(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. William was written by Ryan Kells.)
William paced nervously back and forth in his shop. He would pause at one table or another and fiddle with an unfinished project, each laid out in their own space on one of the half a dozen long steel tables.
“Pacing like a caged animal won’t help, Babe,” a young woman said and he turned to look at her. Long, bright red hair gleamed under the fluorescent lights that ran the length of the ceiling.
“It certainly helps me feel better, Sugar,” he growled but he leaned back against the nearest table and looked around the large room.
It appeared to be a standard metal work shop. Tools and torches and equipment scattered about with tables littered with materials and unfinished projects. The center of the room was an empty, open space for larger projects, when needed. It had just recently been emptied of a large sculpture.
“What are you so nervous about?” Chloe asked.
“I’ve never done an interview before, okay? It’s a little nerve wracking.”
She smiled and stood before she sashayed over to him and gave him a kiss on the lips. “You’ll be fine. I’m going to go upstairs and take a bath.” Outside the could hear the sounds of footsteps coming up the gravel path. “Play nice.”
There was a knock at the door and William took a deep steadying breath before he opened the door.
When he opened the door, Kelly beamed at him. “Hi, I’m Kelly. I believe you’re expecting me. I brought some cookies.” She offered a paper plate full of chocolate chip cookies to William then shrugged. “A lot of people get nervous meeting me, and I found cookies are a nice way to defuse that tension. I hope you like chocolate chip.” Then she glimpsed around. “Nice place you have it. Reminds me of my grandparents’ home.” Then she locked eyes with William and smiled once more. “Good memories.”
He smiled and took the offered plate. “Thank you. I do like chocolate chip and those smell delicious.” At a lanky six feet tall he filed the door frame so he turned and stepped to the side motioning to the room behind him for Kelly to enter. “Please. Come in. This is my workshop. Not particularly comfortable to lounge in but I thought you might be interested in seeing it. We can continue to interview elsewhere once you’ve had a look around.” He unwrapped the plate, selected a large cookie from the top, still warm and soft, and popped the whole thing into his mouth.
Kelly tucked her hands behind her back and looked around. “I know someone who’s into woodwork. He mainly hand-carves figurines….especially for children. Every time I stop by, he’s always working on something, and I think it just amazing.” She then turned back to William with a warm smile. “What sort of things do you make?”
“Sculptures,” he mumbled around his mouthful of cookie. He swallowed hard before he continued. “Mostly in metal but I occasionally include other materials in my projects if a client requests them.”
“Very nice.” Kelly nodded. “Do you have a favorite that you’ve done?” She raised her brows as she continued to look around.
He looked up at the ceiling in thought for a moment before he shrugged. “They’re all favorites, really. My last commission that I just shipped out this morning was a tree though.” He gestured to the empty space in the center of the room. “It was all bits of scrap metal that I hammered and welded and shaped into a twenty foot oak tree.”
“That’s impressive.” Kelly nodded, and she was impressed. This handiwork wasn’t easy and took skilled hands. However, there were other matters to address, and Kelly wanted to get straight to it, so she turned to him. “I understand you’re not completely human but rather…werewolf of some kind. Is that right?”
William stepped over to one of the tables and picked up a couple pieces that he tucked into his pockets. Another he took in hand and lifted a pair of pliers, plucking and twisting the metal in his hands idly as he listened. “Correct,” he said with a nod. “I was born human but was bitten by one of the Wolf-kind and that was the end of that life.”
“How long ago was that?” Kelly cocked her head to a side then approached the table to watch him work.
“Crap…” he stopped working and stared up at ceiling again. “Uhh…Born in 41, bitten in 66, so…forty-nine years ago? Give or take a few months.”
“And what’s the general lifespan of a…Wolf-kind? You have special abilities? Or what exactly?” Kelly knew the legends of werewolves, but she wasn’t sure how this worked with the Wolf-kind and if there were differences. While waiting for an answer, she picked up a tool but then thought better and put it down. She knew how possessive some people could be of their workspace, and she respected that.
Absently, William reached out and adjusted the ratchet Kelly set down, shifting it an inch to the right. “It’s difficult to say, really. A Wolf-kind’s life isn’t easy. There’s danger from inside and outside the pack and from humans as well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Wolf-kind living long enough to become what you’d call ‘elderly’.” He stated working on his project again and glanced over at Kelly. “That being said. I know a few who are two and a half centuries old.”
