Hunted: Beth

Elizabeth Folks was 3 when she was found wondering out of Black Forest. Since then she has become the towns 'living legend'. Adopted by strangers to protect their only child, she became the 'bait' if anything were to happen...

Now at 18 years old, Beth still holds a secret she kept since the day she became a Folks-daughter. But since the downfall of the Grave Makers, witches have finally returned to Earth. Without the balance of good and evil, the witches are forced to choose a side, and once more, Black Forest is under the clutches of an evil witch. The numbers of missing children increase, slowly but surely, as time goes on...

Fighting to protect her adoptive sister, and keep her secret. Beth is thrown into the deep end when a stranger enrolls at Black Forest High School. His presence sparks Beth's fear of her secret being discovered.

When avoiding the stranger is deemed impossible, Beth puts in all the stakes to hiding from him. Yet is it him she should really be worried about?

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1. Unprepared

The thunderous footsteps that awoke me from my sleep were - unfortunately- very familiar, early Monday morning. The fogginess that had clouded my mind, embracing it in a hold only to give me 3 hours of sleep, faded way to quickly as my bedroom door swung open.

"We're leaving. You said we'd go early." Victoria reminded me immediately, her gorgeous blue eyes bright and energetic which was wrong in so many ways. Tori was not a morning person. Pushing the duvet of my cramped single bed, I swung my legs over the side before sitting up and rubbing at my aching shoulders.

"Your shoulders..." Tori whispered, as my sleeve slipped off my shoulder. Lifting it back up, I pushed my messy, bed-hair out of my face and gave her a small smile,

"They feel better." I interrupted her, giving her a gentle smile. Watching as a kaleidoscope of emotions flitted over her petite features before she gave me a small, slightly re-assured smile. A smile that had me holding back a sigh of relief.

"We're leaving in ten, then." she informed me. A cold breeze from the early morning rushed through my open bedroom window, and she shivered, her eyes flitting to the still dark forest. It just so happened the coldest part of the home was beside the forest, the very same forest which resided outside my window, thus the reason why it was my room.

"Don't you get cold at night?" she asked for the millionth time. My eyes flew to the window, softening at the familiar depths of the forest of which I'd been found leaving from many years earlier. The forest of which I'd somehow managed to leave, and find myself adopted into a family of which I met Tori.

"'Fate couldn't of made that happen.'"  familiar words flew through my mind, instantly shutting the impending thoughts and memories that came with those words, I turned to Tori giving a small shrug.

"Sometimes, but I've got this." I replied, nudging the duvet with my elbow.

 

Glancing at the clock, I tried not to groan. Tori might have woken me up early, but she hadn't woken either of us early enough to get to school in time for the early morning study.

"We're running late, get ready and meet you out the front in five." I said, jumping up and moving to my dresser pulling out a black hoodie, a pair of orange and grey sunset jeans, and a white tank.

"I thought you said we had to wake at six..." Tori said, confusion and worry creeping into her voice.

"Not if you want a good spot at the library, but don't worry - I doubt anyone would bother waking at five. Get ready, and I'll meet you in five." I repeated, nodding quickly before watching as she took off at top speed back out my bedroom door, her heavy footsteps receding back up the stairs assuring me she'd probably only take 3.

 

Stripping with ease, I had jumped into my jeans, and shoved on the hoodie in time to grab my leather, lace-up boots and backpack before meeting Tori in the hallway as we both headed to the door.

"I hope it's not another early practice Beth! Tori doesn't have time to spend doing practice, when she can be studying...!" mum called out from the kitchen. I ignored her as always, smiling slightly as Tori groaned, rolling her eyes as she stopped to pop her head into the kitchen, whilst I continued on my way to the front door. Opening up the door, I was already at the passenger door to the car when I heard Tori snap,

"We're going to study. Stop being such a prune Monday morning mum." before running out to join me. Catching her roll of the eyes as she headed down the front steps, I laughed.

"You don't have to do that you know." I reminded her, as she unlocked the car and hopped in the drivers seat. Opening up the passenger door, I slipped into the seat, closing the door after me just as she began reversing out of the driveway.

"Yeah, but you know I can't help myself. I mean, your my sister. We're family." Tori reminded me, as I put on my seat belt.

