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Thursday, April 21, 2016

School Update and possible things to come!

   So, I got a letter in the mail the other day from the college I ma enrolled in. I am officially on the Dean's List with a 4.0 GPA. I am also an official member of both Kappa Pi and NTHS. To celebrate my recent achievements, I have decided to dig up some of my older art to share with you all. I will have some up by the end of the weekend. I will post the dates they were created when I post them.

   Also, I am planning to continue writing a novel I put on hold a few years ago. I want to have it completed and published by the time I graduate. As soon as I learn how to make 3D animations, I will begin making an animation of it as well. But before I can do that, I need to change the name of it. Right now, it is titled, "Tale of the Curse." But it gives too much away. So, here is the challenge: if you can come up with name for it based off the prologue and the first three chapters and I like it, I will give you a free art commission of your choice. Digital art commissions are preferred, but I will do traditional art commissions if asked. Also, I do realize there are mistakes in my writing, but keep in mind that it has not been edited yet. I just wanted to get my ideas down on paper before having to worry about the editing. The time frame for the challenge begins now and ends at the end of next month.

So, until then--
Cya! <3

-Phlox Creations

            In a somewhat average scene, there is a hidden world full of danger and adventure. It is a world with night walkers, formidable hunters, and much more. It all begins in London, England. An ancient curse passed down throughout the generations, adventures, and the beginning of a new romance; and the mysterious transformation that changes the lives of a generation and the bonds that binds a group of friends together.
             “Come on! Hurry it up already.” A young boy exclaimed as he waited for me to maneuver out of the doorway.
            I; the eldest brother, maneuvered my crutches out the door before swinging my body outside to allow Darrel; my little brother, to pass by. ”Seriously, you need to chill out a bit and just let me take my time, Darrel.”
            “Whatever.” Darrel retorted as he walked off, ignoring me completely.
            As I walked out to the family van, my mother; Brenda, walked out of the house behind me while carrying a box. “Be careful, sweetheart.” She reminded me.
            “He’s fine, Brenda. You don’t have to worry about him all the time.” My father; Aldrich, had chimed in from the back of the car.
            “I know, but I’m his mother and I’m allowed to worry about him and remind him to be careful sometimes.”
            “You’re talking about sometimes, but you worry and remind him all the time. You’re like a broken record most days.” He chuckled lightly at her.
            “In my opinion, I think it’s good that she worries. It means she loves us when she worries about the family.” Maitane; my little sister, had commented as she walked out reading a book.
            A short while later after getting everything packed in the van, we headed out to the airport. Darrel kept pushing my buttons; literally pushing my buttons on my shirt. I told Brenda and Aldrich, but they didn’t seem to notice anything going on. At least, that’s what they wanted us to think. Our plane was scheduled to take off in approximately two hours. We were moving from London to Miami, Florida in the United States of America. We were running on time and the traffic was moving quickly. We made it there with plenty of time to look around in the shops. They had a few different shops in the airport. Most of them had candies, magazines, and headphones. There was on shop I went in to that had a café and a few other items that the other shops did not have. There were snack foods and CDs of all sorts, I-pods and music down loaders available. The items were reasonably priced and it was only a few bucks more to use the down loader. I decided it would be a good idea to get the I-pod and the down loader deal for the plane ride. An hour or so later, the call for our gate to begin boarding ran through the airport. We all made our way to the gate. The line was moving quickly and we were the second group checked in. We were informed our bags were already loaded on the plane. Our tickets were checked and we were lead to our first class seats. We didn’t have any luggage to carry on, except for the small bags of items bought in the shops.
            Once we were settled in and everyone was the plane, the flight attendants read the rules and safety precautions out to everybody. They demonstrated the proper ways to use the emergency equipment. The flight attendants walked around making sure no one was unbuckled. There was a little girl in the back of plane who was not buckled, but they buckled her up and got her settled down. Everything was set, so they went to their seats and buckled up as well. The plane engines roared to life as the plane was pulled to the runway. We sat there for at least twenty minutes waiting in line. I watched the other planes before us take off into the early morning sky. The sun was rising into the sky. The sunrise was gorgeous. I watched as our plane took its position and prepared to take off. My heart beat faster as I became excited. The force of the plane as it took off was powerful. I had never been on a plane before. It got up to speed just in time to clear the end of the runway. I watched out of the window for a good long while. I watched as we flew over the open ocean below until I fell asleep.
            When I woke up we were in Miami and had just landed. I was ready to be off the plane and get to the new house. Aldrich had already made a previous trip to the new house a few weeks ago to make sure all of the boxes of our belongings were put in its proper place. By him doing so, all there was left to do was make sure we got there. I just wanted to find my bed and pass out on it. I knew I would need plenty of rest since classes would begin tomorrow. I wasn’t sure what to think about going to a new school yet, all I knew was I was just ready to get it all over with.
            As soon as we got to the new house, I was helped in and shown to my room. As soon as I lay on my bed, I fell asleep. I was dreaming about London and the different things there was to do there. I dreamed about hanging out with my old friends. They were friends that I thought I would never see again.
            In what seemed like in a blink of an eye, two years had passed by.
Chapter One:
Eighteenth Birthday!
            Beep! Beep! Beep! The alarm’s piercing shrieks filled my room. I; startled out of a deep slumber, rolled towards the edge of my bed. Turning off the alarm, I stretched my stiff limbs and gazed around my room with tiresome eyes. The fresh scent of the ocean breeze and palm trees snuck into my room through an open window.
            “Not again.” I stifled a yawn while getting off my bed. But just as I stood, the door flung open and Darrel barraged in! He took two leaps into my room and sprung to the air flying towards me. I froze for only a moment, but it was just enough time for him to tackle me to the floor beside my bed.
            “Get up, bro! Don’t want to be late for school, do you?” Darrel chuckled at my frustration of his intrusion.
            “Oh no, my dear brother, I would never possibly be late to witness your humiliation of you asking your best friend out.” I retorted sharply. “Shall I bring my video camera too?”
            “I’ll tell mother if you do!”
            “Tell her! It’s not like she’s going to do anything about it. I’ll even give her the video for the collection she has from since you were little. I’m sure she will be more than glad to take it.”
            “Is that a threat?”
            “Of course it’s not.” I smiles maliciously at him. “It’s a promise.”
            An expression of worry crossed Darrel’s face and I found myself unable to quit my cruel, Theatrical, quarrel with him. It amused me. It made me feel dominant over him. That’s when I decided I wouldn’t put up with his bullying anymore. It was time to take control of my life for a change, not let others decide what’s best for me. Unless, of course, it Brenda or Aldrich. Definitely do not want to anger them. Those two were a force not to reconcile with. They were highly respected back in London and are still highly respected here in Florida.
            I got off the floor; from where I had been tackled, in just enough time to see Darrel run out of my room. I heard his heavy feet the whole way down stairs to the kitchen. I chuckled to myself as I walked over to the open window. The breeze felt nice and warm. Comforting and calming. I shut the window and got a shirt out of the closet. It was gray with black stripes. Well, at least Connor will appreciate my taste in clothing, I thought to myself as I finished dressing for school. Grabbing my bag and tossing it over my shoulder, I walked out of my room and headed for the kitchen. My phone went off in my pocket playing American Idiot in all of its glory, letting me know I had a text message. It took my phone out of my pocket and flipped it open. It was from Liam.
            ~Meet out front on the steps~ he had texted.
            In reply I said, ~okay. I’ll tell Connor. Wonder what color his hair is today? ~
            ~There is really no telling with him. Do you think his hair will match his outfit again? ~
            ~There’s only one way to find out~
            ~Yeah. See you there~
            I texted Connor and told him Liam will be waiting on the steps at school for us. I grabbed a quick bite to bite to eat. Nothing special just a single, unimportant slice of buttered toast. Brenda was in the kitchen making a nutritious meal for everyone. My sister, Maitane, was helping her out with the buttering of the toast and the frying of the bacon. Maitane tried to catch me before I left the house, but she was too late. I decided to take the bus to school for a change. Being seen riding with my mother was a bit insulting for my age. Eighteen finally and yet I feel no different. Was I even supposed to? I walked out to the end of the road and waiting for the bus. It seemed like it too forever when in reality it only took five minutes, give or a take a few seconds.
