The Wild Moon by Riley Storm
When I awoke, it was too late. The Wild Moon had arrived.
I was in my tent, with a bandage pressed to my forehead. Getting to my feet, I crawled out of my sleeping bag, searching for the exit.
“Whoa,” I mumbled as the world spun a bit.
My wolf howled inside me. She was on edge. I didn’t have long. I had to get away from Aaron and his team to ensure they remained safe.
Uncaring of what they might see, I tore my way from the tent. I was greeted by the sight of Aaron and his team shooting to their feet from where they sat around a campfire. Night was here, and above me, the full moon was almost in the sky. I had mere minutes, if that.
“Dani?” Aaron asked, holding out a hand to hold back his team.
I looked at him, then turned and started going the other way. I had to reach the bush. I pulled my shirt off as I went, uncaring of the scratches from the trees as I ducked past one.
A hand closed around my wrist, spinning me around.
“Dani,” Aaron said, staring at me, his eyes bright and blue, even in the dark.
I stared at my wrist. Holy fuck, that was hot. I yanked him in close, ready to kiss him, when something stopped me.
Overhead, the Wild Moon burst over the horizon, and the change came.
“Stay away from me,” I snarled inhumanly, shoving him away from me.
Aaron stumbled backward and fell, a look of shock on his face as I used more strength than perhaps I should have.
There was no time. I ran, tearing at the waistband of my pants and underwear, leaving them loose. My sports bra came over my head, nearly pulling fur with it as I started to change.
Somewhere behind me, I could hear Aaron barking commands, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to pay attention to whatever he was saying.
It was time, and my wolf was pushing free with a vengeance. My body screamed with pain as she tore free, agony nearly causing us to blackout as we merged, the scream becoming a howl at the moon. We were one once more. Two minds melded.
From nearby, the howl was echoed by another wolf.
Run, we thought, bursting into a long lope that covered ground faster than any human could ever begin to keep up with. We went on and on, thankfully headed away from Aaron and the campfire. For whatever reason, we didn’t want to go back there.
Scents by the thousands entered our brain, instantly catalogued. We passed within a few dozen feet of a weak doe. No challenge. The droppings of a grizzly whose territory we’d entered warned us to stay alert. A mouse darted by ahead, too fast even for us. A rabbit burst from cover, heading the opposite direction, but we didn’t give chase to that. Something else was calling to us, even as an owl swooped by a hundred yards to the west of us, its scent brought to us by the gentle breeze.
The thought filtered through us as another howl echoed from nearby.
It was him, we realized. Our Soulmate. The Soulbond was stronger than ever under the Wild Moon, and though we longed to run free and stretch our legs, we couldn’t help but be intrigued by this call. A second, fainter call from the north reached out to us, snagging our interest as well.
We paused, intrigued by this new call. It was different from our Soulbond. That was warm and golden and a sense of completeness. This new call was cool and purple and spoke of power. Something we understood well. The strongest ruled.
Pawing at the ground, we whimpered with indecision. What should we do? Where should we go? For so long, we’d waited for the Wild Moon and the Soulbond, to fulfill that calling denied to us by that pesky two-legged part of us.
But now, this new scent tickled our nostrils, urging us to come to it. To find out what it promised. We were curious. We wanted to explore. The Wild Moon would last for hours. We could find our mate under the silver light later.
Turning north, we ran onward, spurred by some unknown sense of urgency. We had to get to whatever it was.
We crested a ridge with ease and ran downward, the trees thinning. We reached a meadow filled with wildflowers and tall grasses, swaying gently under the breeze, silver moonlight giving the open space an ethereal glow.
Two steps into the meadow, we came to a halt, looking around warily. Something was off. Testing the air, we scented what it was.