Prologue – Help Wanted
Margi had been seventeen when she had her little girl. She was barely eighteen when she realized that, that same little girl had a little something extra. At nineteen she began to see just how woefully unprepared for those little extras she was. Now at twenty she was finally admitting that she needed help, that her daughter needed help. Her uncle had told her of a place where people like Mercy could go, told her of the man there who could help them both.
Her baby could turn into a coyote and couldn’t control it, she lived in fear of the day that she would turn in front of someone and they would simply take her away, never to be seen again. She loved her daughter more than anything else in this world, she was the one good thing she’d ever truly done with her mis-spent youth, and if the only way to help her was to come up to this frozen little town where outsiders weren’t exactly welcome than that’s exactly what she would do.
Pulling her old beat up pick-up truck into the small parking area outside of the local Motel she quickly bundled her precious little toddler up before they braved the cold together. Mercy didn’t seem to mind it at all, she found the snow fascinating and only wanted to play in it and find out what it tasted like.
She kept catching flakes on her tongue but they melted so fast all she tasted was water, so it seemed she was certain that she would only be able to really taste the snow if she managed to shove a handful of it into her mouth at the same time. The only problem with that being that those hand fulls of snow were also peppered with dirt and twigs from the ground where it had fallen before. Finally picking her up to keep her from eating anything better left alone she rushed them both into the relative warmth of the motel lobby area.
That warmth didn’t last long though. As soon as the woman behind the counter realized that she didn’t know either of them the air turned decidedly chilly. Mentally shaking herself to keep from getting offended and letting her mouth run away with her, she reminded herself again that this was her daughters best chance at learning control. She would not ruin it by being snippy or in any way unfriendly towards anyone here in Aspin Creek.
“Hello, my name is Margi Thompson and I was told I could find Bran Corrnick here.”
“Told by who?” Not exactly friendly but she hadn’t been shown the door yet either so she would persevere.
“My uncle, he’s had a bit of a monthly issue and he told me that Mr. Corrnick would be the man to see about my own issues of late.” There she’d done it just as her uncle had told her to, not outright saying the W word, but making it clear that she was in the know. Frankly since everyone here in Aspin Creek seemed to be in the know too she didn’t understand why they all had to speak in code, but a part of her, that small part that was still just a child at heart, thought it was just the coolest thing ever.
“I’ll give him a call, see if he’s available, you wait there.” See if he was available for her, she meant. Again she mentally shook herself, there was no reason to get all offended just now, and she needed to keep her calm.
Watching her daughter inspect every inch of the potted plant in the corner helped her to pass the time as she waited, and waited, and waited for Mr. Corrnick to decide she was worth his time. She knew it probably wasn’t like that at all, but after waiting in an uncomfortable wooden chair for over half an hour with a less than gracious receptionist starring at her like she was personally responsible for every problem in her life, she was feeling a little less than gracious.
“Hello there, I hear you’ve been waiting to see me.” Looking up she found a man standing slightly over her and started for a moment at his sudden appearance.
Then she took in his actual appearance and relaxed. The man stood barely a foot taller than she did at five foot nothing, with sandy blonde hair and warm emerald eyes that just seemed to make you feel safe whenever you looked in them. To be honest he looked more like one of those uppity college boys she used to sleep with before she began to follow the rodeo than a big bad powerful werewolf, but she supposed that was the point. Deception is what kept them safe after all.
“Yes, I am, my uncle told me you might be able to help me with an issue of mine.”
“What could you need my help with? I hear you uncle has a monthly problem but I don’t think you share it. Why have you come here?” She sensed some suspicion but again she supposed that was to be expected, she was a stranger to them after all they had no reason to trust her.
“Not for myself, for my daughter, Mercedes come over here please I want you to meet someone.” She watched her baby girl toddle with steps a little too quick, she just had to go everywhere at a run almost like if she moved any slower all the good stuff would be over before she got there.
She watched as the man’s eyes changed as her daughter got closer, she would have been alarmed had it not been for the fact that her uncle’s eyes had done the same thing when he had first met her darling Mercy as well. When she’d asked about it he’d told her it was just him reacting to the difference in her sent, to the difference in her. Holding her breath she waited for his reaction to that difference. While her uncle had been baffled she knew this Mr. Corrnick was a great deal older and might react in an entirely different way.
