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Cascade Hills 14: To protect that little bit of balance we have

-Cascade Hills High-

Cascade Hill High was filled with hurried whispers and hushed voices. The look on everyone’s faces was the same, scandalous with a mix of concern. Alex was sliding through the crowd, a mix of confusion and concern on his face.


Kristen, Nathan, Katherine, and Kyle all turned to him as he arrived. Kristen however appeared clearly exhausted.

“Hey Alex..” Katherine said, still giving Kristen concerned looks to which she waved off.

“What the hell is going on, everyone looks like-” Alex asked as he looked around the hall.

“Someone died.” Kristen finished, an eyebrow raised and a deep frown on her face.

“Uhh yeah? Did someone…?” Alex trailed off as he looked over the group.

No, no one died. But late last night, we got a call about a missing person.” Kristen said was a frown, her arms crossed over her chest.

“Who?” Katherine asked, a frown on her face.

“It was Quin, one of Sam’s little entourage. Found him deep in the forest, half of his body badly burned. He was taken to the hospital a few hours ago, and is stable now.”

“Damn” Alex whispered.

Nathan and Katherine shared a small glance. Katherine could practically feel that there was more to Kristen’s story but would wait until after school to truly get into it.

“Does anyone know who did it?”

“No, hell Quin doesn’t even know how he got there.” Kristen said with a shake of her head.

“Sam isn’t going to be happy…” Kyle, who had been silently observing, mumbled.

Everyone looked at him in confusion.

“Isn’t the game vs Mountain Oak Academy at the end of this week?”

Everyone let out a groan at that statement.

“Ugh, now he’ll be even more of a dick. Great just what the world needs.” Katherine sighed, shaking her head.

“Forget about Sam, he and his douchiness can deal. What about Quin? Where did they find him exactly? Was he positioned any particular way?” Alex fired off question after question at Kristen.

Kristen’s eyebrows shot up as she looked at Alex who was more than interested in her answers. Katherine on the other hand was just shaking her head.

“Alex you know I can’t discuss police information like that..”

“Oh come on Kris!”

The sound of the bell ringing loudly interrupted their conversation. Kristen just shrugged as she walked off to class. Everyone else soon followed, Nathan gave Alex a pity pat on the back seeing how dejected he looked. Alex soon followed as well, a pout heavy on his lips. Classes seemed to drift by, no teachers seemed to mention Quin. However the students were all whispering about it, Quin was one of the more popular kids and on the football team at that. Whoever did this to him had to be strong that was apparent. Sam was like a prowling wolf, angry and eyeing everyone. Everyone knew Sam was pissed and knew vaguely about what happened to Quin.

This however was put quickly put in the back burner as today was the day of the presentation for Ms. Haynes’s group project. The class was buzzing with whispers about what had happened this morning to which Haynes immediately cut down so as to get control back in the class.

“Alright everyone, I hope you are all ready to present. I will be starting based on my list so come up to the front when it is your turn.” She said with a look scanning over the class.

Katherine was eager to present since besides her … lifestyle change.. this was something she and Nathan had been working hard on. But as she sat in the class, something felt weird. Something deep within her felt unnerved though she could quite pinpoint what it was. As the first group went up and started their presentation she couldn’t help but zone out as her eyes darted around the class.

Whatever it was that was sending her senses into a craze was in the room. That much was for sure as time went on. She did her best to not make it obvious but she could stop the small tapping of her leg.

Her eyes suddenly land on Dominick which honestly surprised her considering that the two didn’t really ever interact. As if feeling her gaze on him, he turns back to her almost instantly.

And then suddenly the feeling increases tenfold.

She had to do everything in her soul to stop an unconscious growl from rumbling out of her mouth.

What the hell is happening to me?’ She thought frantically as her eyes widened in shock at her reaction.

Dominick almost looks curious at her, his pale blue eyes looking her up and down in not a pleasant manner. She could have sworn that she could see red bleeding into them but the room was too dark to be sure. He frowns as his gaze turns cold and he almost mentally is warning her.

