Eleven: Mystery of a Man

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Her movements were fastidious; strawberry blond hair bounced against slender shoulders and long legs were directing her away from me. Dwelling on the uncertainty, I nearly turned around to leave her alone in her quivering state. Even with the thought hanging persistently in my mind, I did not stop running after her.

"Ashley?" It felt like a whisper but came out as an echo. "Are you okay, Ashley?"

We were fourteen at the time, barely starting our freshman year in high school. During our strenuous exercises in gym class, I noticed Ashley's feeble attempts at proceeding with the activities. She was sluggish and pale.

After class, I followed her and that was when she broke off into a run.

She burst through a set of doors that led outside. The moment I stepped foot onto the freshly cut grass, I was met with worried blue eyes. Her trembling body was pressed against a thin tree in apparent trepidation.

"Ella," she murmured in a soft voice. "Y-you shouldn't be here. If you see... they'll..." A shudder ran over her paling skin. "Please, leave me alone."

I took a careful step forward. "Ashley, you don't look too good. I can't leave you like this. Want me to go get the nurse?"

Her head shook anxiously. "No, no. I'm fine. I promise. I'm just... I just pushed myself too hard in gym. I need to cool off."


The sound was execrable; it took me a few moments to realize that it came from Ashley's bones. She let out a shrilling screech into the evening's air. I fumbled with my steps in order to help her until I heard her snarl at me.

"Go away, Ella! Please!" Ashley was using her hair, matted with sweat, to shield her face from me.

My first mistake was to place my hand on her burning arm.

Piercing blue eyes looked up at me, only that time, they were different. They were brighter with a ring in the eye that almost glowed. There were also canines poking out of her gums, bared as she growled at me.

"Go, now! I don't want to get in trouble!" Ashley whined, suddenly pushing me away from her.

The strength caught me off guard. Her shove sent me flying into a pile of fallen leaves. There was a crunch as I rolled over them. Once I lifted my head, I looked around to see that I was alone.

I confronted her about it the next day. She was frantic, begging me not to say a word. She promised it was nothing. The canines were just my imagination.

Noting the fear that was emitting from her body, I only nodded my head in promise, although I knew there was something else happening. She was just like Jackson.

Ashley McDonald was dead. She was a werewolf, killed by her own kind. That was all that I could think about during an awkward car ride with Carter.

Early that morning, I was being bombarded with questions from my mother. She was asking me what I'd done to my car to wreck it so badly. After running out and taking a look for myself, I noted that it was, in fact, completely trashed. Another proof that the crash did, indeed, happen.

Later on, I received a call from Carter. In our talk, he pretended our conversation from the night before didn't happen. "Feel like going to the beach today?"

I had one of two choices. Play along and act as though nothing happened, or demand for him to stop skirting around the truth. Inevitably, I went with the former, although that turned out to be difficult when I found myself crammed in a car with him.

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