Fey didn't know what was going on. She didn't know what had possessed her to abandon her shift at work. She didn't know why she had frantically pedaled her bike out to this random house in the middle of a raging storm. She didn't know why she had taken on her true form for the first time in three years.
And most of all, she didn't know why she'd decided to kill all four of these strange men the moment she'd laid eyes on them.
All she knew was the weird feeling of anxiety hadn't gone away after Zave and Clueless left. Instead, it had gotten worse. Fifteen minutes after the unAwakened skinwalker's departure, it had felt like she'd swallowed a whole nest of snakes. She had made a quick excuse to Pauline about feeling sick, grabbed her bike, and taken off into the pouring rain.
And then, ten minutes after setting out, who did she run into but Clueless herself? The canine skinwalker had been frantic, sprinting right up to Fey and barking so hard it made Fey's human ears ring. Not knowing what else to do, Fey had followed her here, to this inconspicuous little house in the woods, just in time to see Zave get ushered inside by three mean looking thugs.
The moment she saw them, a fiery hatred had leaped up in Fey's heart. She didn't know who they were or what they were doing with Zave—but they had to die!
Leaving her bike on the side of the road, she had sprinted up to the house, tearing off her human clothes even as her body transformed. A thrust of her powerful legs had rocketed her straight through the kitchen window.
With hooves for feet, jet black horns crowning her head, and a coat of snow white fur, Fey Greenbriar had become Fey Greenbriar for the first time since going Tame.
Five men spun around in surprise. One of them was Zave. The others were dead, even if they didn’t know it yet.
The man who stood apart from the others—Fey assumed he was the leader—looked confused for a second, but then broke into a malicious grin.
"Look at this, gentlemen!" he cackled. "Two birds with one stone!"
The sound of his voice, although she couldn't pinpoint anything specifically wrong with it, sent a shudder down Fey's spine. Clenching her first, she sprinted at him with murder in her eyes.
Like all skinwalkers, Fey had the powers of humanity and the animal kingdom at her command. A normal goat could balance on a point no bigger than a nickel and scale any slope with less than a ninety degree angle. By combining their incredible balance with the strength and flexibility of the human body, Fey had been a force to be reckoned with even before Glenn had taught her to fight. It didn't matter who these people were, or that they outnumbered Fey four to one. They were only human.
With inhuman dexterity, she launched herself into the air, closing the distance between herself and the man, and delivered a savage spinning kick to his face. The force of her rock-hard hoof was enough to shatter anyone's skull.
Instead, pain exploded in her hoof, like she had just kicked a five ton boulder. Confused, she still reacted swiftly, planting her other foot on the man's chest before gravity could pull her back down and kicking off of him into a backflip. She arced gracefully through the air, landing just a few feet away from the strangely resilient man.
He was still grinning at her.
You want to be like that? she thought angrily, ignoring the pain in her hoof. She drew back one hand, thumb extended. Fine! Let's see you smile after I've poked your eyes out!
She thrust her arm forward, but the man merely knocked her hand out of the way. Fey gaped in horror. He had moved so fast that his arm was just a blur. No human could ever move that fast!
Before she could recover from her surprise, the man rammed a fist into her gut, and she went flying across the room.
Crashing into the opposite wall, Fey collapsed to the floor along with half a dozen picture frames. Pain shot through her entire body. With shaking limbs, she picked herself up.
"What…are you?" she gasped.
The man's smile grew even wider. "Let me show you."
Abruptly, he doubled over in pain. A sound like creaking leather and groaning wood filled the room, and Fey realized with a sickening lurch that it was coming from him. His body swelled beneath his clothes, straining the fabric until they burst, firing buttons across the room like bullets. Grayish brown fur was spreading across his body, and his face was pushing forward into a gruesome muzzle. Blood spilled down his face, staining his fur, as two wicked looking antlers grew from his forehead. He drew back his lips, baring ferocious fangs at her.
Zave screamed in terror and fainted.
"What do you think of this, little skinwalker?" the monster asked, standing up to his full seven foot height. His antlers gouged holes in the ceiling above him. "Are you scared yet?"
Fey was more than scared. She was horrified. Still, if there was one lesson growing up in the Wilds had taught her, it was to never show fear in front of a predator. Instead, she looked around, searching for anything that could give her an advantage over this—
He came for her, lashing out with claws so sharp that they sliced through the walls like cloth. Fey barely had time to move, and it was only her goat dexterity that saved her. Leaping into the air, she let the attack pass below her, her momentum carrying her back into the kitchen.
"Yes!" the monster roared in delight. "I haven't fought one of your kind in so long! I'd almost forgotten what it feels like to be challenged!"
Fey found herself next to the kitchen table. Thinking quick, she grabbed one of the heavy, wooden chairs, spun in a quick circle, and hurled it at the monster. He slapped it out of the air with a casual motion, shattering it.
Exactly like Fey had hoped he would.
The moment she'd let the chair fly, Fey had chased after it, hiding behind it as she closed the distance between them. The moment the monster had knocked it aside, she was there. He had no time to react.
He gasped in pain as her horns pierced his skin.
The monster stumbled backwards, tearing himself away from her, and held a hand up to his chest in shock. Blood spurted from two identical puncture wounds. Fey had worried that, being out of practice, she might miss. But her aim had been true, stabbing the monster right through the heart.
"You…little…" he gurgled, coughing blood. Then, like a tree before a lumberjack, he tumbled to the ground and died.
"Damn it," one of the remaining three goons spat.
Fey looked at them, dreading the idea of fighting three more of those things. To her relief, they seemed as caught off guard by her victory as she was. After a moment's thought, they made for the door and bolted.
Fey stood there, gasping for breath, hardly able to believe it. Not only because she'd won, but because no matter how long she stared she couldn't make heads or tails out of what she was looking at.
There was the patter of paws, and Fey looked up to see Clueless making her way inside. The unAwakened skinwalker hesitated, sniffing the air, before dashing over to her master, who was still lying where had fainted. She licked at his face, and then whined when he didn't respond.
Fey let out a long, heavy sigh when she realized what she had to do.