I had no idea what was happening to me but suddenly, my mom's suggestion to move didn't sound so bad. It wasn't exactly going to be a hardship to leave the gloom of La Push reservation. Compared to Washington, Arizona sounded like an eternal summer, sunny and hot everyday. I certainly wouldn't have to worry about Sam or his gang anymore. I didn't even know why he was so interested in me, I wasn't even full-blooded Quileutte Indian or huge and tough like the rest of his thugs. Something about them was dark and my mom could sense it too, she had been worried about it for almost two years.
The real breaking point for me was my friend, Seth Clearwater. He was a cool, nice guy who I liked to joke around and hang out with. We were classic bros, always getting into trouble together, always bothering his older sister, always making fun of Sam and his gang. I didn't think Seth would ever get involved, not when his dad was one of the tribe elders. Then overnight, he changed. He was never around, he didn't go to school, when I did see him, he was always tired and rarely acknowledged me. I soon realized I was one of the only guys my age not with Sam's gang. This made me particularly anxious. I had heard about gangs, and 'initiations' were never pleasant. It didn't take much persuasion to get my mom to decide where to go. We were going to go live with my grandpa on the Hopi reservation in Arizona.
We began packing two days ago, school would be out soon and my mom didn't want to spend me to spend a single idle moment in La Push if she could help it. This morning, I got a surprising visit. The doorbell had rung and I went to answer it. I opened the front door to find Seth there. I stared for several long moments, sure it was some sort of joke.
"Hey, Loyal...I was just passing through....thought I should stop and say hi." He said, shuffling his feet a little. He looked so different, taller, bigger....bigger. I stepped out onto the porch and shut the door.
"Well, hi. Is that all? Or are you going to tell me why you're running around with Sam after we both agreed that his little wanna-be gang was stupid?" I asked. Seth hunched his shoulders guiltily.
"Sorry dude. Stuff happens. Stuff I can't control." he explained though it was hardly an explanation. I wasn't exactly expecting to be enlightened anyway.
"Whatever. I guess you chose what you want to do for the rest of your life. I'm moving." I said, reaching for the doorknob. But he put his hand on the door to keep me from opening it. I looked at him, mostly in skepticism that he would actualy bar my path.
"You can't." he said. It sounded almost panicky. I was starting to get mad.
"Dude, go away, I'm not kidding." I said as calmly as I could. Seth stared at me, as though wondering what would happen if he didn't move his hand. But he did.
"You really shouldn't move. You're....everything will change. If you stay, you'll understand." He said, backing away. I had opened the door now, the anger had dissolved. I could only pity him. Seth had obviously been taken hook, line and sinker. Maybe it was self-righteous of me to think so, but there was no way I was going to ruin my life by joining a gang. I rejoined my mother, taping boxes in the back room.
"Who was that?" she asked. I didn't really think before I answered.
"Seth." I said, catching myself too late. She knew about Seth; cue meltdown in three, two, one....
"What did he want?" she demaded, as though the very idea were appalling.
"He said he was just passing through." I aswered uncomfortabley.
"Did you tell him we're moving?" my mom asked.
"Yes, I told him." I said, getting tired of her incessant questions.
"What did he say?" she further inquired. Now she was being ridiculous.
"Does it matter? We're leaving." I muttered.
"Yes, it matters! He was your closest friend, he used to be a big influence in your life, you don't just walk away from something like that. What did he say?" she repeated. A strange, hot anger suddenly swept over me. I slammed the box-taper down, and though it didn't feel like I used much force, it broke under my hand. I felt the sharp edge cut my hand but I was was too mad to care. I turned on my startled mother.
"He said we shouldn't move. He said if I stayed, I would 'understand'. Plainly, he invited me to join Sam. Happy? Your worst fears have come true." I told her flatly. Or at least, I thought I did. After several long moments, I noticed how fearful she looked. The huge balloon of hot air that had been swelling inside me suddenly deflated.
"I just want to leave. I don't want anything to do with Seth or Sam or any of it." I said, my voice sounding much quieter now. She didn't answer me.
