Fiction Fantasy Teens & Young Adult

Regina Clarke made the choice to return to Grendel Crescent, when she heard that her father was dead. She had run away from home as a teenager, unwilling to go through with an arranged marriage. Regina never really liked Frank, even when they were younger. She suspected he harboured a crush on her, which she found kind of repulsive.

The Ramirez and Aldridge families had known each other for years and so figured, why not get the kids together? Of course, it didn’t go according to plan. When she was eighteen, Regina crossed paths with Ezra Clarke.

The connection was instant. They began to sneak around and got away with it for almost a year but were eventually caught by a jealous Frank. He and his older brother chased Ezra out of town. A quick engagement party followed, and the wedding date was also brought forward. Regina was pregnant and too far along to have an abortion. Frank would just need to claim that the baby was his. After all, nobody else knew about Ezra.

Regina was locked up in her room for the next few weeks. Mrs Ramirez seemed to have at least some sympathy for her daughter, but there wasn’t anything she could do to help. Or was there? The night before the ceremony, Regina was woken up from a restless sleep, to find her mother looking down at her.

She held a packed bag, shoes and a warm jacket. “Your father may have made up his mind, but I can see how unhappy you are, and I won’t let you go through with the wedding. Get up and change clothes, there’s no time to waste.”

Regina held her mother close, knowing that they probably wouldn’t see each other for a long time. “Be safe. Take care of your child.” The young girl easily picked the lock on the window with a hair pin. “I will Mum and thank you.” The lattice works proved useful for getting to the ground without mishap.


She left Grendel Crescent and did not look back. Ezra wasn’t far ahead of her, so he was rather easy to catch up to. They were married as soon as possible. He was there in the delivery room with her when I came into the world. They called me Evelyn.

We moved around a lot. Mum and Dad took on odd jobs here and there. The second-hand RV was always in top condition, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Mum managed to keep in regular contact with her mother over the years, and despite her father’s protests, at twenty-one, she received her inheritance. That certainly helped with our finances. Mum sent pictures to them all the time. Phone calls were brief, but much longed for.

As luck would have it, a cousin of my father’s was a tutor. So, when I was almost six, Juliet tagged along with us for the first couple of years. Then as I grew older, she set up online lessons. I excelled in most of my subjects, but often struggled with the mathematical side of things. Being on the road, I had plenty of exercise and fresh air. Regardless of where we stopped, Mum and I always enjoyed taking long walks together. Sometimes Dad joined us.

Sure, this was not a conventional kind of childhood, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Both of my parents were so proud when Juliet presented me with a graduation certificate. Mum had hoped that one day her father would allow her to come home and make amends. Seventeen years had already gone by. Now it was too late.


Mrs Ramirez welcomed us all with open arms. The funeral was, as expected, a sombre affair. People whispered and stared at my parents and I. Frank’s parents attended but practically ignored us. He on the other hand, offered his condolences. So did his wife Madeline and their sons.

I could see why my mother thought that Frank was a creep. Something was just…off about him. He was polite to Dad, but I detected a hint of anger in both men, just bubbling beneath the surface. Mum seemed to realise this too and moved the three of us away.

She went up alone to the open casket. Not once so far had she shed a tear, but the moment she saw her father’s face for the last time, she completely broke down. The mourners gathered at the Ramirez home. They left behind some dishes of food and told my mother in one way or another, pretty much the same thing; they were sorry for her loss.

My grandmother held it together very well. She told me something later on that night. "I loved my husband very much and will miss him terribly. But I just can’t bring myself to forgive Lincoln. He refused to reach out to Regina before the end."


Months passed. We settled in. Dad found a job on a nearby construction site, while Mum took over the post of head librarian after Mrs James decided to retire. I spent a lot of my time with Mrs Ramirez. Getting to know my grandmother and various other relatives who had stayed in town, became my number one priority.

I quickly gained some new friends who were of a similar age. They loved to listen to my stories of RV travelling. Certainly, there had not been a single dull moment in all of my life. Sometimes I looked after the local kids in my street for a bit of pocket money. Having a permanent residence was kind of strange, but all three of us were beginning to feel like we truly belonged here. I didn’t give up my long walks and often took them alone these days, which was fine.

Grendel Crescent was thought to be a relatively safe place, so my parents didn’t have to worry about any kind of trouble. I would leave the house as the sun was going down and always turn to the left. I soon became familiar with the basic layout of the town, even found a few shortcuts here and there. More often than not, I’d see the same people, walking in pairs, or being led by a dog on a leash. They were always friendly.


On Friday, as usual, I got ready, tying my shoelaces in double knots. Mum gave me a water bottle from the fridge. I made sure my phone was charged and safely zipped up in my pocket. Dad called out to me as I opened the door. “Be careful.” “Always. See you guys later!” I stopped at a corner, to chat with a lady named Janice, who was taking her Jack Russel pup Gizmo for his afternoon walk. She lived a few doors down from our home.

“Hi Evie.” “Hey Janice. All set for your upcoming party?” “Just got a couple of things to sort out before the big day. Can you believe I’ll soon be fifty years old?” I stared at Janice, kind of shocked. “You really don’t look your age.” “How sweet of you to say so dear, but I know what I see when I look in the mirror. Have you made me something?”

In my spare time, I had been experimenting with a new screen printer, on all kinds of things. The t-shirt I currently wore, had a simple rose pattern in black on a red background. “I have indeed. You’re going to love it.” “I’m sure I will. Listen, I’ve got to get going. Your invitation should arrive in the mail. I posted them all earlier today.” “Cool. See you soon.” Janice embraced me warmly. “Take care, young lady.”

Now I was on my own. Coming around the next corner, I stopped once more, this time for a different reason. Somebody’s eyes were on me, I could feel it. This had been happening on and off, for several weeks now. Nothing else had happened yet and the feeling usually faded once I got back home.

