Jake Peterson, being a werewolf, didn't always have a good life. Before he changed, he had a boring life. Then suddenly one evening while driving home drunk from the local bar, he was in an auto accident. He awoke in the hospital the next day. He was immediately hounded by two police officers. From that day on, he underwent many changes, both physical and mental. It wasn't until the next full moon after that his transformation was fully complete. He was eventually confronted by Barbara Holmes, a woman who was curious about him and felt the need to help. She stalked him for a while and helped by doing research. I guess you can say she stalked him as she waited quite a while before revealing herself on a night he was to wolf-out. She had flowing dark brown hair, unlike Jake's shot and messy blond hair, and long legs on her five foot ten stature. At Jake's five and a half foot stature, she was only a bit taller. Height didn't really matter to him, as he was much taller once he changed. Since the day they met, they had a special bond and spent every day together. Barbara had eventually moved in with him. There wasn't much room but that didn't matter to them. They were happy just being together.
One morning after a wolf-out, they had returned home to a mess. The apartment had been ransacked. Nothing was stolen or damaged so he decided not to report it. The next day was the last day they would walk out of his apartment. The morning started off like any other. Jake and Barbara would head out for breakfast. They stopped by a restaurant right down the street from his small apartment. Barbara had decided to order and Jake would find a seat but this time Jake felt an odd presence this time. He looked around and in a corner, he saw a tall man. He wore a dark jacket and a fedora. Not understanding what he was feeling, Jake grabbed Barbara in the middle of her ordering and dragged her out. Jake looked back and noticed that the man wasn't following him. He decided not to take a chance. Although Jake had yet to get a new vehicle, they walked as far as they could go and hitched a ride as far as they could get. When Jake felt safe, they would stay wherever they ended up and would move when they were found. It was always the same man. Always the same outfit. This went on for about a year when Jake decided to give up.
This time Jake decided to look for the man. He eventually found him waiting in a restaurant in Colorado. This reminded him of when he first saw the man. Only this time he was sitting at a table eating. Jake and Barbara entered and walked right up to him. Jake slammed his hand on the table to get the man's attention.
"You have been following us for a year now. What do you want from us?"
The man looked up from his plate and then rose to his feet. Then man didn't say anything but he rolled up one of his pant legs and showed them what Jake recognized as a bite. That was when the man finally spoke.
"My master is waiting. You are requested."
Not wanting to run anymore, Jake gave into the demand. The man grabbed a cell phone from his pocket. He made a call and then ushered them out the doors. Outside on the other side of the street sat a white minivan. The man pointed to it and Jake and Barbara knew exactly what to do. They climbed in the back seat while the man sat in the front on the passenger side. The windows were tinted so they couldn't get a good look at the driver. They were driven all the way out to the Clark County Airport. From there they boarded a private plane. Jake and Barbara both decided to get some sleep while they could. They had been walking for nearly twenty-four hours and had yet to sleep.
When they had arrived at their destination and they heard much larger jets go by, the two immediately got up. Outside the plane, the city was unmistakable. Even if you had never been there previously, you could tell when you made it to New York City. Just the aura alone gave it away. They didn't really have time to take in all of the sites as they were pushed and directed to another vehicle. This time it was a limo. Jake wasn't as cautious now. He knew that nobody would waste their time hunting him down just to kill him if they were rich. Just the thought of that made him giggle a bit. He immediately stopped as they came upon a large mansion just outside of the city.
First, they entered two giant steel gates. They were as tall as a semi but just wide enough for one vehicle. As they entered, Jake wasn't as worried as when they had first begun to run. He figured that anyone that lived like this had no need to attack or kill a werewolf and another human. The mansion ahead of them was only two stories high but it was, what seemed to him, was at least a quarter of a mile wide. He couldn't make an exact estimate because they were about a mile away from the building. It was a straight shot to the mansion with an open garden on one side and what he could tell was a hedge maze on the other. The land itself may have been massive in the front, but in the back, it could be even bigger. He took a second and turned to look at the man that chased them and saw that he was watching them like a hawk.
They eventually pulled up to the building and just ahead of them, up a short set of steps was a large set of double doors that you would normally see in temples from movies. Both Jake and Barbara were awestruck at the site that lay just before them. They had to arch their heads upwards as they stepped out of the limo just to see it all. The doors were one and a half stories high. Jake and Barbara held each other as they were led up the steps. As if by magic, the doors had swung inwards to reveal an excessively large front room with a marble floor and columns on the sides. It was packed with people socializing. There were three doorways that led to different parts of the mansion. There was one on each side and the last in the back. There was a large double set of stairs that led up in a half circle and connected to the second floor. They were led up the steps and through the much smaller double doors that separated the main room from the long hallway that sat just on the other side.
Although long, there weren't that many doors that lined the walls. Jake didn't even get a chance to look as every time he would even slow down, he was rudely pushed. He would then start moving down the long hallway and would keep wondering why anyone would want to meet him. At the end was another small set of double doors, but unlike the last one, this one didn't have any windows so you could see through.
