School was nothing but people staring at me and my friends coddling me like a new mother. After about the third time Shan tried to help me to stand up, I finally gave her a death glare and told her to stop acting as if I was just brought back to life. She then decided that my denial of being hurt meant a brain tumor and she started to try to speak slowly and clearly to me, as if I was mentally challenged; just to get me riled up.
Needless to say, when the final bell rang, I totally forgot that Jason was picking Al up. So when I went out to my car, I sat on my hood and waited patiently for him to get his ass out.
“Miss me?” a soft, sultry voice asked before a soft laugh followed.
Jason looked absolutely delightful (corny, but alas, yes) in his white t-shirt, jeans and boots. His black hair was slightly damp and he smelled… fresh and clean, like a man. A pair of aviators hung from his collar and he held his ratty old ball cap in his hands.
“Not enough, actually.” I joked.
Final bell rang, shrill and annoying, and I watched as kids spilled out from the school. Kids ranging from sixth grade to juniors practically ran over each other in their haste to load into their cars, busses or to walk the two miles into town.
Alan stuck out like a sore thumb with a beanie on his head even when it was almost ninety five degrees outside. A girl, around his age, walked next to him and I could see her obvious crush on baby brother and I could see it was a mutual thing.
“Puppy love,” I said with a smile and I watched as Alan hugged the girl and she got onto a bus.
“Hmm.” Jason hummed with a smile on his face as he leaned against his truck, arms crossed over his chest, his t-shirt tight.
Al let his bag fall from his shoulder and he handed it to me with a grimace. “Take this home with you; I don’t wanna have to lug this around everywhere.”
“Aye, aye, Capi-tan.”
“Alright kid, let’s get outta here. Dad has a snack for us before we head out on our mysterious adventure.” Jason clapped his hands before pushing himself off of his truck.
“I ain’t a kid,” Al huffed, his cheeks getting red from his anger. “Get that straight right now because-”
“One,” Jason interrupted with a firm look in his eyes. “You have no business telling me what to do. Two, it was just an expression so don’t get your thong up your ass too far.”
Ash cackled in my mind as I practically gagged trying to keep my laughter at bay. Hat’s off for my man, Jason, for that one.
Alan seemed perplexed and flustered as he hopped into the truck.
“Have fun with that,” I continued, still shaking from my efforts of holding my laughter.
His chest pressed against my face as he hugged me tightly. “When I was his age, I was pretty hellacious. It’ll be a piece of cake.”
“Al’s one stubborn son of a bitch; once he has you ‘pegged’ it’ll take almost everything you have to change his mind. In his mind, I’m still that bitch of an older sister who kicked his ass too many times to count.”
“You just ruined his manhood, that’s all.” He laughed before turning back to his truck. “We’ll be home around nine or so, so I’ll see you then.”
Home. That one word just elicited so many butterflies, armed with bazookas that I literally shivered on the steaming asphalt. “Okay.”
With that, he hopped in, beeped his horn twice and sped out of the parking lot with my brother and a piece of my heart.
“Ugh, I need to do something dirty and nasty to make up for all this gushiness.” Raking my brain in thought, I walked around to my side of the car. An idea, as brilliant as a diamond, popped into my brain. “Here I come, Summer.”
Summer Fields (ironic as all get out and her parents still get a kick outta it) owned a dirt track and a horse farm. Her husband, Rick, was a motocross racer and X Game gold medalist. Her parents were raised in the hills of Kentucky where they met at one of the big racetracks and raised Summer to love racing horses. So, her house was usually my favorite to visit.
The one downside was that she lived two hours away; I didn’t mind the drive but I just didn’t know if I would have the time…
“Summer!” I called into my phone as I raced down the two lane highway out of town and south, straight towards her house.
“Shyanne!” she cried, just as happily. “Whatcha up to, crazy? You haven’t been down my way in ages and you still refuse to call or text me!”
“Well, Sum, I’m a very important lady up here in my neck of the woods; people to harass and all that. I just wanted to let you know that I’m headed your way.”
