The Wolf Lady
Prologue Many moons ago, the Yellowtoothed lineage of Scandinavian werewolves migrated to what is now Northern Michigan. Their origins stem as far back as the Vikings. The legend goes that during a bloody and brutal Viking raid under a full moon, Gamel, an exquisitely handsome and valiant warrior who led his village, tried to defend his wife and two young sons from looting intruders. Although Gamel managed tokill most of the invaders, they slew his entire family and left him bleeding to death on the floor of his hut.Sniffing the blood, a wolf came into the scene of the slaughter. Gamel lay dying when the hungry wolf began to lick his blood. Such was the rage in Gamel’s heart that he refused to die before avenging his loved ones. Ejected from his body, his spirit entered the only living form it found on his way: the unwary wolf going about his business and simply trying to survive another cold, merciless winter. Gamel’s body lost its last sparks of life while he possessed the soulless body of the unsuspecting wolf,transforming him from a mere beast into a freakish creature, half-man, half-beast. Pagan gods observing the scene congregated. Gamel was one of the favorite warriors of Tyr, the god of single-hand combat.And Tyr had been once bitten by a wolf and lost his hand. He took pity on Gamel and came down from his palace to salute him. “I shall grant you a magnificent gift. Learn to use it,” Tyr said in a thunderous voice and left in a flash.Gamel immediately regained his human form, and looking at himself in the mirror, he blessed his luck,performing all the rituals of gratitude he could foster in his imagination. Many a beast died under the axeof worship. But Tyr had not been clear. During the next full moon, Gamel figured out his fate. Tyr had decided to give Gamel a chance to be human except for the nights in which there would be a full moon.Then Gamel would become a ravenous werewolf and finish exacting his vengeance on the villains who destroyed his family. What kind of a gift had he received—becoming a man again or having the power to destroy his enemies?
Because Gamel remained human most of the time, after a few years, he fell in love again with Ymma, a courageous warrior princess to whom he explained his predicament. Since he’d retained his beauty and heroism, Ymma fell for him in spite of his curse. Lycanthropy delivered the gift of longevity and slower deterioration of DNA. Gamel never harmed Ymma while roaming the full moon nights as a werewolf, and in any case, she would have been more than prepared to defend herself. But their children were nots pared and, like him, were destined to transform into misfortunate, ferocious beasts every time the full moon illuminated the dark night. Ymma always kept her human genes, dealing with her brood as best as any mother could.Humans who feared becoming dinner hunted Gamel and Ymma’s descendants with or without justification. The sight of one human carcass would trigger the massacre of dozens of man-wolves. To protect themselves, the werewolves formed an alliance called the Yellowtoothed Clan. Cornered by persecution and guided by Tyr, a faction of its members took sail to a place where they would find plenty to eat and miles of land to roam. In the North American continent, shape-shifting was a normal occurrence for the natives, which allowed werewolves to slip through the sieves of the rules and customs of the land. Bears, bison, deer, and wild turkey abounded. As all conscious creatures, human or
beast-like, the werewolves too had among them good and bad seed. Thus, their behavior, in spite of rulings to guard the peace, more often than not remained unpredictable.When their long-lost European cousins came to colonize the North American continent, the Yellowtoothed Clan felt forced to erect a settlement, which they named Wereville. As the centuries went by, bringing modernity and its constraints, the werewolves slowly died off. The once thriving community channeled its way to the pages and the sounds of folklore and legend.
Excerpt from the Book1.
