Authors: Andria Canayo
Tags: #romance, #werewolf
By Andria Canayo
difficult ever since the terrible news had come. The familiar
tightening in her chest intensified each time Clara forced herself
to face her father. He’d secluded himself in the living room and
stared at the TV screen with empty, endless eyes—as if his soul
disappeared a little more each time he replayed the life shattering
news story. The screen produced the only light in the living area
and flickered, casting an eerie glow over the couch and coffee
Tragedy has struck our small community
as the volunteer searchers have been called off,”
anchor said, her face staring from the blaringly bright television.
The newscast was saved on the TiVo, along with others regarding the
story. Tim stared, his body shaking and his face contorting with
“The vehicle of Luzy Rita was discovered half
submerged in the river today. Responding officers stated that the
amount of blood found on sight has put a damper on the hopes they
once had of finding her alive.”
A pause allowed Luzy Rita’s
picture to flash above the left shoulder of the anchor.
death has been ruled an accident. Mrs. Lucita Rita leaves behind
teenage twins and a devoted husband…our thoughts are certainly with
them during this difficult time.”
Timothy Rita leaned forward in the cushioned
seat, remote in hand, and programmed the story to play again. Two
weeks had passed since the funeral and his eyes were shadowed with
dark circles from lack of sleep. His cheeks were hollow from lack
of food. He even failed to take note when his son never returned
home after graduation, which had taken place two nights before. His
hair shone with grease and the floor was littered with newspapers.
The screen flashed with vibrant colors and Clara’s chest tightened
painfully at the thought of listening again.
“Dad,” she said as she approached from
behind. The couch faced the opposite direction of the kitchen,
acting as a sort of barrier to mark the living space where the
white tile stopped and the tan carpet began. “Please don’t play it
again. You need to eat something. I could make you some soup.”
“No.” His reply was whispered and gravely.
He watched the screen, staring intently as if he could stab through
the glass with his glare.
“You haven’t slept, you could use some
rest,” she said, her voice breaking. He didn’t answer. His head
fell and he hunched over his knees. “Just eat something…please,
“I said no!”
“Come on,” she persisted, swallowing hard to
block the tears that formed. She rested a hand on his shoulder and
leaned over the back of the couch to better see his face. He
shrugged her hand off and whipped to face her. His eyes were wide
and a strange grimace blanketed his face. Inadvertently, she moved
a few feet from the sofa. Her father went weak suddenly and fell to
one side on the cushions. His body shook as he sobbed. Clara bit
her lip and stormed through the hall to jerk the front door open,
ripping the car keys from their place on a hook on the wall. The
blue sedan waited in the driveway and she did not hesitate to take
Many tears of sorrow had been shed over the
past few weeks. Tears of anger streamed down her cheeks as she
drove. She pressed the car faster and faster in her blind rage.
Somehow, she made it to the cemetery in one piece, unsure of how
she’d arrived there at all. She thought she had been driving
aimlessly, but her subconscious led her to the one person who
always knew how to make things right.
The rounded headstone was one of many and
the place seemed dull and cold, even in the warmth of the bright
sun on the calm day. Clara’s chest washed with relief at the sight
of her brother standing in front of the slab of granite, his hands
buried deep in his jean’s pockets. His head drooped and his short
black hair partially obscured his face, but she could tell he’d
been crying as well. She could read him as easily as she could
interpret her own thoughts. If he heard her approach, he did not
show it until she came to stand next to him.
“Callan?” she whispered and touched his arm.
His hand came free of his pocket to grasp hers. “I was worried,”
she breathed, giving his hand a squeeze.
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“Where have you been?” she asked. What she
wanted to ask was,
how could you leave me at a time like
“Dean’s house, you know I can’t be around
dad right now.”
She looked away to mask the fact that his
words might as well have been a punch in the gut. “You are coming
home, aren’t you?”
Silence met her and dread clamped down on
her heart. At their feet, deceivingly bright tulips bobbed in a
light breeze. They were crammed around the base of the headstone,
almost obscuring the words engraved there.
“Callan, you can’t blame dad, you know he
didn’t want this.”
“Then why did he let her go? She left
because of him.”
“People fight. He didn’t cause the
“He could have stopped her, he could have
“We are all that we have now—you, dad and
me. We have to hang on to each other…it’s what mom would have
“Mom wanted a lot of things, sis. Right now
I can’t be in the same house as the person who drove her from
Clara’s eyes swam, but she stuck her chin
out stubbornly, daring him to challenge her next words. “Fine, if
you’re leaving, then I’m going with you.”
“No,” he said determinedly. “You have
already forgiven dad, there’s no reason for it.”
