Incantation:Hellhound | Teen Ink


September 30, 2011
By Socsisshea BRONZE, Mooresville, North Carolina
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Socsisshea BRONZE, Mooresville, North Carolina
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

Most people are afraid of the darkness and what lurks just behind it. I know enough now to be afraid of the light, and what can come from it. This is my story, told from heaven, or hell if you choose to believe that is where I now lie. Either way, this story will take you back…

I was only an adolescent pup when my real story began. It happened on a cold, crisp winter day in a forest deep within human territory. Fresh snow had fallen the last night, so my paws crunched in the frozen over layer of the snow. I wandered for quite a while until the white trees seemed to close me in. I circled nervously, suddenly aware of the scents of other hellhounds marking their territory.

Crunches came from behind me. I spun around, but nothing was there. I slowly turned back around. Standing in front of me was a hellhound twice my size. He was all black, with startling orange eyes that screamed death. I leaped back, but another came from behind me. A whole pack of them circled around me.

The black one was the first to break away. He lunged in quickly at me, knocking me off my feet, and then backed away from the circle. A female hellhound picked me up by my scruff and before I could even struggle she threw me against a tree. The impact shattered my ribs, and I collapsed in a heap. She came towards me again. I whimpered, but she continued closing in on me.

Her claws retracted like a cats. She smiled in her hound-like way as her claws tore into my flank. I would surely die if she continued like this. But the black hellhound came to my rescue, pushing her away from me. He morphed back into his human form in front of me, and so did she. I gazed at them and tried to listen as they spoke.

“Let her live, Sam. She didn’t know what she was doing. And I have a good feeling about this one,” the man ordered.

“But Ian! She’s an outsider, a trespasser! She deserves to die!” the woman protested.

“I said let her live! Now come on, we’re going to help heal her.”

They walked back over to where I lay on the ground. As the man picked me up, I noticed the outline of my body in the snow. It had been completely filled in with my blood, so that it looked as if someone had dyed some water red and poured it into the indent. With that thought, I fainted.

When I awoke, I was lying on a table, enjoying the feeling of coolness on my back when everything else felt like it was aflame. The pain seemed to concentrate on my wolf forehead, and I screamed out in pain, hoping the hellhounds would change their mind and come put me out of my misery. The male sauntered into the room and pressed something to my muzzle. I inhaled the scent of lilacs, and suddenly everything was clearer. I regained some of my composure and morphed into my human form, knowing that only time could heal my true form.

I sighed. It felt better to be in my human form for once, but the pain in my forehead had moved now all along my arms and down my back. I gasped as the heat grew, like a burst of a firecracker on my body, then faded out. I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding once the pain subsided completely and got up from the table. “Bathroom?” I asked as he stared at me in disbelief. He pointed down the hall and I followed his gaze until I found it. I mumbled my thanks and left him, his jaw hanging wide open.

Once I was safely locked inside the bathroom I began to peer into the mirror. Down my arms, tattoos flowered in intricate symbols. I peeled off my shirt, curious to see if it was just coincidence or something more. In the center of my back was a pentacle, swirling and spiraling until it reached the chains that spurted out from it. The chains that had been invisible on my arms until now, wrapped themselves around my shoulders and down my arms. I gasped as they tightened, as if they were really there. They snaked their way down my stomach and then returned to the pentacle, invisible yet again.

I let out a heavy breath and pulled my shirt back on. The intricate symbols were still on my arms, and the unnatural heat they gave off was oddly comforting to me. They seemed to say that even if the devil would always rule me, there was someone else up there who had taken an interest in me. But I kept that to myself as I walked back out of the bathroom and into the living room. It was now filled with hellhounds in their human forms, but I could tell by their twitchiness that the hound wanted to overtake them all.

