Chapter 4: An Interesting Surprise

I had forgotten how hard it was to ride a horse. It was a whole lot different from riding Jake back at home. My legs ached as we rode along, and I was hoping we would stop soon so I could stretch my legs. As the sun began to fade, we were in the woods. Obviously, we were out of the little town of Grysmont. When we all stopped at a random clearing, Marie jumped down to look around.

“We’re in Recap Forest. It should be safe here,” Marie said as we all sighed in relief. Gabe and Jack dismounted, but I couldn’t. My legs were so sore I couldn’t even move. I blushed red in embarrassment.

“Need some help?” Gabe looked at me smiling.

“That would be a little nice.” I called down to him. He faced the horse and pointed his finger down. The horse sat and I fell to the ground. I laughed, but my legs ached even more as I sat up.

“You’ll get used to it, Riley! It won’t hurt after a while,” he winked and helped unpack the tents.

We all sat close to the fire Jack made. It was a cold night, and the silence was making me feel a little uneasy. Silence meant my mind could wonder, and I didn’t want to think of the pain that would overwhelm me if I did.  

“Let’s get our mind off this cold. How about we tell each other about us?” I suggested. The silence was unbearable. Gabe stood up and got closer to the fire. The lights from the fire made his dark skin glisten against the black night. Without anyone asking, he started his story.

“That’s a great idea! I’ll go first. When I was eight, my mother and I were in a carriage on our way to a distant land to get away from my father. He was very abusive to us. On our way there, my father caught up with us and tipped the carriage. I can still hear his voice. He pulled my mother out and started beating her. ‘Don’t leave me!’ he said.  My mother stopped defending herself and let him beat her to death. All he yelled was ‘Don’t leave me.’ My father was crazy. She was leaving both of us and he didn’t even realize it. When he finally realized she was dead, he started screaming louder and starting crying.

“I had never seen my father that way, so I walked over slowly and put my hand on his shoulder. She looked horrifying. Her face was covered in blood, and it looked like her eyes were swollen three times their normal size. I started crying at the sight of it. Suddenly, I was in the air looking at him straight in his sweaty face. His hair was all nappy, and his gentle blue eyes were changed to a scary green. Enraged, he punched me in the face, and I flew into the woods. The only thing I could remember after that was seeing Jack looking at me. Gosh, I remember how my head felt. It felt like my head was splitting in half. Jack cured me and told me I could stay with him. I was so excited. When I found Marie, she was in the alleyway. I think she was thinking, but she was already with Jack before I came along so I didn’t know that she could talk or anything. When she did, boy was I surprised. Two years later we met you, Riley.”

Gabe looked okay, but I could sense the pain in his eyes. He sat back down and covered himself in a green blanket. I thought that Marie was about to tell her story next because she moved a bit from where she was. She was lying on a blanket next to the fire.

“My story is in my past, and I do not like repeating it. Not tonight children.”

I was looking forward to hearing her story. All I did was sigh and listen to the silence that was now around us. Jack finally broke the silence. I had forgotten he was even there because he was so quiet. He was standing up turned away from us.

“I have a long story. Shame is written all over my name. I-,” he stopped talking and started to look deep into the darkened woods.


“Shh! I hear something,” he put his hand up shushing me.

Gabe was concentrating on if he could hear it, but neither of us could hear a thing.

“Get in the tent Riley. You too Gabe.” We did what Jack said and went in the tent together.

“Did you hear anything Gabe?” I whispered as quietly as I could. He shrugged his shoulders at me and put his ear to the door of the tent.

We both sat quietly listening to nothing but there was only silence outside. What was going on? What was out there? There wasn’t even a whisper of Jack or Marie talking. I finally lay back and tried to go to sleep. There was nothing out there, but Jack insisted for us to go in the tent. As my eyes grew heavy, sleep was easier due to the soreness of my body from the day, so I didn’t fight it. Gabe stayed close to the door of the tent listening to nothing. When I closed my eyes and got comfortable, there was a big snap like a tree falling. I jumped two feet off the ground and got out of the tent. Gabe pulled my arm to try and pull me back in, but it pulled him out also. What I saw was something that I would never forget for the rest of my life.

