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Pen Your Pride

The Skinwalker

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Chapter One: The Skinwalker

"This one will be sent to the head of Kon Ron as a gift of gratitude for his generous business donations."

The words echoed in her head as she stared at the blue dragon that now permanently adorned the palm of her right hand. The tail curled right underneath the start of her fingers and the body curved up the rest of her palm. The head ended right at her thumb. Apparently it was supposed to match her new master's tattoo. The ship would dock in the next couple of days and she would lose any semblance of freedom she had. The two Chinese men that were tasked with transporting her approached. She narrowed her light green eyes at them.

"I heard skinwalkers can steal your soul just by looking at you. Blindfold her."

She was blindfolded for the whole voyage. The pungent smell of opium smoke constantly wafted over her and she would often feel a hand on her thigh or lips on her skin. The two men differed in their treatment of her. The man that smelled like talcum powder would run his hands over her softly like a feather. He would laugh if she let her tears flow and soak through her blindfold like she had just told a joke. The man that suspected her of being a skinwalker would touch her roughly. When she tried to pull away or fight back, she was struck repeatedly with something long and wooden.

When the ship docked, she felt hands inspecting the places that felt bruised to her.

"You should have been more careful. The Kon Ron leader pampers his girls," said the talcum powder man. She was lifted bridal style and carried.

"Well, he can do that after he's got her. This wench was too much trouble to deal with getting her here." She felt herself being lifted onto a seat. Movement a moment later revealed that she was on a carriage. The trotting motion jostled her a little and the blindfold rode up her face a bit. She tilted her head back a little and found she could see the faces of the men, who were seated across from her in the carriage.

"What the hell kind of gift is this, anyway?"

"Maybe Shuang wants her to kill the Kon Ron leader so he can take over the company."

"She doesn't look dangerous, though."

"Yes, but you shouldn't let your guard down. I've heard the legends about skinwalkers."

"There is no such thing. Just make sure this cargo gets to its destination."

The carriage stopped in front of an alley where there was nothing significant except for a staircase leading down into some sort of basement or cellar. The carriage door opened, and neither man made a motion to touch her or exit the carriage. She concentrated and shifted to cat form. The binds and blindfold loosened and she shot out out her restraints and out the carriage to the chagrin of both men. She ran past the staircase and caught a glimpse of the sleeve of a chinese jacket and a slender hand holding an opium pipe. Someone was ascending the stairs.

She scaled the brick wall with the help of her claws and was gone.

~*~

The tortoiseshell cat wove her way through the dark streets of London. She was on high alert for anything out of the ordinary. These were the peak hours for when the underground of London came to life. Reapers, demons, angels, and other supernaturals came out to frolic and show their true nature. Even the cat herself was not as she seemed.

Her name was Aurelia Till, or Tillie as the grim reaper Grell Sutcliffe called her. Furthermore, she was not a real cat. She was what you may call a shapeshifter, or skinwalker. Shapeshifters took on many forms and were often able to deceive others to their advantage. They were not completely human, nor were they immortal. Many lived their lives as familiars or guardians to other supernatural beings or humans.

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