Kayla resisted the urge to stop at an old motel she had just passed, if she could just drive a little bit further, a little longer, she would be there. ‘There’ was not just a destination or a place to kayla, this place held answers to her past that her now dead mother had refused to divulge and her reported missing suspected dead father had not been open enough to share about. She had been on tis road before in her life, as a child her dad would take her there for visits, mostly for justa week every summer but once in awhile for for entire months. She had learned so much from him more than her own mother had dared mention to her herself. There were many bad things out there, people were considered the worst but kayla knew this to not be the truth, there were real life montsers out there hunting humans as she drove, especially in this part of the world, a little town called brighton, stuck somewhere in british columbia. Almost two weeks in a car and she was finally there.
She turned up the radio to keep herself awake it was around 5 am and her eyesight was getting burry. She remebered the warnings given to her by her father, people who stopped on this road or broke down were very unlucky, some poepl in town said it was haunted. It was far from haunted, she’d neevr heard of a real life ghost ripping people to shreds and leaving them on the road.
It was on thsi very raod that she had been taken out on her first hunting trip, she was with the boys and her dad, grady, and chris. Grady as she had remebered him had been a prick to her the entire month she ws there that year, her andchris however had gotten on great, now that she thought back on it she rememebered that Grady was a few years older than herself, 4 or so she thought chris was only 2 years older. It was all coming back to her in bits, she could barley rememebr what they looked like anymore, they weren’t brothers but they told everyone they were. Hair of the dog started playing on the radio and kayal turned it up even louder.
It was beggining to get lighter out and she could see the beautiful countryside she had missed so much, a sign reading the towns name flashed by and kayal figured she should stop, it was safer now, she pulled in to a parking spot and noticed a tall blonde firgure just out of view, he noticed her looking at him and started walking away. Something told her to a take a closer look at this person. She thought she rcognised him, but then decided out of caution not to pursue the stranger and just go gte herself a room.
A bell rang as she pushed open the door and a short man waddled to the front desk looking tired and worn
“we’re closed “ he grunted” for another hour”
“oh’ sid kayla “sorry”
“it’s alright, I’m already up”
“do you have any singles” she askedcautiosly watching the man react, he was wearing a dirty beater shirt with torn and ugly pajama bottoms
“yea,” he muttered” its 50 dollars”
kayla pulled out her wallet and glanced at all the credit cards. She pulled out one she hadn’t used in about a week
the motel owner tok a look at the card and looked up at her again
“anna maria…pretty name” he said skeptically looking at her
“nmed after my mom” she smiled sweetly
he reached back and grabbed a single set of keys , sliding them across the counter. She walked away making the bell ring once more, while tucking away her credit card, she went back out to her car and grabbed her black duffle bag that was jammed wih clothes and other ‘necesities’ none as important as what she was carrying around her waist and in her back pocket

There was no obvious threat of danger caught present just yet. But still she checked the room thoroughly and explored her exits should she need one. Carefully she put her bag down; next she took out her 45from her back pocket and slid it in her pillow case makin sure to put the safety on first. Quickly she pulled off her clothes and changed into another pair of jeans and her favourite doors t-shirt. The room was cold enough to make her shiver slightly as she did so. Almost systematically she finished her bedtime routine with getting her fathers knife out of the jeans she had been wearing and sheathing it in her clean pair she had just pulled on, the knife was something she kept close at all times it never left her side since her mother had died, that night she learned how dangerous it all was, how one needed to be vigilant at all times. Somehow she missed the fact that it was her mother’s death that truly made her paranoid about things; she couldn’t let anyone else die around her, not like her mother died.