A tree was knocked down and two figures were wrestling next to it. I saw a boy about my age on top of something way bigger than him. I realized that he was on top of a large, wolf-like creature. The wolf had silky black fur that made the creature look amazingly beautiful. It looked like they didn’t even notice that we were there at all. We watched them fight until Marie got sick of it. She jumped onto the wolf’s shoulder and held on tightly, concentrating to calm it down. The wolf stopped and started to shrink into a human figure. A werewolf? I heard about them in stories, but it’s not even full moon. She jumped down when the person fell to the ground breathing hard. The other guy stopped and looked around to realize other people were present.

“Hey, I was winning!” the guy on the ground said when he stood up still out of breath.

“Whatever Andrew! I was and you know it! There isn’t a scratch on me!” The guy was looking around his body looking for an injury, but there wasn’t one, surprisingly.

“Well, umm, damn it! I would have gotten you!” He had red marks all over his face that looked like he was hurt, but he was healing already. The other guy started laughing and looked at Jack.

“My name is Landon. I promise I mean no harm. I am alone and my diet is very different from the rest of my kind.

I had no idea what he was talking about, but Jack sighed in relief, as he got closer to Landon.

“Is there a particular reason why you two were fighting?” Jack asked in a serious tone.

Landon chuckled and looked at Andrew.

“It seems that Andrew here has a problem with me. I really wasn’t doing anything. I told him I meant no harm to anyone.”

“You were following them! You were going to kill them!”

“And how do you know that Andrew? I was curious and wanted to know where they were headed. You surely can’t suspect someone doing something unless you really know what they were about to do.”

It looked like Andrew was going to argue some more, but he bit his lip and backed up some.

“Why were you following us?” I said as I walked closer towards Landon, but only to be blocked by Jack’s arm. Landon looked at me with a surprised expression and stepped closer towards me.

His eyes were a beautiful bright gray filled with excitement and I gasped under my breath. I was pretty sure that my eyes were peeled open when I saw his face. His face was very pale, but his skin looked smooth and baby like. I wanted to reach out and touch his face, but I refused to do so. His lips were full and curved up into a beautiful smile. Well, it seemed a little more of a smirk, but was still very beautiful. His dimples were absolutely perfect with his smile. I took a deep breath and tried to hide my blushing from his beauty. I was glad that it was dark.

“I was curious, that’s all. I wanted to know where you were headed. I don’t usually see a lot of people in this area.”

I looked at him looking for a lie, but there wasn’t one. He was telling the truth from what I saw. His warm, smooth, grayish eyes intrigued me. Jack backed me up even more and I decided to sit by the dim fire again to watch all of them talk things out. I felt completely flushed looking at Landon so staring at the flames made me feel better.

“We could really use some help along the way. We will be traveling for a good while and extra protection is always wanted,” Jack said to both of them.

Landon was more than obliged to join us. He said that he had nothing else to do and a journey would clear his head of things. Andrew on the other hand was a little unsure about it. He really didn’t like Landon for some apparent reason, and he didn’t want Landon to hurt anyone, but he took the offer to watch over us because of Landon. I didn’t understand what that all meant. I would be more scared of Andrew than Landon since he was a werewolf. Maybe if I weren’t so tired I would ask, but my eyes were already heavy. Marie was already in Jack’s tent. She went in there after she calmed Andrew down.

“Okay, now this is all settled, we can all rest in peace. We don’t have extra tents, but I’m sure Gabe doesn’t mind sharing,” Jack looked at both and pointed to Gabe where he was walking towards his tent. Andrew was already walking that way, but Landon did not.

“I don’t sleep. I’ll just stay close by and watch. I really don’t mind at all. I need to hunt anyway.”

Andrew stopped walking and started shaking.

“Don’t worry Andrew. I told you, my diet is different from my kind.”

Andrew stopped shaking and started walking again. Noticing how tired I was, I went towards my tent exhausted.

“This was an interesting surprise. I hope we can trust the both of you,” Jack said walking towards his tent. Before I could turn around to see his expression, Landon disappeared into the woods. I got into my tent and didn’t even stay up to think. I would ask questions in the morning.

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