"I'm going outside." I muttered, leaving her alone to go out to the backyard. I sat down on a tree stump, trying to get a grip. What was that? That anger I could feel in every cell of my body, such a white hot anger that threatened to overwhelm me. I looked disdainfully around at the glum wetness of this sun forsaken land. I was convinced that the farther away I was from this, the closer I would be to sanity.
This chapter is a little bit shorter.
Does it seem like I'm taking too long to get into the story?
I think I am.
Will do my best to make it more interesting.
Chapter 4: Mesa
I had never gotten such a rush from running before. All
those laps in gym always seemed like slow torture but
now it was something completely different. I felt as if it
was the ground moving below me with each stride
instead of me moving acrossed it. Though I had never
wandered this far into the brush, my feet seemed to
follow some unseen path straight towards the mesa.
Sooner than I ever thought possible, I was staring up the
heighth of the flat topped landform. It was much bigger
up close and it did have a sort of foreboding aura to it.
That sweet smell hung heavily around this place, almost
noxious, like a gas.
The sound was gone, it was quiet. More than quiet, it
was almost silent, like the life was frozen here. Only a
slight breeze rustling the dry desert plants. Other than
that, it seemed like all the animals and bugs had stopped
Maybe they were watching me. I did get a that slightly
hair raising feeling of having eyes on me. Maybe that
meant there was some curse on this mesa and they were
waiting to see what I was going to do. Not to disappoint,
I stepped forward and began to climb.
It wasn't too steep at first, just rocky. Like when I was
running, my feet seemed to step in the right places
without any real thought to it. Then the real climbing
began. I had never been rock climbing before but it was
a no brainer, really. The thing that really surprised me
was that my muscled didn't burn or tire. I didn't have a
problem keeping a grip or pulling myself up, it was a
At the top, I stood and surveyed the area. It was like
raised platform version of the rest of the desert, except
that sickly odor was nearly suffocating up here. It was
unlike anything I hade ever smelled before, like a
disgusting perfume decaying into something worse. I
fought a gag and continued to look around.
Mostly flat, slightly hilly, utterly quiet. I wandered
toward the middle of the mesa. From here, it was
impossible to tell what lay over the edge, there was
nothing but blue sky all around. I thought of a small
island suspended in the air. It was both awe-inspiring
and unnerving at the same time.
I was a little disappointed that I hadn't found the source
of the dragging sound or the nasty sweet scent. With
everything else that didn't make sense today, it was
possible that this was a dream.
I was turning to go when something got my eye. It was
a flash, something shiny. I looked again, but saw
nothing that looked like it would reflect light like that. I
walked toward it, thinking that maybe it was a wrapper
fluttering in the breeze.
When I drew nearer, I noticed a ravine like the one near
my grandpa's horse corral. Untouched by human
interferance, this ravine was jagged and deep, like a
crack that went all the way through the mesa. I walked
along the length of it, seeing that far enough down, it
I stopped for some reason, staring down into the ravine,
as though waiting for it to tell me what I wanted to
know. Then, like seeing a hidden picture in an optical
illusion for the first time, I saw the form of a person at
As though it realized I had seen it, it moved, crawling
up torwards me, moving so quickly I barely had time to
back away before it emerged. I was execting something
hideous and deformed, demonic even. Instead, a
dazzling being stood before me, like an angel catching
and throwing light around, a living diamond with many
It was far from the horrific creature I envisioned. This
was a million times worse.
Is this a vampire?! What will he do now? Can't wait for the next chapter!
Chapter 5: Honor
My muscles seemed to tighten and my hair stood on end like their was an electric charge in the air. This sparkling man was the source of the weird scent. It was burning my nose now, stronger than it ever was. More than just the smell, I didn't like this guy, whatever his deal was. Deep down was He seemed to be thinking along the same lines, judging by his indignant scowl.
"How did they know where I was?" He demanded. I wasn't expecting that question.
"Ah...what?" I said, unable to think of a better response. He snorted and rolled his red-very red-eyes.
