This story is by Jacqueline Lewis and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Adam had thought planning the murder of dozens of people would weigh heavy on his conscience. In truth though, he felt nothing. These things were no longer human. They had embraced the monster running rampant through their veins. They enjoyed the destruction, the chaos, and the blood that now flooded the streets of Los Angeles. It was disgusting.
The resistance had been slaughtered in a single night. There had been no warning, only a disturbing sickness settling in his stomach as the howls filled the air. Bones had snapped under the force of powerful canine jaws. The memory of fragile flesh ripping caused his stomach to lurch and bile to rise in his throat. Anyone that remained, had dispersed. If they had any sense, Adam knew they would flee L.A. The city was beyond salvation.
That night, Adam hadn’t even had time to unsheathe his silver tipped blade before teeth were sinking into his shoulder. Pain had exploded across every nerve of his body. After desperately digging his fingers into the glowing green eyes of the wolf, he had run. The agonized shrieks of the dying and the angry cries of the wounded beast behind him had echoed off of the walls of his skull. He hadn’t dared to look. He couldn’t slow down. He had been too weak, had been too much of a coward to save anyone.
He shook the memory away, rage boiling in his blood. Aching fingers tore the silver chain from his throat as he turned his gaze to the full moon overhead. The pendant had prevented his transformation so far but it would be useless once the sun disappeared over the horizon. To transform for the first time on the night of the full moon was to surrender completely. There would be no returning to human form. He would be a slave to instinct and bloodlust. But it didn’t matter. They had taken everything from him. It would end tonight.
“Adam?” The melodic whisper startled him from his dark thoughts but he didn’t dare look. No one was there. No matter what tricks his eyes played or the longing his heart felt, she was gone. She had been dead for three years.
“Adam, don’t ignore me.” There was a breathy laugh, barely audible over the pounding of his heart. Soft fingers trailed up his spine to tangle in auburn locks. A sigh fell past his lips at the comforting sensation. It was so familiar.
“Emily?” Adam murmured tentatively, smoothing rough fingers over the translucent arm that wrapped around his waist.
“Hmm?” She answered lazily, leaning into his back.
“You’re not here.”
She stilled for a moment. She seemed to be contemplating his statement before she shrugged. A hoarse laugh escaped his throat at the nonchalant action.
“No.” She agreed, stretching onto the tips of her toes to press her lips to the back of his neck. Thick locks tumbled over his shoulder with the action, only possessing a hint of the lovely raven color they used to hold. “I’m only in your mind but that doesn’t mean I’m not real.”
Adam gave an involuntary groan as she pulled away from him. He caught a glimpse of the cream colored sweater she wore as she moved to stand in front of him. He screwed his eyes shut. He didn’t want to see her! Why wouldn’t she leave him alone?
“Because I love you.” She answered his question as if it had been spoken aloud. The lilt of amusement was there again. “And you love me.” She pressed her lips to the underside of his jaw. He had to fight the smile that wanted to curl his lips. There was a long silence. A heavy weight pressed down on his chest. “I know why you’re here.”
He finally allowed his eyes to open. Steely blue fell onto the ghostly woman standing in front of him. She didn’t notice, however. Her gaze was fixed on the dilapidated building across the road. A dozen stories tall, it was only slightly bigger than the buildings surrounding it which had been equally neglected. Another cold steel structure in what was once a vibrant city. It wasn’t anything extraordinary. The only significant difference were the occupants. This building housed a den of wolves. The wolves who had literally torn apart the only thing he cared about.
A gentle brush of fingers against his cheek had blue eyes locking with vibrant green. Every time Emily had appeared to him, no matter how faint or transparent her body, her eyes always shined with life. A hot trail of tears burned down his face at the sight of them. Her pale pink lips turned into a sad smile as she gaze up at him.
“It’s alright.” She grabbed his hand. The strength of her fingers holding onto him made it hard to accept that she wasn’t really there. He wanted to scream.
“It’s alright.” She repeated. Gently she unfolded his fingers, the ones still gripping the silver pendant. She lifted it from his palm and tossed it away. The faint ring of metal striking the pavement barely registered to his ears. The reaction was immediate. Blood rushed through his ears like a raging river. The coppery taste of blood flowed down his throat as fangs pierced his soft gums. A painful shock raced down his spine. He doubled over in agony.
Cold fingers pressed to his forehead, helping to sooth the pounding in his skull. A relieved sigh fell past his lips as his vision darkened.
“We’ll be together soon.” She promised. His control slipped. Bones cracked as the transformation took hold. New muscles stretched and ached as he began loping toward his destination. Soon, he would be lost inside the wolf.
“Adam” Emily’s voice echoed eerily behind him. He didn’t turn to look at her, he kept pushing. He vowed.
“And I’ll be waiting.”