Sunday, 24 August 2008
Author's Note: I've changed my mind about this story...again. However, I'm taking out chapter's six and seven. I'll take a different avenue with those two. I like the first five chapters, to a degree, but the sixth and seventh ones didn't turn out how I wanted them, so I'm rewriting. No, I haven't gotten through the door and found the writer[see previous blog: http://www.xanga.com/MyHomeIsWriting/671660513/item.html ]; this is once more a forced effort, but I can't give up on this story. And trying to recreate it wasn't working out. [I don't call two forced paragraphs in a space of months a success] So I'm returning to faithful friends and hoping I can fix whatever's broken inside of me.
~*~The Pale Faces~*~
Izabell Mendez was standing outside her apartment complex arguing with her landlord. The landlord was a pudgy, balding man who enjoyed wagging his finger in people's faces. Iz had to repress a very violent urge to bite him. The massive, black dog sitting at her side cocked it's head up at her, it's tongue lolling out the side of his mouth at this thought. She winked at him, then glowered at her landlord again.
"I promise to keep him in line, it will be like nothing has changed." Iz repeated for the eigth time during this conversation, or rather, argument.
"But he's so big! I can't have that monstrous creature in my apartment! He frightens the children!" Her landlord shouted back.
They both looked at the alleged dog sitting next to Iz. He was huge, sitting he came up to Iz's waist. She could stretch out her hand and pat him on the head easily.
There's no way we can pull this off, she thought desperately.
Just keep trying, she heard Steve say in her head and she shuddered slightly; she still couldn't get used to hearing his thoughts.
"He's gentle, trust me. Look, if there was anyone else who could take him, I'd do that, but I can't. My uncle just died last week and he left him to me in his will and there's no one else to take him."
This was a lie, and a bad one at that. It would fall through if anyone bothered to look into it. Frank Mendez had been dead for the last six years and he'd never owned a dog.
The landlord eyed the monstrous black mongrel sitting on the sidewalk, taking up nearly two cement blocks of pavement. He didn't like the wolfish look to the animal.
"What kind of dog is he anyway?" he asked shrewdly for the ninth time.
Iz sighed heavily, she was starting to get a headache. "He's a mutt, like I said before. Little bit of this and little bit of that."
The landlord frowned, his lips tightening into a thin line. "I'll let you have him on a trial basis, but if he causes a ruckus, that's it. He's gone, no question."
Iz nodded eagerly and took up the leash in her right hand and walked through the glass double doors into the main hallway. Her landlord disemarked and went down a hallway to the immediate right of the front door and down into his own room. Iz led her "dog" up the first flight of stairs by the leash, then with a muttered apology, she let him loose and walked to her own apartment on the second floor. The massive "dog" barely fit through the door frame.
"I guess a doggy door is out then." She replied grinning and Steve turned his wolf head in her direction.
I'm insulted, a doggy door? Is that what you think of me? He thought at her.
She shivered yet again as she closed the apartment door and latched it. She wasn't quite used to having another voice, outside of her own, inside her head. It made her feel crazy.
I know, and I'm sorry about that. Steve responded to her thought. I'd change back if I could and give you peace and quiet, but I can't just yet.
"I know, I know." Iz replied nonchalantly. "I'm just not used to it is all. I'm fine, really. And I'd rather be safe from antagonistic vampires than feel sane any day of the week."
The black wolf's golden eyes narrowed. Statements like that make me regret telling you anything.
Iz plopped down on her couch and stared at the wolf. "I don't regret anything."
The big black wolf rested it's head on her lap and stared up at her with burning, golden suns. I know, you think about that enough.
Well, it's the truth. How can I regret the best thing that's ever happened to me?
Being hunted by a vampire gang is the best thing that ever happened to you? Steve thought with an inflection of sarcasm.
No, Iz thought sharply, the best thing that ever happened to me was meeting you. She thought, staring hard at him.
You won't think that when it gets you killed, Steve returned bitterly.
Iz sighed, shaking her head. You're impossible, you know that?
Yes, he thought with a hint of a grin in his voice.
"So now what?" Iz asked out loud, not realizing she'd spoken. To an outsider listening in on her conversations anymore, they'd be confused. Half of Iz's conversations these days took place inside her head, but sometimes she spoke aloud when she least thought about it. Steve was glad, because the difference in her mental voice and her real voice was astounding, he preferred her real voice.
What do you normally do when you're at home? Steve asked, raising his wolf's head from her lap which had grown quite warm very quickly, and tipping it sideways. Iz glanced around her apartment for a moment, everything looked different. Everything looked so normal. It was hard to adjust.
"I don't know, I don't really remember what my life was like before you came into it." She said aloud again, barely hearing herself.
Steve growled lightly and Iz turned her attention to him, absently running her fingers through his thick mane.
"Don't, I'm much happier, honestly." She replied.
How can you be happier when I've turned your entire world upside down?
But Iz ignored his question. "Can I ask a question?"
