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Nerina was coming close to the village again when she smelt it. It was not human but nothing like she had never smelt before. She followed the scent as it went in circles around the village and collided with other scents like it. It all happened so fast Nerina reacted without thought.

As one howl broke out another one followed until the chorus had her and the village surrounded. Werewolves. She had heard about them but had never encountered them and was happy that she had not. Now she had stepped, head first, into what must have been a pack of her natural enemies. They would kill her on sight. With little time to think, she closed the short distance between her and the village at preternatural speed.

Nerina could hear the wolves descending on the village. Descending on her. In the middle of the street, she stood trying to quiet and stamp her panic down. Nerina went deathly still when she felt eyes watching her from a nearby roof. How likely was it that she could make a mad dash now and survive? This was far past being just a bad idea. At preternatural speed, she ran off.

The next thing Nerina knew, her body was flying through the air. Unable to catch her balance she landed hard on her side her breath coming out in a whoosh. Her head throbbed where it hit the ground, her shoulder ached and she knew it was fractured. The monstrous bulk of muscles and fur stood over her lips pulled back over its teeth. She tried to move backwards but the pain had her going still. A shadow loomed over her head and Nerina was sure she was going to die a horrible death.

***

Dmitri paced the campsite looking out towards the woods where Nerina had left. He wanted to go after her but knew it would have been futile. A snapping branch had Dmitri looking behind him. He dismissed it as a wild animal, going back to his pacing after a long time of watching. Nothing else moved... though something else watched. There was no other sound. No animal would come close to the camp while the fire was going. On the other hand, none that he expected.

***

Nerina spat out the blood her head spinning. Making a break for it had not worked. Running towards danger instead of away from it had not been a good idea. She was up against five very mean, very burly, toothy monstrosities. She had more scratches than they did. More breaks than she could land.

"I'll leave and we'll forget any of this ever happened," she said, getting to her feet holding on to her right side. Nerina was sure her rib was cracked.

They growled in unison the sides of their mouths lifting. Some teeth stained with her blood.

"Fine. I don't intend to die tonight."

A gunshot rang out and one of the werewolves dropped with a gaping hole in the back of his head. The force of the bullet left Nerina covered in blood and she was sure brains. She took advantage of the momentary distraction breaking the neck of the next closest to her. Gunshots rang out again one missing the side of her face by barely a hair. Whoever was shooting thought her a target too. She kept moving fast her body a blur. They could not shoot what they could not see. At the end of it, four werewolves lay dead, two by her hands. The other two by the gun-wielding vigilantes she did not intend to get too close to. She and one of the men had wounded the last werewolf.

She assumed they were men though women could be wielding guns with just the same amount of skill. Either way, it was of no interest to her. With four werewolves dead and one on the run, Nerina bid her leave to lick her own wounds. The smell of burning flesh followed her as she put distance between herself and the village.

With the injuries, she had sustained she had to feed. By the time she had hunted, it was closing in on dawn. She went to ground knowing that there would be a trail for her to follow at nightfall.

Nightfall came and she headed back to the old campsite to pick up the trail Dmitri would have left for her in the morning. Less than half a mile off, she smelt it. It was faint but she knew it was blood. Human blood. The scent was close. The campsite. Nerina stopped. It was not that she wanted to stop but she had gone numb. Everything slowed down, collided and went still.

"No." It was but a whisper.

She made it to the camp coming to a halt at the edge of the trees. The smell made her dizzy. She knew what had happened. Who had done it. Nerina dropped to her knees stricken with grief at the familiar sight. She staggered to her feet forcing one foot to follow the other as she approached the carnage. She had to cover her mouth to hold in her scream at the bloody sight of the lifeless bodies. Frail flesh was broken, torn. She held herself across the stomach almost doubling over as the sickness set in. Their eyes were open, frozen in fear, and Nerina felt their silent accusations.

We trusted you.

You betrayed us.

You killed us

Blood red tears streamed unchecked down her face as she tried to stay on her feet. Her heart was splintering. It was happening all over again. She had caused this. Why had she not left sooner?

There had been a fight. A futile one but Bogdan and his sons had tried to defend their family against certain death. However, there was one missing. Dmitri. Nerina looked around the macabre scene until she found him throat torn. Her legs gave out as she dropped to her knees weeping now, screaming, and digging her fingers into the ground afraid to touch him. She had caused this. Her love for him had been his death. The death of his family. Eve had found her and left a clear message behind. A sadistic taunt.

Nerina felt so broken. The wound deep. If Eve were close by watching, she would be smiling. Enjoying her never-ending ability to cause Nerina pain. The last thing she had said to him was that she would rip him to bits before he could stake her. Their last exchange had been one of anger. She would never be able to take it all back. Now he and his family lay in tatters and she had caused it in the end.

It killed her.

He was dead.

His family was dead.

And all she could do was crawl away from their bodies, running away and leaving them to the wolves.



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Author's Note:

This is the beginning of the revised version of Nerina. She is the longest running character that I have had to date and considering the success of my other series Shadow Wolf; I thought she needed a makeover. New cover and a new perspective.

Looking forward to hearing what you think. Click the little star if you enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.







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