Wild Heart - C.R. Jane



I stumbled to Eve’s side and frantically put my hands on the gaping hole in her neck, like that would actually help at all. I didn’t need to be a doctor to know she was dead.

I screamed for help, not letting up until my voice was hoarse. Where the fuck was everyone? It looked like something had torn a huge chunk out of her neck. Blood was still pouring out of the wound, meaning this was a recent kill. It coated the ground at my feet and was all over my hands. What kind of creature could have done that? It was certainly not like any wolf bite I’d seen, that was for sure.

I opened my mouth to scream again, but just then, a branch cracked from somewhere in the woods behind me. Shivers shot up my spine as I heard the sound of someone breathing heavily. I’d stumbled into something right out of a horror movie. I swung around, not wanting to be jumped from behind, but I didn’t immediately see anything out of the ordinary besides the swaying branches of the trees and shrubs as an unusually cold wind ripped through the forest.

More branches broke, and a giant shadow busted through the underbrush, coming close enough that I could make out its existence while still staying sheltered off the trees and away from the path. It really was some kind of shadow creature. I was unable to make anything out besides the fact that it was freaking enormous and had eyes that seemed like they were glowing.

I stumbled backwards, my bloody hands outstretched as my heart beat out of my chest. Fuck, why did I have to be so worthless with my own wolf?

A low growl sounded out from the monster. It reverberated around me, digging into my skin and sending dread spasming through my stomach. An itching sensation began to spread through my limbs, so intense, I was fighting back the urge to start scratching at my skin, even as I prepared myself to be attacked.

Something pulsed in my gut, once, twice, and then a third time. It felt like something was stabbing me from the inside. The sensation was so intense and strange, I fell backwards onto the path, the loose stones on the ground digging and cutting into my skin.

The shadow creature let out a sharp whine and disappeared into thin air. He hadn’t just moved deeper into the forest, he’d literally just vanished. There one second, and then gone the next.

The pulsing sensation had stopped, but my body was shaking from the adrenaline rush of avoiding certain death. My breath was coming out in gasps as I became aware of the rest of my surroundings once again. Like the blood touching my fingertips and the sound of yells and running footsteps approaching from somewhere farther up the path.

I scrambled up to my feet, hoping this was someone who could help and not something else. The path curved up ahead, and I jumped when a snarling grey wolf sped towards me, his mouth curled in a growl. A few people that I only faintly recognized from seeing them in town appeared next. They all halted in place when they saw me standing over Eve’s body. The wolf prowled forward and growled once again.

I belatedly realized what I looked like, standing there, covered in blood right next to Eve’s corpse.

I held up my hands beseechingly. “I just found her. I’ve been calling for help,” I cried. “I was bringing the catering.” I pointed to the dropped tray of food like an idiot, hoping it could convince them of my innocence.

One of the guys barked something at the wolf who was inching closer, and it stopped moving. The guy ran to the side of Eve and checked her pulse. “She’s dead,” he told the others, who all had various looks of grief written across their features.

“No,” one of the women gasped. She buried her head in the shoulder of the other man, a middle-aged guy wearing an oversized flannel with salt and pepper flecked hair. He glared at me, the pupils of his eyes expanding menacingly like I’d somehow become enemy number one.

“You’re the new girl in town, aren’t you?” he said roughly.

I swallowed and took a step back, sensing that the threat of danger wasn’t past. The man who’d been examining Eve stood up, his face pained. His eyes snapped to mine, and I watched as his eyes changed. His hands extended into long claws.

“Please, I didn’t