As they approached the doors, they opened inwards and revealed a large room. The walls on both sides were lined with ceiling-high bookshelves. The end of the room had a room-sized window that was covered by purple drapes, which made the room a bit dark. Just in front sat a tall brown chair and a large desk, and in front of those, two smaller chairs. After they entered, they heard the doors close behind them. Because the drapes were shut, he didn't notice the woman that sat in the chair on the other side of the desk. The woman got up and introduced herself.
"Hello. You can call me Katarina. I'm sure you have many questions as to why you were summoned."
She walked over to Jake and shook his hand.
"In this mansion, you will find one of the biggest packs in the US and as you can probably already guess, I am its leader."
She then took a look at Barbara. The look she gave worried Jake and from what he could tell, worried Barbara as well. Katarina waved her hand and two huge men came from out of the shadows and dragged Barbara away. Not wanting to cause any trouble, he waited for Katarina to explain herself. He watched as she calmly walked over to the window quickly pulled the drapes open. The sun filled the room so quickly that it was nearly blinding. He could now fully see what the woman looked like. She was just a bit taller than he was, had brown hair and she wore a beautiful blue Victorian style dress that covered even her feet. She walked back over and stared straight into his eyes.
"Sorry, it was so dark in here. I don't use this room often. Now tell me, how were you made?"
Her eyes were a bright blue and they seemed to be glistening as they watched Jake closely for an answer.
"The thing is I'm not exactly sure. I remember seeing a figure on the road one night while driving home and then waking up in the hospital the next day."
The woman looked puzzled for a second and then continued her little interrogation.
"Well, you'll come across them soon enough. Now tell me one more thing. What does that human mean to you?"
"Well, she means the world to me. She helped me out while I was still in the early stages of changing. I was lost as to what to do at certain points. She then saw me the first night that I changed. She said my face looked lost and that of a newborn."
Katarina averted her gaze and proceeded to sit in her chair.
"So in short, you love her?"
Jake clenched fist as he answered that specific question.
"Yes, I do. I would do anything for her. I would fight for her if she was ever threatened."
The woman giggled at his childish way of confessing.
"Do not worry as I have no intention of harming her. This pack in no way harms humans. In fact, we wish to protect them when it is needed."
She got back up, walked to the other side of the desk, and tried to sit on it without revealing anything.
"I only asked this as our community consists mainly of fellow wolves. It's rare that a human can live among us peacefully. I also try to be cautious as history has shown that not everyone can be trusted."
She snapped her fingers and the two guards returned with Barbara. She had a bit of a smile on her face and he figured they had their own little conversation out in the hallway. Katarina waited until everyone was in the room and the door was shut one again to continue.
"I would like to welcome the both of to this wonderful community. You will be given free housing that lies at the back of this complex, and you will be given a quick tour of the mansion. Now if you'll follow me."
Katarina opened the doors once again and proceeded to walk down the hall. Jake and Barbara immediately followed with the two guards just behind them.
"Down this hallway, you'll find a gym with a ring, small indoor track, and a cafeteria, though this floor is only for those granted permission."
The woman proceeded to give a wink towards Jake and both he and Barbara seemed to take it wrong.
"The floor below has pretty much the same things but the gym has personal trainers, the track is smaller because there are only a select few allowed up here, and the cafeteria pays closer attention to your dietary needs."
As she kept opening the doors to reveal the contents of the room, Jake eventually noticed two transformed werewolves sparring in a cage in the gym. He thought this odd as the sun had yet to set and there was no full moon scheduled for that night.
"Excuse me but how were they able to transform? I thought that only a full moon could cause the transformation."
Without stopping Katarina kindly answered his question.
"Normally yes but some are gifted with complete control and some, through training, can gain the ability to change whenever they want. Though you won't be at your peak strength, you'll still have enough to tear into your enemy or protect yourself."
The tour continued and they eventually made it to the basement. To Jake, it looked more like a dungeon with all the padded rooms and chains on the walls. He was almost correct. Katarina opened one of the cells and explained its use.
Lastly, since we don't like to harm humans, we have these cells for control training. We do what we can to ensure the safety of others."
With the tour completed, they were escorted back outside.
"I am sorry but until we can set up your new home to your liking, you will have to stay in the nearest hotel."
She pointed to Jake and he knew exactly what she wanted. He walked up to her and got close.
"One other thing I need to tell you, if I call you, you will come to me without hesitation."
Jake nodded and walked back to the limo. However, something inside told him to take the chance now. He turned before he opened the door, grabbed one of Barbara's hands and got on one knee.
"I know we haven't been together that long but I feel that we belong together so Barbara Holmes, will you marry me?"
Jake waited patiently on his knee for an answer.
"If I never wanted anything to do with you, I could have left well enough alone that night. Yes. Of course, I will marry you. Although we are quite different, I feel a special connection between you and me."
Jake and Barbara embraced each other as the crowd inside the mansion heard and clapped their approval. The whole room got excited over the good news. It was then that Katarina ordered the doors closed. She walked up to the happy couple offered them a few personal words.
