India Ink

Everyone got 2012 wrong. It wasn't an ending--it was a beginning. The supernatural beings that lived in secret for thousands of years began to plan their first televised public outing. The world was about to be shown something that they could have never prepared for.

Johanna Rosas was one of those people. She would have never consciously chose to be apart of something so crazy. Her life was hectic enough. Between dealing with an abusive stepfather and caring for a mother who needed constant babysitting, she wasn't in any position to get involved. But after meeting a boy at a women's shelter one night after her mother was dealt a particularly bad beating, she didn't have a choice.

How will Johanna and the rest of the world react when everything they know is proven wrong?

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3. Inhaling Ashes

I tried to scream but it came out muffled. I struggled, flailing my arms around as if it would make a difference but unfortunately, I don't have much body strength. He dragged me into the alley, grabbing my arms and holding them behind me tightly.

His mouth came up to my ear. "You better shut your fucking mouth," he whispered. The hot breath and menacing tone that traveling down my ear canal gave me the chills. He's going to kill me, I thought, there's no way I can get out of this.

I was sure that Julian hadn't heard anything. After all, if he had, he would be here already. It would be stupid of me to expect him to help me, anyway. I had only known him for a matter of hours and the time we'd spent together hadn't been all that special.

The man pushed me into a wall. I got a look of his face now. It was shaped like an egg and his ears were much to big for his head. His eyes were too far apart and it gave him the appearance of a catfish. He came closer. I gathered all the courage and strength that I had and prepared to give him a kick in the groin when something happened.

I screamed when I saw it. It's body looked human... It was wearing clothes...clothes exactly like the ones Julian was wearing--but it's face...it was more animal-like than human. Hair covered most of the surface area and there were fangs where teeth should have been. And the noise that came out of it's mouth--that was definitely a growl.

The man who attacked me ran in the opposite direction, away from the street, leaving me alone with this beast. It walked towards me slowly--hesitantly. I noticed that it's hands were clawed and extremely sharp. I started to imagine them ripping into my flesh and tearing out my heart since that was the most likely outcome.

Once it was close enough for me to see it's eyes, I began to hyperventilate--breathing in and out burned my throat like I was inhaling ashes. They were so familiar... That's when I realized who they belonged to. "Julian?" I struggled to say. The voice that came out of my mouth sounded foreign to me, as if I'd never heard my own voice before.

I couldn't believe it. I must be going crazy because the thing nodded. It nodded. I drove myself farther into the wall behind me, if that was even possible. I wished that it would just absorb me wholly and take me to a place where things made sense.

The creature closed it's eyes and took deep breaths. Slowly, the hair went back into it's follicles, the fangs disappeared inside it's skull, and the fingernails returned to normalcy. "What the hell?" I breathed, taking in a seemingly ordinary human. 

"Don't freak out," he said, holding his hands up in surrender.

"Don't freak out? How can you ask me not to freak out? What the hell are you?" It all came out in an hysterical mess. I was pretty sure that I was having a panic attack.

"I was hoping that you wouldn't find out until tomorrow... It's hard to explain... Well, actually, I guess it isn't so hard. I'm a werewolf. But that doesn't have to change anything!" His voice was desperate--pleading.

A battle went on inside my head. A part of me knew this was crazy. I mean, how could anybody be sane and believe this? The other part of me instinctively knew he was telling the truth. And I saw...something with my own eyes. 

"This is insane," I said, blinking rapidly in the darkness as if it would sort out my thoughts. 

"Well, yeah, I guess it is insane. But it's true. You wanted my secret, now you've got it."

I slid to the ground, not even caring that it was filthy and was probably home to a few rats. I put my head in my hands and groaned. "Of course this happened to me! You know, I have enough going on in my life and now this? Why'd you have to show me?"

He sat down next to me. "Would you rather I let that guy have his way with you? No telling what he was going to do..."

I looked up at him. Maybe I was crazy. He didn't look like a werewolf right now. "Are you sure you're a werewolf?"

He laughed. His teeth glowed in the darkness. "Pretty sure. And you'll get more confirmation on the existence of werewolves tomorrow night at seven o'clock, to be exact."

"Why? Is the whole pack going to reveal themselves to me?" I said with a sarcastic and bitter edge.

"Yes, actually. On the news. We're coming out to the world," he said matter-of-factly.

The smell of garbage, combined with the shock I was in, pushed out everything I had eaten that day and then some, right onto the ground next to me. I felt Julian's hands wrap around my hair, holding it back from the vomit. I wiped my mouth with the sleeve of my jacket and tears forced their way out of eyes. "Why? Why tell everyone now?"

"Because it is written. The Mayan's were our ancestors. What the...others don't know is that there's more to it. It's not an ending, Johanna. It's a beginning. It's time that everyone knew... Look, we just want to be accepted for who we are. Do you know how taxing it is on someone to live in secret?"

I wiped a tear off my cheek. I didn't know what to think or how to react. Something I had believed to be false my entire life--something I could bet my entire being on with certainty--was true. And I didn't know how to deal with that.

"Can we go back to the shelter now? My mom is going to be worried..."

I looked up at him. Disappointment riddled his features. "Sure." He nodded.

He helped me off the ground and I walked next to him, mostly to avoid any more attacks, all the way to the shelter. I reached for the door handle but he caught my arm before I could make it. "We're not monsters, Johanna. Please don't think differently of me."

I looked into his eyes searching for a reason to believe him. I found it. I knew he wasn't a monster, but could I say the same for the other people like him? "Are you going to come by tomorrow?"

His eyes widened. "Uh, yeah," he said. "I should go to talk to my mom one last time before she disowns me."

I felt the strongest urge to hug him, but I pushed it away--far, far away. "I'm sure she'll accept you for who you are."

"You didn't."

I looked down at my feet. He was right. I was having a hard time dealing with such a revelation, but soon I wouldn't be alone. If it was going to be a reality for everyone from now on, I should be able to accept it too. "Yes...I do. I don't think you're a monster... I'm not scared."

"You're lying."

I looked up through my lashes. His full lips were in a thin line. Another tear fell down my face. "I'll see you tomorrow."

And with that, I walked into the shelter and up to my shared room where I would spend the night going over recent events until my head hurt.

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