Disclaimer : Everyone knows who own Buffy and co ! Obviously, it's not me!

The story is the fifth episode in a series called 'Rocky path' and begins around one year after 'Chosen'

(01x01 : Friends, 01x02 : Guilty, 01x03 : Gifted; 01x04 : On the road are the four first episodes, I strongly recommand to read them to understand that one)

You can check it out on my website

Please let me know what you think.

And I'm still looking for beta-readers !

A mild breeze was blowing in the evening air, sliding between the trees and lifting the leaves which rustled quietly with each new gust.

Night had fallen for already two hours and the temperature was still nice though some clouds veiled the sky.

Here and there, some lingered passers-by were hurrying in the deserted streets of a small town in the center of Iowa.

Matthew Ridick was not one of them. Matthew liked going for a walk on the evening. He enjoyed the calm of the evening, the coolness of the night and its silence. He was a software engineer and spent his days surrounded by the noise of the computers, printers, telephone, and people calling at each other.

So, after the pressure of the day, he came back home to relax, had dinner alone most of the time and then went out again after nightfall to enjoy the silence of a short nightly walk.

Tonight wasn't exception. Hands dug in his black jeans' pocket, a gray sweater on his back, white sport shoes not that with anymore at his feet, Matthew was walking lazily in quiet streets that would lead him from his block to the town center. His quite long blonde hair danced in the evening's breeze and tickled his neck for his greatest pleasure as his eyes were roaming on the park he was going alongside for several minutes. Matthew came often here on the weekends, to run, to go for a walk or for a picnic with Melissa. Melissa, her soon to be girlfriend.

A noise of crumpled leaves got his attention and brought him out of his Melissa oriented reverie. Matthew stopped walking and turned curiously to the park. He gazed carefully around him for a few seconds. When he didn't notice anything particular, he turned again in front of him to resume his walk.

And stepped back.

In front if him stood now what he identified as a wolf. A really big wolf. The animal looked strangely built to him but it was dark and after all, Matthew had never seen a wolf, except in books. For a second, he wondered how he had arrived here. The second after if he was aggressive.

He didn't wonder for toot long as the animal started to growl and stepped forward. Matthew instinctively stepped back and felt his heart pounding widely in his chest as a dull anguish was building into him. The wolf made a new step, bunched up his chops and growled even more. Matthew's distraught eyes went around without him knowing exactly what he was looking for. When the wolf made a third step toward him, his reaction was to turn back and run. But as soon as he started to run in the opposite direction, he caught a glimpse of another animal blocking his way.

Matthew felt panic rise and he turned abruptly on his left to jump above a bush and disappear in the park.

"Help!" He yelled as loud as he could. "Somebody, help!"

Anguish in his own voice made him shiver as he ran randomly as fast as his legs allowed him. He could hear behind the light footsteps of both wolves following him. He cast a glance in his back and saw two pairs of yellow eyes gleam in the night. The two beasts followed him but they didn't make any effort to try to catch up with him. They just followed him, seeming to be delighted in his fear, seeming to wait for the moment when they would decide to finish this. Matthew felt himself breaking out in a cold sweat at this thought and he tried to force his already exhausted legs to run faster. He missed to stumble as his foot hit a rock but in a desperate effort, he managed to keep his balance and resumed running despite his now hurting foot.

A new glance behind him told him that both wolves were still on his heels. But in front of him, the lights of the street on the other side of the park were appearing at a hundred meters. Hope came back. Maybe there would be somebody to help him in this street.

"Help!" He yelled again. "Help!"

His voice choked because of his breath, jerky by his effort. His legs felt like they were made in lead, his chest was burning, his head was blurry.

A hundred more meters, he thought. A hundred meters and he might be saved. A hundred meters and tomorrow he would tell that episode to Melissa and he would act proud. She would be impressed, that was for sure. And now, he would avoid nightly walks, he promised to himself as the bushes surrounding the park were at last in sight. Less than a hundred meters.

A clear growl hit suddenly his ears just before a weight in his back made him stumble forward.

Matthew fell to the ground. He turned on his back and saw both wolves jump to him without waiting. The young man managed to catch a piece of wood near him and shook it furiously above him with his right hand as he put his left arm across his face as mean of protection. He felt fangs and claws tearing at his flesh and prayed God or whoever to come to his help as pain sobs shook his body that was torn into pieces. But nothing came. And the last thing Matthew Ridick ever saw before sinking was the crescent moon seeming to smile to him.