Daughter of the Moon

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I was born on a cold November night under the full moon. My mother never made it to the Hospital. The car broke down in the middle of the forest and the Ambulance never had the chance to get there in time. I was always told that was why I looked different from my mother and father. That the light of the moon had turned the colour of my hair silver grey and my eyes as blue as the icy cold night when I was welcomed to this world.

Since the day I was born, it has been forbidden for me to be outside after dark. They always claimed it was because of the many preditors roaming our district. I was their only daughter and they couldn't bear the thought of losing me.
I never believed that that was the whole truth, but I also never imagined that the truth would turn everything I knew upside down. Forcing me to choose between the love of my life and the man I can't keep away from.

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9. The Truth

Was I in my bed? I was laying comfortably but a bright light prevented me from opening my eyes. I could feel someone sitting beside me. “Mom?” I asked.

I was answered by a deep voice. “I certainly hope not.” No. I knew that voice. That voice had been threatening me yesterday, degrading me.

“How?” I opened my eyes and saw Shay sitting on my bedside. I sat up and covered myself with the sheets. “What are you doing here!” I shouted. His face turned into a grin. “Well, what are your hopes for me being here?” He asked and crawled closer.

My heart started beating uncontrollably. He got so close I could feel the heat from his body. I couldn’t get further away. My whole body tensed up and I closed my eyes in fear of what was going to happen next.

He went past my face and buried his nose in my neck. Then he took a deep breath. What the hell! I pushed him away. “What the hell do you think you are doing!?” I shouted. He smiled and backed away. “I see the transformation changed back your hair colour,” he said.

The transformation? My hair had turned white again. Then it all came back. Archer, the white wolf, the mystery man. Shay! He was the black wolf?

“You’re up?” I heard a voice saying from the door opening. Mother. “Thank you for bringing her back here safely, Shay.” “No problem,” he answered with the smile of an angel on his face. So fake, but my mother didn’t see through it. She just smiled back at him. “Could I have a moment with her alone?” She asked. “Sure,” he answered and took one last glance back at me. He touched my thigh and it gave me a burning sensation. What was that feeling? He saw my expression and smiled self-consciously before disappearing out the door.

“Darling, are you okay?” My mother came closer. “Did all that yesterday really happen?” I asked. She nodded. I could feel a lump forming in my stomach. How was that possible?

“Rieka, I have something to tell you. Something I should have told you long ago, but I thought we had it under control. I didn’t think it would ever come to this.” She looked sad but serious. “Rieka, you have to promise me that you will listen to me. To every word I say, before questioning it.” “I don’t really think you can do worse than how I already feel,” I laughed. “Promise me, Rieka.” She was dead serious. My smile disappeared and I nodded.

She took a deep breath before she started.

“We are not alone in this world. Humans. We live side by side with the mythical creatures you only hear about in stories. What is connected to you...” She paused. “...to me, is the gene of a wolf.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Mother too?

“When I was born, my father was the leader of our pack. The Alpha. I was the one to follow in his footsteps. But I fell in love with your father, a human, which meant that I could never be the Alpha. I was pregnant with you, so resigned from the position and my place among the pack. The pack was without an heir, so my father made a deal with his best friend. That his son would be the next Alpha after him when he was ready. That child was Shay.”

That was why everyone in town was acting like that around him. Like he was some kind of authority figure. That he acted out like that when I questioned that authority. He was the Alpha of this pack. This town.

“This is where I need you to listen, Rieka.” I had many questions, but I chose to wait.

“Any person with the werewolf gene is born on the night of a Full Moon. To activate the gene, the baby has to be born under the light of this full Moon. We tried to make it to the hospital, a closed department, but we were in the middle of the woods when the car broke down, and you couldn’t wait for the ambulance. You were born the way we feared.”

I couldn’t wait for her to finish. “But why did I first turn now?” “I will come to that, Rieka.”

“Werewolves aren’t ready to transform into their wolves before their bodies are developed for it. Typically, that is on their 16th birthday. To activate the transformation, we once again are to bathe in the light of the Moon.” She paused.

“Back in the days, we would gather once every month on the full Moon. If any children were ready for the transformation, we would celebrate and trigger their transformation, letting the moonlight shine on their bodies. Within three days, the transformation would be complete and they would be able to evolve into their wolf.”

She looked at me. “That is why we have been trying to keep you away from the moonlight.” “But why before my 16th birthday?”

She sighed. “You were born under the light of a super moon. Only wolves with the Alpha gene, or the potential to be an Alpha, are born during a super Moon. That gene is unpredictable and we didn’t want to take any chances.”