            When the bus got here, I was surprised to see that it was half full. The door opened and I walked up the three steep steps. As I made my way to the back of the bus, I scanned my surroundings and notices there were only seventeen others on here. I took the seat in the back and stared out the window the whole ride. I could feel the stairs of the other students on the bus drilling holes in me, just trying to figure out who I was. It was like they had never seen me before. Was I invisible to them those last two years? It was unsettling.
            The bus pulled up to the school and everyone made their way off the bus in a hurry. I got up and made sure I was the last one off. I didn’t want to draw attention to me. All I wanted to do was meet my friends at the location we had agreed on. I looked at the ground as I made my way to the steps. Connor and Liam were there waiting like always and I was the last to meet up there. It’s funny how time passes and the more you examine the things people said had changed; they never actually changed at all.
            We got to talking about the possibilities of the day’s events, until I noticed the most beautiful girl in the entire school, Coral. She was like something you would see in one of the playboy bunny posters. She has long dirty-blond hair, bright blue eyes as well as an angel’s body. Sure she was a stuck up little snob, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a perfect ten in the guys book. She would be the perfect girl for any guy out there. Plus she was popular. She walked past us as if she didn’t notice we existed. Liam and Connor were waving their hands in my face. I hardly noticed them.
            I snapped out of it just in time for the tardy bell to ring. Connor, Liam, and I raced to get to class before Ms. Ross had noticed our tardiness. We flew through the door and to the back of the class. Good thing Ms. Ross was older and had hearing issues. Her back was to us as she began to write the topics of today’s discussions on the board. This was a private school and there were only a select few who qualified to be in it. My family and I were lucky to get in two years ago. Of course a lot of how we got in was based on how much we paid to get in. We had plenty of money to go around and last us a life time.
            As Ms. Ross lectured us on all the topics I found myself drifting into my own world. I never did pay attention in class. Her melodramatic, long winded lectures always seemed to put me to sleep. Paper in the wind was more exciting to watch than having to listen to her lectures. It was a miracle I was passing her class. I never studied, never paid attention, and never really cared in the first place! I already read all my class books, so there was really no point in paying attention in her class. I did my school work and turned it in too just so I would have something to do. American schools were a lot different than London schools.
            I began dreaming about an abstracted world when I was slightly startled out of my peaceful world of make-believe. Steven; the class jock, decided it would be fun to throw wads of paper at me while I was sleeping. His last name was Payne and man was he ever a pain. He was Coral’s boy toy at the time but she refers to him as her boyfriend. He’s been known to prank people all the time or just flat out bully them. In my first year attending this school, in America, he threw me in the dumpster out back. That was humiliating.
            I heard Connor stick up for me as I started to stir. Ms. Ross was busy writing notes on the board to notice the quarrel fixing to start between me and my friends and Steven. Connor was sitting in an alert position with his odd teal colored hair spiked and matching his outfit yet again.
            “You have got to be joking!” Steve snapped. “The only guy who’s going to stick up for him and call me out is Mr. Rainbow? What a joke! Next week you should try pink. It brings out the girl in you.” He laughed hysterically.
            “Well at least I’m man enough to try and pull this look off! It looks better on me than your true color looks on you!” Connor snapped back.
            By that time, the noise level had stirred me enough to wake my slumber. I yawned and looked around to see what was going on. Connor and Steven were standing nose to nose glaring at each other profusely. I happened to glance right behind Connor and noticed Raven beginning to stand and make her way to them. My eyes widened with confusion as I watched the quarrel play out.
            “All he does is sleep the whole time every class!” Steven continued his harassing.
            “At least he’s still smart enough to pass this class unlike you, Steven” Raven butted into the conflict. “He has aced every test he’s taken and what do you have to show? You have nothing more than ‘D’s’?”
            “He’s still passing, you little want-to-be!” Coral jumped in.
            “I much rather be a ‘want-to-be’ than a stuck up, prep like you are!”
            Ms. Ross turned around and noticed the quarrel. She slammed the book down hard on her desk causing the whole class to jump. Everyone returned to their desks and kept their mouths shut until she turned around to write more notes down on the board. As soon as she turned around again to write on the board the quarrel had started back up. This time, Liam had drug my attention away from the others.
            “So, Floyd, what are you planning on doing after school for your birthday?” Liam asked me curiously. I could tell he was planning something, but I wasn’t too sure what it was.
            “Not much. My parents are planning a party for me at six if you want to come.” I replied.
            “Sounds fun, but seriously. Want to go to the park?”
            “’Go to the park’? No.” I cackled.
            “Not the park-park. Go to the Amusement park where they have rides and a pool!”
            “That would be sweet, dude! That would be awesome. Sure.”
            “Connor can come too. Heck, even your sis and he friend can come. I’m pretty sure your little bro is going to have his annoying friend over. I doubt they will want to stay there with those two stalking them.”
            “You have a fairly strong point there. Yeah, we’ll invite them and leave the other two stranded at the house with the parents.”
            We both agreed on that option. Neither of us got along with my little brother, or his friends. Those two were hell on wheels and nothing could stop them from ruining everything. The school bell rang and everyone who was once standing had quickly sat down. Ms. Ross turned around and gave us our homework that we had to turn in on Monday. She waited for the second bell to sound and when it did she dismissed us.
            It was going on about three in the afternoon. Connor, Liam, and I walked out of the classroom and started down the hall quickly, hoping to make it out before my brother and his friend found us. We were about half way down the hall when I heard Raven calling me. We all stopped and turned around to face her. She ran up to us and handed me a card.
            “It’s not much, but it is your birthday after all.” She smiled sweetly at me.
            “We’re about to go to the amusement park, would you like to come?” I invited her and smiled back politely.
            “No. I don’t think so. I’m not much of a rollercoaster girl.” She hesitated.
            “Well, if you’re not doing anything later; say around six, my folks are having a small party for me at the house. It’d be cool if you could come.”
            “I can do that. I’m not real big into huge crowds, but a small one I can handle.” She giggled shyly.
            “So, I’ll see you there then?”
            “You sure will. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
            “Thanks again for the gift. See you later on!” I waved to her as we headed in different directions.
            “That was sweet of her.” Connor smiled brightly at me.
            I blushed slightly then said, “Well she is a really good friend, you know.”
            “How good of a friend are you two?” Liam grinned at me causing me to blush ever so slightly more.
            “We’re just really good friends.” I reassured them cautiously.
            “You have a crush on her, don’t you?” Connor made his comeback.
            “I have no idea what you are both talking about.” I chuckled and kept on toward the doors.
            “But you’re blushing so it must mean something.” Liam stated as she and Connor quickened their pace to keep up with me.
            “It’s just because the questions being asked out in public are embarrassing me.” I mumbled to them as we exited to school I time to miss Darrel.
            “Yeah, we’ve heard it all before. It’s the same old, same old. But look on the bright side of things you don’t have to deal with your little bro right this second.” Connor stated as he threw his arms up and put his hands behind his head while walking beside me.
            I couldn’t help but notice that he did have a good point about not having to deal with Darrel at the moment, but it meant that it would be hard to get away from him once we got to the house. Darrel was an interesting selection for God to give my parents. They thought he was a perfect angel when, in fact, he was just the opposite. He always had messy, dark brown hair and envy-filled, green eyes. He was playfully childish and too annoying. He was the spoiled, rule-breaker of the family who loved to prank people. He was Steven’s partner in crime.
            Maitane, on the other hand, was a sweet girl. She has flowing, blond hair and big, golden eyes that glimmer like stars. She’s kind hearted and always has a smile on her face. My sister is my hero. But she does hate it when Darrel and I get into fights. Only thing I really despise is that Merlin; Darrel’s friend has a huge crush on her. It’s creepy how he comes over to stalk her. He’s been coming around to stalk her for two years. Funny how the things that need to change actually becomes worse as time passes.
