to hurt her but what else was there? If she hurts another person, I would automatically feel responsible. Jake and I knew what she was and were probably the only ones who would be able to stop her--I don't have a gun with silver bullets. If Josh knew what we were thinking of doing…. Josh.
He likes Roxanne. Roxanne probably likes him back. If they ever made contact… who knows what would happen, how dangerously close they would become. Josh was in serious danger just knowing her. Thankfully she wasn't around him. But I wasn't sure how long that would last.
Jake and I entered study hall quietly. He still hadn't spoken up. As we took out our work he didn't even glance my way. I was starting to think he was scared of me.
He jumped a little. "Yeah?" he said, eyes on his paper. I sighed, a little frustrated about his nervousness around me.
"Why aren't you talking to me?"
"I'm afraid you'll bite my head off." I smirked. "You seem stressed about a lot of things," he mused. "I'm just worried you'll blow up or something."
"I'm sure you'd survive. Did you bring your stuff?" I asked. Jake looked confused.
I rolled my eyes. "Your football stuff?" He looked down at the floor to see only
his back pack. Then he comically slapped his forehead; it sounded a bit louder than normal but no one noticed.
"Crap. I'll have to pop home and get them."
The hour flew by as we gradually made our way to conversation. We talked about what we heard around school, kept away about the touchy issues. Josh didn't come… and Liz would have to walk home alone. I told Jake. Other than pestering me about stressing, he understood. We greeted her at our usual spot.
"Liz," I said. "Jake's gonna take you home."
She raised her eyebrows at me, confused. "Why?"
"Do you really have to ask?" Jake broke in. We led her to the back of a classroom. She and Jake were about to leave.
"Wait! Why do I have to home like this? I can walk you know," she exclaimed. Jake and I couldn't help but roll our eyes at her.
"Liz, are you serious? That wolf is out there," I said firmly. "Jake and I are simply taking some safety precautions."
She looked unconvinced. "I know you too well, Amy Santali," she began. "But I can't help but feel that you're blaming yourself for this. You need--"
"What I need is for you to be safe," I cut in. "So quit arguing and go home." Jake took her hand and disappeared before she could argue.
As I waited, I couldn't help but think about what Liz had said. She was right, I was blaming myself for everything. I hated how everyone could read me like a book. If this was a couple of months ago, I would've agreed. These things would've been out of my control.
But this wasn't a couple of months ago. And I do have some control over these things. Even if this wasn't my fault--I realized it's not--I still felt some responsibility to help put things right.
Jake popped up with his duffel bag, smiling. I couldn't admit that I didn't feel nervous as Jake first lead me to the Stud-Gov center. There was the Junior Varsity list followed by a list labeled:
LHS GIRLS VARSITY TENNIS TEAM
"Congratulations super star," said Jake as he picked me up and spun me. I involuntarily squealed with joy.
We became serious when we saw all the other guys trying out on the field. They were huge. NFL players didn't seem to stand a chance against these guys.
"Go easy on them, Jake." He merely smirked as he kissed me--very intensely. I assumed he was putting on a show for the guys; I wrapped my arms around him.
"Wish me luck," he said as he jogged to the coach. I walked to the stadium and sat at the bench. The people already there looked at me until I turned to look at them; they all immediately paid their attention to the practice.
The coach made everyone run a mile around the track. Jake looked to me and smiled; he was practically on the team already. He stayed in front, letting guys huff alongside him. Next they had to do push-ups, sit-ups, followed by throws, kicks, and catches. During those moments, when Jake was on the other side of the field, Roxanne was on my mind. When I thought of her, I remembered last night… I thought of Josh getting close to her…. By the end of the practice, all the guys walked off the field in ache and pain--except Jake.
The walk home was long. I didn't like it for I was compressed by my thoughts of what was to come. Jake was talking about the tryouts… or something guy-related, I nodded at the right times though I wasn't sure what he was saying. Roxanne--or the vicious werewolf she became--was always on my mind.
"Amy? Are you listening?" Jake asked, sending my thoughts on a whirlwind. It took a while to catch up. We were already outside my house.
"What did I just say?" He raised an eyebrow.
I thought for a moment. "You were saying… how easy tryouts were?" I guessed. Jake laughed at me as I blushed quickly.
