Sneak peek: White Wolf Trilogy

White Wolf Trilogy
By Amanda Geisler

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BOOK ONE: THE STRAY

1

 

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The wolf was never far beneath my skin, itching to be free, to run. The transformation was like a thousand needles puncturing my skin. Then the sensations became harsher, causing pain. I gave into the pain stopping myself from gasping at the feeling of fur sprouting from my skin.

Next came more pain, I winced as the first bone snapped, it was always painful. I crouched down to all fours as my back arched, my spine reshaping, fur bristled as it settled upon my skin, it was a wonder we never bled during the transformation.

Claws sprouted from the back of my fingernails, covering what was human. Then there was the uncomfortable feeling of my mouth and nose stretching. Stretching into something powerful, something dangerous. I felt my teeth sharpen, ready to rip into the flesh of some helpless deer, but that wasn’t what I was shifting for. The alpha had called a meeting and I needed to know why.

The final stages of my transformation set in as my legs shortened to match the length of my arms. Both my arms and my legs thickened as powerful muscles formed beneath the skin. I could feel the gradual addition of new weight as my tail proceeded to protrude from the end of my spine.

I shook out my pure white canine fur, the glow of my golden yellow eyes reflected in the river beside me. The contacts that normally hid the tell-tale colour of my eyes had disintegrated the moment I shifted.

The wind swept through my fur as I bounded through the trees surrounding me. I drifted towards the sound of familiar footfalls as I closed in on my destination. Toby, he was kind of like my brother, my pack brother. I caught up and ran beside the sandy coloured wolf, I didn’t startle him, he would have sensed me coming.

We slowed to a walk as we fought our way through thick underbrush, when we broke through the last of it, it was to find ourselves in a large, enclosed clearing. The sky was invisible above us, allowing only a small amount of light to leak through the canopy of leaves.

Several wolves sat in the clearing, all of them facing the large black wolf that sat under the small shelter that had been built a long time ago. Nobody was talking yet, the entire pack hadn’t arrived, they would wait for the rest of the pack.

I knew these wolves well, they were my family ever since my parents were killed. They have taken care of me, supporting me until I was old enough to care for myself. I was an emancipated teenager now, living in my parents’ old house.

Finally, the black wolf stood. This was Erik, the alpha and I despised the man, I always tried to stay as far away from him as possible but it never worked. My family were the alphas of the pack, and as one of the alpha children I might have been expected to lead; my brother was first in line, but he wasn’t here.

‘Silence,’ Erik Mendez growled. There was silence; nobody disobeyed his orders, they didn’t want to suffer the repercussions. ‘A rogue has stumbled into our territory,’ he stated. ‘This stray, has managed to get itself caught by Alec Hall.’

‘What are we going to do with it?’ Seth asked, glancing at me briefly before looking back to his alpha. His wolf was earthen brown in colour with flecks of white.

‘For all I care Alec Hall deserves to die if he thinks he can hold a werewolf,’ Erik sneered.

My brow furrowed. ‘Do you not care that we will be discovered in the process?’ I questioned.

Erik’s gaze shot towards me and I felt my ears flick back under his stern gaze, my wolf telling me to submit.

‘Alec has been circling us for years, ever since he and his son came to this town.’

‘Allowing this wolf to kill Alec is more likely to have them discover us,’ I told Erik. I knew I would get in trouble soon.

We risk exposure if we try to save it,’ Erik said. He seemed thoughtful though, that surprised me.

‘I can get in there,’ I announced. ‘I’m close to his son, and I have Agua. Let me get this wolf out.’ Toby was staring at me as if I was crazy for making such a suggestion.

Erik continued to look thoughtful. ‘If you get exposed, we won’t help you,’ he told me sternly. ‘Do this before the dark moon tomorrow and we will deal with the rogue afterwards.’

I nodded. I couldn’t believe that he was allowing me to do this. ‘It will be done by tonight,’ I confirmed.

It was Erik’s turn to nod, his was a nod of dismissal. I couldn’t believe it as I quickly followed Toby out of the clearing. It was like he was a different person.

‘Are you really going to do this?’ Toby asked me as we ran. ‘You’re going to risk exposure to save a stupid rogue.’

I shrugged. ‘I’m going to try,’ I replied.

I raced past the sandy wolf rushing ahead. We branched apart as we both went to retrieve our human clothes and school bags. I wasn’t expecting to run into him before reaching school, but I did. He loped up to my side as we neared the school grounds, clothes and bag in his canine mouth.

We stopped running through the trees when we heard the sounds of students on the oval beyond the forest. I dropped my bag to the ground in front of me, Toby was only a few metres away mirroring my movements.