Even in my human form I was younger than most in the room. I was about twelve at the time, in the midst of at least thirty year olds. They stared at me, and I backed up, uncomfortable with all of their eyes on me. The female, who I assumed was Sam, caught my arm and dug her nails into me before throwing me back to where they could all examine me. I stood awkwardly in the center of the pack until they seemed to be satisfied examining me. My hound inside me growled at them all, hoping only to escape. I pushed it back down inside of me and smiled slightly.

“What is your name child?” the alpha asked me gently. I knew he was the alpha instantly, for he carried himself with dignity and strength that the others didn’t seem to posses.

“Victoria. Don’t ask for a last name, I’ve never had parents,” I answered, regaining some of my confidence and strength.

“Victoria child, what were you doing in our territory? Don’t tell me you didn’t know you were in our territory either, I know you did. So were you trying to get yourself killed?”

“I was just wandering. I was looking for shelter from the storm, and I wandered into your woods. I didn’t mean to, honest! Just let me go and I won’t bother you anymore, I swear!” I pleaded with them, hoping they wouldn’t send me back down to where I truly belonged. The alpha pulled me close to him and I struggled slightly before realizing it was meant to be comforting. I relaxed into him, grateful for the gesture of safety.

“Victoria would you like to be a part of this pack?” he questioned quietly. Sam and the other hounds around him exploded in outrage and disbelief. He silenced them with a sharp look and turned back to me, waiting for my answer.

“Su-Sure,” I replied, stumbling over my answer. I had encountered lots of hellhound packs in my travels, but none had ever asked me to be a part of their pack. It was unheard of for an alpha to invite someone into his pack. Especially one as young as me. I was of no use to the pack, and yet they had taken me in, however unwillingly.

Ian smiled at me genuinely. “I apologize Victoria, but I must go take care of some pack business. I will leave you in the capable hands of Sam for now, and when I get back I’ll give you a tour.” He left the room along with two of the burly men who seemed to be the muscle of the pack.

Once Sam was positive that Ian was gone from the house, she crossed the room in a huff. She grabbed my arm and yanked, dislocating my shoulder. I cried out in pain, gasping as she turned my arm, studying my strange new markings. My hellhound form snarled inside of me, annoyed at being man-handled. But I kept it inside of my throat and smacked her hand away from my arm.

“You little b****! I’ll teach your place, even if Ian won’t!” she screamed. She slapped me, digging her nails into my skin as she did. But I refused to give her the satisfaction of seeing my pain again, so I swallowed my scream and smiled up at her. She beat her fists into my stomach, but I still did nothing but grunt slightly with each hit. Finally, she turned on her heel abruptly and stormed out of the room.

I collapsed on the floor, coughing and dry heaving. I whimpered and popped my shoulder back into place. The recliner in the corner of the room beckoned me, and I was too weak to resist the call. Sinking down into its fluffy leather, I sighed and shifted my weight as best as I could to avoid further injury to my shoulder.

“I just don’t understand how they can be so ignorant. There is so much work to be done…” Ian’s voice floated to me from the hallway. I stood awkwardly, groaning inwardly at the pain it caused me, as he and the two men strode into the room. “Victoria, how was your time with Sam? I hope she treated you well. And now that I’m free, how about that tour?”

“Um, sure. I’m not doing anything,” I laughed nervously. Ian took my hand in his and led me around the house, stopping only to show me my room. It wasn’t a big enough house for everyone to have their own rooms, but luckily I only had to share with one other person, Amanda. Sam explained to me that she was older by about twenty years, so he hoped she would become more of a mother to me than a mandatory roommate. I smiled and thanked him for all of his kindness as he took me around the outside of the house.

The forest that surrounded the house seemed to go on for forever. It awoke the hound in me who longed to run freely, dodging around the trees and preying on the helpless woodland creatures. The change began to envelop me, and I fought hard to push it back down.

