Maybe this is all a part of my flawed design, ‘cause I lie. Not because I want to, but I seem to need to all the time. - Flawed Design by Stabilo
“An aquatic pit viper with a nasty reputation, cottonmouths are finding it hard to co-exist with humans.”
Drake is someone who has had to fight for everything he has ever had in his life. As a teenager, he was bullied by humans and graced predators alike, for no apparent reason other than his weak appearance and his willingness to stand his ground and keep taking hits. He was not an aggressive teenager. Not until the day he was cornered. The day he was pushed over the edge. Not until the day he snapped.
A group of boys had cornered him and taunted him, little did they know that Drake had a knife on him. Out of anger, he had brought the knife to school and planned to perhaps use it. He had decided against it, knowing it was wrong. However, in this moment, the knife he had on him may have been the difference between life and death. A boy swung at him a punch, of which Drake easily dodged. He dodged another punch from another boy. But then something happened that he didn’t expect; one of the boys pulled out his own knife. Before Drake knew it, he had killed somebody. The other boy got him in the leg, but Drake got him in the heart.
The next few years, Drake spent his time in jail out of town, a special one for graced animals. Despite the murder being an act of self-defence, the evidence and eye witnesses were against him. It took those few years for him to plead his case, fight for his life, until finally they let him out. During high school, Drake had supposedly fallen in love with a girl, graced as he was, but not of his species; of prey, in fact. When he left prison, he had found out that she had been shot by a hunter. Ever since he has blamed himself for this. He was unable to protect her.
All of these events have cultivated Drake into the man he is today. He had promised himself three things; never fall in love until he’s sure he can protect them, never just sit around and wait for things to happen, and never forget… Never forget that humans are below you. That is why he is planning on pulling together a group of graced who are willing to dish out to the humans what they have been doing to the animals for as long as they can remember. He believes it’s time that humans are put back in their place, or at least are served a taste of their own game. Why should the animals be treated the way they are, when it’s the humans who are weaker?
Nowadays, he works as teacher of physics, chemistry and biology at the local high school, an example of what an exceptionally smart man he is. However, he had to fight for his right to work at the school, too. Parents knew about his background, everyone knew, he had earned himself a nasty reputation among Tala Springs, and it still remained even years after. But as said, it had been 5 years since he was released from prison, and it was official that his actions had been out of self-defence. He had studied to be where he was today (although being as intelligent as he is, it didn’t exactly need much effort on his part), and eventually he was allowed to teach. Funny thing is, he could care less about the students, especially the humans.
To everyone around him, he pulls off a taunting, nonchalant demeanour. He makes inappropriate jokes or statements that are specifically designed to hurt whoever he’s speaking to, and he doesn’t care. He has been looked down upon all of his life, but now he had a nasty reputation and people finally take him seriously. So why not embrace the reputation? He’ll go out of his way to make a witty gripe at someone, but he’ll likely not physically harm them, preferring to harm people with his venomous words. At least until he works out his syndicate. Then the humans will regret what they’ve done. For now, any physical harm that he does, is done in secret. Every now and then, when he hears about an animal being poached or hunted, he might go out in the night and exact his revenge on a random human, killing them silently with an overdose of his venom, but sometimes with other methods to ensure variety and avoiding patterns.
“The Gods will come, it is all up to us. What you do is always your choice.”
Jack is the owner of Tala Springs restaurant, something that despite the small amount of inhabitants that the towns has, allows him to live very well and to give his family whatever they want and need. He’s exactly what you would expect from a person like him, the head of the family and the alpha of the pack. He has his rules and he makes everyone in town respect them, he’s not the one to be played with, he’s known for being understanding and yet he’s not the most patient person in the world, get him on his bad side and he’ll make you regret it forever.
