She was running through the woods.
She was running, not in the traditional sense, but bounding past the trees.
She felt free.
Free to run, to feel the cool air around her!
While she ran, she picked up wild scents, of flesh, of warmth.
It was a formless danger. One without scent or sound. Yet it… WAS!
She dashed ever farther into the wood, to escape the danger, to be safe. After a brief rest, she picked up another scent. Not of danger, but of sustenance. After moving silently, she saw her prey. A young fawn drinking from a nearby stream, oblivious to her presence.
She watched her prey carefully for the next few moments. Something… something foreign from the back of her mind wanted to let it go, but she knew better. She moved forward, and began to pounce.
The fawn lifted its head, moments too late. Her jaws embraced its slender neck. The rush of its fresh blood and flesh invigorated her. Her prey, struggling to no avail, fell limp within her wild embrace. She then started to feed.
As she finished, she was thirsty. She started to lap at the nearby stream, when she noticed her reflection. A silver haired beast with wide narrow jaws and large teeth. Was this her? The back of her mind seemed to deny it, but she KNEW. She knew it was her true self!
After her drink, she walked deeper into the woods. Her hunger and thirst sated. For now.
It was then that the sense of danger returned, emerging from the back of her mind. The nameless, formless growing fear which she knew would slowly enveloped her. Her paced quickened as the feeling grew.
She wanted to escape, but knew she couldn't. Despite this, she ran, and ran!
It was then she heard… something. A gentle sound. It floated in her mind for a few moments before it changed tune, and turned into a pleasant melody. She found source in a small clearing. In the center, a beautiful young girl, dressed in purple attire, was playing an ocarina. She paused, looked in her direction and smiled, beaconing her closer.
She approached her. She knew she could protect her from the danger. As she approached her, her gentle arms embraced her slender neck. But the danger was close. Almost upon her!
"Do not worry." The young girl said, stroking her. "My name is Bianca. I will help you…"
Suddenly, the world shook. The danger was here! As everything crumbled around her, she tried to focus on Bianca's face. So beautiful… so…
Debbie awoke. The dream! She had the dream again! Her mother was shaking her. She slowly came to her senses. The sheets. The sheets! Oh no! Oh no!
Mother! Mother! No! Stop!
"You had the dream again. Didn't you? DIDN'T YOU!?"
"I… had the dreams! No… Mom no!"
With that, her mother slapped her.
After a few moments, her mother composed herself. "We will see the Deacon after breakfast."
"What? No! I…I don't know why I have them! I've tried everything! I've done penance! Prayed! I've…"
"We will see the Deacon after breakfast. He will decide what to do!"
Debbie sputtered. Noticing this, her mother continued. "This has been discussed. You have the dreams. The Deacon will know what to do. Praise Brother Bob."
"Praise… Brother Bob." She said in a shaky voice.
IN CROWD HEADQUARTERS. SOMEWHERE IN UNION CITY
Moonsox watched as his mistress Bianca broke from her trance. She lay on the floor and writhed, as if struggling. After a few moments, she regained conscious, and stood up, breathing heavily.
"Are you all right? Did you find her?" said the cat.
"I… I did. She had awoken before I could talk further… but she knows of me."
After composing herself, she continued, "I hope we're not too late."
BAKKERSVILLE. CHURCH OF THE TRUE LIGHT. LATER THAT MORNING
Debbie Thompson sat in the foyer as her mother spoke to the Deacon. She didn't know what to do. She… she tried everything. She was told it was a sin, but how can dreams be sinful?
They began a few month ago. She had dreams of running through a forest like an untamed creature. A predator. She had no restrictions, no bonds, just her will to guide her!
Then she would awaken.
Most of the time, her sheets were covered in sweat. A few times, they smelled of piss, which was odd since she was never a bedwetter. Her mother, however didn't understand. At first she was warned. When it continued, she was shamed. When she told her of her dreams, her mother seemed genuinely concerned. Her mother sought guidance from the church counsellors. After pondering the issue, their solution was prayer and devotion. It seemed fine for a few weeks.
What disturbed her was that she didn't know WHY she had the dreams. Was she cursed? Were they just bad dreams?
