The Resurrection! I’m finally back and at it again with yet another bit from the still untitled paranormal shapeshifter romance. This time Sadie and Markus think they have the snitch cornered… let’s hope they can handle what happens.
TUESDAY TALES – Be sure to check out all of the other wonderful stories this week!
Pretend to be looking for birds.
Sadie tipped her chin up and slowed her pace. She played well at distracted, even though she was anything but. Beside her, Markus was a mass of nervous, roiling energy. She could feel every muscle in his body coiled tight, ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.
The sound of the waterfall was still deafening, even from the icy, snow-packed gravel leading toward the trees. The dark sky still threatened to drop its load. Sadie hoped it would hold off for the time being. The crackling of leaves and twigs echoed through the trees again. She watched for any sign of wildlife rising from the tiny forest, but saw nothing.
They’re here. She looked up at him to see if he’d heard her.
I know. Let’s go.
With his arm still seated firmly around her shoulders, they moved out of the open and into the cover of the trees. Their thick trunks helped to dull the noise of the river…
…just in time to hear the barking cry of a coyote.
What happened next took less than a minute, but when the dart came screaming through the trees, the world around Sadie slowed down. Markus’ hands clutched at Sadie’s arms and she found herself hurled backwards, shoved behind him while he leapt to avoid the weapon. She landed with a hard thump in the wet snow, her back hitting a tree hard enough to rattle her teeth. The dart gouged deep into the wood above her head, and she glanced up at it with a glazed, distant stare.
The patch of forest erupted in a burst of sounds and movement – snarling, snapping, canine jaws, howls and birds’ cries, flapping wings and shredding clothing, all of it a muddled mess before her eyes. The owner of that original cry appeared, zipping between the trees with lightning-fast reflexes, the mangy animal’s strong jaws closing around the ankle of the only animal she recognized – the large timber wolf. Pain exploded along the nerves in her leg, causing her whole body to go rigid as she clutched at the muscle. When Sadie looked down, she expected to find her hands covered in blood, but there was nothing. Just the pain.
The wolf gave a screeching howl and turned, catching the coyote by the base of its tail and flinging it hard against a nearby tree. The crackle and crunch of bone cut off a tiny, muted cry of pain, and the animal fell dead into the snow.
While she watched the furry body turn human again, the rest of the skirmish came to an end, wardens and council members alike shifting back to human form as they held down a vaguely familiar, dark-pelted wolf. She picked up a few snarls and growls of disapproval, but she couldn’t be overly concerned with their captive’s identity…she was still too busy experiencing the excruciating pain of the coyote’s bite against Markus’ leg. When everyone else had shifted back to human form, he remained as a wolf, dragging his big tongue across the wound and clearing away the blood.
She watched in horrified awe as he nursed the wound, watching it close a bit more with each broad, salivated stroke. She could almost feel it brushing across her own skin. It was oddly intimate, sensing his feelings in the middle of this chaos. She couldn’t focus on what was happening around them, she was so locked into his emotions. It took Evan’s hands on her shoulders to break the spell and jerk her back to the real world.
“Sadie,” he said, pinning her with a hard, knowing stare, “what are we to do with him?”
“Who?” she asked, still a bit dumbfounded by the mixture of pain and amazement.
“The hunter,” he replied, voice flat and accusatory. “It’s worse than we thought, you know.”
Still staring over Evan’s shoulder, she watched as Markus shifted back to human form, his leg still covered in angry, red marks and streaks of blood. At least the pain was starting to fade. With that particular bit of discomfort disappearing, Sadie focused her attention on Evan. “How is it worse?”
“One is dead…the other… the other is one of ours.”