Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Part 4 - The Unexplained

The moon began to rise right on schedule. As it climbed higher and higher into the night sky, Kenzie’s heart beat faster. Hayden held her tightly until he himself could no longer control it. He stood up and let the transition claim him, though this time he tried to make it look as painless as possible for Kenzie’s sake.


Kenzie had seen him transform several times before. But knowing that this was now her fate made the spectacle more foreboding.

“Does it hurt?” she asked.

Hayden shook his head. “No. It’s just a little uncomfortable, since you feel your hair growing out really fast, and of course your nails and teeth. Oh, and your ears and nose, sometimes your jaw…”

Hayden stopped short. Kenzie was inadvertently making a face tinged with peril.

“Remember, I’m here,” Hayden consoled. “And I don’t care what you end up looking like. I love you, and I’ll always love you, no matter what.”

“Thank you.”


Kenzie had been sure that as soon as Hayden transformed, she would shortly thereafter. But she didn’t.

“Do all werewolves transform at the same time?” she asked, bewildered.

“Normally, yes. When the moon’s at its highest peak, all werewolves transform into their wolf state, unless they were already in that state. But maybe it’s different for new werewolves.”

Still, minutes turned into hours, and Kenzie remained completely normal. She’d planned to stay awake all night, but her eyelids were beginning to droop, and she was actually getting frustrated. She was finally ready for this to happen, and it wasn’t happening.

“This makes no sense,” she quipped as Hayden paced the room. They were both growing more and more perplexed, and Kenzie was also impatient. By this time, it was nearly sunrise.


“Maybe he didn’t bite you hard enough,” Hayden suggested, though not sounding convinced. “Let me see your arm.”

Kenzie had forgotten all about the bite, focusing only on the aftermath. She hadn’t even noticed it lately, really. She extended her arm, and both she and Hayden received a shock. There was no evidence of a bite whatsoever. At least, not to Kenzie’s eyes.

Hayden, however, scrutinized the invisible wound and furrowed his brow.

“How…?” he began.

“What? What is it?”

“The wound. It’s…it’s still there, I can see it, very light. But it’s healed.”

“Healed? In three days?”

“Exactly. We both saw that wound. We know it was there, and it was deep.”

“It drew blood and went right through my coat.”

“I know. But now it’s…gone. Healed. And the only way that could happen is with superior healing abilities, which only belong to vampires and werewolves.”


Hayden sat on the edge of the bed to ponder this. Kenzie was just as befuddled as he was. She was a human. She’d been human her entire life. When she’d gotten scrapes on her knee as a kid, it would take at least a week for them to heal. But now, somehow, a werewolf had bitten her and the wound had healed itself in three days, and she didn’t transform.

Hayden was punching something into his cell phone, his face molded into one of curiousness, concern, and relief.

“Ellis,” he barked into the phone, “did you find anything out about that kid that bit Kenzie? I don’t give a shit what time it is. This is serious. Besides, it was a full moon; I know you were out doing the creator knows what. Now spit it out.”

Ellis said something inaudible to Kenzie’s ears. Another factor that confirmed that she was indeed human. She didn’t have superior hearing, and she had to wear glasses in order to see great distances. She couldn’t be a werewolf or vampire.


“You’re sure there was nothing suspicious about him?” Hayden was going on. Finally, he heaved a resonating sigh and hung up.

“What did he say?” Kenzie asked.

“The kid woke up and they questioned him, but there was nothing wrong with him. No reason to explain why you didn’t transform. He was a rogue, just as I’d suspected, who couldn’t handle his transformation.”

“Well…isn’t this a good thing?”

“Of course it is. I’m beyond relieved, believe me. But I’m an investigative reporter, so of course I’m curious.”

“I am, too. I’m a detective, so my curiousness is spinning out of control.”

“Well, maybe Paige and her coven will know something about this, or even Isaiah. They didn’t know of a cure, but this is something different.”

“It’s worth a try.”

“Yeah. But first, let me give you something.”

Hayden walked over to Kenzie and pulled her off the bed. Then, he wrapped his arm around her and kissed her deeply.


Kenzie eagerly returned the gesture as she placed her hands on Hayden’s chest.

“What’s this for?” she asked after they parted.

“Nothing in particular. I just love you and wanted to kiss you.”

“Would you still have wanted to if I’d turned?”

“Of course I would have. The only reason I was against it was because I was afraid of the transformation hurting you. I know you have a low pain tolerance. I told you last night that it didn’t hurt, but it might have for you.”

“Hayden, we don’t know that I’m completely safe yet. Maybe you should hold off on telling me this.”