"Though you may love each other and will face many trials together, just remember that you are of different worlds and human life is more fragile. Now everything pertaining to the wedding will be taken care of in the future so do not worry about anything right now. Just get settled into the Hotel and then your new home when needed, and then we will work on the ceremony."
With her words finished, she nodded, turned, and then walked back to the doors without waiting for the two to put their two cents in. The driver ushered the happy couple into the Limo and after they were in and ready, the driver pulled off. By this time, the sun was beginning to set. The sky was turning a beautiful dark blue and because they were outside of the City, the stars were shining quite brilliantly. Jake didn't realize it, mainly due to the shock of being summoned by someone out of nowhere, but the man that had been chasing them both had left their side at one point. He pushed that thought aside and looked over at his beautiful bride to be. They had decided to sit across from one another so they could look at one another without much effort.
They eventually pulled up to an old run down motel that sat just outside of the city. The neon sign read 'Night In /Day Out'. It looked beat up with some of the shell broken in a few places. The building itself was a horseshoe with two floors. A large sign with a red arrow pointed in the direction of the office. The driver pulled up just under the sign and let the two out.
"The mistress does apologize for this but this is the best we could do on such short notice. Proper accommodations are being made and will be ready by tomorrow."
He pointed over to the office and instructed the two to mention their names and that no payment will need to be paid. The driver had barely gotten back in the limo when he was quickly stopped by Jake.
"Sorry, but what will we do about clothes? We had left all of our belongings back in Colorado."
"As I said, proper accommodations are being made. This even includes clothing as most people that join us were lost and from the streets."
The driver proceeded to close the door and start the vehicle. He drove off and the only sound left was the crickets in the distance. Jake walked back over, grabbed Barbara's hand and then headed into the check-in office. Inside was just a rundown as the outside. Jake knew he couldn't expect any less from New York. The office was quite small with only two chairs and a tiny table. The desk was littered with trash. From what he could see, there were coffee cups, take-out boxes and what he could tell unopened envelopes. It took but a second for both of them to notice the stench that filled the room. They covered their mouths and noses in an attempt to prevent the toxic odor from making them sick. It was worse for Jake, not only for the fact of his heightened senses, but he had to uncover his mouth so he could call for management.
"Excuse me. Is anyone back there?"
The longer he called, the closer he came to puking.
"We were told that we would be given a room."
Just then, a short man in a gas mask came walking out from the back room. To Jake, he looked to be just less than four feet. His voice was muffled by the mask as he questioned why they were there.
"So what is it you need? As you can see, this place is not suitable for staying."
"We were told that there would be a room for me and Barbara? We were sent by Katarina."
"In that case follow me."
The man ushered them to the back where it looked completely different. It was clean and looked quite elegant. It was just a hallway but it was nice nonetheless. The men led the two to the door just at the end, which when opened, revealed a room with one elevator. From here, they went down and found themselves entering another hallway but this one was longer. Just like upstairs, the place was very well kept. The walls were lined with doors that obviously led to different rooms.
"Now if you'll follow me."
The man pushed ahead of the two and walked all the down to the end and turned to his right. He grabbed keys from his pocket and proceeded to unlock the door. When he opened it, the room was much smaller than they expected.
"There is only one bathroom at the other end of the hallway and to your right. We are pretty full so I apologize."
Tired, Barbara went in and sat on the bed while Jake stayed to ask the man a few questions.
"What is this place and what was the point of upstairs?"
"The motel outside is just a ruse. Some of us have uncontrollable and random wolf attacks. By this I mean, we get the urge to eat and hunt and cannot control ourselves."
The man pointed to the door at the end of the hall on their end.
"Past that door is three more rooms designed to withstand anything thrown at it. This place, in general, is a halfway house. While Katarina offers training for us, we need somewhere to sleep safely."
"OK, I can kind of get that, but what about the trash upstairs? Don't you know how to clean?"
The man chuckled and Jake looked at him with confusion.
"I thought that you would have figured it out. Oh well. The trash is to dissuade any humans from wanting a room and based on one's reactions to the smell, I can confirm whether they are a creature of the night or not."
"Well, now I feel stupid."
"Do not worry as not everyone will quickly get the point."
With the conversation done, the man began to walk off.
"Oh, and by the way, my name's Phil. Call me Phillip, and I'll kill you. In addition, for safety reasons, the elevator is locked at night and I have the only key that can override it. Good night."
Jake just stared as Phil walked down the hall and entered what he thought to be his room. Brushing off that last bit, Jake walked into the room. It had an old TV attached to a wall mount, one double bed, which he found Barbara already asleep and stretched out on, and a small dresser. Since the way she was laying took up most of the bed, he decided to prop himself up against the wall and try to get some sleep. With no windows, it felt like a cage so he knew he wasn't going to get much.
