It was a clear, cool night in the Santa Fe Forest as I sprinted between the trees that decorated the sides of the Jemez Mountains. Another howl ripped through the crisp New Mexican air, forcing me push myself to run faster.
If I can only get onto safe ground, I'll be ok.
They were coming up on me fast. I could feel them, only a hundred feet back. My senses alerted me to three of the beasts; spaced about twenty feet apart so that when they caught up it would be easier to surround me. If they did, it would hardly be a fight. I was outnumbered, and despite my strength, I would easily be overpowered.
I stole a glance behind me as I ran. The closest wolf, with a sleek, shiny grey coat, was gaining on me. Its chocolate brown eyes bore into mine, fierce and determined. The other wolves, one a snowy white the other a mousy brown, were some distance behind; the same anger glowing in their eyes.
I pushed myself to run harder; faster. The wolves grew closer despite the speed at which I fled. Searing pain shot through my calf. No, No, No! The gray wolf had failed to lock down on my leg. Instead, its teeth had raked through my flesh; leaving deep, ragged wounds. They would heal soon enough, but now I was pissed. Expanding my surveillance, I noticed that the other two wolves were still far behind. Knowing there was little chance of them reaching us immediately, I turned around and slide to a abrupt stop causing the wolf to snarl and attempt to pounce on me. Grabbing it by the neck and lifting it over my head, I hurled it several hundred feet where it crashed into a tree before falling limply to the ground. I spun on my heel with a triumph smile on my lips and took off again; my feet barely hitting the forest floor. There, I bet the mongrel isn't nearly so smug now.
I was coming up to the edge of the Jemez River. I accelerated, my hair flapping behind me, and pushed off a large stone at the edge and leapt over the water, landing silently on the other side. My eyes narrowed at my surroundings for a half second with my right palm on the solid ground. A half second after landing I was off again, running through the gradual thinning sycamores until I reached a large clearing. My pursuers had stopped, but why? I turned, seeing them still on the other side of the river. I laughed as their frustrated growls reached my ears.
Instead of stopping where I was, I decided to run to the other side of the clearing where the trees started accumulating on the steep side of a hill, just to be safe. I didn't want to chance my assumptions being wrong. I stopped, bending over as if to catch my breath. In reality, I wasn't too fazed by the chase. I simply did so out of habit, in an attempt to appear normal. I could exert myself much harder before truly exhausting myself. I ran the back of my hand over my brow, wiping away the sweat beaded there.
Whew, that was a close one. Luckily they all hadn't been able to catch up with me. I shuddered at the thought of what could have been if that had been the case.
It was a fortunate thing for me that I had stepped foot on some covens land. That was the only explanation I could come up with for the wolves' inability to cross the rushing waters. It had to be vampire territory; otherwise those mutts would have simply jumped across the river and continued chasing me. They wouldn't dare, though, if the land belonged to vampires.
And that was precisely why I had come. To find more of my kind; to find a clan or coven to join. In all actuality, the journey had been totally instinctual. There had been some unseen force beckoning me toward the area. I could almost taste their presence, whoever they were. I only prayed that they would be welcoming.