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Cascade Hills 07: Oh, you are, which means I can give you the harsh truth

Cascade Hills

-Cascade Hills High-

The next few days were different for Katherine. It was like a fog had been lifted and a weight which has been heavily on her was gone. Kristen and Alex couldn’t help but notice her rather usually chipper attitude change.

“Um, Kat?”

“Hmm?” Katherine turned with a smile.

It was lunchtime at this point and by now Alex was reasonably worried about his friend. It’s not that Katherine wasn’t a generally happy person, but this was overkill.

“Well… I don’t mean to you know to be that guy but uhh. Did anything special happen?”

“What do you mean?” Katherine asks confused.

Kristen remained quiet and continued to eat as Alex tried his best to navigate through this ever-growing awkward conversation.

“Well it’s just you’ve been… let’s say ‘excitable’ for the past few days. Anything you want to share with the class?”

“Alex, I don’t know what you are talking about? I mean, can’t I just be having a good day.”

“Of course you can! Obviously! But um, it’s just that it’s been a few days and I’m a bit hurt.”

“Hurt? About what? Alex, I feel fine!” Katherine said, her voice taking on a confrontational tone.

“I’m just saying if you know something happened.. you know with someone. At someone’s house, I think you should feel comfortable to tell your best friends.” Alex trails off.

It didn’t take long for both Katherine and Kristen to get at what Alex was insinuating. Kristen turns and lets out a poorly masked laugh which then transforms into a coughing fit. Katherine on the other hand couldn’t believe her ears. Her face could pass for a cherry with how red it had gotten. She couldn’t even catch herself to speak for a few minutes.

“Oh my god, Alex please, please tell me you are joking.” Katherine said with her head in her hands.

“I’m just saying Kat! I think it’s great that you and Nathan are doing so well!”

“It’s not that Alex, nothing happened. I’ve been just having a good week. That’s all!” Katherine emphasizes with a glare at Alex.

“Okay, sorry. It just you are overly chipper and I just thought-”

“That Nathan and I had sex?!” Katherine hissed out in a whisper.

Alex was about to respond however his eye drifted behind Katherine and his face paled ever so slightly. Kristen who has been choking between laughs next to him also looks a bit off as well. Katherine was about to yell at Alex but then slowly closed her eyes and let out a deep sigh.

“….He’s right behind me isn’t he?”

Both Kristen and Alex smile sheepishly and nod. Katherine turns to see Nathan who looked reasonably uncomfortable given what he more than likely overheard.

“I’m guessing you heard all of that huh?”

“Actually just the tale end bit.” Nathan says with a pinched look.

“Sorry, Alex has a quite literally no brain-to-mouth filter.” Katherine said with a smile.

Nathan let out a chuckle and nodded.

“Well, I was just coming over to let you know that unfortunately, we won’t be able to meet today for the project. I have a few things that I need to take care of.”

“Oh, okay that’s fine then! Thanks for letting me know.” Katherine replied with a smile.

It was obviously Katherine was disappointed by the news however she did understand. With that said Nathan returns back to his table and the trio continues their conversation. Lunch ended soon after that and the trio went to their next period, gym.

“Alright guys, as you all know today I have planned a small relay!” PE Teacher Mr. McCarthy calls out over his students with a gleeful smile.

The class is dead silent with a healthy mix of disgruntled and annoyed faces. That is except Katherine, who was stretching rather animatedly and happily. Alex and Kristen were now staring at her as if she had grown another head. It was common knowledge among the three that Katherine doesn’t just hate gym period, she detests it.

“What are you doing?” Alex hissed out in a whisper.

“Huh? What do you mean? I’m stretching for the race.” Katherine asks, giving Alex a bewildered look.

Stretching-?! Okay, there is something wrong with you, Kat.” Alex said now turning to her completely, as his gaze turned accusative.

“Alex, for the last time, I AM FINE! For once since everything has been going on, I am feeling better! More than better in fact!”