To him his family is his everything and he will do anything to protect his pack. He’s especially protective over Emily and Alec, the younger members of the pack, since they are the future of the pack according to him. He treats Emily as if she was another one of his daughters, that’s why she allowed her to live with them under the same roof, taking one of the spare rooms of the house that is occupied by his kids. Alec is his little jewel, he’s very strict with him, always demanding and sometimes it may seem that he’s a disappointment but that’s only because he loves him dearly and knows that he can give more than what he already does. Finding him again after so many years and learning about what had happened hurt him deeply, no one else knows it but he went after the family that had adopted Alec and tortured him for almost ten years and ended up killing them after asking them why they had done it. Jack may be very strict and has his own sense of what’s wrong and right and whenever someone crosses the line and breaks his rules, he has to pay the price and there are no exceptions. The only people that can say have seen that real sensitive side of him are his family despite the fact that he doesn’t let that side of him show up very often. Still he’s always the man his kids will go asking for advice, he knows how to listen and will always find a solution to a problem, not only his kids but also other graced animals in town, making of him a very respected man. However that respect also leads to fear, he’s not the one you want to bother with useless issues or the one you would try to fool.
Jack is also a believer but only in something in particular, he believes in the Creek Legend and knows that it’s real just because unlike some people tend to forget, they are nothing but animals who were born with a gift that should be wasted like some do. That is why it’s so hard to have someone like Matt in the family, as much as he takes care of him, making sure he’s okay, he does hate what he has done to himself, dooming him to a cursed and crazed life. Somehow he hopes that even though it can’t be fixed, that a miracle is going to heal and make him go back being a complete graced animal. For the opposite cases, he just feels pity for his own because he didn’t make that choice but instead could do nothing but accept everything that was given. Jack only hopes that honouring the gods like he does every day and every full moon will give him the so hoped reward of having them coming to Tala Springs and do something to prevent more graced animals to take the same direction as Matt. Just like people fear and respect him, Jack respects and fears the gods, knowing that they can take his gift away from him and his family.
Currently, he’s looking for a new pair that will move to live to Tala Springs with him and his family and become not only a mother to the children he already has but to new ones that would make the pack increase into a very big family. He’s been looking around and he thinks that he may have found that new perfect wolf for him, his soon to be new pair. After the death of the other two, he believes that he has no luck, that why he’s been waiting so long until finding someone who is perfect for him.
“I swear I am going to find that bastard and then he’s going to pay for all the damage he has done.”
Ian is definitely one of a kind, not only because you would never picture a deer as a tough sheriff but because he’s not quite what you would expect on someone like him. Passionate about his job, he’s the one, alongside with James, in charge of keeping the secret of the animals safe. He knows that such big communities of animals that live among humans are very dangerous and there is always a the risk of being caught by then and if only one single human finds out about the truth, everything can be lost and all the animals that live not only in Tala Springs but in the United States would lose their freedom. He’s very nice and kind, but again, when it comes to his work he is very professional and he never lets his feelings get in the way. He pretty much keeps an eye on everyone, especially those new people in town such as Hunter and Mary Anne who are obviously there to create trouble but is also looking for the poacher that put is setting traps in the woods.
Having a lot of responsibilities, things have been very hard for him lately and he’s having a hard time trying to deal with everything. Barely a couple weeks ago, one of his friend, his deputy, not a human but another white-tailed deer, died in the woods after falling into the trap of a poacher, who found the deer trapped and shop him. Ian was the one who found the body when he was there looking for his friend. That day he lost not only a best friend but another graced animal and his deputy, leaving all the weight of taking care of the town and looking for the poacher on his shoulders. Even though he has James’ and Jack’s help with this, he has broken his golden rule and is taking this matter personally. Daniel’s death was a shock for him and obviously hit him hard, not really knowing how to deal with this, Ian chose to go hunt down the poacher that has apparently killed some graced animals but that is also very close to blowing up their cover. He’s definitely keeping an eye on Brandon, the son of the previous hunter and owner of the Hunting shop, not trusting him and being aware that he’s a very good hunter too.
