1995-03-10: Brighter Days



Scene Title Brighter Days
Synopsis Sometimes things are only as hard as you make them out to be.
Location Top-secret!!
Date Mar 10, 1995
Logger Holly

She's only been here five days.

For some reason, she thought it'd be all meditation and inward thinking, but it's a lot of hard work, too. Learning to take out her anger on inanimate objects, or even channeling it to more creative mechanisms, has been quite difficult. Things she could do that she took for granted before - like controlling her temper - seem impossible now. She's already been goaded into losing her temper a couple times now, and she's always ended up sore for it.

At least the last time took a long time. She can see progress. And even then, she didn't try to claw the guy… She only wanted to backhand him. Then again, he had insulted her father, which she considered a huge breach of barriers, considering her father'd died many years ago. Anyone would have tried to defend the honour of their parents.

Not exactly a fair test.

Her cabin is nice. Small - only two rooms - but it's all she really needs. There's a front room, where there's also a cot for her to sleep on, and a dresser with a mirror. Then, there's a table and a couple kitchen chairs, with a small gas stove pressed up against one wall. There are scratches here and there - deep gouges in the wood caused by claws - but they've been cleaned and restained as if they've always simply been part of the decor. Holly wonders if, perhaps, they are.

The other room is a bathroom. It might make sense in a camp to have communal plumbing, except for the fact that every person here will all be violently sick on the days following a full moon. A communal bathroom would serve only to aggravate the situation.

Since Mo is curled up sleeping in her chair, Holly grabs some paper and a quill and sits down at the kitchen table. She's been keeping a running journal, just so she can remember what she's been through… What's been going on. She can share this with the British Ministry of Magic when she gets back to show them the good it's doing these people. Starting from the beginning, she reads.

//5 March 1995: It's been tough so far. After making it through the forest to FIND the camp, I met with 'The Boss.' I still don't know his name, but everyone seems content calling him that, so I guess I am, too. Long story short, he dislocated my shoulder. I guess it was my fault. I got mad at him and attacked him, much like I did with Siobhan Noble and Alistaire Phoenix. Unlike those instances, it seems as if that was the point. The Boss was prepared for it. In fact, he seemed to know exactly what to do.

He healed my shoulder. I still don't know how he did it, except to say that it was a different kind of magic. All I really want to do is sleep now, but I can't seem to do that, either. Shoulder's still a little stiff, Mo's not happy being in this strange place, so she won't stop yowling, and the one time I did manage to drift off, I had a dream that my mother crashed through the door of my house in Hogsmeade and asked how DARE I let myself be bitten by a werewolf.

I honestly don't know if I can make it here. Then again, I've only really spoken to the welcoming party. There was a Starbuck - that's what she called herself. I thought it was cute. I think her real name's Grace. I wonder if everyone has it this hard, though. I feel like I'm the only one who really understands what I'm going through.//

Holly flips through a few days, setting them aside.

//8 March 1995: It seems to be part of the training her to make new recruits angry. I'm starting to get it now, though. I'm more able to control my temper, and I'm starting to feel a lot more like myself again. Still, their rules that I make no excuses seem a little unfair. Of course I'm having trouble, and the reason is quite obvious - it's not an excuse. I doubt I'd be here if I wasn't a werewolf, because I'd have no reason.

I am a trial lawyer, and I know that there are differences between reasons and excuses.

Also part of the training is channeling the anger in other directions. Some people seem to not need this at all - and never did - which makes me wonder if I am making an excuse. Each werewolf is different, though, so— I don't know. It gets confusing. Meditation is a big part of things, learning to 'release anger.' Or 'release' any feelings of resentment, which is what seems to bother some people. I have no problems believing that there are people that still love me, but there are also people out there that seem to take any opportunity to find the smallest slight offensive in any conversation.

Maybe it has a lot to do with how people were treated after they were bitten. I had support, so I had no reason to assume people wouldn't care for me. No one was angry - I never learned how to deal with my own anger in those first crucial days. On the other hand, there were people who were outright rejected. These people believe no one can like them, and they are well-versed at keeping their anger inside - which is also devastating.

One thing I was told today - I can win an argument and get angry without hurting someone. Obvious, even to me. I do it all the time - or, I used to. Now, anything will set me off. I'm no longer as calm as I once was, which drives me crazy. I voiced this, and was told essentially that that frustration is only contributing to my anger.

