Hannah Duchamps leans back against the Crimson Bridge, marveling at men and their need to impress. The Crimson Bridge is beautiful, but the money required to ensure that it doesn’t fall apart could feed a family of four, easily.
A wind from the east rustles her red hair and she tucks one such strand of hair behind her left ear. She glances up, noticing the clear stars. A white crystal lands on her black coat. Then another. And another. Soon she is covered in a light snow.
She rubs her mittens against each other in an attempt to alleviate the cold- dammit, where is Tam Linn?!
“You called?” Hannah turns around with such speed that she can feel muscles snapping in her neck. I will be feeling that tomorrow, she thinks. She smiles. “I was just thinking about you”, she responds.
Tam Linn walks up against the railing of the Crimson Bridge, glancing momentarily at the dark waters of the Hermannstadt before responding: “I know.” Before Hannah has time to pursue that line of inquiry, something moves inside Linn’s coat. A cat of the same color as the snow that falls looks out. “Yowl“, Tam Linn begins in reapproach before letting it loose on the bridge. “Don’t go to far”, he adds as the cat saunters aways with the disinterest to obeying orders that only felines have.
“So”, Hannah says, clasping her hands together,” what is it that you wanted to talk about?”
Linn scratches his large beard, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration. Eventually he speaks, albeit reluctantly, a reluctance Hannah understand all too well at the mention of the subject. “Your mother…. have you met her?” Hannah blanches; twice she has been visited by her mother, twice has been hurt.
She manages a nod. “Do you perhaps have a way to contact her?” Hannah shakes her head. “She…” she trails off. “You, of all people, know what she’s like. I have met her two times in my life, and I wish I could forget both of them”, she answers, repressing an urge to shudder.
Linn sighs. “I thought it was like something that”, he says, voicing his thoughts out loud. “Ah well, I shan’t hold you”, he adds, shaking his head in rue. ” Wait, that’s it?” Hannah asks, incredulous, before she remembers who it is that she is talking to. “If you cannot contact your mother, then you cannot help me. Only She can help me.”
“Help you with what?” As Hannah poses her question, the clouds part, revealing a full moon. In the shine of the moonlight, there is, she realizes, something off about Tam Linn. “Dieing”, he says in a voice full of horrors.
“Go away!” Amanda roars. Damn busybodies, she thinks to herself. Can’t let a girl be alone, can they?
Knock. Knock. “I said-” “We heard you alright”, Stella Rakaya responds from the window, on the second floor of the house she lives in. “One cannot mistake that voice”, Chiyo Sawamura reiterates, arriving after Stella.
Amanda glares at them. “We”, Chiyo begins, before being interrupted by Stella,”thought you shouldn’t be alone at a time like this.” “I was about-” “You were about to start a really long speech about friendship, like in a sitcom, which isn’t exactly what Amanda needs right know”, Stella says, her voice changing.
“I”, Stella starts, furtive,” know what it is like to miss my parents.” Amanda shrugs. “It is not that I miss my dad”, she says, attempting to figure what exactly it is that she is feeling,”but that Fenrir… he is my grandfather, a monster if you believe the stories… and the man who killed my mother’s murderer, so yeah, I am a bit conflicted.”
Stella and Chiyo exchange looks. Amanda waves them on. “You can ask. I have… not gotten over it, but I have pretty much accepted it. What happened”, she says, ending it on a bitter note.
“So what did happen?” Chiyo asks.
“The short of it?” Amanda inhales deeply. “My mom was shot by a wildlife hunter. One who knew about werewolves.” She exhales, deeply. ” In some families, in-laws are strangers that are merely accepted at family occassions. You bring them presents at Christmas, while you quietly wait for them to leave. But Grandpa and and mom weren’t like that. He loved her like a daughter.”
Amanda zones out. “What I know is what I have been told, and what I have been told I sometimes doubt, because I was young when she died, and my memories of that time aren’t… complete. But, as I have heard it told, Fenrir went after that hunter while dad was spending his time taking care about me.” She wets dry lips.
“If…. if he had just killed him, that would have been the end of it. But he lost control”, Amanda asserts. Stella and Chiyo wince; they can both take other shapes if not that of a wolf and they know the fury that encompasses those very shapes. “Any time a werewolf loses his or hers control is going to be bad. But Fenrir? Fenrir Suneater? Who the gods chained with primordial magic until he calmed down?”
“Pieces”, she continues to say,” there were pieces left, a journalist was tipped off about a possible serial-killer and Pier 7 put him in the Bastille, but not before he fought them to a standstill.” Amanda hugs her knees. Chiyo puts her arm on her left shoulder, Stella on her right.
“I don’t know what to think”, Amanda states in an un-characteristic fit of insecurity. ” Even if he lost control like that, even if he murdered a man, murdered a man who deserved it, he’s still my grandfather… and I miss him?” She asks.
Stella catches one of her black braids. ” What about your dad though? Can’t you ask him to come down here?”
Chiyo’s kick hits a particularly vulnerable area of Stella’s and she shrieks. Amanda laughs, before answering the question. “Dad is the alpha of alphas. He’s way too busy overseeing the packs”, she says in a wistful voice.
“Too busy to visit his daughter”, she repeats in a small voice….