Short first chapter to get you all into the story. Enjoy :)
I remembered my forest smelling of dew as a result of the autumn rain. Ahead, the trickle of a stream. Beneath my feet, damp sticky mud. The grass had turned an eerie straw colour and the leaves had begun to fall to the ground. I hadn’t felt so at peace in some time.
Now as a trawled through the dry deserted forest, the summer only just in its peak I felt nothing but regret and that once peaceful connection I had with the forest was gone. In mere months my life had been destroyed. In mere days my life had been changed forever.
“Kaylee!” A muffled voice called out over the concerto of wind winding through the dense trees. Their steps approached quickly, crunching the leaves under their feet without stopping. “Kaylee!”
I forced air into my lungs, sending unusually cold air into my chest and filling me with chills I welcomed. At least I was still human… Or as human as I could get. “Yeah?” I called back.
Birds flocked together up into the sky from their tree tops and flew off away. I felt sorry that I’d scared them enough to make them leave – I knew all too well how that felt.
A warm hand laid on my shoulder as it rubbed my back in small motions. “We have to leave,” She whispered in my ear. I gazed up, scanning the whole forest – every minute detail of it – so it wouldn’t leave my memories. “You can’t hold on forever.”
I shook my head in defiance. “You can’t stop me.”
Another hand wrapped around my side and pulls me into a warm back hug, setting my cold stone heart on an open fire heating me up from the inside out. “You’re 16, Kaylee… You have your whole life ahead of you.”
I turned to look at her face. “I don’t want to talk about this right now, Claire.”
The older woman tried to turn me around in her hold, holding me out at arm’s length. “I’m here for you now, you know that right?” Her soft voice flowed from her lips and calmed me in ways most could not.
I sink into her embrace and let everything go, just as she said. The feelings, the heartache, the pain, the memories… The death…
The air was different, setting me on edge. I hadn’t ever left my home state never mind the country. My brother seemed to be enjoying it, though. I was glad one of us could.
“Are we nearly there?” He yelled ecstatically, bouncing in his seat like he’d ate one too many candies. He was too young to fully comprehend the situation… Maybe he thought mom and dad were coming back again someday.
Claire turned around from the seat at the wheel, obviously not doubting her driving skill. “Calm down, little man, we’re nearly there,” she said as the sun came through the window and bounced off her radiant dark skin casting a glow around her face like our very own angel. Maybe she was, she’d done enough to earn the title.
The car began to slow for the first time since we rented it at the airport earlier that day. I hadn’t had the heart to pay attention to the English country side just outside my window, but it was a far stretch from home.
The keys were pulled from the ignition. “A-nd that is us!” Claire said as she opened the car door with possibly more force than the car needed.
Looking out the glinting window, I peered up at our new home; an old rickety farm house. The lawn was overgrown – or garden, as I might have to call it – the paint peeling from the brick of the house, and finished with a fence… That was somehow missing a gate. I guess it was better than what we might have ended up in back home.
Kai got out the car as fast as his small frame would let him, bolting up to the garden fence and leaning on it. It creaked painfully. “This house is amazing!” He yelled, peering up at the two storied building. It really wasn’t amazing, though.
Claire shut the trunk with a thud, hauling the very few bags we taken with us after her towards Kai – our only possessions. My only regret was not being able to save a memory of our parents to take with us – those items too, perished along with our lives back home.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the car window. Claire’s face appeared through the glass. “Are you not coming?”
I forced a smile for Kai’s sake and nodded. “In a second,” I called at her as she smiled back and walked towards the house with a single key spinning around her index finger.
It did only take me a second to get myself together and open the car door, letting the foreign air rush over my face and into my lungs – my first real breath of a different life. Would I have time to get used to it here before we had to up and move again, before they find us?
I followed after the pair who had already opened the door and were running away with themselves inside. The entrance hall was the traditional sort – what I’d expect going by the outside. The walls were exposed brick and the floor an over-varnished oak of sorts. No furnishing around at all.
Claire ran her hand along a windowsill covering in thick grey dust. “Needs a little cleaning, but it’s perfect.”
“It’s dirty,” I said, intending to be a blunt as possible.
The entrance room was a small square – a small corridor directly to the right of the door, followed by old exposed stairs that didn’t appear all that sturdy. Opposite the door there was an archway leading to what I presumed would either be a kitchen or dining hall – that’s if there was enough room for a dining room, which there probably wasn’t.