Sure, Steve grumbled, once more resting his head on her lap. She began to stroke the fur atop his head between his ears that made her think of radar dishes.
"How- did you become a werewolf?" She finished in thought apprehensively. Steve raised his head and Iz's hand fell at her side on the couch. He deliberated for a moment, the thoughts coming too fast for her to catch them all. Her stomach did a laggy, unkind flop in her stomach and her headache pounded more ferociously.
Go take something for that, Steve ordered sharply.
You won't tell me then? She thought feebly.
Steve sighed, Take something and I will.
Her face brightened and she went to the bathroom, opened the mirror above the sink popped two ibuprofen into her mouth. She switched the sink on to cold, filled her palm with water, then downed the pills. She skipped out of the bathroom and headed into her bedroom. She flopped down on the queen sized bed, nestled into a pillow, and patted the empty space next to her. The massive black "dog" squeezed through the doorframe just barely, and leaped upon the bed in one motion. His momentum rocked the bed and Iz had to grip the edges of the mattress to keep herself steady.
"Holy shit," she swore outloud.
Sorry about that, Steve thought as he layed down and put his head on his gigantic paws when he assumed Iz wasn't going to go tumbling off the bed. I forget my own strength sometimes.
"That's an understatement." Iz replied a little breathless. Her heart was pounding a beat too fast.
Silence filled the room and their thoughts for a long moment. The "dog" stared absently out the window and his "master" stared at him.
You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, Iz thought finally, breaking the unusual silence.
Steve sighed in his mind, It's about time I told you. There's really no point putting it off.
All the same... Iz replied, the thought trailing off as she stroked the fur of his mane once more. It was still so bizarre touching him in his wolf form. It was hard for her to believe there was a man inside there somewhere.
I told you I lived out in California, right?
Well, I didn't leave because of my family. I left because of what I became, but more so what I lost...
It's a sunny day out in southern California. The temperature is a breezy 87° and the cool front coming off the ocean is heavenly. Beaches are packed full of families, tourists, and vacationers throughout the day. A young man is sitting out on his balcony facing the beach. The jubilant voices of beach-goers reaches his ears, but he can't share in their happiness. He's staring down at his hands and seeing them in a new perspective. There's a heat that's unassociated with the sun running through his veins and he can feel it tingling up and down his spine at the moment. he bows his head and buries his face in his hands when a warm hand clamps down on his shoulder. To him the touch is normal, it's right, but if that same palm touched anyone else it would feel very, very warm.
"I know it's a lot to take in, but you'll get used to it eventually. I'm sorry, but it was the only choice I had." The voice he hears didn't come from the man's lips who's hand is gripping his shoulder, it came from his mind, but Steve doesn't realize this yet.
"Yeah, I should be thanking you for turning me into a monster when otherwise I'd be dead, right?" Steve spat back bitterly, not looking at his companion.
"I know you're angry and you have a right to be, but don't let it get out of control. That's when bad things happen." The deep, rough voice said again.
Steve raised his head and turned to his friend. The face of an African American greeted him, the chocolate skin of his shaved head glimmering in the sunlight. "Because bad things haven't already happened," he returned sarcasticly.
"You'll get used to it," Dan replied squeezing Steve's shoulder gently and turning back towards the sliding glass door. He stopped with one leg in the room and turned back to Steve who'd gone back to staring at his as if perplexed by the lines and grooves in them. "If you need me give me a call, okay?"
Steve nodded, his lips thinning grimly. He had no intention of calling him ever again. As far as Steve was concerned he and Dan were no longer best friends or bandmates. Dan closed the sliding glass door with a click behind him and left the seaside apartment.
In his mind Steve replayed the events of the previous night. He could hardly grasp that just last night he'd been about to sleep with the most gorgeous woman in the world, that just last night he'd been introduced the the fantastic land of mythical creatures, and that just last night he'd been turned into a monster by his best friend. He shook his head in disbelief. It was all happening much, much too fast. He'd wake up in an hour or so with a headache knawing at his brain from a hangover and realize it was all just some really horrific nightmare; something his alcohol-induced brain has conjured up from the night's festivities. He'd been watching too many bizarre movies lately anyway.
Yet in the part of his mind that housed rationality he knew he wasn't dreaming. Everything that had happened, including finding out his currant lust-instrest was a vampire, was one hundred percent genuine reality. For christs sake, she'd jumped onto the ceiling. How could he explain that away? Maybe she's just really limber? He thought and laughed to himself. The sound reminded him of a bark and he cringed. He didn't feel like a person anymore, and he certaintly didn't sound the same. How much had changed in less than twenty-four hours? Would he look different too?
Reactively he swiveled around in his chair and started at his reflection through the glass door. He looked larger and his hair seemed shaggier than before, but maybe he'd needed a haircut anyway before last night. Who was he kidding though? His arms had never been that muscular before; he'd never even been to a gym in his life. How could he explain that? Alcohol? Steve let out another bark-like laugh and cringed once more. He was losing his mind, that was the only thing for certain. He sighed and went through the sliding glass door into his air-conditioned bedroom. Perhaps he'd call Dan after all...