The Wolf Lady
Catherine Mercy sat on the emerald-green grass of Wereville’s Yellow toothed Park, confident that the date that would arrive in a matter of minutes would in no way alter the course of her life. The park contained the assumed estimated location where the town’s legendary werewolf-Viking founders planted their flag upon arriving centuries ago. Those were the times for interesting destiny dislodging occurrences such as werewolf settlements if, that is, they ever took place in Wereville. Many debates between historians and cartographers took place before Wereville established the official landmark. The issue almost made it to federal court until, in 1983, Wereville’s mayor, Lars Speck, to prevent national embarrassment—although Willow Creek in California got away with its kooky Bigfoot stories—picked the spot by throwing a sibylline javelin and declaring the northern god Tyr had guided his hand. Harboring thoughts of gods and werewolves, Catherine looked at Wereville’s flag undulating on its pole,hung there on special occasions, and felt a twinge of sourness in her belly. Yellowtoothed Park attracted unsettling events. If her date were to go well, she might find herself walking into the unknown once again, and for seven years now, she had learned to cherish her routine. So although she had a rendezvous, she anticipated with excitement that she’d make it a short one.
Jared, Catherine’s date, walked toward her, waving hello with both hands. His attractive face blocked the werewolf emblem of the banner from Catherine’s view. With his deep brown eyes, he stared at Catherine with delight. Her hair in a ponytail and the absence of makeup didn’t detract from the lovely,innocent-looking facial features that summoned adventure and sometimes even trouble. The soothing murmur of the nearby creek’s flow muted Catherine’s stabbing thoughts about her tragic past.“Thanks for coming on a date with me. Ever since high school, I’ve been curious about you,” Jared said,opening a checkered yellow-and-purple picnic blanket for them to sit on.“I had no idea. That was a long time ago,” Catherine responded, reluctantly moving to the blanket. She preferred staying on the grass, but he insisted, saying their pants would get wet and sticky. Her contrived response, aimed at redirecting the banter away from the past, failed. “You had Jimmy and Frank, but now that they both, well …” Jared stopped, making sure the blanket was flat on the ground before he sat down. Catherine curled up, putting one hand around her bended knee sand the other on the blanket for support. Jared hit the target: the only unsealed wound in her past and a reason—or better said, the main reason— she despised dating. The topic of her former flames popped up as if it had recently been in the local news.
“Disappeared … passed away,” Catherine said.“Right,” Jared responded, playing with his chestnut hair. Everyone in town knew about Jimmy’s disappearance the summer after their senior year in high school.He’d been Catherine’s sweetheart. Everybody bet that Catherine and Jimmy would marry. Years later,Frank, her husband, died in a boating accident. Police speculated the Great Lakes swallowed his body.Upon revisiting her love life, Catherine’s shoulders curled up an inch. The knots around her neck tightened. She could feel warm tears seeping behind her eyelids, and although nothing came out, her eyelashes felt sticky. Jared’s move had been a low blow, perhaps aimed at placing her in a vulnerable emotional zone. Using a meditation technique her best friend, Anne, taught her, Catherine quickly set her eyes on Jared and focused on the breeze on her cheeks, the fish in the stream, and the ten different hues of green she could count. But only thoughts of her bakery’s rising bread and the warm scent of hot chocolate placed her back on kilter.She remembered Jared as the too-cool-for-school type with a rock band, usually wearing black clothes,thick eyeliner, and long hair. In contrast, today he looked preppy: khaki pants and a blue shirt. His hair was cut short. He looked good enough to make a woman proud. Anne claimed that, during middle school, Jared picked the seat next to Catherine’s in English class. Catherine denied this. But every day in the middle school cafeteria, a dessert would make its way to the front of Catherine’s plate, where it satun touched. Catherine dreaded that her classmates would assume she took gifts from punks.Jared was Catherine’s prime suspect. Napkins served as gift cards, but Catherine, pretending she had allergies, would blow her nose casually with it without daring to read the fine print in front of everyone.To Catherine’s relief, Claus, a very quiet chubby guy who kept to himself, would eat the sweet treat.Catherine’s and Jared’s hands sat an inch from one another’s. His hand drew closer to Catherine’s pinkie every few minutes, but finally she placed her hand in the pocket of the khaki cargo pants she wore paired with a white T-shirt.“I don’t really date, but I’m giving this a try. My friend Anne insisted. She says I need to get out there.”“I’ll thank her then. I know why you don’t date, but with me, you don’t have to worry. I’m prepared to handle a woman like you. I’m not afraid. Here …”
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