That fateful day began as one of the most beautiful days of her life. She couldn't wait to get out of boarding school. Her mother was coming to pick her up.
Elize waited at the gates of the convent school eagerly, straining her legs to see beyond the curve that led to the main road. She must be here anytime soon, Elize thought. A slight wind passed through her straight black hair, tickling her. She laughed aloud.
Bored, she walked around the garden that she loved so much. It was huge, with a fountain in the middle of it. It had the statue of the Virgin Mary looking down at the ground. Water sprouted up from her extended hands.
Elize lingered around the fountain, looking at the little birds that were lavishing around the bath.
A little blue bird came towards her, hopping on its tiny little legs.
"Here, birdy-birdy," Elize cooed at the bird with her little extended hands, tempting it to come near. She looked around for the grains that the nuns kept somewhere in the garden to feed the birds. She couldn't find it. Her face fell. She pushed her hands inside the pocket of her shorts in annoyance.
"Ouch!" She exclaimed in pain.
Something had bit her right hand. She took it out to examine. There, she could see a black mark slowly forming. It stung.
Elize whipped her head around in joy, forgetting the mark. It was her mother's car! She turned around with a huge smile on her face.
"Mommy!!" She ran, screaming with laughter while running towards the school gate. Her bags were already there. She had dragged it there with her little hands an hour ago.
Marium stepped out of the red wagon. The evening sun fell on her, illuminating her usually dark brown hair in a reddish glow. She had a huge smile on her face. She was seeing her little kid after six whole months.
The two hugged for quite some time. Both relishing the comfort of each other's company. The mother held her daughter apart to have a good look at her. Elize was a beautiful kid. She had pitch-black hair, straight and smooth that fell up to her chest, which was so unlike her hair which got wavier each day. Her grey eyes sparkled, in contrast to her tanned skin. She was a bit scrawny for an eleven-year-old, but she carried it with the grace of a peacock. Her tiny little frame grew each time Marium saw her. She was growing up too fast right before her very eyes.
Marium hugged her daughter one last time before nudging her towards the passenger seat, asking her to get on. They had to start if they wanted to reach home before midnight.
The long winding path that connected the forested lands of the convent school and the nearby town was narrow. Snaking its path through the hills only one lane was open to each direction.
It would take at least an hour to reach the town.
Miley Cyrus was playing 'the seven things I hate about you' on the stereo. Elize was singing along loud and moving her head back and forth as if she were in a concert, from the passenger's seat. Marium couldn't stop laughing.
She sped up the car.
"Mommy?" Elize looked at her mom, innocently.
The little kid cocked her head to the side and extended her palm towards her mother, as if to show her something. Marium turned her head towards her daughter. Her eyes widened in shock.
She could see it clearly- a sigil was forming slowly but steadily on the right palm of her daughter- the sigil of the marked. She'd know it anywhere. She'd seen it before on someone she knew on the Island. The mark of magic claiming a witch as it's own. Marium couldn't take her eyes off it, she was horrified. This could be fatal to her daughter. Her blood-
There was a loud horn from somewhere up ahead.
All Elize could remember was the crash and her mother's scream.
She didn't know how she got out of the car in time. She felt being violently whisked away from the passenger's seat as soon as her mother's car hit the truck.
Elize heard a loud bang and the glass shattering as she landed far away from the accident. It all happened in slow motion. The car turned upside down twice- hitting the ground hard every time and squeezing its metal body into pulp just before it caught on fire.
She saw the car burst into flames before her very own eyes.
She stood there on the road while something was holding her- an eleven-year-old scared Elize. She was too shocked to scream. She was scared, as whatever dragged her out kept its hands wound around her, keeping her from running towards the carnage. While the fire roared and pieces of the car flew around, she was turned around to face whatever the thing was. Blue eyes bore into her grey ones. A huge wolf, almost the size of a horse, was standing in front of her.
She couldn't move. Paralyzed with fear of the strange animal, she let out a small whimper. She wished she could scream. As if reading her mind, the creature let out a small growl in warning. Suddenly she could hear it inside her head.
'Sit!' It commanded.
Out of fear, the little girl sat down in the middle of the road.
'Good girl. I want you to listen carefully. Help will be here soon. You have to sit here till they come. Don't move.'
