A/N: I haven't updated in so long, I know. Part of it was because of all my school work (I just started high school) and part of it was because of my own laziness, but, finally, here is the next chapter! Please tell me what you think!

"Blythe! Blythe! Blythe!" An urgent voice rouses me from my dreamless sleep. My eyelids flutter open and my eyes focus on Hunter, standing over me in human form, a worried expression on her face.

"Huh?" I mutter with a yawn, shifting into human form and rubbing the sleep from my eyes. "What's the matter?"

"Layla's gone!" she exclaims, her eyes wide with shock and fear.

"What?' I spring to my feet and follow her quickly to the mouth of the cave, where Isaac and Damon are anxiously waiting. "What's going on?"

"I—I woke up this morning and Layla was gone," Isaac stutters. "I thought that was strange, 'cause, you know, she's usually the last one up. So I got up and looked around, but I didn't see her anywhere!"

Of course, my paranoid brain immediately runs through all the worst scenarios possible: Maybe she was killed, maybe she was found by the government and taken to experiment on, maybe she is being held hostage, maybe… On the outside, though, I try to look confident. "Maybe she just went for a walk," I suggest, the statement sounding more like a question. I reach into the of my blue jeans and pull out my cell phone. Layla is definitely a modern-day, 21st century girl; she always has her cell phone and her iPod with her at all times.

"We already tried calling her," Hunter says shakily, but I dial Layla's number anyway. One ring…two rings…three…four…five…it cuts to her voicemail and I hang up, a lump in my throat. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no, I think as, once again, pictures of Layla being tortured and killed flash through my mind. My eyes scan the area, looking for any signs of where my friend may have gone, and my gaze falls on a faint series of markings in the dirt about 50 feet away.

"Look," I tell everyone, leading them over. "It looks like Layla's paw prints!" We wordlessly hurry to follow the trail made by our friend. It goes for about an eighth of a mile before stopping at a stream. We all look to Damon as he bends down to examine the marks.

"It seems like she came here for a drink and was ambushed by someone or something," he explains, pointing to the end of the trail, where there are several sets of large, animal-like footprints, along with scrape marks that appear to indicate a scuffle. "She fought back, but whoever attacked her must have been too strong." He takes a closer look at the huge, clawed prints and pauses for half a minute before adding, "I'm not sure what these are. They look kind of like bear prints. But the thing is, they don't go anywhere. Layla's attackers must have traveled through the stream."
I swallow hard, but try to keep my composure. "Okay, so we need to decide which way to go." Immediately, each of us changes into wolves and sniffs around, trying to pick up on even the faintest hint at where our friend's kidnappers went. Nothing. We all come up short, and a growl of frustration escapes me.

"We can try going downstream," Hunter suggests, and all of our heads bob in agreement. We trudge along next to the river. The only sounds we can here are the quiet, muffled thumps of our feet as we walk; we are all too worried to make conversation. After walking for almost an hour, a faint scent hitting my nose stops me in my tracks. My nose points up into he air to better analyze the smell. The wind carries Layla's distinct odor, along with another, unrecognizable scent.

"She's this way!" I whisper excitedly. My pack and I continue walking, the aromas, and our apprehension, growing with every step. Another fifteen minutes pass when a faint rustling sound catches my attention and I stop, ears perked. Before I can even turn my head, a huge shape seemingly springs out of nowhere and knocks me to the ground. My eyes close for a moment in pain, and when they open again, all I can see is an enormous pair of jaws looming above me, ready to snap down on my neck and make the kill.