The water was far colder than I had anticipated. It’s so cold I struggle to suppress a scream. I break the surface, disoriented. The tide had carried me a few feet from where I hit the surface. I dog-paddle closer to the edge, trying to get out of sight. There I pause and listen, past the sound of the flowing water, my hammering heart beat and my rapid breathing.
For a moment my it’s silent. No heavy footfalls or howls. Just silence.
Carefully I begin pulling myself out of the water, slipping slightly on the slick mud. When I hear it. I slip back into the water. Wet and shivering, I hold my breath and listen again. Not sure if I heard anything. It’s not long before hard voices erupt from the forest to my left.
‘Did you see her?”
‘It fucking jumper! Didn’t it?’
The heavy footfalls stop. I shut my eyes and focus. They are just off to my left placing around. Suddenly there is a loud thump as something hits a tree trunk, the sound shuddering through me. They are unbearably close now, and they’ve got the advantage. I begin to tremble uncontrollably.
Turning slowly in the water, desperately trying not to make a sound I glance up and down the river, trying to gauge where I am. There is a muffled rush of water to my right. The waterfall.
‘Someone needs to get in the water and find it!’
‘It could be anywhere by now, we’ve lost the scent’
‘Well someone has gotta go in there and look we will-‘
‘Fuck no, you go in. It looks freezing in there’
‘Fine. I’ll go’
As the voice cuts in the argument I beginning moving down the river, towards to waterfall. I hear feet cross towards the edge before stopping.
‘You go look further up river. I’ll swim up and meet you. The waterfalls down that way. Aint’ no way it would make it over that’
He was right. But I was sure as hell gonna try. If I was going die, I wasn’t going to die at their hands.
‘Sure you’ll be able to handle it on your own?’
I stare out at the glistening surface before me, a meter in front of me I can see where the water begins to pick up speed. Holding my breath I dip soundlessly below the water and kick off.
My wings unfurl, the gossamer width manifests with a soft whisper. Finally. The relief floods through me.
I spring on the balls of my feet as my wings snap soundlessly lifting me effortlessly upwards. Pausing, only for a moment I listen, my ears twitching straining for any sounds. But I hear nothing. Taking one last breath I soar free of the trees, wind rushing over me.
I stay low enough hovering just above the trees, moving quickly out of sight at the slightest sound. I fly for a few minutes when I suddenly hear something beyond the wind passing me. It was faint but my ears perk. Stopping I sink into a dense tree top. Cocking my head I strain, listening in the direction I suspected the sound came from. Steadily it grows louder. Its a low thumping nose, and steady beat from the earth.
Glancing in the direction I came from, seeing nothing but trees and the curving river. But I know there is something, I can still hear the drumming, my other senses are flaring now. The sound pushes me forward slinking from tree top to tree top. But the sound keep getting closer, chasing me.
I start moving in a different direction, hoping whatever is making the sound will either pass me by or carry on in a different direction. But it keeps coming. I make the decision to dip below the tree tops to see if I can catch a glimpse of whatever is causing the sound. Diving down I flatten my wings against my body, shielding their glow.
As I dip my head down past the dense leaves the sound stops abruptly. I freeze ass I see five shadows move past an opening in the bushes. My heart quickens as the smell of the bodies finally reaches my nose and my brain races to process it. Werewolves.
Without thinking I dart back up through the trees clawing at the air. But I’m not fast enough. I hear the shouts and howls exploded from below as the tress start to shake, beating the tops into a frenzy catching my legs as I pull through. Pushing my body harder than I’ve ever done before I sour a foot above the trees.
Behind me the sounds keeps coming coming. I feel my arms and legs begin to shake as fear and adrenaline courses through me. Flattening them to my side I push harder hearing the strained hum of my beating wings.
They are hunting me as a pack. My mind chastises itself for being stupid enough to get caught - No, not caught, spotted. I shut out the inner argument, I was not going to get caught today. And I concentrate on the open space out ahead of me.
I can’t be reached if I go higher up, but it also makes it more difficult to fly. But If I stay this low one of them could reach me from a taller tree. My skin chills as a howl erupts right below me, they are matching my pace. ‘No’ the word escapes my dry lips. These wolves are good, they’ve traced me and they are following my scent even up here. They know what they are doing. I’m within their reach and they know it.
I try to scan their activity below, to see if there is only five and if they are up in the tress yet. The dull ache in my back sparks up suddenly, taking my breath away. Right, I make my mind up. I nod jerkily to myself in an attempt to clam my nerves and rattling bones.
I serve sharply of to my right. Dropping lower to the tree tops surging towards my goal. I’m a fast and good flyer, always have been. But this was going to test those skill. The blue lake fills the horizon in front of me and the fear begins to ebb, replaced by adrenaline and an unnatural urge to laugh bubbles in my gut. I need to make it to the river before they find my scent again, it will mask me.
Hard voice overlap and fill my ears but they aren’t as close as before. I speed through the air, my hair whipping about my face. As I pull away and the smell of water fills my nostrils the bubble of laughter pops and a smile pulls at my mouth.
Then a searing pain exposed in my leg and M jerked through the dense tree tops. I’m over whelmed by the howls and cheers as I push myself hard through the trees tilting wildly. But again I pulled through the dense leaves striking trucks and branches as I fall.
As Evie pulled up in front of her home she noticed the windows where open in the house across the road. She shut of the engine and remembered the promise she’d made yesterday to her mum.
I’ll put the shopping away, eat then- no I’ll put the shopping away then I’ll go over. Eurgh.
She slipped out of her car and grabbed the bags from the back seat before heading inside.
An hour, or rather two hours later the shopping had all be packed away, the kitchen had been cleaned, the bedding was in the wash, and all the floors had been cleaned.
Evie glanced over her shoulder as she went to lock the door, as something nagged inside her telling to sack it off, leave it till another day. She pulled hard on the door and the bang shook the idea from her mind. Stop being so damn dramatic, you don’t leave the house for a couple of weeks and now your socially inept. Get a grip.
The house was much the same as the others on the road. It was set back from the road the same as Evies, however the front lawn was a mass of either trampled worn away grass or tuffs of overgrown grass and weeds. Her eyes passed over the beat up four door in the drive and settled onto the shining chrome and black bike nestled beat the car and the hedge.
Evie’s eye widened and the faint memory of the rumble ran up through her body. Her arms wound tightly around the warm body between her legs as her hair wiped about her face, speeding across beaches.
‘… help you? Any reason you’re looking vacantly off into the distance on my lawn?’ Evie attention was snapped back into the hear and now by the owner leaning against the farm of the open door.
Come on Evie, you’ve gotta answer a question that isn’t “Do you want paper or plastic?” “Fries with that?”.
‘Sorry I was just admiring your bike, is that a beast?’ Evie had a step towards him so she wasn’t shouting across the garden at him.
‘Yeah it is. You know your bikes then? You’re not from the INS are you, I’m fully paid up!’
‘No! No, sorry I knew someone who used to own one of these. I live across the street-I wanted to come over and introduce myself. I’m Evie’
‘I’m joking, it’s nice to meet you Evie. You’ve been in there, what, a few weeks now and you only come over now?!’ And playful smile pulled at the corners of his mouth and Evie couldn’t help but smile back.