When I reached the woods, I glanced back. No one had followed me, the bell for lessons would go in five minutes, but I had to talk to Jax, even to just shout an apology.
"Jax?" I called hesitantly, then louder.
There was no reply. I walked deeper into the woods. They weren't off limits to students, but people didn't really go in them much unless they were third years or doing cross country runs down the wood path.
I couldn't see the path right now. No one, apart from Jax, as far as I could tell was in here. Since the Shadow Shifter attack no one had wanted to come near the woods, despite the police having captured my stalker.
Thinking of the Shadow attacks made me think of Jax. I had been stupid before, I was confident Jax wouldn't hurt me, what motive would he have? Unless he was working with my stalker, and would kill me for him...
No. I couldn't keep thinking like that. Anyway, I needed Jax, he would help me. That was, if he forgave me.
I wondered how far he'd got into the forest, what if he'd done that shadow walking thing Mrs Voss had talked about?
I was deeper in the forest than I'd thought, glancing back, I couldn't see the school buildings anymore.
Suddenly I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I only saw it because of my enhanced vision and attention to detail, a plus of my new found Okan.
I stayed very, very still. Waiting.
"Jax? Jax I'm sorry, please talk to me." I called out. I waited, then something moved behind me, it made no sound, but I could sense it in every fibre of me. It wasn't a good feeling.
I jolted round, my heart beating in my ears. There were snapped branches, a trail or trodden leaves and plants. Whatever had made this track hadn't made noise, but had clearly shown where it was.
Although my body screamed danger, I followed the trail of broken plants. Brushing my hand against one, I noticed that there was black stuff, inky powder, on them. Shadow Shifter?
I moved forward, the trail thinning, but the black stuff still visible.
Suddenly the path stopped abruptly, and I looked up.
I was in a clearing, not one I'd seen before, but I didn't take that much in. I was staring at the tree in front of me. Huge and thick, it vastly dominated the others. But that wasn't why I stared at it, I couldn't take my eyes off it because this tree, the one the trail of black led to, had my triangle engraved sharply into it, radiating death.
I stared at it for what seemed like eons. Eventually I moved forwards, still staring. The triangle had been scratched deep, and was it my imagination? Or was the bark smoking? Yes, it seemed to be giving off a faint black smoke.
I reached my hand out to touch it, almost instinctively, when a voice behind me shouted.
"Don't move! Stay right where you are." I turned, Blue-hair was stood in the clearing, her bright eyes glaring boldly at me. "God you're lucky to be alive."