“Victoria, you can do it. Fight it, if you don’t you definitely won’t survive the change. Just focus, breathe, and calm down. It’ll be ok,” Ian shook me gently, and finally my hound surrendered and I was able to calm myself down. He guided me back into the house and I shuddered. Suddenly the walls around me began to spin. I blinked, but the stars that danced across my vision didn’t leave. I collapsed into Ian’s arms and he carried me into my new room, placing me gently onto my bed. My world lost all color, and an almost familiar darkness surrounded me. I gratefully allowed it to.

Fast-forward 6 years to where my story began to take a turn for interesting. I’ll start on the day when I received the news that would ultimately kill me.

I awoke from my nightmare in a cold sweat. The room around me spun for a minute before returning to normal. I sighed and Amanda, whom had become a sort of replacement mother to me, placed her hand on my shoulder. I smiled at her, allowing myself to be pulled into her arms for a hug. “You’re in a good mood this morning Amanda. Feeling up to making breakfast today?” I asked jokingly, knowing if she cooked anything it would end up charred and inedible. She laughed and ordered me to take a shower and start breakfast before the guys got up.

While my hound form didn’t enjoy being told what to do, it took it in stride. After all, even though Amanda wasn’t my alpha, she had just as much say in what I did as the alpha. I trudged to the bathroom, shaking off the last bits of the nightmare. I turned the water on, keeping it at a freezing temperature to try and wake myself up.

