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MOONLIGHT.

 

It was burning hot, freezing cold, and electrifying all at the same time. It hit me so hard that my mind went blank for a few seconds, and all I could do was stand there and soak it in. It wasn’t until my body started to strain against my clothes that I snapped out of it and realized what was happening.

 

YESSSS! OUUUUUTTTT!

 

“N- No!” I screamed, my voice already a few octaves deeper. “Dex, why?”

 

He turned and looked at me with cold and unfeeling eyes, as different from his usual joking self as the sun was from the moon above us.

 

“I’m going to help you, Amber,” he said. “Whether you want it or not.”

 

I did my best to hold back the changes. But unlike last time, there was no ancient decrepit building to hide me from the moon’s wrath. There was just me and the big, fat glowing orb high above us. No matter how much I didn’t want this to happen, I couldn’t stop it. I heard the fabric of my clothes start to rip just as the telltale tingle of fur began to creep across my body.

 

“Screw you, Dexter!” I yelled, turning to limp back toward the door. I had to get inside while I still—

 

There was a golden flash, and the door slammed shut just in my face. I grabbed the handle and threw all my weight against it, but even with my superior strength—strength that was increasing by the second—I couldn’t budge it. I let out a deep, inhuman growl of frustration, and raked my newly grown claws down the door, scratching ten thin lines into the paint.

 

NO MORE FIGHT! LET ME OUT!

 

“No, no, no, no!” I moaned, falling to my knees. The muscles in my legs had grown so big that the knees in my pants actually burst. “I was doing so good! I had it under control! Why?”

 

“Because you have no idea what’s coming.”

 

I turned around to see Dex standing behind me, scepter in hand. A cold wind blew across the hotel roof, tugging at his long hair and making his suit jacket flutter in the wind.

 

“You…” I gritted my teeth, trying to keep them from sharpening. “I trusted you, Dex!”

 

He shook his head. “You don’t see it now, but I’m doing what has to be done. What’s coming is…it’s worse than you could possibly imagine, Amber. If you want to survive, you’re going to need every bit of strength you can give yourself.”

 

A sharp pain flashed through me, and I doubled over with a moan. The change wasn’t usually painful, but I was trying so hard to hold it back that my body didn’t know what to do. Changing and not changing. It was like trying to stand up and sit down at the same time—impossible. When I bent over, steadying myself on my hands and knees, a huge rip went down the back of my shirt, and it fell to the ground. Thick brown fur was steadily climbing up my back, covering my exposed skin.

 

“You…You don’t know…ugh!” All at once, my legs snapped backwards so I could walk on all fours. “Dex…you don’t know what…you’ve done!”

 

“Yes, I do.”

 

I looked up at him. “We’re in the middle of…a huge city! How…many people…are going…tooorrrrrrgh!”

 

My voice left me, turning into a beastial snarl midsentence. Unable to speak even a single word, I looked up at him pleadingly. Unlock the door! Please! I still had time to get out of the moonlight before…

 

My ears migrated to the top of my head, lengthening and becoming pointed. No, I couldn’t let this happen!

 

To my surprise, Dex knelt down and took my chin in his hand, forcing me to look up at him.

 

“Nobody’s going to die tonight, Amber,” he said. “You can control it. I believe in you!”

 

A couple tears leaked out of my eyes, losing themselves in the fur that was slowly but surely growing over my face. I whined at him, like a puppy begging to be let out of its kennel, but I knew it was wasted. Whatever had gotten into him, whatever insane scheme had convinced him to do this, he wasn’t going to back down until he got what he wanted.

 

HE WANT ME! the wolf growled inside my head. LET HIM HAVE ME!

 

Bad thoughts were forcing their way into my head. Thoughts of chasing Dex, hunting him, killing him, eating him. I did my best to push them away, but it was getting harder by the second. After three long years, the Silverblood was finally getting what it wanted. It was going to be free.

 

And…why…shouldn’t it…be? My entire body was shaking now, exhausted from the struggle. But what was the point? Dex had done this on purpose. I was changing whether I wanted to or not, and it was all his fault. I scraped my hand across the roof, claws gouging long, deep scratches into it. Well, if this was what he wanted, then I should…give…it…to…HIMMMMM!

 

With that, the last ounce of control I had was swept away. Like a spring that had been pressed too tightly together, I practically exploded! In the space of half a second, I grew larger—much larger. I watched as Dex seemed to shrink until I could have swallowed him whole. My clothes were reduced to ribbons. Fur burst from every inch of my skin, and my tail thrashed back and forth as it grew longer, until it was big and strong enough to flip a car all by itself. My face stretched outwards into a muzzle, swallowing the last piece of humanity I had left, and…

 

I…WAS…OUT!

 

I leaned my head back and howled my victory to the moon. My voice rang through the city, shaking buildings and terrifying the little people below. Yes! After being imprisoned by my inner prey for so long, I was free at last! Free to run, free to hunt, kill, eat, and show the world what it meant to be a true predator! And I would start with…

 

I lowered my gaze to the pale, yellow haired thing that was up here with me.

 

…HIM!

Chapter Thirty Three

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