The morning felt different for Jake and he was sure that Barbara was feeling the same way. They woke up to the same dimly lit room. The only difference was the noise coming from the hall. As Barb was fixing her bed head without a comb, Jake had peeked outside to see what was going on. There was a long line for the bath. There were mainly teens and young adults. Him being 29 and Barbara being 27, they were in the middle of the age range. The older generations were the ones that were holding up the line. They may have been part wolf but their frail bodies couldn't accept the strength and speed. Jake had yet to understand fully this new world and he knew he never would. As Jake was distracted by watching the people socialize, he was shocked by a wet pair of lips against his neck.
"Good morning love. What's with all the commotion out there?"
"Everyone is just lined up for the single bathroom. I take it you slept well?"
She looked over and saw a spot on the floor where the carpet fibers had been moved around and crushed. It was then that she began to blush as she realized that he had been forced to sleep on the floor.
"Sorry about that. I guess knowing that we were done running and that I could finally relax, I passed out from the relief."
They both stood at the door and watched as everyone conversed while awaiting their turn. Slowly the line dwindled and they decided to head back upstairs. They couldn't really shower, as they didn't have a towel, anything to wash with, or clothes to change into. Jake also figured that once they got to the hotel later that day, or whenever, they would clean up then.
Up top, everyone had huddled up to the curb as if they all were waiting for someone. It was then that a large bus came rolling in. It came up and stopped just in front of where they stood.
"Are you getting on?"
The driver had yelled out to them.
"No, we're waiting for someone else."
Jake had answered as politely as he could.
"OK then. Suit yourself."
The door closed and the bus slowly pulled away and just as it did, a limo pulled in where it had been. Jake looked in and noticed that it was the same driver as before. The man got out and greeted them once again.
"Again, the mistress apologizes for putting you up here last night. The hotel room you were meant to stay in was not ready yet."
"We know this already. No need to repeat yourself."
Jake started to sound annoyed. Barbara looked at him with concern.
"Are you OK? You're starting to seem a bit off this morning."
"Yeah, I'm just getting a bit hungry."
Not wanting to get into their business, he just calmly opened the door for them.
"If you would kindly get it, I can take you to you new temporary accommodations."
Both did what they were asked and they were off to the hotel. The ride into the city was quick but the morning traffic caused them to take almost two hours to travel almost two miles. With bumper-to-bumper traffic and constant construction, Jake could see why many people preferred to walk.
"So what do you think about the pack and what about Katarina?"
Jake looked to his soon-to-be wife for a look of agreement.
"Well the mansion is nice and I can't wait to see our home but I don't really care for that Katarina. I guess it's just me."
"Well, you have to remember that you two are from different worlds and she is the first female we have come across that's like me."
They stayed quiet until they had finally reached their destination. It was a large twenty-story building with a large pool on one side and from what both could tell an outside bar on the other. They looked at each other and gave the biggest smile. They knew that they were finally in paradise, even though it was only temporary. They were still going to make sure they were going to enjoy themselves as much as they could.
They were let out at the front door, which was covered by an arch that also covered the driveway. The driver opened the door and there was a man in a white suit waiting for them.
"Good day sir and madam. We sure do hope you enjoy your stay at the Nottingham Hotel."
The man directed them towards the doors and rushed to open them.
"For over 50 years, we have catered to those in need of a place to stay. Whether they are rich or poor, or even in financial trouble, we make it our goal to help comfort anyone that comes to us."
The tree walked inside and both Jake and Barbara were stunned by what they saw. The front room of the mansion was gorgeous, yes, but they expected this from a building like that. The reception area wasn't as large but it was big enough to fit two nice sized waiting areas on both sides.
"Now if you'll follow me, I'll show you to your room."
The man led them up to the receptionist's desk and down a hallway to their left. He then ushered them into an elevator that took them up to the sixteenth floor. As soon as they got out, they turned right and then they immediately reached their room.
"And here we are room 1649."
The man unlocked the door and showed the two into their room.
"Inside you will find everything you need. Clothes and proper food have been provided."
The room was the size of an apartment. It was even much larger than his old cramped place.
"If you need anything, there are four buttons on the phone you can use to quickly reach who you need. One is for me. Another is for reception and management, and the other is for the kitchen if you do not feel like cooking. The last one is to make calls. Finally, outside you'll find the pool and a bar. I hope you enjoy your stay and my services. That is all that I needed to tell you and the rest you can figure out on your own."
The man walked out without saying another word or waiting to see if they had any questions. Not really caring, the two explored their new temporary quarters. They had a king-sized bed, a walk-in shower, and a separate tub. The fridge itself was amazing. It was full of assorted foods from different meats to a wide variety of vegetables. Now Jake knew what was meant by properly stocked.
They both met up in the bedroom to check out the clothes that were selected for them. They opened the closet and walked in to see street style clothes on one side and dresses on the other.
"We're about the same size so I'll be using some of your clothes."
Barbara immediately started grabbing for a shirt and pants.
"You know how I feel about dresses."
"Go for it."
They both grabbed what they needed and headed to the bathroom. Since it contained both a shower and tub, they decided to wash at the same time. Jake took a shower while Barbara relaxed in a tub full of hot bubbly water.