The water beat down on me, clearing my thoughts and restoring my normal morning rhythm. I finished washing the remains of the nightmare off of my skin and shut the water off. Quickly I combed my fingers through my wild, curly hair and dressed in my normal hunting outfit which consisted of a white tee and tight jeans.
As I began to hear the sounds of the guys waking up, I rushed down the stairs and attempted to make a decent breakfast for the nine of us. It consisted of pancakes that were only slightly burned and almost raw meat. Any hellhound’s favorite meal, give or take the pancakes.
One by one, they all filed down the stairs. Most stopped at the base of the stairs, sniffing the air. Sam didn’t even bother to look at me once we all sat at the table, stuffing out faces with a breakfast created to feed at least twenty people. The others were friendly, or as friendly as they could be this early in the morning. They had long since accepted me into their pack, abandoning all hatred and discomfort for me. Sam however was still as hostile as ever, and we still tend to get into brawls a lot. More often than not I’m the one who comes out the worst for wear, and my nights are spent with Amanda doing her best to heal at least some of my wounds.
“Victoria! Jeez what’s with you this morning?” I snap back into the present when Erik calls me out. I mumble for him to repeat what he had been saying, and he laughs at me before continuing, “I said do you know why Ian made us get up so early for this meeting? I mean why not have it at, oh I don’t know, like noon?”
Before I even have the chance to reply, Ian answers in his gruff, no nonsense tone. “Because he is the leader and he has some important issues to deal with that need to be sorted out, now.” I turn, not realizing he had walked into the room. We all bow our heads slightly, a sign of respect for our alpha. Sam grins and passes him a plate of food, claiming it as her own work. I don’t say anything then, but later that night I promise myself she will pay for the action.
“As you all know, our, ahem, mating attempts have not gone as well as we previously hoped. So, this year when breeding season comes around, I will be joining. But as pack leader law states, I can only have one mate. For the rest of you, I know of certain matches that have been made prior to this announcement, and I assure you these will not be affected, but the Higher Pack wishes us to come together with the other local hellhound pack for this season. I will only mate with hellhounds of this pack, but since our numbers have been drastically declining, I am forced to tell you we will soon leave for the middle ground that was decided upon,” Ian spoke calmly and slowly, as if we were all small children who wouldn’t understand unless it was dumbed down for us. As if we all didn’t know what this meant.
Of all the years I had been in the pack, I had never seen the pack in this much distress. We all knew that this, while maybe it wasn’t the original intention, would be the doom of our pack. Amanda put a protective arm around me, as if refusing to allow me to participate. In truth, this would be my first mating season, but I shrugged off her arm to show I wasn’t afraid. Something in my mind had clicked, telling me this wasn’t the time to fight this decision. There would come a time, there always did.
“To answer your question Erik, I gathered you all here this early in the morning so we could run together. I’ve found that this always clears my mind and allows me to make good decisions, so you all will be joining me this morning,” Ian ordered, not that he had to. At the mention of a run, all of our muscles tensed, preparing.
I left the room first, sprinting outside and changing into my hound form without waiting for the others. They were outside with me soon enough, changing into their hound forms and nipping at my ankles telling me I had done wrong, but it wasn’t that serious of an offense. Ian led us, his black fur blending into the shadows. I was always close at his hells, urging my body to continue to run even when my paws screamed at me to stop. Finally we reached the clearing where we normally end up. Ian and the others stopped, but I continued to run, reaching a small pond. I slowed to a trot, then finally a walk as I settled beside it. I gazed down at my reflection in the calm waters.
My fur was a light tan color, with a faded grey tip on my tail. I was twice the size of a normal dog, broad, and yet skinny compared to the rest of my pack. Half of my ear was missing from a confrontation I had gotten myself in before I met the pack. Scars ran down my flank, the only thing that lasted of the day I first met Sam. But the most striking of my hound features were the tattoo like markings that covered my forehead. The red and white markings resembled a circle with a spearhead or the tip of an arrow piercing it. They were the only colored markings I had, the ones in my human form being a faded pinkish color that resembled skin tone. The white reached its way down to my snout where it abruptly ended. My eyes were a piercing teal that seemed to grow brighter the longer you looked at them.
I lapped up some water, quenching a thirst I didn’t realize I had. When I finally trotted back to where my pack stood, Sam and Ian alike glared at me. I’d be getting it when I returned home, but for now I enjoyed the feel of the wind in my fur and the comfort the woods gave me. Ian nodded to the rest of us, his orange eyes resting on mine before we departed. I stayed to the back of the pack this time, hoping to go unnoticed for once.
Suddenly, my markings were aflame, literally. I shifted into my human form quickly, hoping to avoid extensive damage to my true form. It seemed to work until my human form was set ablaze as well. It wasn’t as if the fire took over my body, it only followed the tracings of my “tattoos.” I rolled on the ground, screaming as I watched my skin bubble and blister. Amanda stopped me, and I sighed in relief, glad to not be on fire.
She asked quietly if I could go on, and I nodded, wanting to sow my strength. But it wasn’t long until I had to stop again. This time however I didn’t get back up. The chains snaked their way out of the pentacle, traveling not to their normal spot on my arms, but to my neck. Once there, they wrapped around each other and then tightened. The product was that of a dog being choked by a dog collar three sizes too small. I gasped for air, clawing at my neck as if I could tear the chains from my neck. Instead, the chains became tighter and I finally passed out from lack of oxygen.

