Title: _ Nighttime Terror_
Disclaimer: Sadly, I own nothing. Patricia Briggs is the proud owner/creator of this series and no copyright infingement is intended. This story is written purely for entertainment.
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unkown" - H.P. Lovecraft
Time was of no concept here. Fear overruled everything. All she wanted was to get away, but the woods weren't so forgiving. The creatures of the night not kind. Every time escape was within grasp it was ripped ruthlessly away. Blood seeped out of wounds, pain converged, threatening to smother, and despair leaked from every pore within Anna Latham.
She had been running for what felt like hours. Her muscles ached, her body screamed, but still she moved onward. Desperate for escape. She didn't want to die. She was only just starting to live.
But death seemed to be a certainty at this point.
A sob ripped out of her burning chest. Of all things, this would be how she died.
Her soaked hair clung to her face, partially blocking her vision. The rain had picked up over time. Growing rapidly stronger until it was vigorously pounding her. It stung. She had never felt rain sting before.
The forest was raw. Unleashing its full, merciless fury on her. Lightning cracked, and thunder rumbled so loud that her ears rang and the earth seemed to shake. She splashed through mud. It clung to her, slowing her ever decreasing speed. Nature was trying its best to have her consumed. She had the eerie, terrifying feeling that she didn't belong here. She was human, weak and helpless. Earth seemed to be screaming at her. What audacity do you have to try and fight nature? To think you stand a chance?
Anna cried, feeling the tears mingle with the blood and dirt caked on her face. She lacked the ability to feel the warmth of the tears. She lacked the ability to feel any warmth. Cold reached the marrow of her bones, reverberating inside of her.
Lightning split the sky above, turning night to day. It illuminated the sprawling trees above, towering over and trapping her. Trees were everywhere. Blurring past her as she ran, merging in front of her. Claustrophobia had never been a problem for her, but now it threatened to set in.
A slow rumble of a growl came from behind her. Mingling with the sound of the wolf's paws slapping the Earth. Maybe she was imagining the footsteps. It certainly seemed impossible to hear anything over the rolling thunder. Maybe this experience was cracking her mind. Maybe she was insane. She could bear insanity as long as this torture stopped.
Her gut ached with the unrelenting sobs that escaped her lips, and her body threatened to give out. She was too tired, too damn tired. But another growl was heard, just a little bit closer than before, and she continued to run.
Despite terror, despite overwhelming exhaustion, she could feel anger settling in her gut. It was cold, and it was hard. Funny, she had always associated anger with burning. With heat, and with fire. But this anger was cold, and it was steadily growing to a fury.
She wanted to scream. To scream at the heavens, at the wolf, at everything. Anything and everything. But screaming required energy, and energy she was lacking. What little still gathered in her over-worked muscles was needed crucially. So she cried more. Tears of anger, tears of hate, and tears of sorrow.
Her mind was numbed to the point where she didn't really think. Just moved. Her feet pounded one after the other. Jump, duck, avoid. An ever-repeating pattern that made up what she knew were going to be the last minutes of her life.
Why she was still running was almost beyond her. It was pointless, but she couldn't give up. She couldn't. Her Daddy hadn't raised her that way. She and her brother had been taught from day one to always keep moving. "Never give up," her dad would say, "Life is to precious to let slip through your fingers without a hell of a fight."
So she ran.
And ran, and ran. In no particular direction. One moment, the beast's hungry growls would be behind her, the next beside her. Then in front. She stopped, and turned, twisted, and zig-zagged, but nothing worked. The beast was meant for hunting through the night. His powerful body packed with muscle, with strength. Still, she tried.
The wolf was a monster. This she knew.
A wolf was not a cat, to play with his kills. A wolf was fast, efficient. He took his prey down quickly, swiftly. But she had been running for hours, or so she thought. Maybe it had been minutes, but she still should be dead by now. The wolf had opportunities. He would cut in front of her, swipe at her shins, and snap at her heels. He could've killed her many times by now. Yet, he hadn't.
He was playing with her.
She hated him.
