20 - That Time of the Month

An adopted Canadian girl discovers she's a werewolf, and goes on a quest among the supernatural community to find out about her heritage.

Hailey is a 14-year-old girl living in Alberta, Canada. She’s a bit of a girly-girl, and loves the outdoors to the point that she spends as much of her time outside as possible. She’ll even sleep on her back porch if the weather is warm enough.

She has a massive dog, Bear, that she gets on with better than most people. Like, seriously; the dog listens to her every word, and she can always tell you if and why he’s happy, sad, or even just a little cranky. Of course, there’s no way of knowing if she’s right, but you usually get the feeling she is - and you always get the feeling she believes it.

Puberty hasn’t really hit Hailey yet, and it’s starting to grate on her - there are kids two years younger than her that look two years older than her. The only real mark puberty has left on her so far is back hair - gross.

She starts shaving her back hair more and more, but it keeps growing back thicker. It seems like each day it’s coming in more. And not just back hair - her entire body is getting hairier. It’s just the worst.

One night, she’s restless as all get out, to the point that she gets out of bed and goes for a walk outside. Bear follows, excited. The walk quickly becomes a run, as she books it into the woods behind her house. She’s barely crossed the treeline before she’s oping along on all fours, turned into a wolf. She and Bear have a gay old time running around the woods, wrestling, even doing a bit of hunting.

When she gets back home around daybreak, she’s not tired at all - just the opposite. She’s overstimulated to the point of being jittery - though admittedly, some of that could be the terror and confusion over what happened to her. She doesn’t say anything about it to anyone.

The next night, she turns again, but the night after that, when the full moon has passed, she doesn’t - though she’s still restless at night until the moon has waned a little more.

Hailey talks with her parents, asking them about… things. Changes. Is it normal for her to… guh. Her parents mistake her questions for being about, you know, puberty. Her mother gets her some pads, her dad freaks out and buys her a cake for some reason, and Hailey decides that her parents have no idea about werewolves.

She searches around the internet for anything she can find about werewolves, but doesn’t find anything reliable enough for her to deem helpful.

After all the work she puts into finding out about werewolves, it winds up being dumb luck that gives her the answers she’s looking for. She gets paired with a random girl, Shauna, for a school project, and finds herself connecting to her instantly and quickly. She doesn’t know why - normally she’s not good with people - until she catches Shauna walking home through the woods - as a wolf.

After answering some of her basic questions - yes, eventually you get more control over when you change, no, you’re not invincible to everything but silver, and no, you can’t turn into a half-wolf half-human monster - Shauna puts Hailey in contact with her “pack” - a group that poses as an all-ages book club.

The “Bookworms” greet her warmly, and for the first time, she doesn’t feel weird. Like, not just the first time since turning into a wolf; the first time ever. She instantly connects with everyone there on a basic, instinctual level, same as she did with Shauna. She meets Mr. and Mrs. Lane, Shauna’s parents, and is surprised to find out her mom isn’t a werewolf.

The Bookworms’ Alpha, Gerard, tells her that packless werewolves are in danger - there are other supernatural beasties out there, and a lot of them are scared of werewolves. They’ll kill lone werewolves, but instead avoid packs out of fear of retribution. Plus, a lot of packs will kill any lone wolves that won’t join - read “submit to” - them. So, Gerard offers to let Hailey join them. She looks to Shauna for advice, and she tells her to do it; they aren’t kidding around. She does.

She starts hanging out with the Bookworms after school, over the weekends, sometimes even cutting classes with Shauna. She gets more and more comfortable with her wolfiness, and learns how to harness the strength and stamina it grants her even in her human form. Mrs. Lane encourages Hailey to tell her parents, and Hailey keeps telling her she will, but keeps, you know, not.

In exchange, though, her grades start slipping. It’s slow at first, but when midterms come and she bombs them, her parents get stern. When they find out she’s been skipping classes, they insist on getting together with Shauna’s parents and talking to them about the girls’ behavior.

That freaks Hailey out, because she’s worried that Mrs. Lane will tell them about werewolves. So when the meeting comes, Hailey and Shauna eavesdrop anxiously. What really throws Hailey for a loop, though, isn’t Mrs. Lane telling her parents she’s a werewolf - because she doesn’t. It’s when Mrs. Lane asks if Hailey’s parents have told her she’s adopted. Her parents freak out that she knows, which leads to Hailey bursting in the room and freaking out.

Her parents tell her that yes, she was adopted, but that doesn’t make her any less their daughter. They get kinda pissed at Mrs. Lane, who is extremely penitent - she obviously had no way of knowing Hailey was spying on them.

When Hailey starts yelling at her parents for keeping secrets, Shauna tells Hailey she has no room to judge - the immediately regrets it. Hailey’s parents ask what secret she’s been keeping. Hailey looks around the room. The Lanes tell her to tell them. She goes out into the backyard and transforms for them.

Her mom faints, and her dad, like, seriously freaks out. He’s yelling and screaming, and Hailey’s still not in full control of herself as a wolf; she freaks out too, and runs away into the woods. The Lanes chase her, but she loses them and stays in the woods for a couple days.

Eventually, she goes to the Lanes’ house, and asks if she can live with them. They’re absurdly relieved; they tell her they’ve been looking all over for her. They need to leave, like, yesterday; the Iron Fangs, a bigger, badder werewolf biker gang is coming into town, and other werewolves are wise to scatter when they show up. They contact her parents to let her know she’s safe, and follow the Bookworms south to Colorado, in the United States.

They’re only there for a week, but Hailey’s never been out of the province before, much less the country, and she’s never been without her parents for more than a weekend. She gets homesick, hard, but refuses to accept that it’s homesickness. She stays in wolf form as much as possible the whole time they’re in Colorado.

When they hear the Iron Fangs have moved on, they head back home. Hailey says she wants to stay with the Lanes - she’s a werewolf first, and everything else second. She has more in common with the Lanes and the Bookworms than she does with her parents. She doesn’t want to go home.

Mrs. Lane tells her yes, it’s important to be in touch with her heritage - but there’s more to that than just genetics. Her family heritage is an equally important part of who she is. Moreover, she doesn’t have to choose one or the other - in fact, doing so would be a huge mistake. She isn’t one or the other, she’s both.

She decides to go home, though she’s terrified to face her parents. They’re a little terrified to face her, too, but not because she’s some sort of monster. They realize they scared her away, and that’s the last thing they want. They assure her that they will always love her and be there for her.