“Right. Sorry. I’ll call Paige.”

“I’ll fix us some breakfast. And don’t you have to go back to work?”

“I called the other day. Told the boss something serious had come up, and it could very well lead to a story, so I’d need some time off. He didn’t even argue.”

“He didn’t?”

“Well, not to sound smug, but I am one of the best reporters he’s got. He trusts me.”

“Well, that’s a good thing, then.”


The two embraced once more before Kenzie threw on some fresh clothes and trotted downstairs to fix some breakfast while Hayden called Paige.

*********************************************************************************

Kenzie dug through the fridge and extracted some milk, eggs, and fruit. She thought a hearty breakfast of eggs machiavellian would hit the spot for both her and Hayden.

She was so absorbed in her task that she didn’t detect Hayden come up behind her until he wrapped his arms around her.


“Hayden!” she shrieked with a laugh. “You scared me!”

“Sorry. Something smells good. What’s cooking?”

“Eggs, maybe some bacon if you behave.”

“Mmm, bacon. I can already tell you’re going to be a great cook.”

“You’re not so bad yourself.”

“Glad you think so. Here, allow me.”

Hayden reached around Kenzie and began slicing the watermelon. She noticed that he was no longer in his werewolf form, and that he’d also changed out of yesterday’s clothes.


“Did you find anything out from Paige?” Kenzie asked.

“Well, sort of. She agrees that it’s very odd that you didn’t transform last night like I did, but she has a theory she wants to test. Apparently, Erika’s family has some old legends that might explain what happened, so they’re going to look into that. They’ll call me back.”

“Okay…and what legends are they looking into?”

“She didn’t say. I think she just doesn’t want to jump to conclusions and wants to know for sure before telling us.”

“I see.”

The two carried their plates to the table and sat down to dig in.


“This tastes great!” Hayden exclaimed as he took a hearty bite out of his bacon.

Kenzie giggled. “I’m glad you think so. I’m usually not the best cook in the world.”

“That’s okay. It tastes great to me, and that’s what matters, right?”

“Exactly.”

They’d just finished the meal when Hayden’s cell phone rang. He answered it and began talking to Paige. Kenzie listened to his side of the conversation as she cleaned the dishes in the sink before transporting them to the dishwasher.


Her ears perked up when she heard Hayden say, “Are you sure about that?”

She stopped splashing water around to listen closer.

“Okay, well, should we go there or do you want to meet us here? Oh, okay. All right, we’ll head out, then. See you later.”

Hayden hung up and Kenzie spun around.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, suddenly apprehensive again.

“There’s a spell they can try to determine what’s up, but they’ll need your blood to do it.”

“Wonderful. And we’re going to Lucky Palms?”

“Yeah…they called Isaiah to ask him for his input too, and he’s on his way there right now.”

“Is Jillian going too?”

“Of course.”


Hayden could sense Kenzie’s turmoil, so he wrapped his arms around her in consolation. “It’s going to be okay,” he soothed. “I promise.”

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Part 3 - The Inevitable

“Get off her, you son of a bitch!” Hayden roared as he plowed into Kenzie’s assailant, knocking him to the ground.


Kenzie watched the horrific spectacle before her as her boyfriend wrestled with what appeared to be another werewolf. Which made absolutely no sense considering they were of the same breed. And as Kenzie got a closer look, she realized that her attacker appeared younger than she was.

The fur continued to fly until Hayden had the boy on his back, his hand raised with claws fully elongated. He’d transformed into a werewolf despite the moon not being full, simply due to pure adrenaline and rage.


And then Hayden struck his foe until he lay unconscious on the ground.

“Is…is he…?” Kenzie stammered.

“No. That’s up to Ellis, as the alpha.”

Hayden whipped out his phone and literally barked at his older brother, stating the events that had just taken place.

Meanwhile, Kenzie stared at her arm, visible through the torn fabric of her coat. Her heart began to pound in her ears. Of course, she and Hayden had discussed her becoming a werewolf in the past. But she’d always assumed that Hayden himself would be the one to turn her into one. Not some random stranger that appeared out of nowhere and bit her for no reason.

“Who is he?” she managed to inquire when Hayden hung up the phone and reverted back to his human form, probably as a means to calm Kenzie down since she’d just been attacked by one.

“I have no idea. If he’s a member of Ellis’s pack, he’ll take care of his ass. But he better hurry up before I do the job for him.”

Then he rushed to Kenzie and held her tightly. “Are you all right?”


Kenzie couldn’t stifle a shudder. “I don’t know,” she confessed with a shiver that had nothing to do with the temperature.

