The next thing I knew I was out in the snow, running across a huge clearing. I could see the edges of the forest on all sides. The dark trees seemed to stretch high into the night sky, I could see stars. Miles and miles of stars. I’d never seen so many before in my life. They seemed endless, and so very bright.
I remembered I was still running, and brought my attention back to what was in front of me. More snow covered ground and I realized that either the snow was really deep or… my head was a lot closer to the ground. Yet it felt perfectly normal… aside from the burning pain in my chest. Only it wasn’t so bad as before. I spared a brief glance downwards. There was blood, a lot of it. Yet even as I stared it was slowly disappearing, because it was being re-absorbed through the skin under my black fur.
Yeah, you read that right. My black fur. I was in Nathan’s head right then and he was on the run and booking across the snow at incredible speed. From what I was experiencing we were on all fours, which was why the snow was so much closer to our face. He must’ve shifted to full wolf form after being hit by the gunfire. In the past he’s complained about how uncomfortable it was to be hit by bullets, but he always seemed to be half-joking. Now I know how much it really hurts him. I’ve made a mental note to try to keep him from making himself an unnecessary target in the future.
In the distance I could hear the rangers and men with the guns far behind us. Their voices became more distant as we ran. They had given up the chase it seemed, but then I managed to hear the word ‘snowmobile’ mentioned. Neither of us liked that sound of that.
Then I thought, ‘Okay, we need to get out of here…’
Suddenly, I/we stumbled and stopped. Then I felt Nathan’s thought echo in my head.. ‘Marisa?’
Before I could respond, I started hearing, “Ri-sa… Ri-sa…” over and over again, followed by something cold and wet brushing against my cheek. I opened my eyes and found I was on the floor of the room at the airport. And a pair of worried looking eyes were staring at me.
They were wolf eyes, and to my immense relief, they were watching at me from a wolf’s face this time.
“Ri…sa…?” it spoke again. Apparently, being back in his true form was making speech harder for the creature. But the fact that it could still speak at all, meant there was not telling how long he could keep his own shape. I started to wonder how he had gotten his own form back, but then I remembered, Nathan had actually shifted back to full wolf form. Thanks to the link between the two of them, which I seemed to share now as well, the wolf had reverted to his natural form.
Sitting up, one thought raced through my head. What would happen if Nathan shifted back to himself? Would the wolf’s form change too? I suspected that’s exactly what would happen, which meant I had both myself and my new furry friend the heck out of there and quick. The million dollar question was, how?
I turned to look at the window the wolf had come through earlier. I wasn’t too high and both of us could easily slip through, but then what? Security and rangers were still out there, no doubt with guns at the ready. And even if they didn’t shoot, the first questions they’d be asking would be where the hell did I get the wolf?
The answer suddenly came, loud and firm. “STAY PUT! BOTH OF YOU!”
“Nathan!” I cried and looked around, but there was no sign of him.
I saw my companion was looking around too, so he’d heard it too. He was on high alert now, but seeing no one he finally looked back at me with the most confused look. “Easy, he’s in our heads,” I assured my new friend and petted him gently.
He readily accepted the gesture and started rubbing up against me. Thanks to the ‘connection’ courtesy of the Sangui-Sapio, I could feel that he was very happy to not be alone anymore. But there was also deep longing inside him. He was missing his pack, especially his mate. Even if we got him out of here in one piece, and get the Sangui-Sapio out of him, then what? Even if there was some way to find his pack, would they take him back? And if not…
My thoughts were interrupted by voices coming from the window. Some of the security people had come back and I could hear them rather clearly. Moving quietly, I headed to the window for a quick look. To my surprise, I could see the men were still quite far in the distance, yet I was hearing them as clearly as if they were mere feet away.
‘Damn, no wonder Nathan always seems to know what’s going back at The Crypt,’ I thought. The Crypt is a club in the basement of an old building, that Nathan owns. And in spite of it usually being filled with young people, Nathan always seems to know when trouble may be brewing, or tempers rising, even across a crowded dance floor. From there he naturally intervenes before anything serious happens.
Just a dark shape lopes from around the corner of a nearby building and heads towards my window. It seems to be emitting a greenish mist as it moves. It even walks between by two security guards who take no notice of it whatsoever.
I smiled and opened the window a little wider. “Hurry up and get in here,” I hissed as he drew nearer. Just then I heard the wolf in the room with me give a little growl. Quickly I turned and saw he had his teeth bared slightly.
“Easy,” I told him, “He didn’t mean for this to happen to you. He’s going to make you better, then we’re going to get you out of here and someplace safe.”
I’m still not sure if he actually understood my words, he probably did. But I think mostly he trusted me and knew I was there for him. As he calmed down, Nathan slipped in through the window which I quickly closed. A second later, there was a knocking at the door.
“Miss? Are you all right in there? I thought I heard growling?”
It was the security guard who’d been stationed outside the room. We’d completely forgotten all about him! Clearly he’d heard the wolf growling at Nathan and was now inserting his key in the lock to come in. How the hell was I going to explain how not one, but two wolves had gotten into the room with me.
Just then, Nathan (still in his animal form) turned to the wolf and the two of them nodded. Just as the door opened, the pair of them breathed more of the greenish mist at the portal.
The guard blinked briefly and then smiled, “Are you and your dogs all right, Miss?”
“Yes,” I smiled and petted my ‘dogs’. “We’re fine.”
“They seemed to have calmed down,” the guard nodded. “Glad we were able to find them for you. You’ll need better kennel crates, if you’re going to keep traveling with them.”
So that was going to be our ‘story”, I thought and nodded. “Yeah, my boys are pretty strong when they get riled up. Thanks for all your help. We should be get going.”
“Of course,” the man smiled, “I’ll lead you through the terminal and outside.”
Which he did. Of course, Nathan and the wolf continued to exude their mist so that anyone who glanced our way simply saw me walking my dogs out of the facility.
As we walked, I did catch some of what the rangers and other security people were saying. From what they could tell, they nailed the ‘werewolf’ which turned out to simply be a bear with a serious case of parasitic mange. The body was already being disposed of and there was nothing for anyone to worry about.
Once we were outside Nathan led the way across the street and beyond the parking lot area. After making sure there was no one around, he began to shift back to human form. But as I feared, the wolf began to change shape as well.
TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT TIME….