Five: The Curse of Curiosity

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The sharpness of pain that dug into my leg was starting to numb; it was making it much easier to run. Even with that on my side, there was no way I could escape a hungry wolf. It was going to attack me and I would end up just the same as Tim.

My stomach churned at the thought.

I was going to die.

Discarding the negative thoughts that clouded my mind, I quickly thought of an idea that could get me out of the bind. The heavy breathing of the wolf from behind caused my thoughts to process quicker. It took all of my focus to ignore the building apprehension.

My eyes flickered to a thick tree about a dozen or so feet in front of me. There was a branch sticking out, low enough for me to grab.

As I got closer, I could feel the wolf's presence gaining on me; teeth were teasingly nipping at my heels.

Just before reaching the branch, I realized something. The wolf was faster than me, yet it wasn't jumping for the kill. Something was holding it back. In one swift movement, I whirled around, pressing my back against the rough bark of the yellow cedar tree. My disturbance caused drops of water to roll off of the needle shaped leaves.

Everything slowed.

The wolf was standing so close to me, maybe a few inches away, with its height nearly doubling my own. With its head dipped low, the nose of the wolf was the closest to my face. Every time it breath, my hair blew more and more off of my shivering shoulders.

Despite everything else, I felt an off sense of familiarity with the rugged wolf. Those eyes, although red and full of hatred, were familiar to me. I knew those eyes.

"Who are you?" I whispered, the noise harsh against the quietness of the area.

The wolf snuffed, causing strands of my hair to float for a fleeting second. Those eyes examined me as cautiously as I did to it. I could see the sharp, yellowy canines poking out from its lips with saliva dripping down to the soil.

The wind blew, whispering words that I almost didn't catch at all. "Kill her," a voice said. It sounded as though it came from all directions; omnipresent. The wolf's lips curled upward and a threatening growl rumbled from its chest. It wanted to listen to the controlling voice, I could tell, but something was stopping it. "Kill her," the voice repeated, louder.

At the corner of my eye, behind the wolf, I saw my beast creeping among the bushes. He was calculating the situation. Then, just as the wolf's growl became feral, my beast let out a raging howl, causing everything in the forest to shake and tremble. The red-eyed wolf swerved around to face my beast, giving me the chance to bolt.

"Thank you," I whispered to him before rounding the tree trunk and running away from the fight among wolves.

By the time I found my way back to the town's borders, my clothes were ripped and stained, my hair was a knotted mess, I smelt like dirt and mud, and the bruise on my thigh was nearly black. My vision was started to cross over slightly, yet I managed to keep straight as I slowed to a walk.

Sweat coated my forehead until I wiped it away with the ends of my sleeves. Heaving chest and sore legs, I stepped out of the forest and onto the side of the road in my town. The sun was out that day with not a cloud visible in the sky. Had the situation been different, I would have enjoyed the nice feel of the sun's warmth.

Unfortunately, all I could think about was blood red eyes that were meant to finish me off, but didn't. Who was that wolf and why didn't they attack me?

"Ella Calloway," the relieved sound of my English teacher startled me. Turning around to face the parking lot of a local park, I saw Mr. Parker jogging over to me. When he fronted me, the frown on his face deepened. "The whole town has been looking for you since late last night." His eyes did a quick sweep of my attire. "Oh my... what happened?"

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