chapter 5

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I trip over my feet as I stare into the eyes of the four-legged figure. Backing away I cry out, “Konner! A coyote!” I don’t care if anybody hears me.

The gray animal bares its teeth at me, a growl ripping through its already blood splattered lips. My breathing quickens. Fright pours throughout my body causing my hands to tremble. In one last attempt, with all the volume I can muster, I whisper, “Blake?”

“Karleigh, do not move.” Konner’s voice sneaks up behind me. “You have to calm down. I know what to do but I have to use your power. Because you are so tense, I can’t reach your energy source. So Karleigh, please just calm… down.” He places a soothing hand on my shoulder.

A few breaths later, I start to feel myself settle down.

All the while, the vicious animal never loses eye contact with me. In those sharp, metallic eyes, I see hunger; a predator ready to attack its feeble prey.

Konner lifts his hands off of me. Out of the corner of my eye I see him position himself next to me with his palms up in front of his chest. “Okay, keep watching it. Its only focus is on you, so keep it distracted.” Konner glances between the coyote and me as he speaks.

“How do I do that?” my voice rises higher in terror.

Konner’s hands become golden. “Just keep your eyes on him.”

Keeping my eyes locked on the coyote, I hear a kind of crackling noise from my left where Konner stands. Then a light catches both mine and the animal’s attention. Sparks fly off of his fingers, his hands cupping around a ball of light.

“What are you doing!?”

My sudden outburst causes the gray coyote to pounce at me, but misses as I run in the other direction.

From behind me, the crackling transforms into an explosion of light and sparks. The howling stops as the injured animal lands in the snow with a painful thud.

My feet slip as I jog back to join Konner.

Bewildered, I watch the coyote lying on the ground—not moving. “What just happened?”

Konner guides me away from the scene, nervously checking all around us. Nobody is out there, but I have a sick feeling that we weren’t the only two that witnessed the creature’s injury.

“Is it alright?” I ask, peeking over my shoulder for one last look at the furry body, damp from the snow. “Did you kill it?”

            “No, I only stunned it. I didn’t have enough energy to do that much harm.”

            “Well,” I start, examining his blank face, “how did you do that? Whatever it was that you did….”

            He is still watching the trees carefully. “I’ll explain later. We have to get out of here as fast as we can. Who knows who heard us.”

            The snow has slowed down to where I can see our tracks perfectly twenty feet back. Up ahead, I notice another set of shoe prints. Then I wonder where Blake is. He must have heard the chaos….

            After what seemed like almost an hour of silent, non-stop walking— my feet aching in the worn-out tennis shoes— I stop.

            “Konner, where are we going?”

            “Don’t stop.” He continues walking ahead of me.

He expects me to just keep following his orders; well he’s got another thing coming. With my feet planted deep in the snow and arms crossed over my chest, I wait. I need answers. And I need them now.

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