Lysander blinked a couple of times as he slowly came to. He wasn’t in the corner store anymore, he wasn’t home either. The room he was in was white and smelled like a hospital room. He was lying in a bed with blue sheets and was tucked in tight. “Where am I?” he called out. There was no response. “Jenny? Where are you?”
“Good god you’re loud!” A girl was standing by the door, but it wasn’t Jenny. This girl had short, straight, black hair that framed her face, her bangs cut to the side and covering one of her eyes. She definitely looked younger than Lysander, no older than 15 maybe. She was wearing electric blue jeans and orange hi-tops and a white v-neck shirt with some gothic design on the front. “Don’t worry, she’s fine.”
“Where am I? What happened? Who are you?” Lysander began to sit up.
“Dude, seriously, calm down, we’re the good guys,” she said. She walked over to the sink on the other side of the room and brought him a small paper cup. “Drink this.” The cup held a dark purple liquid that bubbled and looked like it would be very unpleasant to swallow.
“It smells like mud…” Lysander frowned at the cup.
“It’s a rejuvenation potion,” the girl said. “Just drink it, you’ll feel better.” She grinned. “I’m Kiki, by the way.”
Lysander stared at the drink before making a face and knocking it back, immediately gagging. “AH! Gross!” Kiki handed him a bottle of water, which he chugged as quickly as possible. “That was disgusting!”
“Sorry, it doesn’t come in grape flavor,” Kiki rolled her eyes and laughed. “Come on, let’s find the others.” She offered him a hand, smiling brightly. However, when she did so, something on her forearm caught Lysander’s attention and he pulled her arm forward. “Uh ow…”
“Sorry,” Lysander apologized. “But how did you get that tattoo?”
“It’s not a tattoo,” she said, turning her arm for him. “It’s a mark, the mark.”
“Mark for what,” Lysander asked. “Cause I have it too, it just showed up…”
“Where?” Kiki asked. Lysander pointer to his leg and she immediately tore the sheets off and rolled his pant leg up.
“OMG you’re not kidding,” Kiki touched the intricate lines and curls on Lysander’s calf that made up the shape of a crescent moon. “I must have missed it, it blends in with darker skin…” She looked up at him. “Did you get this when you were bitten?”
“Bitten?” Lysander shifted uncomfortably. “Like a mosquito bite, uh, no…” Kiki crossed her arms and gave him a look that told Lysander she already knew the answer. He let out a long sigh. “Yeah, two weeks ago…”
“Oh!” Kiki said. “No WONDER you were so tired, that was the first time you morphed!”
“…Second…” Lysander was suddenly very uncomfortable and he squirmed in his position under the gaze of the younger girl. “Where’s Jenny?”
“Oh, right your sister,” Kiki took his hand and pulled him along, “Come on then.” She led him out of the medic room. The rest of the dwelling, wherever they were, was very different from the bright white, sterile room. Kiki led him down a hall with wooden paneling on the side and a stone floor. There were several doors, all the same dark oak as the paneling, but they were all closed.
Finally, he was led into a wide, open common room. Large, plush, leather sofas circled a fireplace that wasn’t lit. Above it was a TV that would be the dream screen for any Superbowl watching fan. The back of the room had been turned into a small kitchenette.
On one of the sofas, someone popped up to peek over the back and Lysander noticed the three dark braids swinging around.
“JENNY!” Jenny climbed over the sofa and ran to her brother who lifted her up and hugged her close. “Jenny are you okay? You’re not hurt? Let me see you…”
“I’m okay ‘Sander…” Jenny squirmed and he put her down. “They gave me ice cream and we watched Disney Channel and then Victor and I played Rock Paper Scissors and he ALWAYS chooses Rock, so I win most of the time…”
“How long have I been out?”
“About 8 hours,” another boy hopped over the couch and approached them. He was eerily pale, his skin even whiter with his black long sleeve shirt and light blonde hair. His eyes shined electric green, the same as Lysander’s now, as he held out a hand. “Victor Hanning,” he grinned. Lysander shook his hand, but jumped back quickly at the sight of two pointed fangs that slipped over his lips. “Don’t panic, I don’t bite…”
“Much,” Kiki added with a laugh.
“Lysander they have superpowers,” Jenny whispered to him. Lysander looked a them with a raised eyebrow. He opened his mouth to say something but he was interrupted by someone else walking in.
“You’re awake!” this girl had light brown hair and looked familiar.
“Yeah, I was at the store, we brought you here,” she walked up and smiled. “I’m…”
“Lee,” Lysander said, the memory fuzzy, but there. “Where is here, exactly.”
“Golden Gate Park,” Lee said. “Stow Lake to be more exact.”
“Behind the waterfall to be most exact,” Victor added with a grin.
“What’s going on…” Lysander said.
“Well, you turned into this great furry beast, and then you scared the shit out of some guys stealing Cheetos.” Kiki said with a laugh. Lee shot her a look and the younger girl quickly shut up.
“We’re here to help,” Lee said. “We’re like you.”
“Like me?” Lysander was skeptical.
“Well…” Lee looked to the others and then back to him. “Similar.”
“There’s nothing wrong with me,” Lysander said defensively.
“I never said there was,” Lee said. “We all have…powers…”
“Skills,” Kiki added with a grin. “Like your sister said, we have super powers.”
“And now you do too,” Victor said. Lysander looked between them, skeptical and confused. He glanced again at Victor, his fangs causing an uncomfortable knot in his stomach. He pulled Jenny toward him.