The night before her father went missing was the night he handed it to her and told her that one day he would tell her all about it, but for now to keep it with her always for protection back then she didn’t know what exactly had gone on. Kayla didn’t know much about her father she had known him well, but only the side he dared to show. Kayla knew that her mother had gone to her grave with a few answers to her questions. She climbed into the bed and tried to get comfortable on the hard motel mattress.; her eyes grew heavy and shut before she knew it
Kayla could hear sirens from out on the road as she awoke, it was only about 9 am, she felt rested enough to gather her things and leave the motel for the day. By the time she reached the door the last cruiser had passed by and she glanced around for that familiar face again, he was nowhere to be seen. Why he had stuck out in her mind she had no idea, she put her things in her trunk and pulled out her car keys. She started her very old grand national and pulled out onto the road. She had never seen this town in the fall, it was very prettty, but not as pretty as her hometown got during fall, it wasall pine trees out there, she drove over a bridge and glanced at the river underneath it, blue waters in the sunshine, it looked just as she had remembered it. Pulling into town she noticed that an ole tackle and bait shop had been closed down, and there were a few more franchises around, her stomach grumbled a little as she saw all the franchise restaurants. What she wouldn’t give for soething home cooked, 2 weeks with nothing but fast food and things she microwaved in a minimart was enough to make her go a little crazy. She didn’t knw where she was going xcept that she was exploring. Findining a small diner she stopped and went in. It was dimly lit and smelt of cooked bacon currently. She sat down and waited . A waitress hastily handed her a menu and asked her if she would wnat cofee
“yes please” siad kayal eyeing their breakfast specials.‘another one bites the dust was playing froma n overhead speaker. She started tappig her fingers on the table to the beat as she chose waht she wanted. The blonde haired woman came back and pleasantly asked her what she wanted to order as she poured her coffee into a cup. Kayla ordered and sat thereawhile before she decided to grab the daily newspaper and read about a few murders that had happened a couple hours north of brighton.unconcernd and not intersted she put down the newspaper once her meal came. The food was not exceptional but it was reall good to her, better than mcdonalds by any means.
She left and drove around the city awhile noticing a new gay bar that hadn’t been there the last time she had visited and few new homes had been buil. She was unsure of what he was looking for, she could remember a man she had been told to call uncle jim, he had a cottage near the lake somewhere but she couldn’t remember the way there. Sudden;y a new memory popped into her head, the first werewolf she had ever seen. Breathing a little hard at the memeory she realised that she was driving on the very road leading out of town where sh had seen it. Her father had not intended for her to see one since she was so little at the time, she rembered having ightmares for years about it tey only stopped once she had killed her first one.a flash of anger ran through her at the thought of that thing and wondered if it was dead, or if it still wandered the forest. Turning around she drove back into town and explored a little more, it was getting drak out before she decided to return, on her way back she passed bya bar where that blonde stranger she had seen was standing outside. She stopped, figuring se could get a closer look and maybe get e drink. She got out of her car and looked his way once more
“chris?” she yelled loudly, surprising even her self
the man looked startled, alone outside the doors of the bar he said to her “how do you know my name”
“It’s been a long time…” she started
as chris saw her face he realised who she was “kayla?”
“yea” she smiled forcing some sweetnes into her voice
“its been so long, I barely recognize you” he whispered
kayla understood with that whisper that she should meet with him at a better time
“nows not rally a good time” he said
“ hey chris…sorry i’m late man” said a deep voice from behind them
kayla didn’t like how this man had looked at her and stepped a little closer to chris instinctively.
“she yours?”asked the man
“yea’ said chris
“i’ve never sen you with her before” said the man suspiciously
“she doesn’t usually come into town”
“i’m a business man chris, when I see opportunity to make money, I gotta capitalize”
“yea, well she’s taken” said chris pulling kayla closer
“whatever man, you got my money?”
“right her’ said chris reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a stack of dollar bills
“you must trust her” said the man
“ yea, I do”
the man went inside the bar leaving them alone outside
“kayla you gotta leave here”
‘no” she said “i’ve spent two weks on the road, waitig to talk to somebody, especially you”
“you don’t understand”
“you’re right i don’t” she said “ why don’t we talk and you can make me understand”
“thats not a good idea”
“did you eevr remeber me folowing good ideas?”
“no, but…just listen to me -please” asked chris
“hey chris” said another man
“whats up?”Said chris
“who’s this?”Said the man
“ashley” answered chris before kayla could open her mouth
kayla resolved to keep pestering chris, she wasn’t going back to the motel room yet, she ahd to know why he was being so secretive and what was going on
“yea, anyway, about last night’ said the man” I was a little out of my head, and i’m sorry for threatening you”
“Its alright” said chris cooly
“can I get gram tonite?”