Some people would say that he lost track of himself or of what was going on in town. But that was only until Grace offered herself as a deputy and got the job because of her previous experiences and also because she had proved him that she could handle the job. At first, Ian didn’t trust her because she was known in town for being very fickle when it came to have a job, changing every week or every month, leaving town and always coming back. Instead she has proved that this was the job for her, allowing her to move freely around the town instead of being tied to a desk and she has turned out to be his support when it comes to Daniel’s death. Having Grace so close to him now is making him notice that he doesn’t know what his feelings are towards her.
“The great thing about movies, is that you can go anywhere, meet anyone, learn lessons you may have never learned. I’ve got everything I need to learn right here in this store.”
One of Nathan’s earliest memories is of being taken to the movies when he was just four or five years old. It was a big deal, because there was, and still isn’t a movie theater in Tala Springs. He remembers waking up to his mother’s smiling face, and hearing the words, ‘we’re going to the movies’. They drove all the way to Tampa, somewhere they rarely ever went unless they absolutely needed to. The Smiths didn’t exactly have a lot of money to waste on the gas to get there. While his father went to do who knows what, he and his mother went to see Heavyweights, which remains to this day, his favorite movie. From that day on he was hooked, whenever he got a chance to see a movie, he watched it, no matter what it was about. It was the best and only way for him to get away from home.
You see, Mr. Smith was a heavy drinker, a very heavy drinker, and had some bad anger issues. He took his anger out on his wife, and his son more than a few times. Nathan loved his mother more than even his precious movies, and when seeing his father’s anger rising to the point her he might strike out at her, Nate would distract him by angering him instead and take whatever beating for her. One would think that his homme situation would have turned him bitter and cold, but he’s actually one of the nicest, sweetest guys you would ever meet. When his mother died shortly after he graduated highschool, he moved out, away from his father and opened a much needed video rental store on mainstreet. Without his mother, there was no reason for him to put up with his father anymore.
Opening the store had him interacting with people much more, and he quickly became the town sweet-heart. His great movie advice always gave people something to talk about, and he knew how to put a smile on some one’s face with ease. It was how he met Grace, and eventually ended up dating her. They were happy for a good amount of time, but she broke it off just as they started getting serious. He still doesn’t understand why she ended it between them, he thought he did everything right, but he decided not to dwell on it. He still sees her around since they live in such a small town, and he knows being bitter won’t help the situation. They still talk, quite a bit actually. His other good friend is Brandon, despite the fact that most of the town dislikes him, they’ve managed to become close, close enough that he know about his poaching. He really doesn’t approve, but because of his non-confrontational personality he doesn’t ever say anything about it. Most of the time, you can find Nate at the video store, if he’s not there he’s probably grabbing a bite to eat, or he’s gotten sucked into a conversation with one of his friends.
“The only thing I care about is having fun. If I have to ruin this town to go back to Miami, I will.”
Judging someone by the way he looks is never a good thing, and they say that it can be tricky or that someone isn’t the way he looks, but Hunter is an exception to that rule because you can expect him to be exactly the way he looks. Even though he is only seventeen, his body is already covered with a lot of tattoos, he has piercings and is always going around with his skateboard, drinking, smoking and basically having fun. Hunter is known for being a hot mess, he doesn’t seem to care about anything else but him and will only do things that would favour him. Only his older sister is able to control him and keep him in line. Her not being the best example to follow, he doesn’t really care about what she says. The least thing you could say is that his main hobby is to pretty much pissing off everyone for his own enjoyment. It’s mainly the teachers in the highschool since he barely goes to classes and when he does so, it’s only to get kicked out a few minutes later. No one understands why they haven’t kicked him out yet, maybe it has to do with his family having a shit load of money, but it’s sure that soon enough, they’re going to do it.
