Forget what you knew so far about werewolves. Forget what you knew so far about gypsies. Forget what you knew so far about assassins.
In a world, not so different from ours, lives a pack of Loup Garou; superior creatures that can change and take the shape of wolves whenever they choose.
The only enemy they have are the Silvers; a family of assassins, whose only goal is to kill them all.
When one hunt ends up badly, Andrew and his sisters will have to find the girl who tried to kill him. In order to find her, they’ll need the help of a Romani tribe, who owes a debt to the Loup Garou.
What could possibly go wrong? They have magic and supernatural powers, while the Silvers have only… silver. Or not?
What could happen if the blood of the Loup Garou and the silver were mixed up together?
Is everything exactly what it seems or there’s a secret hidden deep between those two families?
A supernatural story, with a touch of everyday, regular problems, and an essence of old, yet gold, culture.
Jingle Hells & A Hundred and Eight Full Moons
Chapter 1: Jingle Hells
The snow was glowing on the streets that night. Andrew was trying to build a snowman, but his attempt didn’t seem to have the results he wanted. The snowman’s eyes seemed to look in different directions, his carrot nose was almost broken and his hands were turning towards unusual angles.
“Andie, come in, please!” his mother shouted from the threshold.
“Just a second, Mom!”
It was the first Christmas after his father’s passing, and the least he could do was keep up with their annual routine. Building snowmen, riding his sleigh, getting cookies and milk for Santa. Even if he knew that Santa wasn’t real.
He was nine years old. Old enough to know it was his dad who had dressed up as Santa and bought Andrew his present.
He wasn’t a kid anymore. He knew that magic didn’t exist.
In a last attempt to make his snowman look decent, Andrew pushed the carrot with so much force, the vegetable broke in half.
“That’s unfortunate,” a voice echoed from the other side of the street.
Andrew turned around and came face to face with a tall, fat man with white hair and beard. He was wearing a red costume and black boots.
“Isn’t it a bit early for you to appear, Santa?” Andrew asked, giving emphasis in that last word.
“I have to check who’s been naughty or nice.”
“I’m not supposed to talk to strangers. I’ll be put in the naughty list.” Andrew made a few steps backwards, towards his home.
“Wise move, young man. I’ll definitely take that into account!” Santa replied. “I guess I’ll see you around.” He went on and started waking down the street, until Andrew couldn’t see him anymore.
It was freezing outside. Andrew started moving fast towards the house. He accepted his piece of art was not as successful as he was expecting it to be. But he had almost two weeks to perfect his snowman.
As he was thinking of his play schedule for the next day, a shrill sounded and Andrew spun around. There was a piece of paper lying in front of his toes.
Have yourselves a scary, little Christmas!
Andrew read the message again and again. He looked around but there was no one to be seen. However, he felt something like a knot in his stomach. The little boy tore the paper in little pieces and threw it in the dumpster. He moved as fast as he could inside the house. He didn’t want to push his mother’s patience.
“What were you doing, Andie? It’s way past your bedtime!” his mother said the moment he stepped his foot inside the house.
“I was trying to perfect my snowman.” He tried to cover his anxiety and started playing with his fingers.
“At that hour? You have the entire holidays to make it,” his mother scolded. “Now, go brush your teeth and straight to bed.”
Andrew stepped towards the staircase and then turned around. “Mom? Do you think Santa would send a note to all those children who have been naughty during the year?”
“What a funny idea. I don’t know, son. What I do know is that you will be put on Santa’s naughty list if you won’t go to sleep right that instant.”
Andrew ran towards her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Moments later, he was walked up the staircase to the first floor, towards his bedroom.
The door and the window were open. Cold air covered the entire room. Andrew closed the window. Feeling woozy and sleepy, he jumped into bed, and found another note lying on his pillow.
With shaky hands, he unfolded it.
Bells are ringing, children screaming. All is scary and white.
The little boy screamed and ran outside his bedroom. He fell on his mother and burst into tears. His whole body was shaking, tears covered his entire face.
“Andie? Baby, what is it?”
“There was someone inside my bedroom. The window was open when I came up.”
“What are you talking about, dear? That’s not possible. There was no one in your room.” Andrew’s mother tried to soothe him.