Sudden thumps crossed over the landline and I could only guess that she was doing her victory dance. “WHOOPIE!” She screamed excitedly, probably scaring the shit out of her Chihuahua, Sprit. “ETA?”
“About an hour and forty five minutes, roughly.” I said as a douchebag suddenly swerved in behind me and rode on my ass. “Dude, chill the hell down.” I growled, practically melting him from my rearview mirror.
Summer laughed. “Road rage, how fun. See you in a bit; when you get here, Rick and I will be outside. You can be our ref.”
“Why the hell would you of all couples need a ref?” just the mere thought of them needing any kind of help in their relationship just tickled me beyond belief. They were the couple that everyone envy’s; almost always happy and they act like best friends. They argue some (what couple doesn’t?) but they are quick to kiss and make up.
“Nothing serious,” she sounded appalled that I could even think that they were in a serious fight. “I’d be cussing and crying and screaming otherwise. We have a bet that I could kick his tiny ass any given day and he wants to see if I can own up to it.”
“Oh this’ll be fun!” I gushed with enthusiasm. “Don’t pop the popcorn until I pull into the drive.”
“Deal!” She said before quickly hanging up.
Sighing with laughter, I shook my head. “I couldn’t have gotten a better deal when it comes to friends.”
Unconsciously, I was waiting for Ash to agree or even to say something rude, like usual. When I didn’t even feel her in my mind, I frowned. Ash?
I think we should turn around and go to Shan’s or home; hell, call Jason and tell him to expect you.
Why in the hell would I do that? You heard me; I just made plans with Sum and I am not gonna back out less than five minutes after I got done with the planning!
Ash’s voice went tight with what sounded like fear. Shyanne, the one reason I was put in here was to protect you! I have a really, really bad feeling about this!
Being the stubborn ass that I was born to be, I ground my teeth together and tightened my hands on the wheel, ignoring what she said. She couldn’t try to tell me what to do, I was an adult and I had the rights to make my own choices. If I wanted to drive two hours away, ride dirt bikes for hours and come home at one in the morning with my parents to personally give me a new mouth, then I damn well could!
Shyanne! Ash screamed seconds before something hit my car.
It felt like it hit my left rear panel, causing the back end of my car to twist sharply. My instructor from Driver’s Ed flashed in my mind, practically screaming at me to steer the same way the car way and to not tense up so bad.
My body had other plans though. Muscles tensed from my wrists’ all the way down to my ankles caused me to just allow my car to run off the side of the road, hit a drainage pipe and roll. The specific area of woods that I was currently driving through wasn’t a road that many people drove so whoever hit me, it was just him and I in here.
My poor car landed on its side and then slid into a huge walnut tree where it bent like a rubber pencil. The air bags slammed into my face and side and I was suddenly seeing dark spots in my vision.
What seemed like years only happened to be mere seconds. Smoke, oil and what smelled like blood perfumed the air I breathed in, making me gag a little.
Shyanne, get out and run! It’s a shadow walker! Ash said hurriedly, if not dazed as hell, as I tried to get my bearings.
You say that like I know who the hell they are! I retorted, fear gripping me.
You really don’t want to!
The last time I didn’t listen to her lead to me being here so I yanked my seatbelt off and crawled out the busted windshield. Glass and whatever the hell else was on the ground scraped my already bleeding body as I pulled myself out of the metal death-trap.
“Lookie here,” a sadistic sounding voice murmured from behind me.
I swung my head around and watched as a medium built man strode toward me, dressed in a white tux of all things. Two men, the size of fuckin’ Mount Rushmore flanked him as he gingerly stepped over the hunks of twisted metal and broken wood.
“Who. Are. You?” my breathing was labored and my words came out choppy and distorted.
“Don’t you remember me, Shyanne?” he asked as he got closer.
“Maybe you will in a second…” He trailed off as he crouched next to my broken body.
