Posted on Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:40 pm
1-90 Travelling East towards Wisconsin | Light Rain | Just After Lunch
My hands gripped the steering wheel with a fiery intensity. It was stupidly hard attempting to not be such a horrible person. Trying not to lie, to keep promises, to not act solely based on some selfish need. Whenever I tried to pat myself on the back for doing something selfless, it was easy to roll back the layers and see it all for what it really was. Even the little things I did were always for my benefit. I hadn’t even fucking decided to really get off the Fanger Blood until I’d seen the appalling state Portia was in. When if I was an honourable person, I would have planned to do so due to promising Camille. Shouldn’t have even needed that in the first place either. I knew that it was damaging to everyone around me. Making excuses that it only affected me was fucking stupid. I had attacked and eaten a wolf while jacked up. I was a danger to everyone.
“Fuck sake why am I even bothering?” Talking to myself. First sign of being crazy. Comes a bit late though. I think seeing shit that wasn’t there topped having conversations with no-one. “I’m just a shitty person.” What was the point? Redemption was out of my reach anyway. I didn’t need it in order to get what I wanted and that’s what really mattered right? That’s all I gave a shit about right? There was literally no reason to try to be a better person even though Onyx had made me want to be one. Seeing him soldier on when I knew how he was feeling. Though fuck at least I hadn’t run from my problems like he had. Actually, what was I saying? I had on hundreds of occasions. I was doing that right now. I had no right to condemn him. Almost stopped the car, but instead I put my foot down on the accelerator. Fuck it. He was stronger than me. Whatever, so be it. I give up.
All of a sudden the radio crackled into life. I’d never heard the song. Didn’t think the fucking stereo worked in this piece of shit. Hadn’t when I needed it to drown out Portia’s bullshit. The instruments were bare bone, no overly produced effects, giving the illusion of live music when it in fact wasn’t. Made the lyrics all the more prominent.
"When the cracks on my bedroom ceiling. Give me this empty bottle feeling. I think it's time to repaint. It's time to repaint myself. Try not to peer through plastic eyes, through plastic eyes. Peel back the rind and you’ll find something kind. You’re still you, remember you. Rosy child, strong and wild. With apple lungs you breathe with ease floating on the breeze."
Why had I been doing this to myself again? Doubting myself. Questioning myself. Acting as if I couldn’t handle what I was going through. Buckling under the pressure. Walking around with this horrendous defeatist attitude to everything. There was nothing wrong with admitting to a measure of confusion since the Ancestors were never clear and Fanger blood had my brain working differently but I was still me. I was strong. I was fearless. I was a fighter. I didn’t need my hand held. The radio died having just given me a few lines of lyrics but I felt better for it. Music was always a source of enlightenment.
Posted on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:13 am
There was something I had decided needed to be done. I hadn’t been intending on taking a vehicle but this did make it faster. As I did need to get back to Index. Fuck that was screwed up. I’d been so intent on leaving all that mess behind me but in one day I’d been giving a hundred and one reasons to return. Knowing that actually detoxing would more than likely result in my death I had a few things I needed to do. Returning to the outskirts of Wisconsin was one of them. Twenty bucks of gas wasn’t going to get me there, but when I looked down at the fuel gauge it hadn’t shifted. Was probably broken. Glancing up for the third time in ten minutes, having tried to will the little needle to move with my eyes I almost didn’t see the figure on the side of the road. Her skeletal frame. Her elongated thumb sticking out looking for a ride. Needle rivulets caught in the headlights. How in the fuck had Portia gotten this far out?
Roughly turning the wheel I pulled up alongside her. The windows were already down, that was their permanent position. All the mechanisms in the doors completely fucked. “Get in.” I said bluntly, keeping my eyes stuck on the scene through the windshield. The first orange hued rays of sunrise kissing the horizon with the same loving care as an undertaker with the recently departed. Everything beautiful was going to be far more significant now. Though it would also be tainted with the morbid knowledge that I’d be shaking hands with the grim reaper soon. Wonder how the Ancestors were going to feel about that? I was meant to die at the hands of Onyx, not in the throes of withdrawal. Was this me walking off the pathway marked out for me? Or would I survive because it wasn’t how I was meant to meet my end? Couldn’t take any chances. Joining the pack became more important by the minute.