Ellis arrived not long after to assess the situation. Being the alpha of the pack, it was his duty to ensure that one of his underlings wasn’t responsible for this attack.

“I haven’t seen this kid before,” he declared upon inspecting the still-unconscious teen. “But I have heard reports of things like this happening.”

“Like what?” Hayden quipped.

“Something about teenagers being turned into werewolves and other powerful supernatural creatures but lacking the mental capacity to handle such a big change to their body. There’s a reason someone has to be at least eighteen before being turned legally.”

“Are you telling me there have been teenagers running around, transformed into supernatural creatures, and you didn’t think to tell me that before I brought my girlfriend into town to live with me?!”


Ellis rolled his eyes. “Maybe if you were ever around for pack meetings, you would have known this. It’s not my fault. Besides, how was I supposed to know you asked your girlfriend to move in with you? It’s not like you told me, and it’s not like I knew this was going to happen, either. You’re lucky I don’t put you on a leash.”

“Is that a threat?”

“Stop it, both of you,” Kenzie snapped. Sibling rivalry was the last thing she needed right now, and didn’t hesitate to inform the squabbling brothers of this.

Ellis did apologize that this happened to her before dragging the teen, who was beginning to stir, away to deal with him. He would undoubtedly be taken to the authorities and reprimanded there, and an investigation would begin to try to figure out how all the teens were being turned into supernatural creatures at all.

But for once, Kenzie didn’t care what happened to a criminal. She was more concerned for herself.

“There has to be something we can do,” Hayden said in his pleading, no-nonsense voice. The gears spinning in his head trying to concoct a plan were almost visible even to human eyes.

“I don’t know what we can do,” Kenzie cut in sadly. “There’s no cure, and…”

“No. There has to be something, anything. I won’t let this happen to you. I don’t give a shit that you’ve said you want to be like me. And how much better it would be for your career. I don’t care. I’m not going to let you be turned into a monster because some rogue teenage werewolf couldn’t keep his own hormones in check.”


Hayden grabbed Kenzie’s arms as he stared at her in the most serious face she’d ever seen him invoke.

“Is that what you think happened?” she managed to squeak. “He just couldn’t handle it?”

“Most people, at a certain age, lack the mental capacity to handle being a supernatural creature, and if your body is still growing, it’s harder to adapt. It’s just easier to give into being the creature you’ve become instead of any part of what you were. Unless you were born as that creature, of course. Then your body is programmed to adapt itself.”


Kenzie looked down, unsure of what to do. Hayden cupped his hands around her face and looked into her eyes with intense determination.

“Listen to me,” he asserted, “I’m not going to let anything happen to you. If nothing else, I won’t let you go through this alone. I’ll be here for you.”

The only response Kenzie could muster was to burst into tears. And when she realized that the next full moon, the night she would transform for the first time, was only three nights away, she cried even harder.

*********************************************************************************

It was hard to get to sleep that night. Hayden comforted Kenzie as best he could, and every time she dozed off, he’d get online or call their friends to see if there was anything that could be done.


But his efforts seemed to be futile. He couldn’t find any way to reverse a werewolf bite or curse, and even Paige and her witch coven didn’t know of anything that could help. Isaiah said that he couldn’t use his blood to cure or heal her, either, because she wasn’t dying.

“Well,” Kenzie said in a half-hearted attempt to lighten the mood, “I guess it’s a good thing I cut my hair. It won’t be so shaggy, right?”

“Do you think that’s funny?” Hayden growled, sounding angry. “I made a promise, I swore, to protect you and keep you safe, and this shit happens! The worst thing that could possibly happen to you has happened!”

“Do you think I’m not scared?!” Kenzie retorted. “Of course I’m scared! But you’re taking it harder than I am! What I need from you is support and help, not this attitude that I’m doomed!”


Hayden scurried over to the couch and wrapped Kenzie in his arms. “Of course. I’m so sorry.”

“Please, just help me through this, Hayden. I don’t know what to expect, what to do…just help me through it.”

“Isaiah did the same for Jillian when she became a vampire. Of course I’ll help you. I swear.”

*********************************************************************************

Hayden was still asleep, and though it was early in the morning, Kenzie was wide awake. Her three days were up. That night was the full moon.


Unable to fall back into dreamland, Kenzie stealthily slid out of bed and threw on her robe, slippers, and glasses in the hopes of not waking up her boyfriend. Then, she traipsed downstairs to the living room, staring dejectedly at the boxes she hadn’t yet unpacked. She grabbed her cell phone and called Jillian. She knew her friend would be awake, even though vampires also had to sleep.