 

Driving down the road, we sat in silence for a few moments before she started smiling. As usual, she did straight out of the blue.

"Now, what?" I asked, glancing over at her.

"Nothing," she lied,

"It's just I really felt for dad when I saw what he was going to get for breakfast." she grinned. The side of my lips curved slightly.

"What was she cooking?" I asked,

"Only her best kidney and liver stew." she said. We both burst out laughing, and throwing my head back I closed my eyes.

"'You can't pretend forever'," the words crept into my mind, before I was able to stop them. Taking a deep breath, I allowed myself to calm down.

"Don't think about it, the time may have come but nobody knows." I reminded myself silently. Feeling the lightest touch on my arm, I turned to see Tori looking at me worriedly.

"Is it your back?" she asked. I shook my head, sitting up straighter as I looked outside the window to the huge forest that splayed either side of the rode we drove down.

"Nope. Just imaging if we had to eat the leftovers." I lied. Glancing over at Tori a grin curved my lips, and in a few moments we were both laughing again.

"Just a while longer, I'll be okay," I convinced myself. Smiling, I glanced over at Tori,

"We'll be okay." I assured myself. The only thing was, I more certain than ever, that this time: I'd be wrong.

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

"Are you sure you don't want me to carry anything?" Tori asked, her voice cutting through the silence of the car park at Black Forest High School. Lifting the books higher up in my arms, my eyes remained glued to the 23 library books she'd borrowed the day before. I hadn't even known she'd borrowed them until she'd opened the car boot, and knowing Tori, she probably hadn't even opened them up yet.

"I'm fine, Tori. Really." I assured her, looking up to allow my eyes to latch onto her own adorable, wide, sky-blue ones as I cast her a re-assuring smile. My eyes remained locked with hers before her shoulders slumped slightly with relief, the smallest of smiles curving her lips.

"Your really the best sister ever." she said, locking the car as she totted around the car and to my side, as we headed to the front entrance to the school.

"Yeah, I think I realized that when you told me you wanted to turn up to school an hour early for the first time in your life." I said, a small sly smile crossing my lips as she feigned offense. Faking a punch to my arm, she let out an excited squeal that caused me to turn towards the entrance to see a familiar face headed our way.

 

Watching as Tori threw her arms around the neck of my best-friend and kiss him still made me feel slightly uncomfortable, not that I liked him, but rather that she was dating somebody I couldn't exactly: not like. Feeling the pile slip, my eyes snapped down, just in time to catch the slipping book within my grasp, and before hauling the pile higher in my arms.

"Hey, I can hold that." James said, I cast him a friendly glare.

"I'm doing fine on my own, thanks." I said, nodding to his own pile of books. Clearly the two of them had both been cramming the night before, they were the perfect match.

"Seriously, Beth. Just give him the books to carry." Tori said, her voice going back to showing she was overly-worried for no good reason. Knowing I'd have to give up either way, I handed James the stack, a smirk crossing my lips as I stepped back to watch him as his arms fumbled beneath the load.

"Still strong..." he muttered, earning a glare from Tori. Watching over their shoulders, I lowered my head as more cars pulled into the school parking lot.

"So much for just us this morning." I thought. Pulling my bag strap higher up my shoulder, I turned around burrowing my hands in the deep pockets of my hoodie.

"I'll see yous later." I said, glancing over my shoulder to see James already in deep conversation with Tori, who cast me a small smile over his shoulder as I headed off. Feeling the presence of eyes searing through the fabric of my hoodie, I pulled it around me tighter as I entered the school doors, embraced in the presence of it's comforting silence.

 

Heading to the front office, I ignoring the rising burning sensation from the scabs covering the top of my back and shoulders. Wincing as I bumped into a locker, I shut my eyes for a moment deciding to take a detour to the nurses office. Turning the corner, I narrowly avoided the tall figure of someone who'd obviously thought to turn up earlier than everyone else.

"Guess we weren't the first here..." I thought to myself, just as I went to bypass the stranger. A strong hand gripped my shoulder, and I couldn't quite slap the hand away before the pain took over from my hoodie fabric being forced down against my injured skin.

"Touchy." an unfamiliar voice noted. Looking up my eyes met with the deepest green eyes I'd ever seen. From the panes of his unbelievably handsome, chiseled face I could tell he wasn't local, nor was he from overseas.