Once clean, they decided to lie in bed for the rest of the day. Between the shock from the size of the room and the clothes that were provided, they were emotionally exhausted. They eventually got up that evening to a knock at the door. Jake had decided to get it and let Barbara relax a bit longer. He looked through the little hole to see who could be visiting them. Not much of a surprise to him, he saw Katarina waiting on the other side. He quickly unlocked and opened the door.
"What brings you here so late?"
"I just wanted to see how you two have been doing."
Jake offered her a seat at the dining room table.
"Would you like anything to drink?"
"I'm fine. Thank you for the kind gesture."
He sat on the seat opposite of her.
"So what else are you here for? I noticed your body guards aren't attached to you."
She looked down at the table and stared as she tried to think how to bring up why she really there.
"I need to talk to you a little bit more about your wife."
"What about her?"
Jake was beginning to look a bit concerned. He began to sweat as thoughts of them no longer invited into the community flooded his mind.
"Do not worry, you both are still able to stay and your new home is almost finished. I am just concerned about her safety. We're safe for the most part but we have had what I call rogues, sneaking in as of late and vandalizing the community. We don't know how but they enter undetected."
She looked into Jake's eyes as she continued.
"I'm sorry I didn't bring this up yesterday. I wasn't sure how to bring it up without you denying my invitation.
They both heard a laugh and turned to see Barbara standing in the hall leading to the bedroom.
"You don't know really know us so I'm not surprised."
She walked over to Jake and draped her arms around him.
"Jake and I can take care of ourselves. I'm the brain and he's the brawn."
Katarina's look of regret began to turn to a smile.
"I am sorry. You are right. I should have gotten to know you more and then told you."
She rose from her seat and began to head out.
"By the way, your new permanent home will be finished in the next few weeks. Enjoy your stay here until then."
She walked herself out and shut the door. Jake and Barbara were excited at the good news. They also laughed at how Katarina acted. They knew there was more to her than the regal side she shows in front of everyone.
"I guess she has an image to uphold. She is the leader of the large pack after all."
Barbara headed back to the bedroom to sleep the rest of the night. Jake stayed up for a few more hours wondering who Katarina really is. He didn't even get up to go to the bedroom. He just slumped over and was out like a light before his head hit the table.
The next few weeks were like a vacation or even a honeymoon to the two as they spent most of their time by the pool ordering drinks. Katarina said everything would be taking care of and they were milking it while they could. The pool wasn't only on one side as Jake originally thought. It went all the way to the back. The deepest part was ten feet deep. Although neither of them felt like swimming, the water looked quite inviting.
The last day they were there, they decided to take a walk around the city a little. They figured one day of activity would be good after so many lazy ones. They didn't go far as they didn't want to get lost. The smell of the City wasn't overpowering but it was still bad enough. For unknown reasons, the smell was also a bit refreshing from the woodsy smell from the small towns they had recently stayed in when they were on the road. That evening, though, when they returned, they opened the door to find Katarina sitting on the couch drinking a cup of tea.
"I hope you don't mind that I let myself in and made tea. I take it that you have enjoyed yourselves?"
She placed the cup down and got up to greet the two.
"I have some good news. Your new home is ready to move into now. Now the question is, do you want to leave now or do you want to leave first thing in the morning?"
The soon to be newlyweds looked at each other and talked it over for a few minutes. After finally coming to a decision, Jake walked up to Katarina.
"Since we're a bit tired, I think it would be better if we left in the morning."
"I thought you might say that."
She snapped her fingers and one of her guards came in from another room with blankets and pillows.
"I'll stay here for the night. And don't worry about me, I'm fine on the couch and my guard will be out here on the floor."
"Are you sure? If there's anything I can do just yell for me."
Jake was trying to be generous as not to seem rude.
"I'll be fine. I may be the leader, but I'm not the fancy type. I only act that way to keep an image."
"OK, well good night then."
Jake and Barbara did their usual double wash as to get ready for bed quicker. As soon as they were in bed, they were gone. Being out for the day after so much lounging was a big mistake. They didn't even get a chance to say good night or kiss each other.
Morning came quickly and Katarina was already up and waiting for them. She had even prepared breakfast for everyone.
"Good morning you two, before we leave, we should have a little something to eat."
The spread included eggs, pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, orange juice, and cantaloupe. It looked like an all you could eat buffet.
"I may not look it but I can eat quite a lot. So dig in."
Neither hesitated to sit and fill the plate that sat in front of them. During the whole meal, there was no conversation as everyone was too preoccupied with filling his or her empty stomachs. Once done Katarina instructed them to leave, the empty plates and dishes and that housekeeping would take care of them. They did what they were told and headed the door for the final time. Outside, instead of waiting for the limo to pull up, they all walked to where it was parked and after everyone was in, they were off.
