The world of legend, it would seem, was not too far away, even for a simple girl like Leah Clearwater. As her fate catches up with her, she loses her hold on her big dreams, her family and the only person that mattered.
1. WOLF (Prologue)
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She came bounding through the forest—fast, almost invisible so that through her eyes the surrounding woods was nothing but a blur of green, black and grey. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest. She didn’t know where she was going. She just wanted to get as far from home as fast as possible.
The air was wet, yet it has yet to rain. She can sense it coming though, strangely enough, as a color. The storm was a hoary wash from the north, swiftly heading for La Push. She has never smelled color before.
what’s going on. what’s happening to me.
Underneath her feet, rocks, twigs, leaves and the soft earth seem to crumble into dust as she passed. There was a new strength inside her that was bursting through every limb. It felt frighteningly infinite and dangerous. She let out a loud, anguished cry but to her dismay, what came out of her lips was something else.
It was a howl that brought an unnerving chill down her spine— a foreign sound, that quivered with anguish. She immediately stopped dead in her tracks, aghast at what she heard, unsure if it did come from her. But it did bring her some release.
who are you.
Her breath caught in her throat, she flicked her eyes about her, searching for the source of the voice she refused to answer.
hey. who are you.
She whimpered. That voice. It sounded so familiar. But that wasn’t what frightened her. The voice sounded like it was in her head.
i’m going crazy. i’m going crazy. i’m going crazy.
She whisked frantically around, scouring the trees, surrounding bushes and hanging foliage. There was nobody around, not even the wind. Everything was still.
i’m going crazy. i’m going cra--
leah. leah. is that you.
She froze. The tip of her nose tingled. The storm was almost there. The wind was already making an appearance.
There was pause after she spoke. It was very short, only it felt like an eternity for her. Then, the voice finally answered.
stay where you are.
The wind was stronger now and although it smelled painfully cold, she didn’t feel a thing. She howled again. Slowly, she crumpled to the ground.
it’s okay. you’ll be okay.
dad. he had a heart attack.
i think it’s my fault.
no. no, it’s not.
sam. why can’t i see you. where are you.
i’m almost there.
Somehow, the cold air and damp ground became apparent to her. Bit by bit, as the color of the impending rain faded, she felt the brambles she curled up on slice through her skin. Tears trickled down her cheeks and chin and this time, when she sobbed, what came out of her sounded human.
The girl raised her eyes to find Sam Uley standing in front of her in only a pair of ratty jeans. In his hand was his favorite blue shirt, the one she gave him for his birthday an eternity ago.
Her voice was cracked with pain and fatigue. “Sam.”
Quickly, he walked up to her and she fell into his embrace.
“Why?” she sobbed. “Why me?”
He gently kissed her forehead and wiped her tear-stained face with his hands. “I wish I knew,” he whispered in her hair.
He let her cry until he felt her shudder underneath his arms. “You’re cold.”
“I—I smelled the rain. It’s going to rain.”
He took his shirt. “You better put this on.” With great care, he pulled it over head and down her shoulders.
For a moment, she was confused. She looked down and saw that Sam’s shirt was the only thing she had on now. Whatever happened back at home had caused her to lose all her clothes. Her eyes welled up again.
“Ssh,” Sam said. “It’s okay. It really happens.”
She nodded and met his eyes with hers. She shakily raised her hand and touched his face. “It must have been so hard for you back then.”
Underneath her fingers, she felt his jaw clench. His eyes seemed to change from its warm brown color to a stony grey.
“You should’ve told me,” she whispered.
He took a deep breath and lifted her into his arms. “Let’s get you home.”
Leah closed her eyes. It had been a while since she was in such close proximity to him. She wanted to savor every bit of the moment but the heaviness of sleep was beginning to take over. It was getting dark and the rain seemed to have changed its course.
She whispered again. “I would’ve taken care of you.”
Then, she let sleep take over. But before she finally drifted into unconsciousness, she heard him whisper back. “I know.”