chapter 1

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I stared out the window, my head rested on the desk and longed to be away from the purgatory of high school and out in the green fields beyond. Yearning to run away.

"Miss Larson!" Mr Spud squeaked in his ridiculously high voice. I turned slowly to face an old man in his late 50s. Mr Spud had a great domed, shiny head where wispy white hair clung to the sides. His small, piggy eyes were framed with thick, black glasses where a red, potato shaped nose poked out from between his eyes, suiting his name. "Stop daydreaming and get back to work! Unacceptable!" He raged, using his favourite word. I gave him a look of mild distaste at being interrupted and he shrank back from me. Oh I forgot to mention. Ever since my first Change, everyone seemed to be repelled by me. Which I didn't mind too much since I moved to Maryborough State High; I preferred to be a loner here anyway. People in general irritated me, and I am naturally cautious of everything. He mumbled something inaudible and shuffled away to leave me alone. That suited me fine, and once again I turned to the window. Life was pretty depressing. There was no one to talk to, the people at my old school, how I loved them, were far, far away. About seven hours away in fact. I didn't feel lonely, although it would have been nice to talk to someone. The tomboy I was, the rest of the girls at this school were all obsessed with how they looked, what the guys thought of them and everything else I considered stupid. I had tried to fit in with the guys, but they were teenagers with sick minds who wouldn't let a girl into their midst, even if she was a complete tomboy. In their eyes, I was someone to be feared or scorned. Nothing else. Even if my very being didn't repulse them, I'm sure I wouldn't have fit in here anyway. That was one good thing that came of moving schools. My friends would never have to see me like I was now.

The bellcut off my streamoff thoughtsand I turned from my isolated desk in the back corner and picked up my books to leave. My arm caught the edge of my tattered diary and it tumbled to the ground at my feet. I bent down but before I could reach it a hand picked it up for me. I looked up in surprise to the owner, and the site of the nerdy, short, black haired boy I had always overlooked demanded my attention. I remembered all I knew about him. Eddie McNamara. Rather weak, shunned from the other groups of guys. A loner, like me, he spent his time playing World of War Craft and Xbox. Up here they were considered geeky. If only my Xbox fanatic friends knew. I smiled fondly at the memories of my friends. That was the only thing I seemed to smile at these days. Memories.

The small, pale boy handed me the fallen book with a weak smile. Although we were alike and I immediately felt a bond with the boy, friendships could not be made here, so it was best to stop it now before it became too hard. So I snatched the diary from his hand and pushed past him without a word, my face blank. Sure, it was cold-hearted, but that's what having no friends and being a freak did to you. I didn't need the attention or the trouble. I glanced back at him; the poor thing was just standing there looking at me, like he'd been slapped. My resolve softened and I forced him to meet my eyes.

"Thank you." I said looking into his eyes, making sure he understood that it was better if I was left alone. In another time, I might have laughed at how formal an exchange between classmates could be. I think he understood, but I didn't stop to check and went straight on ahead to my locker. Shoving my stuff inside, I grabbed my bag and hurried to get away before the rest of the people started leaving. Just as I was reaching the end of the corridor, three guys from my grade stepped out in front of me, blocking my escape path. I almost snarled in frustration. "Move." I thought about tacking a please on the end. It couldn't hurt. "Please."

"You want us to move?" Said the one on the left.

"Why? Don't you want to have some fun?" Finished the other who was on the far right. My mind automatically analysed them. The one who had spoken first, Hayden Callahan. Brown hair and dull, brown eyes. Stupid, much like a troll. His size made up for that though; he was taller than I, and a lot stockier. Although his reputation as a 'cool kid' said he dated a lot of girls, I knew he was afraid of them, I could smell the perspiration that oozed out of him whenever he talked to one and the fear in his voice. The one on the far right, Randall Perkins, was thin and lanky, almost the opposite of Hayden. He was sarcastic and sly, a little smarter than Hayden, but not by much. If he could he would have dated all the girls, had it not been for his acne and the way he regarded them as toys for his amusement. He hit on girls left right and centre, and was always rewarded with a disgusted 'No' or a slap. But they were only the cronies. Between them, was a guy who was everything they weren't. Zak Shafer was tall and muscular, with sun bronzed skin. Shaggy blonde hair framed an angular, high cheek boned face. His green eyes were sharp and clever, the type of eyes that saw everything. Now he was a threat. As for girls, he got pretty much what he wanted; he was the popular guy all girls dreamed of being with, although I could sense he didn't really like the spotlight. Unlike the others, his tone was polite, as if we were friends concerned with one another's' well being.

"You kind of look a little stressed lately, what's wrong?" He had lowered his voice, and I had to strain to hear, even with my sharpened senses. Although he seemed genuinly sweet, there was something lurking beneath the surface.

"Why the fuck would you care?" How could he know? I had been feeling angrier lately, I had been changing unintentionally a lot more in the last couple of months; it seemed I was losing control. His lips curved upwards slightly, as if he had expected nothing better from a two year old. I felt a little foolish. "Now get out of my way." I shoved past Hayden with ease, the power from a new found anger at my finger tips. Hayden looked a little surprised, but let me go. I didn't look back as I strode out of the school into freedom. Making sure no one was following me - I only did this as a precaution; everyone else was much too busy gossiping about the latest fashion and romances between each other to notice me - I headed towards the forest. With every stride, I seemed to grow angrier, a black wave of emotion that screamed in my ears, wanting Change. I broke into a run the moment my body began to shake, making for the edge of the trees. The moment I was within the border, I Changed and my anger drained away as I relaxed into my preferred form, the form where no one could tell me what to do. I glanced down at the tatters of the ravaged dress uniform on the ground, the fabric of the skirt still clinging to my ankles. It was a shame; that had been my last skirt. I would have to steal another tomorrow from the second hand store.

Feeling a little hungry, I shook off the remains of the clothes and picked up the scent of a rabbit. Snuffling along the ground, I tracked it to a small hole to the side of an old, rotten log. My powerful paws were no match for the rich black soil and in no time I had located the terrified rabbit. He was a creamy white, just out of adulthood and ready to choose a mate. His life had only just begun and now I was going to end it.

Without a second thought, I snatched him up in my jaws and bit down, feeling his life force ebb away as his thick, sweet blood ran into my mouth. I crunched up the rest of the rabbit, bones and all, and proceeded to lick my muzzle clean. That was the way of life, rabbits were here so I could eat them.

A cool breeze blew towards me, bringing all sorts of new scents and sounds. Instantly I froze.

The scent was of a wolf's, but different and at the same time strangly familiar. I could tell it was male, and I was surprised to find my body shiver with an instinctal desire. It was alien, something strange and not of this world. Then it hit me. That was what I smelled like. Only male. I tingled with excitement. What if I'm not the only one? Maybe they could help me! But I cut off my stupid optimistic thinking before it got out of hand. They might not be friendly, or not want me around. Heck, I was probably over reacting as usual; it was probably just an animal. But even so, hiding would be the best option. So I bounded behind a bush facing the direction the scent was coming from and hid from view.

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