She had to force her head back to turn her gaze but that didn’t stop the feeling. It was almost like a fight or flight feeling, everything in her body wanted to leap at him. She felt more eyes on her and turned to look at Curtis, Dominick’s brother. And god did that make it worse.

It wasn’t overwhelming just yet, she was just able to keep a lid on herself but it was a near thing! She felt her nails (fortunately still human nails) dig into the desk before her a bit as she took measured breaths to keep calm.

‘I’m in control….I’m in control…!!’ She thinks in her head like a mantra.

A hand closes over her clenched-up ones and almost immediately a wave of calm comes over her like cold water being dumped over roaring flames. She lets out a shaky gasp which thankfully was low enough not to be heard over the presenters. She looks over to see Nathan who is giving her a sympathetic look. The feeling she’s getting she realizes is coming from the pack bond. It’s all a rather weird kind of out-of-body experience where an outside warmth seems to hug her heart and soothe her mind. She slowly calms down. She feels eyes on her but not from the direction of the brother but from her right. She turns to see Kristen give her a side glance just out of the corner of her eye. Her expression isn’t one of aggression or suspicion, just a neutral look of curiosity and a bit of concern.

Katherine just gives her a short nod before turning her head forward once again tuning back into the class and presentations. Seeing that she was once again calm, Nathan turned back as well to continue paying attention. The class passes without issue, and the weird itch she felt due to the Williams brothers does flare up a bit once when they stand in the front for their presentation but the feeling was nothing close to what she had felt before and was easily ignored. She was still a bit nervous about presenting but was proven wrong as she and Nathan’s presentation came and goes by without issue. The class soon ends, and with even more luck, Ms. Haynes doesn’t assign homework!

“Thank god! Finally, that presentation is over, and no homework? Ah, good fortune had finally fallen on me.” Alex said with a show waving his hands above his head outside of the class.

Katherine, Nathan, and Kristen were looking at him with a mix of amused expressions at his theatrics. Katherine sneaks a glance at both Kristen and Nathan. Each responds with a obvious ‘not now’ expression to which she gives a stubble nod too.


The group turns to see Curtis and his brother Dominick just exiting the classroom. Katherine almost immediately averts her eyes at the rather pointed look Curtis has on her. His stare is intense and there is a strange weight to his gaze. Kristen gives both of them a neutral expression but it’s very obvious to anyone that there was a hidden hint of coldness there. There is a moment of tension as there is a stare-off between the two. However, as quickly as it came it tapered off as Curtis turned his eyes to Katherine and gave her a nod of acknowledgment before turning and walking off. Dominick is quick to follow after his brother only gives the group a passing glance.

Tension quickly bleed from the group as the two brothers disappeared down the hall.

“What was that all about?” Alex asked the rest of his group with a confused frown.

His friends all gave non-committal shrugs as a way to show that they were unsure but between the three it was rather obvious what had just happened. Katherine sneakily gives Kristen and Nathan a look, questions coiling in her expression. She isn’t surprised when the both of them shake their head as if to signal ‘not now’.

The rest of the school day proceeds as normal as possible. Everyone seems to be keeping a wide berth on Sam all day seeing as he was being especially rude. After school, Katherine found herself at Nathan’s place, with Kristen. It was almost a tough one as Alex usually comes over to her house after school and hadn’t recently due to the project they had from school. Fortunately, he apparently has a new tv show obsession that he watches and rushes home with a quick goodbye to the group. This is normal behavior for him so neither Kristen nor Katherine questioned it.

“So I imagine you have questions?” Kristen says taking a sip of her drink that Ms Foster prepared for them.

“Quite a few, if I’m being honest.” Katherine said with an almost nervous energy.

In the living room, it was Katherine and Nathan on one couch while Kristen was opposite them. Ms. Foster (after supplying snacks and drinks) was sitting parallel to them with baby Irene in her lap.

“Hmm well I’m sure Nathan can better explain what happened in class today but I can answer any other questions you may have.” Kristen said throwing Nathan a look.

“Oh yeah, so remember how Kristen was explaining that there are other creatures right?”

“Yeah..?” Katherine says, remembering the conversation from a few weeks ago.

