I didn't like the pancakes very much, but I still ate them to feel at least a little normal. Then I went home and decided to call Simon. I should probably call my boss, but I was pretty scared he would fire me right away.
"Andrew, have you given up on your police career or what?" Simon said from the other side. In the background, I clearly heard the voices of Caroline and Lewis and other people at the station.
"No, just... I got sick this morning,” I lied, rubbing my nape nervously. "Any news?"
"Absolutely nothing." He sighed, frustrated. "If only the boy remembered something from the night before... He keeps saying that it was a black wolf and that it saved his life... Do you believe that?" He scoffed, but then his voice softened again. "It must have been really traumatic for him. But he acts far too excited for a boy who saw a wolf kill two people right in front of his eyes."
"They were bad people, they wanted to kill him." I let out before I could think about it.
"Oh, so it’s a good thing they were ripped apart?" Simon asked in disbelief.
"No…" Yes… But how could I tell him something like that? He would lock me in a madhouse. What could I do? "I’m sorry, my head hurts. Could you do something for me?"
"Um… Yeah, what do you need?" he agreed immediately. I was glad he was my friend, I wished I could tell him what was happening to me, he would surely know what to do. Though I still couldn’t be sure the same thing wasn’t happening to him. And there was a possibility this could happen to Henry aswell…
"Could you please arrange me an afternoon shift with Caroline?" I certainly couldn’t work in the evening, and obviously not in the morning. I probably couldn’t stay a cop for too long if it went on like this.
"Why don't you call her?" he asked. I had no answer for that. I would probably have to admit that I was scared of her after what happened at the bar. Fortunately, before the moment of silence became uncomfortable, someone knocked on the door.
"I'm sorry, I have to go. Bye.” I hung up quickly and ran a hand through my hair to organize my thoughts. Then I went to the door. As I got closer to it a somehow familiar scent hit my nose, for some reason it made a single name pop up in my mind. Ashley... I opened the door and sure enough, a young woman with brown curly hair and hazel eyes awaited me behind it a smile on her face as she threw her arms around my neck.
"Ashley! What are you doing here?" I hugged her close and enjoyed the scent that reminded me of our childhood and home. It seemed ridiculous to me because it never occurred to me that such a smell could be imprinted in the back of my mind, screaming home at me.
"Last time I saw you, you were lying half-dead in the hospital," she reminded me and pulled away from me. "I have to say you look surprisingly good." She entered my house with a smile and placed a blue box on the table.
"Thanks, what you got there?" I closed the door gesturing for her to sit on the couch. Her mere presence made me smile happily. She came all the way from New Orleans… My younger sister, who worked as the editor of a magazine and was always immersed in her work. God, I missed her… I didn't even realize how much.
"When I'm worried I bake." She opened the box showing me about ten small chocolate cupcakes with different toppings.
"Wow, thank you." I would add them to Mrs. Wescott's collection of cookies. It was nice, but the hoard of sweets would probably last me for years.
"Don't thank me yet." She smiled bitterly and sat down on the couch. "I have to tell you that father is leaving today. He says you don't want him here anyway, and his friend from the war died yesterday, so he has to go to Whitehorse for his funeral,” she explained and took a cupcake, frowning at me. "Did you have a fight or something? He sounded really upset."
"I don't need him to fuss over me, I'm not eleven anymore. I'm glad he stayed here with me and did all the paperwork for me, but the two of us could never get along for more than a few hours.” When I was about sixteen or seventeen and still lived with father, we argued practically every day… I liked him, but my father would always be a military general expecting complete obedience. Ashley was his little girl, I was his soldier… Unfortunately, I had different opinions and beliefs than him, which he didn’t take well. In the end, he forced me to go to war and become a police officer, so my rebellion didn't help me much, I still did exactly what he wanted me to do and it pissed me off.
"Yeah, I remember that very well." Ashley grimaced, the same memories flickering in her eyes. "Well, anyway I managed to take some time off, so I'll stay here with you for a while!" she announced enthusiastically. I froze… My eyes were desperately looking for any signs that she was joking. Nothing. No! God no! I’m a monster! You can't stay here! I could hurt you! I wanted to scream at her, but nothing came out of me. "I don’t mean like here in your house. I’ll be staying in the hotel father still has booked.” She sounded a bit nervous now. I didn’t want her to feel unwelcome, but at the same time, I wanted her as far away from me as possible.
"Um. That's great. How long has it been since we went somewhere together?” I smiled, mustering up as much joy as I could.
"It'll be like the old days!" She beamed and hugged me again. Feeling lost I returned her hug. Oh god… Don't let anything happen to her…
For the rest of the day we reminescented about our childhood, I almost forgot the terrifying monster lurking in the shadows and the monster hiding inside myself. Almost... The closer the night came, the more restless I became. Ashley finally left at eight pm and Simon texted me to come to work at two pm. I could handle that... I was surprised he actually managed to arrange it for me. Being almost killed by a wolf probably had its advantages, such as specialized working hours.