            As we walked up to the Calhoun Residence, we noticed Maitane and her friend Hailey were waiting for us on the front porch. Naturally curious by nature, we guys walked up to confront them. The way they were looking at us three with gleaming eyes, smiles, and giggles was like walking into the girl’s restroom on accident. We could hear Darrel and Merlin on their decent from the stairs to the door as I hesitated to ask what the girls were seemingly so ecstatic about. I smiles shyly and asked,
            “What is with the squiggles and giggles, girls?”
            “You are going to be so surprised when you find out.” Hailey couldn’t help but blurt out for the world to know.
            “Shh!” Maitane reminded Hailey. “Let’s just say we know something you don’t know, but mother won’t even let us give you a hit.” She told me with a huge grin.
            “Well, mother does have a point in telling you that. If you told me what it was or even hinted to it then it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore.”
            “But it would be nice to know anyway.” Both Connor and Liam stated in unison.
            I turned to them and nodded in agreement. The front door opened up to reveal the demented duo, Darrel and Merlin. The two young guys walked out with smug expressions. I couldn’t help but to glare at them. The air surrounding us became thick with tension. Merlin was wearing his dorky little hat and shades again like he always does.
            “Sup, boys?” Merlin said with his retarded squeak of a voice as he tried to act big and bad like a gangster.
            “Nothing that a small fry like you would need to know.” Connor retorted.
            “You better call off your boy, if you know what mean.” Darrel bluffed.
            “You know your bluffing doesn’t work on me.” I reminded.
            “I never said it did. Just call of your gay friends and get out of our way.” Darrel told.
            “Yeah, call off your gay friends and get out of our way.” Merlin copied.
            “Okay. First let me point out something. My friends are not gay like you two are. As a matter of fact, we were just about to leave after asking the girls if they wanted to go to the park with us so you two can have all the gay fun you want to. And second, we don’t have to get out of your way because you can just go around.” I stated to them while glaring sharply into their souls.
            Merlin looked worriedly at Darrel as Darrel’s face became red with anger. Merlin backed away slightly as Darrel balled his hands into fists and said, “If you won’t move then I’ll make you move.”
            “So what do you say, girls? Want to go to the amusement park with us?” I asked them, ignoring Darrel as much as I could.
            The girls smiled brightly and nodded. “Yes!” they said.
            “Then get your things ready to go. Get a towel too. There’s an awesome water slide and a huge pool there. Heck, I might even get in!” I laughed as I watched them run inside to get ready as I saw Darrel take a few steps towards me.
            He pulled his fist back like a sling shot band and flung his fist at my face as hard as he could. I saw it coming so I blocked it using my palm and clenched his fist tightly. His eyes widened with disbelieve that I could block his oh so powerful blow with just one hand. With his free hand he tried it again, but he didn’t learn from the first time. I blocked his fist from making contacting again and clenched it tightly with my other hand. Darrel had a look on his face of not knowing what to do at a critical moment such as this as I twisted one arm over the other and slung him hard to the ground.
            It wasn’t long until Brenda came walking outside to break up the fight. She cleared her throat loudly and crossed her arms over her chest. She wasn’t too happy with us, but gave me a warning instead of a punishment this time since it was my birthday. I guess you could say I got the benefit of the doubt. Darrel, however, got grounded for a week this time instead of getting let off the hook. I was shocked, but happy at the same time.
            “When will you two learn to get along?” Brenda asked as she sighed heavily.
            “As soon as Darrel learns to leave me alone and not pester me about stupid stuff; or barge into my room and jump on me in the mornings.” I commented with an annoyed tone.
            “It’s called brotherly love, Floyd. Something you need to learn more about. It’s a good thing he feels like doing those things. It just means he loves you.” She stated.
            “Well, I’d like it if he showed me a little less love from now on. He’s annoying and childish. All he does is try to fight me and I’m tired of fighting a fight that I know for sure I can win. It’s not challenging at all. It’s irritating and boring.”
            “At least try to get along with him for now.” She asked me with concern in her voice. “Why don’t you all come in? I know you want to go hang out for a bit, but Floyd has to get his things anyway. We have plenty of snacks if you would like some.” She offered everyone.
            “No thank you, Ms. Calhoun. But thank you for the offer.” Liam said politely and Connor agreed.
            “We’ll take some snacks!” Darrel and Merlin shouted excitedly in unison.
            We all headed inside for the moment. I headed up to my room to get my swim trunks and a towel. Liam and Connor followed me up there. I shut my door and locked it so the two annoying brats couldn’t barge in. I pulled my black and lime checkered swim trunks out of the closet and grabbed my blacked beach towel to carry with me. I turned my back to the guys and changed into my trunks then grabbed a black tank to throw on to go with it. Turning to the guys I tossed them each a beach towel and a pair of swimming trunks for them to put on so we wouldn’t have to stop by their places and waste time. Connor got the bright teal and black stripped pair with a blue towel while Liam got a crimson and black plaid pair with a crimson towel. They didn’t complain as they changed into the trunks I handed them to borrow. Then I pulled out two more black tanks and handed them each one. They put them on quickly as I heard a knock on my door.
            “Who is it?” I asked curiously.
            “It’s me.” Hailey stated. “Your mother wants you down in the family room. She says it’s urgent.”
            “Tell her I’ll be right down. I’m just getting the rest of my stuff together”
            “Okay, but hurry”
            “I am.”
            I hurried to get the rest of the stuff, but couldn’t find my wallet. We headed down to the family room and sat down on the leather couches. I looked around and waited for someone to say something. No one said a thing until I began to get up. I heard Brenda clear her throat and get up. She walked over to me with a grim on her face and I sat back down again. She handed me a card. I opened it and a key fell on my lap. Liam picked the key up and handed it to me. I read the card aloud.
            “Happy Eighteenth Birthday, Floyd! I know how much you wanted it so we got it for you. Lots of love from Mom and Dad.” I held up the key and asked, “What’s this?”
            “It’s for your gift, son.” Aldrich stated as he came down from his study. He pulled out a pen and his check book from his pocket and began scratching down a few things on a new check. “How much do you think you’ll need for your little trip to the park?”
            “I don’t know. I need maybe a couple hundred? We were talking about eating on our way there and I don’t want to take them to a cheap place for my birthday.” I stated cautiously.
            “Go check the garage!” Maitane commanded. “You have a key so there has to be something the key goes to, right? So go check the garage!”
            “Alright, I’m going now.” I got up and walked to the garage door. I opened it and my surprise there it was! The black Mercedes SLS AMG! My dream car! I jumped up and down hysterically and run over to it. I opened the doors and immediately got in. I sunk into the leather seats and wrapped my fingers tightly around the steering wheel. I took the key and started the car up. The rumbling of the engine hummed in the garage. Sitting in the car fueled me and made me want to drive out of there right now. Liam and Connor were circling it like vultures do their prey. They wanted it bad. I could tell. But they couldn’t have it. I turned the key and got out. Shut the door and hugged Brenda and shook Aldrich’s hand firmly.
            “Thank you both!” I exclaimed as Aldrich handed me the check he wrote out for six hundred dollars.
            “Whatever you don’t use you can always use it for lunch during school or snacks on your break if you don’t sleep through it again. We’ll talk about the payments on your car as well as the insurance. You should also look into a job. The car won’t pay for its self, you know.” Aldrich commented.
            “Thank you, sir.” I bowed my head slightly in acknowledgement then turned to the guys then to the girls. “Is everyone ready?” I asked.
            “As ready as we’ll ever be!” Connor stated as he got in the car. “I call shot gun!” he shouted as he got in the front passenger seat.
            “Guess that leaves me in the back with girls unless you’re willing to let me drive.” Liam grinned widely.
            “Not a chance!” I retorted and chuckled. “But you can be in front on our way back, if you want.”
            “Nice!” Liam got in the back seat behind the driver seat.
            “Thank you for inviting us to tag along!” Hailey said with gratitude as she and Maitane got in the back.
            Once everyone who was going got in, I started the engine and opened the metal door to the garage. I slowly pulled out then stopped in the driveway to make a few adjustments to the seat and mirrors. As soon as I got everything adjusted where I needed them I pulled onto the road and headed to the bank to cash the check.