“I swear there was! They left a note on my bed.”
“Andie? Are you goofing around again? Are you trying to scare me?” his mother scolded. But Andrew’s eyes were red and he was still shaking. “Okay, let’s go together in your bedroom. I promise, there’s nobody there.”
His mother practically dragged him to his bedroom, since Andrew had almost frozen where he was standing.
“See? There’s no one here,” his mother said, looking around at the empty room.
“I swear there was! Just look at the note!” Andrew said and pointed his hand towards his bed.
His mother reached out and took the note. An instant later, her face transformed into a mask of pure terror.
Trying not to show her fear and to convince herself that somebody was playing practical jokes, she decided not to call the police. However, she turned the house alarm on and locked all the doors and windows. She wouldn’t risk her own son’s safety.
She knew this day would come eventually. She also knew that she would fight to keep Andrew safe and sound; with his family—with her. After her husband’s passing, she had not given much thought to how she would deal with the one she had made a deal with all those years ago.
But the time had come to face the consequences of her choices and actions.
Andrew’s dreams were full of color that night. Shades of red made circles around him, covering him from head to toe. Only when he paid more attention to the color, did he realize it was blood. Thick, vivid red blood.
“Mom!” Andrew screamed, covered in sweat.
In an instant, his mother was sitting right next to him.
“Don’t worry, baby, I’m here. I will always be here,” she whispered and kissed the little boy’s forehead.
It was still dark outside. Still, a little light from passing cars came inside the room. Andrew could see, and even better, feel his mother’s fear. He knew something was not right. Suddenly, something like a shadow appeared outside the window.
“What was that?” Andrew whispered as a shiver ran down his spine.
“What was what?”
“There was a shadow outside the window.”
Andrew’s mother felt the tension covering her from head to toe. “There’s no one out, baby. Go back to sleep. I’ll be here when you wake in the morning.” she said and kissed Andrew one last time.
Although Andrew was still feeling nervous, he rested his head on his pillow and closed his eyes. He trusted his mother completely.
Andrew’s mother crept down the stairs and stepped outside the house. They would be waiting for her to pay the price. Ten years of happiness for the boy who would become the next ruler of their clan.
She didn’t have to wait long. A few feet away, a tall, blonde woman was standing next to an old, fat man, dressed like Santa.
“I can see you’re as punctual as ever,” Andrew’s mother whispered, knowing they could hear her perfectly well.
“We came to claim what is ours,” the blonde woman said. Both her and the fake Santa approached Andrew’s mother.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t play stupid, Barbara. We had a deal,” the fake Santa murmured. “I saw your son. He’s ready to come with us. He’s able to read the signs after all those years.”
“I won’t let you take him away, Santa. This is my son we’re talking about!”
“You don’t have a choice. Let him embrace his destiny,” the blonde woman said.
“What destiny? Turning him into one of you? Killing people? This is his destiny?” Barbara snarled.
“He has always been one of us. At least, from my side,” the fake Santa said. “You always thought that your husband was Andrew’s father, but I was also his father.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Lucious?” Andrew’s mother said, staring deep into the fake Santa’s eyes.
Lucious took off the red hat, the white beard and the uniform of Santa Claus. The essence of Christmas and Santa faded, and a young man stood in front of Barbara. A young man who, when he smiled, showed his long fangs and terrified Andrew’s mother, even if she already knew what Lucious and the blonde woman were; werewolves.
“I’m talking about the change I made to your husband, to make sure Andrew will be one of us,” Lucious replied. “We’re not like vampires, with manipulation and mind control. So I turned him to pass the gene onto Andrew, otherwise you wouldn’t have got pregnant.” He looked at Barbara’s puzzled eyes. But then, every little piece of the puzzle slotted into place. Her husband’s detestation of silver, the fact he disappeared on business trips pretty much every full moon, his strange illness…
“Monster! Go to hell!” she screamed.
“Oh, we’re already there, dear,” the blonde woman said.
“I won’t let you destroy my son!” Barbara shouted and straightened her back, ready to fight if necessary. She knew she didn’t stand a chance against them, but she wouldn’t let them take her son just like that.