Iz was lying on her bed staring, lost, into the wolf's burning, golden eyes. She couldn't speak, let alone form coherent thoughts. Steve waited patiently for her to say or think something. His story wasn't quite finished. Slowly she came back to some sense of herself, thoughts swirling into coherency for both herself and Steve.
"You're best friend turned you into a werewolf because a vampire tried to kill you?" She asked for clarification.
The shaggy, black wolf nodded it's head.
"Oh...my...god..." She muttered under her breath.
That's not it, though. Steve said, his eyes tightening. Iz's attention was locked on him once more.
Dan killed the vampire that tried to kill me, then for good measure made me a werewolf so I could defend myself. The vampire he killed, Laurel was her name, belonged to the vampire gang known as The Pale Faces. Larry is one of them.
Iz's jaw dropped. After a pause she closed her mouth with an audible click. "How do you know all this?" She gasped.
Did you see the insignia on his arm last night?
Iz shook her head. He moved too fast for me to get a good look.
You wouldn't have understood then anyway. All the Pale Faces have the same insignia branded into their skin to identify themselves to other covens.
"So he's come after you now for revenge?" Iz asked aloud, unaware she'd spoken again. Steve relished the musical note of her voice.
I'd suppose that's why. Like I said, they hate werewolves. They think we're trying to steal thier spotlight or something. It's all rubbish. Steve thought vehemenently.
"And you think they won't find you here?" Iz asked for confirmation. The wolf nodded.
This place should be safe for a little while, but eventually I'll have to move on.
Iz's face fell. "You're going to leave me?" She asked, trying to sound nonchalant.
Iz...it isn't safe for you... Steve began, but she cut him off.
"How can you just leave me? Aren't I still in danger even if you go? What if they come here after you leave?"
They wont -
"You don't know that! You can't leave me, not now. What am I supposed to do without you?"
Whatever you did before I came along, Steve growled sharply.
"It's not that easy!"
Sure it is-
"No! It isn't! I was nothing before you came along. Absolutely zero-"
I highly doubt that-
"Don't, because it's true.-"
"Listen to me!" Iz yelled, finally realizing she'd sat up during their half vocal dialogue. Steve fell silent at once. "I meant what I said last night, I was living just because it seemed like a good idea before you came along. I spent most of my nights sitting in this apartment staring at the walls and wondering what it's all for. Then you came into my life and I finally feel like I've got a purpose, like somehow I was made for this. I know it sounds crazy, but everything is crazy anymore and nothing makes sense. My whole life I've dreamt of a nameless, faceless person with burning golden eyes and now all of a sudden here you are. I grew up listening to my Uncle Franky's stories of mythical creatures and then his hypocritical banter about 'staying in the real.' I haven't felt alive since his death so you're not just going to up and leave on me when I finally feel like a person for the first time in seventeen years!" Iz finished with a dramatic huff and crossed her arms in front of her chest.
Absolute silence greeted her little speech and as time wore on her anger ebbed and her arms fell to her sides. Just when she thought he was going to tell her to grow up and stop being melodramtic he threw his head back and let out an earsplitting howl. Iz clamped her hands over her ears instinctively as the sound reverberated around the room. She could feel the vibrations of the sound against her skin. It sent goosflesh down her spine. Then Steve's thoughts were rampaging through her head like an angry siren.
You stupid, stupid girl! I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE YOU, but what am I supposed to do? Play Superman and run around wearing spandex and a cape and come to your rescue everytime a vampire comes within two hundred miles of you? Shit, you might wanna think of moving to another planet then cause you'll never get that far away from them. I'm only trying to think of what's best for you in the long run. The Pale Faces will never give up on me, and I can't bear to put your life in danger unecessarily! His voice rumbled like thunder inside her ears and it made her head throbb painfully. She swayed then fell back on her pillow like a limp ragdoll. Instantly Steve's warm wolf body was next to hers and his big nose was inches from her face.
What's wrong? Shit! Iz, what's wrong?
"N-nothing, I'm fine. Jeezus, could you tone it down a bit?" She said through pale lips. The wolf whined lightly and laid his head down on the pillow next to hers.
Sorry, I guess I let myself get out of control. He replied, rolling onto his side away from her, but Iz wouldn't have it. She wrapped her arms around his large, furry neck and buried her face there, relishing in the softness of his fur.
"It's okay," she mumbled, her voice muffled against his neck. "Promise me you won't leave?" She pleaded in a small voice.
Steve sighed internally. I don't see how I have a choice.
"I didn't hear an 'I Promise'," Iz remarked.
I Promise, Steve returned quickly.
"What do you promise?" Iz asked specifically.
Really? This is a bit ridiculous, he grumbled.
"What do you promise?" Iz reiterated.
I promise I won't leave! Steve returned exasperated.
"Good." And with that Iz closed her eyes and fell into the deepest sleep of her life and dreamt of golden eyes.