The Eresthai Series - Book cover

The Eresthai Series

Suzanna A. Levis

Poked by the Moon Goddess


The first week was the hardest. The boys did all the running, but just staying on top of Ghost was arduous work. I fell off so many times that I lost count.

At the end of each day, I would collapse into my sleeping bag, sore and more tired than ever.

It was worth it. It would all be worth it. I was going to meet my wolf, we would train, and we would be strong.

At some point, we learned that Ghost was our cousin. He didn’t talk much, so we had to ask a lot of questions to get anything out of him. Ghost was the son of Auntie Aponi, my dad’s little sister.

When Felix asked him how old he was, he just looked up at the sky and said, “Younger than my mother, but older than you.

Thinking about it, he probably didn’t even know how old he was. It wasn’t as if he had a calendar in his fur.

Even on the journey to our new pack, every day was a lesson in something: where to find the cleanest water, how to read the weather, how to hunt for food, how to avoid leaving tracks or a scent.

The wolf training was the hardest since I couldn’t really take part. I offered to take off my charm, but Ghost was under strict orders to make sure I didn’t take it off until my Uncle Keo said I was ready.

If I could have shifted, the trip wouldn’t have taken as long. I did have some provisions in my backpack, but once they ran out, I had to cook whatever the boys were able to catch for me.

I did get rather good at building fires and skinning rabbits, so at least there was that.

Ghost stayed in wolf form the entire time, and I admired his patience, especially with dealing with the twins. Whenever they crossed the line, one snap from Ghost was all it took to get them back across it.

Three weeks in, I was mortified when I finally caught my reflection in the lake we were camping by. My grooming had been on a steady decline ever since I lost my hairbrush.

Axel started going through my backpack. “Do you want me to cut it off? There are scissors on that Swiss Army knife of yours. They’re small, but I can clean it up a bit.”

“No, I don’t want you to cut my hair.” I grabbed my backpack away from him.

“Maybe dreadlocks?” Oz said, studying my hair while stroking his imaginary beard.

That’s enough,” Ghost said. “~Go wash up, Victoria. Stay somewhere we can still keep an eye on you, and I’ll sort out your hair when you get back.~”

I did as Ghost said and found a quiet spot along the lake away from all the boys. I loved my brothers and I wouldn’t say I was a girly girl, but that didn’t mean I needed to smell as bad as they did.

Walking into the cool water, I started to lather myself up with the tiny strip of soap I had left. It was another one of those little reminders that I didn’t know my wolf yet.

Once you had your wolf, you didn’t get cold from the elements. Your body didn’t tire as much and healed at a rapid rate.

My charm not only suppressed her, but also all her abilities. I could have easily taken it off when I broke my arm last year, but nope! My parents didn’t say anything, and I had to get a cast and wear it for weeks.

As I floated in the water and watched the sun go down, I thought about all the things I wanted to do once I met my wolf. The full moon shone brightly in the night sky, and I closed my eyes.

“Moon Goddess, I know all the girls want a beautiful coat for their wolf, but I don’t care much if my wolf is beautiful. Please just make her brave and strong and smart.

“I want to protect my family and my pack. I don’t need beauty to do that. Please, Moon Goddess.”

I sighed a little sigh and dove underwater. The second I came up, I was confronted by a girl who looked exactly like me. I froze in place and didn't move a muscle.

Her skin was unlike mine. Mine was dark from the sun; hers glowed a pale white light…like moonlight. Was it her? The Moon Goddess?

“Do not worry, Victoria Walker.”

The Moon Goddess’s voice reverberated through my entire being as she spoke. The water around her rippled in a way I’d never seen.

“Your wolf is all those things and more. She will need to be strong for all you will have to endure. For me.”

“Oh.” That didn’t sound good. I touched my charm. “What do you need from me, Moon Goddess?”

“I need you to be what you already are: brave, strong and smart. There is an alpha with a darkness inside of him that is corrupting the wolves in his pack. My wolves. When the time comes, you will know what to do.”

She seemed to look deep inside me for a second and started to laugh. “Your wolf is overly excited to meet you. Listen to her, and you will never go astray.”

