Monday, December 20, 2010

“I don’t see how marrying me off to somebody is going to stop me craving human flesh.”

(‘Scent’ Excerpt Chapter 5)

Just then I jumped from the sound of footsteps behind! I turned my head sharply, to see Grant easily leap up the steep rocks. He casually came and sat beside, to also look out at the view.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.” He greeted. Nervously I looked away, back over the forest, as I felt shy for the first time in his company. Grant said seriously, “I thought we should talk.”

“I don’t want to talk.” I said petulantly.

“Yes you do.” He said evenly. “I’m sure you have lots of questions.”

“Only one; how much do my parents hate me to be doing this?” my eyes welled with tears.

“Thanks a lot!” Grant burst out laughing. “I’ll try not to take offence.” I didn’t say anything else, so he spoke again. “I was a bit surprised when the pack and the Elders first spoke to me about the idea. But I can see their logic.”

“There’s logic?” I asked bitterly.

“You’re the first female Lokoti Werewolf. Because you’re also a Circulator, you’re faster than any member of the pack. You need to be trained and if you took a mate, it will help settle your bloodlust as you would be driven to hunt with your mate. He would guide you towards other quarry than the forbidden fruit.”

“I don’t see how marrying me off to somebody is going to stop me craving human flesh.” My head dropped to stare on the fungus-stained surface of the rock.

“It will help.”

“But you’re not married so how would you know?”

“If I was married, then we wouldn’t be engaged.” He tried to joke, but I didn’t laugh. “I know this is so because of the experience of the pack and from a millennia of knowledge down our bloodline.”

“But I’m the first female Lokoti Werewolf in history, so a millennia of knowledge doesn’t seem helpful.” I looked out at the view once more.

“You have the same bloodlust that a male Lokoti Werewolf has, so we know it to be true.” He answered patiently.

We sat quietly for a couple of minutes, the both of us looking out at the forest underneath.

Grant spoke again, “Look B, I can understand how you’re nervous about this…it’s taken you by surprise, that’s all. When Lokoti Werewolves mate, it goes beyond simple marriage that you’ve read about in your books or seen in your movies. We would bond together in a way that we would become attuned to each other’s thoughts and feelings. When we take a mate, it’s a rewarding experience which is why it’s held with reverence and it’s taken very seriously among our people.”

“But I’m not the one.” I ducked my head.

“What was that?”

“I’m not the one.”

He paused for a moment, before his eyes widened in recognition. “You remember that conversation?”

“It’s a bit hard to forget! That night you babysat me was the only time that we ever talked.”

“We’ve talked plenty of times.”

“No we haven’t. We’ve said ‘hallo’ plenty of times, but the night you babysat me five years ago was the only time that we talked.” I said as I stared at my shoes.

“I remember that night…I taught you a couple of card games which you picked it up pretty quickly and won a few hands too.” He gave a playful nudge.

“You brought over soda and let me stay up until midnight.” A smile escaped.

“So how did I go for my first babysitting job?” He asked in good humor.

“Not bad.” I shrugged. “Ten out of ten.”

“Cool.” He sat back as he leant on his hands. “After I looked after you, my older sisters and brother all roped me into looking after their kids now and then too. I think the fact that you managed to live through the experience spoke well of my child care skills. Mind you, they’re not so impressed that all their kids are card sharks now and can even fleece half the adults in the tribe.”

That made me laugh and I almost relaxed in his company, which I guessed it was what Grant was trying to do.

“What made you think of our conversation on why I wasn’t married?” He asked as I shrugged back. “Because our marriage will be arranged?” he guessed before I nodded. Grant moved closer, which made me feel awkward. “Did you know that in our tribe’s history there have been other arranged marriages?

I shook my head to show that no, I didn’t know that. I briefly looked back his way to show that I was listening, before my eyes skipped away once again.

“There has never been a case where an arranged marriage in our tribe has turned out badly.” He started to rub my back, which the gesture surprised me. “And I doubt that we would be the first.”

