Copyright @ Julia Debski 2012
The howl of a faraway wolf calling its comrades for a hunt echoed through the dark woods. The horses snorted anxiously as they pranced in place before the crack of the whip over their heads sent them forward.
The silver orb perched in the sky supplied barely enough light for the girl in the dim carriage to see out the dirty glass pane. She could only make out the shadows of the trees that bordered the tiny road that cut through the forest. She shivered again as another gust of wind rocked the frail carriage. Pulling her cloak around herself tightly, she turned to look at her father's sleeping figure. The gloomy light reflected slightly off his bald head. It was all that could be seen of the short round man wrapped in a worn out blanket.
Claire had always appreciated her sensitive ears until tonight. At the snap of a twig just beyond the carriage, Claire turned her head to face the haunted forest once again. She leaned closer to her window to see the driver glancing toward the trees nervously. His knuckles were white as he gripped the reins.
"Yah!" he cried suddenly before flicking the whip repeatedly. The horses broke into a gallop, panicked by the continuous cracks and yells that rang out through the air.
Claire knew why they were running. They were trying to escape something. She glanced at her father as she reached to grip the seat as the carriage bounced into the air after hitting a large bump. He did not wake, instead he simply shifted his position and licked his lips. She wished for a brief moment that she too could sleep so deeply.
Returning her eyes to the world outside, an uneasy cold sensation crept through Claire gradually, as if building suspense, and she realized that whatever they were trying to run away from was keeping up with the wagon easily as it traveled beside them under the cover of the trees. It was right there, just beyond the moon beams. Something terrifying enough to have the driver whispering his final prayer. The moon disappeared behind the clouds, plunging everything into blinding darkness. The carriage slowed to a stop. The tension in the air was thick enough to suffocate on.
Yet Claire was not afraid.
Suddenly the carriage shook and a girlish scream was to be heard before being cut off by a dreadful gurgling sound. Finally her father woke.
"Claire sweetheart? Is everything alri--" The carriage door beside him was suddenly flung open and a pair of gold eyes glinted, even though there was no light. Everything was completely still until a low growl traveled through the small space.
No, Claire thought. Wolves would not know how to open a carriage door.
The words were indeed much more ominous. The hairs on her arms and back of her neck rose to attention. Everyone knew about the werewolves.
There were many small packs that were friendly and kind, usually taking part in village life like humans.
Unfortunately there was only one werewolf pack in this area of Great Britain and it was said to be far from the welcoming type. The Saxon Pack was the fastest growing and most powerful pack in all of Europe. Possibly the world even. It was also infamous for kidnapping, raping and killing in order to achieve that status.