He gestured for her to follow and started walking toward the far wall where a single door stood. “As far as abilities go? We’re stronger and faster than humans. We heal faster and live longer and we don’t often get sick. We can also transform into a wolf or into a hybrid form depending on the situation.” He gestured to his clothes. A loose jacket hanging open with no shirt, pants and boots that were several sizes too large. “The clothes make it easier to transform on the fly if I need to.”
Kelly nodded as she followed along. “So, there’s a pack, and I’m assuming there are other packs of Wolf-kind as well. Are you all civil with one another? Or are there problems?”
William gave her a startled look n pausing with his hand on the doorknob before he barked out a laugh. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have been surprised. I just haven’t had this discussion often before. Chloe was the last time actually.” He opened the door and led her into a darkened space that smelled of wood, leather, and paper. “No. Like actual wolf packs, we’re territorial and different packs do not often work or play well with others. My pack is actually the largest in North America and that possess it’s own issues.”
He motioned for her to wait and continued Wali until he was lost in the gloom. “Here we go!” he called from somewhere in the dark and warm, yellow light suddenly flooded the space.
The door led to a tower. A circular space that soared two stories up. The walls were lined entirely with shelves stuffed to overflowing with books.
A spiral staircase next to the door led straight up to a second floor backcountry that ran around the wall where more shelves stretched all the way to the ceiling.
Kelly followed him wherever he lead. This place was bigger than she imagined, but it had a cozy atmosphere. She couldn’t explain it, but it was still beautiful. “Love spiral staircases,” she muttered to herself with a smile but then spoke her next question louder, “So what kind of issues are there in your pack?”
In the center on the circular room stood a handful of sofas and armchairs, scattered haphazardly about and William waved her over add he sank into his favorite chair.
“It’s not so much issues within the pack. Not anymore.” He frowned for a moment before shaking his head right, bone hair flying about his face for a moment. “It’s more that we’re a target and we may be stronger for having more members. But that also makes us vulnerable. We can’t keep 250 Wolf-kind in the state for long without trouble cropping up.”
Kelly sank into the chair across from him and raise dm her brows. “So what do you all do about it?”
William set aside the metal object he had been working on and pulled another from his pocket, continuing to work. “Well the majority of our members are spread out around the country. We only all get together for special events a few times a year. The satellite members stick to cells of three or four and remain in contact with us here. If we lose contact with anyone we investigate. Could be an accident or a mostake. It could also be Hunters.”
William never looked away from Kelly as he spoke, his hands moving on their own. “Higher ranking members such as the Alphas.” He gestured to himself at that. “Betas and the Blood Born we keep here. Eventually we’re going to have to move though. That will mean either finding new territory, or taking it from another pack.”
She watched him work but listened to everything he said. It was a lot of information, and she tried to grasp it all. “So…what is it that you all do? I mean, yes, I see you have work here you do, but…do you just fit into a community easily, or what exactly?”
He nodded. “More or less. We have members that are doctors, lawyers, teachers, construction workers, artists, and so on. Some of us don’t do as well around people though. That would be the Blood Born that I mentioned. So we help them and try to work with them. Not all are so unstable but many can be.”
He sighed and his hands stilled. “Being a Wolf-kind is about instinct, Ms. Blanchard. There is an animal inside us. A wild creature. Most of us were human once and we can temper that beast. Others can’t. Like life, there are very few hard answers, and to every rule, there is almost always an exception.”
“And Blood Born…?” Kelly raised her brows. She had an idea what that meant but wanted confirmation.
“Hmmmm?” He glanced up from his project, slightly distracted by his work.
“I’m sorry. Blood Born. There are two types of Wolf-kind. Moon Forged were human once and we’re subsequently bitten by a Wolf-kind in their full wolf form. Once bitten that humans life is changed and on the next full moon they transform for the first time.”
“Blood Born are different. They were never human to begin with. Blood Born are children born to Wolf-kind parents. They have a tendency to be a little wilder, a little more prone to violence and aggression. That’s why we keep them here with the Betas. To teach them and hopefully curb some of those tendencies.” He held up the green colored piece of metal and eyed it carefully. “All the stories and legends you hear about werewolves being mad bloodthirsty creatures? Yeah, those all came because of a Blood Born centuries ago.”
“Fascinating.” Kelly smiled then leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees, hands clasped together. “So why are people bitten? Is it voluntarily? Curiosity? Or something else?”
William picked up the earlier piece he had set aside and began screwing the two together, red and green glints of light reflecting of the pieces in his hands while he thought.
