“Vanessa, you want to go with me to Kevin’s?” asked Jenna, my best friend. She was wearing red lip gloss and a skin-tight black dress. She looked pretty, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes she could also appear to be the most seductive enchantress a teenage adolescent boy would ever see. And when I say a seductive enchantress, I mean promiscuous to a whole new level.
I found myself groaning. “Do I have to?” I was having headaches on and off for a few hours now and I thought I should rest instead of going out right now. Kevin was that clichéd high school jock that everyone couldn’t get enough of and he was having another one of his trashy parties which I’d rather not go to. I had gone to enough of his parties to know what this one would be like.
“Yes you do!” she howled as she rummaged through my closet, looking for a suitable dress for me to wear.
Wait, when did she even come to my room again? No, the question was, how did she even get into my house?
I slowly got up from the bed and went to where she was sprawled on the floor.
She was admiring one of my lacy purple dresses. “How about this one?”
I studied it. The dress was short and it would reach my mid thighs. It had no straps and the corset would hug my whole upper body very tightly. I instantly frowned and shook my head vigorously, closing my eyes in pure annoyance. “Hell no.”
“C’mon! Please?” she pleaded with her puppy dog face. I even admitted it, her big brown eyes and hair worked well with this kind of thing.
“Fine!” Huffing, I yanked the dress from her hands and started to strip right there. I didn’t care what she thought. I could do whatever the hell I wanted if she was going to drag me somewhere I had no intention of going. I found myself chuckling midway through changing. If only my parents would accept letting me actually do what I wanted for a change...
“Let’s go!” she cheered when we were done with makeup. I just dabbed some lip gloss and applied a bit of eyeliner. I wasn’t a big fan of makeup, really. Plus the way Jenna was nagging me and dragging me, I would do anything in the world to stop her hands from gripping further into my exasperation.
“Okay. Don’t get too excited because I might leave the place when I get there,” I told her with an evil smirk. My parents never let me out ever since that incident started with the criminal who managed to grab the CIA’s attention.
His name was Spencer and he was currently on the most wanted list in this city. But it was hard finding him because he was highly intelligent and he always seemed to know where and when law enforcement would come. This one time the police thought they had him, but it didn’t take long for Spencer to kill them all and escape. Later on when news outlets released the graphic and grotesque ways the police were murdered, well, all hell broke loose. Now nobody in this city went out at night. Now even the daylight wasn’t enough. Now, we all knew what kind of danger lurked in the shadows.
Some said Spencer wasn’t human. Rumors went that he was some sort of creature that shouldn’t have existed. Some thought he was a failed experiment from the government. And others...they thought he was not human at all.
Take my parents for example. They were very superstitious, and I had tolerated all of their stories about spirits and ghosts and sorcery, but when they claimed werewolves were coming, I knew they lost it. I mean, come on, werewolves? But they couldn’t be swayed by logic, and that was one reason why my parents didn’t let me out.
They’re going to take you away from us, they kept telling her. They’ll turn you into one of them and you’ll become a bloodthirsty demon.
I was still reeling from the shock of knowing my parents were crazy. Although Spencer became notorious months ago, my parents always kept the superstitious rituals well alive. Last month during my period, my mom actually drenched animal blood all over me to “hide the female scent.” Yeah, that was the kind of freaky I was talking about.
I knew in their own way, they were looking out for me, but the thing was, I didn’t care. If this criminal was lurking around, whatever. If he was some sort of a creature, then more power to him. I didn’t do anything to him so he had no reason to kill me. But...if he could just get away with everything he did, wasn’t that sort of, I don’t know, scary?
Not only did he kill, but he also stole, assaulted, and most recently hacked information from the CIA. This dude wasn’t your ordinary felon. He knew his way around. He was probably doing this for ages, even though the images I saw of him made him look like he was only in his twenties. But age was really just a number. He proved it. He was one hell of a villain without any effort. And strangely, I had a feeling that he was here for a reason. But what reason was the question.
When we arrived at the place, it was fully packed and I always hated too much people so I decided to stand outside where there were still many people, but not as much compared to the house. The house itself was huge, with more than ten rooms in each floor. Even that didn’t cover up the amount of people in there. There must have been over a hundred or something.
“Vanessa!” called a voice.
I turned around and saw Jack, a guy friend of mine. I smiled. “Hey, Jack.”
He nodded once and wrapped his arm around my shoulder. “You getting drunk again?”
I shook my head rapidly, cringing at the memory of the last time I got drunk. I couldn’t even walk properly and Jenna jokingly insisted that I banged so many guys that my legs would always be permanently disabled. But that was ridiculous even as a joke. I always made sure I never came in contact with any guy in that intimate way. And trust me, if I screwed that many guys, my womanhood would probably be throbbing up to this day, and the incident happened a month ago. Jack wouldn’t have allowed a single guy to get at me anyway.
He laughed, understanding what I meant. “Then let’s go to the backyard. There are fireworks there, and I know you love fireworks.”
My face lit up happily. “Are you serious?”
He nodded with a brotherly smile. “Yup.”
He laughed and pulled me closer to him. He always treated me as his younger sister, even if he was only two months older than me. Well, even if our age difference was two months, it felt like two years. He was really my older brother I never had. “Let’s go, then, Vanessa.”
We walked for what seemed like forever until I saw the magical colors burst up in the air. The cracking sound was loud and piercing, but the movement of the exploding colors in the black sky caught my attention the most. I remembered when I was young and my dad used to take me around the lake when it was the fourth of July. He used to be such a perfect father back then, but now something changed, and I wanted to know exactly what. Did I do something for him to be so distant?
