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“Lakota! You can’t run from us forever!”
The stammering of my heart increased as the pounding of feet behind me drew closer. No matter how fast I ran, it would never be fast enough outrun this team. They had werewolves and witches on their side, and even with my spotty powers on high alert, it wouldn’t be enough. I pushed through a large patch of thorns only to be faced by a towering electrical fence.
A snap in the woods directly behind me sent me spinning around, putting the fence to my back and facing the unknown. Two golden eyes shone through the darkness between the branches and a shiver of fear traced up my spine. My legs twitched with the need to run away from the predator mere feet away, but my feet felt as if they were cemented to the ground. I brought my hands up in front of me and imagined a flaming ball of fire dancing in my palms, but nothing appeared.
“Are you kidding me?” I whispered to myself, exasperated with my powers. “If there was ever a time for a little spark or gust of wind, now would be it!”
A deep chuckle brought me back to the present, and only then did I realize that the golden eyes did not belong to a wolf, but were deeply set into a face permanently stuck in a sneer. The wild eyes slowly took in my stance and his bushy eyebrows rose until they very nearly touched his hairline. The look of superiority on his face made the scar even more gruesome than even imaginable. The silvery line of the scar stretched up from the right corner of his mouth to the edge of his brow bone. He towered above me and I knew without a doubt that without my powers, this man could easily lift me over his shoulder and take me back to the Compound without breaking a sweat.
“Back off!” I yelled, fully aware that I was caught and lashing out like a cornered panther. “Take one more step and I will light your furry butt on fire.”
Another deep chuckle erupted in his chest, similar to the sound a wolf might make if a cub attempted to misbehave. “Don’t try to toy with me, Lakota. I know that you have no idea how to control your powers. So come along nicely and I won’t have to tranquilize you.” He sneered in my direction and waved the gun I had missed before, as if rubbing in the fact that I had no chance.
I bared my teeth with frustration and realized that there was no way out. I wouldn’t be able to escape this horrible group, they would take me back and use their fancy words and machines to make me forget about tonight, forget about myself, and forget him. They would turn me into their very own killing machine, and they would twist me until I would enjoy it. The idea that I would enjoy another person’s suffering scraped against my spine like a blunt edged knife. I could not let that happen, even if that meant I had to sacrifice myself.
As soon as that realization hit me, I knew what I had to do. Mentally steeling myself, I turned and sprinted towards the fence. A startled cry sounded behind me and I hear a gun cock. Even with his superhuman speed, he wouldn’t be able to catch me in time. Reaching the fence, I flung myself at it just as a gunshot blasted through the woods. A sharp pinch in the middle of my back was a perfect indicator that the werewolf did have great aim and was telling the truth, but suddenly the world spun around me and my legs became too heavy to move. My tongue felt like sandpaper in my mouth and everything was fading in and out of focus, when I suddenly hit the fence.
Electric fire surged through my veins, lighting every nerve ending in my body on fire. It crackled through my arms and legs, surged through my chest, and swirled around like a drug in my mind. The pain was unbearable and a pitiful wail burst past my sealed lips, when with a sudden snap, my mind shut off. Everything was black, and I was swimming in the swirling darkness of oblivion. The thought that I had just died quickly flitted through my mind, and I wrestled with the idea of not existing anymore.
But why would the afterlife hurt so much? My bones ached and creaked, and a lingering flame licked the inside of my chest. My head pounded and darkness enclosed my eyes, but was I really dead? The swirling darkness around me was suddenly broken apart by a sharp sting on my cheek.
My lungs exhaled with a gasp as my eyes readjusted to the darkness of the woods. Even the dim light caused an explosion of pain to spark across my head, and I attempted to grab my head when I realized I was tied down.
“Nice try Lakota, but if you were trying to escape us, you are going to have to try a lot harder.” Now there was a real sneer stretched across his face and he leered down at me.
Blood flooded my mouth and my cheek still stung from his slap, so I did the only thing I could think of. Allowing the blood to pool on my tongue, I spit all of it onto the disgusting face of the werewolf. His eyes sparked with rage and he slowly wiped away the blood and spit sprayed across his reddening face.
“Now, now, Lakota. If you’re going to act like an insolent child, I really will have to tranq you. Do you really want that?” He painfully gripped my chin between his thumb and finger, and forced me to look into his animal eyes.
“I’d rather die. I will fight you every step, I will make this as difficult as I possibly can, and if my powers ever decide to show up, I will fry you to a crisp!” I hissed through my clenched teeth. With his fingers still on my chin, I jerked my head hard then snapped it forward, managing to nip at his finger before he pulled away with a snarl.
“That’s it!” He snarled, spittle flying from his mouth as animalistic rage filled him. I braced myself as he pulled his tranquilizer from a hip-holder, and I closed my eyes.
This is really it. I’ll be knocked out, and when I wake up, I won’t be the same. I thought to myself, and bit back the tears attempting to flood my eyes. The distinct click of a gun cocking reached my ears, and I dug my nails into my palms.
But the familiar pinch never came. Instead, a surprised exhale whispered through the clearing followed by a sickening crunch. Suddenly, a faint rustling reached my ears and the rope tying my hands and feet together loosened. Steeling myself mentally, I cracked my eyes open and I nearly fainted from what I saw.
