My Tease: Here's a little bite for those who want to read it.
He was right about the paralysis. It only took a few minutes for me to regain the full movement of my limbs and push to a sitting position. Under me lay a large animal skin I guessed to be bear. I ran my fingers through the long dark fur, enjoying the way the warmth of the fire soaked to the depths of it and took away the chill coming from the cold earth below. I rubbed my eyes and gathered my hair to one side to brush away a few remnants from my encounter with Octavion, littering the legs of my jeans with bits and pieces of the forest floor as I swept them from the tangled mess.
A slight evening breeze shifted, sending a puff of smoke into my face. I pulled the neck of my t-shirt over my nose, then let it fall again when the air cleared and I could breathe deeply. I blinked hard to keep the remaining haze from burning my eyes. Unfortunately, it did nothing to help snuff out the questions that smoldered inside my head.
How could I have known
As the questions continued to plaque me, a log shifted within the pit, sending sparks in my direction. I quickly jumped to my feet, shook out my hair and brushed my hands down the front of my clothes to make sure stray embers hadn’t burrowed through to singe my skin. My sudden movement triggered something in the trees to stir as well. I stepped to the other side of the fire, putting the flames between me and whatever had made the noise. I reached down and took a large branch in my hand to use as a weapon, but nothing came. Instead there was just silence and an uneasy feeling I was being watched.
I looked over my shoulder in the direction Octavion had gone and seriously considered following, but the uncertainty of what I would find or what would be chasing me kept my feet in place—at least for the moment. My plans changed when I heard
Another muffled scream drew me deeper into the forest, this time squinting to find my way. I hadn’t gone far when I came to a large outcropping of rocks and boulders jutting out from the side of the mountain. It was barely visible; the drastic contrast of the cold grey stone against the night was my only beacon. I ran my hand along its smooth surface as I made my way around the formation—each jagged crevice marking my progress and increasing my pulse.
Another cry rang out—followed by the painful moans of my friend. I was close. I was certain a few more steps would bring me to her aid, but the sudden snap of a twig tainted my plan. As I slowly turned, keeping my back pressed firmly against the solid stone wall, I could hear something growl just beyond the trees. I tightened my grip around my flimsy weapon, grateful I hadn’t left it by the fire. As my eyes finally set on my pursuer, I was taken aback. Standing not ten feet in front of me was a white
The beast stepped closer as another long deep growl vibrated through the ground and into my chest. His piercing blue eyes locked on mine, hypnotizing me with fear. Another step brought him within arms reach; I put my branch out between us. He reacted by jerking his head to the side and letting out another roar. My branch gave him no fear, only increased his anger. I lowered it. One more step and I could feel the warmth of his breath on my face. When he peeled back his upper lip in a snarl, I leaned my head back against the rock and turned away. I knew he could sense my fear, but I couldn’t run. I couldn’t move.