Book of Curses (The Renning Chronicles) (7 page)

 

I thought maybe I had been sleep walking and wandered outside town somehow, but even then, there would be some sort of noise, kids playing, the highway, something. However, here, there was nothing, not a house or a building within sight, not a single car engine or wheels scraping over gravel to be heard. I felt the panic grow
stronger;
suddenly I heard a sound I never thought I'd be so happy to hear - Tom groaning.

 

"Tom!" I screamed, practically in tears of joy. I felt the panic starting to ebb away.

 

"Ugh, Ra-Raine?" He asked, lifting his head slowly he stared at me for a while obviously waiting for his eyes to adjust, soon he was giving me an 'Are you real?' look. "Where are we? Where's Christie?"

 

"I don't know." I began quickly, all I knew was that I was freaked out, and I wanted him to know that. "I think; I think it's all a REALLY bad dream, or maybe we're dea-" I was cut off
mid-sentence
. Letting out a short scream from the sharp pang that bloomed into white-
hot pain
in my right arm, I glared daggers at Tom realizing what he'd just done.

 

"Feel that?" He asked me as he arched one of his eyebrows in a questioning way, he cocked his head to the side slowly trying his best to look innocent.

 

"Yes, I fucking felt that!" I snapped at him, letting the venom in my voice seep out as much as possible. I wanted to tear his head off.

 

"Not a dream then, I think we need to find a building or some people... Something." He told me, standing up as slowly as he could, as if his body was starting to hurt. I was more interested in what was going on behind him. I was frozen in fear as I looked, I mean yeah, I wanted to find people… but these weren't normal people, or they didn't look the part at least.

 

“I think; people found us.” I said to him in a hushed whispering voice, my eyes glued behind him still.

 

Tom turned slowly to focus on the group of men who stood behind him. I stood up quickly, nearly falling over in my haste and rushed over to Tom, who was still looking them over.

 

“Halt! Who are you?” A male voice boomed; it was like he was speaking through a loud speaker.

 

“R-Raine Renning.” I managed to get out. My eyes were wide as I studied them all for a moment.

 

“Thomas Renning.” Tom put his hands on me to help steady me when I stumbled over my own two feet for a moment. His attention returned to the men and we both heard murmurs spring from all of them. They kept glancing towards us; I was beginning to wonder what they were talking about, but I was definitely too scared to ask.

 

“Are you… Human?” The one who'd first spoken, asked looking us both over again.

 

“Yes, are you?” Tom arched his eyebrow as he asked the question.

 

“No, I am of Lycanthrope blood.” He announced, keeping eye contact with Tom before carrying on. “You must be the humans of legend. We've all been told your arrival would be soon, and no sane human would wander in our lands.”

 

“What?” I asked loudly, that wasn't something you hear every
day. “Listen you need to see a doctor. Lycanthrope’s do not exist, well possibly in children’s books, or perhaps Hollywood, but not reality.”

 

“Hollywood? What is that?” Another one of the men snapped their heads up, looking at me as if I was the alien.

 

“No time, follow us quickly; we’re on our monthly hunt.” The first one stated. No sooner did the words leave his lips than he was walking off with the others following him. I looked at Tom, and he nodded his head and starting to follow. I took a breath and followed after him, trying to keep calm.

 

I got my first glimpse then of exactly how many men were standing there, around twenty of them, and four had stayed behind to follow us. I didn't understand what was going on, and I was seriously feeling paranoid about the ones who were behind us.

 

We didn't walk very far though, before we heard an ear-
splitting howl
that seemed to be coming closer and closer. Every hair on my arms and neck rose on end; all of the men froze in place when the one in the lead stopped and grunted...

 

“Looks like they've moved closer, just up ahead boys.” The man shouted so loudly I thought I felt the ground vibrate for a moment.

 

Glancing over at Thomas uncertainly, I caught a look of his face for a split second. It was a hardened sculpture of worry; his eyes were moving from one area to another. I knew he was trying to remember the way we were going. He was usually only like this when mom brought home a new boyfriend, or was threatening us while someone else was in the house. I wasn't sure what to make of this yet, but I knew from that look to keep on guard.

 

After what felt like miles of walking we stopped, we were still surrounded by trees and a large group of people. Men, a few women, teens were now in the crowd, as well as some young children. We were ushered toward them quickly without any explanation or choice. We were stopped before a man and woman who were fully dressed, unlike a lot of the others around us. The man in front waved to the men and everyone else who was surrounding me and Tom. Then he moved in closer to the two of us, looking us over slowly.

 

“Queen Arily, King Z’ev, we’ve found them.”

 

Slowly, the man who stood before us moved to an inch away from what would've been personal
space;
he smiled a strangely kind smile. He was dressed in nothing more than a loose-
fitting shirt
and leather pants; he walked barefoot without a care. His long brown hair was tied at the base of his neck, and he gazed with his yellow eyes into my own for a split second before pressing his lips into a thin white line across his face.