As they pulled down the driveway to the mansion, the driver merged onto a pathway that was barely noticeable. They drove around the mansion and through some of the trees that sat right in the back. They reached another smaller gate that opened without having to do anything. It was a gated community with beautifully designed houses with garages. Some had large pools in their back yard. They eventually made it to a cul-de-sac and pulled up into the driveway of a two story, light blue exterior home with a wrap around deck. As Jake and Barbara got out, they couldn't believe their eyes. It was as if they had their minds read.
"We love it."
Jake reached out his hand to Katarina to try to thank her.
"The tour hasn't even started yet."
She pointed to the front door.
"Now let us see what lies inside."
They walked up the front steps and Katarina stopped them at the door.
She motioned to her guard and he knew what she wanted. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small set of keys. He then tossed them to Katarina and she held them out in front of the happy couple.
"I think you two should do the ones to unlock the door."
Jake took the set of keys, looked at Barbara, and as soon as Katarina moved, placed one of the keys in the door. Barbara then grabbed his hand and they both turned the key. They opened the door and saw the entryway, which hardwood floors and white walls. Katarina moved to the front of them.
"Before we begin, I want to mention that we left the walls white so you could choose what color you wanted. Now to your left, you have your front room for relaxation and to your right a study. It has plenty of books already stocked, both educational and recreational. Ahead you can see the stairs that lead to the second floor. To the left of the stairs is the kitchen, which also has the door that leads to the basement. If you'll follow me upstairs I'll show you the rooms."
Upstairs may have had more rooms than they needed but they didn't complain.
"Here at the end of the hall, you have the master bedroom and a full bath connected to it."
The bedroom was very large and had a king size bed sitting in there. Against one of the walls sat a long dresser with three mirror panels.
"You also have a full bath out here in the hallway. There are three empty rooms for you to make it as you please. Finally, out back you have your very own pool. You don't need to worry about cleaning it. I have a service that will do it for you each week."
They walked back out front and Jake noticed a yellow envelope taped to the garage door. He pulled it off and found a door opener inside. He pressed it and watched as the garage opened and revealed a new Toyota Tundra. This made Jake jump for joy like a little kid.
"Surprise, I know your last truck was totaled so I figured you needed a new one."
"Thank you so much. I really don't know what else to say."
"You being happy and joining our community is thanks enough. Now before I leave I want to remind you that whenever I call you cannot hesitate if I tell you to meet me somewhere. Oh, and another gift for you both has been left on the kitchen table and as far as the wedding goes, we'll get on that once you have some time to settle in."
"What about those clothes from the hotel?"
"They're being packed as we speak."
Before Katarina had a chance to leave Barbara to put her two cents in about the clothes situation
"I don't wear dresses so you can give them to someone who needs them."
"Alright, I just figured you would look beautiful in one. Oh well." Barbara blushed and Katarina left without any more interruptions.
"If you're done being embarrassed, I would like to see what she left in the kitchen."
Barbara snapped out of her embarrassment and agreed. They raced like children and found another large yellow envelope sitting on the table. Jake got to it first and opened it. Inside were two Smartphones and a note.
"These phones are yours to keep. The numbers listed by your names signify your phone. If you need me, or the security office, they are in the favorites list. Enjoy."
"I think besides you, this is the best thing that has happened in my life."
Happy that they finally have a home, the two embraced in a long kiss before sitting at the table and taking it all in.
The next few months were pretty quiet. Jake and Barbara were able to settle in and get used to their new home. They had even begun to socialize with the neighbors. The two had nearly forgotten they were in a wolf pack. If it weren't for the full moon, they would have believed that they were leading a normal life.
The full moon, a grim reminder for some that their old lives are now gone. For some it was good but to others, those that had families, it was like a punch to the gut every month. Lives can change in a split second and you wouldn't even realize until it's too late. Aside from all that, life is how you make it. It's what defines you. Jake began to understand this as he heard other people's stories. He came to appreciate what he had and what he was given. A couple of his neighbors were homeless from the start. At a block party, one man had told him of his last days as he lived underneath a bridge.
"That day went like every other. I went out to search for food, attempted to beg for money so I could buy food, you know, what you usually see. However, what was odd that day was the feeling that I was being followed. I would look all around and no one would be staring or looking directly at me. I got back to my bridge and was in the middle of eating when a man walked up to me. Thinking that he was just like me, I offered a portion of what I had found with him. The man was eerily quiet. The next thing I know, I woke up the next morning with a chunk missing from my side. I was lucky to be alive."
The man looked up at the sky as he remembered that day so clearly or the parts he could remember.
"So I ended up starting from nothing. I'm not going to bore you with my whole life story but it's always nice to share your own unique creation. Speaking of which, what is yours?"
Jake finished what was left of his drink before revealing his boring tale.
"Well, I was driving home from a local bar and I literally ran into my creator. I woke up in the hospital the next day with amnesia. I still have no clue as to who it was or why I was turned."
The man began to laugh so obnoxiously that the rest of the party began to look over.
"So we're pretty much the same. I still can't remember who created me. I can tell you exact height and build, but the face is a mystery."
This made Jake think. He began to wonder if it was the same person. Not wanting to be rude, he put those thoughts aside and continued the conversation. They ended up talking about their previous lives well into the night. It was when they saw everyone else walking back to their homes that they had talked so long.
