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Chapter 6 - Temptation
DELETEDACCOUNT | Published 1591 days ago
  


"No, Kitty!" everyone shouts simultaneously.

"The fruit will surely kill her," Bea says solemnly.

"Where´s Wolfie?" Charmy queries. "Surely...he´s strong enough to fight the temptation?"

Kitty, now completely feline, races to the trees, closely followed by a grey blur.

"There he is!" Finn says, pointing towards the grey.

Kitty is now at the trees, while we all stand, helpless to the cause.

She leaps for the largest, juiciest fruit. Her claws close around it as Wolfie tackles her, paws tucking into his stomach as he rolls in a ball to the ground.

I get out my pet transporter and flick open the paw-shaped cell-phone style teleporter.

Inside was a keyboard with letters in a QWERTY fashion, like on a laptop.

It tells me to write in the name of the animal, the species, the building and the state.

"APATCHI, THOROUGHBRED HORSE, SKOTHAMOR´S SENIOR SCHOOL, CALIFORNIA," I type in seemingly quickly.

A picture of Apatchi flickers onto the screen. "1 match," it says.

I click ´CONFIRM´.

Nothing happens for a second.

"How´d this horse get here?" I hear Scarlett say from behind me.

A soft whinny greets me.

I whip around and see Apatchi standing there, all tacked up, flicking his black tail.

"Sweet," I murmur to myself, and mount him, pulling his reins to bring him into a gallop.


"Come on, Apatchi!" I shout over the roaring of the wind as we shoot through the calm air.

Even he was struggling to fight the urge to have a nibble at the sweet grass, but every time he bends over his head, I give him a gentle nudge in the sides to get him going again.

We get to Kitty and Wolfie in under seven minutes.

Kitty has a red, shiny apple locked in her claws as Wolfie tries to unclench it from her.

But I see his pupils dilating, then shrinking as he weakly attempts to battle the urge to swallow the apple.

I knew I had to step in.

But I needed backup.

As if on cue, the others arrive behind me on their horses.

"Wolfie´s going under," I say.

"We´ve got your back," Scarlett says almost comfortingly.

"Kay," I say, nodding respectfully.

I take over from Wolfie, who turns human again and locks his arms around Kitty´s stomach for us.

Scarlett wraps her arms under mine and around my chest, while Bea does the same for her, then Celeste then Finn then Charmy then Asher then Chase, and we all pull.

I grab the apple harder, almost squeezing it to a pulp, as everyone pulls on the person in front, until finally, the apple flies from Kitty´s paws, three lines raked into it on either side from her claws.


We all collapse like dominoes.

I quickly sit up from landing on Scarlett, feeling myself flushing tomato-red.

Kitty´s eyes were normal, now. She sits on the ground, human again, panting and looking at her hands.

"We need to get out," she says, her face flushing as auburn as her hair. "Now. Get me OUT!"

She surveys all around her.

"Kitty, we´ll camp out at the banks of the Crystal Mudflats. Don´t worry, we´re not far-" Charmy tries.

"NO! I want out! NOW!! Which direction?!" Kitty begins to sob.

"East, but-" Scarlett starts, but Kitty lunges Eastward.

We all exchange shrugs, mount our horses and canter East.

It was a close call.

This is much harder than what I had imagined.

-+-

"Right. I think we´re finally out of Fair Green," Scarlett says weakly. "Look- you can see the mudflats from here. Shall we camp here?"

We are all dressed at this point- our wetsuits were completely dry as soon as we stepped out of the water, and we put our clothes on over them.

"Yeah, whatever, wherever! I´m exhausted, man!" Asher whimpers.

"Oh, don´t be such a baby!" Finn and Celeste say simultaneously.

They crack up laughing and exchange about twenty high-fives.

"Night, guys." Scarlett hugs every girl there.

Kitty hangs onto her hug with Scarlett, face pale, eyes sunken, cheeks hollow.

"I´ll do the tent," Scarlett says, reaching for my backpack. 

"Don´t worry. Let me handle this." I insist.

