So things have been a little crazy recently. For those of you that follow me exclusively here, you may not know that for the past year and a half, I've been an admin on a site called Jacob Black N Pack. It was the fandom's first and largest fanfiction site dedicated to the character of Jacob Black and the Quileute Wolf Pack. But like all good things, it has come to an end, which has been very difficult for me, not only because I love the characters, but because of the women I met there. They were real and true friendships, and I've been blessed to have them.

Also, for those of you that don't know, my grandfather did pass away this last month. We had a service in my home state before going East to New Jersey for his entombment. It was difficult for my family, especially my father.

So in other words, but I've been a little sad and dark feeling lately, and have found myself listening to this song, "Engine 45" by The Ghost Inside. It made me think of Paul, and I've written a series of brief outtakes about him prior to the beginning of the The Animal I Have Become. This is the first of what will probably end up being approximately 3-5.

The closing of JBNP made me seriously considering leaving the fandom, so please, if you're reading and haven't reviewed before, please let me know if you'd like for this to continue. I had over 370 members in my group on JBNP, and I just wasn't sure who would continue to follow me with the closing.

I just can't chase rainbows anymore, not if there isn't someone along the for the ride. Please let me know if you're out there.

Outtake #1: Break These Chains

"Grab a hold of me, I've got my arms up.
Pull me out from this darkness.
It's so hard for me to see so light up the end of that tunnel…"

"Engine 45" by The Ghost Inside

Like most children, Paul doesn't remember the day he was born. And, like most children, he hears stories of that night often as he's growing up. But, unlike mostly children, his mother does not smile or laugh or even shed happy tears in honor of the birth of her first and only child.

"Get the fuck out of bed. I'm not driving you to school." Her raspy smoker's voice snaps him awake, and he is instantly on edge. He hears the rustle of fabric, but waits for her to leave before he allows himself to breathe again.

His small sleepy eyes blink open, and his tummy rumbles. Clothes had been thrown in the general direction of his bed, but land somewhere on the bare floor. He wonders if there will be breakfast this morning.

But then he hears shouting coming from the kitchen and he knows there won't be. He sighs and hopes he can make it to lunchtime without feeling sick or dizzy.

His dirty feet hit the cold wooden floor, and he goes searching for his missing clothes. His shoulders slump as he realizes they are the same as the ones he wore yesterday. He picks them up, sniffs, and is surprised to find they have been washed. Paul knows that clean clothes are not something to take for granted.

He hears the sounds of footsteps in the hall way, and terrified she's coming back to yell at him again, he scrambles quickly into the threadbare garments. But this time, it's his father, and Paul can tell from his bleary, red eyes that he's already drunk. Paul loves his father, but even at 7, he knows that his father is weak. He is the only one able to leave when her screaming begins, and once alone, Paul always became her target. He had stopped hoping his father would save him from her a long time ago.

"Good morning, Pops," he says softly, hopefully, though he doesn't know why.

His father grunts, and then says, "The bitch won't take you to school, but I'm getting ready to leave for work. I'll drop you by the Uley's so you have someone to walk with, if you want."

Paul nods quickly. Sam's mom, Alison, is a nice lady. She usually gives him a piece of fruit to eat on mornings he walks with Sam. Sam's nice too, even though Paul can tell that he doesn't particularly enjoy having to walk to school with the little dirty kid that everyone else makes fun of. But he also realizes that Sam knows what it's like to have a father that spends more time drunk than sober, so Paul is grateful that the older boy quietly accepts him as a walking buddy.

He shoves his feet into shoes that are too small, and hastily follows his dad out the door, even as he hears his mother begin to shout again. "You better not come back drunk tonight, you piece of shit! And Paul!" He stops walking, but doesn't turn around. He trembles as he hears her open the door, and looks to his father for help. His father's back, and the resounding slam of the truck door, tell him that he'll receive none. "Get the fuck back in here, boy! I didn't tell you that you could leave yet!" The screen door snaps shut again, and his eyes fill with tears as he watches his father drive away.

He turns slowly around and makes his way back up the rickety stairs, each step slower than the last, until she screams again. "God damnit! Get the fuck in here!" He hears her huff and puff in annoyance. "Only thing worse than letting that fucker knock me up was letting my mama talk me out of that abortion! Shit, my life would be so much better without a sniveling brat like you following me around!"

The sound of glass breaking echoes inside, and he knows today will not be a good day to walk around the house barefoot. He checks the soles of his shoes for dirt; tracking mud inside would only add to her anger, give her another reason to punish him..

Paul closes his eyes, just once, before he walks back inside. His little lips move as he silently prays to have the strength to break the chains that hold him here, in this small house, where all the pain and sadness lives. He can't help but hope that the ancestors are listening, even though his father says that dead people can't hear, because he would do anything to be a son she would hug or kiss, to be a son she thought was worth loving.

More than anything, all Paul really wants is to be a good boy.


But the sound of another bottle hitting the wall reminds him that no one is listening. Today, he is all alone; no one will come to save him. With a sigh, Paul opens the door.

Much love to Call Me Mrs. Meraz for helping me make this version 10x better than the original.