What? What was a skinwalker? Well if nothing else, she had least had a name for what she was now that was a place to start at least.
“What?” Maybe he would explain though and save her the trip to the library.
“Your daughter is a skinwalker, yet you are human, tell me where is the girl’s father?”
“Dead, car accident, he bled out before help could get to him.” While they had been talking a woman had entered the room just behind him. He didn’t react in anyway but she could tell he knew she was there.
The woman while tall and beautiful was openly glaring at her and Mercy like she had come in to find her and Mr. Corrnick making out. Must be his girlfriend then, or maybe wife from the amount of possessive jealousy being telegraphed there.
“That still doesn’t answer my initial question. Why have you come here?”
“She keeps changing, the first time it happened she was just a baby, I went to get her a bottle and when I came back there was a coyote cub in the crib where my baby had been. She can’t control it and my uncle doesn’t know how to teach someone so young, he sent me here because he said that if anyone could help her learn control you could. Will you help us?”
“For her to learn control so young she would have to live here in Aspin Creek, with a werewolf couple. Their control would teach her to control herself, the instincts are there she was born with them, it’s just a matter of bringing them to the surface.”
“Wait just a minute. Bran could I speak to you privately please.” The woman from before all but dragged him away, she could see in his eyes that he was more than capable of stopping her and was only allowing her to do so to try and keep the peace. As she sat in the small wooden chair holding her three year old little girl in her lap she listened to the not so quiet conversation taking place in what had to be the break room with the receptionist smirking at her from behind the counter.
“That thing cannot stay here. It is not a werewolf.”
“She is a shapeshifter Leah, a skinwalker.”
“So it’s a shapeshifter, fine, that still doesn’t make it a werewolf.”
“Wolf or not she still needs to be taught control. If her lack of control exposed her to the humans than we would all be exposed soon after.”
“You don’t know that! Besides there are others who could help it learn how to control the change. If you let that thing stay here mark my words it will bring nothing but trouble down on us. Send it away!”
She had just about had enough of hearing her daughter referred to as an it and was about to give that uppity bitch a piece of her mind when the sound of a door slamming signaled the end of the conversation. When Mr. Corrnick came back out he waved the smug receptionist away leaving them alone in the lobby area. When he took a deep breath before speaking she knew he wouldn’t be helping them.
“Look, Mrs. Thompson, I understand the situation you find yourself in-“
“Oh, I highly doubt that. I doubt that you know what it was like when I found out that I was pregnant at seventeen or what it’s been like every day since. For the last three years since I found out what she could do I’ve tried to keep her safe the only way I knew how, by keeping her away from everyone, by keeping her hidden away in our home away from anyone who might find out about her and use that knowledge against her. I knew she wouldn’t be hurt that way, but it wasn’t fair to her, keeping her hidden while it kept her safe only kept her alone in the shadows. When my uncle told me about you he said that you could help her learn control so that I could take her out to play in the sun without fear that she would start running across the playground as a toddler and reach the other side as a coyote.
“I doubt that you know what it’s like to have to come to someone you don’t even know swallowing your pride with every step and all but beg that person to help you then have to sit in a room and listen to some woman call that child that you love more than your own life an it, to speak of her like she was just some, some thing that wasn’t worth her time.
“Don’t misunderstand me Mr. Corrnick I am happy that you’ve decided not to help us. After meeting some of the people here and feeling their hospitality towards outsiders, I don’t want my daughter being raised here. Even if you had said you were going to help us, I would have told you that I had changed my mind, I would never leave my baby here to be treated like an outcast. While it would have been easier to do this with your help it’s not impossible without it. I may not be a shifter like you so I may not be able to understand everything she’s going to be going through. What I am is her mother and I don’t love my daughter any less today than I did the second I first saw her on the sonogram, skinwalker or not she is still my little girl and she will know that every day of her life. Now if you don’t mind we will be leaving now.”
Straightening her coat she picked her daughter up on her hip and together they left with as much dignity as she could muster. Everything would be fine, they could handle this themselves, they had to.
A/N – So that is the end of the Prologue after this chapter there will be a time jump to a little bit before the first book (Moon Called) and that’s where the real story begins. Just about everyone will be making an appearance in this story. Adam, Jesse, Darryl, Bran, Leah, Samuel, Stefan, Marsilla, Zee, Warren, Kyle, etc…