Shift

There were five of us who escaped; five who survived the bloody, terror filled massacre, five who watched everything they treasure, love and hate burn in a fiery furnace before our eyes, five who lost everything, five who remember, five who survived the Darkest Demise.

They hunted us all down, one by one. Number one was killed in Syria when I was one hundred and twelve. Number two was murdered in Nepal at the very moment I turned two hundred. Number three was hunted down in Kenya when I was two hundred and fifty. Four was killed in Australia a century ago while I was on the stream train to Braemar, England to escape a few of the trackers from the Darkest Demise.

If they find out where I am they’ll come of me. I am the only one left. I am the last of my species. My life is in danger 24/7 and one slip up will result in my death.

They will hunt me to the ends of the Earth; I can no longer be myself.

I am the last shifter.

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1. Chapter One.

 

There are some things in life that we can never explain, and will never in a million years expect. I didn’t expect the attack, I didn’t expect to lose it all and I didn’t expect to be hunted by the wolves.

I didn’t expect to be surrounded by huge male werewolves, warriors, after stepping past a boundary line by accident, I had quickly shifted into a Golden Eagle, since they inhabit the Northern Hemisphere and no one would think it strange for a Golden Eagle to be perched at the top of a tree since they are fairly common in Northern America.

“I swear that I saw a flash of something, but I can’t smell rouge or even a pack member.” I sniggered and the sound came out as a loud cry in my Eagle form.

Their heads snapped to me and many smiled, it was slightly unnerving since I knew what these men could do if they found me; I no longer trust, that’s what got my pack, my family killed, in one night of fiery retribution.  

“Wow look,” One said pointing to a few of their comrades who were still combing through the trees for a scent. “It’s a Golden Eagle!” His face lit up with something akin to childish enthusiasm and his grin stretched from ear to ear, the excitement and amazement in his deep voice made me chuckle slightly as I stretched my cocoa/ gold wings to their 2.30 m length. I was proud of my wings, they are bigger than most other Golden Eagles, only very few had larger wings than me and they were in good condition with a healthy colouring, all my feathers are kept in excellent condition and allow me to soar through the sky freely.

I took off from my tree perch and soared over the forest of Pandora, Colorado which is located on the outskirts of the San Juan National Forest and closest to the Gladstone Peak.

“Look John, we all know that you love birds, but right now we need to look for this intruder, you know the alpha would have a fit if someone slipped past our border line while you were watching birds, especially after what happened with Anna.” I felt bad when his features fell and resembled a child that was just told they had to go in the naughty corner.

‘John’ had a boyish look to him and couldn’t have been older than sixteen and was tall and gangly. As a werewolf he had a bit of natural muscle and was tanned, but he looked tiny compared to the other huge, muscular men standing around the area. His eyes were the colour of fudge, his nose was small and straight, his lips were pink and full, his hair was the colour of Sepia and was similar to his eyes and eyebrows.

He sighed and nodded before shifting and sniffing for scents.

I released a shrill cry and circled above them, watching with anticipation to see if they had found anything; this was my chance to see if I could stay, if they suspected anything about a shifter than I’m gone.

“I can’t smell anything, it smells human,” The man paused and sniffed the patch of grass I had run through a few minutes ago. “Boys I think we’ve got a runaway human. We’ll have to inform the alpha; we can’t freely shift now, until she leaves.”

Shit! So this is obviously a wolf infested town, which means no humans, no humans to be my barrier against nosy wolves.

Although my distrust for anyone, especially werewolves, with good reason, I had rented a small house in town and enrolled in the school so I guess I have to go now; no point in wasting money and this is probably one of the last places they’d look for me, I had never hidden with wolves before.

-

The forest was so beautiful and I felt at peace. For once I wasn’t worrying about the Darkest Demise and I wasn’t thinking about my family and pack.