“But I can’t hear my wolf. The charm…” My fingers moved to touch the charm on their own.

Smirking, the Moon Goddess lifted her finger out of the water and poked me in the forehead.

“Ow.” I closed my eyes and rubbed my forehead. “Um, thank you?”

“Victoria! Where are you?!”

I heard a hint of panic in Felix’s voice and looked back toward the camp. They had gotten a fire going. I needed to make sure not to get lost, or they’d never be able to find me while I was wearing my charm.

When I looked back at the Moon Goddess, she was already gone. I quickly made my way to shore.

When I got to the camp, I saw a man walking around with my pink unicorn T-shirt stretched around his waist to cover himself up. “Ghost?”

The man turned around to look at me and smiled. Wow, he’s so beautiful. My feet refused to move me closer to him. ~He’s your cousin, you idiot. Move it.~

“Come, I have something for your hair!” he shouted. I recognized his voice immediately.

As I got closer, I saw just how beautiful Ghost was. His perfect golden skin seemed to glow, and when he looked at me, his eyes seemed as if they were smiling from the inside. His long black hair ran down his back in a neat braid.

“Sorry about your shirt, but I didn’t bring anything of my own. Come, I’ll fix your hair.”

Ghost pointed to a little pot by the campfire. There was something whitish inside that didn’t take a werewolf’s sense of smell to know it smelled awful.

“What is it?” I asked, scrunching my nose.

“Deer fat,” Ghost said, patting a log for me to sit on in front of him. “I always carry some with me.”

“Oh, of course, dear fat. Silly me,” I said, sitting down.

Ghost let out a big, genuine laugh, and I couldn’t help but smile. He took some of the deer fat and started to put it into my hair bit by bit.

I watched my brothers splashing about in the lake nearby, again a little envious they had so much energy after such a long day. Ghost and I sat in silence for a moment, and I thought back on what the Moon Goddess had told me.

“For a little kid, you sure do look vexed,” Ghost muttered to himself. “Just so you know, you don’t have to talk to me about your problems, but I am here for you if you want to. We are family, after all.”

I felt my cheeks turn pink as I tried to hide my smile. I felt Ghost's fingers massage the fat into my scalp, and it helped me to relax.

“Ghost, have you ever...killed anyone?” I felt Ghost's fingers pause for a moment before resuming their work.

“No, I haven't. Plenty of animals for food, but never a person.”

“And if the Moon Goddess asked you to...would you?”

I heard Ghost sigh deeply behind me. He stood up and came to sit down next to me. “The Moon Goddess can ask, but remember, you can never go against your true nature.” He looked at me. “Does that make sense?”

I nodded and looked at my fidgeting hands. “I don’t think it’s in my nature to hurt people.”

“You are still young, Victoria, and you are capable of more than you know. I don’t know what the Moon Goddess wants from you, but if she chose you for something, then there’s a reason for that choice.

“Don’t think too hard on these things. You will send your mind spinning out of control with no way out. When the time is right, you will get your answers.”

Ghost patted me on the back and offered me one more reassuring look before standing up and resuming detangling my hair.

I didn’t know what happened after that, but the next morning I woke up snuggled against Ghost’s warm fur. I rubbed the sleep away from my eyes as I stumbled along to the lake.

As I went to wash my face, I saw my hair was braided into a perfect braid. Wow, that deer fat did the trick. It looked shinier than ever.

I splashed my face with water, and when I caught a glimpse of my eyes, I saw them burning bright white.

I jumped back away from the water and landed on my butt, “What the frick?!” I shrieked, rubbing my eyes.

Victoria?” I heard a voice say in my head. I looked around; there was no one. It was definitely in my head.

“Um, yes?” I said aloud, crawling back to the lake to look at myself. My eyes were still shining, brighter than I had imagined. “Are you...are you my wolf?”

Yes, Victoria. My name is Catori.” Her voice was smooth and warm.

“Catori,” I whispered to myself, feeling tears forming in my eyes. “Catori? My Catori?”

In that instant, it finally felt like the gaping, wolf-shaped hole in my heart was finally filled.

Whatever the Moon Goddess had done last night bypassed the magic of the charm and opened a channel of communication between Catori and me.

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