A/N: Okay, so I re-did(ha ha, more like touched up a tad) the chapter. Why? Because I re-read it and decided it sucked and made as much sense as snow in July. Well, July in my state is pretty hot, at least. I hope the itaic words aren't too pretentious. I kind of like them. Also, I did not get the legend of the Skin Walkers from the movie. I got it from Monstropedia. Look it up if you want something to do. It's pretty sweet.

In the time of the ancients, before white men colonized America, The Great Spirit spoke to a Sioux chief, Howling Wolf. The Great Spirit told him that his tribe would don cursed animal pelts and run under the full moon as those same beasts and they would suffer for all eternity unless the Chief stepped down from his leadership. Chief Howling Wolf scoffed at his God, telling him he would never leave his beloved position, that it was foolish to think such things could happen.

Angry, The Great Spirit left him. Many years later, after Howling Wolf had thought himself safe, a young brave by the name of Swift Stag came back from a hunting party with the body of his partner, claiming he had been killed by a huge lone wolf, and he had killed and skinned it. Howling Wolf doubted his story, but there were no marks of weapons on the man, only fang marks.

That night Swift Stag put on the wolf pelt. It grew to fit his body, covering it in black and brown fur, changing his features to that of strange almost wolf creature. Feeling his new power, he ran under the full moon that blazed in the sky.

This cycle continued for moons until Chief Howling Wolf was the only one human. The only one mortal. He begged The Great Spirit to help him. His God took mercy on him and told him that on the next full moon he would go to the river and drink. The water would give him powers to stop the beasts from killing and destroying.

The river was lost down the centuries, dried up, hidden, or destroyed by white men, only the Skin Hunters know. And maybe the Skin Walkers did at one point. Perhaps they themselves destroyed it in hopes they would not be wiped out. Nevertheless, the curse of Walkers and Hunters was passed by blood through the generations, spreading to the white men. Tainting bloodlines, but never mixing.

This is the legacy of the Skin Walkers and the Skin Hunters.

--

So this is how it ends? The big wolf-creature thought, laying his big head on his black paws, canine fangs showing. When they kill me, they'll die too. The thought comforted him. Without his kind to kill, the Hunters would all die. But I'll take a few down with me first. The massive wolf-like creature rose to his paws, and stepped out to meet them.

They were all male, all armed to the teeth with weapons. Guns, knives, everything. They were all dark skinned, with black hair. The wolf-creature sneered at them, baring his fangs, he leapt at one, never saw him lift his blade and sink it in his chest…

--

Shade sat bolt up-right, yanking the covers up to cover her bare, heaving chest. She was covered in cold sweat, her eyes wide and wild, heart-beat pounding in her chest. Zac, her boyfriend, sat up beside her, looking around. "Wha? Wha's wrong, Sha?" He asked thickly. "'Nother bad dream?"

Shade nodded and snuggled against him. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her onto his lap. She buried her face against his neck and whimpered. He rested his cheek on the top of her black hair, inhaling the scent, cherries and almonds. He loved that scent. He loved the girl. And it scared the hell out of him.

After a while he guessed she was asleep, then looked at the clock. Almost six. He laid her on the bed and eased the blanket over her pale-skinned body. Those damn dreams were ruining her life. She was always exhausted and jumped at her own shadow. Zac hated seeing those beautiful blue eyes haunted and scared.

--

Shade sat half-awake in the coffee shop. Zac sat opposite her, watching her intently. She was so exhausted, she wanted just one peaceful night's sleep. No dreaming she was being killed or killing. "You should see a doctor." Her lover said finally, his warm brown eyes meeting hers.

"No." She told him, her spin stiffening. Her mother had had sleep problems, and then she died for no proven reason. Shade didn't want to know she was going to go crazy like her.

"I hate seeing you like this." He growled desperately. "You're so fucking tired all the time, and you look like hell. People are going to think you're on drugs."

"Let them think what they want. It's just stupid dreams. I'm fine, Zac." She took the last sip of her latte and got up. "I'm going for a walk." She muttered and left. Zac sighed. Well, I certainly fucked that up.

--

There was a power tugging at Shade. Urging her to move, demanding her to move even though she was so tired she felt like vomiting. Her feet dragged through the snow covered ground, leading her to the woods that near the edge of town.

The power was getting stronger, pulling hard. Shade didn't have the energy required to pick her feet up, much less fight the inner tug and promise of relief to her exhaustion. She walked to edge of a small cliff, about ten feet from the ground. She looked over the edge, her energy-drained mind trying to comprehend how to get past it.

Her feet strayed a bit too close to the edge and the ground gave way. She hit the ground hard, her head slamming against the icy compact snow, which promptly gave way as a rope snapped her leg to the side. She shrieked as something tore, cracked, and burned. She hung just above a pit lined with spikes thicker than her forearm, suspended by her left leg. She vomited and blacked out.