Chapter Thirteen

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The dark swamp billowed around me, each branch seeming to be a hand reaching out to grab me. The dark ground held its own secrets, stones, roots, and all sorts of other anomalies lying in wait, ready to hold me down as bait for the werewolf. Breath streamed from my nostrils, my eyes wide while I tried to make my escape as silently as possible.

I couldn't run with my damn, stupid leg! The sounds of Tommy wrestling with the wolf back at the cabin reached my ears, faint. Should I have left him alone? How was I going to get away if I couldn't even flipping run?!

Stumbling over tree roots, I went as fast as I could, dragging my broken leg behind me and ignoring the pain it delivered. Something told me that being caught by the werewolf would hurt worse than a twinge in one of my limbs.

What did the wolf want with me, after all? I wasn't part of the pack; I couldn't change. All of the thoughts of what he might have in store ripped through my mind, spurring me on faster. If the wolf really could remember everything he did and had tried to change me in his human form, there was no telling what he would do to me if he caught me.

"Always watch your back, Bridge," Mom said. It was almost a weekly conversation at our house, daily even during Mardi Gras. "There are people out there who would hurt you just for the fun of it. Not everyone is as good and sweet as you are."

Stomach turning at her words, I stopped, shoving myself into a small space between two trees. Listening hard, I tried to hear if the fight was still going on behind me, but there was nothing but the wind in the trees.

Please be okay, Tommy. He would be fine, I was sure. Was I? I didn't have time to decide in that moment.

The wolf howled again, closer than it should have been. Panicked, I tripped out into the open space, trying to run faster than before. I couldn't see where I was going, my hair whipping into my face, and I fell completely, sliding through the dirt. Struggling, I got back on my feet and ran more, my chest heaving from effort.

Memories of my first zombie specific class came to mind as I fled, filling me with even more panic.

"You are already dead," the teacher said, not sugar coating it at all. "But that doesn't mean you can't be gotten rid of completely. Protect your body; should anything happen to it that would destroy it, you will be lost as well." If I were to be caught and eaten, I would cease to exist. No more Bridge.

No more Tommy.

The growls of the beast were right behind me now, closing in one heavy footstep at a time. In my mind, I felt his breath on my neck, his teeth reaching out to snap around it. If I could push myself just a little faster . . .

Tripping again, I sprawled across the ground, my head bouncing off a rock, the wind knocked from me. The bone in my leg was sticking out at an odd angle now, pointing up into the sky. Rolling over, I moaned, my vision swimming slightly. There was a puncture from the stone I'd hit, right where the back of my skull met my spine. Feeling it gingerly, I winced, both from the gelatinous feeling of my blood and the headache that was swiftly blackening my vision. The ground was hidden behind the feet of the wolf, stopping as he came upon me at last.

"Oh, shit," I groaned, dropping my head into the dirt and succumbing to the darkness that waited to claim me.


My entire body hurt. No, that wasn't as accurate as what I was feeling. My entire body, my spirit, my ancestor's bodies and spirits, and the bodies of anyone I'd ever met all hurt like nobody's business. It was like I had been designated as the person that got to feel everyone's pain and suffering. On top of that, I was blind; the sun was shining right in my eyes, making them water as I furiously tried to blink through the tears.

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