I braced my body as I forced myself back into my human skin. Instead of snapping, my bones melted, painlessly changing back into human bones. I saw my fur sinking back beneath my lightly tanned human skin. I looked up once I was fully human, Toby was still in the throes of transforming back to human. He was newer, so it took longer for him to transform.

I pulled my clothes over my naked body. Most girls would feel awkward if they were naked in front of Toby; he wasn’t exactly a nerd, but Toby had seen me shift more times than I could count even before he had shifted himself. He was the only one in the pack that I was extremely close to except for Colby.

I put a set of the usual brown contacts into my eyes, hiding the yellow while Toby dressed into human clothes and put his own set of blue contacts in making his eyes green. When he stood tall on his human legs he ran his hand through his hair, a habit of his, because he liked it messy. I however pulled a brush out of my school bag as we began walking.

There was still a fair distance to walk on human legs and, by the time we reached the fringe we were mucking around. I pushed Toby over and bounded out of the forest playfully, the grin wide on my face.

I could hear him running after me as I ran into view of students. I looked back over my shoulder; Toby was coming alright, he had determination in his eyes, but he was also grinning like an idiot.

He might have been newer, but I knew he was faster than me. It probably had something to do with his long legs. That didn’t stop me from running. I had to remember to make it human speed since the humans could see us. Most of them were used to Toby and I acting like this.

I knew it when he was just about to grab me, so I side stepped as he dove past me. I laughed at him as he got quickly to his feet. I started running again, but he didn’t let me get far, grabbing me unexpectedly from behind and he was not letting me go.

Toby was laughing as I tried to escape. I stomped on his foot and elbowed him in the chest behind me. He let go as I hit him.

‘Ha, ha.’ The sound escaped from my mouth as I backed away.

I backed into somebody. I hadn’t realised that somebody had come closer to us. I saw Toby stiffen slightly at the sight of the newcomer. All I could smell was the jealousy of the person I had walked into.

‘Zac,’ I announced, spinning around to face him. Zac was watching the now sheepish Toby, staring at him through stunning light brown eyes. I knew he tried not to be jealous of Toby, but I didn’t think he could help it.

‘What are you two doing?’ Zac asked stiffly, staring Toby right in the eyes, challenging him.

‘Oh, you know how it is,’ Toby said with a grin. ‘Mucking around with someone like Rya.’

I rolled my eyes. Toby liked riling Zac up, however, anger emanated from Zac.

‘It’s fine Zac,’ I said, putting a hand on his arm. ‘We were just having some fun.’ I glanced at Toby. ‘Stop being a bully.’

Toby just shrugged and walked off with a grin on his face. ‘See you at lunch,’ he yelled over his shoulder.

I shook my head. ‘Why can’t you two just get along?’ I muttered more to myself then to Zac. ‘It would make my life easier.’

‘I just don’t like him,’ Zac told me, glaring after my friend. ‘It’s the way he looks at you.’

I laughed. Toby just had those kind of eyes. ‘He’s a brother to me,’ I reminded Zac, not for the first time. ‘You know that our parents were best friends. We were always playing together when we were little.’ This was actually true, Toby had always come over to my house, he still does. ‘We grew up together.’

‘I know,’ Zac sighed. ‘It just bugs me that you’re so happy around him.’

‘Then you better get over it,’ I told him. ‘Because Toby isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.’ Zac was still watching Toby, who had just reached the school buildings. I sighed. ‘I’m going to class.’

***

My teacher arrived just as I sat down in my seat. He was whistling, surprising me and the rest of the class. Mr Hammond was usually such a sour person.

‘I know that you’re all interested in the werewolf claims that were on the news today,’ he announced.  ‘So, we’re going to spend a few days studying the werewolf myths and legends. There are many different werewolf mythologies, so I would like you to choose one and write a paper about it, to be finished by Wednesday next week.’

There was a collective sigh throughout the room. I had sighed too, but for a different reason.  A dark moon was coming before the due date and that meant one less night to work on the paper.

‘But how do we know which one is correct?’ a student from the back of the classroom asked.

Mr Hammond looked at the student. ‘We can’t know for sure until the lead researcher is able to communicate with the werewolf they have in custody. Then, early next week, Alec Hall has allowed me to organise a little excursion to his laboratory. He should be able to tell us about all the different mythologies.’ Mr Hammond paused. ‘After he manages to talk to the werewolf of course.’ I sensed Hammond glance at me.

I hid my horror. Not only had they almost discovered us, they also intended to find out our secrets. It was a good thing that I would be getting the wolf out of there, I just didn’t know how yet.

We were allowed to spend the rest of the lesson researching our papers on the internet with the laptops we used for class. I already knew that I was going to base my paper on the mythology that was real.