Claire sighed in content. “Your mom would have had so much fun doing up the place,” She said, gazing up at the tall ceiling.
I tried to ignore her comment, I’m sure she didn’t mean to bring her up. My mom really would have loved to have done up the house, it was totally her thing to do. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be possible.
Kai didn’t seem to hear the comment, and if he did he didn’t react. “Where’s my room Claire? I want to unpack my cars!” He bounced around like a jumping bean.
Claire laughed with a smile indented firmly into her face. “Of course, of course, lets go Kai!” Claire replied as she pulled the bag back on her back and made her way towards the staircase with our only possessions.
Kai adored cars. Ever since our dad had brought home a full set of toy cars for his birthday. Typical boy, typical father and son.
Kai didn’t fully understand what had happened exactly to our parents, to our lives. He’d always been a little slow for his age and this incident would only make it worse.
The house fell silent, quieter than the house back home. It was strange.
I knew it would only get stranger.
“I want you to take this, Kaylee, to supress your wolf.”
Supressing my wolf didn’t sound great – what if the threat came back? What if it came back and my wolf couldn’t protect us all? “I can’t do that, Claire, you know I can’t.”
Claire taken my hand and placed the small vial between my hands. “They can’t track us down as easier if we’re human,” she said in her sweet soft voice that almost convinced me.
“What if they do find us, though?” I whimper. They would – after what they done to our pack I had no doubt they could do anything they set their heart to – including tracking down our masked wolves. I'd be killing a part inside, I'd be hurting myself more than anything else.
"Kai doesn't have to take it, right?" I asked.
Claire shook her heard. "Not until he shifts into a wolf. At that point he will, but that's many years off."
I looked down into my lap in defeat. "So just me then."
Claires hand began patting my back. "You'll be fine. It's just for a short while," she said.
I didn't reply any snide remark like I might have done with anyone else - Claire was our gaurdian now, and also not a werewolf. She'd never truly understand.
I snatched it out her hand. "I'll take it later."
As I got up to leave she taken hold of my wrist. "I'm doing this for you. So please, take it. For me and your brother."
I only looked at her - it's all I could have done without saying something I'd regret. I didn't want to hurt her anymore, not when she'd suffered worse than anyone else here. She was strong, but not that strong.
I fled to the front door, I pushed it open and didn't bother to close it as I sped to the near by tree line thankful there was one close by. I needed cover as quick as possible, unless I wanted to risk humans seeing me shift.
I ran and ran, and I didn't know where I'd end up but I was sure I'd find my way back. My father had impeccable navigation talents, he never got lost anywhere. My mother on the other hand didn't know left from right. I liked to think I was more like my dad.
Suddenly a root caught on my foot sending me sprawlign face first into the dirty, covering my entitre body in brown dust. I winced in pain, but at that moment that wasn't half of what was worrying me.
As I got back onto my feet I noticed the wet feeling in me hand wrapped around the vial. The clear brown liquid was pouring slowly out a crack.
I had to take it though, even if only for Claire and not for my safety. I couldn't defy her, anyone but her.
I raised the glass cautiously and held the crack tightly so it wouldn't leak any further. Between my fingers I pulled the cork from the top with a pop, my shaking hands returned to my side.
I had to supress my wolf, stop it surfacing. After all, it's what made me who I was and so long as I lived as Kaylee Adams I was putting my brother in danger, I'd risk more damage to my dead parents legacy, and Claire...
Then, I'd completely emtpied the vile tasting liquid in my mouth letting it burn my throat as it taken effect. Whatever Claire had put in it certainly wasn't nice.
The birds around me chirped unaware of the predator before them, unaware I could snap and kill them... until my wolf really did sink away like it was supposed to.
After a few minutes, the taste had faded but I could feel my wolf still there. Had it worked?
At that exact thought, I was overcome byan excrusiating pain tearing its way up from the inside. I screamed with all the might inside me as my wolf pleaded with me and howled and scratched at my insides begging me not to flush her out.
It could have went on for hours... Maybe it had...
And then it stopped. The pain that had me withering on the dirt had vanished and now was only the thought, tense waiting for it to return. It never did though.
I stood cautiously on shaking feet that barely held my weight. I had felt like I was dying.
Then I realised - there was no voice in my head giving me a second opinion, no desire to run through the forest on four legs, and no animal overiding the human I was born as. It had really worked.
I didn't have a wolf.