Status: In the Works

Twisted Ties

Not Again

Shaking herself free of the thought she looked around. As far as she could tell nothing was out of the ordinary. Perhaps between the loud sound and howls she had heard, the forest was just trying to ease it’s way away from everything? That certainly made enough sense to her. No point sticking around if all the big bads were out and about right? Speaking of sticking around…

Pushing herself forward once more she started running. She had intended on walking a little ways yet, but clearly she was too scared not to run. It was a waste of energy but, she tried hard to twist it into a positive, maybe the more she ran the more distance she could put between her and her pursuers.

Claire had been in the middle of looking behind her to make sure she wasn’t being chased when she heard a small snapping sound. Like a twig perhaps. Stopping dead in her tracks she looked ahead, but at first she didn’t see much of anything. Listening was no help anymore either, all she could hear was her own heartbeat pounding in her ears. Slowly she crept forward, keeping her wits about her wasn’t easy with everything going on. By the time she could see the clearing she started to worry even more.

Wasn’t that Dare in the clearing? What was he doing out here? Was he waiting for her? As though he had sensed her nearby he turned to face her, and the look of surprise she saw on his face was the last thing she had expected. “I can’t believe it.” Did he think she had been lying before? More than likely. “You already made it this far?” Nodding her head she figured she might as well trust him for now, he didn’t look like he had any intention of playing a side. Of course she could be completely and utterly wrong.

Stepping into the clearing, Claire figured if nothing else, at least she had a moment to catch her breath again. “You’re not with them?” He shook his head. Putting her hands on her knees she crouched for a long moment and took a few deep breaths. “I’m kind of glad. I’m not sure how far back they are.” His head tilted to one side and he looked in another direction. A few short moments later, a large eagle was circling the clearing, and the screech it let out was loud enough even she was covering her ears. “What was that?”

Cracking an eye open she shook her head when he spoke. “You need to go, and you need to go now. That bird is telling them where you are, you need to run.” Why was he telling her this? It didn’t make any sense. Or was this like a reward for her making it this far. He had said before she didn’t have a chance in hell. Had she proved him wrong after everything that had happened? Nodding next, she took off to the left. “Hey wait you’re going the wrong way!”

Claire ignored him for now, it wasn’t her best option going this way but she had to buy herself some time, if they knew where she was now it wouldn’t be too long before they caught up, and frankly she didn’t want to deal with that. Pushing with everything she had she ran full out for a good long while, before back tracking to head the other way. As she was running along however, a wolf snarled not far behind her, had they seen her when she came back?

Soon enough the sound of paw prints could be heard, at least until a wolf yelped. Stopping dead for a moment she turned around, one of the animals were limping away, looking around she heard another gunshot go off, and figured if she had been distracted, perhaps the wolves were as well and she could use this to her advantage. Taking off running again she ran as hard as she could.

For the second time now, she was running for her life through the forest. And not just from the animals that were chasing her. She could hear the feet pounding against the ground behind her as she ran in a dead bolt towards the goal. They were so close, she could almost feel their teeth snapping at her calves and feet. Every breath tore through her lungs like a blade slicing her open. Every step shot pain through her already aching muscles. It had been what, an hour, three, more? A wolf shot out in front of her, cutting her off as it started snapping it’s jaws in her direction. It’s ears were flat and it was ready to jump, but she knew better.

Wolves usually worked in packs, and if she turned the other way to avoid this one, she would no doubt be led into an ambush. Closing her eyes for a split second, she forced herself to keep moving forward, running past the thing had been a surprise, it hadn’t even had time to twist around and snap at her, but a howl was let loose. If she had to guess, it was warning the others that she was still running in the same direction.

It figures the day would end up like this. At least it wasn’t pouring rain. Though the new silence in the air was more than unsettling, she barely glanced behind her however to see if they were still chasing her. That was not an easy task running full speed. The fairy tales people told about the forest kept most people out of it, even if so many didn’t believe in such stories. She wasn’t even sure she believed them herself. If it hadn’t been for the way her mom used to tell them, she… “Ahhh!”

She hadn’t been paying attention. Lost in thought as she ran, she stepped down on nothing. She hadn’t even seen the hill as she had been running towards it, and now she was sent tumbling down the hill, and that had her thrown for a loop. She barely had time to try and protect herself as she tumbled over stones and twigs, she was bloody lucky she hadn’t hit a tree. Not that it mattered. By the time she hit the bottom, she was sore, disoriented, and in a panic. A snapped twig nearby, had her gunning in the opposite direction of the hill, hoping she was still heading the right way.

