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My body tumbled to the ground. My chest constricted from the pain—it felt like I couldn’t breathe.
Terrifying growls echoed in the area.
I fluttered my eyes open and saw the grey sky. Thunder rumbled above me and a few raindrops fell from the sky, smacking me in the face. I blinked rapidly when one fell into my eye.
Slowly, I lifted myself up onto my elbows and examined the area.
I first saw Marco. He was being knocked to the floor by Dexter, who was protecting him. Dexter grabbed the wolf by the jaw and flipped him over impressively. Marco sat up, stunned. His eyes held disbelief.
He didn’t have time to contemplate what he just saw because a different wolf was pushed to the ground, a few inches from where he was.
My eyes darted to Lazarus and Wilder who were working together to take down another one.
The others were gone. Marianne must have gone with them for protection.
I snapped my eyes back to the other side of the clearing where the scarred wolf was. He had moved closer and had his eyes trained on me. I gulped and sat up, keeping my eyes on him.
It all happened so quickly.
The wolf jumped forwards and charged towards me. A shrilly scream lodged in my throat.
Then, all of a sudden, as the wolf was mid-air, another wolf tackled it to the ground. I instantly recognized it. It was Lazarus.
He snarled at the wolf, protectively. His green eyes flickered to me and told me to get out of here. I didn’t waste a second. I leaped to my feet and dashed off.
Branches scratched my body and treacherous roots threatened to trip me. Once again, the thunder crackled deeply in the sky. More spots of rain trickled down.
Tears streamed down my flushed face. My heart was thumping so hard in my chest I began to worry it would burst out of my chest.
It wasn’t fair. Why did this have to happen here?
Oh, god. Was Lazarus going to be okay? And what about the rest of my friends. They didn’t deserve to get hurt or killed because of me. I could never forgive myself if something happened to them.
A thick root sticking out of the ground popped out of nowhere. I had no time to react. My body was sent crashing to the muddy ground. I cried out in pain and shock. I knew that would leave a horrible bruise.
I forced myself to get up and continue running. Part of me was insistent on going back. But the rational part of me knew I would only serve as a distraction.
When the lake house came into view, I nearly laughed in relief.
The others were sitting on the porch, crying hysterically. Jamie looked to be in a state of shock. Georgia and Marianne seemed to be the only people who were calm and with it.
At the sight of me, Georgia rose to her feet and lunged at me. Her thin arms wrapped around my body tightly. Finally, she broke down. Her sobs saddened me. She thought I was dead.
I buried my face into the crook of her neck, seeking comfort.
As soon as Georgia unwound her arms, Ellie was embracing me. After her, the rest of them gave me a brief hug. Even Marianne did. She looked troubled...and worried. That only increased my fear. If Lazarus didn’t come back, I didn’t know what I would do.
“Where are the others?” Ellie asked, tearfully. She was concerned about Wilder.
I hated knowing I couldn’t tell her anything.
“I’m sorry,” I replied, hoarsely.
She pinched her lips together and burst into tears again. Sammy immediately stepped in and whispered soothing words into her ear. I had to turn away in guilt. If Wilder—her mate—died, I would lose Ellie forever. She would never be the same again.
I sat on one of the steps and stared at the forest. I would wait here for as long as it took. I had faith in Lazarus. He would come back to me.
“Does anybody else find it strange we were attacked by a bunch of wolves?” Jamie voiced, for the first time.
We all stopped and turned to him.
He had come out of his head and was staring at all of us with a hard expression plastered on his face. Streaks of blonde hair fell into his eyes.
“What are you talking about?” Sammy questioned, furrowing her drawn-on eyebrows together.
Jamie exhaled loudly, “I mean, about a month ago, me and Celeste were attacked by a wolf. It looked similar to that one. And I didn’t know wolves were around this area. You never told us Georgia. Do you not think it’s odd that a group of wolves found us and attacked us? Or that Lazarus, Dexter, and Wilder could hold them off?”
Sammy’s frown deepened. I hated that he had a point.
Nervously, I glanced at Marianne who didn’t seem unsettled. I knew if the time came to it, she would step in and say something.
“Marco has a gun,” I claimed.
Jamie’s hazel eyes set on me. Suspicion swirled in them.
“Do you think one gun will be able to kill that many wolves?” He retorted, arching an eyebrow.
Matt stepped forward, “You’re right. It doesn’t make sense. We aren’t talking about a group of humans. These werewolves.”
“Exactly!” Jamie said, exasperated. “We should call someone. The police or someone. Who do you even call in these situations?”