“Well, the Williams is one such creature. They are vampires and a werewolf’s natural enemy.” Nathan said with a bit of an unhappy huff at the end of his sentence.

Both of Katherine’s eyebrows shoot upward as she takes in that information. In some senses, it wasn’t that crazy if she just thought of all this as natural. The Williams was always a bit of an oddity to her growing up. Nothing to this degree mind you but they were definitely odd. However, her brain suddenly latches onto something as her expression twists to one of confusion.

“W-wait a minute. Mr. Williams is a doctor there… he works sometimes with Alex’s dad..? Is that a bit..?”

Kristen lets out a small laugh as she seems to understand where Katherine’s line of thinking is going.

“I get where you are coming from. Mr. Williams is very old, one of the oldest vampires I’ve ever met. As hunters, we identify him as an elder vampire. Vampire’s aren’t normally known to live long lives due to their adversity to the sun. A freshly turned vamp would burn up in under an hour. However what we’ve found is that the longer a vampire has time to age, the less adverse they are to the sun.” Kristen explains.

Katherine has a moment where she wants to ask about how Kristen’s people found that out but decides not to question it. Something about the way she explained that didn’t give her a good feeling.

“That’s how he’s able to be on in the sun. He doesn’t go out often from what I understand.”

Katherine nods, she hadn’t really had much interaction with the older man. Only really a few times when growing up where she had to go to the hospital for checkups or something. She’s seen him around the place whenever she would go.

“But wait, we’ve seen Dominick, Rose, and Curtis eat normal food. Like chicken and stuff? How does that even work? Aren’t vampires reliant on blood?” Katherine asks.

“That is true for normal vampires however those three are different. Their mother is human you see.”

Katherine feels her brain suddenly stall a bit of that information.

“W-wait what?!”

“Yeah, female vampires can’t have children but humans can. Which means her children are half vampire and half human. We call them ‘Dhampir’.”

Katherine sits back as she racks her brain over that information. She’s heard of the term before since she does happen to be a lover of fantasy novels. Though novels are one thing where there were many opposing concepts to what such a creature can do.

“So they can eat normal food and walk in the sun with no issue?” Katherine says.

“So you’ve heard of them? Yes, that is some of their abilities.” Kristen said with a nod,

“Can they turn other people? In-into a vampire I mean?” Katherine asks a bit nervously.

Kristen lets out a small laugh before shaking her head.

“No, that’s one thing that sets them apart from normal vampires. They don’t have the ability to turn others. However, they do have the ability to have children.”

Katherine’s mouth dropped open with shock. She looks over to both Nathan and Ms Foster but neither seems surprised at all at this information.

“T-this isn’t news to you at all huh?” She said to both of them.

“The supernatural world has been around for a very long time Katherine. It’s evolved well from the early years. With growing technology, this kind of information is much easier to share even if no one really knows if it is true.”

“But how do you keep this kind of stuff secret? Like honestly this is alot.” Katherine said feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the information she had taken in.

“Well, it’s been kind of a going tradition for hunters to keep the supernatural world separate from the normal one. Given how society tends to act it was really the only way to keep the peace. Only very rarely selected humans have inside knowledge of what goes bump in the night.” Kristen said with an almost casual shrug of her shoulders.

“Hunters being the primary I’m sure? Wait, then it’s okay for you to be telling me all this right? Like I’m a part of well I guess the night now?” Katherine asks.

“Correct, you are a part of this. So getting as much information as possible is better than anything.”

Katherine nods to that before slowly a sudden realization comes over her face.

“W-wait, that means I can’t tell Alex?!” She said almost in a panic as she looked between the three.

Kristen gives her an ‘obviously’ look while Nathan and Karen give her apologetic looks. Katherine has never been a great liar, that was something she left to Alex. Meanwhile, Alex is deviously stubborn when he knows something is up.

“I told you this before Katherine, why are you so surprised now?” Kristen said.

“Kristen, you know how bad I am about making excuses!?” Katherine said in a panic.

“Well I mean you’ve been doing well so far?”

“Yeah, ‘cause you were playing along! You know how Alex is!” Katherine whines a bit.

Kristen let out a small laugh as she looked back at her friend with an almost pitiful expression.