“yea, chris reached in his leather coat again and pulled soething out of it, while the man who had approached gave him some money
“see ya later…you gunna come in and have a drink?” asked the man
“been thinking about it” said chris
“ what do you drink ashley?” asked the man
it took a minute for kayla to realise she was being spoken to “jack daniels” she said
“alright jd it is”.
All three of them walked into the building and sat down at the bar.the man ordered two beers and shot of whiskey. Kayala watched her drink being poured making sure to watch if anything was placed in the glass. It wouldnt materthough since she was with chris
“hows business?” siad the man to chris over kaylas head
“it’s steady” he answered, putting his arm arond kayla for second
“i’ve never seen you around before”said the man”my names david”
“I just moved” she said
“from where?”
“vancouver” chris answered for her
“areyou one of mark’s girls”
“no” said chris
“ah, well, if I were you I’d stayaway from big mark”
“she’s already met him’ said chris cracking open his beer]
“well” said the man” lets drink to the new girl” he laughed
they all cliked their glasses togther and drank, kayla took a deep breath as she pourd the hard drink down her throat and shook her head
“like ahrd drinks do ya?’ he laughed again
“nah, i’m more of a beer girl myself, i just felt like taking a shot of jd tonight”
a moment of silence passed between the three
“so is this the most lively place in brighton”
“theres always the gay club” said chris laughing
“maybe another time”said kayla
the bar jamme din a few more people before they stopped letting people in.
Someone tapped chris on the shoulder and he damn near jumped out of his skin
“a little jumpy?” said big mark
“a little’ said chris
“we need to talk” said mark
“what about?”
“why don’t you come over to my table and we’ll discuss”
“hey ashley, i’ll be back in a second alright”
chris walked away glancing everyionce in awhile back at kayla as if she would disapear, in this kind of place she might. Mark sat down first and glanced at kayla
“you’re short money”
“ yea i know, i’ll get the moeny back don’t worry, i’m working on that right now” chris glanced over at the bar to see kayla laughing about something
“ yea well, I don’t work on trust, I work with things I can touch”
“iv’e never let you down bfore”
“yea, but you never owed me this much before either, we need to figure ut a payment plan”
“like what”
“what about her’ said mark motioning over at kayla
“ no way, she won’t go for it”
“she will for the right reasons”
Kayala looked at chris for a moment and saw an argument erupting between the two of them. Chris stalked over and grabbed his coat
“we gotta go”he said, kayla got off of her chair and turned around to see mark looking very angry
they reached outside of the bar and were followed by three men
“my car or yours?” she asked trying to make light of the situation
“mines undoubtedly faster”
chris led kayla to an old black mustang, she guessed it to be a 78
“wow” she said
“god dammit, why didn’t you listen to me” he said out of frustration as he sped off out of the parking lot
“i don’t understand” said kayla
“I guess its time you did, we gotta find grady and uncle jim” he said breathing hard
they raced dwn a country road only slwoing down when a clearing in the trees was visible. Chris parked the car and got out. This was the cottage,, the lights were on in the house, kayla had to run to keep up with chris.
A ver tall dark haired man burst out of the front door
“what are you doing here?” He said, the man looked kayla up and down at first checking her out “who’s this?”
“it’s jack’s daughter”
“Kayla” said the the tall man surprised
“what’s going on?”he asked
“just …it’ll be safer in the house” said chris”the shits hit the fan, I gotta get outta here”
yea” said chris as they walke din the door
the front living room was small and adjoined to the kitchen and what looked like a bedroom door grady turned on the kitchen light and pulle dout a chair for kayla. Chris refused to sit.
Mark says I owe him money” said chris
“oh” said grady
“he’s gunna have his goons looking alover for me”
“stay here, you’re more protected here than anywhere else”
“no, i’m not putting you guys in danger, I just i gotta pack my stuff and leave”
“take my truck” said grady digging ina pocket of a jacket that was on a chair” If you feel it might get tat hot you might as well leave in my truck”
“will someone please explain whats going on”
“grady will, I have to leave, i’m gunna go find herb you can contact me thru him alright”
“yea” said grady yawning” yea alright”
chris rushed off into a back room and emerged a few miute later, taking grady’s keys and leaving
“how long have you been in town” said grady
“since this morning”
“yu want soemthingto drink?”
