Unknown

Unknown

A Chapter by Dawn Jones
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I don't know exactly where this chapter is going to fit yet.

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 I couldn’t breathe, could barely move. My vision swam and I couldn’t tell if it was because I had started crying or if I was going to pass out. A warm sticky sickness was taking over my body as the adrenaline began to wear off, everything seemed to be moving in slow motion and motion sickness was setting in. The blood in the air, the urine, the desiccated carcass of the monster that had nearly made a snack of me laying in a heap not three feet from where I had collapsed; and Cadence, tiny, quiet little Cadence lying in my lap, her naked body mangled, broken, bleeding.  There were too many places to put my hands. Too many places that I needed to apply pressure in some kind of attempt at keeping her from bleeding out in this cold, dark alley.


I had been so sure, the minute silence had taken over, as soon as the snarling and snapping and biting had ended in a strangled yelp that my world was over. She was so small and he had been so big. I’d screwed my eyes shut, not wanting to see the end, but when the hot panting breath of the wolf struck my wet cheek I knew that I wasn’t going to die. Her musk filled my nose. The gentle smell of rain and fresh churned dirt made my heart twist in relief, until I opened my eyes and saw her bloody matted fur, the large gashes that ripped open her right side, exposing muscle and the curve of bone, her left flank was twisted, her hip dislocated, her leg broken, and her eyes… her eyes were lidded and glossy. The shift caused a gurgling whine that turned into a human whimper as her body collapsed onto the cold pavement. I pulled her trembling body into my lap. I needed to hold her. I needed to comfort her. I spoke to her, whispered soothingly as I wiped the blood from her cheek, watching as the swelling settled in. I don’t even know what I was saying. I couldn’t hear myself over the pulsing drum in my ears. I struggled for air, gasping between sobs, my hands shaking as I searched every pocket for my phone. Why did I have so many god damn pockets? When I found the stupid thing my fingers took over. I dialed the first number I could remember. I called the first and only person I had trusted with every single secret I had… every secret but the girl laying listlessly in my lap.


I wasn’t sure how long it took Jordan to show up. I was too wrapped up in Cadence. I was begging and pleading for her to stay with me, to stay conscious. “Cadence, you can leave me. You can’t give up.” The words were my mantra, my prayer, my desperate demand that she continue to hold onto my hand, because I wasn’t ready to let go of hers.


“Tara.”


The sound of my name was foreign.


It was absurd and confusing and when I looked up to see where the word had come from I saw a man kneel at a sickening speed, wrapping a thick wool blanket around Cadence’s naked body and scooping her up into his arms.


“No,” I protested. I had risen to my feet and was latching on to the sleeve of his jacket before I realized that it was Jordan and that he was here to rescue me. I rushed behind him, my steps unsteady, my body threatening to give out on me as we rushed to his car. I stopped for only a second, to retrieve the jersey Cadence had stripped from her body before shifting. It wasn’t until I was sitting in the back seat of Jordan’s car, Cadence’s head in my lap, my fingers in her hair, before Jordan’s words started to make sense.


“What the hell happened,” he demanded.


“I don’t know.”


Lie.


I’d never lied to Jordan.


In the 15 years that I had known him, in the year and a half that we had been dating, I had never once lied to him.


“Tara,” he tried to calm his voice, setting aside his own panic so that he could soothe mine. “We need to get her to the hospital before sh-“


“No!”


It was harsh, tearing itself from my throat.


We were both a little surprised by it.


He twisted in his seat to look at me in the red glow of a stop light, “but-“


“No hospitals.” I knew that we couldn’t take her there. They would run tests. They would find out that she wasn’t human. They would discover the animal and want to experiment, to dissect. “They can’t know.”


“She needs a doctor,” he urged.


“No.”


How could I make him understand without telling him the truth? 


I couldn’t.


“Just go home, Jordan,” my voice was like steel. “Take us back to your place and I’ll tell you everything, I swear.”


And he did.


A choked whimper wheezed from her lips when he pulled her from the car and we rushed her up the stairs to his apartment. I unlocked the door and followed him to the bathroom where he gently deposited her in the bathtub, blood soaked blanket and all. I didn’t question it. I ransacked the bathroom cabinets, pulling out every towel he owned while he disappeared into another room.


I was applying pressure to the slashes in her ribs, the towel soaked through with dark, sticky blood when he came back into the room, followed by his roommate.

D.C. was an intern at the hospital.


He didn’t say a word as Jordan pulled me reluctantly away from Cadence, D.C. taking my place and doing what he does best.


I didn’t want to leave, but Jordan practically dragged me away. He led me by the hands into the master bathroom and stripped me of my bloody clothing before pulling me into the shower, beneath painfully hot water. It stung, each drop of like acid to my frozen flesh. I hadn’t realized how cold I was. How much I ached. His strong arms held me up beneath the intense heat and he slowly washed the blood from my body. I melted into him, letting him take care of me, letting him chase away all of the hurt the same way the water was washing away all of the blood �" Cadence’s blood.

