You are on a discovery when you and a friend stumble upon an abandoned amusement park. Eagerly you go to investigate but then the rides start to come alive. There is no one around and the park clearly has been abandoned for years. What do you do? Do you run away or stay and investigate?
“Come on, scaredy cat, that amusement park has been abandoned for years, what could really happen?” Jimmy looks at me and I know he’s right but it still doesn’t feel right.
“Alright, I’ll come with. But if the slightest thing happens I’m out!” I don’t care he finds me a scaredy cat, but I’m not risking my life because he wants to investigate an amusement park in the dead of night.
We walked into the park through an old rusty gate and instantly I feel a strange sensation in the back of my neck. If you would walk around on a sunny day it probably wouldn’t be so bad, nut the night makes everything creepy. Especially all the painted-on clowns heads are creeping me out. The giant rollercoaster in the back is overgrown with ivy, and trees are growing out of the food stalls.
“What a vibe around here, eh?” Jimmy looks at me with a radiant smile.
“If you want to call it a vibe, but I’m not feeling a positive one, that’s for sure!” I feel a shiver down my back. My eyes are finally adjusted to the lack of light and I’m seeing more and more silhouettes. Spinning teacups, broken down and overgrown, sad-looking bumper cars and the monorail is now a highway for rats.
We have walked over to what was once the heart of the park. Jimmy is almost purring with excitement and I’m stumbling behind him feeling like a two year old. Why did I ever go with him? I don’t like nighttime, I don’t like the dark and I certainly don’t like strange abandoned places, at any moment of the day. But of course I had to show I’m not scared. My judgment is very cloudy since I’m also having a huge crush on Jimmy.
We’re approaching the ferris wheel and I can see what’s going on in Jimmy’s eyes.
“Let’s try to climb it, I think the view from up there will be amazing!” he points to the gondola right at the top of the wheel. This is not a good idea and I’m not doing it.
“Well, Jim, don’t you think that’s a little bit dangerous? That wheel has been there for god knows how long. It hasn’t been checked for years, for all you know the whole thing breaks from under you by the time you’re halfway up there. I’m not planning on taking you to the hospital with a broken leg or worse. And what will the cops say when they find us here with you in pieces!” I try to look at him with a stern face but as always I lose myself in those beautiful eyes.
“Oh, Katie, don’t be so scared! We’ve come this far, why quit now? If something breaks we’ll come to it when we’ll come to it.” He walks over to the wheel and just as he is about to put his foot on the first crossbar I hear a strange noise. I step closer to him as everything in me screams that something is about to happen.
As Jimmy is about to pull himself up, all the lights in the park light up and all the rides spring to life. He drops to the ground and looks around with a frightened look on his face. I’m so scared I can’t move my feet and don’t know what to do next. Jimmy takes one look at me and makes a run for it to the exit.
“Jimmy! You asshole! Are you just going to leave me here?!” I yell at him. He never looks back while he’s running.
“If I’m on the news tomorrow it’s on you!” Still my legs won’t move while my brain is screaming to get away. I look at the shrinking posture of Jimmy one last time. At least that was the end of my crush. As I’m finally able to move a foot I hear a voice behind me.
“You are not missing out anything on him, just a big ego with a tiny heart. You on the other hand, my dear Kate… Nothing on you is a lie.” A figure comes towards me from out of the shadows. Again my legs refuse to do anything.
“You’re still as innocent and prudent as when you were little. Kate.” By now I can make out that the figure is a slender man and it won’t be long before he reaches me.
I decide to just give up and let it wash over me.
“I give up, who are you? Cause you seem to know me very well.” I look at the shadowy figure. He is now fully out of the shadows and I can see a handsome man, roughly my age. Almost black hair and from what I can see, brown eyes. Fairly muscled in a dark shirt and jeans, not as slender as he looked in the shadows. I kind of have the idea I know him already but don’t have a clue from where.
“But Kate, you know very well who I am, only maybe not in this form. Does this form spark your memory?” As soon as the words leave his lips he bends over and changes into a German Sheppard before my eyes. One I know all too well, the same Sheppard I have cared for my whole childhood, whom I treated as my baby. In mere seconds the dog changes into a dark grey wolf, another form familiar to me. On many a hiking trip I have seen the wolf in the distance. Then I was right thinking I was being followed and observed. As quickly as he turned wolf, he turns back into a man. I’m so shocked I can’t say a word.
“Are you starting to understand, Kate?” He has a wary smile around his mouth, probably because he is able to see my face. Finally something is starting to make sense.
“Are you my dog, Max? But that isn’t possible? I just saw it with my own two eyes, but that isn’t possible! Dogs can’t change into humans, can they? What are you, a dog first and then human, or? Oh listen to me babbling away like a crazy person. Am I on candid camera or something? Was it a magic trick? Am I being set up?” I start looking around for a TV-host or maybe one of the cameras.
The man in front of me starts laughing and has to make an effort to keep standing.
“I know it’s hard to believe but come on! Haven’t you always had the feeling something was off? Why would you go to a place like this? I’ve been following you your whole life and now it is time.” He grabs my hand. “Think for a moment. You know that what you just saw, is true. You know because you are like me. That’s why you are here. You are all grown up and it is time to come along with me.” I looked at him. His words hit the spot, he was right. I always felt I could see more, hear more, are my dreams true as I suspected?”
“Question one, what is your real name and question two, where exactly are you taking me?” I started to accept the situation.
“You know me as dog Max, but in the human world I am known as Darius. In the shifterworld, where I’m taking you to, my name is Raynor, or Ray for short. It’s time for you to take your rite of passage, and learn the ways of a shifter. Your departure has been taken care of, you don’t have to worry about a thing. The next few months are going to be intense, but the world will be much clearer after you’re done. As if you peeled off a thin layer. You will feel more at ease, and you will gain a whole lot of friends, who will always be there for you. Maybe you will find more than friendship; you wouldn’t be the first to find his true love in the world of shifters. Just trust me and everything will be alright. Do you have any more questions before we leave?” Ray looked at me with a face I could only describe as caring. I didn’t have to think about if I could trust him, for some reason I just knew.
A smile started to form around my lips. I could only imagine it was going to be difficult, but it sounded right in my head. The moment Ray shifted to his dog form something clicked in my head. Apparently the thing I believed to be possible, was actually possible. I always felt like I didn’t belong with the other kids, I felt different, not accepted, missing something. Now I found out it was true, I didn’t fit in, because it was the wrong world.
I took a step towards him and hugged Ray. I think this could work between us.
“Only one more question, when do we leave?” Ray started laughing too, grabbed my hand and together we ran into the night, towards my new life and new world.