It was already late at night or maybe it was early in the morning now. Tyler couldn't tell but the one thing he knew was that he couldn't sleep. There was something going on, something huge and important and he was to play some part in it. Of this he was sure, as sure as the beating of his own heart. As he lay there, in his bed with the only light filtering in from the streetlight outside his window, listening to his own heartbeat, he knew all this and he was afraid. Change was coming and coming fast. The end of his life as he knew it. He would be asked to step out into a violent new world, like the one he encountered last night. This he knew with absolute certainty, even though no one had told him explicitly. He could sense it in his bones and he hoped he would be ready.
The fear trickled down his spine and settled like a lump of ice in his stomach. The girl would know, he thought, she knows something, maybe even everything. Tyler held up his hand in the streetlight and pulled off the glove he had been wearing constantly since that night. Underneath, his right hand bore an ebony mark depicting two lightning bolts in a circle. It would not come off. He had tried but the mark was burned into the flesh, permanent.
Restlessly, he threw off the covers and began to pace the room. The jury was still out. He found himself wavering between denial that anything had happened and believing it all had, changing opinion from minute to minute throughout the day. There was no way that werewolves existed and yet, he had this mark on his hand and the girl that had saved his life was on a couch directly below his feet.
And he didn't even know her name. That might have bothered him most of all if it weren't for the sudden realization that, when he had spoken to her, he had forgotten to thank her. Tyler couldn't remember ever being that rude to anyone before, even people who deserved it. He couldn't stand it anymore, he would just go down and check on her. That would be ok, right?
Silently, he drifted down the hall, down the stairs and into the living room. Immediately he noticed that something was different. The fireplace, usually empty and sedate, contained a roaring fire and the girl sat in front of it, staring blankly at the dancing flames. She didn't seem to notice him, made no inclination or movement but, almost like a sixth sense, she knew he was there. And he knew that she knew, like the hour hand on a clock knows the minute hand because its movements are caused by minutes passing.
"Thank you," he finally said, "for saving me."
"I should thank you too," she said clearly, eyes still trained on the fire, "you were not the only one saved from a horrible fate last night."
Something about her choice of words made him think she wasn't talking about almost dying from the werewolf bites. He wondered, for the first time, what her story was but she broke through his thoughts before he could frame a question.
"You have one too, don't you? A mark. Do you know what this means?"
"Yes," he said without thinking, "It means something big is about to happen."
Suddenly, she turned and looked at him, a fierceness and intensity boiling behind her eyes. "Are you prepared?" she asked "Could you leave everything behind, right now and set out on a mission you may not return from? Could you do it?"
The question was obviously important to her but he couldn't bring himself to face that possibility in spoken words, "What will you do?"
"I don't know," she admitted, lowering her gaze. A sadness seemed to wash over her. Then she confessed, "I tried to leave but couldn't. Something was stopping. I just couldn't leave this place and since there's nothing else that could possibly be holding me here, I guess I'll have to go with you."
There was a certain defensiveness about her, like this was a most unpleasant fact but she wasn't willing to admit that to herself yet.
"I don't know, if I could leave it all I mean."
"Well you better make up your mind. You don't have very long to decide."
"What-" he started but he was swiftly interrupted by a clatter from the kitchen.