The Little Wolf

Book One in the Tribus Trilogy

To all the stars in my life.
You know who you are.
You show me the way in the darkest of nights,
and don't even leave in the daytime.
I love you all, my shimmering moon-dust.
You will always be the lights of my life.

This is for you.

This is the tale of Lupa, a strange girl with a dark history, who is send on a mission by Aqua - the goddess of water, equality and balance. She is the pure symbol of power, but she wants more...
Can Lupa stop this unstoppable force and defeat her before it's too late?

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2. A Drowned Memory

 

It happened a long time ago. So long that I started to doubt if it happened at all. Maybe John did just run away, and even if he didn't, should I tell anyone? I don't think there's much point in telling Sally because I think she already knows. That's why she hates it when I mention him. Because if he didn't run away, then his disappearance is my fault. Or maybe I'm over-thinking and Sally doesn't know, even if she has a habit of getting things right. Anyway. I know what happened, as much as I want to hide it, I know the truth. And it haunts me like a shadow.

I'm not mad. At least, I don't think I am. I'm not in the least bit like Uncle Max, and everyone knows that he is. Mad. They know it because Max says that he met a girl with wings, when he was young. Everyone knows that girls don't have wings, so they just smile and nod and whisper behind their hands 'just old Uncle Max, poor soul, raving he is. Raving'.

Even so, I doubt that he’s mad. I don't know how I can tell, but I really think that he might have met just such a girl. This would make me mad, however, so I've never told anyone. Not even him. I know him better than anybody and I can tell when he’s telling the truth. I still pretend he's mad, though, 'coz if I don't then they'll treat me like Max. They treat Max like dirt. They must, see, because of his 'madness'.

*

When Johnathon was alive, before I was running from my own guilt, we lived in a small town in the North of England. The town was called Wellworth Cove, and it was one of those places where everybody would know everybody if it wasn’t for for 'those darn tourists'. It was indeed one of those tourist-y places, (because of how old and crumbling it was) and it was so West it was practically swimming in the Ocean. Of course, what some of the tourists didn't realise was that you could be by the sea, but not have beaches. Instead, we had cliffs. Tall cliffs, ones that made the sea inaccessible for most of the time. I say, 'most of the time' because, at night, when the tide was high it was just a short jump or a short climb to get in and out of the freezing sea. If you knew the right places, even that was unnecessary.

We were bored to death half the time. It was such a remote place, with next to no technology. So, we had to resort to making our own games.

On an unremarkable day, we were sitting idly by the edge of the cliff. It was just me and Johnathon. We were daring each other to do ridiculous things, then doing them anyway, not caring about our neighbours disapproving stares.

It was my idea, my fault. I can never forget that, never will. I always tell myself that it was John's idea. In truth, he was terrified and against it from the beginning. He kept on saying "no, no, it's too dangerous. Supposing we get caught. Or worse. No, it's too risky. I-I won't do it. I won't." I should have left him be. I should have backed down myself, said something like 'if you don't want to...' or '...maybe you're right... .' But I didn't. I coaxed and bribed and threatened him, seemingly in vain, but, finally, he agreed. (Why did I make him do that?)

All that was left was to jump.

*

I had done the jump with my friends many times before. It was just a small leap down into the water and then a quick climb out again. Shivering, laughing and alive. But not for John. He was an exception to the rule.

It was a strange fact that water sort of had it in for John. Ever since he was little, strange; water-related things had sort of been happening. Whether it was the countless times that he had tripped and fallen into a puddle and couldn't pull himself free without help or the times when unusually high waves had started pulling him off the cliff with a non-existent undertow. (This had even happened once during midday, a time when the water wasn't even brushing the base of the cliffs.)

It was a cold night, and the wind whipped at our heels as we walked, the knee deep heather skirting the cliffs was almost impossible to trudge through. We gasped for air as we walked. It was not a long way to the spot I had planned, but a thick mist had gently blanketed the town, made it difficult to breathe. "Ho-ow much fa-a-ather is i-t-t-t?" John whimpered, his teeth chattering.

"Not much longer now, we should be there soon."

"Th-a-at’s-s what-t-t-t I was afrai-ai-aid of."

"Don't be such a baby. told you, I've done this countless times."

We kept on walking, struggling with every step. Every so often I stopped to wait for John while he extracted himself from the grip of the purple buds that dusted the landscape. The rest of the walk was completed in silence. It was mutually agreed that I would do the jump first and then Johnathon would follow me into the freezing water.

I leaped off the edge, making a big show of how easy it was to fling the cliff behind you with your toes and soar into the air. It felt like flying. I landed on the surface of the water, spread-eagled like a stranded starfish. It felt solid beneath me and knocked the breath from my lungs. Laughing, I struggled back to the bank and curled up, to preserve warmth, my head tucked between my knees, my eyes screwed shut. 'Your-r-r tur-r-n,' I managed to say in between my shivers. I opened my eyes slightly to watch as Johnathon copied my earlier action, arms spread wide like Peter Pan. But instead of landing on the surface like I had done, he sunk beneath the ferocious waves. I leaped up, my freezing state forgotten. I felt separate from my body. Floating. Something was wrong, I could feel it.

I leaned over the cliff edge and screamed my brother's name. The words were snatched off my lips by the wind, and tossed out to sea. Water trickled from my soaking hair and snaked down my back. I didn't feel the water on my cheeks, so didn't even realise that I was crying.

Farther out, I saw a glimmer that filled my heart with hope. It bobbed on the surface then ducked down again, into the foamy waves.

"Johnathon."

Nothing.

"Johnathon!"

Something. A sound. The hope in my heart stayed, stronger for a second, then died away, as if it had never been.

The last thing I ever heard of my brother were his half-drowned cries.

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