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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7. Stranger

Hovering about the lounge room, my eyes didn't leave Hugh as he paced. Luke and I were seated on one of the lounges hoping to wait out the storm before starting any plans. The grandfather clock was ticking away, and glancing at it my heart suddenly stopped.

"What is it?" Luke asked, immediately noticing my change of expression. Getting up, I took a deep breath as I ran my sweating palms over my jeans.

"Tori and James should have finished school half-an-hour ago" I replied, heading for the door. I knew they would follow me, even as I threw open the front door to the incredible storm that seemed to be sending tons of rain down. Grabbing a raincoat, I threw it over my head and shoulders, as I slammed my feet into the gumboots beside it, and began running through the rain to Luke's car. Stopping at the door, I remembered the keys. Turning, I stepped back as Hugh sent them flying my way. Catching them, I swiveled around to unlock the door and hop into the drivers seat, Luke hopping in on the other side, and Hugh into the back. Turning on the engine, my eyes flew to the clock as the minute passed.

"Let's go" I said.

 

*          *          *          *          *

Driving full speed down the main road, my eyes were glued to the road as rain pelted down on the window. It was a good half hour drive from Luke's place to school, and not only was my mind in overload apparently so was the engine. It was sweltering hot, and my raincoat had been ditched in the back of the car beside Hugh as I focused on driving.

"Is the rain getting harder?" Hugh asked. My hands clenched harder upon the steering wheel, my knuckles already white as I clenched my teeth together.

"Shut up, Hugh. Just shut it" I snapped, pressing down on the accelerator. Luke's eyes bore into my fingers as his eyes watch my speed. I knew I was going way over the limit, and that in the current weather conditions - what I was doing was completely reckless, but he knew there would be no telling me. We both knew it.

 

Slowing down, I pulled a sharp right into the schools empty parking lot, and headed down the other end that curved around behind the school. I hit the brakes and turned the car off, before bursting out into a run as soon as I saw the abandoned, silver SUV. The rain had soaked me even before the first few steps, and running closer I saw two figures beside the other side of the car. James was watching the back wheel as a stranger knelt beside the wheel. Looking up, he seemed to read my expression and nodded to the backseat of the car. Throwing open the door and jumping in, my arms wrapped around Tori's toasty warm body. She held me close for a second before pushing me away.

"Hey! You're wet!" she sniffed, pushing a blanket at me. Pulling the blanket around my shoulders, I allowed my mind to take in her slightly tousled, blonde hair, sleepy, blue eyes and tired smile.

"I was worried..." I said, glancing outside at the rain. Tori laughed gently, before shoving at my shoulder.

"You always do" she said, taking hold of my hand running her thumb over my knuckles. Glancing back at her, our eyes met and we smiled gently before I sighed as it seemed the rain was beginning to lighten slightly.

 

Stepping out of the car, I shut the backdoor after me after making sure Tori wouldn't follow. I turned around to see Hugh and Luke heading over, as James's eyes were down at the stranger knelt beside the back wheel.

"What's wrong with the car?" I asked, my eyes turning to see a burgundy, raincoat covered figure turning the a spare wheel onto the car. A few tightening turns, and then standing up a girl with long, burgundy-brown hair turned to James her eyes hidden by wisps of wet, matted hair.

"Just down the jack, and you can go" she said, her voice almost a whisper yet a coarse undertone grabbing my attention. That, and the fact I couldn't seem to read her.

"Maia, this is Toris's sister she was telling you about: Beth. Beth, meet Maia" James said, before turning to the jack. Turning towards me, I swore her eyes were red for a second before her beautiful black eyes met mine and a small smile curved her lips.

"Maia, from?" I asked, holding out my hand. She looked at my hand, before grasping it gently though giving it a firm squeeze as we shook hands.

"Willcox, Arizona... But, I just started at Black Forest today" she smiled, her explanation telling me that she was a lot more confident than she seemed.

 

Her eyes turned over my shoulder, and I froze to see both Hugh and Luke seemingly wary of the stranger.

"This is Luke, James's brother, and their cousin Hugh" I introduced her, smiling at Maia briefly before turning to both boys, giving them a stern glare.

"This is Maia" I said.

"So did you move here with your family?" Luke asked, as he shook Maia's hand. We watched as she flinched slightly, before shaking her head.

"No, just kind of on my own. My parents travel" she said, for once keeping it brief. Hugh shook her hand, and I was surprised he didn't press further, though the unfamiliar look in his eyes as he watched Maia who didn't meet anyone's for that moment, was something I'd have to speculate later.

 

"We can head out now. Still need a lift to the station, Maia?" James asked. We turned to her, as she pulled her arms protectively around herself as the rain lightened to a mere sprinkle.

"I think I can find my way through the forest, fine. It shouldn't be too hard" she said to him, before giving a small smile and heading off.

"Hey, wait!" Luke called out. I jumped, startled. Glancing at him uncertainly, I watched as his brow furrowed his eyes stuck on Maia as she turned around her hood falling from her head. A waterfall of burgundy tinted, brown hair spilled down her shoulders and the sudden flash of a chain around her neck reminded me of someone I couldn't quite remember at that specific moment.

"The forest!?" Luke called out. She nodded timidly.

"My uncle used to be the grounds keeper of the cemetery on the west side... Before the Wilkin's disappearance, that was" she called back. I flinched, and the others forced themselves not to look at me as my eyes flew to the nearest edge of the forest.

 

"You can't live there!" I called out. Seeing her eyes glance at the forest, I could see a flash of uncertainty. She didn't know the way to her uncle's lodge. It was a 4 day hike even if you knew the way, not to mention the place was run down.  I watched as her eyes cut to mine flashing red again. She seemed to take a deep breath before shrugging.

 

"I don't really have anywhere else to go..." she replied.

"Come and stay with us then" I said, waving her over.

"Beth!" Luke hissed, my eyes didn't leave Maia as her eyes seemed suddenly hurt as she glanced at Luke, and then at me. She must have heard him which was strange since she was standing so far away.

 

"Just say: yes!" a voice squealed from behind us. I hadn't even glanced around before Tori came running out from the car and throwing her arms around Maia who gasped before they both fell to the ground.

"Ow, ow, ow...!" Tori gasped rubbing her sore elbow, knowing she wasn't seriously hurt I cast her a warning look before turning to see Maia's face contorted in pain as her hands went to cover her eyes.

"Are you okay!?" I asked, kneeling suddenly and gently touching her arm. She nodded lowering her hands instantly, and getting up slowly.

"I think it'll be better if you stay with us. Even if it's just for now" I informed her as she got up. She nodded, as I let go and we both turned when we realized another set of hands were on her. Glancing at Hugh I watched as his eyes flashed red.

"No... She couldn't be" I tried to assure myself, taking a better look at Maia.

"Until I get my accommodation sorted out then" she said.

"Awesome!" Tori giggled, as I smiled.

"Great" I said. Heading back to the car I watched Luke, Hugh and Maia. Maia seemed slightly strange but hearing her circumstances it was understandable, what was starting to worry me was Luke and Hugh... The thought that they could be distracted about our need to plan was creeping up on me, and though I tried to tell myself I'd made the right decision helping the new girl, something told me I'd made a big mistake.

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