“Alex, Katherine! So nice of you two to volunteer for the first race.”

Both Katherine and Alex turn to see the rest of the class looking directly at them, their teacher included. They turn to each other quickly, Alex has a less than excited look but Kat seems eager, something Alex has only seen when she is working on homework or even solving some chem problem. She is weird like that.

It was unnerving, to say the least.

Alex and her however prepared for their race. Alex was known to be a good runner, or at least better than Katherine by far so while they were getting ready, he pulled her to talk quickly.

“So remember Kat, don’t strain yourself off the start. Running isn’t always about speed, it’s more to do with endurance.” He said to her.

It was obvious he was still a bit worried about her even though the incident. Given how flip-floppy she has been acting as of last, he really didn’t want to take any chances.

“Yes, yes, okay mom. I’ll make sure not to fall and get a bo-bo.” She said with a playful smile.

Alex couldn’t help the laugh that tumbled from his mouth. He has to admit that no matter what even when he knows she is annoyed with him, Katherine truly understands Alex. He just nods and jogs over to the starting line. Now with both of them in position, their gym teacher looks between them with a stopwatch in hand.

“Alright…. GO!”

At his command, Alex took off sprinting. If there was one thing he did love to show was his ability to run, it made him rather proud growing up with his dad. He used to run beforehand for his middle school but there was no track here. He turned his head to see how Katherine was holding up but was shocked in an instant. She was.. fast completely unlike how she usually was. She easily overtook him and was putting space between them by the second.

While her speed wasn’t overly crazy, the endurance she showed wasn’t normal for her. Alex was sure everyone else in the class was also looking on in shock as she sprinted down the track.

Not stopping or even slowing down at all until she reached the end.

She stops suddenly and turns with a big smile on her face even punching the air in victory. Their teacher was so shocked that he had forgotten to call the time until one of the other students tapped him on the shoulder.

“O-oh uh, great time you two..” Couch Wild said with a positively perplexed look on his face as he called both of them back to the rest.

Alex couldn’t help his staring as he and Katherin walked back to the rest of the class. Some in the class were given congrats to Katherine after her rather impressive display. Kristen was looking at Katherine with a rather strange look that he was sure his face mirrored in a sense.

“Well, well that was… different?” Kristen said as they both stopped before her.

Katherine looked happy, a bit out of breath but still seemingly ready to go. Kristen was still analyzing her like a scientist to a unique specimen. It was also something Alex noticed which has been happening more and more as of late.

“I know right?! I mean I don’t even feel tired!!” She said positively giddy.

A weird feeling of something was gnawing at Alex just from the corners of his mind. But seeing her so happy and excited made him hold his tongue. However, his eyes then drift back to Kristen and that happy feeling turns sour. Kristen’s expression looks dark but it’s only on her face for a few seconds before she molds into a neutral look as if she knew Alex was watching her. He wanted to ask her what was wrong but could as the Couch Wild called up the next group.

Class passes by from there normally. But the feeling that something is changing stays.

The ending bell rings loudly to signal the day’s end. Alex throws his hands up after running outside, fully stretching his body out.

“Ahh.. thank god it’s the end of the day~” He said with a smile on his face.

“You always do this Alex, school is not that bad.” Katherine said with an amused look on her face.

“Kat, I’m almost 100% sure that you are one of the few kids to ever say that. And that is why I love you.” Alex says with a playful smirk on his face as he looks over at her.

She just rolls her eyes at his antics. However, both of them turn to the oddly quiet Kristen who ever since gym class has been acting off. She keeps throwing glances at Katherine and then getting really quiet.

“Kris you alright? Feeling sick or something?” Katherine asks her.

“Huh? Oh no, I’m fine just got something on my mind…” Kristen said still a bit distracted.

Just as they are about to ask her something else, Kristen’s phone goes off. She’s quick to answer, an almost fearful look flashes on her face as she looks at who is calling. This makes both Alex and Katherine frown. It was gone in a flash but her face remained a bit pale.

