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Chapter 1: Apex: An attack under the full moon

The fluorescent yellow arches flickered before finally darkening. The still night around was warm and heavy with humidity despite the late hour. That area wasn't known for it's cool dry weather, but that night the air seemed especially hot and moist. It was late August and the fall weather had yet to begin it's refreshing cool. The streets were quiet despite their usual bustle during the day. The silence seemed tangible, as if you could somehow grasp it and take it into your hands. It was broken as three employees exited the local McDonalds and rushed out to the parking lot.

"I'll see you two Monday." An older woman spoke without looking to the two she was addressing. She pulled her keys from her pocket and began to climb into her older model jeep. The vehicle had vast amounts of rust and a screeching filled the air as she started it, suggesting it needed a tune up.

Another woman, this one younger, in her early twenties, said nothing as she, too, climbed into her own car. Loud music permeated through her cracked window as she started the engine and began to back out of her parking space. She pulled up close to the last employee, a young man in his late teens, and turned down her music.

"You want a ride, Tyler?" She smiled suggestively at him. Whisps of her blonde hair had fallen free of her hair band, they hung in her face, brushing against the corners of her lips.

Tyler paused, appearing to think about it. He chose to ignore the double meaning in her words and shook his head.

"No, I'm good." He held up the skateboard under his arm. "I've already got one."

The young woman laughed. "Mine's faster." She spoke, temptingly, elongating the er as she did.

"Thanks, Tammy, but I'm fine, really."

Tammy shrugged. "Fine. Maybe next time."

Tyler watched her pull away and drive off. He bit his bottom lip, staring after her, then clicked his tongue.

"What the hell are you thinking about," he sighed to himself as he turned to leave. This wasn't the first time Tammy had offered to give him a "ride" home. He'd refused this time, but in the past, he'd accepted on multiple occasions. Why wouldn't he? He was seventeen, of course he was going to accept if an attractive woman offered herself to him. That was before he'd found out that Tammy was married. An affair with a married woman was a whole set of problems that Tyler did not need. He had enough as it was. He breathed out as he attempted to push the images in his head away.

He threw down his skateboard as he reached the asphalt of the road and began pushing his way forward, under the minimal light offered by the few streetlights present. It wasn't long before sweat began to form on his brow. He jumped off his skateboard and opted for carrying the it instead.

As he left the main road, he made the decision to cut through the thick threes to cut off some time on his way home. Even cutting through the trees, he had over an hour's trek ahead of him. Tyler pulled a dwindling pack of cigarettes from his pocket and placed one between his lips. He didn't smoke often, maybe a pack a week. He usually only smoked during work, actually. It was a habit he'd picked up from Tammy and his other co-workers. It drove his best friend, Sam, nuts. It was ironic that Sam didn't approve of his smoking, considering Sam smoked weed, drank alcohol and had tried pills and other drugs. Sam always seemed to worry about Tyler more than himself. Tyler thought it was nice that Sam worried about him.

Sam was the only one that worried about him. Tyler's step-father, Roy, didn't give a rat's ass about him. He was more worried about Tyler causing him any trouble than about his well-being. Ever since his mother died, Tyler had had to live on his own with Roy. He never understood the alcoholic rednecks appeal. What did his mother see in the slob? Whatever it was, she took it with her to the grave. Though, after they had decided to get married, she'd insisted on Roy adopting Tyler and Tyler taking his last name. Which caused no end to his troubles. People hated Roy around here and, since they had the same last name and moved here after he and Tyler's mother were married, they assumed that Tyler was Roy's biological son and that he was just as bad. Tyler had given up trying to convince people otherwise long ago. He usually didn't hear what they thought about him since he didn't really hang out with anyone other than Sam and Sam didn't tell him what they were saying. Usually, if a rumor was circulated long enough, someone would eventually bring it to Tyler, trying to start a confrontation. Tyler let it go, though. He wasn't one to get into fights.

In fact, Tyler had never been in a fight, despite people trying to engage him. He wasn't interested in fighting. It wouldn't change the way people saw him, in fact, it would probably do the opposite. It would confirm what they thought about him as being true. So, Tyler let them say whatever they wanted about him.

His teachers were the same. They usually either hated him, pitied him, or were apathetic toward him. It didn't help that he was known to miss class if not school altogether and his grades were some of the worst in his classes. He made sure to pass the ones he needed to graduate, but the others he rarely even attended. He'd thought about dropping out, but after Roy mentioned it to him he suddenly felt that he didn't want to. That was the rebellious teen in him, he assumed. Sam found it funny that Tyler's way of rebelling against Roy was to not do drugs or drink alcohol and stay in school. He'd said that most people would rebel by doing the exact opposite. Tyler knew that most kids rebelled by screwing up their lives because they knew that would hurt their parents. Roy, however, really didn't care about Tyler or if he was screwing up his life. So, Tyler decided to get a job and save up as much as he could during high school, then graduate and move away from Roy. He hadn't thought much further than that, but Tyler didn't mind, he was only a Junior, he had almost the entirety of this year and next year to figure out what to do after high school.

As Tyler walked in the darkened woods, the moonlight barely breaking through the overhead foliage, the wind began to blow, moving the leaves over head. It felt nice against Tyler's skin. The wind felt almost apologetic as it lightly brushed against him. It lasted for just a moment before disappearing, the heat and moisture still causing the air to feel heavy. Tyler stomped through the trees loudly, unconcerned about the noise he was making. It wasn't long before Tyler felt as if something was wrong.

