I sit on my bed, looking through my photo album. It’s filled with happy times; pictures of me from when I was a baby, up until my 16th birthday, with my mum. That’s the last photo in there. We haven’t had any good times since then. I pick up my other album; my secret one. There are pictures of my parents in their Wolf form, unaware of my presence. They look so happy, so free. I close the book and pack it away into a box, along with all my other books. I love to read. My favourites are fantasies, with strong female protagonists. As I pack away my clothes into boxes, I notice for the first time that there is a theme to what I wear. They’re all very natural colours, so I suppose they reflect my personality. Nature is a big part of my life. As well as packing, I throw things away. I want to leave all of my bad memories behind. A certain picture is hard to throw away, but I gather the courage to do it. I shake it off, grab my coat and head to the park.
The smell of the leaves on the trees and the grass on the ground is so strong, it’s beautiful. However, it reminds me of what I’ve lost. I live near the city, so getting away from it all makes me feel at home, in a weird way. I live in Cardiff, in Wales and my pack consists of myself and my father. It’s not much of a pack, I know, but it works. I’m a Wolfblood. Some may say that I’m tame because I live like a human. Apart from at a full moon, when my father and I run to a cave in the mountains; a place never visited by humans, so we hide there. My dad can’t handle it here anymore, not since…the killing. That’s why we’re leaving; moving to a place called Stoney Bridge, which I think is in Newcastle. My dad knows people there; he grew up in the wild, fascinated by humans, wanting to live like them. Some of his old pack still lives there, so he’s hoping they’ll welcome us, so we can be part of a proper pack again. I say my goodbyes to the park, smelling my surroundings one last time. I store it all in my memories.
“You said goodbye to the park then?” Dad asks as I walk through the front door. “I’m sorry we have to go Carys, I know you like it here,” he smiles sadly at me, and seals up some boxes.
“Yeah, I think I'm going to miss it the most. What if they don’t grant you enouwian?” I ask, helping him load boxes into the van.
“I’m not expecting them to welcome me back with open arms, Carys. I’ll have to work for it. We both will.”
“Dad, you left them for human life. That’s betrayal to them, you told me that.”
“I have friends there Caz, they can help me. Us.” I sigh and put another box in the van.
After we’re done, he locks the old house and we get into the van. The drive is long; hours. We stop near a beautiful forest. Dad looks at me. I know he wants to run; he hasn’t enjoyed anything of Wolfblood nature in so long…I take his hand.
“We can do this dad,” we run together, though the beautiful tall trees, over the crunchy autumn leaves. We come to a stop near a river. When I was a cub I used to watch mum and dad play in the river up on the mountains back home. I walk towards it, focusing myself. I feel every part of my body awaken, and the next thing I know, dad and I have changed. We’re wolves. We run around in the river for a while until we’re tired, when we climb, shake off and return to human form.
“Thank you for that, Carys. I haven’t enjoyed anything so much in a while.” We run back to the van and continue the drive to Stoney Bridge. Finally, I feel like I’m getting my dad back.
We pull up in the small village outside ‘The Kafe’. I don't know if the person who named this place is an idiot, or it's supposed to be 'cool'. Dad hands me a fiver.
“Go get me a cup of coffee and get yourself something. I’m going to look around a bit, but I’ll meet you in there. If anyone notices you’re not human, get away from them; the pack can’t know about you yet. I won’t be long.”
I jump out of the van and head inside the colourful café. A girl with extremely blonde hair is stood behind the counter.
“Hi, welcome to The Kafe, what can I get you?”
“A black coffee and a hot chocolate, please,” I smile. There are two girls sat at the counter next to me.
“I haven’t seen you around here before,” the brunette says, in an annoying high-pitched voice.
“Yeah, I literally just moved here,” they look at me with a judging glare. I look down at my clothes. I’m muddy from the run, and my hair must be a mess.
“Did you crawl here?” The dark-skinned one asks, and the other laughs. I ignore them.
“£3.50, please,” the till girl says. I hand her the money and take the drinks and my change.