            “So, where does everyone want to go to eat?” I asked while I looked through an assortment of CDs on the visor over my head.
            “How about we go to Longhorn?” Hailey said.
            “Why go there when you can go to a better place like Outback?” Liam stated.
            “I’m on Liam’s side with that choice in the air.” Connor cackled lightly.
            “There’s always Kio!” Maitane exclaimed excitedly. “They have really good spring rolls and squid salad.” She giggled softly as everyone voiced their opinion on that with “Eww!”
            “Outback does sound good though. We can all get a steak. I thing the ribs are the best.” I stated. “Does everyone agree on Outback?”
            “Sure do!” Hailey giggled.
            “No complaints here, boss.” Connor joked.
            “I can’t say I can complain either.” Liam laughed.
            “I would have rather had sushi but steak is good too.” Maitane smiled playfully.
            I pulled up to the bank and pulled around to their drive through, pressed the button, and waited for the man or woman on the other side. I signed the back of the check. There was a woman on the other side of the class. She took a seat and pressed a few buttons. The canister came down the shoot and the door opened on it.
            “How may I help you today, sir?” the woman asked as I put the check and my ID in the canister, shut the door, and pressed then button to send it back.
            “I need to cash a check.” I stated to her as she received the canister.
            She opened it and said, “To confirm who you are, can you please tell me your name?”
            “I am Floyd Maurice Calhoun.”
            “Just one moment please, Mr. Calhoun.”
            “Thank you.” I watched her turn to a gentleman and hand him the check. He walked away periodically.
            “I’ve never heard your full name before.” Connor stated. “Is there a meaning behind it?”
            “There is.”
            “Can you tell us?” Liam questioned.
            “Not right now.”
            “Why can’t you tell us?” Connor pouted.
            I didn’t say anything so Maitane explained for me. “It has a mixed meaning to it and he’s ashamed of the meaning.”
            “What could it possibly mean for him to be ashamed of it?” Liam looked over at her with concern.
            “He’ll tell you when he’s ready.” Maitane smiled sweetly.
            The man came back to the woman as if he was trying to confirm several things. Then I saw him bring her the money. She put a couple paper clips on the bills to hold them together. That way when the littler door opened on the canister then money wouldn’t fly away on the winds. She put the money in the canister and sent it back. I received it and pulled my money and ID out. While counting the money the woman came back on the speaker and said,
            “I’m sorry for the wait. Have a good day, sir.”
            “Not a problem. Thank you.”
            Since the money was all there, I put it in the dash and drove off toward Outback. Arriving at Outback, we circled the parking lot several times looking for a spot. It was Friday so the place was packed. The line was out along the sidewalk. We decided to skip eating out since Aldrich was probably going to grill at the evening party. We pulled out of the parking lot and got back on the main road again. I turned the radio on and searched for a station. Not able to find a station I liked, I put in a Disturbed CD and cranked the volume up. We jammed out to it as we made our way to the amusement park.
            We got there after an hour of driving and found that it wasn’t as packed as we thought it would be. There was only about a handful of vehicles in the parking lot and I found a front row spot to park. I put the car in park and took the key out of the ignition. Making sure everyone had their things that were packed to bring; we got out of the car and headed to the admissions booth. There was a man in the booth waiting on people and a couple with their kids in front of us. Once they were through I handed the man sixty dollars for the five of us and he handed me ten back as well as the wrist bands. I handed everyone a wrist band and we all put them on while walking through the gates.
            “Who’s up for the water slide first?” I asked as I jumped up and down waiting for someone to speak.
            “I am!” Connor stated.
            “Let’s have a race there, then. First one there to the top and down it wins and the last one there and to the bottom has to-”
            “-has to get Floyd’s cake smashed in their face and a blackmail photo taken of them and posted all over Facebook!” Liam interrupted.
            “You’re on!” we all laughed and took off sprinting toward the ladder leading to the top of the slide.
            The race to the top was epic! First Liam was in second and Hailey was in third but just as they started their climb Connor was in second and Liam was in third. Hailey fell to last place quickly and Maitane was keeping strong in third. I never once left first place. I kept going strong with a good lead in first but Connor was catching up quickly. I hurried down the slide, pushing myself off to give me an extra boost on my decent. Connor just reached the slide as I got to the bottom. Hailey and Maitane quickly made their way pass Liam and to the slide. Connor shot down the slide just seconds before Maitane did. Hailey and Liam were tied. They pushed off the top at the same time and began their decent. We all cheered them on and waited to see who would be the first one down. Liam had the advantage of being taller than Hailey but Hailey weighed less than Liam and glided down on top of the water. At the very bottom I was ready with my camera to take a photo finish. I snapped the photo in just enough time to capture the fourth place winner. Hailey was the winner! Which meant only one thing, Liam would have to deal with getting cake smeared all over him and a photo taken and posted all over Facebook that same night. The race was awesome and even though Liam had height on his side, Hailey has the luck of less friction and a slightly faster ride down. It was a fair match but there was plenty of time for a rematch next time.
            We chilled out by the side of the water for a few. Drank a couple sodas and chatted about the school year so far. I have to admit, it is nice getting to spend time with friends like this. We talked about what we would do next school year and wondered if Steven would still be in our class or if he would be a junior forever. We all laughed about that thought. The sun was beginning to fall and the breeze became cooler. I decided I would start packing things up. Liam and Connor helped while we let the girls relax and keep chatting. I took everything to the car and put it all in the trunk. I waited there for everyone to get in. I got in and started it, the radio made me jump because of the volume still being set to max. I pulled the car up to the gates and they all got in. Liam sat up front this time. The ride home seemed much longer that the ride there. I put in my Good Charlotte CD and we rocked out the whole way back to the house.
            When I pulled into the garage and we all headed inside, we didn’t see anyone in the house. The girls headed to Maitane’s room to change and put their things away, while we guys went to my room to change and put our things away. After we were back into our clothes we wore earlier that day, we all headed down to the backyard. Music was playing, but not too loud. It was Evanescence. We walked out back and saw a huge bonfire going. Raven was already there. She was talking to Brenda. I walked up to her and welcomed her to my party.
             “Did you open the gift I gave you?” she asked curiously.
            “I was waiting for you to come to the party so I could open it in front of you.” I pulled it out of my pocket and opened it in front of her.
            “Well?” she asked. “What do you think of it?”
            I pulled out the kind of necklace a surfer would wear. “I like it. Nice job with the black and lime color pick of it too.” I put it on and I must admit; it was quite manly for a necklace. “That’s wicked! Thank you!”
            She smiles. “Not a problem.” She told me then walked over to the bonfire.
            I walked up to Connor and Liam to show them what the gift was that Raven had given to me. Liam thought it was the coolest thing ever and tried to bargain his way into getting it from me. I refused all his offers. But he was stubborn and wouldn’t give up. So I told him to ask Raven where she got it from and I would get him one as well so he wouldn’t feel left out. He accepted my offer and went to talk to Raven. Connor stuck around to chat with me for a bit.
            “Do you like your day so far?” He asked me curiously.
            “Well yeah! I got to spend the day with my friends. I got an awesome car. Everyone is having a great time. We have fire!” I chuckled as I motioned to the bonfire. “This is the best birthday ever!”
            “Right on! We so have to do this again.” He took a chug of his Pepsi before continuing. “Can I have my birthday over here?”
            “I don’t see why not. Your birthday is when again? November twelfth?”
            “That’s it. Not too much farther away from yours.”
            “We’ll have to have a party over here for you.” I stated.
            “Yeah, we will! But for now let’s just get Liam his prize for losing the race.” I cackled.
            We gathered everybody around Liam as Brenda walked out with the cake. We sang “Happy Birthday” to me then cut the cake. It was a huge cake because Brenda never knew how not to make too much of one thing for a small crowd. I took the first slice and winked at Raven who immediately took out her camera. She hurriedly powered it on and took aim, waiting for the perfect moment. I took the cake in my hands. As soon as Liam turned away, I casually walked up behind him. Out of nowhere all he saw were two hands full of cake plummeting toward his face. He took a step back to try and avoid it, but I was right there blocking his escape route. The cake made impact. It was like an explosion of cake all over his face and neck. Connor took a scoop of ice cream for extra measures and mixed in with the cake on Liam’s face. I released Liam and he stumbled forward. By that time Raven had gotten quite a few good action shots of the torture. Liam found the water hose and rinsed his face and neck off, but still had some in his hair. We showed everybody at my party the pictures.
