Shadow PawMature

Following a camping trip, during which a strange and painful event occurs, three friends are left struggling with who they are and what they are becoming.
On top of this, a dark creature lurks in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to strike.

Prologue

The embers crackled and glowed in the star-studded darkness, as three friends toasted marshmallows upon the fire, clutching mugs of hot chocolate and feeling comfortable in the selective company they shared, blissfully ignorant of what would occur that night. The clearing they had chosen to camp in was covered with a canopy of diamond-dripped sky. The tent was pitched, the sleeping bags rolled out ready to beckon the tired campers to a primitive slumber. As the moon glared down into the clearing, all was quiet, save for the fire's comforting crackle.

"Alexander, would you like another marshmallow?" one girl asked, her curled, blonde hair like molten gold in the firelight. Alexander nodded. She peeled back the plastic bag and retrieved another small white cloud. She placed it in her palm and held it out for Alexander to take.

"Thanks, Daisy." he replied, before reaching with his muscular arm to take the soft marshmallow. Three pairs of eyes stared into the flames; one pair a sapphire blue, the next a blue with hints of grey, the last like new honey and polished amber. The owner of the last eyes chewed her marshmallow contemplatively, perfectly happy to soak up the fire's glow and the companionship she shared with her closest friends, Alexander and Daisy. A voice broke the comfortable silence.

"You're very quiet, Verity - that either means that you are perfectly content or deeply depressed." Alexander said. Verity replied in her soft manner,

"You'll be pleased to hear that it's the former." Presently, the embers flickered and began to fade. Verity pushed her ebony hair out of her pale face and stood up, turning on her torch. "I'll go grab some more firewood - Daisy, do you want to come with me?"

"Okay, give me a second." Daisy set down her cup and skewed marshmallow and followed Verity into the forest. Alexander took the opportunity to furtively take another marshmallow and pop it into his mouth. As he waited for his friends to return, his mahogany hair flopped into his face. Not caring to move it, he fell into a half-sleeping, half-waking doze. A doze that was broken by a symphony of screams.

Alexander was instantly alert. He picked up his torch and ran into the forest, searching for the place from whence the screaming came. With only a thin stream of light to guide him, he stumbled a few times in the rabbit warrens beneath, masked by moss and blades of grass.

He caught the scent of blood before he saw it. Verity and Daisy lay on the forest floor, with gashes in their legs and blood pooling about them. Alexander turned to see the large wild eyes of an unidentifiable beast staring into his, blood on its muzzle and coating its large canines. In his confusion and panic, he ripped a branch from a tree and begin to beat off the creature with it. Soon, more slipped out from the trees. One sank its teeth into his leg. He cried in pain, before swinging the branch a little more and sending the creatures sprinting back into the forest from whence they came. He limped towards Daisy and Verity and fell onto the earth next to them. Reaching into her pocket, Verity clutched her cold phone in her hand. She dialed the three digit number she required and placed it to her ear.

"I need an ambulance." The static drowned voice on the other end asked why. "Wolf attack. Yes, a wolf attack." As the voice on the other end of the line asked more questions, darkness coated the eyes of the three friends as they fell into unconciousness.

The End

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