"I stopped talking about the tryouts two streets ago, while you were spaced out, I guess. I was wondering if you wanted me to come inside with you."
He rolled his eyes at me. "I think it's a bad idea to leave you all alone with your thoughts."
"Fine," I sighed as I opened the door.
Mom was washing dishes. "How was school?"
"It was fine." I tossed my backpack to the bottom of the stairs. "Where's Josh?"
She began putting dishes in the cabinets. "He went out," she answered. I should have told Liz to call Josh to not go out and about at the moment.
"With Liz?" Jake asked.
"No. A girl came over and asked for Josh. I figured Josh would like the company instead of staying home all day. He told me about her just moving here. I think her name was… Roseanne or--"
I gulped. "Roxanne?" She nodded, not comprehending my shocked expression.
"We're gonna go upstairs and uh… do homework. We have lots," Jake said, pulling me towards the stairs. I couldn't believe it. Of all the people for Josh to kick it with… a fricking werewolf? But he didn't know. He didn't know. I just couldn't move, couldn't think. Roxanne… werewolf… Josh… together… most likely alone.
"Amy? Snap out of it!" Jake was shaking me by the shoulders.
"Cut it out. I got it!" I shoved myself out of his hold. "Where could they be? Where would they go? They can't have gone far." I probably said more, but it all tumbled out at once. Jake was looking at me like I'd gone crazy. I was officially freaking out, something that wasn't a normal thing for me.
"Calm down. We'll be able to look for them if you fly us over town. I'll keep us invisible so no one will see us," he said, slowly so I could understand. I was just glad someone was using their brain.
Jake turned us invisible and I flew us out the window. We soared over town and the school, no sign of Josh or Roxanne anywhere; the streets were full of kids walking home or around. We passed over the grapevines and the almond tree orchards west of town--no Josh or Roxanne. It felt like hours as we rushed all over town; the sun was starting to set. We were nearing the orchard where we first caught up with Roxanne the other night.
"Look!" Jake was wildly pointing down. There they were, Roxanne talking with Josh, sitting in the grass in the shade of one of the wild almond trees. We became visible and landed in front of them as they quickly stood up, confusion on their faces.
"Amy! What the hell are you doing? What's going on?" Josh asked, stepping in front of Roxanne.
"Josh, get away from her! She's dangerous!" I walked over to them when Roxanne stepped out from behind Josh. A look of pure venom in her eyes, though her response took me by complete surprise.
Her face crumbled.
"Why don't you like me? Josh likes me. Why do you hate me for who I am?!" she demanded. I was stunned for a minute.
"Who?! Who you are?!" Jake replied in disbelief. "More like what you are! Josh, step away from her before she hurts you next!"
"What are you talking about?" He looked at us like we were insane.
I sighed. "She's a werewolf, Josh. She was the wolf who attacked Dad last night. She then tried to attack me and Jake after we left the hospital." He seemed to understand at once and started to back away, looking at Roxanne the way he'd looked at me when I'd told him what I was; I knew it had to hurt. Roxanne turned to him as he stepped away from her.
"You can't believe her, can you, Josh?" she asked softly. "You said so yourself she was slowly going crazy. You told me she had lied to you before. Why should this be any different?" Josh stopped and looked from me to Roxanne, confusion seeping into his brain.
I stepped forward. "Don't believe her, Josh. Jake and I've seen her turn into a werewolf. She can't control it--"
"She's lying, Josh!" she roared over me. "All she cares about is herself. Why do you think she can lie to you so easily? She never puts you first." She slowly moved closer to him, everything seemed to darken with each step she took. Roxanne looked like she was trembling.
"Josh," I pleaded, "get away from her. I don't want you to get hurt. She will--" I stopped and looked up at the sky. We all did as it became night in less than a minute. Clouds were already gathering, and we all watched as a gust of wind blew through the orchard and the clouds moved to reveal a bright, full moon.
Roxanne began to scream, drawing our eyes back to her. She transformed quicker than before. Already in the air--already a wolf--she was heading towards Josh, the closest one to her.
"No!" I yelled as I shoved Josh out of the way. Her black eyes burned into mine as she was almost on me.