20. Getting away

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It pounced…but so did another one…from behind me, and I was knocked into the wall. The two wolves met mid-air in a frenzy of animalistic snarls and roars, reminding me of a pair of lions I’d seen fighting on a recent wildlife programme. Viciously they fought, clawing, biting, flinging each other against the walls, and falling roughly to the floor, before springing back up to pounce again. Fur was ripped out and brutal, bloody gashes ripped across their bodies.

I came to my senses and ran. I’ve never been one for running, but I ran for my life, then, not stopping until I reached the sanctity of the cave, where I collapsed on the floor, sobbing but grateful to be alive.

I don’t remember how long I sat there with tears of relief streaming down my cheeks. Time seemed to stop as I relived the experience repeatedly in my mind, until I even believed that I could hear the werewolves’ growls approaching again. Except the sound was a little too real, and a little too loud, to be in my imagination.

Crap. I hadn’t padlocked the gate. Was it too late? Finding the strength to rise to my feet, I crept over to where the gate came into view, and it wasn’t the only thing I saw. A shape gradually materialised and revealed itself.

Weakened from the fight and badly injured, the werewolf stumbled awkwardly towards the newly closed gate and clung to the rails. I held my breath and watched as it slid down to the ground and began to transform. Height shrank, claws withdrew, fur receded, and a face was gradually revealed, a familiar face, a pained face, Connor’s face.

“Oh my God. Connor?” I cried, summoning the energy to unlock the gate and drop to his side. “Let me help you. You have to move. You need to come a little further.”

I helped him drag his broken body past the boundary of the gate and secured it again behind us.

“It was you? You saved my life. I can’t believe you did that for me. I…well I…I’ve so many questions.” I scanned his bruised and bloody body. “But they can wait. We need to get you inside.”

“I don’t know how many times you want me to apologise. I know I was stupid. You’ve hammered that home quite convincingly.” I was amazed how easily angry words had spouted from the feeble body now recovering in the comfort of his room. “Although, I wouldn’t have had to risk it if you’d have come with me from the beginning.”

“Yeah, well now you know why I didn’t want you to go. You could have been killed.” He thumped the sheets with frustration.

“You’ve said that…about fifty times.”

“And I’d say it another fifty, if I thought you’d listen.”

“You worry too much.”

“That’s why you’re still alive. What were you thinking?”

“I thought I could help,” I said, as I dabbed antiseptic onto his wounded neck.

“You thought wrong…aargh, that stings.” He grabbed my hand. “Give it a rest.”

I shook his hold away, screwed the lid back onto the antiseptic, and placed the bottle on the table. “I don’t understand what happened, or should I say what didn’t happen? Why I was…well why I was…just human? I think I’ve lost my powers.”

He shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t think so. I’d offer to let you test them on me, but Seb would rip my throat out if I tired you for something so trivial. Maybe it’s like when we first change, unstable, you know. Give it time.”

I fussed with the sheet. A need to keep busy somehow eased the guilt. Connor groaned and snatched my wrist.

“Do ya think you could stop petting me for one moment? I’ll heal soon enough without all the attention. Unless you’re using it as an excuse to touch me, in which case, please, carry on.”

His stare was intense, with a mere hint of a cheeky glint in his eye that churned my insides. I left him alone.

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