The forest was amazing. The trees were tall and healthy; big green leaves, the bark was a rich Russet and the roots stretched under the ground, periodically appearing above the soil, twisted around each other in a beautiful, intimate way. I took a deep breath and the strong, comforting smell of pine, soil and the faint, dewy aroma of rain. My gaze swept towards the faint sound of rushing water and I turned to walk in that direction, I was in for a long walk.

I have the hearing of a tawny owl, the strength of a rhinoceros beetle that can carry 850 times its own weight, which is the equivalent of me lifting a 65 ton armoured tank. The speed of a cheetah, the scenting capacity of a bear, I have the eyesight of an eagle that can spot rabbits from several miles away, the memory of an elephant.

I have the best attributes of the animals I have managed to shift to, but it takes practise to turn these senses on and off at will.

I had hidden my bag before I’d shifted; the only thing I owned and was now backtracking to retrieve it. It had the only three personal belongings I have; my journal, my great grandmother’s locket and the ring my daddy gave me when I first shifted, long with a credit card linked to an untraceable bank account with a balance of billions, oh and some clothes. In that bag was my entire past, present and future.

The stream came into view and I paused when a beautiful, large Trumpeter Swan sat in the middle of the pond with four, excitable Cygnets surrounding her. The pen watched me with trusting eyes, knowing that I wouldn’t hurt her or her Cygnets. Animals, no matter what breed or species always know whether a person is good of heart and has good intentions; they trust shifters more than any other of their kind and I always feel blessed when an animal accepts me.

I sat down on the edge of the water and pulled out my sketch book. The cool liquid lapped at my toes as the graceful creatures floated on the surface, powerful legs propelling them forwards. She swan towards me and I giggled when she nipped at my wiggling toes, my pencil flew over the paper with a life of its own and soon the sketch took shape; a beautiful swan with her children.

I stretched out my hand and let her come closer to receive an affectionate caress; I didn’t force her. She honked and spread her wings to their 220 cm length when the bushes rumbled and a White- tailed deer herd stepped out of the foliage to drink from the babbling brook. I sighed and lay on my back, with my sketch pad resting on my stomach as the normally shy deer stepped around my body and lay down next to me comfortably.

I sighed in contentment and stroked the head of the fawn lay next to me; her gorgeous spotted brown and white coat was soft and silky, with the occasional matting of grass seeds and thorns, which my long, slender fingers made short work of. “You’re beautiful aren’t you?” I whispered, smiling at the young deer.

She sneezed and I giggled as she stood on her long, slender legs and approached the water with newfound curiosity; she could only be a few days old and her antics were amusing to watch.

I think I was going to like it here; I wasn’t be chased for now, none of the werewolves knew that I was a shifter or even a wolf and the forest was calm, quiet and inviting, I might even be able to learn a few more forms.

-

I must have fallen asleep because when I awoke, the deer and swans were gone and it was twilight. The howls of the nearby pack cut through the chilly night air as I stretched my arms above my head and my joints clicked back in place after sleeping in an awkward position on the cold, rocky forest floor. “Never doing that again, next time I’ll sleep up a tree.” I muttered to myself.

I was too far away from ‘home’ to walk and I couldn’t shift for fear of being spotted so I clambered up the nearest tree and settled down in a large fork, it’s not ideal but it was off the ground and high enough that the wolves couldn’t reach me easily.

The flames licked the sky in a terrifying caress, screams filled the night air as wolves ripped each and every shifter apart; men, women and children.

My mum gripped my shoulders, crystal tears pouring down her cinder covered face.

“Honey you have to run, run and never look back. I love you more than you’ll ever know.” I nodded as Jace took my hand and led me away to the tree line surrounding the pack house.

“Come on little bird, shift and follow me.” He whispered.

I shifted into the first animal I learnt, and the form that I am most comfortable in; a silver wolf.

Jace shifted into a huge tiger.

‘Run fast and far little dove, do not stop for anyone.’

I turned to nod but I froze at the huge brown wolf sprinting towards my friend, protector and uncle.

