Chapter One

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"NICOS. WAKE UP." I whispered into his ear, hearing his soft snores come to a halt as I gripped his shoulders and shook them. I felt bad about waking him up, but we didn't have much time.

Nicos grumbled, "Why?"

"It's past sundown. We have to start moving again."

Nicos mumbled something incoherent, rubbing his eyes groggily as he sat up. I pulled away from him, searching our surroundings.

The forest had begun to darken, the hues of the sky losing its vibrancy as the dullness took its place. Nothing could be heard but the swishing of the leaves.

"I hate this as much as you do, but it's too soon to stop running," I stated. I didn't even know if we would ever stop running. This was like a nightmare we couldn't escape.

Nicos scowled, furrowing his eyebrows, "We can run, Talia, but we can't hide."

I frowned, feeling an immaculate amount of guilt creep up on me, despite none of it being my fault. Nicos was younger than me by three years, I hated that he had been pulled into this at the young age of 17.

I sighed and shifted my gaze away from his penetrating hazel eyes. Every time I gazed into his eyes, I saw a little bit of myself; or rather the person I could've been. We were different in many ways, in attributes, both physically and emotionally. "We better get going."

Nicos and I were as close as siblings. He wasn't my biological sibling, but he was the only family I had. Or at least, the only family I remembered having.

A sheer 45 minutes into our escape, Nicos groaned in agitation. I turned to him, as we continued trekking through the starless night, "What?"

"I'm starving."

"When are you not?" I grinned.

Nicos rolled his eyes, holding down a smile, "I'm serious, Talia."

I nodded, my grin fading. Albeit I was only three years Nicos' senior, I felt an overwhelming need to take care of him as a mother would.

"I am, too. Just keep going for a little while and then we'll stop and shift, okay?"

Nicos smiled. His smile, woeful. "I'm sorry I snapped at you earlier Talia–"

"Don't worry about it, Nicos. I get it. You're so young and you shouldn't be living life on the run." I asserted, genuinely.

Nicos narrowed his eyes, "No one should."

I looked away. The air between us was filled with silence. The only sound was the sound of our footsteps as we walked into the unknown.

Nicos and I had shifted into our wolves so we could eat. I could hear the sickly popping of my bones as I rearranged myself back into my feral wolf form. With our heightened sense of smell, we could smell anything within a 4-mile radius.

On our expedition to finding a meal, a powerful scent had me wandering deeper into the heart of the forest, my wolf unable to contain her curiosity and appeal.

I sniffed the air once, again. Was it a deer?  No, it smelled way too good to be a deer. I craned my neck in the direction the smell came from and pointed at it so Nicos would follow me.

I could sense that I was dangerously close to a pack, but at that moment, my wolf was set on finding the prime source of that scent. She was enthralled, too deep to be pulled out. My heart pounded out of my chest as I realized how close we were to being slaughtered.

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