"Well, I better get back. We don't want to be the only ones standing out here all night."
The man walked off into the night and Jake returned to his home as well. That night he couldn't sleep as he kept thinking about the mysterious figure that changed that man. Since he had the time, he would make it a priority to search for this person and find out whom it was and why they decided to turn him instead of letting him die.
The next morning he awoke to the smell of eggs, bacon, and toast. He took a shower, dressed, and then rushed downstairs to find, not Barbara, but Katarina, cooking breakfast for them again.
"Will you ever learn to knock?"
"I was already awake when she decided to stop by."
He looked and finally noticed Barbara sitting at the table already eating.
"OK, so what is up with this visit?"
"Now is the time to bring up training. You need to stay in peak physical condition."
Katarina placed the last bit of bacon and eggs that she was cooking, on the large plate that sat in the middle of the table.
"Now sit, eat, and listen. As you know, in the main mansion there are rooms for training and exercise. It will be your responsibility to show up three or more days out of the week. You will have a basic personal trainer assigned to you and you will be tested monthly on your abilities. I have already spoken to your fiancée about this and, although an odd request, she has requested a trainer as well."
Jake nearly choked on some food as he heard this.
"Are you sure? I'm sure the training will be a lot harder than in a normal gym."
"You won't be able to protect me all the time. I just want to make sure that when that happens, I can take care of myself."
Jake and Barbara looked into each other's eyes and Jake felt that she knew what she was about to get herself into.
"OK. But you have to promise that if you injure yourself, you won't go back to training until you're completely healed."
"Fine, now let's finish eating."
"Actually I wanted to ask Katarina something."
He put his food down and faced his leader with the most serious of faces.
"I want to go searching for my creator. I can't get them out of my mind. So I would like to ask your permission to look for clues."
"Bit why not?"
"If you would have let me finish, I was about to say not yet. You have plenty of time to go searching but right now you need to socialize more and get more accustomed to life here."
Not wanting to offend and risking a chance of losing his place there, he decided not to take things any further. Again, the meal got to a point of awkwardness and everyone was quiet. The days that followed were just as restless for Jake. He couldn't stop thinking. He would stay up late trying to remember anything about the person. Not one night was fruitful. Bags had formed under his eyes. He was about to go crazy. He had even thought about defying her wishes and going to look anyways. However, that thought was quickly thrown out. He knew that they had nothing before and he didn't want to see Barbara in that situation with him again. The day of a full moon, he got a call from Katarina that instructed him to come see her at midnight. He was puzzled as to why she wanted to see him in that state. Nevertheless, he swore to be there whenever she called. He told Barbara to stay home just in case.
Once again, the mansion was packed with people from the community. However, this time was different. Most were in their wolf state. Jake guessed that it must have been another benefit of having complete control. Trying not to socialize, he made his way through the crowd and up the stairs. Unlike the main hall, the top floor was almost always empty. The silence was almost creepy. He walked down the long hallway, only this time without anyone pushing him. He walked up to the doors half expecting them to open on their own just like last time. Instead, he heard Katarina on the other side beckoning him.
"Come on in. I apologize for the doors but I have my muscle out on an errand."
He pushed with everything he had. They were much heavier than they looked. To him, they felt as heavy as steel. Nevertheless, he opened them and entered the room. Inside he saw Katarina like some of the others. She had remained in her human form.
"So nice of you to join me, now before I get started I need to look at your form."
She paced around Jake a few times to take in his transformed state. She nodded a few times before walking over to her seat and sat down.
"You're not quite ready, but you're the best choice. I see great power within you."
"Excuse me but what is it you need from me?"
The woman pulled out a file and tossed it across the desk.
"Those that stray and go for human flesh to eat and kill, we capture and kill. For those that we cannot kill, we imprison them within the grounds of a cemetery. One of those prisoners has escaped and is on the loose."
Jake quickly flipped through the files and skimmed its contents.
"What does this have to do with me?"
"I would like you and your fiancée to go through a quick training session and then head out to try and capture the escapee. Beyond what you see in the community, I run a secret organization that investigates and stops any paranormal activity that threatens humans. That is our main goal. Normally I would send a few of my strongest out to recapture him but they are all on another mission that will take them months to complete. Both you and Barbara, although new here have shown higher spirits than anyone else."
She turned the chair, rose from it, and opened the drapes. She stared out at the full moon as she felt a knot in her stomach.
"I'm sorry to bring this on you but I wouldn't endanger the life of a newborn and a human unless I saw something in them. Still, I know the prisoner personally and know what they are capable of."
Jake sat in a chair and prepared for her story.
"About 150 years ago, Prisoner B67785 was one of my strongest allies. He believed in protecting human life as well. It wasn't until he was able to control his transformations fully that he changed. He began to act differently. His attitude towards everyone, humans and werewolf alike, changed dramatically. One day he came to me in a rage. He said that we were too soft and that we were meant for greater things. He believed that we were meant to be the new rulers of this world. I tried to reason with him to no avail."
