Wrenley moves to Waindale, the place where her mother grew up and where her grandmother still lives. Between the pine trees and above the wet ground, she soon realizes that Waindale is anything but the perfect place she remembers it as. Dark things stalk the woods. Dark things are pulling her in. "I turn on the lamp that's sat on top of my dresser. The pink lampshade makes my room glow with a feminine warmth, and it shines through the glass of my window; a signal so he can find his way home. It's dark out there, so bone-chillingly dark that I nearly fear for him before realizing that he is the greatest danger in those woods."View More
Sometimes I see him—his face in the darkness of the open closet or the blur of trees as we drive by. I wish I believed myself when I mutter that it's just my head conjuring such things from nothing. I wish my father wasn't capable of things beyond my imagination.It's been a year since I escaped my father and became a shifter. I thought that would be enough time to move on from it all, but I often find myself reliving the many memories I have stored away. Adam will pull me from my trance only to tell me that he's called my name twice already. He'll ask me what's on my mind like he doesn't know, and I'll wave him off as if it were nothing. We used to talk about it during the first few months, but eventually, I saw no use in repeating the same worries and nightmares. There is only so much he can do.Despite my lingering past, we are
"I never thought this day would end," Vivianne groans.I glance at her as we walk down the hallway—her, Imogen, and I all heading toward the main doors of the academy. "I got so used to doing nothing over winter break that even putting on my uniform took it out of me," Imogen says. "So how about we go to the diner and celebrate our first day back? I'm thinking burgers, fries, milkshakes—""Sorry, I can't," I say. "Adam is waiting for me.""Out front? Right now?" Vivianne asks."Yeah. He should be out there."She frowns. "What about girl time? You pretty much disappeared the entire break and came back suddenly one of us, now—"
Once I make it back home and dress behind the house, I come to the front and find him leaving through the front door. "Adam!" I call and hurry towards him. "Where are you going?"He takes a breath. "Good, you're back. Stay inside—my mother is on her way. She'll stay with you here.""But where are you going? Don't tell me you're going with them into the mountains.""No. I'm going to the north border to meet the group when they arrive back. I made some calls and sent Ben to the town hall.""I—okay. When will you be back?" I ask, tired of being apart. It feels like every time we are reunited, something is wedged between us, keeping us from each other. I miss the days when our biggest worry was whether or not my mom would be w
If he was cold, I could warm him. Hot, I could cool him. Dead, I could revive him.I wake on the hard stones of the beach, empty and alone. The night gives way to day as the sun begins to break through in shades of orange and pink, yellow, and beyond—the lightest blue. The blood that drained from within me has dried, and I shed my clothes to wash them and myself in the ocean.The godly strength I felt is gone, but the ocean water is not frigid against my skin. Overwhelming hunger has surfaced, but the great understanding I once had has dimmed. I'm one of them now. I can feel the need to shift inside me, but I'm scared of how it will feel; how I may change not only physically, but mentally.My stomach thunders, furious from starvation.
Coughs erupt from my throat as I crawl out of the water and up the pebbled beach. My nails dig into the rocks as I heave out one last croak and collapse onto my back. The night has consumed the light of day, but the cover of dark won't hide me from him. He's coming for me, and my baby isn't safe.My chest rises and falls rhythmically as my eyes study the night sky. His voice sounds in my head, toying with me. I manage to climb further up the beach until the waves can't reach me. I don't know how far I am from Waindale, or how close I am to the mountains. The forest stands like I wall, masking the lay of the land.My growing baby eats up a majority of my father's power, but I use the rest to replenish my tired limbs. However, the longer I rest to heal myself, the more my father's looming presence devours me, stealing all forms of rationa
In the middle of the library, I lay flat on my back and stare up at the intricate ceiling. Crown molding and other carvings rope along it like white vines and knot together at the center point of the roof. Aimed directly underneath it, I close my eyes and recall what I read in one of the many books I've studied from my father's collection. I couldn't find any information about teleportation or any sort of traveling similar to the mysterious vanishing he does, but I did read about astral projection, and if there's a possibility of seeing Adam again, I'm going to give it a try.I let a wave of relaxation wash over me slowly from my feet, up my legs, over my torso, down my arms and through my neck until lastly, my face relaxes as well. With steady, deep breaths I feel myself sinking into my mind, drowning until it feels like my body is melting into the floor. A sense of isolation takes over
I think about the times he's begged me to listen. I think about the moment he held me so tightly and pleaded for me to stay alive—to hide when he says hide; run when he says run. There are things in this world that could rip me apart. There are monsters that hide in the shadows, but little did I know that I would be one of them. Adam couldn't protect me from myself, though. I was constantly preparing for the day my father would take me, yet when the time finally came I felt so blindsided. There was nothing I could do. I promised him time—I didn't know how much—but I told him that we would at least have a little. Time to have my baby. Time to plan a rebuttal. Time to say goodbye.Either I left with him, or he killed Adam.I close my eyes and imagine Adam's arms around me, remembering just how safe I felt in his hold. Re
I'll do anything he wants. I'll agree to anything as long as Adam's safety is secured.Ester's voice fades with distance. The only things audible are my heavy breaths and the frantic beating of my own heart in my ears. I hurry through the trees like a blind woman guided by the hand of another, trusting in the abilities that I know will turn on me. Forest surrounds me, and just when I begin to feel trapped in the lush illusion, voices surface. I chase after them. I power through the brush until the jarring presence of my father taints the air. He leaves a trail of pollution everywhere he goes as if his presence on earth defies the laws of nature.The voices morph into words. It's Adam. I'm sure he can sense that I'm near, but I can't risk being caught by him. My father is hunting my mate, and I am hunting my father.
I watch Adam and he lays peacefully beside me, the morning sun just beginning to rise and trickle into our bedroom. Abstract shapes of yellow sun are cast over the room, rectangles stretched on the wood floor and the cream walls, and I used to stare at them before getting out of bed. But now that Adam is here with me, I can look at him like I used to. I used to lay here and listen to his steady breaths. It wasn't often that I'd wake up before him, but with my father's power, my sleep schedule has been anything but normal.It's not a new concept to me anyway—to be awake at all the wrong times.Just as I note the pleasant silence, the bedroom door slowly opens. Ester pokes her head through, sees that I'm awake, then proceeds toward me with a tall glass of concentrated vitamins. She likes to juice things for me.
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