“Victoria? Come on Victoria, get up. I can’t carry you any more,” a gruff voice awakened me, and I groaned. The pain ebbed around my neck and traced my spine to the pentacle. I looked up only to find that I was being carried by Justin, Amanda’s mate. I smiled and he set me down gently on the ground.
I surveyed my surroundings. We were in the front of the house in the driveway. Everyone seemed to be packing up their stuff into our three vans besides Amanda and Justin. Amanda came out from behind Justin, trying to act happy even as she wiped tears from her eyes. “We are leaving?” I asked, but I knew the answer. For some reason, I wanted Amanda to admit it to me instead of faking strength.
“Yes, honey. Ian told us to stay here to guard our territory while you are gone. Come here, sweety,” she said, opening her arms for a hug. I embraced her and buried my face in her hair, not wanting her to see me cry. I could feel her do the same, and then Justin was separating us gently urging us to say our goodbyes so I could pack up and head out with the others.
I blinked the tears out of my eyes and gave Amanda a lame salute. She chuckled softly and saluted me back. I turned and packed up my stuff into a van, silently thanking Amanda for packing my things. I climbed into the van, squeezing in between Erik and his older brother Clayton. Ian started the car and backed out of the driveway. I gazed out the window in time to see Justin and Amanda wave goodbye to me, and I waved back quietly whispering my goodbye.
“Hey Victoria. You know what this trip is about right?” Erik joked.
“Of course I do you big lug! Why? Planning on getting busy with the girls from this other pack?” I snapped, causing Ian to give me a very stern look from the mirror. “Sorry Erik, just kind of on edge.”
“No problem, hon. I think we all are right now. But just so you know, I would never get busy with those girls when I’m already head over heels for you.”
“I think I might have to fight you for this one, Erik,” Clayton teased. And if that didn’t get them both laughing, my blush that spread ear to ear did. Surprisingly, Clayton suddenly became very serious, reassuring me that he would protect me from the males from the other pack. Ian nodded his head in silent agreement.
“Am I really going to be that big of a spectacle? Is it because of these?” I asked, pointing to my tattoos. Clayton and Erik hushed and stared out the window. Ian refused to speak. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
They were quiet the rest of the ride; Clayton continued to stare out the window and Erik eventually fell asleep. But unfortunately sleep evaded me. I thought only of Amanda and Justin, praying that their time at the house would be boring and uneventful. Ian occasionally broke my thoughts with attempts at small talk, but I ignored him and answered him only when he forced me to.
At last we reached the predetermined middle ground, amazed to find the other pack had already settled in and were awaiting our vans anxiously. Most were in their human forms, but some greeted us in their hound forms; their haunches raised and their tails twitching with annoyance. I pushed back a growl and gathered my things from the trunk. A broad man boldly darted forward and grabbed them from me, but not before he evaluated me from head to toe. His eyes lingered for too long at my breasts and I bit back a snarl.
“You can room with me if you want, sweet thing. Maybe you can let me see if there are any more of those fancy markings some time,” he taunted, clearly believing that I would just fawn over him and allow him to do anything he wanted. But when his hand brushed along my collarbone, I snapped. I snarled at him and could feel my hound form fighting to be free. Still, I pushed it down and yanked my bags from the man. Clayton and Erik flanked me, pushing the male back with their snarls and growls.
“Enough. Clayton, Erik come with me. Victoria, it would be in your best interest to follow as well. However if you would like to stay and… integrate yourself with the pack, be my guest,” Ian commanded. Clayton and Erik held their ground for a moment, but with a final warning growl they retreated. I joined them, ignoring the fact that the man decided to accompany us. His breath was hot on the back of my neck, thick with the smell of alcohol.

We reached the cabins, which were surprisingly large and lavish. There seemed to be enough for all of us to have our own as well. My heart dropped unexpectedly at that fact. I guess I was so used to sharing my room with Amanda that now that I was alone I would miss being able to confide in her about everything. Ian led me to my room and promised to return soon. I didn’t doubt it.

Quietly and efficiently I unpacked my belongings, attempting to make this place seem like home. My attempts failed miserably. I sighed and collapsed on the bed, waiting for Ian and wishing for Amanda. He entered without me knowing, and when I felt his weight on the edge on the bed I glanced up at him. His eyes met mine and regarded me with a deep sorrow.

My brow furrowed. I wanted him to see me as strong and independent, as a good member of the pack. So I straightened up on the bed, allowing him a bigger spot next to me.

“Victoria, I never wanted this. I’m sorry. The Higher Pack didn’t give me a choice. It was this or we sacrificed our territory. And I can’t help but think that this is only a ploy to gain our territory since it is so far away from the wary eye of the humans. That is the only reason I left Amanda and Justin alone. But don’t worry, they can hold their own. I promise nothing will happen to them while we’re gone. If anything, I’m worried about you,” he said as he settled into the spot next to me.