“What are you doing up at this hour?” Jillian inquired.

“You have to ask? Didn’t Isaiah tell you?”

“Well, yeah. I’ve been wanting to call you, but I just don’t know what to say. Except I wish there was something I could do.”

“Thanks, but there’s really nothing. Well, I mean, unless you don’t mind me asking you some things.”

“Okay…sure, if that’s what you want.”


Kenzie took a deep breath and plunged forward.

“Well, you transformed into a supernatural creature. You weren’t born like that. And Isaiah was the same way. I guess my question is, what was it like? Hayden was born as a werewolf so he can’t really tell me that.”

“Uh…well, I don’t know if all experiences are the same, so I can’t really speak for Isaiah. But for me, I don’t want to sugar-coat it, Ken. It was horrible. You were there with me in that hotel room. My throat was burning and these sharp pains just shot through me. My eyes were burning, too, because they became super sensitive to the light. It wasn’t pleasant, and I don’t think I’d ever want to go through it again.”

“Oh, Jill, I am so…”

“Don’t start. I’m glad it happened so that I can be with Isaiah. And it’s not your fault. Now listen, I have no idea what it’s like to turn into a werewolf, and I’m sure Isaiah doesn’t, either. The only person you could ask is Hayden, even if he was born that way. He’s still usually in his human form except during the full moon, right? So I’m sure your experience will be similar.”


Kenzie nodded, though of course no one could see her do so. Hundreds of thoughts were flying through her head, some questions and others concerns. For instance, how would her parents react, knowing that their only daughter had just stated she was going to move in with her werewolf boyfriend, only to be turned into a werewolf herself? Would they blame Hayden? Not to mention Sage, who was part wolf herself. Would she take to her “new” master?

And how would she handle life as a werewolf? Surely it was easier than being a vampire, especially after a lifetime of being in the sun as often as possible, as was the case with Jillian. But still, would it hurt to transform? Kenzie’s pain tolerance was lower than her tolerance for change. She was frightened, both of the unknown and of what would become of her and the life she’d always known.

*********************************************************************************

“It’s not the last time,” Hayden assured her in their post-coital bliss. “I promise.”

“It’s the last time I’ll be human.”


Hayden’s only response was to embrace her. They’d made love once more, mostly so that Kenzie would remember what it was like to be with her soul mate while she was “normal.” Though she’d seriously considered turning into a werewolf before, if for no other reason than the sake of her career and job security due to having more keen senses and a better ability to track criminals, she was becoming more and more fearful of what was to come. Hayden had been a comfort to her, but she was still frightened. He’d answered all her questions, so at least she had somewhat of an idea of what would happen in only a matter of hours now. But that didn’t make the situation any less dreadful.

And when darkness descended at last, her case of the jitters became more prominent.

“I’m right here,” Hayden reassured her. “And I know you’re scared. I’m sorry I wasn’t much comfort these past few days.”

“You’ve been fine. I just…I don’t know what to expect. You told me, but I think it’s something I have to experience for myself.”

“I understand.”


Kenzie leaned her head against her mate’s shoulder, trying to stifle the tears that threatened to burst forth from behind her eyes. At this point, there was nothing more that could be done. All she could do was sit there on that bed with Hayden and wait for the inevitable.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Part 2 - The Attack

Hayden made good on his promise of showing Kenzie how much he loved both her and her new haircut upon arriving at the hotel. They engaged in a night of passion that didn’t end until past midnight. Of course, wearing more risqué attire didn’t hurt, either.


As she began to doze off to sleep, Kenzie thought of Su and their reunion. Yet another friend was beginning the next chapter of their life – Su and her family had moved to Sunset Valley to run their restaurant. It was amazing how quickly time progressed and things changed. But she’d learned to accept that not all change was bad; a lot of it was good. Like the change she’d made in herself that had allowed her to find her soul mate. That was something she’d never let go of.


When morning finally broke, Kenzie felt the sun graze her eyelids. She stretched and turned over to feel Hayden grip her wrist.

“Good morning, Beauty,” he cooed.


Kenzie tittered and replied, “Good morning, Beast.”

“How did you sleep?”

“Very good since you got me so tired out. You?”

“The same. I’d say I slept like a bear, but that’s the wrong species.”

Kenzie just shook her head teasingly. She sat up and saw that the blanket had fallen off the bed sometime during the night. No wonder she felt a little chilly.

“Here,” Hayden said as he wrapped the blanket around her. “As gorgeous as you look in that getup, it’s not worth freezing over.”

