April Discovers a Secret
By Marguerite Gibson
By Marguerite Gibson
I bounded up the Divine Family’s front path, leapt across the porch, rapt impatiently on the door and hopped in discomfit as Jude took his sweet old time to answer it. Gazing vacantly around the yard, I reflected on how this meeting had all started, a few hours ago, over lunch.
I tapped my foot in triple time as Jude lingered in line with our lunch, chatting to a friend, taking his time as I wasted away. When he arrived at the table he would find an emancipated corpse if he didn’t hurry it up. I started tapping my chin and foot at the same time, building up an impressive tempo. Finally, though, Jude joined me. Sliding my salad sandwich over, we ate in silence for some time, or to put it another way, if he had spoken to me I was too busy eating my lunch to notice or participate.
“April,” he started. I stared up from the last quarter of sandwich, “I need to talk to you about something important.”
“Sure, talk away.” I lifted the final sandwich sliver to my lips and chewed slowly.
“I can’t talk here,” Jude said, gazing surreptitiously over each shoulder.
“Okay,” I began slowly, “Where would you like to talk?”
“Come over to my place tonight, around six, if that’s alright?” Then he hits me with his intense stare – or puppy eyes as I liked to call them. How could I say no to those eyes?
“Certainly, I’ll be there at six.” Surprisingly he started to stand. Startled I ask,
“Hey, where are you going?” my hand reaching toward him.
“I’ll see you then,” he called over his shoulder as he walked away. I slumped back into my chair and sighed, I ripped open my chocolate bar; he had been acting so weird lately.
The door swung open, revealing a grave faced Jude. I summoned my brightest smile, encouraging him to emerge from his somber mood, and swaggered inside.
“Hey,” I called back to him, the door thudding as he closed it with more vigor than necessary.
“Hey, you’re here.” He stayed stuck to the floorboards, hands lodged deep within his pockets.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” He studied the floor intently instead of answering.
“Come into the study.” Leading me along the hallway, I gasped with wonder as we both stepped inside. It was a beautiful room, a truly tranquil place, though Jude seemed more agitated than peaceful. Clearing his throat to pull me from my reverie and taking a seat by the desk, strewn with ancient looking books in strange languages, he gestured for me to sit down nearby. I fidgeted awkwardly as he clasped his fingers repeatedly.
“April, I really don’t know how to put this gently.” Oh, no! he was dumping me. “I really need to tell someone, I’m scared,” and he looked scared. Exhaling, he continued “I’m going to put this simply,” I waited and braced myself “April, I’m an Urbat.” I blinked a few times, whoa, where did this come from?
“A what?” I asked perplexed.
“Werewolf, as it is more commonly known.” he clarifies.
“Oh,” I said slowly, trying to come across as calm and collected. He started rattling on about the myths, explaining it all to me, making sure I understood. I nodded in the key points, growing numb with shock. Suddenly, he fell silent, waiting for my reply.
“How did this happen?” I wondered aloud.
“I was bitten.” he said calmly, though I saw the anger flash through his eyes.
“By who?” I whisper, my skin tingling with dread.
“Daniel,” the name falling from his lips like acid. My mouth popped open. I went cold with alarm, was this Grace’s Daniel?
“Are you sure?” I asked faintly.
“Certain,” his confidence echoed through every syllable. If Daniel was the true Urbat, then Grace was in danger.
“Does Grace know?”
“Yes, he told her himself,” scorn dripping from his every word. I was startled; Grace and I were best friends, why wouldn’t she confide in me? She obviously didn’t trust me, or thought I couldn’t handle it. I felt completely betrayed, how could she do this?
“Let me carry some of your burden,” I demanded of Jude. He smiled with relief.
“I knew I could count on you.” He gently took my hand, we gazed into each other’s eyes, and a profound understanding passed between us.