He used to live in Miami with his sister and his parents but both siblings being wild and uncontrollable, they were sent to Tala Springs to they could learn how to live on their own and earn their own living. Mary Anne is the one who is adapting or so her parents think, but now instead of just taking drugs, she sells them with Hunter’s help. He and his sister are constantly fighting. Their fights being legendary in town, always screaming and breaking things, but the truth is that they really do love each other but they’re too proud to admit anything of the sort. The only thing he’s going to admit that he has in common with her is the fact that they both hate the town with a firey passion. Being too small, not so welcoming with the newcomers like them but why would they have a warm welcome? Hunter loves creating havoc, screwing girls and getting high, destroying private properties and annoying pretty much everyone in town.
Instead of feeling sorry, he enjoys it to no end, in fact he’s very proud of being a bad influence and if he wants to you end up taking drugs, he’s for sure going to able to convince you no matter what. This doesn’t only include drugs but also alcohol, tobacco and pretty much everything he wants you to make do. Having no sense of what is wrong or right may also help with this because he doesn’t even care if he has to sneak some drug in someone’s drink. It’s not important because for him, there is no fun if drugs are not involved. The animals try to stay away from him because the drugs seem to be more effective on them than on regular humans and this makes him try to get closer to most of them, just because they’re able to resist him but that won’t be for long though, because he will always end up having his way with things. Having the power of selling and getting drugs for free only makes him think that he has basically the right to do whatever he wants, regardless of the consequences and this will be, for sure, a problem in the future, and his sister is not going to help him out.
“I know there is something going on here. And I’m going to find out what it is.”
Ever since he was a kid, Brandon’s father would take him to the woods next to Tala Springs to hunt down some animals, the species didn’t matter, only the fur and how rare was the animal. Of course, Brandon was too young to understand that what his father did was completely wrong and that in fact he wasn’t just a regular hunter trying to get to spend some time with his son, but a poacher who was using his son as an excuse to go to the woods to show him how to use a gun. Being used to see his father kill animals, he shot his first one when he was ten years old and didn’t even flinch when doing it. It was a wonderful white-tailed deer and his father was very proud of him, exactly what Brandon wanted, to make his father be proud of him since hunting was the only thing they had in common. Growing up with a father who would always care more about his guns than about his only son was hard for him, his mother left them as soon as Brandon killed his first animal, when she found out what her husband and son were doing in the woods and unable to stand living with what according to her were ‘murderers’. Even though she was his mother, he didn’t care about her leaving them, they had never been close and she had always been very oblivious, never quite caring about him. So in fact he was pretty happy that the woman that kept apart him and his father was gone now, except he soon found out that it had been his father the whole time. This, however, doesn’t mean that he hates his parents; in fact he will shoot anyone who says a single bad word about them.
Brandon kept following his father’s footsteps and started going to the woods to try to hunt down animals, he would also try to help him with his hunting shot and learned pretty much everything about guns. At sixteen, he dropped out of school so he could start actually helping his father in the shop and show him how they shared the same passion. However it only lasted a few years, when Brandon was eighteen, his father was arrested for poaching after being found in the woods with the corpse of a florida panther, a protected animal. Because of all the charges they had against him, he was sent to jail and released four years later, only to die in a hunting accident, being shot by one of his friends when Brandon was twenty-two, making him the owner of the local hunting shop and the target of the hatred of the entire town.
He’s not stupid, he knows that there is something going on in Tala Springs and spending so much time in the woods, has only showed him that some animals have a very strange behaviour and that sometimes they just vanish. Brandon is very close to finding out the truth and hating the animals as much as he does, the whole story wouldn’t have a very happy ending. The animals, and particularly James, since he’s the ranger, always keep an eye on him, watching his every move, not even knowing yet that he’s the one behind the recent murder of animals but suspecting that he’s involved, considering who his father was. Point is, he’s not going to stop until he finds out what’s going on with the people in the town and the animals, and in the process, if some of them get killed, it’s even better for him.