“Thanks. I think I’ll just go ahead and get dressed, though.”


Kenzie grabbed some clothes out of her suitcase and quickly put them on. She’d gotten over her shyness of changing in front of others, or at least Hayden and Jillian. But only the former had seen her completely in the buff, and she hoped to keep it that way.

“So, are we heading to Moonlight Falls today?” she asked. Hayden threw yesterday’s clothes back on considering he hadn’t packed any, not anticipating staying overnight in Sunset Valley.

“That’s the plan,” he replied. “Unless there’s something else you had in mind.”

“Not me.”

“Well, in that case, how about some breakfast before we head out?”

“Sounds good to me.”


After a hearty breakfast, the couple climbed into Hayden’s car and went on their way to Moonlight Falls. Kenzie’s heart hammered in her chest, both in excitement and nervous anticipation. Truthfully, despite being twenty-seven, she’d never lived with anyone before except her parents and Jillian in college. She’d been engaged once, until the guy had cheated on her, but she realized that even back then, she hadn’t thought ahead to the point of them actually living together. Her head had been wrapped up in the elation of being engaged. Until it ended, anyway.

Moonlight Falls wasn’t very far from Sunset Valley, but it was mid-afternoon when they arrived. And because it was still winter, it got dark earlier. The sun was already beginning its descent when they pulled up to Hayden’s house. However, unlike Riverview, there was no snow on the ground despite the season, even though Riverview only had a small amount.

“Welcome home,” Hayden said as he grabbed some boxes and hustled them inside after unlocking the front door. Kenzie couldn’t help but smile as she took in her new home. It was very masculine; she’d definitely have to add some feminine touches to it. Unless, of course, they managed to find another house, which they’d discussed. Hayden seemed to think that they needed a house with an office for both their lines of work. Kenzie was in no rush to invest in another house, though. She was still paying for the one she had in Riverview, though she would soon have to get it on the market.

The thought saddened her, despite how happy she was with the idea of being closer to Hayden rather than living a long-distance relationship.

“So,” Hayden declared as he set down the last of the few boxes that Kenzie had brought with her, “what shall we do first?”


Kenzie put her hand on her hip as she surveyed the room. It was already beginning to feel like home.

“Well,” she said at last, “I suppose we could always do the practical thing and unpack. Or we could do something a little more fun.”

“Like what?”

“We could always christen this place, unless you’ve already done that.”

“Actually, no. And if I had, it wouldn’t matter because it wasn’t with you.”

“Uh…was I your first?”

“Would you be mad if I said no?”

“No, but I would be surprised.”


Hayden chuckled slightly. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, you’re only my second.”

“Oh, come on.”

“It’s true. Wolves are monogamous, but werewolves still have human genes in them, remember? So I thought I’d found a mate once, but I was wrong.”

“What happened?”

“She wound up pregnant by someone else.”

“Oh. That sucks.”

“I thought so at the time. But now I’m glad it happened. Otherwise I wouldn’t have met you.”

“Oh, stop.”


Hayden chortled once more as he approached Kenzie and wrapped his arm around her. Kenzie wrapped her arm around her mate’s neck as they gazed into each other’s eyes.

“I love you, Kenzie Howell,” Hayden said, his voice encompassed with sincerity. “I never knew love until I met you. It’s like we were created for each other.”

“I think we were.”

The two smiled at each other before sealing their love with a kiss.


********************************************************************************

Later that evening, after christening their new home, Kenzie and Hayden went for a romantic stroll under a blanket of stars away from the beaten path. Though it was still winter, the temperature was unseasonably warm that evening, and they were taking full advantage while still bundling up.

“Besides,” Hayden stated as they walked along, “the last time we were able to be together at night like this, I had to turn into a werewolf.”

“I don’t remember you complaining that much.”

“You have one hell of a hold on me, convincing me to woohoo in my wolf state during a full moon. And outside in public, no less!”

“We weren’t really in public; we were in the deserted woods.”


Hayden just shook his head mischievously, prompting Kenzie to stick her tongue out at him teasingly. They walked for a while longer and were just heading back to the house when Hayden stopped short.

“What’s wrong?” Kenzie asked. Hayden held his finger to his lips, signaling her to be silent. He cocked his head to the side, his ears perked up. He obviously heard something that her human ears were unable to detect.

But that changed in a matter of moments, for not only did her ears home in on what Hayden already sensed, but her eyes did as well when she saw a dark shadow flying toward her, fangs and claws extended.


Her flesh also became aware of this creature when she felt the sharp pierce of canines sink through her jacket and into the flesh on her arm.