I rushed through the woods, the wind whipping my fur back close to my body. Anger radiated off of me as I dodged the trees, startling other nocturnal animals during their own hunts. I didn't care; I was pissed and not stopping until I ran my anger off.

Gabriel, I growled in my thoughts. That sneaking low-life! How dare he desert me!! That womanizing loser and I had been going out for almost a year. Gabriel told me himself that it was the longest he had ever been with the same woman. I should have realized that was not a compliment but a warning of what was to come. Not a week after he told me this did I catch that creep out with another she-wolf draped on his arm.

When I demanded the reason for this, he merely shrugged it off and said, "I got bored. See ya, babe."

He dumped me right there in the middle of the busiest bar in the city and in front of his new whore. Everyone had seen and heard and that little bitch had giggled when he said that. It made me want to snap her neck and then his. But there were humans about so that was a not an option. I considered following them to a secluded area; but I remember the last time I stalked the girl who had stolen my boyfriend and the trouble I got into over trashing her room while she was away. Besides Gabriel wouldn't be worth the trouble anyway, the bastard.

I barely dodged a low branch on one of the many young pine trees. I growled at the intrusion on my thoughts by the plant. Those stupid things are all over this state!! Why did we have to come here of all places? We had moved to the state of South Carolina to escape suspicion after "the incident".

That was the Pack's way of referring to what happened up north when two of my Pack members, Rafe and Astrid, went absolutely crazy, starting a killing spree. Not only that, but they had tried to frame me for it. Being emotionally unstable at the time, I almost believed it myself. It was during the time after Aiden broke up with me after I revealed my true idenity as a loup-garou­, or a werewolf. It had been a tense month.

I shook my head viciously, tyring to sling such thoughts from my mind. It's all over now. Stop wallowing in the past... it's the future you need to concentrate on... like what Mom's gonna say when she finds out about this...

I sighed, but as a wolf, it was more of a wheeze. Esme will either a) never let me live it down, b) go after him herself even though she is almost twice his age, or c) all of the above. I was betting on answer c. A mental picture came of Esme and Garbriel becoming intimate which made me double over with nausea, gagging.

Troublesome mutt, I grumbled. I realized even with my loup-garou strength, I wouldn't endure long enough to run this anger off. I slowed reluctantly to a stop, my paws skidded on the fallen pine straw. I decided that, for once, I had had enough of running in my wolf skin. I groaned with the rippling pleasure of shifting into my half-state, being both animal and girl. I got up off my hands and knees and prepared to run back to my new house where my clothes were waiting in the backyard under a huge oak tree. As I turned, the breeze I had been running with hit me full in the face and a scent reached my nose.

It was different than anything I had ever scented before in all my years. It was a cold scent, almost like that of a newly dead corpse. But the unlike the normal smell of death, the smell was not sour with decay but, for some reason, sweet. It also held a slight metalic tang to it, like iron or a puddle of blood. I breathed in again and noted that the scent was spread out as though what ever it clung to had been moving. But the weird thing was there was no other scent to accompany the dead one. It was as if the corpse had been walking by it's own free will!

Somewhere inside me, my feral instinct told me to run away from this unnatural phenomenon. But I stood firm. I had to make sure, confirm my suspicions. The last time odd killings weren't investigated led to disaster. I had to make sure none of my family went wild.

I looked around on ground where the scent was the strongest. I saw no fresh marks of a passerby nor any blood to suggest that something bleeding was dragged through here. Relief washed through me. Whatever it was, it carried no evidence of being slain by one of our own. Just then a snapping twig made me tense up. I was not alone. What unnerved me was I had not heard or scented anyone drawing near me.

What am I doing? I demanded to myself. I am a loup-garou. What could I possibly be afraid of?! I fought back this unfamilar fear and planted my body in a stance of brave defiance. "Who's there? What do you want?"

There came no answer, no movement among the surrounding pines. I curled my lip in annoyance that this wise guy thought I didn't know he was there. "I know you're out there. C'mon out and face me, unless you're scared of a little girl!"

I didn't view myself as such, of course, but if it wounded whoever-was- following-me's pride enough to lure them out, I figured I'd give it a shot. I frowned; still nothing. Perhaps it was only in my head. I was just about to leave when something caught my attention.

"Well, there's no need to be insulting," a smooth voice drifted down to me. It startled me. I was not used to people sneaking up on me. I was not used to being startled. It made me mad.

"I'll be the judge of that," I snapped. From the voice I could tell the stranger was male. I also noticed that he was young. To confirm my thoughts, a shadow in the trees nimbly dropped down from the branches and landed easily in a crouch, revealing a boy perhaps my age before me.

I took a breath and was caught off-guard when I realized the strange scent radiated off of him. But why did he smell of death? He seemed very much alive to me. But then again... why was the corpse scent the only one I smelled on him? Was he really alive?

"A simple 'would you please reveal yourself' would have sufficed," he added. I stared at him. He was unlike anything I had ever seen. He was tall, clad in all black which matched his eyes perfectly but also set off the extreme paleness of his skin. But what caught my attention the most was his hair. It shone like the full moon with the purest silver hue. Great moon! He looks as if the Goddess herself kissed his forehead to make his hair that beautiful, I thought, meizmorized by this teen.

I regained my composure and retorted, "Yeah, right. I like 'get your useless ass down here', better."

He looked at me thoughtfully. He seemed as curious about me as I was him. His eyes roamed my figure and for once in my life I was genuinely embarrassed of my barely furred form. I was not one for femine modesty and would strut around the town naked if I felt like it, but something about him studying me made me nervous and self-concious. I couldn't explain it; these useless emotions were more alien to me than fear. It angered me that this odd boy could stir such things up in me without any explanation.

"Why were you following me?" I asked, trying to hide the blush creeping up my face. Whether it was from anger, embarrassment, or both, I had no idea, but either one didn't sound good to me.

"I wasn't following you," he answered smoothly, meeting my eyes without any hesitation. I tensed. In the Pack, meeting someone's eyes like that after being asked a question referring to crossing into the other's territory or hunting path was considered a challenge. But as I looked on, I saw that in his eyes there was no sign of wanting a confrontation. "You interrupted my hunting."

I was slightly puzzled by that answer. He was not equipped for hunting; no gun, knife, or traps like those of human hunters. So how could he possibly be hunting?

"What are you doing out here so late?" he asked. That wasn't a challenge either. He was seriously curious.

"Because I can be," I snapped. I frowned at my childish answer, but it was the best I could come up with. His curiosity about me was slightly unnerving. "Besides, what are you doing out here?"

"As I've said, hunting," he replied, a smile tugging at his mouth.

"Hunting what exactly, smart ass?" I snapped, folding my arms across my chest, hiding it from his view.

He couldn't fight the smile now. It was subtle but there all the same. I just knew it was mocking me.

He shrugged. "Anything that comes my way."

For some reason, that sounded like a challenge. I felt a smile spread over my feral face. "Are you going to hunt me?"

His smile disappeared. He had a pained look on his face that would break any girl's heart...well, almost. I snorted at his reaction. "Whatever. All I can say is that'd you couldn't catch me even if you tried. Later, dude." To prove my point, I turned my back on him and seemed to fly across the ground as I ran back to my house. Yes, I was showing off, but I didn't care.

But the memory of that dead scent still lingered in my mind. I'd have to ask Aunt Persia about him later.