During my childhood years, he would always change my diapers, feed me, and even bathe me. At nights, he wouldn’t let my mom get up and tend to me. He would do her job. He taught me how to walk, talk, and read and write. He would take me to school and buy me ice-cream if I did well in my classes. He would take me to the hospital even if I only sneezed. And what I loved the most was when he’d take me and mom to the lake to watch the fireworks when it was the fourth of July.
The cracking sound initiated and a flurry of jingling light burst up in the black night sky, lightening it for a second with its divine glory before dying off and fading forever. Then another one hit the sky, followed by another, and so on.
“It’s so beautiful,” I whispered contently, brushing my fingers to my lips.
He squeezed my hand warmly. “Glad you like it.”
I suddenly realized after a while that we were the only ones so close to the action. The others seemed to be in the distance. But since Jack didn’t want the explosives to hit us, he took us under the shelter of a nearby tree. Now it was darker and since Kevin’s mansion had a backyard that connect straight to the forest, there were endless trees that loomed over us now.
“I’ll be right back,” Jack suddenly told me, breaking away.
“Where’re you going?” I asked him, confused.
He turned around from the few steps he took towards Kevin’s house. “Just a drink,” he reassured me with his gentle smile. “I’ll be back in ten minutes or so.”
I nodded. “Okay.”
“You want me to get you something? Maybe some punch?”
“Nah, I’m good.” I turned back around and looked up, more interested in the beautiful sight than anything else right at this moment. This time, the boring yellows were transformed to a bright, neon blue. It was an amazing sight to see and I wanted to record it with my phone, but if I watched it again on screen, it wouldn’t be this beautiful.
A sudden snicker grabbed my attention and I twisted my head toward the woods. It was strange for a backyard to be surrounded by a huge forest, in my opinion. The trees were large and gnarled, giving off a dark, looming aura. My eyes caught the sight of a few men in their early twenties, and all of them looking right at me.
That was strange. Were they Kevin’s friends? But why would Kevin have older friends? In the darkness, I couldn’t tell exactly who they were, but a sudden crackling of the fireworks rocked my body and made my heart pound really hard. A flash of light illuminated on the guys for just a moment, and I knew they were large, well-built men who were obviously not part of Kevin’s crew.
But that wasn’t what scared me.
What scared me was the man in the far right with the dark hair and gold eyes. He was shirtless, revealing a tattoo that proudly marked his hard chest. It was a beast, with jaws open and teeth bared. I blinked, trying to figure out why the animal seemed so familiar but so feral at the same time. Then he took a step closer and I knew, that was a wolf on his chest, almost growling at me, wanting to snap my neck.
But that wasn’t the scary part at all, though.
The scary part was that the owner of the wolf tattoo was Spencer, the most wanted criminal in this city.
I found myself backing away as he started to walk toward me. Under the light of the fireworks, I could see his body moving, his hard muscles flexing in thick, masculine waves.
I wanted to run away, but to my disappointment, no one was there to see me. I was at the farthest corner of the backyard, surrounded by trees and endless trees. The closest person to me was over a hundred feet from me. Calling for help was not an option.
Why were they coming toward me? What did I do? Then I began to remember what my parents told me and dread began to form in my heart. What if my mom was right? What if these guys did want me? What if these guys really weren’t human and targeted me because I was the most easiest victim?
I started to panic so much that my back hit a tree, jerking me forward. Before I knew it, I collided against his body, and he grabbed my shoulders. My breath hitched and a scream made its way up my throat.
Mom, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you. I knew you wanted what was best for me but I went to this shitty party and now this criminal is going to kill me. If you can hear me now, which you can’t, I wanted to tell you that I love you and I’ll be dead in a few seconds.
“Come with me,” his deep male voice sounded.
“Why...are you here?” I stuttered, looking into those gleaming, feral eyes. I was mesmerized by them, but in a very disturbing way. They scared me. They made me weak to the knees from the rawness, from the waves of darkness crashing through me.
He smiled down at me, and I could see how dangerously sharp his teeth were. “To find my mate,” he said, leaning in closer until his lips brushed my ear. The heat of his breath tingled my skin, searing my whole face and neck from his intensity. “Your smell was so strong that I had no choice but to take you with me.”
Mate? Wasn’t that what werewolves said? I gulped. “What are you talking about?”
Werewolf stories were popular in my city and we loved hearing legends about them. Sure, my parents went overboard with them, but that didn’t change the fact that I found every aspect of the legends interesting.
First, there were immortal beings called vampires that bit their victims only for feeding purposes. Soon, they realized they couldn’t reproduce without a human counterpart, or “mates,” and soon they evolved at an unbelievable rate until they grew more animalistic physical features but gave up their inhuman hunger for normal human food. And there you go, werewolves were born.
Long ago, when I was younger, I remembered my dad reading me a story about werewolves. They always had a mate somewhere in this large world. They were only given one chance to find them and if it was time for them to meet, their destinies would somehow cross.
Spencer was most definitely not a werewolf, was he?
“We don’t have much time,” he said. He suddenly yanked me closer until I could smell the forest on him. Then his hands found my hips and locked tightly on them.
“What the hell?” I breathed, startled but terrified as the same time.
“I’m taking you home, mate.” Then he threw me over his shoulder.
“Hey!” I shouted, but he ran so fast that I couldn’t even talk. Panic engulfed me and I didn’t know what to do. My throat became dry and I felt adrenaline rush into my blood. Where was he taking me? What would he do to me?
How dangerous was this criminal?