He was acting hysterical. A natural response to this awful situation. In his mind, a pack of wild wolves found us and tried to attack us. Some of our friends tried to save us by attempting to fight them off. He doesn’t know they are werewolves. He doesn’t know about their super abilities. He thinks they are weak and will therefore die or be seriously injured.
If only he knew the truth...
“The police won’t be able to do anything,” Georgia said.
“You don’t know that and I’d rather have the cops go out there than me,” He countered, fearfully. Georgia didn’t take anything he said personally. He was traumatized. “Why is no one calling them? Huh? Come on, somebody needs to call them.”
Matt picked up his phone and started to dial the numbers. His finger hovered over the green button. He peered up at Georgia, wanting permission to go through with it. Just as he was about to press the button, she moved.
He didn’t have time to stop her. She grabbed the phone and tossed it into the bushes.
Jamie’s eyes widened. “What are you doing?!”
Even I was shocked by what she did. Surely, she would be on their side. She didn’t know Lazarus, Wilder, and Dexter were werewolves.
Unless...I remembered what Marianne said. Georgia’s family was connected with a very powerful hunter’s family. They were called the Waldorf’s.
Our town barely had any incidents—supernatural wise. She thought it was because the Stem family were hunters. If they were, Georgia would know about their existence. But why didn’t Jamie?
Either way, this could be the reason she was acting so calm. She knew about werewolves. And... her family hunted them. Did she do that too?
“Wh--what are you doing cous?” Jamie asked his cousin, perplexed.
Georgia sighed and readjusted her top. “There are some things you don’t know, Jamie.”
He drew his eyebrows together. “What does that mean? What don’t I know?”
Georgia searched all of our faces. She stopped on Marianne. “I know what you are.” She declared, in a strong and confident voice.
Marianne stayed unfazed. “Okay.”
“What are you talking about Georgia? Did you hit your head or something?” This came from Jamie.
“George...” I trailed off, not sure where I was going with it.
She smiled, sadly. “I never told you about my family. They are not who you think they are.”
“I think I know where you are going with this,” I told her, softly.
“I thought you might after she did some digging,” She gestured at Marianne. “And since she was one of them, I knew Lazarus and Dexter had to be like her as well. Thus, you had to know about it.”
“I only found out quite recently,” I admitted.
“But you knew I lied,” She stated, her eyes glowing with remorse.
This was a pivotal moment in our friendship. We both lied to each other. It wasn’t some white lie—it was one that would change things between us. I knew that and so did she. We weren’t as close anymore.
“What is happening?!” Jamie screamed, angrily.
We all whipped our heads in his direction. He was breathing heavily; his eyes were blazing. Sammy stood beside him, her hand around his arm in a comforting manner. Ellie was still sniffling to the side, watching what was happening,
“Jamie, there’s something your parents never told you about my family,” Georgia told him, sympathetically. “And what I’m going to say is going to sound crazy but I promise it’s the truth.”
His face morphed from anger to confusion.
“Our family are hunters. We hunt down supernatural creatures that are a threat to humans. That’s why we never leave that awful town. Our job is to protect the people there.”
He didn’t say anything at first.
And then he started laughing. He squeezed his eyes shut and threw his head back, barking in laughter.
“Y--you’re,” He said in between laughs, “Funny.”
Georgia’s mouth twisted. “I’m not making this up. Werewolves, witches, and I think Vampires exist.”
“Vampires are nearly extinct actually,” Marianne inputted. All heads snapped in her direction. “I’m a Werewolf, Jamie. So is Wilder, Lazarus, and Dexter. Ellie is Wilder’s mate and Celeste is Lazarus’s mate.”
“What’s a mate?” Sammy queried.
“It’s short for soul mate. All supernatural creatures have one. They are our lives.” She answered.
Jamie was flabbergasted, “My parents are in on this too?”
She nodded her head solemnly.
“How could they not tell me?”
“They didn’t want this life for you.”
Jamie slumped his shoulders, processing everything.
“Wait—so you’re a werewolf. A human that turns into a wolf?” Matt cut in, summarizing everything plainly.
“That’s so cool!” He exclaimed, not questioning everything. Simply accepting it. Matt turned to Georgia, that joyous expression still planted on his face. “And your family hunt them?”
“Yeah,” Georgia sighed.
“Wicked! I always used to think they were boring rich people but now I’m seeing them in a whole new light. They are a bunch of bada*ses!” He fist-pumped the air.
“So, they can turn into wolves and fight those wolves?” Jamie murmured, quietly.
“They can. That’s why we can’t call the cops. They can’t find out about werewolves.” Georgia sat next to him and slid an arm around his shoulders. “We have to keep them a secret. It’s the supernatural law.”
