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Authors: Kate Spofford

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BOOK: Dreamwalkers
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This must be how Remy joins our pack.

I think?

When my mother and Aunt Jenny continue
searching for game, I realize that my bond with Remy is closed to
them. They don’t feel him as I do.

Remy approaches me and snuffles the fur
around my neck. I allow it, unsure of what to do. What kind of bond
is this?

Then, through my mother’s bond, I sense that
she found a trail. Aunt Jenny and I immediately run to her side,
with Remy following a split second later, having sensed this
through our bond.

The scent of prey consumes us, and our wolf
instincts take over. We race along after the musk in a rough
diamond formation–Mom in the lead, me at the rear, Remy and Aunt
Jenny flanking. Each of us is alert for other predators or danger.
I haven’t sensed anything since we changed, but I can sense how the
excitement of the chase distracts everyone else. They haven’t been
attacked the way Daniel and I were attacked, and if we should be
attacked now, I know none of us are anywhere near the fighter
Daniel is.

Was.

He left me.

The prey we follow is an enormous elk. Male,
I finally recognize in his scent when I see the huge rack of
antlers. He is not alone, but he will be the one to protect his
herd.

Mom has been in point position during the
chase but now she holds back. She’s never taken down a creature
this big, or this aggressive. Aunt Jenny falls behind me. I nudge
Remy’s mind through the bond.

(I’ll distract, you circle)

To Mom and Aunt Jenny:

(circle circle go wide)

Before they can react I dart in for a frontal
attack. The elk trumpets and rears, then swings his antlers down.
I’m not really going to attack–I feint left, narrowing avoiding the
sharp prongs. Digging my paws into the snow, I dart to his right
side next, growl and snap, feeling more than
seeing/hearing/smelling my pack mates circling around behind. He
can see them, the prey eyes positioned on the sides of his head,
but I keep his attention on me. I weave back and forth, entice him
to charge me, head lowered. I’m not quite quick enough to escape
this time: he catches me under one foot with an antler and throws
me off balance. But I leap to my feet and am out of the way before
he swings his head again, and by now, my pack mates are ready to
attack.

Remy’s teeth go straight for the tendons on
one of the rear legs, while my mom leaps on the elk’s back.

(go for the belly!)

My command reaches Aunt Jenny, who snaps out
of her uncertainty. Yes, the underbelly. That is the weak place
where there are no bones in the way, or thick ridges of hair. Mom
seems to be doing well enough, clawing up the elk’s flanks, but she
isn’t going to bring it down this way. I dart and weave, the dance
becoming easier for me now that the elk is down one leg–now
another, as Remy artfully ducks a flying hoof and rips out the
tendons of the other leg. The elk sinks back like it’s sitting down
for a breather, and its head tilts back to trumpet one last song
for its herd.

This is when I dart in and rip out its
jugular.

The fur here is thick, but my teeth are sharp
and a gush of blood floods my mouth and throat. I jerk my head from
side to side until it’s free and I have a nice thick bite of elk
meat. Of course, that bite is covered in hair and I drop it, then
dig my muzzle into its throat and search for better meat, because
my adrenaline is rushing and the blood is flowing and my teeth are
so, so sharp.

Some time later, I awaken from my blood lust
and lick the thick fluid from my face. We’ve all been feasting,
keeping the crows at bay. The great beast’s stomach is exposed to
the elements, a gaping maroon cave spilling out its precious
treasures of intestines and other organs. Aunt Jenny is tearing at
the liver, while my mother rips muscle and fat from the dripping
ribcage and swallows the chunks whole.

Remy is right beside me. I hadn’t noticed him
there.

(the heart is yours)

His voice in my head startles me. I blink at
him. He indicates with his nose. The heart. It hangs there from the
eviscerated chest cavity like an overripe fruit.

I look from the heart to Remy, to my mother
and Aunt Jenny.

(this is your kill)

My mother’s voice. Her mouth opens and her
tongue lolls out in a wolfy grin. This feeling coming through the
bond–she’s proud of me.

Well, some girls make their moms proud by
getting straight A’s or not screwing up at their dance recital or
earning a coveted spot on the cheerleading squad.

