Chapter Thirty Seven
The two girls returned to Jinger’s bedroom to finish getting ready but Tabs did not speak. Jinger was not sure whether she was angry with her or with Jessica, or if she was just upset.
Jinger’s dad just said that they needed to talk. He told Jessica to stay in her bedroom until he said she could come out. She asked about the pizza but he did not answer.
Jinger never expected to need to keep secrets from her dad and Helen. Even though she knew that part of growing up would be growing away from her dad, she had not thought moving schools and making friends would ever have resulted in her sitting at the kitchen table on her birthday explaining why she had lied to him. This was partly because she had not lied to him. She had simply not told him everything.
In the beginning, she had not believed it herself. It was ridiculous. There were stories in Brink Stenton of course and, like Jinger, her dad would have heard them all. He even owned a souvenir shop in a town where all the visitors were interested in the other town, the one with the Moon. But across the table sat the man Jinger loved more than anyone in the world and he looked disappointed and lied to.
“So, while I thought you were enjoying your new school and making a fresh start, you were actually running wild with a load of werewolves?”
Tabs coughed pointedly but Jinger was not sure this was the time to quibble over terminology.
“Some of the Murkle people can change, yes,” Jinger said guiltily. She felt sick and knew that even if pizza was still being served there was no way she would be able to eat it.
“I knew Murkle was weird but this is just unbelievable.” Jinger’s dad said the last word as though he really did not believe it. “Everything I knew about that school was from Granny Bloom. She said it would suit you because you were special. I didn’t know there were other kinds of special children there. Is that what had happened to that boy who was taken? Did the werewolves try to eat him? I had no idea. No idea.” Jinger’s dad had tears behind his glasses.
“No! That’s not it at all, Dad. The Woodcutters took Felix. I think a wolf actually found him,” Jinger said and she could tell that next to her Tabs could not help but smile.
Jinger’s dad noticed. The conclusion was obvious.
“Are you a wolf, Tabitha?” he asked in a level voice.
Jinger held her breath. It was inconceivable that her dad would be angry with the first one of her friends to stay at their house. How embarrassing.
Tabs looked at Jinger for reassurance but Jinger could not give her any. “Sometimes,” she said nervously.
“This is just…. Tabs we’d better take you home. Unbelievable. You can’t go back you know, Jinger. You’ll just have to sort things out at Brink Stenton Sports and Community College.” Jinger’s dad set his mouth firmly.
Jinger got up, scraping her chair on the floor deliberately. To her surprise, Tabs did not follow.
“Do you know why some of us change and others don‘t?” Tabs asked Jinger’s dad.
“Um… I don’t know. That Moon? It’s weird. I should never have let Jinger go,” he answered.
“No one knows why some children don’t change. Our friend Felix would really like to know. But all of the children who can change were born under the Murkle Moon,” Tabs said, looking directly at Jinger’s dad.
Then Jinger understood something else about her dad’s story. The moon that had appeared in the sky on Millennium Eve was not the moon. It was the Murkle Moon.
It looked as though Jinger’s dad had realised exactly the same thing.
He looked thoughtful. It was not only Jinger’s memory that made her special. It was that Jinger was born under the Murkle Moon which had moved on Millennium Eve.
His daughter might become a wolf.
The three of them sat quietly as another, unavoidable truth began to settle amongst them.
Outside the kitchen, Jessica was also thoughtful. She had been hoping to hear her sister being told off for once and it had been going rather well until now. Jessica was not pleased to hear that her dad wanted Jinger to go back to school with her, but it would be worth putting up with it if it made Jinger really miserable. Jessica was sure she could make that happen. But something was bothering her. She stormed into the kitchen, not caring that they would all know she had been waiting outside.
“Why didn’t you tell me, Jinger! We’re twins! I can’t believe you’ve been keeping this from me! You go to wolf school and now it turns out you might be a wolf too!” Jessica shouted, hoping that reiterating this last fact would get her sister into trouble rather than make Jinger seem any more special. She paused for breath and then cried, “And I’m not a Millennium baby!”
Jinger, her dad and Tabs looked at Jessica in silence. It would have been impossible for Jessica not to see that they were all waiting for her to say something else. She did not know what that was, so she carried on shouting about how unfair it was as she left the room and banged her way up the stairs.
“Hang on,” Jinger’s dad said. “She’ll get it in a sec.”
The three waited a moment longer.
“I might be a wolf too!” screamed Jessica.
“There we go. I knew she’d get it in the end,” Jinger’s dad said wearily.