“I know what I am but that doesn’t mean I cannot have a hobby. It also happens that I’m fucking awesome at it.”
If someone asks in Tala Springs who Christian is, no one will be able to answer that question and they might ask if there is someone in town with who goes by that name. They will even look at each other, very confused and start chatting in a lower voice, trying to figure out who on earth this Christian is. It might even take several minutes, until someone comes up with something close to that. Chris. That’s a nickname, right? Yes. Yes it is. Then they will figure out that Chris’ actual name is Christian but don’t expect them to remember that name. Everyone knows who Chris is and they know better than to call him Christian. Because Chris is Chris and when someone says his name, a couple of people will smile and everyone will start talking about him as if he was some kind of Hollywood star. The fact that he’s the ranger’s younger brother just makes him more appealing to everyone in town. If you don’t know who he is, you’re clearly new to Tala Springs. Him and his brother are admired by the graced animals because they are Florida Panthers, a very rare animal, and by the humans because both of them are real gentleman, the kind of men that make girls swoon and the fact that he sort of ignores them only make them want him more badly. Chris knows that if they ever found out about him being a panther, they would soon start running and screaming. He often wonders if that would be a good solution to the problem.
Chris is a gentleman, he’s funny, playful, a bit cocky but not enough to make everyone loathe him and think he’s a complete jerk. He looks like a saint but he’s far from it. He smokes and drinks because as much as he stays away from the humans, their lifestyle is too tempting for his own good. It’s not like he doesn’t love being a panther, which he does, he’s very proud of that, but sometimes he just wishes he could have a normal life since panther girls are something so very…rare.
Having one talent and passion is actually something very good for him. He’s a cook at the local diner, even though it’s a very modest job. Cooking the meals of the inhabitants of Tala Springs is not his dream job but he takes a lot of pride into doing it. In fact in his mind he just wishes he could open a restaurant of his own but he also understands that it’s a human ambition and that’s something he’s not. He’s an animal and therefore knowing he has the possibility of cooking and the Diner and being appreciated by the whole town because of that is the best reward he could ever ask for. Do not mistake this for resentment or sadness because this doesn’t make him feel that way. At all. In fact, he loves being what he is and having the friends he has. During his brother’s parties with the graced animals, he’s the one in charge of the barbecue and everyone always congratulates him for his good job. As much as he loves cooking, this doesn’t mean that from time to time he doesn’t enjoy going on a good hunt and behaving like the panther he truly is at heart, hunting, cracking bones and tasting the fresh and bleeding meat of the animals he has just got the chance to hunt down. It would also be useful to mention that once, he almost killed Brittany while she was in her animal form and seeing her shift in front of him made him apologize immediately. Ever since, he’s way more careful and watches very closely what he hunts, not willing to kill a graced animal by accident.
“People think I protect them from the animals, but I am protecting us from them.”
James is not only handsome and sexy but a real gentleman. Despite the bad boy looks or the rumors about his wildness back when he was in highschool, the truth is that James is the perfect gentleman. Always ready to help and showing up from nowhere to help perhaps an old lady carry the bags of the supermarket to her car or maybe stop a fight between teenagers or in the local bar. He’s not the Sheriff of the town but his job leans in very close to that, because to the graced animals, he is. James is the ranger, the one in charge of making sure people don’t get lost in the woods and if they do, he finds them. Now it’s quite useful being a panther at heart, for when he chases the hunters away from the woods and stops the animals from stepping out of its limits, he handles the same ferocity. He’s the closest thing to a sheriff that the graced animals of Tala Springs have. Alongside the alpha male of the pack, he’s highly respected and the graced ones will all obey him, knowing it’s better not to get on his bad side.
