"Mommy?" whimpered little Charlotte as she was swaddled in a silk blanket and laid in an empty crate.
"Shhhh, Charlie... everything's okay. Shhhh." Her mother soothed, and tenderly stroked her daughter's ruffly blonde hair.
The scared little girl began to cry softly. Her tears were wiped away and she was reassured a few more times that everything would be okay.
"Just stay here," instructed Charlotte's mother. "Please. And don't make a sound."
"Mommy..." whined the devastated child, aware of what was happening.
Just then, the roar of a gun could be heard not very far away. Charlotte's sobs switched to bawls as her mother glanced uneasily around. "I have to go." She stood to leave, but the little girl held a firm grip on her mom's velvet cloak.
"Don't leave!" screamed Charlotte, watching in disbelief as her mother pulled away from her. Charlie's strong grasp nearly tore the fabric, and she reached to yank it back.
But her mother was already running away. "No!" screeched the little girl, unwrapping the silk blanket and tumbling out of the crate. Her knees now bruised, Charlotte could hardly stand up. "Mommy! NO! NO!"
But it was too late. A trigger was pulled, and an exploding gunfire whisked straight through the woman's body. She toppled over and, clutching her chest, fell to the ground.
Charlotte's heart sank when she realized her mother would never come back.
Charlotte's fit attracted a few generals, who devised a plan to kidnap all the village children and force them to join their "group". These tough, powerful men towered over the helpless girl, grabbing her legs and then her arms. "NO! STOP!" howled Charlotte. And speaking of howls...
Stella lupus had just finished the nightly rituals of howling at the moon, and had been watching Charlotte's predicament. Oh no, thought Stella, suddenly concerned. She hastily peered around her surroundings to make sure no other werewolf was watching. Then she took off, bounding through the woods to reach the village. Her ringed moon charm necklace glistened in the moonlight.
Okay, simple idea, planned Stella as she made her way through a tricky thicket. Rescue girl, retrieve her special charm so she becomes part werewolf, introduces her to the other Weres, protect her whole life so she is never harmed again. Oh yeah, and brainwash so she forgets being captured and abandoned, and thinks she has been part of Circle Were her whole life.
The men began carrying Charlotte into the woods, back to her base. Charlotte wiggled and screamed as she watched in horror what was happening. Men of the rebellion set fire to her village, and everything was soon to be a pile of cinders and dying flames.
Suddenly, Stella pounced on the man who was lifting Charlotte's left leg. She did not bite him, but simply tackled him, and now it was the rebels' turns to yell. Charlotte began to cry again, for she thought the large wolf was oing to kill her. "Go away!" she hissed at it. "Don't hurt me! No! NO!"
Stella clamped down on the little girl's dress, dragging her into the woods as she sobbed and struggled. But the determined were did not let go.
The frightened men did not follow. They thought Stella was trying to harm Charlotte.
"STOP! LET ME GO!!" shouted the red-faced girl, pounding the ground with her fist.
Stella pulled her into a dark cave, releasing her. Then she nudged a brainwashing tonic into the light.
Should I run away? thought the little girl when she realized the wolf actually never hurt her. She stared warily at the tonic, then at Stella.
Then back at the tonic.
She hastily grabbed the bowl and lapped the liquid up.
The werewolf slipped away into the night to fetch Charlotte's charm. She would be staying with them, after all.
As Stella approached Kunachi Creek, it began to rain. The slow, steady pitter-patters quickly transformed into raging splats. Stella knew Charlotte's Circle Were name now.
She began the traditional chant:
The lake flickered with a flaming wisp as Charlotte's new Were Symbol, a raindrop, gathered in the sky and landed in her paws.
This all happened 70 years ago. Charlotte now knows nothing about her dark past, and is 120 years old, or 12 in human years.