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Chapter Thirty

Zave wasn't sure how long he sat like that, face buried in his airbag, head spinning and ears ringing. Eventually he was pulled from his stupor by a cold, wet tongue sliding up and down his cheek.

 

He groaned as he picked himself up, and then groaned again when he saw what was in front of him. His windshield was shattered. It clung stubbornly to its frame for now, but it looked like it would cave in entirely if he sneezed on it. Just beyond the jagged cracks, the front end of his car seemed to have shrunk to half its original size. They had plowed straight into the biggest, sturdiest tree on this side of the road. White steam was billowing out from under the hood.

 

"Shit!" he said again. There was no salvaging this car—not that he would have had the money for repairs anyway. "Clueless? Are you okay?"

 

Clueless whined in reply and licked his face again. Zave winced, then reached up to feel his nose. It throbbed, but he didn't think it was broken. When he lowered his hand, though, his fingers were bloody.

 

"Great. Absolutely perfect," he muttered, killing the engine before it decided to catch fire on top of everything else. "What are we going to do now, girl?"

 

Clueless cocked her head at the question, then turned around and scratched at the passenger side window.

 

Zave sighed. "Yeah, that's as good a place to start as any."

 

Groaning again, he undid his seatbelt and pushed on his door. When it resisted, he threw his shoulder against it, wincing when it hit a bruise that was already starting to form, and it grudgingly popped open. He climbed out, into the rain, and then patted his leg to call Clueless. As she hopped out and started to sniff around, Zave looked at what remained of his car. It didn't look any better from out here.

 

"What the hell was that?" he wondered, thinking back to the looming form he'd seen in the road. He hadn't gotten a very good look at it, but at first he'd thought it was a young buck with a good set of antlers. Deer were a common sight around here, after all.

 

But why had it looked like it was standing on two legs?

 

Zave felt a tug, and looked down to see Clueless pulling on the hem of his shirt. She whimpered, trying to pull him in the direction of the woods.

 

"What is it?" he asked.

 

She growled at him and gave another sharp tug.

 

"Cut it out!" he snapped, yanking his shirt out of her mouth. "I can't leave the scene of an accident."

 

He sighed again, gazing sorrowfully at what had once been his car, and pulled out his phone. He'd need a tow truck. And what about the police? Would he be in trouble if he didn't call them about this?

 

Not that it mattered, he realized. His phone has no signal.

 

"This just keeps getting better and better," he said. Normally the reception here was fine. The storm must have been messing that up too.

 

Thunder boomed from the sky, as if laughing at him.

 

Clueless barked. Zave turned and saw her standing at the edge of the tree line, doing an anxious little dance.

 

"If you have to pee, just do it!" he snapped. "We're going to be here for a—hey, get back here!"

 

She ignored him, sprinting into the woods as fast as her four legs could carry her. Zave moved to chase after her, but stopped. He still couldn't leave! Groaning, he watched his dog vanish behind the curtain of rain without so much as a backwards glance. Cursing to himself, he turned around—and found himself face to face with somebody.

 

— —

 

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 has become Fey Greenbriar for the first time since going Tame.

To Be Continued: 03/04/2023

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