“Sorry Kat, it is the rules.”

At hearing that statement Katherine perks up a bit.

“Seriously? Rules from who?”

“Council Rules.” Kristen responded, her expression turning serious with the subject change.

Katherine looks from her to Nathan and Karen who also had rather serious expressions on their face at the mention of this ‘council’.

“Okay.. I’ll bite, what is this council?”

Kristen leans back a bit in her chair as she takes on a thoughtful look.

“Think of the council as a board of directives. They decide and dictate how the town interacts with every supernatural creature. Each creature that is introduced or discovered by a member of the council is then put to a vote about how to deal with them.”

“Wait, I thought that was what your dad did?”

“Technically you are correct about that. My dad is a council member, being the police force here, If there are aggressive or violent creatures roaming around, they will have the authorization to neutralize the target.” Kristen says in a rather stoic tone.

Katherine couldn’t help but think back to her time being tested and a small shiver went down her spine.

“In your case, for instance, it was rather the opposite. Even though it seemed like you were going to be harmed or killed, that wasn’t the case.”

Nathan and Katherine looked shocked at that declaration.

“Wh-what? But then what was the three-week deadline for?”

There is a pause where Kristen seems to weigh her words before she lets out a sigh.

“It was how long we were going to give the pack here to get you under control before we took over.”

Something cold sunk into her stomach as she looked back at her friend.

“W-what does that mean?”

Kristen looks back her conflicted like she doesn’t really want to tell her and whatever she’s about to say is going to change their friendship.

“…We would have trained you ourselves.”

Something about the way she said trained made Katherine think that nothing about it would have been nearly as comfortable.

“What the hell does that mean?! You were just going to kidnap her and then what!?” Nathan yelled, glaring at Kristen.

Kristen was rather quick to throw a withering glare back at him.

“What would you have me do? Let her go berserk? Attack her mother by chance? Or even Alex?! In case you forgot, you were the reason she was turned!!?” Kristen yells back, a heated anger boiling in her eyes.

A cold chill shot through Katherine at the insinuation that Kristen made. It was all very possible if she didn’t get control. Things were quickly sparing out of control as both Katherine and Karen were trying to get the two to calm down.

“Nathan, that’s enough!” Karen said sternly.

“What would you have me do? She was going to die?! That wendigo wouldn’t have even been there if you hunters had killed it weeks ago!”

“Are you seriously blaming us?!”

“Guys, please, it’s okay!” Katherine yells over the two.

There was tense silence that rolled in the air before easing out. Kristen turns away from the group, her eyes staring absently into the distance.

“… It’s not about what I want or even what you want. A feral werewolf is violent and capable of lots of damage. We would have had no choice if Eric didn’t take care of it.” She says numbly.

Katherine almost wanted to ask exactly how they had ‘trained’ her but chose not to think about it. While yes, it was a terrifying prospect to be taken against her will, she did understand the reason why. If she was someone else, someone with dark intentions, the power she has even as a practically newborn supernatural would be enough to cause significant damage. If she blew up on her mom or Alex, she …she would never forgive herself if she hurt them.

“…I understand.”

Her admission pulled mixed expressions from the room. Nathan looked angry, whether it was due to her admitting to seeing the Hunters’s side of the story or not, she was not quite sure. Karen is understanding, given how long she’s lived it would make sense. She’s probably experienced more than her fair share of ugly situations like this, having to make a hard choice is sometimes needed. Kristen looked almost like she knew this was how Katherine was going to think. A small smile on her face even though there was an almost sad melancholy on her face.

“I don’t expect everyone to agree with our methods but it’s how this town has been able to keep itself from imploding from the inside. To protect that little bit of balance we have.”

Putting it into thought in that manner made Katherine’s worry about Alex feel rather small. She knows it would seem easy but it was 100% better than dragging him into this world. And honestly so far not much has changed overall. Thing will continue like always with just some small additional pieces is how she summed it up.

“…Tell me more Kris..”

Kristen looks at her like she subconsciously or telepathically felt the shift in Katherine. Her previous smile returns a bit brighter and her expression looks peaceful.


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