Amy ran, staying close to the field’s edge, where she would be harder to pick out. She tried to ignore the pain in her calf where one of the wolves had almost gotten her; tried also to ignore what that might mean come the next full moon.
She snorted, because the odds on living until then were getting shorter by the minute. In the darkness, she couldn’t see as well as them, and she couldn’t run as fast as them, either. Still, anything was better than standing there and waiting to die. A sound came from the left, and Amy dropped to one knee, raising her Browning in a smooth movement and squeezing off a shot that echoed in the surrounding silence. Good, she thought. Maybe the noise would attract attention.
Since there was no yelp of pain, it didn’t seem likely that the shot had hit. Even so, it had probably made them back off for a moment or two. Trying to take advantage of that gap, Amy forced herself back to her feet and started to run again. The road lay this way, or she hoped it did. If she made it that far, it should be easy enough to force a car to stop.
A howl sounded behind her, and the half-mile to the road suddenly seemed more like a hundred. Amy didn’t fire this time. She could guess what they were doing now, trying to scare her into wasting bullets, using up the silver that could hurt them. They were trying to run her ragged too, and, as she fought to keep her breathing even, Amy started to worry that it might be working.
Ahead was a gap in the hedge, leading through to a track way. Did she dare risk it? Of course she should. They already knew where she was, and there was no chance of outrunning them over open ground. With a burst of speed, Amy threw herself through the gap.
A shape barrelled out of the darkness at her, almost too quick to follow. It hit Amy as she turned, knocking her to her back, but she was already firing as it struck her. Shots sounded so close together that Amy couldn’t be certain whether she’d fired twice or three times, but in that moment it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that the furred shape of the wolf slumped from her, allowing her to scramble back to her feet. Turning, she ran once again, knowing that the others wouldn’t wait much longer.
Amazingly, they held off. Amy didn’t slow, but she did glance round, trying to pinpoint her pursuers. It didn’t do any good of course, because they kept to the shadows, but they let her hear them in brief barks and snarls that seemed to come from everywhere at once. Don’t panic, she reminded herself. Panic was for amateurs, and she was anything but that.
Even so, it was hard to keep from blind flight, especially with the road and the promise of safety so close. Amy cursed as her foot caught on a rock and she almost fell, but she forced herself to keep moving, checking to make sure none of them tried to take advantage of the stumble.
Anger boiled inside her. It shouldn’t be happening like this. She was the hunter, not the hunted. Her anger spoke to her, and Amy listened. She skidded to a halt, spinning into the cover of the hedge, and was rewarded when starlight shone from the eyes of the shifters nearest to her. She fired once, twice, and howls of pain cut through the darkness.
Now she could run. Gathering what was left of her strength, Amy pushed it into a sprint for the road ahead that caught the waiting wolves while they were still darting for cover. Or at least, that’s what she hoped. Her doubts spoke clearly enough then. What if they don’t? Or what if there’s no one passing on the road? How do you even begin to explain this anyway? Ruthlessly, Amy pushed the thoughts from her mind and forced herself to concentrate on nothing but the sound of her feet against the track way.
Light caught her eye away to the right, and Amy realised that someone was coming along the road. She had to hurry. With a last burst of effort, Amy threw herself out into the road, waving her arms in an effort to make herself as visible as possible and hoping desperately that the driver would stop. The sound of screeching brakes filled her ears, and Amy squeezed her eyes shut. There was no chance of getting out of the way, and she had no wish to see death coming if the driver couldn’t stop.
When the sound of the brakes gave way to silence, Amy dared to breathe out again. She considered trying to hide the pistol, but decided against it. The driver would have seen it by now. The only real hope of doing this quickly was to hijack the car and explain afterwards. Amy nodded to herself and opened her eyes.
She looked up into a face that was all too familiar, and then the world went black.