“Look, thanks or whatever, but you’ve got it all wrong,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
“Dude…” Victor raised an eyebrow. “You’re a freeking wolf-man!” Lysander glared at him and Lee punched him in the arm.
“C’mon Jenny,” Lysander said, narrowing his eyes at Victor. Lee sighed. “We’re getting out of here.”
“I’ll show you out,” Lee said. Kiki and Victor looked at her in surprise. “Can’t help if he doesn’t want it.” She jerked her head for Lysander to follow her and they left the room.
“I don’t get that girl sometimes,” Kiki said, shaking her head once Lee, Lysander, and Jenny left the common room.
“I trust Lee,” Victor said. “She’s always got something up her sleeve.”
“He’s one of us Vic, I mean really, he has the mark and his eyes are green just like yours…” Kiki frowned. “Why doesn’t he want our help?”
“I dunno Ki,” Victor said, patting her shoulder. “But if anyone will figure him out, its Lee.”
“I’m sorry we scared you,” Lee said, shoving her hands in her jacket pocket as they passed through a door way that led out onto the lake. People were running past them on the path,couples on paddle boats pushed through the lake,taking pictures of the waterfall that the three of them stood under. Didn’t anyone notice the people who just appeared out of the waterfall?
“You didn’t scare me,” Lysander looked down at her, his hands still holding tight to Jenny’s shoulders as she reached out to try and touch the waterfall.
“No, but you don’t trust us,” Lee said calmly. “And that’s alright. Blaise tried to report us to the FBI for being aliens,” She laughed.
“Are we - you? Are you aliens?” Lysander asked.
“No,” Lee shook her head, but she didn’t say any more. Lysander watched the girl for a minute. She smiled sweetly, like she had a secret that she wasn’t about to share. But her eyes were filled with understanding and kindness, and something that just made Lysander want to trust her more than anything.
“Well, bye…” Lysander said awkwardly. “Thanks for taking care of Jenny.”
“Not a problem, she’s sweet,” Lee smiled. “Lysander, can I give you some advice?” Lysander raised an eyebrow at her. “The wolf in the store…”
“I already told you that wasn’t me.”
“And I didn’t say it was,” she shot back. “I was just going to say…” she looked at Jenny, still occupied with the underside of the waterfall. “The wolf was very protective of your sister, he made sure nothing hurt her. That kind of control…” she bit her lip, trying to find the right words, “That kind of control has to be practiced, and if it isn’t…” She frowned, but Lysander got the message clearly enough. He was sure, however, that he could handle it on his own. So without another word, he took Jenny’s hand and led her through the park toward the bus.
“We could have used a werewolf, Lee,” Victor said as she pulled up her car in front of the apartment building he lived in. “Have you ever seen one fight? They’re all like RAWR and GRR and claws and teeth…”
“You’re so descriptive Vic,” Lee laughed.
“I do what I can,” he smirked. “You want dinner? Pops is cooking…so we’re going to order pizza…” He grinned.
“No thanks, I have to take care of Gran,” she smiled. “He’ll come back.”
“Lysander, he’ll come back,” she said with confidence. “If anything, he’s curious.”
“If you say so oh-wise-leader-of-ours,” Vic said. “See you later Lee.”
“Bye Vic, say hi to your dads for me,” Victor saluted her and then walked into the building. Lee threw her car into gear and then left the Castro, hitting the highway and heading to her small town outside the city.
Lysander sat at the table in the McDonald’s near their apartment, watching Jenny play in the structure. He drummed his fingers rhythmically, his mind racing.
This time last night, he was not himself. That was an understatement. He was a monster, a beast. Hair sprouted from every pore of his body, his muscles shook and contorted, his teeth grew into fangs, his hands became paws.
He looked at Jenny who was hanging upside down. “Jenny be careful!” He called out. She ignored him as she tumbled tot he ground, got up and brushed off her knees before running back onto the structure. He couldn’t help thinking of what Lee said to him. About controlling…himself…his beast.
His hand touched the mark on his calf, fingers tracing the intricate design he had put to memory. Maybe he should go talk to Lee. He didn’t have to join their freak-club or anything. He could just, learn how to control this wolf thing, not change anymore, and then get on with his life.
“C’mon Jenny!” Lysander called out. “Time to go!” His sister followed him and they headed home. They reached the apartment safe and sound and when Lysander put his keys by the phone while Jenny got her homework book out for him to check. Next to the phone though, something caught Lysander’s eye that wasn’t there before. A purple business card sat on the table with a black number written across the middle. “Hey Jenny, what’s this?”
“I dunno,” she said, not looking up from her homework. Lysander looked at the card flipping it over and over. There was just a number, no name or anything else. He held it up to the dim light of the apartment and still, just the number. But even with all it’s mystery, Lysander still had a pretty good guess of who the number was for.
He dialed quickly, holding the receiver to his ear.
“Hello?” the voice on the other end replied.
“Lee? It’s Lysander…”
“Hey there, I see you got my number,” He could see in his mind the same knowing smile she had out at Stow Lake behind the waterfall.
“Yeah…how did you do that?”
“Why don’t we meet up next time you’re free and talk?” Lysander let out a sigh.
“Yeah, sure, when?”
“Friday? Do you think you can make it out to where I live? It’s on the card,” Lysander looked at the card in his hand and nearly dropped it when he saw that along with the number, there was now an address.
“Uh…yeah…” he said, still in shock. How did she DO that?
“Great, see you Friday.”
“See you Friday.”