Seeking revenge on the werewolves that slaughtered her family when she was a little girl, werewolf-hunter Emalyn will take them down one by one until they’ll are dead. When she begins tracking Connor, a shy artist living in the city, she has every intention of cunning and seducing him to an early grave. She never expected to fall for the enemy, and when faced with the horrid reality of who and what he is, she’ll have to make the ultimate choice: kill or be killed.
The Dark Journeys Short Story Collection
She was jammed into a space so small her legs ached. The close confinement of her hiding place intensified the heat of her frightened breath and sweat trickled in two slow beads down the sides of her face like tears. She hadn’t cried, not yet. Her uncle had forbidden it before stuffing her into the cupboard and telling her not to make a sound no matter what she heard.
“Be brave, Em,” he said. The light behind him made it hard for her to focus on the shadow of his face. “Be silent.” She was sure his brow creased in that serious way that always reminded her of her father before he said, “No matter how scared you are, bite your tongue if you need to scream.”
“Wolves,” Uncle Raynor said. “Likely come seeking vengeance.”
“Don’t let them take her, Ray,” her mother’s voice was muffled by the distance between them and the cupboard door. “It’s not her fault.”
Uncle Raynor only nodded, and at some point before he grabbed her and stuffed her into the cupboard, her mother called out, “Everything will be okay, little love.”
Only everything hadn’t been okay. Uncle Raynor closed the cupboard door, and the latch clicked into place like a curse. Emalyn bit down on her tongue so hard that wet copper flooded her taste buds. The howling chorus of hungry intruders chilled her bones, and she bit harder. In the dark every sound was intensified. Her mother’s ragged screams rent the fabric of Emalyn’s security like a dull knife. Growling vengeance followed by a cacophony of splintered hate clenched her thundering heart. The heavy force of a scattered body, later she would see it had was her aunt, fractured bits of wood and they showered against her face. Red pain flashed behind her eyes and her teeth connected with an agonizing click.
Every snarl drove fear into her bones like frigid stakes of iron. Every growl painted a vicious portrait of terror on the canvas of her mind. Even as the beasts retreated, their triumphant howls fading into the distance, Emalyn remained inside the cupboard trembling, waiting for someone to let her out. No one came.
Hours passed. It could have even been days for all she knew. Her legs cramped so severely that her knees were swollen and hard as softballs. Burnt and faded light prodded at the edges of the cupboard, but she couldn’t bring herself to push the door open. Somehow she knew what awaited her on the other side, and a part of her feared that one of the monsters might still be lurking. Her eyes were dried out and sore from crying, the salt of her tears burned the skin of her cheeks. She tried to sleep, but there were only moments of black in which she found herself suspended, but still aware of the danger outside the door.
It was hunger that finally pushed her over the edge. Her growling stomach would have surely given her away if they were still outside waiting. One long, low rumble, and then another, nearly as fierce as the growls that had raged outside the cupboard. Emalyn tried to stretch. She pressed herself against the door, but something heavy blocked it from the other side. Prickling pins and needles numbed her aching arms and legs as she jammed her shoulder against the door with a cry. Again and again, and then the wood gave way, breaking into sharp fragments that jabbed and poked at her as she tumbled into the kitchen.
Thick red stains dried black and brown in clots on the walls and floor, streaming lines like smeared raindrops. A mangled arm lay in a crimson pool in front of the kitchen door, and that was when she realized that when she fell, she’d landed on a stiff cushion—a body. Vomit choked her screams, the sour sickness spilling out onto her stiff hands and the corpse beneath her.