• Prologue

    “Where are we going? Why did you pull me out of class?” I demanded. I was tired of all this drama that I didn’t understand. I deserved the answers that no one would give me. Like, why did this long lost uncle just show up now instead of years ago when we needed him? Who were all these people that my brother was hanging out with so much recently, and why did I catch them whispering to each other whenever they thought I wasn’t looking? And most of all, why did I feel so weird lately? What was going on in my body that made me feel like I was going to die? Where did the migraines come from, and why did my skin sometimes look like it was moving by itself?
    “We have to get away from here. It’s not safe.”
    There it was again. It was always “it’s not safe here” and “don’t question me. I just have this feeling.” Well I was tired of not asking questions, and I was tired of doing this. I just wanted it all to end.
    “I hate this! I hate all of it! Why does this have to happen to me?”
    Justin grabbed my shoulders and shook me. “God made us this way. We’re like this for a reason. It isn’t just chance; nothing is.” His face was so close to mine that I could feel his breath which was coming in short bursts. I looked away from him.
    “I don’t believe in God.”
    I didn’t have to see his face to know the emotion displayed there. “Then I’ve failed as your guardian...” He shook his head and stared at the wet pavement. It had rained for almost three days strait. I could tell he was angry at himself. I hated seeing him this way, but I didn’t want to bring up the subject again. He was so religious. He says our parents would have wanted me to be raised as a Christian, but they aren’t here, are they? If they were so worried about religion and the way I was raised then maybe they should have stuck around to make sure it was done right.
    I never understood why he idolized them so much. They left us. How could he feel anything but hatred toward them?
    “I want to go back to class. Maybe there’s still time to finish my project.”
    “You just don’t get it do you? You are in danger!” The way the street light illuminated his face almost scared me. He had an almost animalistic expression.
    “Maybe I would get it if you would just explain it to me!”
    “We don’t have time for this right now! We have to get out of here!” He grabbed my arm and pulled me in the direction of the car which was parked about a block away.
    I stopped and leaned away from his grasp. “Do you promise you’ll tell me later after we’ve escaped this so-called danger?”
    “Addison, come on!”
    “No! Not until you tell me what’s going on! I’m already taking night classes because of your paranoia. I think I deserve to know why you’re putting me through this.”
    He hesitated. His green blue eyes showed his frustration and concern. I began to regret questioning him, and I wished that I could take it back. He was obviously under a lot of stress. I was about to tell him to just forget it and not to worry about it, but then I noticed two shadowy figures approaching.
    “Hello?” I asked. Justin turned, and immediately his demeanor changed. An animal like snarl escaped his lips, and his skin began to quiver and move. Hair began to sprout from his pores, and he began to thicken. Where once my brother stood, now stood an enormous bear, which began to advance on the approaching men.
    I shrieked and jumped back.
    “Our quarrel is not with you Justin. Just give us the girl and we’ll be on our way.” Even in the dim light, I could see the smirk on his hideous face.
    “You’ll do no such thing,” the bear growled. “Please leave now so that I don’t have to tear you to shreds.”
    I was so confused; it was amazing I could even stand on my feet. What happened to my brother? Why is he a bear? Who were these men? Why did they want me? I was nothing! My head was so flooded with emotions and questions; I could hardly focus on the scene in front of me.
    The men didn’t take Justin’s advice. Instead, one attacked him while the other tried to grab me. Justin roared.
    “Justin!” I screamed. “Justin, help!” But Justin was preoccupied, and the man began to drag me off toward a white van parked a few yards away.
    I watched as the man Justin had been fighting went limp in his arms and fell to the ground in a heap. Justin turned, and ran, all four feet hitting the ground for the best speed. Just as his huge body collided with the man, I heard the sound that ended my life as I knew it.
    The gunshot rang in my ears like an explosion. Both man and beast were lying on the ground beside me. I watched in terror as my brother rolled off the man and began to shrink. The thick fur retreated into his pores, and I found myself looking into the familiar face of Justin. It was then that I noticed the blood on his abdomen. He was gasping for breath, and blood was trickling from his mouth.
    I knelt beside him and watched in horror as my brother began to die.
    “Addison,” he tried to speak.
    “Don’t talk,” I told him. “Where’s your phone? I need to call 911!”
    “Addison, I should have… told you,” he spoke between gasps, “I should have… told you everything. Now I won’t… get the chance.”
    “Don’t say that! I can’t live without you!” I searched his pockets frantically for his phone.”You’re going to be okay! You’re going to make it!” I found his phone and dialed the number.
    “911, what’s your emergency?” The voice on the line sounded bored.
    “Hello? My brother has been shot! There’s blood everywhere!” I began to sob and my breath was catching.
    “Miss, calm down. What’s your location?”
    I told her the address.
    “We have an ambulance on the way.”
    I dropped the phone and held Justin’s face in my hands.
    “Addison…” He whispered. Then he closed his eyes, and one last breath escaped his lips.
    “No! Don’t leave me!” I could hear sirens in the distance. I buried my face in his chest and cried.

    Please read Chapter 1