“All of the above?” he said, almost questioning. “It all depends on the Sire, the wild that bites them. Occasionally a person discovers us and wants to be bitten. They are curious or don’t like the life they have and think they could do better as a wolf. It doesn’t usually work that way. Some are bitten out of necessity. I was dying personality. Father bit me to save my life and because he felt responsible for the accident that injured me in the first place.” He shrugged. “And sometimes a wolf just senses something in a human and that instinct pushes us to pursue them. The individual decides what happens after that.”
He held up his project. A rose. Roughly half a foot in length and impeccably detailed. Each petal of the boom was powder coated a deep glossy red and the stem was green with a smattering of wickedly pointed, brown thorns. He leaned forward and extended the rose to Kelly. “I hope you like roses.”
“Oh…wow! Thank you. It’s beautiful.” Kelly accepted it and turned it over and over again in her hand to look at all the angles. It awed her, and he had created it with such simplicity. She smiled up at him, but then focused on the topic. “What accident?”
He nodded once, pleased that she liked his gift. “A hunting accident. Of a sort. Father was being tracked by a group of hunters. My family and I were on vacation, camping in Montana when the hunt brought him through the area. We were caught in the crossfire.” He shrugged. “Wrong place, wrong time kind of situation. The hunters opened fire and all the of us were hit. My parents died instantly but while they were distracted, trying to decide what to do with me, Father attacked them. He ripped them to pieces while I was still half conscious. I remember him leaning over me and the next thing I knew I woke up in a bed. I was whole and uninjured and no longer human.”
“And what was that like for you?” Kelly stared into his eyes, watching eyes facet of his face to see anything he might not say.
Williams face was troubled. “It was…unsettling. Our personalities don’t change when we become Wolf-kind. It’s not like we become emotionless monsters or anything. I was 25 years old. My parents were dead. The life I knew was over and I did not adapt to my wolf as well as some.” He sighed. ”I’m not explaining this well.” He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. “Like I said. Being wolf kind there’s an animal inside us. It’s like having multiple personalities sometimes. The wolf had emotions and instincts different from our own and sometimes we don’t always see eye to eye. I had trouble accepting my wolf. Fire the first few years I was nearly feral. Wild and difficult to control. Unlike Chloe. She and get wolf got along perfectly right from the beginning.” He looked thoughtful for a moment before shaking himself again. Anyway. My first few years were filled with painful transformations that I had no control of a lot of grief over my family. Eventually I learned to cooperate with my wolf and we’ve been much happier for it.”
Kelly nodded as she listened, but she caught a glimpse of the clock across the way. Their time was up, but she still had a few more questions to ask, so she looked back at William. “And who exactly is Chloe? You mentioned her before.”
William broke into a beaming smile. “Chloe would be the daughter of the Hunter that killed my father. And my wife.” He gave Kelly a devilish sort of smirk and leaned back in his chair.
“Oh really?” Kelly returned his smile. “There’s a story here.” She leaned forward, eager to hear the tale. “How did that happen?”
He laughed quietly. “About a month and a half ago a hunter killed my father.He was our packs Alpha and a pack without an Alpha is not a good thing.it was clear which hunter committed the murder so I decided to drive across the country and kidnap his daughter. The plan was to use her as a bargaining chip before the pack to make sure I became the next Alpha instead of one of my brothers.” He grinned again. “Things didn’t quite work out that way.”
“Sounds almost like Beauty and the Beast in a way.” Kelly smiled but then finally had to sigh. “I would *love* to know more, but unfortunately, I’ve taken enough of your time. I need to return home.” She rose to her feet with the rose he had given her in her hands.. “I’m sorry to have to cut this short. I would absolutely love to stick around to learn more, but maybe I’ll get to come back!” She smiled at him. “Thank you so much for your time though–and your answers. I really enjoyed this visit.”
He stood with her and led her back through the workshop. “It was a pleasure. I was pretty nervous before you got here, actually. But you made it a very relaxing experience.”
A female voice floated down the stairs at the other end of the room that led up to the living portion of the cabin. “I told you you’d be fine!”
William rolled his eyes and smiled at Kelly. “She’s never going to let me live that down.”
Kelly hollered back. “He did fantastic! You should like make him your official PR person or something!” She then laughed at the look on William’s face then headed for the door. “Enjoy the cookies!” She waved at him then left.
Ryan Kells’ novel ‘I Am Alpha’ is published and can be found on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XJ42R3M Be sure to follow him on social media: