The truth sweeps across the wind in a whisper.
It waves in the gentle dance of the leaves
Floating across the ground.
To fix what is broken,
Means only to shed the lie.
All make for sleepless nights.
Still I wait for you.
Holding my breathe.
Waiting for the sweet rapture
Of the moment to carry me away.
Deep dark colors of grey clouds flooded the sky, yet the brushes of light pink hues held their own against the dying of the light. The air, so cold and frigid, it felt like it could break with the slightest breath. Snow continued to fall on the ground shrouding the world with a sense of sorrow.
Alaynee waited in her car with Squeaks and Ollie. She hadn’t seen Sharron in days and still didn’t know what was going on with her. A small web of doubt formed around the area of her heart where she held her friends close to her soul. Unable to understand why she hadn’t spoke to Sharron in days, Alaynee desperately wanted to talk to her about all that had happened in the last few days. Even though Prom was rapidly approaching, it was the farthest thing from her mind. The whole idea of a lioness being out to get her haunted her every move and she often caught herself looking over her shoulder to see if it was there again.
The trail to the lake that was normally visible during the month of May, was covered in a blanket of hard snow that even the dry porous ground didn’t want to soak up. The three of them sat in the car. Waiting. Quiet. Careful not to speak about what was on their minds. Alaynee looked in the rear view mirror at Squeaks who stared out the window, while Ollie sat in the front seat with a blank look on her face.
“I’ve never seen you have such a blank look on your face. What’s going on?” Alaynee asked.
Ollie looked back at Squeaks. “Here, listen to this song. I think you might like it,” she said, handing him her ipod.
Ollie let out a deep breath and spoke with hesitation. “Have you ever read the legend of the Shakya Clan?” Ollie asked.
“A little, why?”
“They turn into lionesses. You have been attacked by one three times now. And all of that didn’t start until Cleo came to town. Right?” Ollie finished.
“What, you’re saying mom brought a lioness home by accident and she’s here to kill me? Why? What sense would that make?” Alaynee asked.
‘Oh God, maybe I’m not crazy.’
The truth was Alaynee had thought about the same thing when she read about a myth in her A.P English class. Still, it didn’t make sense to her.
“No, you’re not crazy. Look I did a little research when the fire lion attacked you. Here, look,” she said, pulling out an old book she swiped from the reference department at the library.
Ollie opened the book to a page about an old Chinese Myth called the Lizard King. Ancient drawings covered the right side of the page. In one of them, a hunter was covered by a shadow while the gods watched from their clouds and did nothing. The hunter transformed into a monster, part wolf and part lion. Standing by his side was a girl who stared at him with adoring eyes.
“The myth that’s shared every year in a shadow puppet show never talks about the girl. See that picture. Doesn’t it look the least bit familiar?” Ollie said. She pointed out the girl next to the demon possessed man.
“Yeah, but that could just mean that she’s Chinese. You know, like Cleo,” Alaynee said.
She didn’t want to wrap her head around the possibility that a member of an unknown moon clan could be walking around them. “What does the wolf represent?” she asked.
“Us. I don’t know what’s supposed to happen, but somehow, he chose to take a member of Tibolt’s Clan eons ago. It’s just so old, that no one knows about it. This might be why we are here tonight. It could also be the reason for the snow,” Ollie replied.
“When are we getting out? This is boring.” Squeaks wined.
“We have to wait for the others. Look. See the lights from the cars?” she asked.
“Yes. It’s about time. Are mom and dad coming? Why did I have to come?” Squeaks asked.
“I didn’t want to leave you home alone and yes, mom and dad will be here. So will everyone else,” Alaynee told him.
“Oh, Cara too?” he asked.
Alaynee caught a grin form on Ollie’s face and couldn’t help but smile as well. “Yes. She will be here.”
“I’m glad you didn’t leave me with that girl. Cara doesn’t like her. She says Cleo is dark inside. Does that make sense to you, because it didn’t to me,” he said.
“Yeah baby, it makes sense. Did Cara say why she is dark inside?” Alaynee asked.
“No. She did want me to start learning Kung Fu though. I don’t know why, but it sounds like fun so I said ok,” he told her.
“Well, she’s a very good friend to you. She’s what we like to call a keeper,” Alaynee said.
“So we have another werewolf hurting people again?” Squeaks asked with an earnest look on his face.
Alaynee looked into his deep dark eyes and grinned. “No. We don’t. Why would you say that?”
“Because last time we had one, we all had to wait. Just like we’re having to wait right now,” he told her.
Alaynee smiled at his innocence then looked out the window. The rest of the youngling pack began to arrive. Daniel had Sharron with him and Jonah had Cara with him. Dakota, Utah and Nini all came together in Dakota’s Jeep. All their parents, Big Sal, Chief Running Wolf and the rest of the clan arrived at the base of the sacred mountain.
The tee-pee had not been taken down from a few nights ago. Tiokisan lit the fire while Bobby Joe and Lynn helped Chief Running Wolf to the chair they brought for him. Covered in blankets, the clan gathered around the fire. A few of the clan members brought their drums and another one a flute. Chief Running Wolf brought his peace pipe that had been handed down for generations.
Alaynee rushed over to Jonah and let a deep sigh of relief. She wrapped her arms around him. “Safe and sound.”
“Yes, I’m safe. Why? Oh, wait, you’re thinking about the lioness again aren’t you?” he said.
She turned to see Squeaks run to Cara. The two of them already had an unspoken language, one of deep and abiding friendship. Alaynee smiled at the two of them. “Where’s Sharron?” she asked, changing the subject.
“Over there with Daniel,” Jonah said.
“I’ll be right back.”
With a quick peck on the cheek, Alaynee raced over to see Sharron. She was stopped sudden when she realized how pale She looked. “Oh my God. What happened?” Alaynee asked.
Sharron looked at her through red blood shot eyes that were masked in black. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she wore sweats.
“I can’t talk about it now. I’ll tell you about it later,” she told her.
Alaynee gave Sharron a long hug then punched her brother. “Why didn’t you tell me she was this sick?”
“I’m sorry. She asked me not to. She said she knew you would never let her rest if you knew. So she made me promise. Besides, she isn’t sick,” Daniel said.
“What do you mean she isn’t sick? Look at-” Alaynee was cut off.
“We will tell you later. Right now we have to find out why the weather is so weird. Any idea’s?” Sharron asked.
Alaynee knew her diversion tactics all too well. “It’s Cleo,” Alaynee said.
“You can’t blame her for everything. I mean come on, the weather is her fault too?” Jonah asked from behind.
Alaynee jumped. She didn’t hear him come up behind her.
“Ollie and I have a theory. Why are you so protective of her?” Alaynee asked.
“I told you why. Never mind. We can talk about your theory later. Besides, there’s something I want to tell you. It’s about the other day at the diner,” Jonah whispered in her ear.
The eight younglings walked together to the sacred grounds. Silent. Humble. Strong. They were still a pack no matter what was going on in their personal lives. Even though there was so much doubt weaved around them, they all still loved one another.
Alaynee felt the love of the youngling pack surround her soul and she smiled to herself. She missed all of them being together. It had been weeks since all of them had been to long in her mind since they had been together.