Three drama fuelled conclusion to Tobias Madden’s Wolf Pack.
Wolf Pack IV – Takedown
There, in the graveyard of St Michael’s Chapel, in the pale glow of the waning moon, Lulu had made her confession. An icy breeze fluttered through the graveyard, tossing autumn leaves around the girls’ feet and between the headstones. Penny paced back and forth, inhaling the damp night air, trying to clear her head.
‘You said something about trying to talk Caroline out of this? Talk her out of what, exactly?’
‘Talk her out of pretending to kill herself.’
‘What?’ The soft hairs on Penny’s arms stood on end.
‘Caroline had concocted this ludicrous plan to, I dunno, like—I believe her words were, “unify the school once and for all”. She thought she’d be able to bring the girls of Kingsford Grammar together by almost killing herself, make us realise how poorly we’d been treating each other and—’
‘—how you’d been treating us, you mean?’
‘Penelope,’ Lulu snarled.
Penny, despite herself, stayed quiet.
‘She said she’d done tonnes of research and knew exactly how many of her mum’s mood suppressants to take without killing herself. But…’
‘She got it wrong,’ Penny said, glancing over her shoulder to Caroline’s headstone.
‘Correct. The only time she’s ever fucked up a calculation and now she’s dead.’
Penny’s eyes met Lulu’s and a moment passed between them. For the first time, Penny was seeing Lulu as she really was: vulnerable, flawed, frightened. She looked, well, she looked human. It was as if her steely, lupine facade had been whisked away with the leaves in the wind.
‘Well,’ Penny said eventually, ‘what do we do? As Caroline’s best friends, past and present, we can’t just let her dying wish go un-granted, can we?’
‘No, we certainly cannot,’ Lulu said, a devious smile spreading slowly across her face. ‘I have a plan. We’re going to orchestrate one final Wolf Pack takedown…’
‘Chloe, Chloe, Chloe,’ Lulu said, drawing out the syllables for dramatic effect.
The Wolf Pack had ambushed Chloe at lunch-time in the middle of the school quadrangle. She was trapped, with Lulu towering over her, smiling sweetly. Chloe was frozen; she would have known what was coming—as would the fifty or so girls that had crowded around them already, whispering to each other, pointing and snickering.
‘No more hiding,’ Lulu said. ‘No more lies. The truth is out. It’s time to deal with the consequences.’
‘But,’ Chloe spluttered, already crying, ‘I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to—it was all just a mistake, I never meant to—’
Lulu cupped her hand over Chloe’s mouth and shushed her loudly, her face inches from Chloe’s.
‘Not you, Chloe,’ she whispered, ‘It’s my turn.’
Lulu let go of her and turned to face the other students. Proudly, as if she were giving a valedictory speech, she announced, ‘Caroline Green was my best friend.’
Everyone gasped in quasi-scripted unison.
Lulu launched into a grand oration of the same confession she’d given in the graveyard—much more dramatically, Penny noted, from the back of the crowd.
When Lulu was finally finished, the Kingsford quadrangle was completely silent for possibly the first time in history. Penny pushed her way through the gaggle of stunned witnesses to Chloe.
‘Hi,’ Penny said warmly.
Chloe wiped her eyes. ‘Hi,’ she said, her fear still painted across her face and neck in thick red splotches.
‘Wanna get lunch?’ Penny asked, as she took Chloe’s hand in hers.
‘Don’t worry about it,’ Penny said, pulling Chloe into an earnest hug. ‘Any of it.’
Over Chloe’s shoulder, Penny caught Lulu’s eye. ‘Thank you,’ she mouthed.
Lulu gave an “it’s nothing” shrug and turned back to face the group of gawking onlookers.
‘I’ve been pretty horrible to, well, most of you,’ she admitted. ‘I know that I’ll regret most of my adolescent actions when I’m thirty…but—fuck—we’ll all regret pretty much everything we did at high school by then anyway. So let’s just… play nice. All of us. Okay?’
Without warning, Eve stepped forward and slapped Lulu square across the face, hard.
Lulu cried out in pain, or shock, or probably both.
‘Thanks for your little speech, Lulu,’ Eve snapped. She locked her fiery gaze on Penny. ‘I guess that makes me the Alpha now. Right, Penelope?’
Penny just stood there, paralysed.
‘Come on girls, I’m bored,’ Eve said, already slinking away towards the cafeteria, followed obediently by Olivia, Julia and Andrea.
It might have just been in her head, but Penny swore she could still hear Lulu’s shriek echoing around the quad.