"Our next story takes us to the town of Forks, Washington, where the latest in a bizarre string of animal attacks occurred last night."
I could not look away from the little television in the corner of the restaurant. It was as though a magnet held my eyes on the news anchor's face, even though I wanted nothing more than to tear my gaze away. My hand tightened around my cup of coffee, my fingers digging into the cheap ceramic. I knew what his next words would be.
"The bodies of two hikers were found not far from their campsite. It is believed that they may have been attacked by a wolf. They are the most recent victims of such attacks in Forks this summer. This type of unprovoked attack is extremely rare, and the public is encouraged to stay vigilant while hiking or camping in the area. More after the break."
My mind was awash with images and sounds, as I finally tore my eyes away from the screen. The tearing of a canvas tent. Screams quickly silenced. The smell of fresh blood. A howl in the night…
I knew what I had done, even before I heard about the discovery of the two bodies. I knew as soon as I had awoken in the forest, just before dawn, with blood and pine needles matting my hair. My stomach lurched as the knowledge of what I had done washed over me in waves of horror and guilt. This type of carnage was not new to me, not after so many years, but I never failed to be shocked and awed by it. I had been so careful to get far away. So careful to keep myself as distanced from humanity as I could. I had spent weeks searching for the perfect place to sequester myself, but to no avail. I could never get far enough away. I should have known that. In any case, my efforts were wasted. Innocent people still died.
I took a sip of my coffee, its bitterness helping to steady my nerves. Glancing around at the other patrons in the diner made me uneasy. They had no idea of the danger they were in. It was no animal that had attacked those hikers. It was a monster, the likes of which the people of this sleepy little town could not imagine. A monster that was hiding in plain sight. A wolf in sheep's clothing.
I threw the last of my money on the counter, and shrugged my jacket back on. I left without acknowledging the waitress's friendly goodbye, and stepped out into the misty rain. I knew what I had to do. The time for careful planning and observation was passed. I needed to make contact with this strange tribe, before any more lives were lost. The last bit of hope that I possessed hinged on the possibility that they would be able to help me. If they could not…the alternative did not bear thinking about.