"Don't act stupid, I know who you are. How did the Werewolves know where I was? There is no way those hairy hill billies could have tracked me." He said, jumping over the ravine toward me. I almost stumbled when I backed up because he moved over what was easily eight feet as easily as if it were a hopping over a sidewalk crack.
"Werewolves?" I said, hoping my voice didn't sound as high as I thought it did. He looked at me dubiously.
"Oh, whatever it is you in-bred hicks like to call yourselves. Look, it's not like I'm cutting into your territory here." he said, as though trying to reason with me. I was trying to get over my mind flip of sparkley-man with red eyes talking about werewolves and jumping over a big space like it wasn't a big space. In my silence, he seemed to figure out that I didn't know what he was talking about.
"You're not one of the Werewolves, are you?" he asked flatly. My mind went back to that strange dream.
"I, uh, don't think so." I said uncertainly. His face then split into a chilling grin.
"You mean, you always smell that way?" he asked, now walking towards me slowly. This struck nerve. He was the one with the stink. I was wary about how he was approaching, but I didn't back away this time. Bizarre as he was, I wasn't going to be intimidated by him.
"Who are you?" I demanded.
"Just a dream. You get to decide what kind. Nightmare? Or something better?" he asked, looking me over in a way that I was sure was inapproapriate. I started to feel weirded out. That's when I decided that I was asleep. Where else would I meet a crazy sparkle-man on the mesa that tries to pick up on me? I really hoped that wasn't some kind of subconscious desire.
"Right. Well, I'm going now. To bed. Maybe I'll wake up. Nice to meet you...whatever your name is." I said, waving as I turned around.
"We'll meet again." He called after me. I shook my head and sprinted almost all the way back. When I was back at the house, I didn't go inside. I was so confused. This wasn't a dream. It just wasn't. But people don't sparkle and they defenitely don't jump effortlessly like that. And what was he talking about, Werewolves? That was insane, more than any of it.
Suddenly my mind was keen to remind me about last night. Try as I might, I just couldn't keep myself from thinking about it. I was a giant black dog. Now that I think about it, I did look wolf-ish. Maybe. Nah, wolves aren't that big. Aren't Werewolves supposed to be really hairy? I looked down at my hands and arms. I didn't seem too hairy. So what was it? I sat down on the edge of the back porch and ran my hands through my hair.
The opened behind me and my mother's voice started to call my name.
"Loy-oh! There you are!" She said, stopping short when she saw me. I turned to look at her, narrowing my eyes a little. She had changed, like she did when she wanted to be 'presentable'.
"What's up?" I asked, standing up. Her eyes glittered in a way that made me slightly suspicious. She stepped over to me and began to mess with my hair and brush my clothes off like I was a little kid.
"You'll never guess who's here!" she gushed.
"Mom!" I said, pushing her hands away.
"She used to be your favorite little friend when you were little! She just got back from vacation but her grandma wanted to visit anyway." She said as I undid the flattening she did to my hair. I paused a little at the word 'she' but remembered all the rest of my 'little friends' had grown up. I sighed.
"Who is it?" I asked.
"Norrie!" she said. I stared at her. She stared back. We both seemed to be waiting for me to remember.
"Uh...I give up." I said with a shrug. My mother tsked.
"Honor? Girl with red hair? You weren't that young, I'm sure you'd remember the only girl on the reservation with red hair." She said, shaking her head as she went into the house. I went inside too, musing about her name. Honor. That's worse than Loyal.
I followed my mother into the living room where I saw her for what felt like the first time. Like my mom said, Honor did have red hair. What she failed to mention was that she was devestatingly pretty. Her skin was pale and smooth, making her red hair seem almost blood-colored and setting off dusty-grey eyes perfectly. Her features were deceptively slender but had a definite bodacious qualities. Some things were hard to ignore.
I must have staggered a little when I entered the room, because I felt suddenly slow and clumsy. I knew she was looking at me, they all were, expecting me to speak but even my tongue fell dumb because my brain seemed to have been emptied of all words.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Loyal was out for a walk. There's so much to explore here, isn't there?" My mom said to me, pointedly. I forced myself to look away and saw a little old lady sitting on the couch opposite to Honor. That must be her grandma.