As I take a seat in a booth I smell something. Another Wolfblood. And it’s not my dad. I turn to look at the door, and two girls enter, followed by a boy. They’re laughing about something. Which one is it? They sit in a booth near me. I stare at the girl with auburn hair; it’s her, it must be. She can smell me too, I know she can. She looks at me and I jerk my head away, staring at my drink. Their laughter stops, they start whispering. If she really is a Wolfblood, then she knows I can hear her.
“That girl, she’s a Wolfblood. I can smell it,” the redhead says. Her friends start to turn around. “Don’t look!” I hear her say. “Should I speak to her?”
“Yeah, she might be alone,” the ginger girl says. The redhead gets up. Without a second thought I stand up and bolt, leaving my drinks behind. I run from the café and I know she’s following me. I run past our van and through the village.
“Wait, I can help you!” I can tell she’s Welsh, like me. I ignore her and run into a forest. I wolf out so that I can go faster, which is probably a dumb idea, but I need to get away. I come to a cliff; it’s too high to jump off. There's no way out. I stop and turn to face her. She has caught up and she’s close. She stops. I growl. She kneels down. “I’m like you; you don’t have to hide from me.” I return to human form.
“Who are you? Where is your pack?”
“I don’t really have one anymore; they’re out there, in the wild,” she comes closer to me. I sniff her. “Are you alone too?”
“No, I have my father, Geraint. He’s in the village,” I step back; I’m right on the edge. “You were talking to humans in there. They know about you; you said Wolfblood to them, and now they know about me too. You’re not supposed to tell people.”
"Get away from there, it's dangerous," she steps even closer to me and takes my hand, leading me away from the cliff. "I'm sorry; I didn't mean to scare you. What’s your name?”
It dawns on me that she's the only other Wolfblood I've met, other than my parents. I hesitate before replying.
"You're all alone?" She nods. I realise she's still holding my hand. I pull away. "Um, I need to get back to my dad, he'll be worried."
"Okay, let's run, we'll get there faster," she suggests, heading off and I follow her. We get back to the village and I see my dad outside the Kafe looking around for me.
"Carys, where have you been?"
"Sorry dad. I did what you said to do, but it went a bit wrong. This is Jana," she walks over to shake his hand. He just sniffs her.
"Carys, I told you they can't know about you yet,"
"Dad, it's fine, she's not in the pack; she's a lone wolf," he looks at her, her hand still extended. He shakes it reluctantly. "You didn't tell me about those humans. Why do they know?" I ask Jana.
"They knew before I arrived; we had these friends, other Wolfbloods. They're my pack really," dad growled at this, his veins pulsing.
"The secret is paramount."
"Dad," I grab his arms and give him a look. He calms himself down.
"Nothing can be done. Let's just go to the new house and get settled." I wave goodbye to Jana.
"I'll see you in school tomorrow?" She asks. I laugh as we get in to the van, rolling down the window.
"It's a dark moon, I'm not going in."
"Yes you are," Dad says. Jana laughs now.
"Well I guess I’ll see you then!" She walks away and we drive to our house. It's a big country cottage, with beautiful stone walls and a slate roof. It's surrounded by trees and fields for what looks like miles.
"Wow," I say getting out of the van. We take a few boxes out of the back and head through the front door. "Not too shabby."
"Take those upstairs."
We unpack all the boxes; we don't have that much stuff, so it only takes about an hour to move in. I explore my new house and find a door. I open it and there's a staircase; I go down and there’s a cellar. Jana is in there; she must have ran here and beat us.
"Jana?" She turns around. "What are you doing here?"
"Um, this is... my friend used to... this is where I live."
"You live in my cellar?" I walk over to her.
"I told you, my pack left and I wanted to stay. My friend Maddy used to live here and I kind of just stay here. I'm sorry I can find somewhere else, I didn't realise you'd be moving in to this house."
"No, no it's okay, I'll talk to my dad. I'm sure you can stay here for a bit, until you can find a new home. Come on." We go upstairs where dad is sat watching the television.
"Dad," I say, and he turns around.
"Turns out Jana was squatting here, do you think she can stay for a while until we can find somewhere else?" I know he's too kind to turn her down. He sighs.