“Y-yes? Dad? I just got out yeah why-.” Kristen suddenly stops.

Her eyes dart to Katherine for a second. Her gaze quickly darts down and then she turns away from them talking a bit lower.

“What was that look for?” Katherine whispers to Alex.

Alex just shrugs as he really doesn’t know why Kristen has such a haunted look on her face. She walked away for a bit while she was talking though she kept glancing back at them. She spoke in a low tone and her expression seemed to darken the longer to call went on. After about 10 or so minutes she finally ended the call. Both Alex and Katherine were looking at her expectingly.

“Ah, sorry about that guys. My dad was just letting me know about an incident that happened and just wanted to make sure we were careful on our way home.” She said with a smile.

While her words seemed sincere, both Alex and Katherine couldn’t help but feel like something was off. Given the rather haunted look she had on before and how dark her expression was before, it made sense that she was holding back information.

“Kris.. are you sure everything is okay? You looked really freaked out before?” Katherine said with a worried frown.

“Yeah, everything is fine. I just.. it has just been a bit of a tiring few days is all. Dad has been kind of on me about me getting ready to enter the force after school and all.”

Alex and Katherine look at each other before turning back to Kristen with smiles on their faces. They didn’t fully believe her, but since she appeared okay they didn’t want to push it further. It was common knowledge that Kristen was the daughter of the Cascade Hill police sheriff and that her brother was also an officer as well. It tended to make their classmate a bit weary of her and given Kristen’s rather stoic personality, it didn’t make things any better.

“I gotta go, so I’ll see you guys!” Kristen said as she parted with them.

Alex and Katherine waved her off as she went in the opposite direction.

“… So you totally didn’t believe that right?” Alex said after a beat of silence.

“Of course not.” Katherine said looking back at him.

“I mean I get Kris has always been a bit mysterious and stuff. But she knows she can tell us stuff right?” Alex said with a small pout.

“Well, not sure about you but I’m very trustworthy.” Katherine said with a teasing smile on her face.

Alex turned to her with an absolutely scandalous look, hand over his heart as if her comment physically hurt.

“Ouch, you wound me, Kat. And here I thought I was your bestie.”

She let out a laugh at his overly dramatic antics.

“Oh, you are, which means I can give you the harsh truth.”

Alex let out a good-hearted laugh before giving Kat a playful shove. They continue on their walk home. Alex lives about a street over from Katherine which is not too far from the school so they usually walk home unless the weather is bad.

“Can I ask you something Kat?”

Katherine turned from walking up to her door. The serious expression on Alex’s face gave her pause as she wasn’t expecting it.

“You can.. but that look on your face has me a bit worried.” She said with a tilt of her head.

“It’s just.. you would tell me if there.. was something wrong right?”

It was an odd question that made Katherine tilt her head a bit further in confusion. She and Alex practically grew up like siblings. The “dynamic duo” her mother would call them especially when they were in trouble. Katherine wasn’t a good liar and she hated keeping things from Alex especially.

“Of course, I would Alex..?” She said a bit perplexed.

Alex looks like he wants to say something else but chooses not to. The serious expression on his face fades away and his usual smile comes back.

“Sorry, it’s a stupid question. See you tomorrow Kat!” He said with a wave before jogging off.

Katherine just waved back her friend still confused by the weirdness of today. But soon she enters her house. After unwinding, and finishing her hw for the day, she gets ready for bed. Again, just as the night before, as soon as her body touches her bed, exhaustion comes over her. It is sudden and a bit jarring, she’s asleep before she even realizes.

Her dreams are filled once again with movement, a forest, and bushes. This time it was a bit clearer than before. She was closer to the ground, but it felt again like an out-of-body experience like she was watching a movie of some sort.

The sounds and sights that could be seen didn’t look familiar, which isn’t all that strange considering outside of Cascade Hills she lived in an inner city. And she never went into the forest of Cascade Hills, it just.. never felt right.