“They’ll be okay then?” Sammy asked, less worried now. She might not know them as well but she was a compassionate person.
“I hope so,” I muttered, hopefully.
“Who were those wolves then? Wild ones?” Matt fired more questions, practically bouncing on the balls of his feet.
Marianne shook her head, “No. They were rogues. Nasty creatures.”
“Packless wolves,” Georgia filled in.
“That wolf with the scar down his face was the scarred man. He found me,” I bravely said.
“Wait—really?” Georgia’s surprised face found mine.
“Yeah,” I bobbed my head up and down. “He’s a rogue. We still don’t know why he’s after me though. All we know is that he’s powerful.”
“F*ck,” Georgia cursed. “I can’t believe he found you out here. At least you have Lazarus and his crew here.”
“You guys should go inside and get a drink. I can wait out here.” I suggested. They all look knackered.
Georgia was about to raise her concerns but Marianne stepped in. “I’ll stay with her. We’ll be fine.”
They all headed inside. Georgia lingered by the door. I sent her a reassuring smile.
I lowered myself onto the step. Marianne did the same. She loosened a breath and relaxed her shoulders.
“How are you holding up, then?” Marianne asked me after a few moments.
I pinched my lips together. I was trying not to think about the scarred man. This trip was supposed to make me forget. I was supposed to have fun and be a normal teenager. Now that he’s here, it’s not going to happen.
He wasn’t going to stop until he had me. My luck was going to run out eventually. He would get me.
“Right now, the only thing on my mind is Lazarus,” I replied, honestly. I couldn’t focus on the scarred man when I didn’t know where Lazarus was. I didn’t know if he was alive.
She made a noise of agreement. “They have heard any of my messages in the mind link—”
“Wait, really?” I interrupted her, quickly.
“But they could have blocked me so that they could focus. Lazarus and Dexter are trained warriors. They know how to fight. They will be fine.” She finished in a firm voice.
Minutes that felt like hours passed. To occupy my worried mind, I asked Marianne a series of random questions. She answered each of them tiredly. I could tell she didn’t want to talk but I needed her to distract me. My overthinking mind could formulate all kinds of answers.
Eventually, I stopped.
Looking up at the sky, I noticed the grey clouds had disappeared. The sun poked through the clouds. The temperature picked up and the last traces of rain began to dry.
The sounds of several pairs of footsteps caught my attention. I shifted my gaze to the forest, where I could spot four figures approaching us. One of them was leaning on the other, limping.
As soon as I saw Lazarus’s bloody face, I sprinted over to him. He perked up and met my eyes.
I stopped right in front of him, noting how he had an arm around Wilder who was hunched over. I could see his chest moving up and down, slowly. He was alive but barely.
A gasp escaped my lips. I shouted for Ellie and assisted in holding Wilder up. Dexter was also badly injured and was holding Marco up as well.
They all looked awful.
Thundering footsteps rushed over to us. Ellie appeared and threw her arms around Wilder, crying. Wilder groaned but responded to her touch. She and the other guys helped him inside along with Dexter and Wilder.
Lazarus and I remained outside.
With it just being us, I could properly examine him. There were lots of gashes on his face and arms. Blood oozed from an awful cut on his torso. His shirt was torn open in many places. I wanted to burst into tears at the injuries he accumulated.
“Don’t cry, mi amore,” Lazarus whispered, his own voice cracking.
I hugged him.
He kept cooing soft things into my ears. He was saying he was okay on repeat. It wouldn’t comfort me, no matter how much I wished it would. Lazarus could have been hurt badly. I could have lost him.
“I can’t believe he found me again,” I wailed into his chest.
I couldn’t tell you how long we were like that for. I imagined it was a while. I pulled away from him after a while and dried my tears. I’m sure my face was red and puffy.
“What even happened? Did you kill all of them?”
Lazarus dragged a hand through his messy hair. “We killed most of them. Only two got away. One of them was him, mi amore.” He told me, regretfully.
He was still out there. He was still alive.
“Oh, god.” I moaned in terror.
Lazarus cupped my face, gently. There was determination in his eyes. “I will not let anything happen to you. You are safe here, I promise.”
“No more talking. Let’s get inside. We’ll be safer in there,” He shushed me and guided me back to the lake house.
Just as I was about to enter the house, I glanced back and felt like I was being watched again. Shivers coursed down my spine.
He was still at large. I was not safe.
Things are going from bad to worse for Celeste. What are your thoughts on this chapter? What do you think will happen next? My next update will be on Tuesday.