I feel like I snap sometimes…//

Holly stops reading, setting the papers aside. She already knows all this. It's obvious. Reading it again isn't helping her, and she knows this isn't going to just fix itself overnight. It's just that she thought she'd see more progress than she has. She was certain she'd only be gone a couple weeks, but at the rate she's getting this…

She'll be here a year.

Standing up, stacking the papers so that they're neat, Holly sets the quill atop them.

Tea. There's this woman in the village who makes the best herbal tea. It's got a little wolfsbane in it, but it's not awful, like the potion. It just helps her calm down a little so she can think enough to stop being so frustrated with everything.

Filling the pot with water from the bathroom sink, she puts it on the small one-burner gas stove in the front room, turning the flame up and opening the window to let the extra heat out. Cool night air rushes in - it's still chilly in Washington in March.

As the water in the pot heats, there's a knock on the door, and Holly answers it, pulling it open to find one of the permanent denizens of the camp - one who has, after overcoming her own problems, stayed to help.

"Hey, Carol," Holly says, stepping aside to allow the woman in. In her arms is a plate of cookies.

"Holly. Saw you were making tea. Thought I'd bring over some of these - I made them just today. I mean, if you want company, we could talk for awhile.

Holly nods. She's always glad for someone to talk to, and Carol's one of the least inflammatory people here. It's like she's able to master all her emotions at once, and still manage to be happy. As far as scarring goes, Carol is much like Holly. There are scars, but they're able to be hidden, so outwardly, she looks perfectly normal. Carol sets the plate down on the table and takes a seat in one of the chairs, as Holly goes back to the stove.

Pouring boiling water from a pot into mugs is… difficult. "You want one, Carol?" she asks.

"Yeah, why not," the woman responds. "So, how're you fitting in?"

With precision, Holly manages to get the hot water into the two mugs without spilling. Placing the home-made tea bags in each, she returns to the table, setting one in front of Carol. "All right, I guess. Still having anger issues. Everyone seems to think I can just… I dunno. Let it go." She pulls a cookie off the plate.

"You can," Carol replies. "It really is just that simple after awhile, but you have to learn how to do it."

It seems like a lot of people want to do this. They know what sets her off - namely, her lack of self control - and they push the issue. "This really isn't a good time to talk about that."

"Then when is?" Carol asks. "It's not like you can schedule when people pick fights with you. Besides, you brought it up. So let's talk about it." Leaning back in the chair, Carol makes herself comfortable. It doesn't look like she plans to go anywhere for awhile.

Holly's starting to have regrets about letting her in.

"I never used to have these issues. It's all because of what happened. It's not really my anger, you know? It's coming from somewhere else." She's said it a lot already. Still, she can't believe it's an excuse. It's part of what she is now - it's the wolf that's making her angry. That thing has a temper.

Carol sips at her tea. "It's your anger, though. It's still coming from you. So you're the one that has to control it. The wolf can't. The wolf's a crazy animal that doesn't know any better."

Holly takes a sip of her own tea. This talk always irritates her. "Look, maybe you should leave."

"If you don't talk about it now, then when? You can't keep putting it off. Just let it go, Holly. There's no reason to hurt someone 'cuz they piss you off."

"I know."

Carol waits for a moment, but when Holly doesn't go on, she does. "You're learning, you know? It might not seem like it, but you are. Soon, you'll be able to argue with people without just going silent, or asking them to leave. But you're seeing your limits, and that's a good start. But you can't just shut out people that get to you. Like I said before, you can't schedule stuff like that."

Maybe Carol wants a breakthrough. She can't get it today, despite the fact that what she's said does make sense. Holly knows that it's her anger, and she's responsible for letting it go. But it's no epiphany, just another statement of fact that she's heard so many times before. This time, though, her thoughts turn away from the argument briefly enough for her to take control of the desire to pounce, to tear, to bite, and it feels good.

"Look, I'll leave you alone. Just wanted to bring over the cookies, and steal some of your tea." Carol raises the mug, smiles, and stands. "I'll bring the mug back tomorrow, all right? And hey, you did pretty good for this being so close to the full moon and all."

The door opens and closes, and Carol is gone.

Holly eyes the plate of cookies, drags the paper toward her, and flips until she finds a blank page.

I thought the breakthrough would be more obvious. As it turns out, though, I've finally learned the meaning of 'taking it one day at a time…

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