But still, I quickened my pace ever so slightly. Perhaps I should tell my parents. Lost in my thoughts, I failed to notice the person who snuck up behind me. He quickly grabbed me and placed a foul-smelling cloth over my face. I went limp almost at once, and my consciousness slipped away.

Checking to make sure that no-one had seen him, the man placed the girl carefully into his car, on the passenger side and got comfortable in the driver’s seat, before starting the engine.


I opened my eyes, to find that I was lying on the floor, in the dark somewhere. Ropes bound my hands together. I could smell something damp and mouldy. My head felt kind of fuzzy and for a little while, I had some trouble focusing. I sat up once I felt the dizziness pass and took in my surroundings; a tiny room with a grubby window and stairs leading up to a door that was firmly closed. Probably locked as well.

There was an empty bed with no proper covers and rickety chair beside it, a battered chest of drawers and a small table lamp. In the corner was a toilet and sink. I then looked down at myself; I was wearing an unfamiliar white dressing gown. “What on earth?” I slowly got to my feet, as I heard the sound of footsteps approaching. A key in the lock was turned and the door finally opened, with a very loud creak…

He stood at the top of the stairs. Frank Aldridge. My mother’s jilted fiancé. I should have known. The eerie feeling of being followed and watched over these past few weeks or so, now made total sense He had even dared to kidnap me! My first thought was that if I remained calm and chose my words carefully, I might be able to talk my way out of this situation. Then I saw the crazed look in Frank’s eyes and my heart sank.

His voice was barely above a whisper, but I heard every single word. “You’re beautiful, perhaps even more so than your mother. She made a fool out of me and my family when she left. I wanted to track her down, but everyone else said she was better off forgotten.” I backed away when he moved in closer. “I found Madeline some time later and as you can see for yourself, she has given me Archie and Nathan.” He sighed.

“But Regina was my first love. She’s no longer young and innocent, so I don’t want her anymore. Taking the next best thing, was my only option.” I knew for sure now, that nothing I told him would matter. He wasn’t ever planning to let me go. In his sick, twisted mind, he got back the girl who he thought should have always been his.

However, there was one important fact Frank had forgotten; unlike his parents before him, he was no shapeshifter. Three clans had chosen to call Grendel Crescent home. The most senior Aldridge, was one of the founding members of the town itself. Animals were the easiest to imprint on and transform into.

Becoming another person was attempted, but never successfully. It also caused pain and a queasy sickness, which could last for many days. Therefore, everyone agreed that this particular kind of shifting should be banned from ever being used again.

There were several generations of intermarriage between the families; it was more acceptable to marry among your own kind, especially in the early years. Frank was born without the ability to shift. Having a normal father or mother usually reduced the chances of passing the gene along to any offspring as well. But I had been able to shift forms since I was a toddler.

Ezra got the shock of his life when he witnessed me changing firsthand. But he was more curious than afraid. Regina told him our secret, which he accepted without question. She often flew around as a crow. I on the other hand, preferred big cats. Panthers were my favourite. If Frank so much as laid a finger on me, he might not even live to regret it.

“Are you hungry or thirsty? I can fix you something if you like.” I shook my head, keeping my emotions in check. It wouldn’t be a good idea for me to start freaking out. “Where are we?” “A supposedly haunted house, that no one has lived in for ages. It’s hidden away on the outskirts of town.” So, there was no chance of the neighbours hearing my cries for help.

Frank appeared to enjoy having the upper hand. “There were of course other girls before you, that I brought here. They unfortunately did not follow my rules. So, they had to go. Are you willing to behave yourself for me?” I gave him the right answer. He smiled, closing the gap between us.

The moment he touched my face, the ropes tore to shreds as I let the change flow through my body. A deep guttural roar, had Frank falling to his knees, and scrambling to get away from me. I leapt over him, landing on the staircase. He was absolutely terrified, now standing on very shaky legs which I had to admit, I rather enjoyed. But I wasn’t done with him yet.

Resisting the urge to rip his throat out, I moved fast, swiping one big paw at his head. He fell hard to the concrete floor, out cold. Upstairs, I found my clothes and my phone, in the neglected kitchen. I transformed, got dressed and called home. With some reluctance, I also dialled for an ambulance.


Frank Aldridge was charged and sent to prison. There was enough evidence at the old, abandoned house, to convict him of the other crimes as well. My kidnapping was the final nail in his coffin. His family were shocked beyond belief. They clearly had no idea of just how messed up Frank really was. Madeline served him with divorce papers at once and left with the kids.

Mum and Dad were so happy to have me back, alive and unharmed. In fact, they were actually quite pleased with how I handled myself. I had never been entirely sure of what I wanted to do once I’d finished my school studies. Now after all this, I was seriously considering the idea of joining the police force. Helping to protect other people and give them justice? Well, that sounded exactly like something I could get into!


August 01, 2021 02:54

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Holland Wells
04:25 Aug 25, 2021

nice read , good job.


Kylie Wallis
05:29 Aug 25, 2021

thank you. :).


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13:41 Aug 11, 2021

The bluntness of the first sentence immediately caught my attention; it was an excellent hook! Grendel Crescent was an intriguing (and beautifully named) setting. The dialogue did feel a little expository at times, but it also captured the characters' personalities. I wish we saw more of Evelyn's shapeshifting abilities—I can imagine a little Evelyn changing into a cat to play with the animals while her family's RV stopped for the night. Overall, nice story!


Kylie Wallis
00:19 Aug 12, 2021

You know what, now you mention it, so can I. I wanted to leave the whole shapeshifting thing as kind of a surprise, a way for Evelyn to get out of trouble. Glad you enjoyed the story.


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