I always believed that the moon held supernatural powers.
Even though people claimed that magic was nothing more than a fairytale, I knew better.
I knew that what the world called mythology was actually real.
Because I was a part of that mythos. I was a werewolf.
I know how insane that sounds. But it’s true.
Ever since I was a child, I felt the pull of my wolf inside me.
And when I was particularly angry or scared, she would burst out and take over my body.
I could run as a wolf, hunt as a wolf, be free as a wolf.
I knew nobody else would believe in my abilities, so I fought to hide them.
After years of struggle, my wolf stopped coming out, and I tried to pretend she wasn’t there.
I got a job, an apartment, and a bank account. I tried to be happy.
And for the most part, I was able to forget the furry creature slumbering inside me.
But sometimes, I did feel a longing for something more.
The feeling that half of me was missing.
And even though I couldn’t explain it, I knew the key to finding that second half was buried with my wolf.
Sometimes I feared I would never find it without her.
There was nothing extraordinary about the day I first felt the pull.
I went shopping for groceries, and on the way home, I stopped at a fork in the road.
A large green sign sat in front of me.
I could turn right and go home or turn left and head toward the tree-hidden valley near my town.
In that moment, an irresistible urge to turn left overtook me, and in a split second, I had pointed my wheel toward the forest and had my foot on the gas.
I didn’t know what made me do it. A calling from deep within, from the wolf slumbering inside. All I knew was that I had to turn left.
I drove farther, not caring that I had never ventured this way before, nor the setting sun I had put in my rearview mirror.
Finally, I pulled over to the side of the road and climbed out, cold air making me shiver as I looked around at the dark forest surrounding me.
I was scared by the insatiable pull of my wolf. I hadn’t shifted in years, and my inner monster had remained dormant. Until now.
She wanted to take over. She whispered promises to me about finding that missing piece deep in my soul.
She promised her wisdom, her intuition and connection, which only her paws biting into the soft earth could bring.
I held tight to her whispers.
I stripped, tucking my car keys in my back passenger wheel well, and I changed.
I let the woman fall away and the wolf emerge. Thick hair sprouted where skin once was, nails became claws, as hands and feet became paws.
I heard the music the wind made when it maneuvered through the leaves and slithered through the blades of grass underfoot.
And then I ran, charging through the trees in my wolf form, relishing the feeling of freedom overwhelming me.
Could I really have forgotten how wonderful this feeling was? Could I really have been oblivious to how truly beautiful the world was?
A sudden breeze had my ears perking up. The wind tickled my fur, and my body grew stiff.
There was something else in the woods nearby, following me.
I raised my nose into the sky to verify that I had indeed smelled the presence of another. Not just one other presence, but many.
They all smelled different but kind of the same. My nose crinkled. It confused me. I had never encountered anything like this before.
Increasing my speed, I ducked through the brush of a newly fallen tree. The green glow of the eyes of small animals peered out at me from the bushes on either side of me.
Heading away from their eerie luminescence, I tried to veer off toward the west, hoping to get out of their path.
At this point I was worried that I would get lost out here and end up spending days trying to find my way out.
I continued to run for a few minutes, but I still wasn’t free of the scent. Continuing west, I kept up my pace, not wanting to have to deal with a run-in with a territorial beast.
But somehow, my strange followers were still getting closer.
I was positive I was smelling wolves, although their scent was strange.
What was this? A pack? I didn’t know wild wolf packs could be so big.
Usually a lone wolf would never dream of approaching me. I was much bigger and a lot stronger than they were.
But the strange smell was everywhere now. These wolves weren’t leaving me alone.
Feeling surrounded, I took a sharp left. My powerful legs ached with the strain being placed on them.
Faster. I needed to go faster. I wasn’t sure how long I could keep running at this speed.
My ears twitched as the soft thud of running paws and breaking twigs was heard. Crap.
A growl cut through the darkness behind me. They’re hunting me! I mentally screamed.
As I heard the thunderous thud of running paws and saw the shifting forms in the trees around me, my heart sank. They had caught me.
I slid to a stop. The hair on my body stood straight up, and my lips raised to bare my teeth.
Lowering my head and growling fiercely, I made my message clear. Do not mess with me.
A large gray wolf launched himself at me from the trees. I dodged.
Straightening himself from the attack, he made a few steps toward me, his hair standing on end and his razor-like teeth glistening with saliva.
Another wolf hit me from the side, knocking me on my back. Not wanting my belly exposed, I bit into the side of his neck, ripping into him viciously before using my legs to push him off me.
With my head down low, I snarled and growled. Blood dripped from my mouth as I shook a piece of the last wolf that attacked me out of my open jaws.
The large wolf attacked again, latching onto my back leg. I yelped out and twisted, catching him off guard as I latched myself onto his shoulder with my teeth.
A surge of adrenaline had me throwing him away from my body.
A voice rang out over me from deeper in the trees.
“Take her down but don’t kill her. We want her brought in alive.”
Was that a human? Brought in alive? Where?
Looking around I noticed these wolves were much larger than your average wolf. Could they be…
Suddenly a stabbing pain erupted from my left shoulder, stopping my train of thought. A wolf had pounced on my back, his weight and my shock bringing me to the ground.
I whipped my head to the side, jaws snapping as I tried to get a chunk of my attacker. His muzzle stayed just out of my reach.
He pulled his head back sharply, latching his teeth deeper into my shoulder muscle.
When I tried to stand up, the wolf warningly put pressure on my shoulder and put his paw on my back, growling his intent.
Other wolves surrounded me, their heads down and their teeth bared.
A dark-haired man walked through them. As he stood over me, I noticed his scent was masked by the wolves surrounding me.
As he approached me, a look of grim calculation flashed across his face. He was a foot away. His large form blocked any hope of escape, even if I could get away from the wolf pinning me down.
His dark brown eyes focused on my paws before rising to study the rest of me.
The way he studied me with a careful curiosity made my palms sweat.
Releasing the breath I had been holding, I inhaled slowly, gasping at his scent. He smelled like cedar, citrus, and fresh rain. A part of me wanted to shove my face into his chest just to get a better sniff.
What the hell is happening to me? Why am I having this reaction to him?
Pulling my brows together in frustration, I scolded myself for thinking of something so ridiculous at a moment like this. Taking another small whiff, I realized that his scent wasn’t only human, there was some wolf mixed in.
“Well, well, well, little rogue,” the man said, and I felt a shudder run down my spine at the sound of his voice. “What are you doing in our territory?”
What the hell is going on? Whose territory? What’s a ‘rogue’?
Taking a step toward me, the man suddenly stiffened.
As if by instinct, he took in a lung full of air before his eyes locked on mine.
His eyes grew wide with surprise, and he ran a hand through his thick hair and licked his lips.
Something about the way he looked at me made me feel nervous, but there was another feeling too stirring deep in my core.
“What do we do with her?” came another voice from out of the darkness.
The man in front of me looked around in surprise as if not expecting to see another human in the woods tonight. The voice belonged to a second man, with long brown hair, who stepped out of the shadows. I was shocked to see that he was naked.
The dark-haired man looked back at me, and I saw a conflicted look crease his face.
“Should we kill her, Zach?” the naked man asked.
The man I now knew as Zach turned back to me, and I saw him considering his options. His next words would decide my fate, I realized.
What was about to happen to me?
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