Callan sensed her argument before she could voice it.
“You can’t come,” he stated plainly, leaving
no room for doubt and her argument was silenced. Part of her didn’t
to leave and she hated herself for it. Her chest was
tight, just as it had been when the police came with the dreadful
news. He watched her with a small sense of guilt, knowing just what
she would say. She had always been shy, even with a quirky, happy
go lucky type of person for a twin brother. She had endured a lot
and he could hardly stand the pain that showed in her somber,
emerald green eyes, which were set off by her long, raven black
Normally, despite her quiet nature, she
carried herself straight and as tall as she could on her small
frame. Callan somehow had taken all the height and stood a good
head above her. In that moment, her shoulders hunkered as hope
slipped from her and her heart shaped face fell, turning toward the
“Where will you go?” she asked in a
“Wherever I can, I’ve always wanted to
travel. I hear Alaska is great this time of year.”
“Alaska?” she asked skeptically.
“Sure, why not?”
Because I want you here with me.
Clara looked away as she struggled to keep the words behind her
teeth. Once Callan made up his mind to do something, there was no
“Don’t worry about me,” Callan said in an
effort to comfort her. “I will write and email. We’ll video chat.
I’ll get a job and a phone…you’ll hardly even know I’m gone.”
She laughed shortly and shook her head, but
she wanted to believe his words. “Will you come by the house to get
“I have what I need, I snuck in a couple
hours ago. You weren’t home so I came here in the hopes of finding
you…and to say goodbye to mom.”
“You’re not going to say goodbye to
His jaw tightened and he shook his head. “I
should probably get going before it’s too late to start out. Stay
here,” he added when she opened her mouth to offer to walk with
him. “I can’t bear saying goodbye again.”
“Only if you promise,” she whispered.
“Not to forget about me.”
Callan sighed dramatically. “You know I
could never forget you. I promise I’ll call at least once a week,
A tiny bit of a smile showed on her lips and
his eyes seemed less sad when she nodded. He hugged her and she
squeezed him hard, hoping that would be enough to keep him there.
He broke the embrace and kissed her forehead before striding away.
In her mind, she begged him to turn around. As he vanished, she
couldn’t help but remember what their family had been a few short
weeks before and she wondered if her broken heart would ever
what she felt everyday, every week, every month that went by
without the promised phone call. Quiet moments turned her thoughts
instantaneously to Callan. Where was he? Was he hurt? Was he hungry
or sick? Had he found means to support himself? Had he found a
place to live? Had he forgotten about her? The possibilities were
endless as was the worry.
Tim worried as well, even if he tried to
appear numb. Often he would check the mail with a hopeful
expression, one he thought he kept well hidden from his daughter,
but she knew what he hoped. She also knew it never came. The once
cheery house was empty and eerily still with only the two of them
there. Gone was the smell of her mother’s cooking, gone was
Callan’s playful banter, gone was the laughter and sense of
Clara tried not to think of things how
they’d been, but the thoughts seemed to creep up on her somehow.
She knew her life would never be the same and, even though it would
have been great to have a whole family, all she had was the broken
one. Her father didn’t make things easier. He had once been a warm
and caring person. After Lucita’s funeral, he evolved into a
withdrawn and cynical one. He emptied the house of anything that
reminded him of his wife. One day, after studying at the library,
Clara arrived home to find Callan’s room emptied. Her heart broke a
Terrified she would become withdrawn like
her father, she desperately did things to add meaning to her
existence like attending college and getting a job. At school, she
studied art. Painting and drawing never seemed appealing until her
life drastically changed, then she tried a simple sketch and
discovered she could channel her anger, hurt and fear to create
After high school she got a job with the
local animal shelter. It wasn’t a high paying job and wasn’t in her
chosen field, but it was comforting to work with the animals and
know she made a difference to them if no one else. The only
interaction she had that remotely resembled a human relationship
was with her coworkers who kept her days from becoming mundane. She
shared a special connection with her boss, Mark, who had shown a
particular interest in hiring her, going as far as to call her when
he discovered her resume online.
Clara’s morning was particularly draining by
the time she drove to work one day. Tim had snapped at her for her
dirty clothes piling up in the laundry room, which was not very
uncommon, but he stormed around the house with a dark cloud over
his head. There was always a dark cloud over his head, but it grew
in size, threatening to smother her with its consuming depression.
Luckily, the day was clear and sunny in spite of the changing
weather, enabling her to crank the window down and temporarily free
herself of the worry she carried for her brooding father. The day
did not improve when her beater car sputtered to a halt in the
stall she’d parked in. She listened while the various clanks slowly
stopped, only half aware of anything else.