I almost forgot to post fiction, on Saturday. What a travesty that would have been. Another Werewolf fiction, coming at you. This one featuring our group’s favorite little alpha in training, Sylvia.
The Other Alpha
Sylvia walked out of the community center with her phone in hand. She waved goodbye to some of the kids, and then headed toward her car. It was the middle of the day now, she had the whole evening ahead of her. She could spend some of that heading back to her apartment on the Northside, or see what Kimiko was up to, or go on a run, or maybe Tessa wanted to chat.
She opened a new text message, “Have you found her yet? Maybe my sniffer can help? Plz call.” Then sent it to Tim.
She looked up, and found Jennifer leaning against her car.
“Hey, get off of there!” Sylvia shouted. She ran over, waving her arms like Jennifer was a seagull to shoo away.
Jennifer, a good head taller than Sylvia, gave her a stern expression as she stood up. “We need to talk.”
“Yeah, cool, whatever,” Sylvia said as she pulled out her keys, “Except I have to go now. So, later?”
Jennifer’s hands came down on Sylvia’s wrist. She squeezed tight until the keys slipped free and fell to the concrete. When Sylvia looked up, Jennifer still had that same expression.
“You’re in my territory,” Jennifer said, “I told you before. Your pack is gone, you gave up your claim. This is my pack’s land now.”
Ever since they all broke up, Sylvia was the only one really left in town. Sure Mike and Cam came by to visit family, but then they were gone just as fast. Then Jennifer stuck her fat nose into everything.
“You mean your dad’s pack?” Sylvia said. She regretted it as soon as she said it. Unfortunately, the thought just popped up, and came out of her mouth. Jennifer was always so sensitive about everything. She was supposed to be evil, Sylvia had to be careful.
Jennifer grabbed Sylvia by the shoulder, stretching the straps of her shirt. She growled for a second, real dog-like, and then let her go.
“I just want to be normal, okay?” Sylvia said, “No wolf stuff. Is that okay? Life is hard enough.”
Jennifer crossed her arms, and snorted, “No wolf stuff. I’m okay with that. But I’ll be watching.”
Sylvia swept up her keys, “Sweet. Bye!”
She jumped into her car, and as Jennifer stood there brooding, she drove off into central Naperville. It was a nice day, the wind kept her cool, and she could relax. At least, it was close to relaxing. Every time she thought about it all, she got twisted up inside. It felt like she was going to puke, or cry, or both. She missed the past, which is weird because it included a lot of scary stuff, and nearly dying. Going to college was the last idea on her mind then, and here she was.
Sylvia sniffed at the wind, and hit her brakes. A car behind her honked.
“Damnit,” She huffed, “Sorry.” She said as the car passed. She pulled over to the side of the road and pulled out her phone.
“Call me OK? & tell Cam I know that is his real number, so he should txt me.” Then she sent it to Mike.
That smell. It was like, dust, fungus, strange wood. She got out of her car, and walked around to the roadside. There was a small bit of woods there, and she knew if she followed it west, it would keep going until it hit a reserve.
“I swear if this is just Jennifer’s fat ass,” Sylvia swore to no one.
She looked both ways, and then covered her face with both hands before she started walking forward. There was the small snap and shift as her nose changed into a snout. She sniffed again, and got even more. This wasn’t normal, whatever it was. At the same time, it was a little familiar.
When she was far enough from the road, she pulled out her phone and looked at it. She took a deep breath, stuffed it back in her pocket, and hunched forward. The ripple of the change went through her. It was a lot like shrinking, with the world rushing away from her, and finding yourself with a new perspective.
Her paws were damp from the grass. She could feel her sharp teeth locked in place. She was free, loose, a full wolf. She shook her fur, walked in a circle, and then sniffed at the ground. Whatever it was, whoever, they had walked this way.
She let out a small bark as she started to run. The wind rushed past her, the trees brushed against her. Occasionally, she stopped and sniffed again. Male, a little older than her, hurt? It had the smells of the city, but not, a little too country.
Sylvia stopped and marked a tree, and then wished she could laugh as a wolf.
She charged forward again, sniffing at the air, feeling a change in the winds. Whoever it was, they were up ahead. It wasn’t the first time a strange scent popped up in Naperville. Hopefully this one wasn’t a rat-monster, or some weird spirit. Those kinds of things were hard to deal with, and sometimes she just had to leave them alone. It wasn’t like she was a pack all by herself. Well, she kind of was.
When she got close, she felt something new. Her fur was standing on end, there was power here. Magic stuff, Tim’s stuff. She looked between the trees, There was a big boulder there, large enough to have a few other rocks in the same outcropping. It looked like someone had cleared it of trees once, maybe they used it as a little ritual circle, or just a campsight.
There in front of it was a guy, cross-legged. He was sitting in a pattern dug in the grass, almost like a large symbol. She could hear it, he was whispering.
Sylvia shifted back, and stepped into the clearing.
“It’s you?” Sylvia snapped, “What was your name… Jamal?”
The guy turned around. When their eyes met, for a moment, the guy wasn’t all there. It was like he was looking through her, his eyes just ornaments in his head. Then he shook his head, and started to fidget. he stood up and backed against the rock.
He was a rabbit shifter. They met him before, trying to steal from one of those crazy spider-creatures. He almost died last time, and then he said he was never coming back. Except, now here he was.