Scarlett raises an eyebrow. "Okay then, Mr Knows-How-To-Put-Up-A-Tent-And-Shows-Off-About-It."

Truthfully, I had no idea how to put up a tent.


Scarlett walks over to me ten minutes later as I try to wedge a pole into the ground.

"What is that?" Scarlett tries to keep in her bursts of laughter.

The others have put up their tents and are trying to find dry wood from the surrounding forests.

"It´s a tent," I say breathlessly.

Actually, it wasn´t a tent, it was five bent-over poles stuck in the ground with some canvas laid over it.

"It didn´t help that the instructions were in Swedish."

"Let me try," Scarlett says, peels of laughter escaping her lips. "Now, why don´t you make yourself useful and hand meee...pole B, please."

I pass her numerous parts of the tent until, within the space of five minutes, a massive, all-weather tent stands proudly and more taller than any of the others.

"How´d you do that?" I ask.

"I didn´t really have a bed, so I often camped out with..." Scarlett looks away.

"Hey," I say softly. I put my hand on her shoulder and feel my face burning up. She looks at me with crystal-green eyes. "He´s okay."

Scarlett gives me a sad smile and stands there for a second, my hand on her shoulder.

Then she walks away and unpacks her rolled-up sleeping bag.

So no special moment.


Both our sleeping bags were in the spacious tent now. They were surprisingly comfy.

Celeste, Finn, Wolfie (wolf form) and Charmy return from the woods with armfuls of chopped dry wood from Finn´s sword. Wood didn´t seem to be the only thing he picked up, as he returns hand-in-hand with Celeste.

Kitty´s silhouette can be seen through the canvas of her tent, curled in a ball, alone.

My heart aches in sympathy for her.

Bea has arranged a circle of medium-sized rocks for the campfire.

Everyone dumps their wood in the rock circle, and Asher and Chase use one match from both of their boxes to create a warm fire.

"It was getting chilly, was it not?" Bea says.

"No." Wolfie replies, lying peacefully in his fleecy pelt.

I huddle around the fire. Asher is holding a pot of all the pure water combined above the fire, boiling it as I advised.

"That should do it," I say after 10 minutes. We leave the pot out in the open air to cool. I notice Celeste huddled with Finn on the inside of his jacket.

Oh, how I wish that were me and Scarlett.

Did I really just say that?


"I feel so sorry for you, raised in a lab." Scarlett says sweetly to Wolfie.

"Yeah. It was tough," he replies gruffly, human again.

"You poor thing," Scarlett whimpers, a hand on his arm.

"You don´t know the tough life."

Scarlett looked like she´d been hit in the stomach.

"That idiot," I think to myself. "He thinks he knows what tough is."

Scarlett slips a hand inside Wolfie´s, trying to forget the previous situation.

He smiles at her.

Extreme jealousy slaps me over and over again in the face.

Boy, do I hate Wolfie.

I used to like wolves.

What happened to the awesome, doesn´t-need-a-man, fighter-girl Scarlett that I used to know? Now she´s all mushy because of that stupid dog.


Wolfie attempts to change back to wolf, hand still interlocked with Scarlett´s.

During the transformation, Wolfie´s claws shoot into Scarlett´s hand.

"Ow!" she winces, nursing her hand.

He quickly morphs back to human. "Scarlett! Are you o-" he reaches out to hug her, but accidentally pushes her over with his open arms.

"Oww!" she whimpers, near to tears.


"Oh gosh, have I hurt you?"

"Yes! That´s all you´ve done!" a tear runs down her cheek. All was silent around the fire, watching them.

This was the first time I´d seen Scarlett cry.

How dare he do that to her!

I run over to her and put an arm around her.

"Look, Wolfie. If we´re together, we´re just going to hurt each other." she sighs.

"I can take it!" he says. "I mean...can´t we even try?"

Scarlett smiles sadly. "Okay."

I fall away from her, a great sadness overpowering me, engulfing my being.

"I´m going to bed," I say weakly. "Goodnight."

Everyone bids me goodnight and I crawl into my sleeping bag, at the lowest point of my being.


I cry myself to sleep.


 






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