Jacob/OC. Post-Eclipse. Elizabeth Foster is your typical grad student. When she interns on a summer research project looking for dire wolves in the Olympic Peninsula, she finds more than she bargained for.
2. The Magic Words
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PART TWO: The Magic Words
"Dr. Jardinski!" I threaded my way through the midday traffic in the hallway, chasing after a tiny woman and her bobbing black bun. For the past two days I'd forgotten to talk to one of the professors about the internship. Today I'd backtracked to the TA office, only to be referred to Dr. J. Easy enough, if I could catch her. Fortunately, if there was an advantage to being 5'10" it was the ability to see over a crowd. Good, she was stopping at the water fountain. With luck, I could get to her before she moved on.
Squeezing past a football player, I practically ran the last bit of distance, positioning myself to be the first person she saw when she looked up. "Dr. Jardinski, hi!" I wiggled my fingers, smiling brightly.
"Oh, hello there, Miss Foster." Dr. J smiled back. I'd been a TA for her Elementary Genetics class last fall, so fortunately we were on friendly terms. "What can I do for you?"
"I was wondering if you could give me any extra information on the new internship posting?" I tugged a copy of the email from my notebook, offering it to her. "I'm actually kind of interested."
Dr. J adjusted her glasses, giving the paper a quick once-over. "Ah yes, this one. I'll warn you, I think their premise is a bit far-fetched." She raised her eyebrows, giving me a significant look. "But there are a few credible scientists attached to the project. You could do worse than to spend time hiking in the rainforests with them." She sighed. "I would have liked to see you go for something more challenging, Elizabeth. But it's a bit too late in the year for that. Lean pickings now, at best."
I kept my smile in place, even when it didn't want to stay put. "I was seriously thinking about going abroad," I lied, "but it just didn't work out. So I thought I'd look for something to keep me busy."
Dr. J considered me for a long moment, then nodded. "Come by my office, I'll give you an application." She turned and continued down the hallway, expecting me to follow. "I'd be happy to write your faculty recommendation if you'd like?"
Sighing with relief, I fell in behind her. "Thank you, I'd really appreciate that." This internship had become of paramount importance to me over the last few days. I was convinced that the wolf stalking my dreams had something to do with the proximity of summer break. I didn't want to be in Corvallis this summer, so I'd just go somewhere else. Whether we found real wolves or not, I'd be happy either way.
A few minutes later I had the application in hand, and a promise that Dr. J would email me her recommendation by tomorrow morning. I headed back to the TA office, wanting to check my mailbox before I went home. Brandon, one of the other TA's, was sitting at the worktable when I stepped inside. "Hey Bran."
"Hey Beth, what's new?" He glanced up at me, flashing a quick smile.
"Oh, nothing much. Just getting the scoop on that new internship from Dr. J."
He snorted. "The dire wolf project?"
I stopped short, hand stuck in my mailbox. "Dire wolf project?" Turning around, I frowned at him. "What are you talking about? Dire wolves have been extinct since the Ice Age."
"You know that," he nodded graciously at me, "and I know that," he rested a hand on his chest. "But there's a fruitcake in Washington that thinks they're still running around the Olympic peninsula." He wadded up a piece of paper and went for a three point shot as punctuation. "Nothing but net!"
"You're kidding." I leaned against the wall by the mailboxes, willing him to be wrong.
"Wish I was. Apparently someone up there's been circulating photos of what they claim are giant wolves." I froze. Suddenly my heart was pounding for no reason I could explain.
"Are the pictures on the web?" I tried to keep my voice normal, but it was difficult.
"They were. Try searching for 'dire wolves' and see if you don't come up with them." He paused. "You okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine." I waved off his concern, my mind racing. Surely it was just some stupid coincidence. This research project had nothing to do with my dreams. But... Dr. J had said there were some 'credible scientists' working on the project, so there had to be more to it than some cryptozoology wack-job chasing living relics. "Still, Dr. J said there were people working on the project that would be worth learning from."
"That's true. I think Washington must have had some grant money they needed to dump somewhere." He eyed me for a moment. "You thinking of applying?"
I hugged the notebook containing my application to my chest. "Yeah," I don't think it came off as casually as I wanted it to, "I figured it would be more interesting than spending the whole summer here."
"Probably." We looked at each other for a long moment. Me trying to hide something, him curious to know what it was.
"Well, I'd better get going. Things to do, you know."
I all but ran out of the office, hurrying to the car. I drove a 2005 Honda Accord, pale blue. It had been a gift from my grandparents when I'd graduated with my bachelors. It was roomy, economical, and best of all? Free. From the time I started the car until I turned it off in front of my apartment building, my mind was racing. Kat was at an afternoon exam review, so my way was clear. As soon as I could get Google up, I typed in the magic words 'dire wolf'. The first few results I expected, but then I hit the page I was looking for.
In the end, I wasn't sure if I was relieved or disappointed. The photos were blurry and open for interpretation. The blobs that the webpage author gushed about being giant wolves could have been bears or boulders, or another bored college student's afternoon with Photoshop. I felt safe, even slightly amused... until I hit the last picture. There, just barely visible in the dark pic, was a pair of eyes. Eyes that looked straight at the camera and truly saw it. Wolf's eyes.
I slammed the lid down on the laptop, jumped out of my chair and started pacing. Once or twice my eyes strayed to the dreamcatcher, gleaming innocently on the wall. Okay, it was the sleep deprivation getting to me. I was seeing things, imagining them. The dreams were stress related, it was the end of the semester, and summer was coming. Another summer without Josh. That explained all this. It was reasonable, and rational, and under no circumstances was I going to freak out.
Walking straight to my bed, I snatched up the notebook that held the internship application. I pulled it out, took it back to the desk, moved the laptop aside, and began filling it out. The next morning, after a night fleeing from giant wolves, I posted it off with a copy of Dr. J's recommendation. Two weeks later, after finals, I received an acceptance letter, a welcome packet and instructions to be in Port Angeles, Washington in seven days.
I was going to prove to myself, and anyone else that cared, that under no circumstances did giant, intelligent wolves exist outside of my dreams. Even if it killed me.
- Let Sleeping Wolves Lie
- The Magic Words
- Beware of Dog
- The Silver Cord
- An Uneasy Truce
- Constructive Insanity
- Josh Wolfe
- Now and Forever
- First Light of Dawn
- Stop the Bleeding
- Stolen Moments
- Waking the Dreamer
- Trouble in Paradise
- Almost Doesn't Count
- Morning After Cure
- Sister of the Pack
- The Caterpillar Mating Dance
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Sound and Fury
- Storm Warning
- Heavy In Your Arms
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- 29 Apr 08
- 22 Jul 10
- In Progress