White Rose | Tobias Madden

Some have greatness thrust upon them

Wolf Pack III – White Rose

Tobias Madden

For the Wolves Part 3 Award

The air was bitterly cold. The moon sat at it’s apex in the sky, casting a ghoulish glow over Penny, who sat, cross-legged, on the carpet of fallen autumn leaves in front of Caroline’s headstone. Never had Penny thought she’d be caught dead— or more to the point, alive—in a graveyard in the middle of the night, but she couldn’t think of anywhere else to go; she needed to be with Caroline.

Chloe had betrayed her; the school corridors would be hissing with whispers of the Wolf Pack’s hunt for Penelope Harrison’s blood. She felt completely lost, overwhelmingly alone.

‘What do I do?’ Penny asked the polished headstone.

There was a crunch of leaves behind her; Penny jumped up with a start. When her eyes focused on the hooded figure lurking in the shadows, she couldn’t stop a small squeal from rushing past her lips. She fumbled to retrieve her phone from her pocket and dropped it on the ground, her hands already trembling.

‘Penelope?’ Lulu asked, stepping into the moonlight.

‘Don’t you dare come any closer,’ Penny growled.

Lulu removed her hood. ‘Why weren’t you at school today? The girls and I missed you,’ she said, with a sardonic smirk.

‘Not that it’s any of your business,’ Penny snapped, her eyes flitting to her phone on the ground, ‘but I happen to have the flu.’

‘So… you thought you’d recuperate in a cemetery in the middle of the night?’ Lulu raised her immaculate eyebrows. ‘You’re avoiding us.’

Penny bent down and snatched up her phone. ‘I’m calling the police,’ she said, already dialling triple-zero.

‘You’re kidding, right?’ Lulu laughed.

Penny lifted the already-ringing phone to her ear, thrusting her other hand out towards Lulu, her index finger cocked in warning. ‘You’ve threatened me at school, followed me—’

Lulu scoffed.

‘—followed me to a cemetery in the middle of the night, and now you’re… physically intimidating me,’ Penny said, trying not to sound as petrified as she felt. ‘I’m putting an end to this. Right now.’

‘What the fuck, Penelope?’

With two long, graceful strides, Lulu closed the distance between them and, with unexpected force, slapped the phone straight from Penny’s hand. It landed at the foot of a lichen-mottled headstone metres away from them.

Penny rubbed her stinging hand and looked at Lulu, stricken. Tears came, but no words.

‘You were actually going to call the police?’ Lulu asked, incredulous. ‘I call some girls at school a few names, and, what, you think I’m homicidal?’

Penny was perplexed to see that Lulu was genuinely offended.

Lulu shook her head. ‘Look, Penny, there’s no-one here; it’s just us and the decomposing corpses; let’s just drop the pathetic high school pretence for once, shall we?’

Penny squinted, certain this must be a trap. Her gaze dropped to the bouquet of white roses in Lulu’s hand.

‘What are they?’ Penny asked, wiping her eyes.

‘I’m pretty sure they’re flowers.’

‘But… white roses are—’

‘Caroline’s favourite? I know,’ Lulu said, kneeling down by Caroline’s headstone. She placed the roses amongst the other, already wilting flowers. ‘They always have been.’

Penny was dumbstruck—not an unusual phenomenon in Lulu’s presence—but this time, not out of sheer terror. It was like trying to put together a puzzle in her mind that was missing all of its corner and edge pieces; she had no idea where to start.

Penny watched as Lulu’s chin fell to her chest and her shoulders began to shake.

Was she crying?

‘I’m sorry, but what the hell is going on?’ Penny asked bluntly.

‘This is just so fucked up,’ Lulu sobbed, placing one hand atop the cold headstone. ‘This wasn’t meant to happen. I tried to talk her out of it, but she is so stubborn. She was certain it would work.’

Penny just stood there, blinking in utter bewilderment.

‘You hated Caroline,’ she said, unabashed, ‘you hate all of us. I don’t understand. I thought you came here to… you know…’

Lulu looked up, giggling slightly through her tears. ‘What? Kill you? Come on Penny, I thought you were smarter than that.’

Penny blushed. ‘What?’

Lulu stood, and—a head taller than Penny—became instantly dominant again.

‘If you tell anyone any of this, I will kill you,’ Lulu said, jabbing a manicured finger towards Penny.

‘Okay…’ she replied slowly, still baffled.

‘Caroline was my best friend,’ Lulu said, a slight tremble in her voice. ‘In primary school, I mean. We spent our entire childhood together: dress-ups; Barbie tea parties; sleep-overs. And then… well, we couldn’t stay kids forever, could we?’

She wiped the streaks of tears from her porcelain cheeks. ‘Then suddenly, we were in high school, and it all just… fell apart. Caroline started looking at me differently—everyone did. The boys all stared—but trust me, not at my face—and all of the girls smiled at me in the halls, but then whispered behind my back about how slutty I was, and how easy my life must be.

‘Eventually, Caroline just started to ignore me. It was like I’d committed some kind of heinous crime against our friendship just by being pretty. It was ridiculous.

‘I didn’t know anyone else at the school—not a soul—and the only students that could look me in the eye were these four pouty little girls, of whom everybody else seemed completely terrified. They were beautiful, and nice enough, though totally vapid and painfully superficial. But what choice did I have? Caroline was acting like we’d never even met, and no-one else would speak to me. So, they became my friends. And somehow, I became their “leader”. And, trust me, that was never a position I asked for.’

‘But—’ Penny began, with no actual objection in mind.

‘Don’t you understand,’ Lulu said, ‘I never asked for any of this.’