Werewolves were descended from the Greek King Lycaon and his children. They angered the God Zeus by serving him the flesh of Nyctimus, Lycaon’s youngest son. I of course had to limit the details I added to the ones discussed in the human version of our histories. I would have to leave out our connection to witches and the fact that Lycaon also had a daughter included in the curse.

The bell rang and we began to pack up our things for our ten-minute break before our next class. Normally, it was just enough time to swap books over at the lockers and have a bite to eat, but luckily, today I had a free period and an entire hour to myself.

I almost ran to my locker to grab a bit of food, I kept my history books and my laptop.  Zac had the period off as well and most of the time we would sit out on the field to study. However, Zac liked to get distracted and unknowingly test my self-control.

I walked through the hallways that were busy with students making their way to their next class and left the building just as the next bell rang, walking to the tree Zac and I sat under during our free periods together.  It was a place we could just enjoy each other’s company, sometimes studying, and other times doing a lot more than that. When I was with him sometimes it felt like I was melting. I always had to stop him, because I was scared I might transform.  I didn’t know if I would be able to stop myself.  I knew when I was angry I still sometimes had trouble stopping myself from shifting.

I had just settled when Zac arrived, his laptop resting open on his forearm, it had probably just been used in his last class.  He sat down close to me, his hip resting against mine. For a quick moment, it was all I thought about.

‘When do you have history?’ I asked him. I couldn’t remember if he had it today; stupid two-week timetables.

‘Not till after lunch,’ he replied. He was more comfortable without Toby around. His voice was softer and he was more relaxed when it was just us.

‘We’re studying werewolf mythologies,’ I told him. ‘He wants us to choose the one we think is the real one and write a paper on it.’

He sighed. ‘When is it due?’

‘Wednesday. You could come over to mine and we can work on it together?’ I suggested.

‘Sure. I’ll check with my dad for some of his information on werewolf history.’ He was silent for a moment. ‘Enough about school work,’ he said, pushing his laptop off his knees.

He pulled me closer and put his arms around me. He kissed me deeply, his lips parting mine.  When we finally broke apart we were gasping for breath. His lips travelled from my mouth down to my neck, my skin tingled in response.

I gasped again at the tingling feeling they gave me. I put my hand around his neck and pulled his lips back to mine. He made a joke of resisting, but it was feeble and soon our lips connected once again. Our school work was forgotten and my self-control was dwindling. Soon, I would have to pull away again. Zac lowered me down on to my back, his lips still pressed against mine.

I knew that it was going too far, but I couldn’t bring myself to break away. Even when his mouth wasn’t on mine, it was somewhere pressed against my skin and all I could do was respond.  He ran his hand down my side, his hands sliding higher. I lost all control.  My hands began to burn with the first signs of transformation. One hand dug into the ground beside me.

Someone shoved Zac off of me, angering him until he saw it was his best friend, Dylan Andrews. He was always interrupting the moments I had with Zac. This time, however, I was grateful.  Zac leaped to his feet to mock fight Dylan while I got myself back under control. I sat up and looked clenching my hands closed, hiding the claws that had appeared. I took a deep breath and they disappeared.  Boys, I thought, looking up at them. I shook my head.

‘Righto boys,’ I said to them in the fake motherly voice I used every time this happened.  ‘Do I need to break up this fight, or will you save me the hassle?’

As always, they stopped mid wrestle, looked at me, then sat up and pulled the usual innocent look. I had to stop myself from laughing. They looked like pups when they got caught doing something naughty. The laughter erupted in the end, bubbling over so that in the end the boys joined me.

‘So anyway,’ Dylan said. ‘What are you doing?’ He glanced at our discarded laptops and books and grinned.

‘We were supposed to be studying,’ I said in an accusing tone. ‘But somebody got us a little bit distracted.’

Dylan laughed. ‘Yep, that’s our Zac.’ He dodged Zac when he tried to push Dylan over again. ‘Anyway, you’re lucky I butted in. You guys were getting a bit carried away. I recommend finding a room.’

We spent the rest of the free period talking about the paper that Mr Hammond had assigned us.  Dylan thought he might write about the French history of werewolves while Zac decided to wait to see what his dad said. Soon the bell rang and students started piling out of the buildings.

I grabbed my stuff and stood to leave. ‘I’m gonna go hang out with Agua,’ I told the boys.

Zac moved toward me for a quick kiss.  ‘See you this arvo.’ I nodded briefly in response.

As I walked towards the cafeteria I heard Dylan speak. ‘Dude, you’re so whipped.’ I heard the responding thud as Zac tackled him.  I walked faster shaking my head at the immaturity going on behind me.

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