Basically, James’ role is to prevent the humans from entering certain parts of the woods. His role is very important, because if he wasn’t able to do his job for some reason, their secret would see the light and humans would find out about the animals living among them. The weight of this task rests on his shoulders, although luckily enough, he loves doing his job and has the occasional help of the other animals on his patrol. Christian, his brother, will usually help him, the two of them being very close despite the big age difference between both and some of the wolves such as Jane, Emily and Alec and Ian. Even though he’s a deer and he’s James’ prey, the two of them get along very well.
Denying it would be stupid but he used to be the one that, thanks to his reputation and the fear he would inspire in people in general, would keep his friends in check and prevent them from acting like jerks towards the humans or even harm them. He has nothing against humans, he just doesn’t particularly like them since they usually try to hunt them down illegally in the woods for laughs, but he knows that not all of them are that way and you could definitely say that he’s capable of scaring them to death so they won’t come back. It usually works out very well. Besides that little tiny problem he has with humans, he enjoys being able to shift into a human form and definitely enjoys walking on two legs. His hobby, besides his work, is to go fishing and he will usually take his brother with him. James rents a boat in a small town next to Tampa and from there they will head off all the day into the sea, spending time together, bonding and fishing, to sell what they catch afterwards or maybe organize a dinner for all the graced animals. To James, most of the time, it’s about sharing and even though he doesn’t have a pack like the wolves, considering the panthers are more lone animals, he likes to make meetings in which all the graced animals get together to talk about what’s going on, be organized and just have fun eating, sharing and being themselves without the need of having to pretend that they are human.
“My sister and I are going to take care of this town. Things are going to change.”
Brother Moon is one side of the coin and Sister Sun is the other. He’s blonde, built, tall, impulsive and charming. He represents the night and the moon. Gabriel didn’t choose his human body, nor did Sophie, it is just a coincidence that he doesn’t look like the moon, pale, dark and sensual, he’s looks like being the complete opposite. He always find amusing the way everyone associates the moon to a woman when he is the moon and he’s far from being a girl.
Gabriel and Sophie are complete opposites. They are twins. They think alike. They complete each other. Everyone would say that Gabriel is the golden boy, the prince charming, the good one of the couple and that used to be true, but as the years passed he grew cold and bitter as he watched the humans destroy what they’d worked so hard on. He’s still not the one who’s going to let that take over those feelings and Sophie is always there to help him. Having another half is very helpful, Sophie is always there for him and she’s the only one able to make him twice.
Gabriel, despite all of the coldness he tends to show towards the humans, loves to spend time with the graced animals. He literally adores most of them, Matt being the exception because he wasted the gift he had inherited. Still Sophie is the tolerant one. The only human he likes to spend time with is Annabelle, that strange dreamy girl that is friend with almost all of the graced animals, not even knowing what they are. He can feel how she is different from the rest, the way she knows things but is too innocent to notice. She reminds him of the Native Americans that used to inhabit America before the white men arrived and destroyed everything. The twins find themselves not only drawn towards their animals but towards this one girl. She gives them hope for a fresh start and trying to get to understand that there might be hope for the animals they graced and they are not doomed, damned to live a life in between two worlds, never belonging to either and unable to find their place. He’s the one who has noticed how with the change of the society, their children are losing themselves and some of them end up losing their grace by becoming crazed animals trapped in a human body or by losing their human side, becoming not only wild but very dangerous and reckless animals. There he has two examples, Matt, whom he hates and Alec, whose story makes Gabriel forgive the young wolf, knowing how he fought to keep a balance, making him admire his effort and his strength.
That is the main reason why Gabriel convinced Sophie to move to Tala Springs, because it’s the biggest and most varied community of graced animals and there they get an actual chance to understand what’s going on after so many centuries of leaving in an oblivion in which they forgot about their children. He feels terribly guilty because he really loves his wolves and panthers but being a forgotten god is not easy. He has to decide now the fate of the graced animals by deciding if they can keep their grace or if they lose it forever and go back to be the animals they actually are. Gabriel is only looking for that spark of hope and at the same time, he’s willing to have a good time on earth with his human body.