Silence filled the vehicle. While I normally hated it, right at this moment I would rather have it than listen to Portia. All good things came to an end though.
Posted on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:26 am
Just outside the borders to Wisconsin | Fine | Morning
Try as I might I couldn’t get that radio working again. As Portia ran her mouth I’d tried to shock it back into life. Grinding my teeth in frustration. My fingers freezing in the hundredth attempt I looked out of the windscreen, attempting to gauge the time. “Where’s my phone?” Needed to know the exact time. I hadn’t taken a hit of blood since the nightclub. This had to be a new record. No sweats. No tremors. “Where’s my fucking phone Portia!” Screaming at her the vehicle swerved as I rummaged around in the glovebox, pushing her legs unceremoniously to one side.
Portia just stared at me as I waited for the click, finding the coils red hot when I pulled the device from its compartment. Holding the metal to my cigarette, some of the tobacco getting stuck, I puffed deeply.
Though the location was unmarked and completely ambiguous, I knew where I was going. I’d only come to Index with a small backpack of meagre belongings. Nothing important. Anything that had any real deep significance to me had been buried. Actually buried. I wasn’t talking figuratively here. Favourite clothing was one thing. Objects I would run back into a burning building for was a different story. Slowing my speed, I let the car coast, still amazed that the tank hadn’t run dry. Holding the cigarette in between my lips I barely waited for the car to stop moving before I opened the door and got out. Portia followed suit, trailing behind me as I hiked off the highway. Walking with purpose for around five minutes I arrived at a slab of concrete that had obviously been moved from its original resting place. Taking one final drag on my smoke I began removing my clothing after tossing the glowing cigarette into the field. Portia settled into a cross legged position on the ground as if we were about to perform a spiritual ritual of some kind. Her emotionless eyes still regarding the deep expanse of sky above us like it was the most engrossing scene she had ever witnessed.
My transformation was agonizing. The shift was never without some measure of pain. Bones broke, grew, re-fused, becoming something new. Now it was something else. More torture than it had ever been. As soon as I stood on four legs instead of two I began digging. Didn’t take long to uncover a half squashed box. Shifting out, I settled on my knees in sparse dew laden grass, reaching for my treasures. “You don’t speak alright? Not a fucking word.” This was a ritual of sorts. One I’d never performed before. I’d been on the brink of death so many times before that I knew the whole cinema myth of having all the best scenes from your life replay before you died was just that, a myth. A beautiful idea that I was going to make happen.
Opening the damp box almost lovingly I removed the first item my hand came in contact with. A simple battered steel zippo lighter. On the side of it, carved into the metal by an experienced engraver was the pack symbol for the Dominion. Pushing back the sheath that shielded the flint and wick I hoped that it still had enough fuel to ignite. Dominion had fumed when he’d been unable to find it. I’d stolen it a week before I had intended on running. The night I’d gotten my prophecy from the Ancestors, confirming the restless disgusted feeling I’d been experiencing for months. I had loved him at one point. Really loved him. He had been my Alpha so that dedication was there whether I’d wanted to acknowledge it or not but it had turned into something else. Dominion hadn’t been perfect. He hadn’t been kind. He was more selfish than I was. Had been a terrible example of an Alpha in as many ways as he had been a great one. Still, I had loved him.
The previous Alpha had given him the lighter the night before their showdown for Pack Master. A battle Jaxen had known he was going to lose. Unlike many other packs The Dominion rarely had a new Alpha rise to power. Jaxen had already fought off three previous Warlords, maintaining his position for an impressive twenty one years before finally having his heart eaten by his Nephew. That wasn’t even a record for their pack either. Dominion had been Alpha for six years when I’d become a wolf. While he’d declared he was going to become the longest reigning figurehead, he would have to be content with being the last. Gripping the lighter in one hand I felt a tear trickle out of an eye. Would have to pretend Portia wasn’t here. Didn’t really want anyone else to see me break down but fuck it.
Posted on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:38 am
Running a finger over the wheel I almost gasped as the flame burst forth.
Fuck. Why was this so hard? Dominion could do it without even looking at the fucking thing. Even while driving. Lightning fast. Always perfect.
