Chapter One

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Later, I couldn’t quite remember how it all started…well, not as exactly as how it ended. My memory’s fault, no doubt, clogged as it was by its blinding, passionate desire, a fire so hot it consumed me, coursing through my bloodstream like a river’s sweeping current anxious to reach the sea. That had always been my weakness, not to mention his power, the fatal attraction, which would eventually break me. However hard I tried, I could never resist him or his call, the most insistent sound in my ears. Surely, my uncontrollable cravings got the better of me, their echoes reverberating through my mind, my body, my very spirit. No, I had no defense, no way of protecting myself while his fire burned it all, me included.

Korax had tried to warn me, but of course, I didn’t listen. “Beware of the powers of evil disguised as angels,” he used to say during my long training, but as my head nodded in understanding, my mind kept thinking he was just a foolish old man. Sure, as if you’d actually seen them, I mused sarcastic, too immature and inexperienced, mostly too full of myself to change my ill-considered ways, my senses already getting the better of me, until the dream began.

I didn’t remember it at first, not in any detail, with the exception of an occasional weird image fogging my mind, though its power grew to the point I dreaded falling asleep…if I could call it sleep at all. Instead, it felt more like a slow, relentless drowning into a dense fluid ocean closing over my head. But water wasn’t my problem.

Apparently weightless, I floated in a red, sticky liquid, the color, feel, smell and taste of blood, suffocating my senses, penetrating my nose, smearing my mouth, filling my lungs with a heavy load that pulled me down to the bottom of a blissful oblivion. Exactly when the thought occurred to me I was dying, I never could quite remember, at least not as clearly as its irresistible call for sometimes life just isn’t worth living, no matter how much you believe in it. I only knew that at one point, the wolf instinct took over, maybe because I surrendered my energy to its powerful force that was sucking it away in the first place. With a fierce struggle, the wolf emerged in all its might, clawing the liquid and demanding freedom from the redness that threatened to cloak his senses to a stupor, limbs fighting hard, energy pouring from every muscle, until in the end, with a loud gasp, I’d break through the murky surface, lungs burning from the sudden intake of air.

In silence, I looked over the dark reddish expanse, the blood moving more slowly on top than it did at the bottom, its bittersweet taste lingering in my mouth and on my skin. Once again, the deadly silence made it all seem unreal, like a bad dream that would soon clear from my head if it weren’t for the body floating away, its pale flesh ripped by deep, red, wolf gashes from which life ebbed out forever. And as the truth first dawned on me, noting could I do except watch it disappear in the distance, trembling and helpless to stop any of it.

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