“You? Shit,” He looked around, “Is the rest of your pack here?”
“I thought we ran you out of town.” Sylvia said, “What are you even doing?”
He looked down at the weird circle, and some small rocks and crystals sitting at the base of the rock, “Look, It’s Jeremy, I have to do this, okay? Just, don’t look into it.”
“Yeah? And I have to kick your butt.”
Jeremy scrunched up his nose, and lifted an eyebrow.
“Wait,” Sylvia shifted tone, “Do you mean like, someone is controlling you? Or you just really want to do it?”
The rabbit-shifter cringed as if someone smacked him over the back of the head.
She remembered, he smelled hurt. Now that she looked at him, in his dirty jeans and some beat up shirt, he just looked like a hitchhiker. He didn’t seem hurt. Well, maybe a little twitchy, maybe he was emotionally hurt. Could she smell people’s depression? She didn’t know if that was awesome or not.
“Hold still, shifter.”
Sylvia turned, and saw that Jennifer was coming up behind her, with Dick Worth in tow. There was another boy there, younger even than Dick. Sylvia realized she didn’t know how big Jennifer’s pack was.
Jennifer walked up until she was close enough to reach out and touch Sylvia. “You couldn’t keep your promise for a whole hour.”
“Yeah, well.” Sylvia didn’t have anything to add there, but she was sure a comeback would come in time.
“I’m guessing she is in charge now?” Jeremy said while pointing at Jennifer.
Sylvia put her thumb to her chest, “No, I’m the alpha!”
“We’re not even the same pack,” Dick shouted.
“Still, I found him first,” Sylvia said, “So back off.”
Jennifer motioned, Dick and the new guy started to walk toward Jeremy.
Jeremy’s took a step away from the rock. He was sweating now. Last time Sylvia saw him, he was a jerk, but he at least kept his cool. Something changed, and she didn’t know what it was. Why was he so worried? She could figure that out after she kicked Jennifer’s ass.
“I’ll just go,” Jeremy said, and then his body twisted down until he was just a brown rabbit. He bounded around the boulder, and started off into the woods.
“Oh no you don’t!” Dick growled before shifting into a large black wolf and bounding after him.
Sylvia turned and was prepared to shift as well, except Jennifer grabbed her by the shoulder.
They turned and looked at each other. There wasn’t anger there like last time, Jennifer looked concerned. She pointed to the weird stuff by the rock, and started to walk over.
“Dick will run him down, or at least out of Naperville,” Jennifer said, “Look at this.”
So far, Jennifer had only ambushed her twice in her life, not counting today. That was still a good track record. It was two to one now, but maybe she could get away if she really needed to. She walked over and kneeled by the little shrine Jeremy was building.
“This is a locus,” Jennifer said, “So I guess he can use essence. Still, this is weird, why all these symbols and offerings just to get essence?”
“Maybe it is a ritual or something,” Sylvia said. Then she thought better of giving Jennifer any good ideas, “Wait, nevermind. It can’t be that right?”
Jennifer grabbed the crystals and rocks. They were different colors, shapes, sizes. Some of them had symbols cut into them, but each was different.
“I think the crazy shit in Chicago is starting to spill out,” Jennifer said, “Bad stuff is coming.”
“You mean like your dad?”
“Well, I mean, he isn’t the baddest guy,” Sylvia clarified, “But he is still an asshole. He tried to kill us.”
Jennifer stood up, “So you don’t know anything then? What about the others? The little guy, Tim, maybe he could figure this out.”
She could see Jennifer was mad. Good, her dad was bad, she needed to deal with that.
“I’ll see,” Sylvia said with her nose turned up, “Next time, don’t follow me.”
“Richard saw you pull off the road.”
“That’s such a bad guy thing to do,” Sylvia said, “Just following someone into the woods. You don’t know what I was doing out here. Maybe I was jogging, or streaking.”
Jennifer shook her head and snorted, “Why do I even try to talk to you? Come on Lee, we’re leaving.”
Sylvia’s heart jumped, “Wait! I’m sorry. Look, I want to help, okay?”
“You aren’t part of my pack,” Jennifer said, “We should be killing you right now.”
Sylvia smiled, “But you aren’t.”
The Pure girl looked at Lee, the new kid, and made a hand motion that caused him to run off in the direction Dick went.
“I know you’re just trying to help the city,” Jennifer said, “So I’m being nice. I’m not like my dad, I know when to put my teeth away. Still, if you stop being useful, I’m putting you on a bus to Chicago.”
Jennifer grabbed all the stones, and started to walk back to the road.
“Whatever, I drive now,” Sylvia mumbled as she pulled out her phone and took a picture of the markings in the grass and on the stone.
She opened up a text message, “OMG, I sniffed something in NPville. You would be so proud. I nearly got killed, but it was weird, so I followed it. It was something strange, and I found Jeremy, or Jamal, whatever. He was there, and acting weird. Then guess who 1 of 2”
“Showed up? Jennifer. She is such a bitch, but she wouldn’t fight me. I think she likes me. What if she was mad in love with me? Wouldn’t that be weird, like a secret undying love? I think she is good now, maybe. Whatever, her pack is helping. So I will figure it out, until you come back. Then you can help. 2 of 2”
Then she sent it to Levi, with the picture of the stone attached, and signed ‘Pack Alpha’.
She laughed, and then jogged to catch up with Jennifer.