            “Ice cream too? Are you serious, guys?” Liam chuckled in embarrassment.
            “It was for good luck and extra embarrassment!” Connor sated laughing so hard he could hardly breathe.
            “What about the pictures? I thought you said only one was going to be taken!” Liam dried his eyes from the tears coming caused from laughing too hard.
            “I couldn’t help myself. I had to get a few good ones.” Raven erupted with laughter.
            “You have to admit, it was pretty funny to witness you getting attacked by killer birthday cake and ice cream.” I commented with a grin.
            “You have a point there.” Connor stated. “It will supply me with jokes for the rest of the school year.”
            We all laughed and had some cake and ice cream while we hung out for a while longer. We joked about Liam’s prize over and over again. We cut up about it every time. The bonfire died down to a mere simmer as time seemed to fly by. This turned out to be the best birthday ever recorded in the history of mankind. There were pranks and friends to celebrate with. Everybody enjoyed themselves, some more than others. But it all seemed to end almost too quickly.
            It was getting later and the sun was going down. Brenda and Aldrich gazed into the darkening sky. The moon was coming up. It was full. The breeze picked up a bit and they decided the party was over. They sent Darrel and Maitane to bed and thought it was best if Hailey didn’t stay over that weekend. I thanked everyone for coming to celebrate with me and thanked them all again as they left to go home. Liam and Connor told me they would text me in the morning to see what I was doing. I told them I’d let them know. The wind began to pick up slightly more as my guests left for home. I turned toward my parents.
            “I guess I’ll be off to bed now. Thanks again for everything. Goodnight.” I had just turned to walk away when Aldrich placed his hand on my shoulder.
            “You still don’t remember anything, do you?” he asked me as he gazed into my eyes, concerned.
            “Remember what?” I questioned hesitantly.
            “The stories we use to tell you about our family’s ancestors.” Brenda walked over to me and placed her palms on my jaw, cradling my face in her hands.
            “What stories?” I looked frantically from Brenda to Aldrich. Their concern worried me.
            “About what would happen the night of your eighteenth birthday, Floyd? Think, boy!” Aldrich shook me.
            “I don’t have any clue as to what you are talk about!” I started to back away from them. “You’re both nuts. You keep talking about things that shouldn’t matter. You question me about things I don’t know.”
            “Hon, we’re just trying to look out for you and keep you safe.” Brenda moved closer to try and calm me.
            Aldrich walked up to me and wrapped his arms around me, comforting me with an apologetic embrace. I accepted it. Brenda joined in then whispered softly to Aldrich. I tried to hear what was said but the hushed whispering between the two was not audible for my ears yet. They looked down at me then at each other. I looked up at them and my head was full of questions. They let me out of the embrace. I stood there for a moment before Aldrich grabbed my arm and led me outside. Brenda followed.
            “There’s something you need to know about that you had forgotten. Something was passed on from ancient times to us throughout generations.” Aldrich explained.
            “What do you mean? Like family history?” I questioned.
            “Kind of like that, yeah. More like the reason why we are so hard on you and one of the reasons why your name has a double meaning within it.”
            “Is it something that can wait until tomorrow?”
            “No. it can only wait a few more minutes. That’s why I am trying to tell out about it now.”
            “You make it sound like something terrible is going to happen.”
            “You have no idea. You won’t be able to go to school for a week. You will have to be constantly watched. You cannot go outside by yourself or around humans until we get this under control.”
            “Why say ‘humans’ when we are humans?”
            “We are not humans, Floyd. That’s why we need you to remember.”
            “Remember what?”
            “Remember ’the truth behind truths’. The reasons why we act the way we do.”
            “But-” I was unable to finish the rest of my sentence.
            The wind picked up out of nowhere as the sun sank into its temporary slumber while the full moon rose into the cloudy sky. I couldn’t help but to find myself gazing at the mood. My heart raced. The longer I stared the faster my heart beat. Aldrich and Brenda walked up beside me and grabbed my arms tightly. I was unaware of my surroundings as my body tensed up and became numb. My eyes glowed in the reflection of the moon. Then, I was stricken with a sharp pain. I lost my focus on the moon as my knees buckled under my weight. Aldrich picked me up in his arms and headed for the cellar. A place where I thought we once kept extras of a variety of objects now would become my prison.

Chapter Two:
The Cellar
            The air was stiff and cold. Pain took over as I lashed out. My gruesome cries filled the corridor as Aldrich carried me into the cellar. I vaguely remember the scene with chains bolted to the concrete walls and floor. Aldrich took me through what seemed like cage doors as I clawed at him to let me go. His grip on me was strong. He pinned me to the cool cellar floor with a knee on the arch of my back and his forearm pressing hard on my shoulder blades. I fought to get free, but my attempts were not victorious. Brenda picked up the chains and shackled them to each limb as well as my neck. They both quickly backed away and ran out, slamming the door to my cage shut quickly. They watched my form begin to shift into another.
            My hair grew longer and trailed down my spine. My nails had become lethal claws. My jaws extended into a muzzle while canines and sharper molars replaced what were once human teeth. My sight was much better than what it had used to be and I realized I could see well in the dark cellar. I could see as if there was lighting. My ears moved higher on my skull as they grew pointed and looked like German-Shepherd ears. My body was getting coated with a thick hide of jet black, silk fur. I grew a long, bushy tail, which I have come to believe was the most painful stage of my transformation. I looked over at Aldrich and Brenda, but their forms had shifted into a monstrous sight as well. They didn’t seem to be in any pain, though.
            They were watching me as the last stage of my transformation into a beast took place. My legs had digi-graded. I stood up on all fours while my fur grew out to blend in with curves of my newly transformed muscular torso. The pain was fading away and my heart rate slowed to a normal pace. I panted. Looking around to examine my surroundings I noticed a small opening just big enough for me to gaze at the moon. It was intoxicatingly marvelous to look at. An urge to vocalize my feelings in a single note came over me. I sat on my haunches, lifted my snout into the air, and released a single gorgeous note. The note I sang out filled the cellar. Soon, Aldrich and Brenda joined in.
            The miraculous song we sung together was perfectly harmonized. It was heavenly, but sorrow filled. It was over just as fast as it had started. I looked over at them with curious, moonlit eyes. Then opened the cage and cautiously entered. I bowed my head and tucked my tail. It was a natural instinct kicking in. I was not sure where I had learned it from. Maybe it was watching too much Animal Planet on the television or reading too many National Geographic magazines on wild animals in the national parks around the world. Whatever it was it gave me the control over this wicked new form. I was sensible for the most part. I knew it would take some getting-use-to. Aldrich wrapped his massive arms around me. I couldn’t help but wonder why they were a different color than me. Brenda had white fur with light patches of blond while Aldrich was a dark brown with hints of gray. Maybe this is why my name has a double meaning to it. Brenda walked up to me and embraced me as well. I pushed away from them, tired of getting crushed with embraces.
            “What am I?” I questioned. “Why do I look like a creature out of a horror movie? Why did it hurt to shift to this form? Why did I change into this? What’s going to happen to my normal life and school? Am I going to have to drop out? What about my friends?” I continued to question them until Aldrich interrupted.
            “It’s part of an ancient family curse. I will tell you about it once we get your shifting under control.” He clapped my shoulder.
            “Okay, well at least tell me what I am.”
            “We are a family of lycanthropes. It’s a type of anthropomorphism that we have been cursed with. It will only hurt the first few times and we also have another form which comes with a gift of sorts.” Aldrich explained.
            “What could possibly be a gift from this and what other form are you talking about?”
            “We can either be ‘wolf-like’ or ‘wolf’. And the gift I am speaking of is telekinesis. In our ‘wolf’ form, we cannot communicate like we are now. We have to rely on our instincts, vocal commands, body movement, and telekinesis so we can communicate to the individual or the entire pack.”
