Strange Eyes

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Twenty-six

It seemed like years had passed, but it was more like seconds.

The moon still shone down fully on the sleeping world, the trees thick and black. I could see everything as my eyes opened, renewed. I felt myself move forward, as though this new body was itching to try itself out. The movements were tentative at first. I had become a newborn stepping away from its mothers embrace for the first time.

I was still Jane Schwartz. My mind was interlocked firmly within the skin of the Changed One. But my body wasn’t Jane’s. I looked down as my legs moved. They were thick. Strong-looking. They shone a dark brown color that was rich like the earth. I didn’t know how I was moving, but I was. Walking in that position felt as natural as it had in my human form with two legs. But I had…four?

Alarmed, I paused. I sniffed the earth, touching my nose to it. It smelled of comforting things. Firelight. Wood. The warm scent of Halona’s home. I could do this. I was ready.

I kept moving forward into a very new world.

I walked alone. The forest was alive with activity. My movements were becoming less and less timid. I was growing used to my new form. My actions became lithe. Graceful. I had never been graceful before. I breathed in oxygen. Blood surged through my veins. I had a beating heart. I was...beautiful. The Change. It was beautiful.

Voices.

At first, they were mere whispers. Familiar strands of conversation. Deep tones speaking languages that I had never heard of before. But somehow, I understood when they said my name.

Jane.

I would recognize Sam’s voice anywhere. Elated in my new form, I sped up, my movements becoming powerful as I surged through the darkened woods towards the voices, a fierceness overtaking me as my mind zeroed in on one priority: finding them.

But they were in my head.

Frantically, I searched, my sharp eyes scanning the area as I moved at unprecedented speeds, my goal unquestionable and unwavering in my new astounding sharpness.

Where are you?

My own voice awakened within me. I spoke to them. It was my voice, the voice of Jane Schwartz. But it was all inside of my head, filled with a strange color, a power. Magic. I marveled at the strangeness of it all. The stunning newness. I couldn’t speak, but I could all the same. I felt the beautiful magic coursing through my Changed veins, an ancient feeling overtaking me. I was a part of something monumental. Something centuries old.

You’re close. It was Damon and Max. They spoke simultaneously, their voices forming a beautiful chorus that rang in my ears. I picked up speed.

That was when I caught the scent.

It was Sam. Undeniably Sam. Smelling of pine and remnants of the safe house. Musky. Like home. It was him.

I followed it with something of a frenzy, nearly gliding along the forest floor in my need. My new form was so agile; light as a feather, yet it radiated some otherworldly power that I had never experienced before. It was an aura that surrounded me. Strengthened me. Renewed me. It surged through me like the blood on my veins. Constant. Powerful. Fierce. I felt the new animal part of me surging alongside the human part, both of them blending together in a collision of wonderful newness.

I was truly a Changed One.  

The woods seemed endless. A dark pit of movement, of smells, of sights. My head kept snapping sharply around on my neck in search for the source of them. But as quickly as they had come, they sunk back into the shadows, not to be seen. Stirring in the darkness.

Here, Jane!

Rick. I had never been so happy to hear his voice. It was undeniably Rick; his rich tone, that familiar touch of humor. It was all so overwhelming, but comforting all the same. They were my home.

I crashed in through a clearing in the trees that I had reached, and was dumbfounded to find myself in what seemed like something from another world.

Wow. My voice spoke inside of my head.

Looking around, they were all there. It was them, but then again, it wasn’t them. Not the boys that I had come to know.

Sam. He was glorious.

I knew the creature was him before it had even spoken to me. He nearly glowed in the darkness, his coat a shining raven that gleamed with warm hues of brown. The sight of him was enough to make me fall to the ground.

Jane. He spoke inside of my head, his voice echoing with a tentative strength. A deep sweetness. It resonated in my Changed soul. It truly was him.

The eyes of the creature regarded me intently. There was something withholding in them that wasn’t unfamiliar to me. I had seen the same look in the human Sam’s eyes. They even shone like his, gleaming with a dark mystery that was as big and wide as the world itself.

 I said nothing. He seemed to be taking me in. Regarding me in my new state as though he were seeing me for the first time. In a way he was.

I’m here. I said to all of them, the message ringing in their minds as our souls connected. The communication was effortless to me, as though I had been doing it for my whole life. As easy as breathing.

 I recognized Rick’s eyes on another Changed One- warm and brown. He was a gorgeous russet color. A massive creature. There was Paul. He was a stunning ebony that shone nearly blue in the night, a startling dimension about him that I had never seen before. His eyes blinked at me in his watchful way, ever-serious. Damon and Max were chocolate brown, standing together ide by side underneath the moonlight, silent as I had never seen them. Les was a beautiful gray that shone in the faint moonlight, startling with a rugged beauty, watching me closely with a sense of familiarity.

It was all so surreal.

Sam began to approach me tentatively. I had never seen that shyness in him before. His coat gleamed in the pale light. I had to catch my breath, the air whooshing out from my massive ribcage. He was so powerful- larger than the other wolves. He radiated the Beta essence, the power crackling wonderfully about him in its true form.

Those eyes. They were astoundingly intelligent on the face of the ga-ne-tli-yv-da. He was absolutely beautiful.

Slowly, the action almost agonizing, the creature’s nose reached out to graze the side of my face. The action was fluid; slow motion. So many things passed between us unspoken, kept private from the others. Just us. I exhaled again, the sound muffled against him. His muzzle grazed my side in what I immediately perceived as an act of affection. He breathed out with a heavy sound, like a release. Those deep eyes blinked once at me. Wordless.
We were connecting in a whole new way. The pull between us was ignited like never before in our new forms. The others regarded us silently from where they stood. A few of them blew out air sharply through their noses, which I recognized as a sign of anticipation. I couldn’t stop looking at him.
That was when Sam’s paw reached out and touched mine among the leaves. I tensed from within my new form as a memory surged through me.

It was astounding in clarity. I had never seen anything like it before.

I saw…myself.

It was from Sam’s perspective. The night that we had kissed. Immediately I recognized myself. I saw me through his eyes. Felt everything that he felt. The rush of nervousness. The spiking heat. I could feel myself as he kissed me, our lips touching. The shyness about him. The rush of feeling from within him.
The scene dissipated as he moved his forepaw from mine.

Those eyes looked into mine with something deep. I realized then that in this form, the boundaries between us seemed to evaporate. There were endless feelings, endless possibilities. An intensity that I had never experienced before in my entire existence.

It was as though he was calling to me. 

It was all so astounding that I could have cried. I didn’t even know if that was possible in my new form, but I would have tried.

Looking around at all of them, everything bursting with clarity and an astounding newness, I knew that I was home.

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