Darkness enveloped him as he ran, weaving through the city’s dark alleys, graffiti mocking him at every turn. The scent of fear tickled his senses, both cloyingly sweet and repulsive, taunting him with the fact that it was his own. The predator within him fought his mind, desperately struggling to be free, wishing to glory in the chase, yearning to turn and hunt instead of flee. His wolf longed for violence and power, urging him to stand his ground and attack, but Ankerite fought him, knowing it was futile. Despite the fact that a full moon illuminated the city before him, the wolf within him could never be free, and so Ankerite continued to run, ignoring the beast, the hunger, and the yearning for blood.
Dejection coursed through him with the realization that he was being hunted yet again. He’d thought he was finally safe, working in a small bookshop in an area that could marginally be qualified as the wrong side of town. He’d remained unnoticed for three years, and those three years had made him complacent. Now disbelief and denial waged war with the reality he suddenly faced once again. He was a half-breed, to be hunted and killed simply because he belonged to neither the world of humans nor that of werewolves.
His breath rasped through a ragged throat, the pain a mere inconvenience when faced with the very real possibility of death, and the pounding of his blood beat a primal rhythm in his temples. Run, run, faster, flee, survive, live, hunt, turn, attack, kill. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the beast raging within him, but the battle was lost before it had even begun. The sharp, tangy smell of his own fear washed over him, tearing a misshapen howl from his throat, the sound weak as it passed through human vocal cords.
Realizing that the sound betrayed him to his pursuer, Ankerite took another turn, desperately hoping to lose the wolf hunting him, only to despair when confronted with the ruins of an old factory. He no longer had anywhere to hide. The large open space covered in rubble served only to hinder his efforts to escape. But the sound of pursuit urged him on, driving Ankerite into the ruins, only one thought remaining in his mind: run.
Dark shadows danced across the concrete, emphasizing the desolation. Shapes blurred, merging into a kaleidoscope of information and misinformation, his panicked mind no longer able to distinguish safety from danger. A moment of distraction drove him into a sharp, jagged pipe sticking all too innocently from the wreckage surrounding him. He yelped, pain coursing through him, greedily invading his senses and causing him to tumble to the ground. The metallic scent of fresh blood rose up into the night air, drawing a howl of victory as his predator rounded the corner and spotted him wounded and helpless.
A sliver of moonlight peering from behind the clouds reflected off amber eyes glowing with power as wild and ancient as the earth itself. The russet wolf hunting him paused but a moment, the expression in his eyes seeming to taunt Ankerite with the knowledge that he was helpless against the predator before him.
Ankerite tensed, meeting his hunter’s gaze. He watched in horrified fascination as the wolf prepared to leap. Despite the danger, he couldn’t help but admire the wolf’s muscles gracefully shifting beneath his skin; every shift was silent art in motion. Bile rose in his throat, filling his mouth with the bitter taste of defeat, drowning the wolf still fighting to break free of the boundaries of his human mind. Unable to flee, the urge to fight drained away, leaving a hollow sense of bitter acceptance of what he was powerless to change. Ankerite clenched his eyes closed just as the wolf leapt into motion, waiting for the pain that would accompany sharp teeth mercilessly tearing him apart.
He registered his hunter’s loud, vicious snarl moments before it was interrupted by the sound of teeth tearing through flesh. Tension danced along Ankerite’s skin, the sharp pain in his hip ebbing and flowing, seeming to synchronize with the sound of heavy panting. He felt no new source of pain, no hot breath upon his skin, and no sharp teeth tearing into him. He pried open deep blue eyes that contained the same wild glow as those of the wolf hunting him and swallowed a gasp of surprise. Before him a battle raged, a lethal clash of wills fighting for power and dominion. A second wolf had joined the first, moonlight dancing gracefully over his silver coat as he clashed with the amber-eyed wolf in a wild dance of flesh, teeth, and blood.
The sight held Ankerite captive, all thoughts of flight gone as he watched the silver wolf slowly but surely gain ground on the russet one, nipping at his flank before gracefully moving away, only to repeat the process. The moonlight faded for a moment, slipping behind a cloud, forming dark silhouettes. The two wolves before him continued to fight, intent only upon each other. When the moon once again showed her face, the fight was over. The silver wolf stood over the russet one, teeth at his throat.
Ankerite blinked when the russet wolf began to shimmer, the lines that defined the wolf blurring and losing distinction. For a moment he was convinced his sight was fooling his senses. Shaking his head, Ankerite stared, surprised by the man lying defeated on the ground. Although he knew all about werewolves, this was the first time he’d witnessed a transformation, seeing as he was usually running before given the chance to actually witness the sight. Even though the silver wolf’s teeth remained at the man’s throat, Ankerite could see that the russet werewolf was still trying to challenge the wolf who held him captive, eyes filled with defiance almost as if he were daring the other to kill him.
The silver wolf released a growl, a warning clear in his tone, before also shifting into human form, hand at the defeated werewolf’s throat, knee strategically shoved into his gut.