All of a sudden, his muscular face went blurry, as if my eyes suddenly filled with tears. As I blinked, I noticed that my eyes were as dry as a desert and his face seemed to be the one that went blurry. The once golden hair of his went dark as midnight and his body seemed to fill out more. The dark, empty gaze that I had just been glaring into suddenly grew brighter and brighter until it was a smoky grey with flecks of green in the irises. The face that I had grown to love suddenly became the one that I had started to fear.
“Now you recognize me.” His tone had deepened to where it sounded just like Jason’s.
Shock and pain gripped my heart soul with icy claws. “Y-you’re not Jason…”
“I’m not?” the Jason wannabe said with a pout as he reached out and stroked my lip. The fingers, so much like Jase’s, revolted me and I jerked out of his reach. The finger that was just roaming my skin came away red and wet with blood.
Get up and run! Ash screamed as if she were on fire and screaming for help.
“You aren’t what I thought you’d be, Shyanne Ice; when that old bitch talked about you, she talked as if you were wise and young. But you’re just stupid and blind, not listening to that little voice in that pretty head.” He tapped my finger with his bloody and hand I reached up and slapped it away from me. “Feisty.” He murmured with another evil smile.
“What do you want with me?” I asked before I tried to ease myself up into a sitting position against the tree my car decided to befriend.
One of the men reached down and pushed my shoulder back down, making me grunt with pain as fire licked along my shoulder joint. It seemed they didn’t want me to get up.
Great deduction, Sherlock! Why don’t you think up of a way we can get the hell outta dodge?
“Ashmara, that’s no way to speak to your lovely host.” The man in front of me chided as he leaned forward.
“How did you know about Ash?” I demanded, the anger that I usually fight with rose up finally to protect me again.
“You really are naïve, aren’t you?” he said, his eyebrow raised in a Jason like gesture that my heart ached to see him come to my rescue. “Oh, Prince Charming is busy with that brat of a boy you call your brother. He won’t know anything has happened to you until it’s too late. I’m getting hungry and tired and I really want to go home.” He rose to his height and he turned his back on me. “Vance? Wes? Could you please put our guest in a reliable vehicle so we can continue with our pleasurable discussion?”
Fear and anger, unlike anything I have ever felt before, warred within my body. Fear wanted so bad to turn tail and kick up dust so fast that they wouldn’t have a prayer to catch up. But anger, my one best friend since I was five, wanted me to castrate the bastards with a rusty spoon. Or with my claws.
More fire roared through my body like a hungry lion; this fire, however, wasn’t just a painful experience but a… building fire as well. My skin prickled and seemed to dance as I watched the three men look over at me curiously.
My nails, chopped short from me biting them off constantly, grew to sharp points as my ears started to ache. Reaching up, I felt as they started to change into round, soft saucers on my head. Joints, bones and muscle seemed to pop and tear as I rolled onto my stomach, groaning into the soft grass. Pain enveloped me as I felt my heart start to beat harder and faster and it grew so unbearable that my mouth opened to scream… but no sound came out. Instead, my jaw stretched and popped as my teeth grew and grew. Tears blurred my vision and I closed my lids, shaking my head to clear it all.
Another ripping sound filled the air and I knew it didn’t come from inside my body… my clothes and shoes burst and I screamed in agony as I felt my skin melt away. The scream wasn’t a human scream as I was expecting. It was almost… feline. Like a cat had just been caught by a coyote and ripped to shreds. Then a cold sensation blew over my exposed skin and then, nothing at all.
“Amazing,” someone breathed.
Exhaustion wrapped around me as I lay on the ground, refusing to open my eyes to see what the fuck just happened to me.
Don’t play dumb, Shy. Ash murmured softly. You know exactly what just happened… you shifted.
Jason’s explanation made sense now; a huge burst of emotion caused the shift in a person. It seemed fear and anger caused mine. The pain, so unbearable that your body can’t move afterwards caused me to whine softly in my throat. By shifting, I just gave the men in front of me the chance to grab and get away, without much of a fight.
Shit. The word danced in my mind as I felt myself slip into the unfathomably darkness.