Like her subconscious mind was warning her away.

The dream continues, at some point, her vision stops at a lake. It then peaks over to look down at the lake and she is shocked to see a creature staring back at her. At first glance, she thought it was a dog, but she was quickly corrected as she took in the actual size of it.

It was a wolf…

But this wolf was at least the size of a bear.

Her dream ends almost immediately, her eyes shoot open.


Her body for whatever reason feels sore, like she had exercised until she dropped the day before. And there was a small breeze brushing over her body. Katherine rolls over to look at her window which is open wide. She swore that she didn’t open it last night before bed but can’t quite trust her memory as she was so tired when she did fall asleep.

“..Did I get hot or something?” She mumbled to herself as she pulled it close.

However, the weirdness didn’t end just there. For the rest of the week, everything felt off. Sound and smells would randomly amplify through the day, making Katherine look crazy as she jumped from noises that were from the other end of a hallway. Kristen was looking at her each day with increasing concern and it made Katherine’s skin crawl for some reason. Alex kept asking her to go to the nurse or even the doctors thinking the absolute worst but Katherine refused since it wasn’t happening an overwhelming amount of times.

She just figured with what she had gone through her body was just out of it. And the other thing was going back to Ms. Hughes was practically a nightmare. Where normally she is pleasantly relaxed there, but now her body feels like it’s going into overdrive at each moment.

Like something deep-seated fear is creeping up on her.

And Ms. Hughes notices it for sure, even though she doesn’t comment on how completely unnaturally Katherine is acting.

In some sense, it was a blessing when the weekend finally came.

She was over at Nathan’s, trying to get a bit of work done since she hadn’t been over for a while. But it would seem her struggling sleeplessness was finally catching up with her.

“Kat, are you alright?”

She almost leaps out of her skin at hearing Nathan’s voice calling to her. She jerked over to look at him, her body was protesting from wanting to rest. She must have fallen asleep only for a second cause she still had her laptop on her lap and a few open books on Cascade Hill history around her on the couch.

Nathan had a frown on his face as he seemed to look her over. Katherine was too tired to even be nervous as she gave him a weak smile.

“Y-yeah I’m alright.”

He gives her a look that clearly tells her that he doesn’t believe her at all. And honestly, she wouldn’t be surprised cause she’s pretty sure it shows on her face. She lets out a sigh as she knows her mother has been warning her since yesterday that if she didn’t get better, she was taking her to the hospital again.

“Ugh.. okay no I’m sorry. I- I’ve been having a rough time sleeping I guess..” She said, rubbing her hands over her face.

“Why don’t you take an actual nap then?” Nathan suggests as he starts to take the books around her and place them on the coffee table in front of her.

“Ah well, we should really work on the project right?” She said, not even with her normal sense of stubbornness for doing homework early.

Maybe she was more tired than she thought.

Nathan throws her a look, the frown on his face deepening a bit.

“As impressed as I am by your tenacity in getting work done. If you pass out while doing it, the result is the same. And not to be funny but you look like you’re about to pass out.” Nathan said, now also taking her laptop and placing it next to the books.

Katherine wanted to protest but it died in her throat as Nathan brought over a blanket for her. He gently places it over her and tucks her in. If Katherine was more aware of this, her heart would be pounding and she’s pretty sure she would have just combusted into nonexistence. Nathan was courteous and gentle with her, making sure she was comfortable.

“Rest up Kat. I’ll wake you before long..” He said with a smile.

She wanted to give her thanks or even try to protest but her eyes were already dropping before he placed the blanket on her. As soon as it was placed however she quickly went out like a light and welcomed the bliss of sleep.

And so her dream began again.

The sounds of the forest were a bit different this time, louder with more noise. It was morning or at least mid-day this time. The forest was the same but for some reason, something about it now was almost distantly familiar. Not like she had gone through it per se but that she had seen it somewhere.