"Fine," he turns back to the TV.
"Thank you," she looks at me. "Come meet Tom and Shannon," she says, talking about the people from the Kafe. "They're lovely," I nod and we run out together.
"So your accent is like mine, where in Wales are you from?” She asks. “I have no clue where I'm from, we would never stay in the same place, until I became the Alpha."
"You were Alpha?" She nods, with an embarassed look on her face. "I'm from Cardiff; it's lovely there, really it is, but there's not many places to run. We would only ever go out as wolves on a full moon. You sound like you're from Caerphilly, that's where we used to run, the mountains are amazing."
"Never heard of it," we laugh. We get into the village and her friends are sat on a bench.
"Tom, Shannon," she shouts to them, they look over to us as we approach. "This is Carys," she beams.
"Hi," I shake hands with both of them.
"She's moved into Maddy's old place. Her father has been kind enough to let me stay until I find somewhere else."
"Cool, I'm Tom," the boy says.
"I'm Shannon. Are you going to be starting at Bradlington tomorrow?"
"Unfortunatley," I say, and they look at me weirdly. "I mean because of the dark moon - I'm sure it's a great school!" I laugh.
"You'll fit in great," Tom says.
"It's kind of hard to fit in anywhere when you're a Wolfblood. Do any other humans know?" I ask Jana.
"Our form teacher, Mr Jeffries, but he's keeping our secret. There was Liam in our class, but he's moved away now."
"How do you trust them so much? I mean you guys seem great," I gesture to Tom and Shannon. "But you know what I mean."
"They're not that different to us really, they just don't turn into wolves." We laugh and begin to walk around the village. Tom and Shannon lag behind Jana and I.
"I bet full moons are great here," I smile.
"They are, well they used to be. It's not so great on your own." I can see in her eyes that she's broken.
"Well, you're not alone anymore," I say, and she smiles at me.
"Was it hard leaving your friends back home? I know how hard leaving my pack was."
"I didn't really have friends, I mean, I had one but she was sort of- sort of more than that."
"I see, what's her name?"
"Anwen; it means beautiful in Welsh. We ended things long before we came here; the secret was getting in the way of us."
"Oh. I’m sorry about that. What does your name mean then?"
"Love. My parents almost called me that, but they thought it was a bit pretentious."
"I like it. So you came here with your dad, where's your mother?" She asks. I go quiet. I haven't talked about her with anyone apart from dad a tear rolls down my cheek. "I'm sorry. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to." We stop walking.
"No it's fine, she was- she was shot while she was in wolf form, she was hit right in her heart. Her name's Rhiannon. We were running on the full moon, we never really leave the cave that much, but this day mum really wanted to. I was slower than my parents so I didn't see the whole thing. I heard my dad growling viciously, and human voices. Then I heard the gun being cocked back and then- then the shot was fired. The growling became sorrowful howling. She was gone, in a matter of seconds."
"I'm so sorry," she hugs me and I cry softly into her red hair. I pull away gently, her arms still around me.
"I've known you for like an hour and I'm already letting my guard down; you must be something special!" She wipes my tears away and smiles at me.
We're back at home; Jana is sat on my bed as I unpack some of my clothes.
"So when did you first transform?" She asks.
"Only about 3 full moons ago,"
"So you're still pretty new to this?" I nod. I notice something behind my dresser. It looks like a photo frame. I pick it up; inside the frame there is a drawing of two wolves.
"Look," I sit next to Jana and hand her the frame.
"Maddy and Rhydian,” she says quietly, as the strokes the glass with her thumb.
"Maddy used to live here?" She nods. "And Rhydian?"
"He didn't live here, well he did for a bit. But he was in foster care. Not long after Maddy left, he followed her to Canada. They were in love," she stands up and mounts the frame on the wall next to my door.
"It's wonderful," I say. She lies down on my double bed, I stand up and continue unpacking my room. "I can already feel this dark moon coming on," I yawn. I look back at Jana and she's already fast asleep. "Jana?" Nothing. I quietly change into my pajamas and climb under the covers.