IV. The Pink Blouse

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Chapter Four

Wandering around a forest, I find myself taking a deep breath as the wind blows by. I smell the earth; the damp ground after it's rained, the bark of the trees, the flowers that grow along side the grass. I smell life, I smell peace.

Inside me I have always felt like there were two sides of me; the human and the animal. When I was first given the serum, the animal took over the human. After all my training, after all these years, the human finally reigns supreme. But in the back of my mind, an animal still remains. My animal side gives me many pleasures; like being able to smell the forest and appreciate all it has to offer.

When around a threat however, I find myself wishing the animal side didn't exist. I feel my ears strain, I feel my vision tunnel, I feel my breaths become short. My entire being is focused on the threat I sense. It takes effort to suppress the animal from emerging. All the animal wants to do is to attack, to pounce and sink it's teeth into anything around me that could be of any danger. I slowly feel my humanity threatening to slip away. I am usually able to grab hold of the animal and shove it back into the far corners of my brain.

Right now, smelling the forest, I feel the animal starting to emerge. I feel the watching eyes of something, as I have the past few days. I start to walk deeper into the forest to find the source. This thing has been haunting me for days, and now I would find answers.

I feel my powers roaring in my veins; as if I can feel the snarl of a lion threatening to spill from my lips, or the claws of a panther wanting to emerge for an incoming attack. As I walk deeper into the forest, I find that my surroundings are getting darker and darker; the sunlight is slowly beginning to fade.

I hear a loud snarl come from in front of me. I find a large grey wolf, it's teeth are bared and it's body ready to pounce at me. I find myself locked onto the wolf's gaze, find the eyes of a human. Not unlike my own.

The wolf snarls at me again, and right before it pounces, I shift. Just as wolf is about to meet wolf, as our claws are about to touch and our teeth are about to rip each other apart—

I wake up with a gasp, thinking that it has all been a dream. My powers are going completely haywire; like a siren going off in every cell in my body; telling me something is wrong.

I wince, finding that my hand is in extreme pain. I look down at it, seeing a large cut open on my palm. I look up and in my windowsill, is a person. My heart stops dead in my chest. I spring up, telling my suit to activate and run towards the window. The person has an object in their hand, and I see them wipe it off on something before jumping down. I hear the thud of their feet as they hit the ground, as well as the clatter of metal. When I reach my window, all I see below is a large knife, but the person is nowhere in sight.

Bucky is instantly at my side. He looks very confused, gripping my shoulders tightly.

"Lena, what happened?"

"Someone broke in here," I say, showing him my bleeding palm. "They cut my hand open with a knife and jumped out the window."

Bucky looks down at the ground, then around at the room. "They dropped the knife, but I don't see any blood on it. So they wiped your blood off the knife? Why does someone want your blood?"

I feel my head spinning from my power's hunger for shifting. My powers are overwhelming right now, so much so I feel the need to sit down. I walk back towards the bed. As I do so, I notice my suitcase has been opened. I kneel down on the ground, looking through it's contents and finding something is indeed missing; my pink blouse.

"They stole my shirt." I tell him, gesturing to the suitcase.

"So they took your blood and your shirt? You are famous now, so they could be a psychotic fan of yours. Can you think of any enemies you've made in the past five years? Is there anyone who could be after you?"

I think about this really hard, but I come up with no answers. "No, or at least none who would take my blood and shirt then leave. Perhaps you're right. There are a lot of crazy people out there...it's probably nothing."

Bucky comes over to me, kneeling down next to me. "This entire vacation your powers have been bothering you. Perhaps it's time we go back home."

I look over to him, and after a few seconds, I nod my head. "Yeah...yeah I think that's best. It isn't safe to stay in this hotel room anymore. I'm going to go wake Khari and Alex up. I'll tell them what happened."

He nods. "I'll pack. We'll leave first thing tomorrow."

I lean forward and kiss him gently, before standing up and walking towards the door. As I open it, I feel like I'm in a daze. So have I been right about my powers all along? Is there some danger my powers are trying to warn me about? Or was that really just a weirdo. Have my powers have just been acting up due to stress?

It was times like this I wish Julian was still here. He was the one that helped me answer all these questions about my powers. I didn't like to think of my trainer and friend often, especially when Bucky is around. I know that whole ordeal still haunts him. Our lives are constantly filled with danger and chaos. I find myself wondering if I now have another problem I have to deal with.

When I walk into Alex and Khari's room, I find that Alex is wide awake. He probably heard me coming down the hall, probably smelled my adrenaline and fear. He looks at me with curiosity mixed with concern, shaking Khari awake.

Khari peels his eyes open, squinting at me before he asks; "Has something happened?"

"Someone broke into our room and sliced open my hand. They also took one of my shirts."

Alex pinches the bridge of his nose. "Ah yes, the dark side of fame. We're gonna find your DNA sample all over eBay tomorrow."

I ignore him, looking to Khari. "Can we sleep in here for the rest of tonight? And I think given what's happened it's time we go back home."

Khari nods his head. "Yeah...yeah of course...course." He says, before falling back onto the bed and passing out again.

My brother shakes his head, getting out of bed and throwing extra pillows and blankets at me. "If someone buys your blood sample and clones you, do you think your twin will be evil? What if your clone then killed you and took your place? We may never know the difference."

I let out a sigh. "Are these the conversations you have at three in the morning."

"Unfortunately." I hear Khari mumble into his pillow.

Alex glares at Khari. "You know you love it," he says, laying back down in bed. "You and the geezer can sleep on the pullout bed in the sofa. Can you promise we won't have anymore Annie Wilkes's tonight?"

I nod to him. "I promise. Get some sleep. We're leaving first thing tomorrow."

Alex turns over in his bed so his back is to me, but I can hear him mumble; "Did they even lock the windows? You'd think assassins would be hard to sneak up on."

Plopping myself on the pullout, I groan. "Shut up."

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