There was something new this time, however. A smell that reminded her of cinnamon, wet grass, and something else. Something familiar and warm. It was an odd sensation to describe since the scent wasn’t close but it was moving.

Suddenly there is an eruption of noise behind her and she turns. There behind her was another wolf but a bit larger than the one she had seen before. The fur is black that has a bit of a brownish hue in the light. The eyes are a light brown almost golden in some lights. The wolf looks towards her, but for some reason, her vision is on the same level.

Katherine..” A familiar voice calls out to her.

That was surely Nathan’s voice, Katherine was absolutely sure of that.

Her dream suddenly shifts a bit and her vision darkens. There’s a flash of pain that’s over just as she opens her eyes again. She finds herself lying flat on the ground, a cold wind brushes past her and she quickly realizes she’s utterly naked. She quickly wraps her arm around herself and looks around frantically.

So it seems she’s finally returned.” A voice calls out that is vaguely familiar.

Her head snaps around to see Nathan and a wolf. This wolf isn’t like the one she saw in her dream, it is much bigger. Dark colored fur and dark brown eyes that bleed red around the edges. Something deep within her recoiled back in fear, like a rabbit staring down a pack of hungry predators.


Her fearful gaze snaps back to Nathan which seems to break the crushing fear coiling in her gut. The pressure of the wolf’s gaze was still there but now looking at Nathan seem to give her back some of her senses. Then the full weight of her situation poured in.

She was currently fully naked in front of her crush.

The absolute burst of panic and embarrassment stifled her as she let out a yell before turning away from Nathan. She could hear him stuttering behind her as it would seem the situation also clicked back with him.

“Ah, crap sorry Katherine…”

A low grumbling chuckle echoed out behind her.

Seriously? Now you two are concerned about modesty… Kids

Katherine peaks a bit to see behind her, her eyes bugging out as she looks over at the wolf that just talked.

‘I-I must be still dreaming…’ She thinks to herself because that would be the only explanation for everything that was currently going on.

The wolf that still was giving her bad vibes was lying down rather casually and just looking between Katherine and Nathan with a positively unimpressed look. Nathan gives the wolf a look before turning back so he is not facing Katherine again.

“Um I have clothes for you Katherine so I’m going to throw them over okay?”

Seeing as he wasn’t turned towards her she mumbled out a confirmation. She is actually surprised he heard her given how low she was speaking. Her mind was beginning to rush now that it had been a few moments. Her thoughts jumped from how she even got here to why and how there was a giant wolf here. How the hell was it talking?! A close follow-up was why Nathan is so calm and then the list just goes on seemingly endlessly.

But for the moment she focuses solely on getting dressed at least to preserve her sanity in some way.

Once dressed, she turns to Nathan and the wolf. Her gaze was trying to stay on Nathan but kept darting to the wolf looming by.

“…Ok um I know all of this is really hard to follow but you are a werewolf.” Nathan said with a stormy expression on her face.

There was a beat of silence that stretched on awkwardly. Katherine just looks back at him like a deer caught in the headlight, utter blank of all thought.

“Now I’m sure I’m dreaming still…” Katherine suddenly says as she looks directly at the wolf.

She even nods to herself as if confirming her own theory.

“Yeah, that gotta be it. I totally didn’t just embarrass myself and there was a talking wolf.”

Nathan looks like he wants to say something but is cut off by the return of the talking wolf.

You’re not dreaming, runt

Katherine turns to look at the wolf again. It almost looks annoyed (can a wolf look annoyed??) and is looking back at her.

Lover boy here turned you into a werewolf it would seem…” The wolf says with an accusative tone.

Nathan’s face clouds over with guilt as his eyes fall to the ground in shame. Katherine however is stunned completely. For a moment there are no thoughts going through her head, a loud white noise burns just beyond her senses. And then it’s suddenly all-consuming as white noise before suddenly and rather poetically her world goes dark.

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