“beer if you hav it”
“still you’re favourite choic4e huh”
“yea,” she smiled
“we almost gave up on you, thought you’d never find you’re way back”
“ me too”
“sorry to hear about ur mom”
“it was years ago, besides its not you’re fault”
“yea well”
“I think I deserve to be filled in”
“well,chiris” said grady “he decided to try and do a bit of undercover work, I guess you could call it that I dunno”
“how did you?”
“I saw him at the bar and some guy called big mrk came upand, chris lied about who i was, said I was his girlfriend, I figured that was just for protectionso I didn’t argue, I know how they work”
“from what i’ve heard you don’t have too many werewolves in ontario”
“you’re right, doesn’t mean I only ever saw them here though”
kayla cracked open her beer and took a drink
“ this place hasn’t changed much”
“not really”
“still infested”
“hell yea, we can’t even keep up anymore, uncle jims out right now hunting,”
“how come you’re here?”
“I have to work in the morning”
“oh” she said
feeling at ease she looked around,nothing had change din the cottage either, their was still the buck on the wall and few other animals mounted around it.
“ I remembered the town and everything but not how to get this cottage”
“it is secluded” he said “youlook really tired”
“I haven’t slept much these past couple days”
“we don’t have any extra beds, but you can sleep in mine if you want”
“excuse me?” she exclaimed
“don’t worry, i’ll sleep on the couch” he said “I didn’t mean…anyway” he shook his head
“theres no need to give me you’re bed” she said calming down”
kayla found herself looking at grady in a different way than she had before when he sttod up. He was much older now, he had to be at least 6 5’ and was very muscular
“you’ve certainly filed out” she chuckled
“you sure you don’t want to take my bed?”
I’ll be alright” she said
“too bad, I won’t let you sleep on the couch, and chris would freak if I et you sleep in his room”
“I know” she said
considering how much comfier a bed would be to a couch she decided to take him up on his offer, he led her to the room off of the living roomand kitchen and turned on the light, there was a queen size bed that took up most of the small space with tossed blankets at the end of the bed. Grady had just about closed the door when kayla spoke
“will you at least sit with me for a minute and answer a few questions”
“yea ok, he answered. He sat down ont he bed beside her
“ what happened to my dad, my mother said he went missing but I don’t believe that”
“ he died on a hunt” answered grady”chris was there, you’ll have to ask him if want anymore info on that he said coldly
“ do you think it would be okay, If i just …stayed here awhile”
“Jim would be fine with thatfor sure, he’ll be excited you’re here , although e won’t be back for awhile yet”
“ how long is awhile?”asked kayla
“at least a week” said grady
“ I guess we’ll have time to catch up huh”
“I’ve changed alot since the last time you were here” siad grady
“ noticed” said kayla,” you haven’t even thrown one insulting remark at me”
“yea, well, I wasn’t exactly nice to you was I?”
“I’d say you down right bulliedme”
“its not like you weren’t mean back….pouring uncle jims aftershave into my mouthwash?”
kayla chuckled” you calle dme ugly 4 times that day”
“yea well, I guess it doesn’t matter much now”
“I guess not” a moment of uncomfortable silence passed between them. Grady got up to leaveI guess we’ll talk later”
“yea” she said
Grady left and made his way up the ladder into jim’s room, he wasn’t going to sleep on the couch, but he was sure he made it into her good books by offering, he knew that much. she wouldn’t be up when he got up for work anyway and if she caught him he’d just tell her the truth, a way of saying that he liked her. She had changed a lot in the ten years that he hadn’t seen her, she was a lot prettier than he had ever thought of her before, even though the last summer she had spent up there he found himself looking at her in a different way.
He had not expected any visitors to the cottage, especially her. Surprising as it was he had expected it for a long while now years even. He and chris had stayed in



Joined September 2007

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Artist's Description

the knife had been hers since her father had passed it down to her, that was the last time she ever saw him

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