Despite all this, the dreams themselves did not SEEM wrong. They almost felt… natural. They gave her a sense of 'freedom' she never had. But that was wrong.
Last night's dream, however, was… odd. The young girl who played the music was… new. Was she real? She couldn't be. It was a dream.
Yet she wish she was.
INSIDE THE DEACON'S OFFICE
Deacon Faye listened patiently while Barbara Thompson told her about her daughter's dreams. After she finished, he pondered her concerns for a few moments before he pulled out a file from his desk. "Sister Barbara, it was good of you to come to me with this. It appears that to help your daughter, we must take the next step." He gave the folder to her. Inside was an admittance application for the True Light Academy. All the pertinent information was filled out. It just awaited her signature.
"I… I would have to work extra hours to meet the costs…"
"There is no need sister. The church has agreed to cover the costs."
"The church? But…"
"The council has decided that your child's 'affliction' warrants special attention." There was a pause. The deacon noticed that she was still indecisive. "The deciding voice came from Brother Bob himself." At this, her eyes widened. Brother Bob himself approved of this? She could not fathom how she became so worthy of his attention.
"She… she can be cured?"
"She will be watched. Free from outside influences, there is a strong chance she can be cured of these dreams."
Barbara pondered this. "I have heard that the Academy is not always…"… " she instinctively paused, as she tried to find the correct word. The deacon, however, interrupted her.
"I know you have concerns about the school's methods. You are not alone in this. You must understand that we only wish for your daughter's salvation by helping her. Indeed we wish this for all who come under our care, and I am proud to say we are successful. There are those, however, who… regrettably reject our help. For them, we can do… nothing.
After a brief pause, he continued. "You do understand this. Do you?"
Barbara was silent. She loved her child, and wanted to help her, but she did not know what to do. She had gone as far as she could with her. There was clearly no other way. She signed without hesitation.
The deacon examined the document and smiled. "We will take her tonight. Praise Brother Bob."
LATER THAT EVENING
Her mother had been curiously silent since she talked to the deacon. Debbie assumed the matter was closed, but she wasn't certain. It was only until after suppertime, that it was 'discussed'.
"You will be going to the academy."
"The decision was final."
"Mother! I will change! I promise! I…" she suddenly felt tired. "What…"
"Do not struggle. The Deacon gave me instructions. Soon you will sleep."
"You know the reason child. You have the dreams. The same my father had." She paused. "You know what happened to him."
Grandfather's curse? Thought Deborah. No!
As she grew wearier, her mother embraced her. "This is for the best child. Remember. I do this out of love."
Soon, she was asleep.
UNION CITY, IN CROWD HEADQUARTERS
From her room, Bianca was gathering items. Moonsox, having nothing to do, examined the open folder given to her by the council. In it was a photo of a young girl with sandy hair, probably still in High School. Attached were notes, including the girl's name, Debbie Thompson, her info, and genealogy records.
"You really think its going to be soon?"
"The council is certain it will happen next full moon."
"If that's so, why aren't the lupine clans handling this? This is practically up their alley!"
"You forget where she is!"
"You mean those religious nuts upstate?"
"The same. If she was raised in a different environment, they could handle it with no problem. But as it turns out, we can't get near her without attracting the attention of that conclave."
"Those Brother Bob freaks."
After a few moments pause, he continued. "So what's the plan?"
"I will need to dreamfast with her one more time. To tell her who we are, what she is, before they get to her."
"You can't do it yourself!"
"No, I'm going to Legba's later to see if I can get some help."
"Good luck with that. Even the circle hasn't returned your calls, thanks to the mistress."
Bianca paused. It was regrettable that her own circle turned down her help, most likely at Sylene's 'request'. But this had to be done. She knew this the moment the council presented her with the task. If it was any different, she may have declined it.
But she read the file.
Here was a young girl with enormous potential, forcibly stifled by her elders and peers under the grounds of a ridiculous dogma. In her heart, she knew it wasn't fair. She had heard of similar incidents where the victim was forced to suppress urges that were clearly natural. Some could be saved. Others… could not.
She HAD to help her.
Indeed, she needed to be shown an alternate view, to be shown that what was happening was not her fault. That it was natural.
She also had to know soon, before the full moon.
Before her first transformation into a werewolf.