Elize nodded her little head in confusion and fear.
The creature came closer to her until she could feel the warmth of the creature's breath on her face. The child was shivering. And suddenly, as if to devour her, it opened its mouth. In fear, she shut her eyes tight. She felt something wet on her face. It was licking her face! Suddenly she heard the blare of the ambulance, and the creature all but disappeared. She could hear her brother running towards her, shouting her name. She couldn't get up. She was still shivering.
Her brother put his jacket around her and lifted her in his arms. He didn't let her down even when the paramedics asked him to lie her down on the stretcher. He didn't let go until she stopped shivering.
Elize looked up at her brother with big teary grey eyes.
"Alex ...mother" she whimpered.
The sixteen-year-old boy felt every shudder of his sister's body pierce his heart. He had to be strong. He was all she had.
"I know, kiddo. It will be okay". Alex said while holding her head close to his chest.
A single tear dropped down from his eye and vanished into his sister's mass of black hair.
Alex sighed, looking down at his little sister. She was clearly disturbed even in her sleep. Ever so slightly, he could hear her whisper "wolf". He wondered what that was about. He didn't know how his kid sister got out of the car without a scratch on her. He looked up at the portrait of Jesus on his bedroom's wall. He didn't really believe in religion. But at this moment, he was thankful if there was a God.
He carefully slid his hands from underneath his sister's head, careful not to wake her up. Then moving quietly, he took the rosary that was hung on his bedpost. He stared at it for a moment. It was his mother's rosary. Something that her mother gave her.
He could still hear his grandmother say to his mom, "You need God more than he needs you. Pray Marium. You need to pray to drive out the Shaytan in you."
He hated his grandmother for that. Somehow she always thought that her daughter was possessed. Not that she treated grandpa any better. Hence from his childhood, he was averse to the idea of God- one on whose existence, his grandmother found the need to hate her daughter.
He slowly walked back towards where his little sister was sleeping. He slid the rosary in between her fingers. But maybe God saved her. Maybe, he should be thankful to God. Elize stirred a little in her sleep, and Alex was quick to move away. It would be better to let her have a good sleep without my presence- he thought.
He backed off and tiptoed towards the drawing-room. He sat there, holding his head in his hands. Tears began rushing down as soon as the weight of his loss hit him.
Elize woke up with a jolt. She heard a thud from somewhere in the room. She looked around. Alex was no more with her on the bed.
"Alex?" She called out, fear enveloping every ounce of her body.
She didn't want to get off the bed to switch on the light. She was too scared to. She knew she wasn't tall enough to reach it even if she managed to reach the switchboard. Suddenly she sensed it. Two blue eyes bore into hers from the corner of the room. Her eyes widened in fear.
"Wolf" she whimpered.
As if waiting for her to acknowledge it, the creature came closer to the bed. As it moved from the corner towards her, she could see it clearly from the moonlight coming through the windows. It was big- the biggest wolf she had ever seen. Its coat of brown fur shone with a golden tint in the moonlight. Its sturdy steps were graceful as if deliberately slowed down to make her feel at ease. It's blue eyes gleaned in the darkroom. She stretched her hands to feel it's soft fur. For once, she felt awestruck instead of scared.
The wolf bent it's head and gave out a soft purr as if it enjoyed the gesture. The small child smiled at the beast. The creature stared at her for a while. Then as if it smelled something foul, it drew back from her. Startled, the kid drew back her little hands and held it close to her body.
"Alex!" She cried to her brother.
She could see it. At the mention of her brother's name, the creature's expression morphed. She couldn't understand if it was pain or anger.
Growing more scared, she further shouted, "Alex!!"
'Enough!!' She heard the creature's voice in her head again. 'I, Zachariah Ze'ev reject you Elize as my mate! Never will I come before you again!'
Shocked and confused, Elize watched as the wolf took off from her window at lightning speed. Just then, she heard the door crack open. Alex stood there.
"I'm here, kiddo." He said with a smile.
He walked towards his little sister and hugged her tight. He seemed tired, and his face had tear marks on it.
"Wolf," said a pale Elize.
Alex sighed. It seemed to him that the accident's trauma is making his little sister hallucinate.
"It's okay, Elize. I'm here. You're safe." He said as he cooed her back to sleep.