I guess we’re a tad different.

 

 

 

 

-12-

 

That night I dreamwalk into Remy’s head.

I hadn’t tried to get back in Daniel’s dreams
after the weird encounter with the half-were. It seemed like Daniel
had escaped whatever weird place he was in, and I just didn’t feel
like having another nightmare.

I certainly hadn’t been trying to get into
Remy’s dreams, but here I am, back in the clearing where we found
the elk, only it’s sunset instead of midday. The amber hues of the
scrub grass in the field are ablaze with the setting sunlight. The
melting snow glows. Against the orange sky, the elk’s antlers are
silhouetted and magnificent. The air feels warmer.

I look around, and realize it’s just Remy and
I, and we’re human.

He’s looking at me with undisguised awe on
his face. For a brief moment I look down to make sure I’m wearing
clothes, and I am. A floaty red dress that barely hits mid-thigh,
sure, but I’m fully covered.

I’m also barefoot, but since this is a dream,
my feet aren’t cold.

My moments of figuring out the situation are
cut short when my body moves on its own, whirling away from Remy
and leaping–serious, ballet-style leaping–into the grass. I bound
like a gazelle, and once the surprise of doing this so effortlessly
wears off, I really start to flying, testing the limits of the
dream abilities Remy has given me.

Leap, fly, brief touch of my toe on the
ground, then launch into the air again. I’m dancing in the
color-rich air with a flurry of dust motes swirling around me.

Too soon, I reach the cool shadows of the
trees and stop.

When I turn to Remy, he is still standing
there with a squinty smile on his face. He waves, a little flick of
his wrist like a salute. His skin is a deep bronze.

I smile and wave back.

He moves toward me, slow motion, and I am
drawn forward as well.

He is beautiful, and he wants me.

Never before have I been inside a dream so
happy and wonderful. The feeling of joy lifts my feet from the
ground, making me lighter than air. I feel radiant, my hair a
streaming veil behind me.

Such a contrast to earlier today, primal and
coated in blood.

I could allow myself to be carried away with
this dream of Remy’s. He would sweep me into his arms and carry me
off, lay me down in a bed of field grass and have his way with me.
His way, although I’d probably enjoy it.

Just before we meet in each other’s arms, I
stop, then he stops, and we look at each other.

In that moment I realize that he can see me
as I see him. As something outside of this dream.

I wake up.

 

The next morning, no one is jumping out of
bed at the crack of dawn. I lay in my sleeping bag, eyes closed but
very much awake. I might have imagined that flash of recognition,
but somehow I don’t think I did. Remy’s intentions in the dream
were clear, but when I stopped the dream from continuing along the
hot and steamy romance path it was taking, he became aware of what
I was doing.

That’s never happened to me before.

The hunt yesterday has either exhausted Mom
and Aunt Jenny, or given them a much-needed sense of safety and
contentment. Mom is snoring in her sleeping bag, with one arm over
her eyes. Aunt Jenny is curled up in a little ball on the mattress.
Her deep, even breathing tell me she’s still asleep.

I close my eyes and listen through the walls
for sounds from the living room, where Remy should be sleeping on
the couch. Sure enough, I sense his presence there, although I
don’t think he’s sleeping. He’s lying awake, like I am.

Without a clock I have to rely on the sun to
tell me what time it is. Early spring sunlight streams through the
windows, barely filtered through the bedsheet-turned-curtains Aunt
Jenny put up.

I throw a guess out there: it’s nine-fifteen.
I’m trying to remember where I put my cell phone so I can check the
time when

(Close. 9:37.)

pops into my head.

Immediately I throw up my mental walls. Remy.
That tenuous bond we had while hunting can’t be responsible for
this, now can it? I bury my face in my pillow. I don’t want him in
my head, any more than I want my mom in there. But how? How?

I know at this moment that I will not be able
to sleep.

Silently I climb out of the sleeping bag, my
newfound skills keeping my mom and aunt asleep, then enter the
living room, where Remy is waiting for me.

“Hi,” he says.

“Hi.”

I stand there, not knowing what to do or say.
Some part of me remembers that he is much older than me. He
probably knows more than me about bonds and all that. I crack my
toes and stare at the knees of his plaid pajama pants.