 

It wasn’t until I was wrapped snugly in the quilt from Jordan’s bed that he chose to look at me expectantly, waiting with as much patience as he could manage. I couldn’t even meet his eyes. I’d lied to him. I’d been lying to him. Since the night I had found Cadence in the woods and bailed on my own birthday party I had been lying to him.


“Tara?”


His voice was so gentle, so warm and comforting.


“I don’t know,” a partial truth, my voice sounded as empty as I was beginning to feel inside.


How do I tell him?


How do I confess to something so absurd and outlandish without him asking D.C. to help him drag me to the psych ward for a forty eight hour hold?


“I don’t know,” I whispered again. My eyes burned with new tears, blurring my vision and making my head ache. Everything was so confusing and I didn’t know how to sort out the mess inside my head. I didn’t want to be sitting on his bed, wrapped in his blanket, surrounded by his deep masculine scent. I wanted to be where Cadence was. I wanted to smell the rain and wet earth that seemed to permeate the air around her. I wanted… I don’t know what I wanted.


“Tara.”


 “What do you want me to tell you, Jordan,” I asked. “You’ll just think I’m crazy.”


My voice cracked.


He sat down on the bed beside me, his calloused hand resting lightly on my bare knee and I didn’t know that I could break any further than I already had tonight. I didn’t know that this kind of pain existed. I could see how much he loved me. I could feel it in his touch. I could see it in his azure eyes. I had fallen in love with this beautiful boy, a boy I’d grown up with, a boy who was turning into a good man every day. How had I ever lied to him? The truth spilled out of me as the walls I hadn’t realized I built between us crumbled.


“We were-,” I chocked on the memory of tonight; the smell of rotting meat on the beast’s breath as he approached me, the wild look in his inhuman eyes, how his body had twisted, tearing itself apart, before becoming something monstrous and grotesque. I could still see those glowing yellow eyes, the saliva dripping from open jaws, his sharp, white teeth. “I… was attacked.”


Jordan tensed, a sudden flush of fear and anger suffusing his aura, his hand tightening infinitesimally on my knee.


 “T,” his patience was wearing thin, but he used his nickname for me in an attempt to soothe and make it easier for me to open up.


With a sigh I started to tell him everything.


I told him about how I had found Cadence in the woods the night of the bonfire, how she’d looked. He stared at me blankly as I described, in detail, how she had shifted before my eyes into the petite girl I had introduced him to. I omitted details that weren’t mine to tell, her secrets; secrets she had confided in me out of a tenuous trust. I told him every detail, leading all the way to tonight, the alley, and the man.

“I don’t know…” I swallowed the rock sized lump in my throat, repositioning the words in my mind before laying them out for him. “He was like her, only he wasn’t. I don’t know where he came from, or if he’d been following me, or how long he had been following me, but he was… he wasn’t like her. I could feel it. I could see it in his eyes, the energy around him.”


I had to stop as I relived my experience again inside my head; it was hard to breathe. My heart was beginning to beat too fast and I had to swallow down the lump in my throat again before I could continue. “She came out of nowhere. I was so sure I was going to die and then there she was, running toward me. She shifted in the air. She threw herself into him and knocked him down. I hid behind the dumpster. Jordan, I didn’t think for a minute that she would be able to survive that fight. I knew that we were both going to die. But we didn’t. I didn’t… she saved me.“



© 2012 Dawn Jones


Author's Note

Dawn Jones
rough and incomplete

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Featured Review

Love. I'm running out of words to describe your writing! Not enough good words in the English Dictionary :( - but yes, amazingly amazing stuff! Well written, detailed and vivid! You're one of the few writers I know that really keeps me holding my breath to know what happens!

Write more? For me?

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Fetchy narration, great detailed description of a shocking gloomy scene .. While reading I could picturize it in mind, you're skilled !

Posted 10 Years Ago


Love. I'm running out of words to describe your writing! Not enough good words in the English Dictionary :( - but yes, amazingly amazing stuff! Well written, detailed and vivid! You're one of the few writers I know that really keeps me holding my breath to know what happens!

Write more? For me?

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is a really good beginning of something that I know you'll make into something really great. I was holding my breath as she retold what happened, you really pulled me in. You can feel her battle even with what little you've given us.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on October 19, 2012
Last Updated on October 19, 2012
Tags: werewolves, magic, science fiction


Author

Dawn Jones
Dawn Jones

La bocca dell'inferno



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"Character is destiny. For the cronic do-gooder, the happy-go-lucky sociopath, the dysfunctional family, under the gun everyone diverts to who they are. We may hunger to map out a new course, but fo.. more..

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A Chapter by Dawn Jones