‘Jace’ I screamed. But it was too late, the wolf had pounced on his back and had dug it’s claws into his flanks.

I stood there paralysed as he tried to throw the wolf of using his immense bulk, but it wasn’t working. He paused when he saw me standing there and growled.

‘Fly little bird!’

I sniffed and shifted into a sparrow before taking off towards the North.

The one mistake I made was turning back.

My uncle’s corpse was lying on the ground, I wouldn’t have been able to tell it was him since it was so shredded if not for the colouring; tiger. His intestines were spread around him and I could see his heart had been ripped out of his chest, his entire body had been flayed and his eyes gouged out, his limps were detached from his body.

If I could have vomited, I know that I would have.

That image will be burned into my brain until the day I die.

I wish I could get retribution for what the Darkest Demise did to my family and my race, but I can’t fight.

I can only run.

I was startled by the growling, snarling and howling of wolves and I nearly fell out of my tree.

I raised my hand to wipe away the tears that had unknowingly escaped as I relived the horror of the death of my family and friends, my pack.

Surrounding the tree was a pack of wolves, ten of them, all male.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared.

They circled the tree and snarled, I made a move to climb higher, but I hadn’t expected the texture of the branch to be smooth enough to lose my footing.

I tumbled towards the ground in a heap of limbs and a tangle of cocoa coloured curls.

“Oomph!” The breath I had been holding escaped me and I was winded. I didn’t move a muscle as the wolves surrounded me, sniffing and growling at me.

They seemed to be talking to each other and a few of them growled. Curiosity got the better of me and I pushed my way into their heads without the knowing, to hear what they were saying.

‘It would be so much easier to kill her and make it seem like an animal attack!’ The brown wolf standing closest to me was looking around at the others; I was in his mind and he was the one speaking.

‘We can’t hurt her, it’s against the code to harm a human without provocation.’

‘Let’s say we scare her enough to get her attack and then we kill her; self-defence.’ I glared at him; if only he knew I was a shifter, he’d change his mind pretty quickly.

‘She can’t hear us can she? She’s glaring at you.’

I smiled slightly as the brown wolf sniffed me and shook his head.

‘Na she’s a stupid human.’ I snorted and moved away from the brown wolf a little.

‘I swear that she can hear us!’ I turned my head to see a grey wolf watching me with interest. ‘Maybe she’s a shifter!’ He sounded so excited and I smiled; at least some wolves don’t hate my race.

The brown wolf snorted. ‘They’re dead and gone, they just disappeared after the Darkest Demise asked for help, cowards!’

I froze; the packs don’t know what happened to us? Did they really think that we just disappeared off the face of the Earth? How could they be that stupid?

‘Let’ just leave, we need to keep looking for the beta’s daughter.’

I sighed in relief as they trotted away from me and left my part of the forest.

At least I can live one more day without having my secret revealed.

It was now pitch black and if I were human I wouldn’t have been able to see anything, but I’m not human, I’m the only shifter left in this world, with a large pack of wolves on my trail and no place to call my permanent home; only temporary, never permanent.

I travelled further into the forest the darker it got, but to be honest I really didn’t care; I’ve survived by myself for four hundred years, even with the Darkest Demise hounding me. The forest made me feel safe, free, for once in my life, well, since it took a turn for the worst. No matter how alone I feel, no matter where I am in the world there are always animals to keep me company. 

I hate having too much spare time though; I always relive the past, the deaths of my pack and how I could have stopped it. Wandering give me too much time to think; it’s these times that I despise being a shifter, forever destined to wander the Earth alone, because shifters always mate with other shifters; that’s one of the reasons why the Darkest Demise attacked us, we had too much power and we refused to help them in their quest for it.

The heart breaking thing was that I had found my mate at the age of ten; he was my best friend and I could honestly say that I loved him with all my heart. I never knew what happened to him, and sometimes I wonder if he ever escaped.

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