She pulled open her dress and revealed a large scar down her stomach.
"We ended up battling for our lives. As you can see, I lost and barely made it out with my life. As I was lying in a pool of my own blood, Bastian, who is now prisoner number B67785, escaped. He wasn't seen for months. I sent a few of my guards out to look for him. He was finally spotted trying to recruit wanderers or unaffiliated werewolves."
She covered herself back up and continued her story.
"He was attempting to amass an army so I decided to do the same. I talked to people in the community at the time and surprisingly enough, everyone was in on the idea. Our numbers were small at just over 100, but we were willing to take on anyone and anything. We spent two weeks training. Sadly, we were not prepared for what Bastian had for us. He was able to poison the minds of nearly 1,000. He was somehow able to spread the word around the states in such a short amount of time. We were never able to figure that out but it did not matter. When we got word when and where he was going to strike, we headed out to try to stop him before he could go through with anything. Let's just say that if we hadn't have gotten there when we did, we would have missed them. They had made their base in an abandoned warehouse down on the pier here in New York and just as we got there, they were starting to move out. We had originally intended to strike early but some of the information we received was a bit off. Anyways, as we walked up and met the army with Bastian right in front. We began to doubt we could succeed. Nevertheless, we had to do what we could no matter what. We rushed in and started this war for humanity. Just as I began to think it, my pack started to drop like flies, but we were cutting down their numbers drastically. I watched, as Bastian did not move from where he stood. He watched, as we were helpless in our attempts. We were down to twenty at one point and they were down by what looked like half. Out of nowhere, the army stopped attacking us and formed a giant circle around us. He had ordered them to stop. He said that he was bored and wanted to have some fun by finishing us off. Do you know one of our main weaknesses?"
She stared and waited for an answer.
"I'm sorry but I have no clue."
"Well, listen closely. It's your transformation process. No matter how quickly you can change, that clock can always be beaten. I saw this opening and I took my chance. Just as he had opened my stomach last time, I did the exact same thing to him. It took him a second to realize what I had done. It wasn't enough to kill him but it was enough to make him lose consciousness. Knowing their leader was defeated, the rest scattered like rats. We were battered, bruised, and most of us dead, but we had won. I feared for the rest as I did not know the full extent of what they were told but I had no time to worry about t that. We had quite a lot of bodies to properly bury or dispose of. As for Bastian, he became the first prisoner of a new jail I had built deep underground as to separate them from the world."
She got up, walked over to one of the bookshelves, and grabbed one of the books. She walked over and placed it, already opened to a page with a picture of twenty people.
"That was also when I created this special close-knit group of only a select few that have proven their abilities. I didn't want to endanger the whole pack with certain burdens. I try to stay at twenty like the original group, but sometimes another is needed. We never properly gave ourselves a name and no one has ever suggested one. Sometimes, I guess it is better that way. Now, I know this is a lot to ask of the both of you, but as I have said before, I see great potential in you both."
Jake shot up from his seat and slammed a hand down on the desk.
"I promise that you won't be disappointed. We will work hard and prove you right."
"Oh and one more thing, your battle training, as well as your fitness training, start first thing tomorrow. So go and try to rest as much as possible. This next week will be tough and the job even tougher."
"I will. I would also like to take the files to show Barbara."
Katarina nodded and he stormed out without saying anything else. Downstairs the party was still going on though quite a few people had left. He rushed home and found Barbara fast asleep in bed. As he was still in wolf form, he tried to find an object to poke her with so he didn't scratch her. He eventually broke off a chair leg because there was nothing else long enough. It didn't take much to wake her up. She was facing the opposite direction before but now she was facing him with quite an angry stare.
"This better be important. It's 6:00 in the morning."
To Jake, this stare was the scariest thing he had ever seen. Even as a werewolf.
"It is. Meet me downstairs. There's a lot I need to explain. Oh, and could you grab me some clothes. I would do it but the sun isn't up yet and I don't want to risk tearing anything. I'll be downstairs."
"Yet you break a chair to poke me, great logic there. Fine, I'll get up now."
She took her time getting dressed and making her hair. By the time she was done, he had already changed back so she walked into a naked Jake sitting at the kitchen table.
"Well if you'll excuse me, I'll go get dressed."
He grabbed the clothes from Barbara and walked out. Not two minutes later, he returned and started to tell her what he was told. For the next hour, he explained everything he could and answered any questions as best he could. He was finally interrupted by a car horn blaring outside. Once again, it was a limo.
"Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that training starts today."
"Whatever, let's just go. I'll deal with your forgetfulness when we get back."
Luckily, for Jake, he knew how exhausted she was going to be when they were done. They got in on their own and the driver pulled off before they could even buckle in. The whole ride Barbara ignored Jake as if he wasn't there. He just hoped that she would forget everything by tomorrow. He knew waking a sleeping woman was a bad idea but he had no other choice. He shrugged at this thought and just stared out of his window and watched all the other houses pass by.