Right before the animal pounced on me, I sensed it.
The moment my back hit the snowy ground, I didn't feel terror.
As it went for my throat, I held it back by pushing at its neck with my arms, while staring at its light eyes. It was looking at me with an emotion I've become way too familiar with: fear.
It attacked me not because I crossed its territory but because it feared what I was.
The animal kept snarling and attempting to literally have a piece of me.
I could feel the beginning of the change. I've been holding it back for too long and now the beast wants to show dominance. My gums and fingers were itching and I saw my nails falling off and in their place, claws were growing. I suddenly tasted blood and then realized my teeth have gone sharper and that I have bitten through my bottom lip. I was unable to hold back the grunt when I felt my bones shifting in places.
One would think that I should have gotten used to this pain by now because it has been going on for years - for as long as I could remember.
The beast was growling inside me. I didn't realize the sound was coming out of my mouth as well. But I was doing my hardest to keep him at bay. I didn't want him coming out ever again.
The animal was wilder now. And I could feel my control slowly slipping away. The beast was clawing at the insides of my mind, desperate to get free. More blood was being drawn into my mouth and the taste was sending the beast into a frenzy.
A gunshot halted everything.
A pained whimper sounded from on top of me and the grey wolf fell on its side on the snow beside me.
Startled, I felt my control slip for a moment, and the beast was ready to lash out at the shooter.
"Are you okay?" The voice made the beast stop. Instantly, a sense of calm washed over me. I can finally feel myself lying on the ground, catching my breath. No more convulsions. No more pain.
I could hear snow crunching under light footsteps. A moment later, a girl appeared above me. She was younger than me, with dark hair.
"Oh my God," she knelt down beside me, putting a rifle next to her. A scent wafted towards me that caused a stirring in me that I couldn't understand. It was something so new, yet something so familiar. Like I'd known that scent all my life. Her mahogany hair cascaded towards my face like melted chocolate.
"You're bleeding." Her touch on my lip sent me jolting to a sitting position, almost colliding with her forehead.
I looked at her and noticed she was now eyeing my fingers. Blood coated my fingertips because of the falling of my nails. The claws were gone and I could feel my human nails regrowing.
Her movement made me flinch. She immediately raised both her hands in a calming manner. I turned my head towards where the wolf was laying.
"Don't worry. I only shot her with tranquilizer."
I noticed the bush teetering. I stood up and found two wolf pups hiding.
Anywhere I go, I only caused chaos. The girl noticed my clenched fists and stood up.
She touched my shoulder, making me look at her. Her clear blue eyes locked my dark ones in place. "She'll wake up in under an hour. Now let me check your wounds." She turned around, wearing the strap of the rifle on one shoulder and walked, expecting me to follow her. She saw me still frozen in place and yelled, "My backpack's this way. I left it in a rush, you see," then kept walking.
I frowned. Nobody has helped me before. She must have thought the wolf was trying to eat me. But it wasn't. It was only protecting her pups from me.
Yet, I don't know why, but my feet decided to move to her direction. She turned towards me again and smiled.
"Strange," she said softly as she wiped my mouth with some cleaning pad. "Where did the blood come from?" She asked more to herself but I heard. It was my hearing. It was supposedly sharper that a normal human's.
Everywhere she touched, it felt like there were pins and needles. The good kind.
She moved on to my fingers. She wiped the blood away with some cloth dampened by warm water. My nails have fully grown back. There really wasn't any need to treat my wounds. They heal in only a short while. But I still don't know why I felt the need to follow her.
"The wolf wasn't bleeding, was she?" The girl asked. There was a tiny crinkle on her forehead between her eyebrows. She looked pale but she seemed fine.
"No," I replied, barely a whisper.
She suddenly looked up from my hands and straight at my face. "So he speaks. I'm Tegan."
Her scent was surrounding me. It was everywhere in this cave we were in which meant she spent most of her time here.
She was wearing a white camouflage military jacket and combat boots. Her jeans were worn in some places. "The wolves here don't usually attack people. I wonder what spooked her?" She carried on, not making a big deal out of me not replying to her. "Town's about seventeen kilometers down. It'd take four hours, at least. What were you doing in the woods, all by yourself, and in those clothes?"
I should be asking her the same question but kept quiet. I looked down at my hoodie and jeans. My torn converse wasn't suitable for this kind of place either. Aside from literally having no other clothes, I couldn't feel the cold. I didn't find it necessary to keep myself warm. The beast was doing it for me.
She was now putting her things back into a camping bag. Her back was facing me. All of a sudden I felt the hunger. I haven't eaten flesh for days now. And the beast's hunger for it only doubled. Tegan's scent was clouding my heightening senses. I can now hear her heartbeat and the small pale flesh peeking from under her jacket above her jean's waistband was not helping either.
I couldn't remove my eyes from it, or was it the beast's doing?
"Were you lost?" she asked.
I shook my head, but realized she couldn't see me. "N-No."
The beast kept sending me the urge to have a taste...
The sound of heavy footsteps took my attention. I looked towards the mouth of the cave and heard them before I saw them. They were males, older.
I looked at the still speaking Tegan then back at the entrance of the cave. I quickly but silently headed towards the opening and hid myself behind the huge pine tree that stood a few feet away from the cave. I could still hear Tegan but she abruptly stopped. She finally realized that I wasn't there anymore.
Movement caught my eye and I saw two men heading towards the cave's direction. A sudden need to protect almost sent me charging at the men but I was stopped when Tegan spoke.
"What are you doing here?" Her tone was irritated. She knew them. "And how did you find me?"
"Your father wants you home, Tegan." One of the men, the taller and bulkier than the other, said as he pulled down the scarf covering his nose and mouth.
Tegan stepped out of the cave, carrying her bag. "Yeah, alright," she sighed, sounding dejected. "So now he's home again, huh."
I followed them, hiding myself behind huge trees and tall bushes. It wasn't a while later when I smelled gasoline.
"So, uh, have you seen someone on your way to get me?" Tegan asked, her voice sounding nervous.
The two men looked at each other. "Someone?"
"Yes, a boy. He was probably older than me, with black hair."
"No, we didn't."
The three of them got into a hummer and drove away.
My stomach rumbled before I could think of anything else. I could feel the beast getting restless again. At this rate, I have to get to the closest town and find some food and possibly shelter. I felt my pockets and pulled out empty-handed. But before that, I have to have money first.