He held the slobbered on roll over the fire, apparently drying it out enough to be smokable before heavily dropping down beside me. As he lifted the cigarette to his mouth, I automatically, without even thinking, lit the end of it for him with his lighter. A grey cloud drifted slowly from his lips and I watched fascinated as he puffed out a ring. Could feel his eyes eating into me but I kept watching the smoke as it rose, mingled with the exhaust from the fire pit and dissipated into the cool Autumn air.
Rose both my eyebrows at him, finally taking in those pale blue eyes. They weren’t intense in their color, like it had been washed out. Unnerving. Cold. Desolate wasteland. When he looked at me however fine lines around those eyes became more prominent. They shouldn’t even be there. Smile wrinkles. He frowned and snarled more than he ever fucking grinned.
There was something about that word that terrified me. I could say that I loved everyone and I did, in my own way. Every single wolf was just another representation of the salvation I had been gifted. Though Dominion had offered to turn me, I had never really accepted. Wanted to but I was so wary of taking anyone at their word. Damaged to the point I assumed everyone had nefarious ulterior motives for wanting to do anything for me. On the eve of Christmas day he had bitten me during one seriously involved sexual experience on this very hill. He’d given me a present that would never be topped. The love he was talking about was not this, freely given, diluted expression of companionship I offered to everyone who could transform into a beast. No, this was the kind that stripped people bare. Removed all common sense. Wild. Uncontrollable. Passionate and destructive. So real that everything else just dulled in comparison. So far everyone I had loved in that way had died. Finn, my little brother. My Grandmother. Those were my only experiences of love in that pure form. Since I didn’t even remotely feel that way about my Mother and Father I knew it had nothing to do with being related.
“Really?” The whispered word sounded confused but disgustingly hopeful. I’d decided a long time ago that it was hard to love me. Shit, my own parents hadn’t so there was obviously something wrong with me. Dominion wasn’t the type to wear his heart on his sleeve. Sona had said we got on so well because we were so alike in many ways. That we brought out the best in each other, as well as the worst. Our fights were legendary. He’d given me so much but at no point did he lord that over my head. Never made me feel like he was my saviour, when in fact he was. At every turn he saw me as this warrior maiden. I’d begun to see myself through his eyes. “I’ll move my stuff tomorrow.” Nothing more was said. I never did return the statement of affection. Not out loud. Not in words.
A multitude of tears had crept down my cheeks by the time I’d relived the scene I always remembered when I touched his lighter. Whenever I sparked a flame from it. It had been so simple then. That love had felt so right. Had no idea how it had gone so fucking wrong in the end. Dominion had become fanatical. Lost his fucking mind. I’d always believed and still did that somehow I had done something to make him completely psychotic.
Posted on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:48 am
The next item I removed from the box was much older than the rest. Memories associated with this one were as thin and delicate as the skeleton of a leaf or the structure of a snowflake. Far more complex but undoubtedly filled in with what I wanted to remember. Being so young it was obvious that I’d embellished to flesh it out. Didn’t make it any less powerful. Taking the small plushie I held it to my chest. Always found it curious that my little brother’s favourite toy had been a wolf.
Momma was asleep. It was after lunch. I’d learned from school that it wasn’t normal for Mommas to be in bed at this time but she was. He was out. Didn’t know where. Didn’t care. Was just me and Finn. Had just finished changing his nappy. He always made it tricky. Wiggling around, trying to play. He was always so scared though. When other people were around. So I didn’t want him to stop playing with his toy. Even if he bopped me on the head with it. Finn was my best friend. My only friend. The other kids at school looked at me strangely. Looking at the bruises on my arms. Whispering while staring at me. Made me want to cry. When I came home he would hold out his pudgy arms wanting to be picked up. We would cuddle and I would feel better.
Carrying him I made sure to open the sliding door slowly. Didn’t want to wake Momma. That would just make her angry. Taking him to the tree in the overgrown garden, I squashed down some grass with my feet. He laid on his tummy. I made the wolf toy walk through the grass. Barking, growling, howling. Finn giggled, jiggling about. One day I was going to take him to the zoo. Show him a real one. “Wolfy is looking for some friends to play with.” I always talked to Finn. Momma said he was dumb because he didn’t say a word. She said he should at least know how to say Mama. Hated it when she said mean things about him. Tried not to look at the bruises on his arms. “You should really give your wolf a name Finn.” I held the toy out to him and he took it gurgling with happiness.
Choked on a sob as the toy fell from my fingers.