“Barbara… Think of it as a promotion. It was either you or your son. Your son was simply the chosen one. You both have the gift, but once I saw that you and your husband were in desperate need of a child, it was as if a golden opportunity had appeared. I need an Alpha to replace me one day. I can find a mate every day, but not a new leader,” Lucious said.
“I won’t let you!” Andrew’s mother whispered, with tears in her eyes.
“Oh, but you will,” Lucious replied. “Enough with the talking.” He looked at the blonde one. “Lauren?”
“It’ll be quick, Barbie. I’ll just jingle the hell out of you!” Lauren murmured and revealed her fangs too.
Andrew woke up the next morning. Everything seemed too quiet in the house. It was almost ten. His mother never let him sleep that much.
The little boy jumped out of his bed and ran downstairs. There was nobody inside the house. Not a single clue of where his mother would have gone.
He opened the front door and looked around at their porch. He caught a movement in his peripheral vision at the right side of the yard. He took a few steps towards that direction. A little piece of paper was lying down, yet again.
Kill me under the mistletoe!
Andrew started screaming.
“Calm down, son. Everything is fine. I’m here,” his mother said, appearing out of nowhere.
Andrew looked at her, relieved that she was with him, and ran to embrace her. The little boy was too shocked to see last night’s Santa Claus coming towards them and the tears in his mother’s eyes.
Chapter 2: A Hundred and Eight Full Moons
It was that night of the month. Everyone had gathered in the clearing. Andrew could hear them moving closer, as they were walking on the fresh snow. They were coming to welcome him as the newest member of the pack. He was eventually one of them. They were equals. Actually, he was superior but it didn’t really matter. He would hunt for the first time with all his brothers and sisters. A hundred and eight full moons was a long time to wait. Almost nine years after that day, when Lucious came and rescued him from the lie that used to be his life.
Lucious had given him everything that his mother had buried deep inside her so that he’d never find out. Lucious had trained Andrew like he was his own son; and he was, in a matter of speaking. And after all those years, Lucious was more like a parent to him. Even if he had to endure his mother every day, he was spending most of his time with Lucious, now that his succession was coming closer.
Andrew locked his gaze upon his father, leader and Alpha, and saw him approaching him, with his hands wide open.
“You make me really proud, son,” Lucious said, his eyes glowing with pride.
“I hope one day I’ll become half the leader that you are,” Andrew said and hugged him.
“You were always destined for great things. I know you won’t disappoint me,” Lucious said and patted Andrew on the back.
“I hope I won’t,” Andrew said and looked at his brothers and sisters.
They were all standing close enough now, so he could see them clearly under the moonlight. Accalia and Larentia were standing in front of everyone else, smiling at their brother and best friend. The rest of the pack was standing a few feet away; everyone knew that after Andrew, Lucious’ daughters were standing highest in hierarchy. They were all staring at Andrew, waiting for Lucious to give them the sign. As the moon was standing full and gloomy upon their heads, their eyes were glowing, taking that familiar emerald colour. The time had come.
“We all gathered here today to welcome one of our own; to celebrate his eighteenth birthday and his full accession to the pack,” Lucious said. “Andrew is that little cub I brought into the woods nine years ago and today he is standing in front of you, ready to take my place. A true leader. The next Alpha of the pack,” he went on.
The wolf pack was ready now. They were howling at the moon and at their leaders. Their clothes started tearing apart. They were standing naked in the cold night. Steams were emerging from their bodies, as their body temperature was getting higher.
In an instant, unnatural cracks covered the clearing. Bones were appearing from extraordinary ankles, yet the wolves didn’t seem to be in pain. They needed this transformation. They wanted it.
Accalia and Larentia were standing horrified, yet proud, rattling their teeth. The other members of the clan followed their example, waiting for their pray to appear. Lucious walked forward and Lauren moved out of the trees’ shadows, holding a fragile, young girl.
“The humans hunt and try to kill us every single day,” Lucious began and the pack knew that now was the time. “This young girl over here found our homeland and she was ready to go and reveal our secret. Luckily, our dearest Lauren found her and brought her to me. She won’t bother us anymore after today”, he went on.