“But I’m our tribe’s first female Werewolf.” I said in a small voice as I fidgeted with my shoes.

“That just adds to exoticness of our situation. And B?” Next, he used his forefinger to turn my face towards him. “You’re not being married to me as a punishment. I see myself as lucky to be marrying you. I know that we’ll be happy together and in a way, I feel like I’ve won a prize in a competition I didn’t even know I had entered.”

Oh no! Now I felt really rotten, as I tearfully turned away. I should tell him that I was in no way like that, instead I was like a booby prize!

“B?” He looked on, puzzled.

“Grant…” I began.


“Grant I’m – I’m – I’m…”


“I’m not a prize!” my face burned. “I’m not a virgin!”

“OK.” He raised his eyebrows but he didn’t remove his hand from my back. “Er, would it be helpful for you to know that neither am I?”

I looked his way in surprise, “I thought we weren’t supposed to have sex unless it’s with the one who is meant to become our mate?”

“That’s what our Elders would prefer, sure.” He shrugged. “But I guess you’ve come to realize yourself that certain things happen by their own accord.”

“How did you manage to have sex without mating yourself to somebody?” I asked bluntly.

Grant cracked up laughing again. “You’ve still got a curious mind.” I quickly looked away, embarrassed. “No, it’s cool.” He cleared his throat. “Um well, male Werewolves can hold themselves back.”

“Oh.” I thought on this in befuddlement.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what was it like for you?” He queried.

“What?!” I looked on him in alarm as I had no idea how to answer that! He leaned in to sniff me. I leaned away shyly. “What are you doing?”

“Phew! You don’t smell like you’ve mated with anybody.” He said in relief.

“Huh?” I wondered what the hell he was going on about?

“If you were mated to somebody, I would have smelled him on you.” Grant said plainly. “If I had smelled him on you, it would have been a little embarrassing to return to our families and say that you already had a mate.”

“Oh...!” My eyes widened in horror at the idea of everybody finding out about Declan.

“Since I can’t smell him on you, it means that the last time you were with this person was a while ago. If you had mated with this person, his smell on you would be strong because you would see him frequently. If you were mated to this person, you wouldn’t be able to go for long periods of being separated from him.”

“OK…” My eyebrows rose as my brain digested this piece of information.

This would explain how Gran and Grandfather, Nana and Grandpa and even Mum and Dad behaved as if they were joined at the hip. I had always thought that Werewolf couples were the soppiest in the tribe, which was in direct contrast to the Werewolf’s dangerous bloodlust. Does this mean that this could one day be me too?

“Smell me.” He suddenly offered.

“Excuse me?”

“Smell me.” Grant said simply.


“Just smell me!” He laughed at my hesitation. I leaned over closer and inhaled. He looked expectant, “well?”

“Well what?”

“What do you smell?”

“Um, I don’t know…”

“Did you smell perfume or human female scent or anything like that?”


“Then you know I haven’t got a mate either.” He stated. “Or you would be able to smell her on me.”

“Oh, OK.” I raised my eyebrows, impressed at learning something new about myself. “Can humans do this?”

“Some can, but it’s generally just Werewolves because of our keen sense of smell.”

“Cool.” I smiled.

“See?” Grant grinned. “It’s not so bad being a Werewolf, is it?”

“Um no, I guess not.”

“There are many benefits in being who you are,” he rested his hand on the back of my neck, “and when you take a mate? You’ll find out many more things that make you special and what you have with your mate is unique.”


Thursday, December 2, 2010

My very own Mum and Dad; were letting the pack and the Elders try to marry me off?

(‘Scent’ Excerpt Chapter 5)

When I returned home from my walk, I saw Dad’s truck parked in its usual spot, by the side of the house. Then I slowed my steps when I saw several more trucks and one familiar black jeep, parked out the front. I recognized that the vehicles belonged to Grandpa, Grandfather and one of the other Tribal Elders, but I wasn’t sure about the jeep. I had seen it around the community center before, but I couldn’t remember who drove it.

