I had a hard time focusing. I couldn’t see. I felt detached from my own body, as if I was nothing but an observer.
My body lay limp on a rocky outcropping. Pine and fir trees huddled around the rocks I lay on. A thick blanket of snow covered the ground and accented the sharp lines of the rocks. Beyond that, a mirage of rocks and trees are displayed before me, white sprinkled around them.
What’s happening? Why am I here?
A cold wind whipped through the woods and sliced through the branches like icy knives. I couldn’t feel the cold. I was numb, dulled, trapped in my own body.
My mother. My mother was at the party. Yeah, that’s right. She was hurt. Wait, but then she disappeared?
The bright full moon highlighted some shadows as I tried to make out my surroundings. A movement from feet away caught my attention and I swiveled my lead-filled head to look at it.
A young man’s body sauntered toward me, but instead of a face, a disoriented beast sneered back at me. The hideous maw with sharp, knife-like teeth opened menacingly. Green and black eyes narrowed and focused on me while sharp teeth glared at me. His monstrous face was too clear, now too close. Its musty odor was lined with such a putrid stench; it churned my stomach. I tried to move my thoughts to something else, but when I did, I realized I recognized this creature.
It was Dimitri.
He glared at me with such hatred I wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there until the day I die.
My tongue felt numb, but I had to try something. “What are you doing?” My words came out slurred, but they were still understandable.
His wicked smile dissolved before he responded. “You killed my father. What do you think?”
Confusion settled over me. Gavin wasn’t dead. “What are you talking about?”
Dimitri’s sneer faded as his horrible face came even closer, “Don’t even play with me! You’re the reason he’s dead, so I’m gonna get my revenge on your little buddy Nate,” he yelled, spit landing just under my eye before he backed up a little. Not enough.
My mind yelled in disgust as my aching arm slowly moved up and I wiped his poisonous saliva from my face. “I’m not the one to get if you wanted to get back at Nathan.” My mind drifted back to the party. My throat burned with oncoming tears as I replayed the event yet again. “He hates me.” Nathan told me nobody got killed that day.
Dimitri closed in again and opened his mouth as if to say something, anger shining in his eyes. His wretched breath was stinging my eyes, so I closed them in protest.
An ear-splitting laugh penetrated the air. I peeled my left eye open in curiosity to see Dimitri’s head yanked back, howling in laughter. “He still hasn’t told you? Well, this is gonna be fun.”
In a flash, he was in front of me reaching for my heart. He gripped the skin just below my neck and an excruciating pain ripped through my body, rushing down my limbs. Pain—so much pain.
Fear entered me and I flew my eyes open. Everything was sideways and blurry. I couldn’t feel my body again and wished this would just end.
Dimitri’s hand lost contact, but the pain didn’t go with him. My veins burned along with my lungs and arms. I closed my eyes for a moment as the pressure in my head became too much.
“You wanna know why that hurts so much?”
I opened my eyes to see the bright full moon shining its light on us and I silently wished it was a spotlight coming to save me instead.
The pain still skated through my body, but Dimitri’s hand was removed from my chest. With each pump of my heart, the pain intensified in my veins.
I turned to see Nathan facing Dimitri, who had moved in front of me to block my pathetic body from Nathan’s view. I tried to call for help, but my convulsing body disobeyed my orders.
Nathan’s body was so tense I thought he would explode. His fists were coiled at his sides and his jaw was bulging from tension. I guess the pain blinded my sixth sense of knowing if he is near.
“Where is she?” Nathan asked in such a dark manner it even made me shiver.
To my surprise, Dimitri smiled and stepped aside, giving Nathan a view of my pitiful form. “Here she is,” he sneered.
Nathan’s chocolate eyes scaled me up before they hardened so much they looked like pools of ink. “You son of a—”
“Eh, eh,” Dimitri scolded. “That’s no way to speak in the presence of a lady.” In a flash, he was kneeling by my side again, hand over my heart. The little pressure starting some more gut-wrenching screams from me. In a second, he pulled his hand back, but the pain only intensified.
I looked over just in time to see Nathan stalk towards us with enough anger to fuel a car.
“Stop right there or she dies,” Dimitri demanded casually. Without a second thought, Nathan stopped dead in his tracks. “How about we tell her what’s going on between you two?”
“You’re a dead man,” Nathan threatened, still holding his ground, hands clenched at his sides so hard his knuckles were white. His fangs started to lengthen and it was evident Nathan was having a hard time not launching to rip out Dimitri’s throat.
Dimitri dismissed his threat and continued. “You see, darling, this dog over here imprinted you. So now, your souls are united. That means the longer you’re separated, you get this pain, while he get angrier and stronger. The longer you’re apart, the worse it becomes.” I turned from Dimitri’s gnarly face and ventured to Nathan’s still black eyes, trying to search for answers. He didn’t meet my gaze, his eyes instead resting on the vampire that had me in his grasp.
“Up to the point you die from the pain.”
I snapped my eyes back to him, my head erupting from the sudden movement. “Which of course, I sped up the process. You should now die in about… fifteen minutes.”
Nathan took a few more angry strides and Dimitri flew his hand to hover above my heart. “Unless you want her dead now…”
Dimitri’s voice started to slur as my vision stared fading again. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t grasp what was happening anymore. My consciousness faded to black.
My body leaped in a heap as sparks flew from my arm through the rest of my body, erasing the pain from my limbs and torso. I gratefully panted, surprised I was still living. What just happened?
As my body heaved breaths I never knew I’d be able to take again, movement to the left caught my eye. Squinting to see in the moonlight, the movement swirled around, making me dizzy. What is going on?
As if on cue, the shadows came out from the trees and into a patch of moonlight. The glistening black fur of Nathan’s wolf and the ghastly sight of a raging vampire rolling and fighting in a heap made me realize what was going on again.
In a second, Nathan’s attention was on me and I saw him let out a sigh in relief. His eyes bore into mine as relief flashed over his face. He saved me.
The instant distraction caused Nathan to lose focus for just a second, but that is all Dimitri needed to sink his own sharpened canines into Nathan’s silky fur.
The yelp that escaped from Nathan yanked my heart in half. Before I even told my body, I was running to them. “Stop! Please!” I screamed, pleading with Dimitri to not drain my rescuer. Sharp rocks dug into my frozen bare feet, but I really couldn’t find it in me to care.
At the sound of my voice, Dimitri released Nathan’s massive body on the ground and stepped forward towards me, deep red blood dripping off this lips. “You know, I was just supposed to bring you two in. But, I’m starting to think I like the idea of the imprinted wolf slowly dying by the absence of his mate better. What do you think, Nate?”
My heart stopped. What? He can die from it? A low growl erupted from Nathan again, and he stood in a defensive stature with murder burning in his eyes.
“At first, our mission was to bring in that younger Shifter. The poor dog was left stranded to live on her own. Best she could was make a contribution to Dr. Jackson’s research. But, I’m glad you stepped into my path, my dear. Now, we get to study something that is unheard of—a Shape Shifter and Foreseer bonded together through an imprint. Truly extraordinary. And with a future Alpha, nonetheless. Just imagine the things Dr. Jackson has planned for you.” The growl continued as he started to launch himself to the challenging vampire.