The heart thinking conclusion to Madeline Pettet’s Amazing Grace.
Sadie rested her head on her paws, unwilling to immediately follow either Jack or Madam Pierce’s paths. She didn’t realise how much time had passed until the sunlight touched her nose and the sound of morning birds wafted around her.
Stretching her cramped muscles, she rose to her feet and slowly padded back to the den. Jack whined affectionately when he saw her, running his nose along her coat. He licked her cheek but she didn’t respond. Rather she looked at the wolves around them. They looked tired, exhausted. Jack nipped her ear to get her attention.
Where have you been all night, Sadie?
You need to stay in the den, you need to do what I say. I know how to deal with Pierce.
Although he said it with kindness, Sadie’s hackles rose.
But you didn’t. You were useless. He whined again, this time pleadingly.
Her wolves are insane. They don’t know how to live, only to kill.
But can you? Can you kill? She’s not going to stop, you know. She’ll kill you. Every single one of you.
Then that’s what we’ll do. Jack had hesitated, the other wolves looked at him with worry. We’ll hunt her tonight.
The night air was still, refusing to bring distant scents to Sadie’s nose. She was crouched in the long grass behind Madam Pierce’s home with Jack and his pack. The home was dark besides a single light in the old woman’s bedroom.
Sadie shifted effortlessly to human and approached the back door. Just as she was about to knock on the screen, she noticed the door was ever-so-slightly ajar. With a final look to where the wolves were hidden, she ducked inside.
As she made her way to the bedroom, she was stopped by the horrific howling she had heard the night before. Bolting back outside she saw Madam Pierce at the edge of the trees, her chained wolves lunging for Jack’s pack.
“Well, hello there, Sadie. So good of you to come back. But I didn’t ask you to bring guests.” She let the chains fall from her hands and the two sides of wolves rushed one another. The screams and snarls sent adrenaline coursing through Sadie’s body – it was desperate for her to shift to wolf and run away, but she fought it, she couldn’t run. Her skin stung and every bone in her body felt like it was being broken. She screamed and it came out as a roar. The wolves stopped where they were – Sadie was both human and wolf, her muscles bulged under a fine coat of fur as she stood upright and her fangs were twice the size of any of theirs.
“Well isn’t that something. I knew you were special, dear. Look my children, that is a werewolf.” Madam Pierce laughed like a proud mother. Sadie stomped over to her, churning the dry ground with the talon-like nails on her feet. With a swipe of her clawed hand, Sadie decapitated the old woman. Her head thudded to the ground, the smile still on her face. Wolves from both packs rushed to devour the body. Sadie looked at them with disgust. Growling she turned and Jack was before her. He had shifted to human. She’d never seen him that way. He was thinner than she’d imagined, he hardly had any muscle or fat on his bones. His hair was a tangled, matted mess that fell down his back and he smiled sheepishly at Sadie.
“Did you know you could do that?” His voice cracked a little as he spoke. Sadie glared at him. Jack’s conviction wavered and he looked away from her.
“Those are your wolves?” she asked, gesturing at the wolves who rolled in the last of the spilled blood. Her pointed teeth clicking together with each syllable. Jack nodded, still not meeting her eye.
“Wrong.” She howled and the wolves from both packs rushed to her. They bristled at Jack, a few snapping at him. A small trickle of urine ran down his leg and he backed up against a tree. The rising wind crammed the scent into Sadie’s nose and she bared her teeth at him.
With the wind at her back, Sadie dropped to all fours, howled in triumph and raced into the darkness of the trees, a stream of wolves following her.