“Honestly, I have no more idea about what
just happened than you do.”

And I know he’s being honest, because I could
feel it yesterday, while we were hunting, that he had never really
had a bond with anyone before.

“Does this mean we’re bonded? Are you part of
our pack now?”

He shrugs. “I don’t think so. I think I’m
only connected to you.”

I meet his eyes, and he shifts, pats the
place on the lumpy couch beside him.

Come here, sit, little puppy, sit. Good
girl.

I move toward him but sit in the chair
instead.

“We haven’t exchanged blood. We didn’t do the
ritual. So we’re not mated,” I say firmly.

“What ritual?”

“The Bonding ritual. Ask Mom,” I wave toward
the wall that separates the bedroom from the living room.

“I’ve never heard of a ritual for mating,”
Remy says. “It sounds so… archaic.”

I shrug.

I choose not to tell him that the ritual
worked on me and Daniel. I choose not to say that I am already
mated.

Inside I’m beginning to wonder why there
should be a ritual. Did the first werewolves who ever mated have
this ritual? I’m sure there is some natural way for mating to occur
without offerings to Artemis, or even bloodletting.

maybe mating comes with sex there’s blood in
sex the first time

My cheeks burn at the thought. Me, and
Daniel, that hot snowy night...

But I hadn’t done anything with Remy, so what
the hell was this?

“I had an interesting dream last night,” Remy
says, and startles me out of my perverted thoughts.

I’m not sure what I could say that would
sound casual, like I had no idea what he was talking about, so I
say nothing.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were a
dreamwalker?”

 

 

 

 

-13-

 

According to Remy, dreamwalking is a gift
passed down through the blood. “It’s very rare,” he explained.

“But you have heard of it,” I stated.

“My upbringing was a bit… unusual.” Remy gave
me a crooked smile.

I lowered my voice. “I don’t think my mom
knows about it.”

“Could be not. Have you ever dreamwalked with
her?”

“Once or twice, early on. By accident. When–”
my dad was murdered, my whole family was murdered, when Daniel
killed them
“...a couple of years after Daniel left, I
dreamwalked with Aunt Jenny. That one was a little more
intentional, and she never said anything to me afterwards.”

“What was that dream like?”

I spoke softly, knowing that if Aunt Jenny
was awake, she could hear me. My senses told me she was still
sleeping, but better to be safe. “She was still grieving for
Daniel, I think. I don’t think she really cared about Uncle Frank
at all… she knew that Uncle Frank had brought Daniel up to the
mountain to challenge him. To kill him. Anyway, I was there for
her, in the dream. After that, she seemed better.”

“But she didn’t seem to know you were
actually in the dream.”

“No.”

Aunt Jenny might be my mother’s sister, but
the two of them aren’t very similar. I always got the feeling that
my mother looked down on Aunt Jenny for being weak and allowing
Uncle Frank to treat her the way he did. I think it really helped
Jenny to know that I didn’t look down on her, too.

Remy’s warm hand covers mine. Somehow he has
reached across the distance I left between us silently. I stare at
our hands touching each other. Slowly, he curls his fingers around
mine.

“This gift you have, it’s rare.” My eyes are
mesmerized by his lips. “And powerful.”

In that moment I know I can trust him. The
bond between us is open and strong, and his intention is
unwavering.

“We can use this,” he says.

I squeeze his hand back. It’s surprising how
quickly an hour passes gazing into his eyes.

 

Later that week Remy decides that two of us
should return home to scout around, see if anyone’s been there. It
becomes a heated discussion around the fireplace one evening.

“The reason we came here was to be safe,”
Aunt Jenny says. “If we go back now, it’s just leaving us open for
them to follow us here.”

“It’s difficult to track anyone in a car,”
Mom says.

“Humans follow people in cars all the time,”
I remind her. “They might not be in wolf form when we see them.
They might have our old house staked out and be waiting there for
us to drive by.”

“Maybe I could just call my old boss at the
diner and ask him to drive out there and have a look,” Aunt Jenny
suggests.

BOOK: Dreamwalkers
13.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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