Thank god I finally finished this. Took me a month to start writing again. And its crappy... :(

Chapter 3 - Night Begins

Houston's humid air circled around me creating an atmosphere that was unbreathable. My shirt was already sticking to me and sweat moved in small drops down my forehead and into my eyes.

Gods how I hated it here in the summer. It was the middle of the night yet it felt so muggy and hot, more like noon then ten o'clock at night. It felt like the night just wanted to suffocate me, putting pressure on all sides. I wanted to go back yet I was so hungry. I haven't ate anything real in days and my stomach was gnawing at my insides.

I had to reach the park before I could change though. And it was at the outskirts of the city. So far away. Just thinking about it made my stomach grumble again in protest.

I grimaced and decided what the hell. What Jasmine doesn't know wont hurt her. Or her me, to be more exact. I walked into a secluded alley a few blocks from the nightclub behind an apartment building. I looked all around me, sniffing the air, seeking out humans or any other creatures that might be lurking in the shadows.

There was no one.

So I decided to morph right then and there. I thought of my wolf form, and my body started to instantly change. I arched my back from the momentary pain that zipped up my spine and then fell headfirst seeing my hands and feet turn into paws. My ears grew long and pricked up, pointing forward; my face lengthened, growing narrower, into a white snout. My eyes turned to a cold white grey like early morning shadows in a forest.

I stepped forward hesitantly, my paws flexing, feeling the vibrations of cars, trains, and peoples footsteps, in small short tremors or long heavy vibrations.

I felt rejuvenated. Full of life and impatience. There was electricity flowing throughout my body and I pranced around in a little circle. I wanted to arch my head and howl to the crescent moon above me. But then my stomach rumbled again. I stopped and whined. Where the hell was I supposed to get good in a place like this?

I knew I should've gone to the national park. Jasmines going to get angry if I don't come back fully sated. I put my nose in the air, trying to sniff out some wildlife near me. But all I smelled was polluted air, garbage, and a dead raccoon. I swatted my nose with my paw. Cities are so disgusting.

I knew there was a small public park somewhere near here. On Willow Street I think. It was a few blocks south, but I couldn't just walk to it in my current form. If people was a wolf in the city, stalking the streets; they'd freak. So I decided to make my way through the rat infested, dirt-filled alleyways that ran between the apartment buildings. Now I'm a surprisingly clean wolf - no sarcasm intended, so dirty alleys don't really appeal to me, but they have served my purpose many times before.

So I quickly trotted across the street making sure I wasn't seen, and entered the skinny alleyway. I zigzagged my way through the dark shadows, my eyes picking my way through mountains of trash that littered the floor. After a few minutes of wading through hell, I reached the opening to the park.

Six-hundred and forty acres of closely bunched trees, pebbled paths, and hundreds of small animals waiting to be eaten. I licked my lips in anticipation, already tasting the warm meat of a squirrel in my mouth. Luna really has been poisoning me with all that human food. Its sad how a wolf like me ends up drooling just for a tiny little squirrel. I think I've hit rock bottom when it comes to pride.

I looked up and down the street stilling hiding in the alley. When no cars or people were present I ran across the street into the quite lush of green.

The trees enveloped me like a great blanket, showing me secrets no human will ever know. Giggles echoed around me sounding near and far at the same time.

Dryads, I thought. Nymphs who were bound to their own unique tree. Dryads were beautiful and compassionate lesser gods, the masters of grace. They bend yet do not break, even in a strong wind. Meaning they are very stubborn. And they love a good argument once in a while.

I felt many eyes upon me giving me a tiny feeling of unease. The trees leaves rustled even though there was no wind. I knew they were whispering about me so I stayed still, waiting for one to appear.

Suddenly, I saw a movement in the tree to my right. An arm formed from the bark followed by a body and head. After a few seconds a girl fully emerged wearing long leaves tied together in a short shirt and skirt. A majestic beauty surrounded her bronze colored body. She was lithe, dainty. Her long raven hair was windblown, making her look wild, like she didn't belong in this world. She pouted her lips, a bit of annoyance shaded her deep set green eyes. But there was also a spark of curiosity.

She spoke first. "What brings you to our woods, brother?"

I considered an answer. Nymphs are very finicky when it comes to their homes and the environment. If I said I was going to eat some of their….neighbors they'd probably be enraged. Probably. Though they may let me since I'm close kin. I am a creature of nature same as they. Well it was worth a try. "To dine, if I may sister." I answered back within my psychic link. I bowed my head showing them I waited for their reply.

The trees rustled again with much more force. The Dryad girl tilted her head to them, still keeping her eyes on me. A sudden burst of wind made her sway, her hair danced in wild frenzy.

She then broke eye contact and turned to where the wind blew from. The rustling of the trees stopped. And there was absolute silence.

Something was wrong, that I knew for certain. News the wind brought. I lifted my head to sniff the air but sensed nothing. Whatever is was, was gone. I turned my eyes back to the girl who was now staring at me with a new expression on her face. Uneasiness? Uncertainty? I couldn't tell, but it was making me nervous.

She absently nodded her head, as if agreeing with something in her mind. She spoke again, "Dante."

I automatically froze. I never told her my name. I stepped back a little, narrowing my eyes.

"Dante," she repeated again, not noticing the change in my bearing, "we will let you hunt here whenever you like, but only if you protect us from…people, who would do us harm."

She hesitated, there at the end. Something else was going on. Something they feared. Or someone. I didn't know what they wanted but I decided to go along with them. A square mile of land to freely hunt on while in return protecting a few trees? It was too good to pass up…and they knew it. I nodded at her, showing my agreement.

She smiled and told me, "Go south, across two pebbled paths, then west. You'll be at the center of the park, that's where most of the game will be." Then she turned her back without waiting for a reply and entered her tree again, merging with the bark.

I got up and followed her directions, not knowing the trap was sprung before the night truly even began.

I knew he was here, in this forest. If you call it a forest. It ridiculed me to the utmost. Damn humans always have their way with nature. Can't they understand the beauty of the life all around them? I'm no goddess of the earth or anything, but the forest was always sacred to the hunt. And that's what matters to me.

I eyed the area making sure nothing was out of place. If it was, he'd notice all soon that it was a trap. I looked over my shoulder at the creatures behind me and grimaced. To even use them was disgusting. Why the gods didn't kill them was lost on me. I definitely wanted to wring their throats just for the simple pleasure it would give me.

But first I have a wolf to snare. If he can, I'll let him do the job for me. I smiled mischievously, knowing that the moon will shine red tonight.