Rain soaks my shirt and fills the footprints I’m tracking. The ground, already soft, sucks at my shoes. It should be easy to cover your tracks in this whether, but the girl I’m tracking, my cousin, isn’t hiding. Leaves catch in my auburn hair as I duck under a baby tree. Lace fabric is stuck to one of the branches. What werewolf wears lace during a full moon?

I pick up speed. Several vampires will be looking for her too, though I haven’t run into them. She had sneaked into their nightclub on the worst night of the month. Any other day it would’ve been a minor infraction. On the night of a full moon, it was a threat. I tried her cellphone again, but it went to voicemail. “Damn it, Lanie. Answer your phone.”

Thunder rumbles and several cracks of lightening light the sky. Too bad I’m not a witch; I’d have found her by now. Her footprints stop at the foot of an oak. “Lanie, don’t make me climb up there.”

Not even a snicker indicates she heard me. Kicking my tennis shoes off, I grab the highest branch I can reach and pull myself up. The bark is slick, and more rain pours down. I peer up through the leaves. “Lanie?”

I almost can’t hear her sniffling over the sound of the storm. My foot slips. My chin hits the branch, but my hands hold fast. The metallic taste of blood fills my mouth. “I don’t think the higher branches can hold me. Will you meet me down here?”

The leaves rustle. Lanie drops beside me, her lace dress ripped and stained rusty red. Even the ends of her blonde hair is dark and clumpy. She’s shaking. Using the hairband around my wrist, I pull her hair back. “The first night transitioning is always the worst. We’re going to need to run. Can you do that?”

Her eyes stare past me. “I can’t go home.”

“I know. We’re going someplace safe. There’s a werewolf pack in the north that takes strays.”

Lanie shakes her head. “Let the vampires find me. Let them end this.”

I grab her shoulders hard so she whimpers and meets my eyes. “It doesn’t matter what you did last night. We have to survive.”


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