His footsteps were making considerable noise, but that was all. Tyler's paused as he looked around him. The atmosphere held a silence that was off-putting. He looked up to see that the leaves of the trees were shaking slightly, but no sound was coming from them. Tyler turned in place, his shoes against the relatively wet foliage seemed loud in comparison to the quiet that surrounded him. He heard a ringing in his ears begin and felt goosebumps grow on his arms. His heart pounded in his chest, adrenaline kicking in.

There was something...unnatural about the forestry around him. Tyler felt exposed, despite the trees around him, as if he were standing blindfolded naked in front of a crowd. Like he was the only one being seen without seeing anything himself. His mouth felt dry as he tried to swallow. The ringing in his ears grew louder.

Looking around, if felt as if the forest was anticipating something. His heart began to pound faster and louder, his breathing growing ragged. It wasn't long before Tyler noticed a shortage of light. He looked up and found, to his surprise, that the moon was still uncovered in the sky, no clouds keeping it's illumination from reaching him. If the moon was still there, why did it seem so dark? As Tyler wondered about this, dread began to creep into his body. It began to fill every part of him, from his physical body to his mind. He didn't know what of as he stared out into the trees around him, but it wasn't long before the answer was given. As he stared forward, he realized that it wasn't that there was a shortage of light, but that Tyler had been staring into something entirely too dark. What startled him and filled him with a fear that he'd only ever read about in stories, was that the darkness he was staring into was staring back.

Two red eyes seemed to glow with malicious intent out from that darkness. They stared directly into Tyler's own eyes, as if to make it clear that Tyler was in fact seen. Paralyzed, Tyler could do nothing except stare back. His heart felt as if it would beat out of his chest and make a run for it on it's own. Because he couldn't run away. No, he couldn't move at all. His mind was completely blank, as if unable to process what was happening.

Tyler had a knot in his throat, but his mouth was too dry to swallow. His skin felt as if someone had pulled a blanket of needles over his entire body. The heat in the air did nothing to the chill he felt in his bones.

As the two stared at each other, Tyler felt his head spin. It was then he realized he was holding his breath. As he took the warm air into his lungs, he blinked. He must have. Because the creature that had been there before was suddenly gone. Tyler didn't see where it went, but was reluctant to look around for it.

With his breath came a release from the paralysis he'd felt before, though he did not move from his original position. As he stood there he suddenly felt the hair on the back of his neck raise. As it did the stillness of his mind had a breakthrough and a single word appeared in his thoughts.

No.

Tyler's body fell forward as his paralysis was released. He caught himself with his palms, scraping one against a rock. He felt no pain from it, however, as he jumped back up and kicked off the ground to run.

The silence from before was shattered as a roar broke through the air. It was a guttural sound bringing with it a primal fear in Tyler. Tyler didn't look back as he raced through the trees, stumbling in his haste to get away. The forest seemed to come alive as he ran, the wind knocked the trees together and howled above. The leaves beneath his feet crunched and his breathing was loud and panicked. He could hear his heartbeat in his ears as his lungs ached with a need for more oxygen. None of this mattered to Tyler, he ignored the protests of his lungs and continued to run, his fear fueling his desperation. Sweat dripped freely down his forehead, both from the physical exertion and the fear he felt to his very bones.

Within moments, Tyler found himself flying sideways as something slammed into him. His flight was stopped by a tree and he heard and felt his ribs break with a loud CRACK. The air was knocked from him and he felt as if he couldn't breathe. He lied on his stomach and struggled to get to his knees. He must have bit his tongue as a terrible pain shot through his mouth. Blood pooled and dripped down his chin. As he lifted his body from the ground, something heavy jumped onto is back, forcing him back down. A sharp pain racked him as blood flowed from his shoulder. Whatever it was, it had bitten him. He heard a crunching as the powerful jaws locked on him. He cried out, but his voice did not sound like his own, it was strangled and desperate. It caught in his throat as another pain came as the creature raked it's claws down his back. Warm blood flowed from the wounds that started on his shoulder blades and extended down to his lower back.

Tyler felt helpless as the creature tore into him. He knew that he could not fight it and that the only hope he had of surviving was to run away. He knew that he could no longer run now that he was caught. Despair hit him and he was about to accept his fate, accept that this was how he would die, when, suddenly, the creature was gone. It's form no longer pressing against Tyler. It's jaws no longer tearing into his shoulder. The ringing in his ear had returned and Tyler found it hard to focus, his eyesight becoming blurred. He felt a warmth in his jeans suggesting that he no longer needed to use the bathroom, but other than that, Tyler, for the first time that night, felt cold. His form shook uncontrollably as he lay there. A light came into his view, but his vision was too blurred for him to see clearly what the source was. He heard a voice, it sounded as if he were under water and far away. He couldn't make out the words and in that moment, didn't care. A sob escaped his lips before his body lay still, his vision turned black, and his consciousness fled. The last thing Tyler remembered feeling before passing out was a pressure on his shoulder, as if someone was attempting to stop the blood from escaping.

____________________________________________________________________________

*I posting this work for sale on Amazon and while doing so, ended up ridding myself of the rights to have it posted on other sites, either for free or profit. The program that I enrolled in will expire in December of this year, so I will re-post this volume then. Sorry for any new readers that were wanting to read my tale of werewolves.*


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
Theveetah1 Theveetah1

If you're wanting to help support more stories by me, check out my blog: theveetah.wordpress.com or check out my children's book on amazon: The Little Viper, By LaVetta Cain. I have my ******* on my blog, so if you want to donate, it would be greatly appreciated.

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