            “What about school and my friends?”
            “You can go back to school after a week. And as for your friends, you might not want them to know about this. It’s our family secret. But you can hang out with them and go place after we get this under control.”
            “So I can live somewhat of a normal life?”
            “That is only if we can get your shifting under control. It will take a lot of training.”
            “I will train until I can no longer move if I have to. I want a semi normal life still.” I exclaimed as I as I jumped up and did a Captain Morgan pose before toppling over. “Was it this difficult for you two to walk the first time you shifted?”
            “It takes some getting used to and you have to shift you central weight so you have the balance you need. But you have us here to help. It’ll be just like teaching you how to walk again.” Brenda stated with a motherly smile.
            “Glad to know you at least have the control not to kill someone. It was shocking, but a miracle.” Aldrich unshackled me from the inside of my cage.
            “The myths are true?” I asked. “Does that mean the same about the hunters?”
            “Afraid it does. That’s why you cannot tell your friends.” Brenda warned. “If the hunters find us, there’s no telling if we can make it out again.”
            “What do you mean by, ‘again’?” I looked at her with a concerned expression.
            “It is a tale for another time, my son.” Aldrich turned to walk out. “But, for now, we figure out a plan for our training time with you.”
            “I can’t go out there looking like this!”
            “It’s just a quick sprint to my study. I’ll carry you there.” He picked me up and carried me out to the door leading to the backyard.
            Brenda shifted form back into a human. She walked out and made sure the coast was clear before she went to Aldrich’s study and opened the window. She flashed a flashlight a few times, signaling him to begin his sprint. He held me against him tightly as he made a mad dash for the study window. Brenda ducked out of his way as he leaped up to the second story and through the window. He stood with a regal stature. It was a bit intimidating, I must admit. He held me out in front of him by my arms. I was only half his size. I put my feet down and he waited until I found my balance to let me arms go. I stood there as still as a statue, waiting for my legs to end their wobbling manner.
            I took a few wobbling steps, staggering once until I found my central balance. As soon as I found it, I was able to walk upright without any difficulties. This isn’t so bad, I thought. I looked around the study walking upright to look at the massive amount of books on the shelves. Most of the books looked ancient and numerous amounts of them were on curses and black magic. I felt like I had just walked into the haunted library in a horror movie. It was creepy beyond belief! I was never allowed in the room before and it was probably a good thing too. I would have had nightmares from this place.
            “What about training from seven to eleven in the morning, a break for lunch, then more training from one to six?” I overheard Aldrich asking Brenda.
            “That sounds like a good start. Dinners break at six, homework after dinner so he doesn’t fall behind in class, then a good night’s sleep.” Brenda mentioned.
            “That sounds do able.” I butted into the conversation. “And on the weekend, maybe some extra training to make sure I’m set to go out in public.” I commented with an innocent, toothy grin.
            “We will have to see about that, but it’s actually not a bad idea.” Brenda stated.
            For the next week, my days were full of nothing but training. Aldrich worked me hard while Brenda made sure to keep Maitane and Darrel busy so they wouldn’t find out the so called “fairytale” they were told was known as just that. The curse was still a huge secret from me even though I had now been pulled into playing a part. All I really was able to do was train and get my homework done. It was a long week and at the end I was able to relax. The cellar became my new hideaway. When I felt the need to just get out of the house I went to the cellar and shifted forms. I practiced the “wolf” form as well as the “wolf-like” form. My favorite was the wolf.
            Soon I was able to go back school, but though I was different when I shifted, I looked tan and buff from the training the week before. Everyone seemed to notice me. I was kind of hoping I would still be invisible, but I wasn’t. My personality had changed slightly as well. I help my head high and was proud of who I was. I even felt like I changed. My hearing was much better. I could see further. My sense of smell was like a curse sometimes, but mostly it was good to have too. I could run faster and was stronger that Steven, finally. And now Coral noticed me too, whereas before she never knew I existed. My life was finally taking a turn for the better, or so I thought.
            I met up with Liam and Connor at our normal area on the steps. They looked at me and I just smiled. My hair had grown about three inches longer in the week I was missing from school. They wondered how I did it. They asked if it was weave and all I could do was laugh. I yanked a few strand of my hair to show them it was real. They were stunned at how fast it grew. Liam pulled a rubber band out of his pocket and pulled my hair back. He took a pick while I pouted. I looked like a total chick. That was the worse blackmail photo I have seen. I pulled the rubber band out and flung it at him. Perfect bull’s eye! It hit him right between the eyes. Connor and I laughed while Liam glared and searched for the band. He never found it.
            The bell rang and the chiming pierced my ears. I covered my ears quickly and cringed. Liam hadn’t notice, but Connor sure did. Connor put his hands over mine to try and help drowned out the chimes. Liam looked over at us. He was confused. When the bells chimes faded in the distance, Connor removed his hands. I rubbed my eyes and asked,
            “Have those bells always been that loud?”
            “Since we’ve been going here, they have.” Liam stated.
            “Is something wrong, Floyd?” Connor asked worriedly.
            “No.” I quickly said. “My ears have been hurting, that’s all.”
            “Okay, well we better get to class before Ms. Ross has a fit. She’s been expecting you back.” Liam stated. “You can thank Darrel for telling her.”
            “I would’ve skipped today if she didn’t know. Remind to ‘thank’ my little bro when I get home.” I sighed as we walked into the classroom and took our seats.
            “Welcome back, Mr. Calhoun. I hope you are feeling better.” Ms. Ross began as she picked up a pack of papers from her desk and held them out in front of her. “Come get the extra work I have left for you to do. Make sure you take it home and turn it in at the end of week.”
            I got up from my desk and started my way to the front of the class to accept my work. Steven snuck his foot out to trip me. I saw it and hopped over. Being a lycanthrope had its benefits, especially around bullies and pranksters. I took the work from Ms. Ross and flipped through it quickly. There was a lot of work, no wonder she told me to turn it in at the end of the week! I sat back in my desk and thought; maybe I can finish it before school ends today. Not wanting to waste any time on that thought, I quickly began working.
            I glanced up from my paper a few times and noticed Coral gawking over my new appearance. It was pleasant, but I found the new me had no interest in her anymore.  It was like watching the monkeys at the zoo, entertaining, but easily just as boring. It’s funny how she reminds me of a monkey. I guess she does have big ears like they do. If she puffs her cheeks then she can be put in the cages with them and no one will know the difference, I imagined and cackled softly. I caught myself being distracted from my work and quickly got back to work.
            Connor and Liam whispered back and forth to each other in a hushed manner. I was curious about what they were saying so I listened in closely while I continued working on the stack of paper Ms. Ross had handed me. They weren’t saying much. They were just worried about me and were wondering the differences of my appearance. I don’t blame them for being curious. Heck, I would be curious too if this happened to one of them! I realized I would have to explain it to them when we went to the house after class.
            I finished my work long before class got out. While I waited for the end class, I put my elbows on my desk. With my fingers laced together and my chin resting gently on my knuckles, I gazed out the windows. I wished I was able to shift and roam around freely. I daydreamed for the remainder of class. I imagined myself as a wolf galloping through the forests of London in the moon light. There was a stream nearby with the moon’s reflection glimmering on the surface.  It felt real as I imagined the cool breeze in my fur and the smell of the fresh water stream beckoning me to dive in. It was tempting.
            The bell chimed and Connor was trying to pry me from my daydream. Liam was playfully smacking my face to try and snap me out of it, but failed at grabbing my attention. Raven was laughing at the site as she recorded it on her phone. Connor pushed my arms out from under me and my chin slammed into the desk. I quickly snapped out of it and glared at them for a moment. Raven burst out laughing while the guys tried to apologize. I rubbed my sore chin, but accepted their apologies. Raven walked over to me and pulled up the video she had taken. I have to admit, it was very entertaining. We all laughed and joked about it as we left the class for the house. On our way out I dropped the papers on Ms. Ross’s desk.
            Raven decided she was going to hang out with us for a while so she tagged along for the ride in my Mercedes. We all piled in and I drove to my house. They waited until we were at the house to begin the endless questioning. They asked about my hair and my tan and how I got buff that fast. I told them to hold all questions until I showed them the cellar.