I chuckled under my breath. “Little old me? Don’t worry about me; I’ll be fine on my own. I think I more than proved that against that man today. I didn’t even need the help of Clayton and Erik; they were more like backup.”

Ian brushed my hair out of my face gently. “Oh, Victoria. You’ve always been so tough. I hate how he looked at you though, with curiosity and lust. I want you to stick with a member of our pack at all times, as long as it’s not Sam. This is your first mating season, and I don’t want you to do something you’ll regret in the heat of the moment.” I protested, but he silenced me. “You don’t know the force of your first heat yet. You’ll find out soon enough, but until then please heed my advice. I’ve got to go sort things out with the other pack leader, and dinner will be served soon. I’ll send Erik to collect you soon. Just do me a favor ok? Be careful out there.”

With that, he left the room. True to his word, Erik arrived at my cabin shortly after he left. I resisted slightly, but eventually I succumbed to the growling of my stomach and followed Erik to the dining area. My pack stood huddled around a huge deer carcass, already in their hound forms. Gratefully, I joined them. I pawed at the meat a little bit before digging in like the others. It wasn’t long before the carcass was cleaned to the bone and we lounged around it licking our paws clean.

Erik’s hound form beside me tensed. A male wolf from the other pack had crossed into our area and was now approaching me stealthily. I recognized him as one of the ones who had greeted us in their hound forms originally. I stood, closing the distance between the invading wolf and I before he had the opportunity to. Erik trudged beside me, obviously not wanting to accept my plan.

The wolf rubbed against my flank, burying his head in my scruff. I playfully bit him. He turned on me, biting my scruff. I hung limp against his teeth, pretending to surrender to him. He let go of my scruff and I took my opportunity. MY claws retracted and I scratched his flank. He roared in pain and I struck out again, this time biting and clawing at his face. He yelped and retreated, tail tucked between his legs.

Erik grinned at me in his foolish wolfy way. I licked his face, thanking him for letting me do what I had to do to establish my dominance in this newly formed pack. Together, we changed back into our human forms. I thanked the lord that the human myths weren’t true and that we changed back with our clothes on. Erik walked me to his room, and soon we were joined by the men of the pack.

Clayton greeted me with a high five. “Way to go girl! I always knew you had it in you!” he exclaimed. The others grunted their agreements. “But I bet you’re still not tough enough to beat me.”

My wolf leaped inside of me at the challenge. Clayton and Erik cleared an area for us to wrestle while the others gathered around us. We circled each other, sizing up each other’s weaknesses. I darted in and out at him, landing blows wherever I went. He would occasionally catch me, but his hits were weak and would only leave minor bruises. After some time, I bored of the game and form tackled him. He grunted and rolled to take most of the damage on himself, saving me from a nasty face plant. Giggling, I twisted off of him and went to stand when he grabbed my leg, pulling me down again. I fake screamed, allowing him to drag me close to him.

We panted heavily, each exhausted from the battle. Erik lay on the floor with us and even after the others left, we stayed like that, cuddling against each other on the cold wood floor. I fell asleep to their rhythmic heartbeats, appreciative to have the company of my pack as I chased the nightmares away.

The author's comments:
Sorry it's so short

I yawned and stretched, bathed in midmorning sunlight that shone through the window. I blinked and rubbed my eyes, hardly surprised at the emptiness in the spaces between me. Erik and Clayton must have gotten up long before me, since I had the tendency to oversleep. Noises from outside of the house confirmed my suspicions.

I got up off the floor and walked lazily over to the door. Opening it wide, I was greeted by a flare of light whizzing by my head. My instincts took over instantly. I dodged another flare as it hit the wall right where my head had been. Leaping, I flew over the stairs that led to the ground and took off running, heading to the vast forest.

My breath caught in my throat, but I kept running. My assailants followed behind me. Their loud footsteps seemed to catch on every stray leaf and branch, making my job all the easier. I circled back around undetected and watched as utter chaos ensued.

