Warning: Mild, bloody violence, dark themes, and multiple character death
Done for the Live Journal GleeBigBang challenge. Enjoy.
On Us The Moon Will Never Rise
Rachel was given her first piece of silver at the age of five.
She rode in the back seat of her daddy's jeep, fingering the pentagram hanging on her neck. Each edge was sharp and pointy. She was afraid the points would poke her in the collarbones but her dad told her it would be fine. That she was safe from harm as long as she wore the charm.
Leroy turned around to smile at her in the back. She grinned up at him as Hiram drove them through the wood trails on the edge of Pennsylvania. Branches of winter dead trees casted gnarled shadows on the windows and a half moon hung low on the horizon. The gentle hum of the radio kept getting tuned out by the crunch of earth under tires but Rachel wasn't listening to the songs playing. Her ears were perked on the soft chorus of howls that kept rising and falling through the night.
She took a deep breath, letting out a song on the note of the most recent one.
"Sounds good, sweetie," Leroy's eyes smiled at her in the mirror. "You're getting better."
She beamed in accomplishment. She knew she had the best call of the rest of the Hunter's kids. Brittany didn't have the perfect pipes like she did and Finn's voice cracked and puttered out quickly. Only Kurt rivaled her with his sweet falsetto.
The jeep came to a halt deep in the woods. Hiram shut off the car, quietly getting out. Rachel hastily undid her belt, grabbing the hand of her daddy Leroy letting him lead her to where the others stood.
A crowd of families stood around other parked cars. Rachel caught sight of the Hudson's talking softly to Mr. Hummel by their old station wagon and the Pierce's had their heads pulled in tight, whispering softly while Brittany stood between her dad's legs, big blue eyes wide and searching.
Finn peeked his head up from inside the car through the window. Waving to Rachel, he jumped out hurrying over to her on too big feet for his scrawny body. He smoothed back the cowlick in his hair only for it to spring right back out of place.
"Hey, Rachel," he blushed as he tripped over a limb.
"Hi, Finn," she let go of Leroy's hand. He patted her on the head, walking off with Hiram to speak with some of the others.
"Are you excited?" he asked her, fidgeting anxiously in his coat and puffy vest.
Rachel shrugged, looking across the dark woods. They were high on a rise that looked over a valley under the hill. Trees and darkness obstructed the view of what waited below them but Rachel knew. They all knew. It was why Mr. Motta had called all the hunter families in and near his district to come out.
He and Sue Sylvester, who was in charge of the Hunters Clan that Rachel and her dads were a part of, stood next to him at the edge. They stood intimidating over the rise, heads held high and eyes calculating. Their lips moved quickly and quietly of the plan.
"Hey," Brittany bounced over to them with her pigtails swaying. She grinned wide, exuding the same excited giddiness as Finn. "There's a lot of people here,"
Rachel nodded. It was at five Rachel's dads sat her down and told her what they did. She had cried, shouting at them that killing animals was wrong and that it wasn't fair.
It took her a while to learn that werewolves were not animals. They were monsters. Monsters that hid under beds and in closets waiting for little girls to go to sleep so they could attack them. Monsters that killed a lot of Sue's family and Motta's wife. Monsters who infected humans with their diseases, cursing them to live their half skin, half fur life.
"They're not going to take you away too!" Rachel had clutched the tail of her dad's coat, pleading that he and daddy didn't go on the hunt again. They each kissed her head and her dad Hiram bent down, hooking the silver necklace around her neck.
"Your daddy and I have one too," It was the first time she had noticed the little stars in the rings that each of them bore. The star meant safety. The star meant Rachel didn't have to worry about her dads or herself.
They were all ten now.
Ten and now old enough to go to the hunting party to learn. The excitement bubbled in her gut and made her throat ache to send out the call that would draw a wolf in, making them think that they were just another pack and not a gang of hunters with torches of fire and silver blades and bullets.
She had held her dad's blade once. It was heavy and too big for her small hands. Spirally designs of symbols Rachel hadn't known then were inscribed in the hilt. He took it from her and put it into his belt promising she'd get one just like it soon. When she was older.
Rachel wished she were older now as she watched the hunters all come together. All the children were rounded up to stay with Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Pierce while the others went out.
Rachel watched Brittany run to hug her dad tight around the waist and Mr. Hudson shared a deep kiss with his wife. Mr. Motta and Sue came into the circle, telling instructions of how the attack would be executed. Big words flew over her head but she got the gist of it.
A few packs had joined into one, living together in one of the deep wood villages amongst some of the humans. Fear struck a chord in Rachel's heart that she tried to swallow down. She was a hunter just like them. They weren't supposed to have a fear of these beasts because they could smell fear.
But Rachel's fear was for the poor humans. Had they known what things lived amongst them, would they still live there? Wouldn't they have called for the hunters to run them out? It was a scary thought for her to even try to understand.
A pack leader's name rose up in the crowd. Adande. The hunters hissed vial whispers.
Kurt, the Hummel's only son, leaned over towards them. "He's the wolf that killed Mr. Motta's wife," he informed them. "He's the worst."
She pursed her lips wishing she had known that bit of information. But with Kurt's dad owning the maintenance shop on the border of the districts, he had more insight into what happened in the Motta territory than the rest of them.
"Guys, shh," Brittany nudged him.
Rachel followed her luminous eyes to little Sugar Motta sitting on the bumper of her dad's car. She was younger than they were, but she was always at the hunts from what Rachel knew. She was always jealous that Sugar got to go way before she even knew about it.
A howl rose up in the darkness silencing the hunter's talk. A fierce flash of anger seared across Mr. Motta's face. Something glistened in the moonlight in his hand. Rachel squinted seeing a gun decorated in the same symbols of the blade she had held.
Sugar yelped, covering her mouth with a hand as the other hunters pulled out their weapons. Shiny blades and gleaming guns waved out dangerous looking in their sleek and glittering colors.
Rachel watched them closely all clad in thick, black leather perfumed with wolfsbane and zippers encrusted with silver. Brittany whispered that she thought their jackets were cool and Kurt said something about them being ugly. Finn stayed quiet, once thrilled eyes going slightly frightened. Rachel shared the same mix of emotions.
Her dad saw it and walked over to her. He bent down, placing a kiss on her forehead and tugged the beanie on her head down enough to cover the tops of her ears. "Stay safe," he smiled.
Leroy stood behind him, holding up a fist showing his ring. Rachel fished for her necklace, holding up the star to show him. They would be safe. They would all be safe she knew.
"Stay safe, dad," she tucked the charm away. "Stay safe, daddy,"
With another howl, Mr. Motta ordered them to come together. Boots cracked on twigs and branches as they headed down the edge and scaled down the hill.
Their steps quieted the farther they went with the sounds of howls growing louder and more frequent. The voice of one of the hunters rang out on the note of a wolf song. It was so similar Rachel had to try hard to find the difference in timbre that separated a wolf's howl from a human's imitation.
"Come on, everyone," Mrs. Pierce gathered all of them up near the cars.
They would be there until the end.
They would be there until the hunters came back.
They would be there until the hunters returned missing half of their numbers and searching for the children that hadn't been quick enough to hide away before the wolves came upon them.