"Er, yeah. I just came back from the mesa. You know, the one that's haunted or....whatever." I said, looking down. Wow. I really hope that didn't come out as unrefined as it sounded in my head. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Honor's head turn toward the window. It looked like she was looking at the mesa.
"That's just a story to keep kids from going there, it's just too treachorous to play around. In my day, many kids got hurt trying to climb it. A few even turned up dead because they had fallen from the top." Honor's grandma said.
"That's horrible. Loyal, you should be careful." My mother said.
"Always am." I said distractedly. My grandpa was outside, sounding like he was getting ready to go somewhere. I vaguel wondered if I could escape further embarassment by going with him. Just as I was planning my escape, my mother spoke up.
"Why don't you show Norrie around? I'm sure she'd like to see the animals." she suggested. Foiled again.
"Um, sure." I said, glancing at Honor as she got to her feet. I led her out the back door and began down the dirt path the the horse coralle and sheep enclosure. It was a short walk. My grandpa's horse trotted eagerly up to the gate and the sheep bleated in their pen.
"They're all friendly. Haven't lost any fingers let." I said patting the smelly animals. That was a little different too. The animals smelled, but they didn't really stink anymore.
"Rez animals usually are. Dogs, cats, cows, sheep and horses. My grandma has a goat." Honor said casually, stroking the horse's nose. When I said nothing, she looked at me, squinting.
"You don't remember me, do you?" she asked. I shook my head apologetically.
"That's okay. I didn't really remember you either." She snorted. I smiled a little in relief, then cleared my throat.
"So, uh, you don't really look Native. I mean, your hair and you're skin is..." I began, trying not to sound prejudice, but also hoping to figure her out.
"Well, I'm half. My dad was German and Dutch, My mom was a whole cocktail blend of American Indian, Navajo, Hopi, Tewa, and Pima. It's weird because all my siblings had dark hair and skin, Native traits are usually dominant. But I ended up looking like my grandmother on my dad's side, red hair and all." She said, twirling a piece of her scarlet colored hair. I said nothing as the animals continued to make noise, competing for our attention. A slight breeze washed a fresh draft of that sickly sweet smell over me and I looked towards the mesa. Honor noticed and she looked too.
"Did you see anything when you went up there?" she asked. The question caught me a little off-guard.
"What?" I said.
"On that mesa. There is something there." She said seriously. Again, I said nothing because she was right but I didn't know how to explain that a sparkling man that was possibley homosexual crawled out of a crack in the mesa and talked about hillbilly werewolves.
"Why do you say that?" I asked, wondering why she was sure. She seemed hesitant to speak at first, looking at the mesa.
"The Navajos have this legend about the 'yee naaldlooshii', skin walkers. They're supposed to be witches or something, but they're really fast and strong. To disguise themselvese, they where the skin of animals and terrorize people by pounding on the walls and windows of houses, jumping on the roof, attacking cars and making them crash. There's more, but my grandma doesn't like to talk about it and since I don't look Native, no one else really wants to tell me either." She sighed
"So you're saying it's a skin walker?" I said, familiar with the term, having heard my grandpa use it before.
"Not exactly. It might just be a someone who gets a laugh out of scaring superstitious people. Or just scaring people, period." She said with a slight bitterness to her voice. I felt as though there were something more to her story, but like me, maybe she didn't want to dump a whole lot of crazy on someone she practically just met.
"Loyal! Honor!" I heard my mother call. We both looked toward the house, where my mom was waving us back.
"Do you ever think that our mothers conspired to name us these eccentric virtues?" She asked as we trekked down the dirt path.
"All the time. At least you can have a nickname." I said.
"I suppose." She said. We got to the house, but before I followed Honor and my mom back inside, I realized I could hear that weird dragging sound again. When I looked back at the spans of desert between the house and the mesa, I saw nothing but somehow, I knew what it was.
Did he imprint, and what does Honor know? And who is that strange vampire? Can't wait for the next chapter!