            “What is so great about a cellar?” Raven questioned.
            “I’ll show you when we get to that point.” My nerves were getting the best of me as I hesitated to speak. “It’s not the cellar I’m going to show you guys, but what is in the cellar and why it’s in there.”
            “Are you sure you’re alright? You’re acting like the creeper.” Connor commented.
            “I’m as ‘alright’ as I can possibly be right now.” I mentioned nervously.
            Liam pulled his phone out of his back pocket, flipped it open, and held it up. “Should I take pics?”
            I quickly grabbed his phone and threw it under my bed. I laughed awkwardly with my hands on my hips. They gave me strange glares of confusion mixed with a hint of anger. Liam got down on his knees in front of my bed. He began searching for his phone, but I pulled him to his feet. I cleared my throat then looked at them. My expression became quite serious.
            “Before we go to the cellar, I am going to ask that all phones and cameras stay in here. Please understand once you go in, no matter what you see you cannot tell a soul. It will not harm you. In fact, it’s probably going to be much more fearful of you than you will be of it.” I warned.
            “What do you by ’It’?” Liam asked. “I thought it was an object, not a living thing. Is it dangerous?”
            “It can be.” I stated honestly. “But it’s not.”
            “How do you know it’s not?” Connor and Raven suddenly asked in unison.
            I hesitated. “Because-” I looked down briefly then into their eyes proudly. “-I have control.” I stated.
            “So, if you have control over it and it can be dangerous, but it is not-” Raven thought for a moment then asked, “What other facts about it can you tell us? I mean, if I’m going to go down there then at least give us facts about so we have a clue since you won’t tell us.”
            I hesitated for a few seconds, and then stated, “Well, it loves water. It’s all black and furry.” I brought a hand up to my chin in deep thought. “It’s ‘man’s best friend’. It can be vicious and quite deadly if provoked or if it feels it’s in danger. It’s a mammal. Has a muzzle and canines. I think that’s all the hints I’m giving away.” I snickered.
            “So, based on the facts you gave us, it has to be a dog!” Liam exclaimed.
            I chuckled. “It is more or less. Are you all in as to seeing it? Just remember, phones stay in here and you can’t tell anyone you saw it.”
            They all nodded in agreement. I knew my friends wouldn’t tell anyone. They were men; and a woman, of their word. But that didn’t mean I was not afraid of telling them my little secret. Okay, so it’s more like a big secret. I just hope I wouldn’t freak them out too badly. I swiftly walked over to my closet. Opening it, I reached for the flashlight on the top ledge. I wrapped my fingers around it then tossed it to Connor. He caught it and checked to make sure it worked. It did so I closed my closet door.
            Turning toward everyone, I nodded and reassured them everything was going to be fine. I set my phone under my bed and encouraged them to do the same. Raven took her phone, powered it down, and then slid it under my bed. Connor held his phone up and looked at it. I could tell he was unsure as to what he wanted to do. I never once left his phone behind since he had gotten it. It was like it was attached to him. But his curiosity got the best of him and he powered his phone down and placed it with the rest.
            “Let’s go.” I motioned to my door.
            We snuck out of my room. Making sure to keep a look out for my other family members, we crept quietly down the stairs. I took the lead and stopped them at the bottom. I peeked around the walls. Brenda was in the kitchen fixing supper. Smells like barbeque chicken, freshly baked rolls, and steamed vegetables. Her back was toward us. Aldrich was nowhere in sight. Darrel and Maitane were probably in their rooms since they were nowhere sight as well. It was the perfect time to make a run for the cellar. I took off full speed for the back door. Once I got there, I quickly opened it and waved for the others to come quickly. They made a mad dash for the backyard.
            Brenda had heard their steps and turned toward us. “Where are you all going?” she questioned us as she crossed her arms over her chest. “You better not be going in the cellar, Floyd. You know you father told you not to take anyone in there.” she warned.
            “I know and we aren’t going in there.” I smiled nervously.
            “Floyd Maurice Calhoun.” She retorted sternly.
            “Yes, mother?” I cringed.
            “Do you want me to call your father down here?”
            “No!” I shouted my protest harshly.
            Her eyes widened as they met my soulless glare. She froze. The shock of my outburst made time seem to pause on her. My friends walked outside cautiously and stood on the deck. I softened my glare and looked down. I told her I was sorry but I got no reply out of her. She was frozen in time and it was my entire fault, but I couldn’t control my temper. I sulked as I walked outside. I walked over to the cellar and opened it.
            “Only turn the flashlight on when you hear a whimper. Until then, keep it off and follow closely behind me.” I warned them as I lead them through the corridor and over to the cage.
            They were all holding hands while gazing into darkness. I watched them for a moment before I knew for sure they could not see. I opened the cage and walked in. closing the door and placing the shackle around my neck, I shifted into a wolf. I was glad I had control over the forms now. It was all thanks to Aldrich’s training. As I shifted, my hands and feet became paws while fur covered my body. My muzzle grew out and my human teeth were replaced again by the wolf’s teeth. My tailbone extended and added on extra bones until I had a long tail which was quickly filled out with heavy, silk fur. I turned toward my friends and sat down in my cage.  I waited a few moments before whimpering.

Chapter Three:
A Secret Revealed
            I heard Connor flick the switch of the flashlight. The light beamed out and moved around the room harshly until it landed on me. The gasps startled me and I hunkered down where I sat. Rolling on my side, I exposed my belly to them as I tucked my tail. Raven was the first to approach me. She was cautious but I stayed put. She slowly opened the cage and entered. Liam and Connor were frozen with fear.
            “That’s not a normal dog.” Liam whispered to Connor, but Raven overheard.
            “It’s a wolf.” She stated. “It’s still young so it’s not as big as an adult, but it is a wolf if I’m not mistaken.”
            “Stay away from it! Wolves are dangerous!” Connor shouted.
            I jumped up, startled from the shouting with my sensitive ears. I walked to the back of my cage away from Raven. The spotlight of the flashlight was consistently on me. If only they would take it off me or turn it off, then I could walk out of the cage and shift before they found out it was actually me. But the light never strayed from me. By the time I noticed Raven had taken a step closer, Liam and Connor were in the cage as well. I became nervous and whimpered and whined. I paced the back of my cage. It was the first time I had wished Aldrich or Brenda was here to get them away from me. But they were nowhere in sight.
            Raven cautiously reached out her hand with her palm facing the concrete. I ceased my pacing and watched her carefully. I waited for her to come closer, but she never moved. She was waiting for me to come closer. I gazed into her eyes looking for any trace of fear or hesitation, but found none. I ducked my head and laid my ears back submissively as I hesitantly approached her. She smiled gently at me and softly spoke, coaxing me closer. Reluctantly, I lay on my belly with my head tucked and my tail tucked while I crawled toward her until her hand was directly above my head. But she didn’t move her hand to touch me. She was still waiting on me to show her it was alright. I picked my head up and touched my nose to her palm. Her eyes seemed to gleam as her smile brightened. I perked my ears up at her reaction and rolled over. I un-tucked my tail and wagged it. Raven responded with heavy petting and coos of affection. I never experienced this kind of emotion from another.
            “Floyd, your wolf is so cute!” she exclaimed, but got no answer. “Did you hear me, Floyd?”
            I ceased my hyper reaction to the affection while I lay at Raven’s feet. I sat up and cocked my head to the right. Connor, Liam, and Raven called out my name and searched the room for me by use of the flashlight. Raven’s hand was resting on my neck. I couldn’t walk away and shift back into a man without them spotting me again with the beam of light. They called out my name several more times and waiting after each try for an answer, but never got one. I whimpered and backed away from Raven. The light immediately spotted me. What they were about to see would shock them. All I could do was hope was that I wouldn’t lose my friends.
            I began my shift from a “wolf” to a “wolf-like” form. I watched them draw back in fear as I stumbled back a few steps. Regaining my balance after my shifting, I stood alerted to their reactions. The flashlight shook as Connor’s hands trembled. I took a step forward, but then cowered back. I sat on my haunches and paused briefly. My ears and eyes were locked on them.
