Of Wolves and Magic

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Josh…

Josh…

“Be quiet,” I mumbled. It was too early to wake up.

Josh…

“It’s too early!” I said, my eyes snapping open. I yelped in pain as a bright ray of sunlight burned my retinas. I blinked a few times, eyes watering from the assault, and I took in my surroundings. I was definitely in a forest, but not my forest that much was clear. I could hear a waterfall crashing somewhere far off as I turned in slow circle, trying to take in my surroundings. My breath caught in surprise as I saw everything clearly for the first time.

It was gorgeous. The grass was fragrant and soft, filling my nose with tantalizing flower smells. The bushes around me were bursting with roses and berries of every kind, perfuming the air. The trees were heavy with fruit, some of the branches creaking under the weight of apples that shone with an inner light. I shimmied up a tree, determined to pluck an apple, my stomach announcing its hunger. I reached a branch and picked a red apple, feeling its firmness as I bit into it, the skin of the apple crisp. Juice burst into my mouth and my hunger suddenly turned ravenous. I devoured the apple, leaving behind only the core. I threw it on the grass below me, and I turned my attention to the rest of the apples on the branch I was on. My stomach growled even louder, and I reached for another apple.

“Just one more,” I promised to myself as I plucked the huge apple.

I ate ten more apples, each tasting better than the last. I finally hopped off the branch, the ground rushing up to meet me. I landed with a small “oomph” and lay back down again in the shade of the tree. I thought about what had just happened. In about ten minutes I had scaled a branch that was about twenty feet off the ground, demolished ten apples, and jumped back down. I began laughing, rolling on my back as the sun warmed me. As soon as I found my way out of here I would get Talia and the rest of the Pack and bring them here. As I thought about Talia and the others, the sunlight flickered, casting me in near darkness for almost a second. As quick as the sun disappeared, it shone again, dousing me in its light.

“Weird,” I said to myself. The birds picked up a new tune as I stood up again, cracking my back in the process. Water. I wanted water. I forgot about what had just happened as I pinpointed the location of the waterfall, listening till I figured out the direction in which it lay, and began walking towards it. I took in the beauty of the forest again, smiling as a few blue jays danced in the sky above me. I couldn’t wait to bring Calliope here. She loved blue jays.

Josh.

I heard my name, and I whipped around searching for the source of the voice.

“Calliope?” I whispered. The voice had sounded as if it had been everywhere at once, and I scanned the trees hoping for a sign of Calliope or Talia.

“Must have been my imagination,” I muttered to myself as my throat reminded me of its need for water. I thrust Calliope and Talia aside in my thoughts, and set off in pursuit of the waterfall. It was much closer now. The grass was greener here, and if I looked closely I could see game trails making their way towards the waterfall. My stomach rumbled again as I thought about rabbits roasting over an open fire. I made a note of the game trails, and I resumed walking. I could finally hear water splashing as I reached the edge of the forest. Bracing myself, I walked through an ivy curtain between two trees. My jaw dropped as I finally saw the waterfall.

I had thought the forest was gorgeous, but this place was breathtaking. The Garden of Eden would have been ashamed of itself if it ever saw this place. I gazed at the lake that was fed by the waterfall, marveling at its beauty. The more I stared at it the water the more it shifted between being a sapphire blue and being an emerald green. I couldn’t see the top of the mountain that had sprung the waterfall, but I knew that if I could find a path, I could reach the top. I quickly began to quench my thirst, slurping up as much water as my stomach could hold. It was ice cold, a welcome refreshment from the heat of the sun. As I finished drinking my fill of the water, I stared at my reflection.

I was dirty. My face was smudged with dirt, and my shirt looked as if a hole had been burnt through it. I quickly took off my shirt, examining it, trying to remember how it had gotten burned. I stared at my reflection again. Something was hanging around my neck. The more I tried to look at it however, the more it shifted until I could finally see it no more. I smelled rosemary and mint as I stared at the water, not even noticing that the sky had darkened again. I shook my head, trying to get rid of the smell, pushing back the bad thing in my head. I screwed my eyes shut, gasping as I tried to make sense of what I was feeling.

“What’s happening?” I said, breathing quickly. Flashes of fire and Talia crying invaded my mind. Calliope bleeding on the floor. Silver hair--.

As soon as it had come, it disappeared. The scent of the herbs were gone, as was the hole in my shirt. I stared at my reflection again, relieved when I saw that my neck was bare of any sort of hanging objects. My imagination must have conjured up those images of Talia and Calliope.

“Of course.” I took a shaky sip of water. “Nothing but my imagination.” I traced a finger through the dirt caked on my face, ignoring my trembling hand. “This however, is not imagined. I needed to clean myself up immediately.” I grimaced as I wiped the dirt on my jeans. I had to clean myself. I took a quick look around, a grin forming as I made sure that no one was around. The last time I had done this, almost five weeks ago, Talia had ran off with my clothing. The towels too. I had had no choice but to run naked through the hotel we were staying at, only to find that without my key card I couldn’t enter the hotel room. I was considering breaking the lock on the door when I heard Talia laughing. I saw her hidden behind the ice machine as she waved the key card in front of me. I narrowed my eyes at her and stalked over to her.

“Key or clothes, I don’t care which,” I growled as menacingly as I could.

She began laughing immediately. “I can’t tell which is funnier.” She had to fight to get the words out through her laughter. “The fact that you’re trying to scare me, or the fact that you’re doing it while naked.”

“Talia,” I said, snatching for the key in her hand. She dodged me, peals of laughter following her as she ran to our door. She fumbled for a second trying to unlock our door finally succeeding as she ran inside.

I was able to stop the door from closing at the last possible second and I tore inside. I inhaled deeply, following her scent to the bathroom door.