"Kind of." I lied, standing straighter as I burrowed my hands deep into the pockets of my hoodie. His tanned skin said he'd probably come from somewhere a whole lot warmer than Black Forest, the evident strength in muscles, beneath his grey shirt also hinting he was the outdoorsy type...

"I was wondering where the office was...?" he asked, my eyes turned from the top of his shoulder to his face.

"His lying." I thought, my intuition was never wrong.

"You probably walked past it. It's down the hall and to your right" I said, moving to pass him.

 

The stranger shifted slightly, blocking me as I went to walk past. Stopping, I winced as my shoulder bumped against the wall.

"Sorry," he said, shifting the other way.

"Could you show me?" he asked.

"Sure." I replied, wincing at the false, cheery voice that escaped me before I headed past him and down the hall. The softest tapping of my shoes against the ground echoed in the otherwise-silence as we headed down the hall. My nerves were on edge, and the pain hadn't yet subsided from my shoulder.

"It's not weird that your hurt. Even if you don't usually get hurt or are as easy to maneuver as he just did... No. Defiantly not weird."  I found myself thinking.

"So your new." I found myself saying. Though my eyes were glued to the empty hall before me, I could almost sense him nodding slightly as he followed.

"Psh, senses are the only thing I'm not a failure at. Almost..."

"Yeah, and I'm guessing you don't get a lot of new students here." he said, as I came to a stop outside the first aid room. An arising babble of voices echoed down the hall as I turned to face the new guy.

"You could say something like that..." I'd been saying before my voice got drowned out by the loudening of voices that seemed to be coming down the hallway way to fast.

"There office is there. See you." I said quickly, turning to cast him a brief smile, before casting a nod towards the door on the opposite side of the hall.

"Uh... Yeah. Thanks. Your name, again...?" he asked as I turned away, opening up the door and stepping in towards the safety of the first aid room, as the voices came closer from the hall.

"I haven't told you yet." I replied, eyes shifting to Tori's and Jame's oncoming heads. Turning into the room, I swiftly shut the door behind me and fastened the lock.

 

"You're early." a voice spoke from across the room. Startled by the voice, I turned to glare at the overly joyous smile of Regina. The school nurse.

"I was having a few aches and pains on the way here, so I decided to stop by." I explained, taking in her freshly dyed, bright, red hair. The short bob was gorgeous against her flawless, alabaster skin. Her lips pursed into a slight grimace as she watched me slip my hoodie off, before stripping down to my bra.

"Take a sea.t" she said, getting up and shuffling around. Taking a seat on a leather-cushioned stool, I pulled my hair away to the side allowing the air from the air conditioner breeze against my wounds. Wincing, I bit my lower lip, my head lowering as the rest of my hair fell before my face, my hands clenched upon my jean-clad knees.

"It's still getting better, a bit slow, but better." Regina noted, gently prodding the skin around the edges of the scabby area.

"I wish you'd tell me how you really did it though, it must have been one big fall." she said, beginning to dab on antiseptic and such. Wincing, my mind flashed to James's ridiculous story,

"Falling down the stairs is the only thing he could think of. I'm pretty sure he believes it himself." I thought to myself, wincing as she lightly dabbed the cotton bud across the edges and quickly nearing the center of the mess of my damaged shoulders.

 

The sound of the shrill alarm, sent me jumping in my seat. The pressure of the cotton bud caused me to scream in pain before the crashing sound of the door sent Regina and I reeling. Before I knew it, my hand had instinctively reached to grab to my shirt, and I was hauling it to cover my nakedness before my eyes met the intense stare of the stranger from earlier...

"What was his name again...?" I asked myself, my brow furrowed.

"What are you doing in here!? That door was locked!" Regina snapped, immediately taking charge as she stalked towards the new guy who was holding open the door. The hall behind him was still busy with bustling students, but it was of a crowd that was thinning as moments went by.

"Your back..." he said, his stare fleeting to my back before back to my eyes. Glaring, I hauled my shirt over my head, and grabbed my jacket.

"See you later Regina." I muttered, side-passing the new guy as I escaped down the hall hearing his voice call out my name, and his feet follow me, before I turned the corner and disappeared from the halls of Black Forest High.

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