            “You asked me and showed you the answers you have been looking for today. This must remain a secret.” I stated.
            “But, how did this happen? Why?” Raven asked concerned and frightened.
            “Its part of an ancient family cures. I’m not sure why or how myself.”
            “Dude-” Connor paused as if trying to figure out his own feelings on the subject. “That’s awesome!” He jumped up and approached me. “If you bite me will I change too?”
            I chuckled. “I hope not, but let’s not find out. I was told that lycanthropes are not the only mythological beings out there though. And there are hunters too. But I’m still not sure why or how it happened. Aldrich’s study is full of book that could hold the answers, but the fact that he hasn’t found one yet means that there are other books out there that we need and don’t have.”
            “So, he’s been looking for a cure?” Liam asked.
            I nodded. “Not just a cure, but the answers to go with it. There’s an old story they used to tell me. But I lost my memory two years ago and can’t remember it. I’ll ask them what is it again soon and I will let you know. Who knows, maybe you can help us break the curse.”
            “We can certainly try to help do something.” Raven reassured me.
            “Hopefully soon the curse will be over and I can live a normal life again.”
            “Are there anymore of your kind?” Liam asked curiously.
            I paused for only a moment and thought about it. “There might be. I have no memory of my life in London anymore. But Aldrich did mention the cures affecting the family. We have a big family back in London. So; yeah, I guess there would be more of us.”
            “Is Darrel or Maitane a lycanthrope?” Raven questioned with excitement.
            “No. But; to my understanding, they will not shift until they mature fully.”
            “Do you age in dog years or is your aging slowed down?” Connor looked at me worriedly with concern in his tone.
            “My aging is complicated, but it would appear to be reversed. A dog can live about fifteen years; give or take a few. My life is a bit longer than that of the average humans’. I’m only eighteen in human years so I would be like around eighteen months old in dog years. My form is still in the puppy stages. I hope you understood my poor excuse of an answer.” I commented.
            Connor sighed in relief. “I’m so glad you cleared that up. You’re like my best bud!” He mentioned with a nervous smile.
            “I know. Besides, you would be lost without me around.” I grinned playfully at him as my tail wagged swiftly from side to side. “You would be like a wondering puppy begging for attention but not receiving any from anyone.” I joked as I chuckled at the thought.
            Connor’s cheeks became flush as Liam joined in to tease him. “Awe, you’re such a poor puppy!” He patted Connor on the head affectionately in a joking manner.
            Clearing his throat, Connor then jokingly snapped his jaws shut at Liam’s fingers. Startled, Liam quickly pulled his hand to his chest and gazed upon a grinning and playfully vicious Connor. Raven giggled at their playful antics while I joined in on the laughter and stood to join them a few feet away. I put my arms on Connor’s shoulders. He could feel the softness of my silk fur and he looked over his shoulders at me. I smiled a toothy grin at him. He smiled back nervously.
            Lurking in the shadows, Aldrich was watching and listening. He had shifted into his “wolf-like” form. His anger was rising as he clenched his fists. We were still chatting and Connor ran his fingers down my arm. Aldrich snarled softly. My ears perked up and I looked around. I could see the moon gleaming in Aldrich’s eyes as he stood there in silence. I pinned my ears back in a submissive manner. Connor gazed up at me then followed my gaze. I pulled Connor around to the back of me. It didn’t take long for Liam and Raven to realize what was going on. I moved in front of my friends as Aldrich approached.
            Aldrich stood not even a foot in front of me and glared over my shoulders at my friends. Connor beamed the light at him while I glared into Aldrich’s soul. He flashed his fangs at me, snapping his jaw sharply in dominance. I let out a soft bellow. His ears flattened. I skirted round him having my friends follow behind me. They dashed for the door while I stayed behind. Once I knew for sure they were out I gave my full attention to Aldrich.
            “I specifically commanded you not to tell a soul about our kind!” Aldrich snarled harshly.
            My ears drooped and I looked to the side. “I know but-”
            “You deliberately disobeyed me!” He scolded. “You have put everyone in danger because of your actions! Not only does it endanger the family, but your friends as well!”
            “I didn’t mean to… I just wanted to answer their questions…” I looked into his rage filled eyes sorrowfully. “They can keep a secret.”
            He sighed, calming himself. “It’s not that they can’t keep a secret, Floyd… If the hunters find out where we’re hiding they will find out who your friends are and through your friends they will find us.”
            I nodded slowly as I shifted into my “wolf” form. I swiftly padded out the cellar and into the backyard. I looked around, but the only one out there was me. With my nose in the air, I sniffed around the area. There was no one out there. They must have gone home. Aldrich appeared from the cellar. He was human once again. I looked up at him as he stood next to me, patting my head gently. We walked over to the back door and Aldrich opened it. He watched me as I entered the house. I kept my tail tucked and my head low. He shut the door behind us.
            I began my way up the stairs to my room. Aldrich watched me the whole way to my room. I shifted and became human again as I entered my room. Before relaxing, I made sure my door was shut and locked. I did not feel like getting pestered by anyone after what had happened. I laid in my bed, staring at the ceiling in deep thought. I wondered why my friends did not stay around. I pulled my phone from my pocket and gazed at the blank screen. I had no messages or missed calls from any of them. I flipped it open and opened a new text, selected Connor as the contact for the text, then sent him a message.
            ~Hey. What’s up? ~
            I waited for a few moments, but never got a reply. So, I sent the same message to Raven and Liam. The same happened. No reply. I sat up on my bed and looked around. The happenings of the incident flashed through my mind like it was on replay. I could not understand why they would have left without telling me. I had just remembered I had put their phones under my bed so I quickly got down by my bed. I searched under it for their phones, but they were gone. Getting up, I thought about what might happen at school tomorrow. What if I lose them? All I did was showed them the truth… I’m sure everything is alright. Aldrich docked on my door. I got out of bed and unlocked my door. Walking back to my bed and sitting on the edge, I told him to come in.
            He walked in and stood in front of me. I looked up at him with apologetic eyes. He gazed back with earnest eyes. I could tell he forgave me for the incident that occurred earlier that evening, but I also knew he was worried for everyone’s’ safety. He was never the one to talk about his emotions. He always kept his feelings locked away, but every now and then you could see everything portrayed in his eyes. He pulled the chair away from the desk and positioned it in front of me. Then, he sat down. I straightened up and locked my eyes with his. He placed his powerful hand on my shoulder. He cleared his throat.
            “Son, I believe it is time for some much needed one-on-one with each other.” He stated. “Shall we meander through the woods?”
            I nodded as he removed his hand from my shoulder. “Yes, we shall, but a walk to where?” I asked him curiously.
            “Well, just through the woods and back on the trails.” We stood, perfectly timed.
            He led the way to the back yard. “I can’t be out too late. I have school in the morning, remember?”
            He chuckled softly. “Shift into a wolf and we’ll be on our way.”
            I tilted my head to the side as I watched him convert into a wolf. His coloring was gray and tan and his eyes were dark brown. He snarled at me to get the hint across. It worked. I shifted forms to a wolf. My fur was as black as a raven’s wing and my eyes were like the full moon. He nodded his head once and began walking out of the back yard through the cracked wooden gate. I followed cautiously. The rules my old man told me came to mind. I thought we weren’t supposed to shift in public. But, my thought was soon forgotten as Aldrich led me into the woods.

            We galloped through the woods for hours. We ran through streams, dove into the cool beach waters, as well as chased a few deer for practice. Of course we never hurt any of the animals during the chase. Aldrich seemed to have changed his personality. He wasn’t acting like a loner or an alpha, but more like the father I always wanted him to be. I was thankful that he brought me out for a relaxing stroll in the woods. It helped me forget about my friends abandoning me for at least tonight. Aldrich gazed at the moon on a hilltop. He realized from the moons position that dawn was only a few hours away. He led the way back to the yard were we shifted into our human forms. He clapped my shoulder. Smiling warmly at me, he turned and went inside. I soon followed his lead and headed for bed as well. The stroll was so relaxing that as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was already asleep.

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