Why were the Tribal Elders at my house? They only convened at the meeting hall or on the Holy Grounds for ceremonies. What business did they have here? As I came closer to the house I heard a heated discussion, so heated it sounded like arguing. I picked up Mum’s voice first and she didn’t sound happy about something.

“She’s not even 18 years old!” She said angrily.

“But she’ll be 18 in a month.” Aunt Beth, one of the Tribal Elders spoke calmly.

“She’s talking about going to University!” She exclaimed.

“Jess, you know that B can never leave our lands now. She’s tied to her hunting grounds, the place of her ancestors. It’s in her blood.” Grandpa stated.

“Bianca’s future changed the moment she did.” Aunt Beth declared.

“But she’s a Circulator too! She’s going to live longer than 200 years like the other Lokoti Werewolves. She can’t stay here for the next 1,000 years or until she evolves, it’s unfair to expect that.” Mum debated.

“Right now, it’s too dangerous for her to leave our land. The first night she changed, she went hunting for human. With her speed as a Circulator coupled with her Werewolf bloodlust, we nearly couldn’t catch her before she reached town. She needs to be trained, to curb her bloodlust towards animal and not human.” Dad said matter-of-factly.

“It took Declan, who is stronger and faster than us, to catch her when she escaped.” Grandfather noted unhappily.

“By B taking a mate and an older Werewolf at that? One who has experience and training, he would help her contain her bloodlust.” Grandpa explained. “By B bonding to an older Werewolf, it would help her learn control and give her peace.”

What the…? Did they just say that they wanted me to take a MATE?! I froze, as I was dumbfounded by the very idea!

“How is an early marriage supposed to bring her peace?!” Mum retorted. “And an ARRANGED marriage at that?!”

There was an awkward moment of silence, before Dad tried to explain it to her. “Jess, when a Lokoti Werewolf takes a mate, it brings out more of their protector instincts which in turn lessens their predator inclinations. Since the mating process is very much a biological and empathic bonding ritual, if B took another Werewolf as a mate? They would become attuned to each other. B’s mate would help her crave animal flesh because that’s what he would crave. Then the older Werewolf would be able to sense when B is about to change and be there for her to take her hunting.”

“Hunter you’re talking about marrying off our 17 year old daughter!” Mum cried out in frustration.

“Jess, do you really think that I would be in support of this if this was a bad idea? Do you think that I would allow the Elders or even the pack tell me what to do with my daughter, if what they were recommending would hurt B? You know I only want the best for my daughter, my little one…and what the pack and the Elders are advising is the right thing.” Dad sounded frustrated too.

Mum moaned as I heard the floor boards creak, indicating that she was doing her customary pacing up and down which she always did, when she was unhappy about something.

My mouth turned dry as my stomach churned in a sickening way. My parents, as in my very own Mum and Dad; were letting the pack and the Elders try to marry me off? Just who am I expected to marry…?

“Jess, think back to the day that Hunter saved you from those strangers.” Grandfather spoke. “Do you remember when he was gravely injured and I told you that you had to make your decision? Do you remember when I told you that I knew Hunter would make a good mate? I wasn’t wrong, was I? You and he have been very happy together. Now we are telling you the same thing about your daughter. I know that this is the right decision for B.”

“So you’re saying that you’re 100% certain that this person here is going to make my little girl happy?” Mum asked in disbelief. “But what about Derik?”

I heard Dad sigh in resignation. “Derik would have made a good mate for B…if she had remained human. But he can’t help her with controlling the bloodlust or take her hunting.”

Then who are they talking about MATING me to? Oh no, they’re not talking about Declan, are they?

“But – but – but can we at least give her a bit more say of who she would like to marry in the pack?” Mum started to argue again. “Since the pack is her only option in the choice of husband material?”

“There are only two males in the pack who are unmarried and they are both older than Bianca. But we have decided on this particular Werewolf because we think it would be risky if she were mated to the other.” Grandpa said.