Her whole body hurt, her feet and legs from running, her sides and arm from the fall, and everything else? She shuddered at the very thought of it. When the forest fell silent around her once more, she slowed to a stop. If she didn’t get her bearings soon and catch her breath while she was at it, it would be too late.

The bark of a tree off to her left splintered apart. With a jolt, she ducked low, trying to listen even as her hands flew up over her head. As though the animals weren’t bad enough, now there was a hunter out here too? Where were they? Her thoughts were ripped apart when a searing pain hit her shoulder. The shock had been so abrupt she couldn’t even manage to scream. A shout left the hunter and a moment later she heard a growl. It sounded a heck of a lot closer that the hunter was.Twisting herself around as she pulled herself to her feet she looked around, just to freeze. How had she not seen it sooner?

The wolf was as black as a moonless night, it’s fur and eyes the same dark color. As the beast came out of hiding, she fought to try and stay still. Even as her body shook she could recognize the thing was looking right at her. For a moment, she had forgotten about the heat running down her arm from her injury. And the pain that had come with it.

Talk about a rock and a hard place. Hunter at her back, wolf in front of her. She was watching the wolf in hopes of finding an answer, would it attack? Would it leave her be? She had forgotten she should be running for a moment, that is, until a bullet skimmed past her right side. A shriek left her as she dropped to her knees. The wolf had also seemed to duck low, before charging at the shooter. At least the animal wasn’t focused on her now.

Even as confusion settled in, she pulled every ounce of willpower she had left in her, and used it to move herself back up to her feet. Just as she had it in mind however to start running, a loud yelp rang out. Turning around she watched in horror as the wolf went down. Had they killed it?’s still moving. Poor thing, that was rotten luck getting shot down out here like that.

Without thinking twice, she ran toward the animal. It didn’t make any sense, and she had no real plan once she got there. Gasp’s and shouts hit her ears which meant the hunter was thankfully busy, or at least distracted by something. Claire didn’t stop to think about that much though. No doubt it was the rest of the wolf pack, and in that case he probably deserved every bite he got. Dropping to her knees she ran her hands over the wolf despite what she could only guess was a protest of a growl. Finding where the shot had been, she put pressure on the wound, just in time for the hunter to go running past them. That was strange.

She felt the danger looming towards her long before she saw it, and not for the first time, she wished she was back home. Watching as the hunter ran by left her wondering what on earth had spooked him. Turning to look where he had come from however, she had her answer. A massive black panther was coming down the hill now as well, flanked by a couple of wolves. Were they working together? Why? What had caused them to do this?

The animals paused near her, and all she could do was stare. The panther was the first to turn away and start running after the hunter, then the wolves. “Wait!” Was she insane? What was she thinking? The wolf beneath her hands let out some kind of sound and she found herself wishing she had gone to vet school. In as soothing a tone as she could muster she whisper, using a free hand to smooth over the animal's side. “It’s okay, it’s going to be alright. Just hang in there.”

More sound from somewhere behind her had her twisting around to look. What on earth was going on now? A few more animals made an appearance and walked clean past her which left her with her jaw open. A growl caught her attention next, and when she looked at the wolf below she frowned. If it wasn’t this one then… As she lifted her head to look again she came face to muzzle with a light haired wolf. Her heart felt like it stopped beating altogether for a long moment. She couldn’t take her eyes off the animal. Something about it was strangely familiar.

She found herself thinking back to the first time she had been in this forest, the pale wolf she had seen then, and the one she had seen taking on the jaguar when she broke through the window of her hospital room. “You… This wolf needs help, was shot by that hunter. Can you find your masters and get him some help?” An agonized sound from the wolf beneath her hands had her looking down. It was a risk, if she was wrong about the pale haired wolf, if might chomp her head off now that she was looking away.

Absolute horror washed over her however as the animal beneath her hands started moving. At first, she thought it was trying to stand up, but some of it’s fur was starting to shed in large amounts, and it’s bones seemed to be breaking inside of it somehow, the whole thing seemed to be shaking and quivering as it’s limbs snapped into different positions. She screamed before she could even think to silence it. A few short moments later she had started running for an entirely new reason.
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Anyone still left guessing? Pretty sure this will be...mostly it for the fast paced action. At least for a little while. Stay tuned for the rest of the story as usual.

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