His yellow eyes were almost excited. When she stumbled, he would jump. Scratch her, bite her, then let her go.
He knew what he was doing. He didn't hurt her fatally. Didn't incapacitate her to where she couldn't run, to where he couldn't chase. His claws struck shallowly, his bites were deep, but nowhere fatal. Mostly her ankles, her shins.
He fed off her fear. So, he prolonged the kill. Prolonged it so he could sate his hunger fully.
If there was an animal that belonged in Hell, this was it.
She wondered what he would do too her. The unkowing of everything was killing her.
Then the inevitable finally happened. The wolf, growing tired of his game, launched himself from the bushes in front of her.
That's weird, she'd thought he'd been behind her.
She tried to throw herself to the side, but her body betrayed her. She was too tired.
Anna could do nothing but watch as the wolf soared through the air at her. She supposed it took seconds, but she saw every detail in clarity.
For the first time, she took noticed more about the wolf than that he had evil, glowing eyes. He was large, and eerily beautiful as he stretched through the air, all four legs off the ground. Some how, she had the strength to grow even more angry. Angry that a creature such as this could be beautiful.
Lightning cracked as he cut towards her, slicing through the sky with its bundle of electric energy.
The wolf aimed low. Her eyes followed him as he sank towards her legs.
This whole process took less than five seconds.
His fangs sank deep into her ankle. Deeper than any other time before, and she almost had time to scream before he jerked her leg forward. Anna heard bone crunch, then heard nothing as her leg was jerked forward and her body followed. Her head smacked the ground, neck snapping back, and the world went white. The last thing she heard was the wolf's satisfied snort, and the heavy black consumed her.
Anna awoke painfully. Her head pounded, and there was a steady pulse traveling from her ankle to her thigh and back. She didn't move. She didn't even remember for a moment. Then it hit her and she gasped, jerking her head up.
This was a mistake.
Her vision went white, and the threat of unconsciousness rose as a sharp pain split her brain.
Belly-side down on the ground, her cheek smashed against Earth, and the tang of blood in her mouth, she didn't move until the agony that was the pain in her head subsided.
Her eyes opened, and the world was blurry. Her vision clearing ever so slowly, she took in the woods before her as much as she could moving only her eyes.
There was no wolf. Even the storm around her had reached a calm.
For a moment, as the sky lightened up ever so slightly, and a gentle breeze ran across her cheek and through her hair, she had hope.
It was powerful, and foolish. It swirled inside her belly, and she felt like laughing. The monster was gone, and she had a chance to live.
Then, brutally, she was yanked back to reality when the wolf carelessly strode from between two trees. His yellow eyes laughing at her. His bloody teeth grinning a wicked grin. Any trace of hope fled, leaving Anna cold.
Anna sobbed once, then was quiet.
No energy. None. Not to cry, not to cover her fear with anger. Only room for sadness.
The monster crouched, rearing back, and he growled once, before throwing himself at her.
Anna closed her eyes.
When the mauling was over, she could feel blood flowing from wounds in her belly, face, and extremities. It should hurt, she knew, but she was numb. Mind and body.
As the gift of unconsciousness began to creep in, she felt the wolf snap his jaws closed over her wrist. A sharp pain was produced, then it too grew numb. She felt herself being dragged, and briefly wondered if she was going to be shared between a pack. The darkness closed in around her vision, and Anna sank gratefully into unawareness.
A/N: So this is a short story that just popped into my head, and nagged until I had to get it out. In case you haven't figured it out, this one-shot shows how Justin changed Anna. I tried to capture how Anna would be thinking when this happened. Before she had been brutalized. Back when she was human, and about to die.
I don't know about you people, but I've always wondered just how cruel Justin was, and how Anna reacted. Anna never tells Charles the details(at least, Patricia Briggs never puts her telling him onto paper) of her change.
Anyway, hope you enjoy! ~LoVeLiFe17
P.S. A before metioned line, where I wrote that A wolf was not like a cat. That they didn't play with their food? Well, that little thought was borrowed from our very own beloved Bran Cornick. Who said something along those same lines in Hunting Ground, page 215, paragraph 3.