My group of assailants was nothing more than the female members of the other pack, plus Sam. Somehow that didn’t surprise me at all. Sam started screaming at them to catch me before I escaped them forever. One female didn’t take to being ordered around and changed into her hound form. She stalked Sam, pushing her back into a tree. But Sam refused to back down and promptly set her back into her place, slashing at her with what looked to be a butcher’s knife.

I emerged from the shadows, eager to show Sam that she was not the boss of me. The women took one look at me and ganged together, simultaneously changing into their hound forms before me. I did the same as I leaped back from them, landing gracefully on my paws.

The hatred in their gazes wasn’t lost to my eyes. They stalked me as they would game, pushing me back into the deep forest. I snarled, baring my fangs. A small red hound, looking more like a fox than a ferocious hellhound, nipped at my flank as a larger one tore her claws into me. I suppressed a yelp and tore a chunk of fur and flesh from the larger one. Grasping onto the smaller one, I shook her until her body was a bloody mess and then tossed her limp body away.

Sam’s burly form came into my view. I plowed through the crowd of hellhounds until I stood before her, my lips pulled back and a threatening growl emerging from deep in my stomach. She smirked at me. Come and get me, honey. I dare you to. Her voice glided into my head, taunting me. I lunged at her, waiting for my perfect opportunity. Dancing back from her, I spotted it and took full advantage. She had left her flank wide open and I faked a bite to it. She whirled and I took her scruff in my teeth. I tasted the coppery flavor of blood, hot and thick in my mouth.

I dropped her and changed back into my human form. Sam did the same, sparing her wolf’s life. She lay crumpled on the ground beneath me. Laughing, I kicked her before turning to the rest of the group. “Anyone else want to try? Be my guest, I’m all for fighting today,” I sneered. Suddenly, unanimously, they bowed their heads to me, acknowledging me as superior. Inclining my head as if to accept their decision, I calmly strode away from the forest and back to my house. It was cold and damp, but I detected an odd heat.

“I thought you’d never return. What you don’t recognize me? I guess I shouldn’t expect anything more from a tease like you,” A man stepped out from the shadows. I immediately sized him up, not wanting to take any chances. He was a strong and burly man. He probably stood about a foot or so above me. I decided I didn’t like my chances against him and tried to talk my way out of the situation.

“I’m terribly sorry about that,” I said. I hoped that he didn’t detect the sarcasm in my voice. “I just needed to establish my dominance. You know how it is,” Smiling, I pushed by him to get to the mini fridge that sat in the corner of my room. I grabbed a piece of meat, slicing into it with my canines before returning to him. “Oh, I’m sorry. Do you want some?”

“Stop this foolishness. I think you know why I’m here,” he snapped. He slammed me against a wall, his lips furiously kissing mine. I squirmed and fought back against him, but his hand pinned my arms behind me and he winked at me. I kicked him in the stomach. When he bent over in pain, I kneed him in the head and sprinted away from the house. My wolf form took over me, and I instinctively ran for the cover of the trees. I found a huge tree and climbed, my claws giving me the grace of a predatory cat.

Once I found a sturdy branch, I settled down. It was high in the tree so it would hide me from anyone who tried to come back for me. And sure enough, soon after I had settled down in the tree I heard his voice. “Come on out, sweety. You know I won’t hurt you if you just do what I ask you to. Hiding from me is only prolonging the inevitable. Where are you?” he called out to me.

I heard another hound come out from behind him. “This is my best tracker, Ellie. She will find you, just you wait,” he said, lounging against a rock as he waited. Ellie put her nose to the ground, sniffing hesitantly. Following the trail, she stopped at the tree I climbed. I gazed down at her, silently wishing she would remember what happened earlier and not rat me out. She seemed to stare directly at me, her eyes piercing my hiding place and locking in on mine. She barked.

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