The pack was thirsty for blood. Even Andrew could smell her sweet scent and he hadn’t even transformed yet. However, he knew which part he’d have to play tonight.
“Our future leader will have the honour. Kill the Silver girl and unleash our vengeance against her family that’s been trying to destroy ours for nearly a century!” Lucious yelled.
Andrew looked up at the sky and his eyes instantly turned emerald. The transformation had begun and a few seconds later a seven-feet-high werewolf, with black fur and hazel eyes was standing right in front of the Silver girl.
She had her eyes covered but her terror was obvious to everybody. Little drops of sweat had appeared on her forehead. Andrew moved closer and took a breath. She was mouth-watering! His fangs were shining under the moonlight. He could almost touch her neck with his mouth right now.
“Wait!” a woman’s voice sounded out of nowhere.
Andrew froze exactly where he was standing. It was so hard for him to resist right now, especially with that girl’s pulse accelerating and sounding crystal clear in his ears. He turned around and came face to face with his mother.
“Oh, how kind of you to come Barbie!” Lauren said and revealed her fangs.
“Kindness is my middle name. And so is honour, something you clearly lack in,” Barbara said.
“What are you implying Barbara?” Lucious asked.
“I’m not implying anything. I’m just saying that you do not offer the girl the only right she has here,” Barbara said and moved closer to Andrew. “Remember who you are, son. Remember what you have to honour,” she went on and turned towards the Silver girl.
“Fine!” Lucious yelled. “There is one thing we didn’t tell you, Silver girl,” Lucious hissed. “You can save yourself, only if you manage to escape from my son’s teeth,” he went on.
Lauren reached out for the girl’s blindfold and uncovered her eyes. The Silver girl didn’t even wait for her eyes to adjust to the moonlight. She poked Lauren on her chest and threw herself into the woods again.
Andrew was feeling lost. On the one hand he wanted to taste that human’s flesh and blood. On the other, his mother’s words were still echoing inside his mind. Somewhere in between though, he could hear Lauren cursing and Lucious shouting at Andrew to run after the girl.
Everything happened at the blink of an eye. Lucious, Lauren and even his own mother turned into werewolves, when Andrew started running after the Silver girl and her mouthwatering smell. He could hear their thoughts perfectly clear now. Well, theirs, Accalia’s and Larentia’s. Only those sharing the same genes could hear each other’s thoughts. It wasn’t that different from a normal family after all; knowing each other’s secrets, no matter how bit the effort was to keep them burried.
It’s all your fault, Barbie!
If saving a human’s life is wrong, I’ll gladly take the blame!
Shut up! Both of you!
Lia, I’ll keep the others in order!
I’ll go find Andrew!
Voices, sounds, visions and all that he was able to see, hear and smell, where crossing Andrew’s mind. He knew the Silver girl couldn’t get far into those woods. She would be so easy to find with all those footprints on the snow. Andrew was running without getting tired. He could almost hear her heartbeat now. And yet, he could see her. He took a few more steps and realised that the girl’s footprints had disappeared. That could only mean one thing…
He turned his head towards the sky, trying to espy the Silver girl, when a scream sounded from the tree behind him. Andrew felt her falling on his back, but he was faster. And way much stronger. He caught the Silver girl from her neck and pushed her deep inside the snow. He could feel her pulse under his hand.
“What are you waiting for?” the Silver girl asked and stared him in his eyes. The previous terror had gone away. He couldn’t say what she was feeling right now.
Andrew howled and took a deep breath. Flesh, blood and sweat. It was mesmerising! He wanted the whole pack to witness his victory against the human. He wanted them to know that he was the rightful leader. That’s why he didn’t want to kill the girl. Not just yet.
“If you won’t kill me, I will,” the Silver girl yelled. An instant later, Andrew was on fire. He started howling and his grab loosened. That was all the girl needed. She stabbed him again on his forearm and started running towards her salvation.
Andrew stared at his bleeding hand and then he realised. Silver. The Silver girl. The transformation was painful. He started turning back into a human again, only to realise that the essence of this cut was excruciating. He curled up near a tree. If only he could make himself disappear and take his shame with him.
Maybe Lucious was wrong. Maybe he wasn’t leader material after all.