“So basically she only has the one alternative? That’s not much in the range of choice!” Mum scoffed.

“She can’t consider Declan as a mate for two very obvious reasons.” Grandpa spoke as the tribe’s Medicine Man. “One, it would cause a rift in his family between he and his brother. Two, is because he isn’t a Lokoti Werewolf, he’s a European Werewolf. Declan is still battling to keep his bloodlust under control and we aren’t sure of the mating habits of his breed. As far as we know, his species isn’t designed for long-term mating. His breed of Werewolf doesn’t live in packs and his species has never been sighted with a long-term mate. His Werewolf gene may or may not be passed genetically from him to his children? But more importantly, he could harm the woman who is not of his breed when he mates with her.”

My eyes fell as my hands clenched into fists. Hang on a sec…I don’t feel disappointed that they’re not talking about mating me with Declan, am I? I should be happy about this! Even if I don’t want to take a mate, at least it wouldn’t be him. Then who the hell were they talking about fixing me up with?!

“Fine, I can see that Declan would be a bad choice because of Derik…but still. Isn’t there some way of giving my daughter a bit more of a choice? Or what about you, wouldn’t you prefer to choose who you would like to be your mate?” Mum asked somebody.

“Who me?” a familiar male voice asked back. “It’s OK, Jess. I’m unmarried because I don’t have anyone in mind.”

“Then wouldn’t you prefer to remain single a bit longer?” Mum asked this person. “Until you make up your mind yourself on whom you would like to spend the rest of your life with?”

“Um, I don’t mind really.” I heard this person say bashfully. “I respect the advice of the pack and the Elders although I’ve never seen B that way before, I guess because she’s much younger than me. But she’s friendly, polite and pretty. I know what the mating process entails, so I don’t imagine myself being unhappy or B either.”

Is this person inside the house, now? The voice was so familiar, I could almost picture whoever it was that’s speaking. Right, that’s it! My curiosity got the better of me, I have to find out who this person is!

“Bianca’s home.” Grandfather spoke, hearing my approach.

This silenced everybody as I reached the veranda steps. I threw open the front door and as I walked in, I immediately spotted Mum who was pacing up and down. Dad was sitting down next to Grandfather on one couch and on our second couch, sat Grandpa and Aunt Beth who were on the council of Tribal Elders… and Grant Elm stood by himself in front of our fireplace.

My eyes widened as I looked on Grant...of course! It was his voice that I heard talking and it’s his black jeep parked on our drive way. He’s the younger brother of Uncle Ian, Dad’s best friend so he’s like a cousin or something. He’s the one I’m expected to MATE with?!

“B…” Dad began.

“Grant is 10 years older than me!” I said indignantly. “He babysat me once when I was 13 years old when you, Mum, Gran and Grandfather went to Australia for a night!”

“B…” Grandfather began.

“What’s his hourly rate going to be as my husband, the same when he was babysitting me?!” I exhorted, hurt. “But it seems like he’s still going to be babysitting me, isn’t he? And that’s why you picked him!”

“B…” Grandpa began.

“No way!” I cried out. “I’m going to Cambridge to get a Bachelor of Arts in History! I’m NOT getting MARRIED!”

“B…” Mum began.

But I didn’t hang around to hear what they had to say, instead I turned around and took off through the front door! I leapt from the veranda, down onto the drive way and I high-tailed it back into the forest. Everyone else in the room looked to each other uncomfortably, as Grant frowned thoughtfully.

“At least she’s a good runner.” Grandfather tried to look on the bright side.

“She must make a good hunter, being able to outrun her prey.” Aunt Beth agreed.

“Is she wearing a new perfume?” Grant mused.

“No, those were the pheromones you could smell.” Grandpa smirked.

“Oh.” He pondered this. “She smells good.”

“All of the young available men of the tribe would agree with you.” Dad sighed wearily as he rubbed his face.