It kinda made sense... Thinking about last night. “But what about my hair?” I asked. “Does that have anything to do with me being a werewolf?” She smiled. “Yes. It is rare to see one with your colour, though. The colour of our hair and our fur are to reflect our soul. Your white hair signifies that you are pure as the colour itself. It is very rare and extremely powerful. We were very proud when you showed your true self.” She brushed my hair away from my face.

Then she looked down like she was in pain. “I just don’t understand how you could activate your transformation when you have never exposed to the light of the Moon.” I felt a wave of guilt floating over me.

“Mother...? I think I know why...” I hesitated. “What?” “Do you remember the day of my 20th birthday?” She nodded. “Archer and Everly invited me out to see the Moon and I snuck out...” She widened her eyes.

“What were you thinking, Rieka! There was a reason for those rules!” I got a little mad. “How was I supposed to know that it wasn’t due to a stupid reason?! To keep me inside, away from all the fun!” “We are your parents, young lady. You are supposed to listen to us and do as we say without questions.” “Oh yeah, like you did. I am guessing that your parents didn’t exactly approve of your relationship with dad.” She went silent and I stopped shouting.

“You couldn’t have kept me inside forever anyways,” I whispered.

“Rieka, your father is exactly the reason we hoped never to see you going through the transformation.” I looked up. “What? What is so wrong with being a werewolf?” I asked.

“I have experienced the life of a human. I have experienced the life of a werewolf. The life of a human is without obligations.” She giggled.

“Sure, the life of a wolf is about being one with Nature. Sharpened senses, and the feeling of the wind when you are on four legs, running through the woods, letting your instincts control your every move.” And then she looked at me. “But those instincts are also what makes it unbearable to be a wolf. To be in a pack is a huge responsibility. It is like a family but much bigger, and you are responsible for every last one of them. Not just as an Alpha, but as a member of the pack.”

“But why can’t I just avoid being a part of a pack?” I asked. She sighed. “That’s worse. Some humans are aware of our existence.” “Like dad?” I asked. “No, not like dad. Your father understands that we are no threat, but these people... These people hunt our kind. ’Chasseur de loups’, Hunter of Wolves. Like us, they are everywhere. Hidden.” My mother took my hands.

“Now that you have gone through the transformation, you have the right to know more. We made a deal with the hunters from our area. If we keep away from their territory, they keep away of ours. There are parts of the forest you can’t be in, Rieka, and I need you to understand that. We have shared territories, like the school and the grocery store, but we have agreed to peace on common grounds.” I nodded. If I wanted to live, there were certain areas that I should keep away from. That seemed reasonable for once.

Then it hit me. I saw Archer with a cross-bow last night. Could he be... No... He wouldn’t.

“Mom?” I asked. “Yes, honey?” “How do we know if we are dealing with a hunter?” “Every hunter has been marked. With a tattoo on the left shoulder consisting of three black swirls.”

Archer wasn’t the one who liked to take off his shirt and show his muscles. So I didn’t know if he had the mark. “I just saw Archer yesterday...” She cut me off. “Right, Archer. This is the worst part for you, honey.” I looked at her with surprise. The worst part? Worse than hunters?

“As a werewolf, the Moon has chosen a life long partner for you. A mate. There is one for you too now. There has always been, but the bond is now concealed. Archer is not a werewolf and cannot be your mate.” “What?” I asked. “How can that just be decided? How can I not get to decide myself? What about you and dad?”

“Your father and I are a special case. I found my mate, but we agreed, after some time, that the right thing to do was to sever the bond. It is the only way, and I was lucky.” “Is that really possible?” I asked. “Yes, but it is very rare, and both partners have to agree with words and meaning. When you find your mate, you will understand how difficult that is.”

Another question went through my mind. “How will I know? How will I know when I meet my mate.” She smiled. “Most werewolves know right away, but you are carrying the Alpha gene. We are more in control of our emotions, our lust. You’ll know when you get close enough, and that can take some time.”

Shay entered the door. “Mrs Cooper, can I steal your daughter for a minute?” I looked at my mother, begging for her to stay, but she ignored me. “Rieka, since Shay is the Alpha of the pack here, he is going to teach you how to control your wolf.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “Why, mother? Why can’t you do it?” “I have been suppressing my inner wolf for 20 years. Kept away from the moonlight. I don't have the same control anymore. You need someone who knows what it is like to have the Alpha gene. To control it."

"But I thought he was chosen to become the Alpha?" She smiled. "Not all are born an Alpha. Some are chosen because they have the potential. That potential mutates your genes and creates the Alpha gene."

With no further words, she walked out the door and I was left alone with Shay. Alone, in my room.

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