Bon apetit, Audience! (or something like that :p)

Welcome back to my 365/365 Challenge!!!

Happy lucky number 13!

Nearly half a month into this story! 13 days into this journey,and I’m so happy you’re here with me to continue! BUT!! If you haven’t been, so much has happened!! I wouldn’t want for you to miss out, so go on over to the 365/365 Directory Page found –here– so that you can catch up!

***DISCLAIMER***
Prepare to have the urge to rip your eyes our, fellow OCD readers, for the amount of typos you will encounter in this passage is going to BLOW YOUR MIND! At some point here soon, I may decide to go in and edit it properly, but for now I’m just going to let it ride =3

Now that we’re all on the same page (wink wink, see what I did there?), I now present to you Page 13 of my 365 page book.

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Ryker normally had a key to his home, but the pandemonium of the night had seen it lost long ago. He knocked awkwardly, bypassing the bell that hadn’t worked since his father tried to “upgrade” it.

The curtains on the window to the left of the door fluttered, and eyes as green as Ryker’s own peered apprehensively at him.

“Who is it?” a female’s voice called from further in the house.

Ryker heard the sound of the door unlatching right before it swung open to reveal his younger sister bathed in the foyer light. “It’s just Ryker,” she called back. She lowered her voice and said. “Why are you knocking? Lose your key again?”

Ryker shrugged. “Yep. And it’s nice to see you too, Nat.” He shouldered his way passed his sister.

He found his mother in the kitchen tidying up. “Hey, Ma. Sorry I’m home so late.”

“Oh, it’s no worry, hun,” his mother assured. “It’s the weekend. Plus, we know that you were out with that girl you like so much, so–”

Ryker wrinkled his nose. “Eww. No, please don’t.”

His mother gave him a knowing smile. “Oh, all right. If you want food, you’ll have to heat up your own.”

“Nah, I already ate,” Ryker lied. “Hey, where’s Hero?”

Ryker’s mother looked around curiously. She knew of Ryker and Hero’s little routine, and found it odd that Hero wasn’t here to greet his best friend as much as Ryker did. “With your father, I guess.”

“Oh, okay. I’ll go find him first, but I need to tell you something after.”

“All right, honey.” Ryker was already headed to the den as he heard his mother call, “Natalya, don’t forget to clean up those art supplies in the family room before I vacuum!”

Ryker stepped into the den to what he expected: His father leaned back in his favorite recliner, watching the football network. “Hey, Dad.”

“Hey,” his rather replied knowingly. “So, I’m guessing by how late you got home that your little date went well?”

Ryker rolled his eyes. “Jeez not you too.”

His father let out a booming laugh. “I’m just kiddin’ ya, son. I’m sure you used protection.”

“Dad…” Ryker warned.

Another bark of laughter. “Just jokin’. So what’s up?”

“I was looking for Hero, actually.” Ryker looked around. “Have you seen him?”

“What, he didn’t tackle you at the door?” his father replied. “Wow, must be the end of the world. Earlier he was raising Hell when I took out the trash, then he tore off upstairs. Haven’t seen him since.”

“Ah, okay.” Ryker turned to leave. “Oh, and I’m gonna be gone for a few days. Adam’s parents got into it again today, so I’m gonna stay with him for about a week so that he doesn’t put something through a window again.”

His father chuckled. “That kid has some anger issues.” He raised his beer. “That’s what makes him such a great line backer.” Ryker left as his father began to rewind the recaps that his missed.

Ryker checked his room for Hero, but when he once again turned up empty handed, he began to worry. He left his room just as Natalya made it to the top of the stairs. ”

“Have you seen Hero?”

She looked up from her jumbled art supplies. “Hero? Yeah, he’s in my room.” She glanced down the stairs before leaning forward. She lowered her voice to a whisper and said, “He won’t go anywhere near your room. He always sniffs your door and backs away whining. Have you been doing drugs or something?”

“What? Drugs? No!” Ryker defended.

Natalya stepped back. “Okay.” She didn’t sound like she believed him. “But there’s something in your room that Hero doesn’t like. I think you should find it before mom or dad does.” She slid passed Ryker and into her room. Before she closed the door, she shooed Hero out of the room, slamming the door shut before the dog could re-enter.

“Here boy,” Ryker called.

Confusion wrinkled Ryker’s face when Hero growled at him. “Hero? What’s wrong boy?” He took a step forward, but Hero backed up, rumbling a growl that ended in a whine.

“Hero? It’s me, boy. Ryker.” Ryker beckoned the dog closer, but Hero backed further away.

Ryker eased slowly toward Hero, hand outstretched. He won’t go anywhere near your room, Ryker recalled Natalya saying. He always sniffs your door and backs away whining. He didn’t do drugs, so what could it be? Leighton’s voice followed Natalya’s in the front of Ryker’s subconscious. My hearing and reflexes are good enough to stay under your family’s radar, except maybe the dog, but there’s nothing we can do about that…

Hero was smelling werewolf.

Ryker had once read that animals didn’t like the scent of shape-shifters. Of course, at the time, shape-shifters weren’t real. He tried not to refer to the fiction novels that he’d been so fond of, because they were written to be just that. But this fact unfortunately stayed the same. Hero didn’t like Ryker at all.

“Hero, buddy. It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Ryker stretched his hand toward the dog.

Hero lashed out, sinking his teeth into Ryker’s hand. Ryker recoiled, snapping his hand back with a hiss of pain. Hero darted around Ryker and down the steps.

Ryker took a look down at his hand to assess the damage, and was amazed at what he saw. Blood stained his hand over three gashes made by Hero’s teeth. The blood was no longer flowing, and he could see the wounds shrinking smaller and smaller, until the flesh lay re-knit and whole in a matter of moments. He clenched his hand into a fist. No pain.

He looked over his shoulder to make sure that he was still alone. When he was assured that he was, he ducked into his room and slammed the door behind him.

When Ryker was done packing all of his clothes together, he hiked the backpack up onto his shoulders and went downstairs. As he passed the kitchen, his mother looked up from a book she was reading at the dining table. “You’re leaving again so soon?”

“Um yeah,” he replied. “I already told Dad about it, so it’s no big.”

His mother smiled ruefully. “Oh, of course you would have. What did you need to tell me about though, hun?”

“That’s what it was. To tell you I’d be leaving again.”

“Ah, all right. You haven’t been home nearly as much since your sports keep you so much, it just makes me wonder. We don’t even see you at dinner anymore. Do you have any idea when you’ll be back?”

With a pang of sudden dread, Ryker noticed that he didn’t know the answer to that question. Everything that happened tonight hit him at once. Did werewolves interact with humans? Of course they did. Leighton went to high school with a bunch of humans. And her family? He couldn’t recall her ever mentioning her parents in the years he’d known her. No family events either, like the way he told her about about his family reunions, or his little sister’s art show. He wondered with a sweeping wave of terror if he had to leave his family behind for good, and Leighton just didn’t have the heart to tell him right away.

“No, mom, I don’t know when I’ll be back.” His voice sounded hollow and distant, like speaking through a paper towel tube.

If his mother noticed his change in tone, she didn’t let it show. “Oh, well, all right, honey. Be sure to check in with me or your, though. You know how I worry.”

Ryker nodded numbly. “Yeah.” He left before the urge to cry overtook him.

Typed in: Written? Kitten!

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