 

“So, you are the chosen?” He inquired, letting his lips form into a slow smile as he bowed to us.  “I am the pack leader Z’ev, this,” He lifted his arm, motioning towards the woman who stood next to him, his smile growing even more. “
Is
my beautiful mate, Arily.”

 

Slowly, the woman stepped forward, a pair of brown leather pants and a loose tank top covered her body. Her copper skin was visible against her long, pin straight, black hair her yellow eyes shone as bright as Z'ev's had. She bowed as well, and then stood up smiling the brightest smile I'd ever seen.

 

Tom looked at them then me for a moment, and bowed slightly. His face was still like stone, but wasn't nearly as severe as it had been before. “I’m Thomas Renning; this is my sister Raine.”

 

“This is nice and all,” I began to speak, my voice coming out in a strange squeak. I cleared it and realized how dry my throat was, but tried to ignore that part. “But where are we?”

 

“The region of Predatory Death, or as I’d rather call it, The Earth Region.” Z’ev turned and smiled at me as he spoke, saying it as if this was normal everyday conversation.

 

“Earth Region, What?” I looked at him like he was crazy, in fact, I knew he was crazy. Earth Region? The whole thing was insane.

 

Arily let her smile die down into a simple grin, nodding her head before she spoke. “One of the six regions that make up our world: Earth, Fire, Air, Water or Ice, Darkness, and Light. We are a small section of what this region homes, and we are not the only creatures who live here. Lycanthropes are the strongest of all, but shapeshifters find themselves born here as well. We are but predators trying to live our lives in peace, or as much peace as we can come upon.”

 

“Yes, though the gods say otherwise to that.” Z’ev growled. I mean he really growled. It was deep in his throat, and sounded more like an animal's blood-
thirsty growl
than something a human would do when frustrated. “Sita thinks it’s fun to create havoc, an
all-out
blood war between three breeds of shapeshifters and Lycans. This is why we cannot keep you here, though we would if it were possible, so do forgive us.”

 

I was going to speak, but then I heard what sounded like a real roar, like a Lion would make. Several men and women growled all around us.

 

When I looked, I looked around I noticed the skin starting to move on some of them, almost like it was rippling wildly as if something was trying to escape from underneath. Before I could figure out what was going on I heard a crack, and screams of pain and whimpers.

 

When I looked again I saw fur sprouting, fingers growing longer than they'd been, and leg's morphing into haunches. Then several of them turned into some kind of wolves, ones of different shapes, colors and sizes. At least, I thought they were wolves, until they stood up on their hind legs and looked like something straight out of a horror movie. Lycans, Werewolves… yeah we're screwed.

 

“Dolphus, Eyloff, Lupus, Felan, take them away now!” Z’ev turned, shouting the order as fast as he could before his body started to change, making the words come out in a weird gurgling noise.

 

“Forgive us, please.” Arily spoke to us, changing into her form and moving next to Z'ev. The only ones who hadn't changed were the Teenagers and Children.

 

They charged forward with jaws snapping viciously, several of them howling like there would be no tomorrow, and many growling as if they were going to kill anything that got in their way. I stood still, staring at them wide-eyed and confused. This wasn't normal; this can't be real.

 

My attention diverted when I noticed that there was movement by us. I turned my head to see three men and a woman walking up to us at a fast pace. I wanted to jump away. After what I'd just seen I think anyone would be frightened.

 

“Sexier when they’re human aren’t they?” One
asked
a big grin on his face. “I’d tap any of them boys as long as they’ve got a nice package on them, if you know what I mean.”

 

“Dolphus!” The woman turned to him, snapping as she narrowed her eyes on him, and he only held his hands up in defense.

 

I stared at him blankly. This was beyond strange now. Was he talking about sleeping with one of the guys? So he was gay? I just stared at him, mouth agape and realized that one of the people who
were
here to help us was a gay werewolf. Right, normal.

 

“Come, we must move fast.” My eyes shifted, and I looked at another man. He was older and different looking than the others, so he'd be easier to tell apart I thought. But man, did he seem pissed off.

 

“That’d be General Eyloff, sexy as can be, but hellishly rude.” The one the girl had called Dolphus explained, shrugging his shoulders.  “General, the stables I presume”

 

“Sigh, so he doesn’t kill you, yes Dolphus.”

 

“Ah, well thank you Lupus.” Dolphus grinned brightly at the other man, before looking over at the girl and winking at her. She looked disgusted and snarled at him.

 

So, that would've meant that she was Felan. I looked her over. She was shorter than I was, but I could see the ripple of muscle under her skin every now and then. Her hair was cut short and an odd caramel color, and there were three rigid scars on her face on the left side.

 

She was wearing long leather pants with a belt across them, boots and a short-sleeved shirt. Her eyes were a golden colored and piercing when she looked at
you;
it made you mentally cringe every time.

 

The one they kept calling Dolphus was well over six-foot tall with short spiky looking dark-
brown hair
. He had bright green eyes that almost glowed. The shirt he wore had no sleeves revealing a lion tattoo that sat on his right upper shoulder and seemed to move when his muscles tensed and relaxed.

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