“Open this door!” I said, laughter threatening to break my serious tone.

I heard the shower turn on. “I can’t hear you!” I heard the shower door sliding and closing, and I shook the door. I walked over to the room door, making sure that the “Do Not Disturb” sign was placed around the door.

I walked back over to the bathroom door and snapped the knob. I swung the door open as Talia turned off the shower.

“The door was open,” Talia said, her voice filled with reproach, but her eyes laughing as she opened the shower door. She stepped out, her body still glistening with water drops as she walked past me and into the room.

I followed her as she stared out the window. We were on the topmost floor so she didn’t bother putting on a robe. Moonlight played over her. She stared outside for a second before turning to face me.

“I love you Josh.”

“I love you too.”

“I never thought I would be so lucky as to meet you when I first moved here.”

I started to trace her nipple softly with my thumb when she began talking. She shuddered in pleasure as I responded

“I’m the lucky one. You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You can open a mean can of whoop ass. You can make me laugh.” I began caressing her breasts.

She began to trace her hands down my hips as I pulled her closer to me. “Why Mr. Scarlet, are you trying to get me into bed?”

“Of course not Ms. Rosales,” I said as I dipped down to kiss her.

I slid a finger in her as she moved her hand farther south, my body tensing as she gripped me.

She gasped as my finger entered her. She pushed me, adding a little bit of her werewolf strength behind the push. I fell onto the bed as she reached into my bag and grabbed a condom.

“I think you are trying to bed me.” She tossed the condom at me, winking at me.

I breathed heavily as she got closer to the bed. I tore the condom open, slipping it on as she began making her way up my body. She positioned herself above me, her hair tickling my chest as she stared down at me. Our eyes were filled with lust as I slid into her.

“You win.”

After, we lay in bed, she wrapped in my arms. We stared out the window watching the sun rise, whispering sweet nothings to each other. As beautiful as this forest was, I would have traded it all to be with Talia in that hotel room as the sun engulfed us in its rays. That must have been the night the baby was conceived. The timing was right.

I swiped my face, surprised when it came back wet. I must have started crying as I remembered that night with Talia. But why would it make me sad? I shook my head, blocking the memory. I stripped quickly, forcing myself to jump into the ice cold lake. I surfaced, teeth chattering. Thankfully the sun heated the lake quickly as I floated, staring at the puffy white clouds slowly make their way across the azure sky.

An hour must have passed before I finally had my fill of the lake. I clambered out, patting myself dry with my shirt. I slipped on my jeans, and craned my head to look at the sun. I had been here for what felt like half a day already, but the longer I squinted up at the sky, the more convinced I was that the sun had yet to move. “What time is it?” The wind whistling by was my only answer. I tied the damp shirt around my head as I walked back into the forest.

“I need to get out of here,” I said as I searched for a big enough tree to climb. Spotting one that seemed huge enough, I began climbing. After what felt like ages I finally reached the top. My eyes widened as I took in the seemingly never ending forest. The waterfall was not the end of the forest. It went on for miles, farther than my eye could see.

“Where am I?” I began climbing down again, and I perched on a branch close to the ground. As I stood there I heard rustling in the tree next to me. All of a sudden, like a cannon going off, I saw Calliope jumping off a branch, stake in hand, hair billowing behind her as she staked a silver haired vampire neatly in the chest. The memory ended, and I fell of the branch, landing on my back as the memories came flooding back to me.

I saw Arno stabbing Calliope with her own stake. Blood pooled around her, and as I lay on the grass blood began appeared around me. I yelped as I jumped up in alarm. I stared down at the grass as the pool of blood got larger and larger. I began backing away, flinching when I bumped into a tree. Another memory flashed through my brain. I saw Arno alight with the fire of my spell, rolling as he tried to quench the inferno. I smelled burning skin as I began vomiting on the floor. Water and half-digested apples mixed with the blood that was still spreading. Nothing human could bleed that much and not die. More memories began invading my head as I retched some more. The smell of the apples and the blood clogged my nose, causing me to gag. I saw purple flames in my head. A blade as bright as the sun cut through that memory. It was replaced by me dropping Talia as I fell into a portal.

I began crying, clutching my head as snippets of memories played over and over. Talia falling played over and over again. I tried to make them stop. I tried to focus on anything, but all I could smell was apples, blood, and burning flesh. I heard Jason crying. I heard the clink as a metallic necklace was placed over my neck. I felt my wolf die over and over again as I lay quivering on the floor. I heard Arno’s oily laugh as he threw Calliope on the floor. As he called her a runaway. His shriek of pain as his arm was cut off. The taste of his blood as flecks of it entered my open mouth. Talia falling. Talia. Talia and the baby. She was alone in the forest. I had to find her. I crawled away from the bloodied apples as the pool began to expand.

In a distant part of my mind I heard the bushes next to me rustle as I watched Arno stab Calliope over and over. I turned towards the sound, desperate for anything to cling onto as I felt my sanity began to shred. I saw her come out of the woods as my wolf died ten more times in my head. She kneeled in front of me, cool fingers touching my burning forehead. Her blue eyes looked at me, at the shirt tied around my head. Her mouth moved. I couldn’t hear anything as I saw Pat’s dead body in my eye. “I didn’t even see her die!”

The girl jumped when I screamed. She looked around, her red hood blowing off in the strong winds. Curly black hair tumbled out in a waterfall. Her mouth curled in disgust as pool of blood began to lap against hem of her cloak. I was too focused on watching Calliope bleed out that I didn’t even see her grab a rock. I only noticed when the rock came smashing down onto my temple. Before I crashed into unconsciousness again, I heard the voice one more time.

Josh…


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