Deep blue eyes sparkled, and they were so close to me, that I could see the specks of gold floating around the endless blue of his eyes. Long black eyelashes cast shadows across his flushed cheeks, and the slight stubble dusting his sculpted jaw added a rugged look to his blue eyed stare. Ebony hair softly fell into his eyes and flipped out around his ears and neck like it used to do when it got too long. The familiarity of him and the gentle way he caressed my face caused a deep longing to grip my stomach.
My trembling hands caught the soft fabric of his black shirt and I felt the furious pounding of his heart underneath my palm. His unnatural heat caught me up like a warm blanket and I looked him up and down. I couldn’t comprehend that he was actually here.
He crouched next to me, and the lean muscles of his legs and arms rippled with strength as he slightly shifted on his toes. The dark shirt clung to his chest, showing of the ridges of his six pack, and the short sleeves made his biceps stand out in stark difference. Dressed in black from the top of his head to the tip of his black biker boots, his eyes gleamed unnaturally bright and my breath caught in my throat.
“Damien,” I whispered.
“Lakota,” he choked out, severe emotion written clearly in his eyes. Then seeming to remember the situation, “Are you alright? Did they hurt you? Can you run?”
I smiled at his concern, and I couldn’t help the whispery laugh that slipped through my chapped lips. “My werewolf hero, what would I ever do without you?”
He smiled widely when he realized that I was well enough to joke with him, and his white teeth sparkled against his tan skin. “Well I’m sure you don’t need me. We just need to figure out your powers and your golden! Now let’s get you out of the dirt and out of here before they catch our trail.”
I smiled back at him, and gratefully took his hand. Heat swirled down my arm when we touched, and I felt light headed as his long tapered fingers enveloped my hand. I could feel heat building up inside me, and I felt like a miniature sun was burning in my chest, sending out tendrils of warmth.
“Gah!” Damien cried out in pain and quickly dropped my hand. I quickly put out the fire swirling in my palms and shot up to my feet.
“Oh Damien! I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to……It just…..I can’t control it yet,” I finished lamely and felt my cheeks warm with humiliation. “Are you alright?”
Taking me completely by surprise, he smiled at me and shook his head lovingly. “Lakota, remember that I am a werewolf? Along with super strength and hearing and junk, I also have super healing? Look, it’s already gone,” he held up his hand for me to inspect.
The blisters were already gone and his hand was smooth to the touch. I brought it up to my mouth and gently kissed his palm. Using his other hand, he smoothed down my long blond hair, and tucked stray strands behind my ear. I nuzzled his hand and looked up at him through my eyelashes, and I knew that my fiery green eyes would be broadcasting the love I felt for him.
He captured me in his arms and I rested my head on his chest, enjoying the beat of his heart in my ear. He gently kissed the top of my head and took a deep breath in, relishing in my scent. Then lovingly, he blew against my ear, spreading his scent on me to ward off any other werewolf.
When he gently pushed me away, I felt my heart breaking but he quickly shushed me with a passionate stare. “I love you so much, it kills me to let you go, but we really have to get out of here.”
Then I felt my cheeks flush bright red, because I had been so caught up in him that I had forgotten that we were still on Compound grounds. I sucked in a deep breath and let it fill my lungs, then blew a few wisps of hair out of my face. He chuckled quietly, and the sound filled my chest with warmth, and I courageously took his hand and spun around to leave.
The werewolf that had pinned me before was collapsed on the ground directly below a giant oak tree. His wrist stuck out at an awkward angle, but I could tell that he was still breathing, even if he had a few broken ribs. From the way he was sprawled on the ground, it looked like Damien had threw him across the clearing and into the tree, using the great strength that even a werewolf couldn’t match up against that the Compound had given him through their experiments.
I clutched his hand tighter and turned a little on my heel so the crumbled werewolf could only be seen in my peripherals. Now the only thing between us and our freedom was the towering electrical fence.
“Now what?” I whispered, as panic made my breath catch in my throat.
“Now I get to sweep you off your feet,” his eyes sparked mischievously and he spun me around until my back was to him and he literally swept me off my feet. His hand warmed my lower back and his arm latched securely underneath my knees.
He braced himself on the ground and I could feel the muscles in his legs ripple as he prepared himself to jump.
“You aren’t really planning on jumping right?” I asked laughing, but the laughter suddenly died when I realized he wasn’t kidding. “It’s like 20 feet up!”
He looked down quickly and winked at me. “I know.”
Then he jumped. I closed my eyes in fear and I gripped the shirt so tightly I thought it would rip. Then my stomach was somewhere between my ears and I felt like the fall would never end, when suddenly with a slight jolt, we landed on the other side.
With a hint of laughter in his voice, he quietly told me, “You can open your eyes now, and I’m afraid if you continue to hold my shirt so tight it will eventually rip.”
Shaky laughter escaped my lips and I slowly let go of his shirt. He set my back on my feet and quickly steadied me when I stumbled. I looked up into his eyes and suddenly I just had to get closer to him, but before I could do anything, a sharp yell echoed through the woods.
“I found KY! I’m sure the girl is somewhere around here, fan out!” Damien grabbed my arm and we took off into the thick cover of the trees.