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Cursed by the Moon

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Do you know what it feels like to stare into the abyss and have it stare back at you? To feel the tug of the unknown on your heartstrings, beckoning you towards an uncertain fate? My name is Nakia John. My only crime was to be born. Misery and emptiness were what I felt when I got bitten by a mysterious wolf and transformed into a creature of the night. My body and mind were consumed by a primal hunger, a thirst for power and dominance that I couldn't ignore. I lost myself in me. As I struggled to navigate this new and dangerous world, I found myself fighting tooth and nail against those who would try to hold me back, the pack's internal politics and the dangers posed by those who hunted us. But then came the ultimate test, a final showdown that would determine the fate of the pack, and I found myself wondering if I had what it took to lead them to victory. And now, as the dust settles and we face the aftermath, I can't help but feel uncertain. What will become of us, of me? Will I ever truly find my place in this world, or will the call of the unknown pull me into a darkness from which there is no return?

Prologue

OASIS“Welcome, to the Oasis.”“The what?”“The Oasis” Cecily gives me a slight nudge at my look of bewilderment. I return a similar look, trying to tell her, I don’t understand.She sighs dramatically.“The changing room is the Oasis” an ‘Oh’ drops from my mouth before I could help it. I take a slow look around. The changing room was not what I had in mind at all. I was expecting a literal single room, where I would see different people in different states of undress or transformation.The Oasis is actually a two-storey building, with a warped look. On the outside, the building looks like a quaint bungalow, but getting inside it is a different picture entirely. I was willing to bet money that witches or spells were involved.There was also a general central area, which was wider than two of my apartments combined.Behind the receptionist is a single brass door, which looks ominous. That’s the only door, leading out of the reception except for the front doors.“We are here to receive the blessings of the goddess.”The receptionist, a fair-looking woman with ginger curls, gives me a once-over and smiles.Her smile relaxes my body as though she was giving my worried mind a soothing oil massage. I feel all the tension leaving my body, I wonder for a brief moment if she is the goddess whose blessings we are here to receive.“Are you a goddess?” I can’t help but ask. I feel too relaxed for it to be natural.She shakes her head in the negative.“A witch?” she smiles again, this time without an answer.“I am simply what you are going to become, I just accepted my powers early on and I have trained them to help me evolve,” I smile weirdly at her, not understanding much of what she had said.I feel a sudden sharp pain in my stomach that has me doubling over and letting out a little scream. My vision gets blurry but I will myself not to faint, who knows when I will wake up this time around.Cecily grabs me quickly, supporting me.“I think she is past the testing phase, she must be in acclimatisation.”“That seems a bit fast?” The lady asks with worry etched on her face.“She has been going through the change even before I got to her.”“What do you mean ‘got to her?’ What about her parents?”“She was bitten” Cecily whispers the last word. I hear the lady give an audible fearful gasp. She grabs my other arm quickly as I can no longer stand straight.“Come with me.'' She quickly moves with me to a room nearby, I notice in my periphery that it has another door and I wonder briefly where it leads to. I let out another painful gasp when my body starts to contort upon itself once again.My back touches a leather surface and I groan at the coldness it introduces to my otherwise fiery body. I can smell various herbs and spices. Opening my eyes to assess the type of herbs apparently is a challenge and I give up.I can feel myself slipping in and out of consciousness while a flurry of activity goes on around me. I can hear Cecily and Serafine, as I have heard her be called., talk about a certain prophecy and how to hide the news, but I pay them no mind as I am in severe pain.Time passes by slowly as I struggle with bouts of severe pain and some mild relief in between. I am able to open my eyes sometime in between and see Cecily holding my hand while Serafine is chanting above my head.The pain quickly returns and this time at an all-time high. I groan in agony as the pain from the shift continues to consume my whole body. My bones crack and shift, my muscles convulse, and my skin feels like it's on fire. Cecily and Serafine are beside me, offering words of encouragement and comfort. They however stand some distance apart as they cannot come near me but it's all I can do to keep from screaming in pain."It's okay, Nakia," Cecily says, her face looks clearer than it should, and I can see the burst of colours surrounding her. "Just breathe in through your nostrils, and exhale through your mouth. You can do this."I try to focus on her words, taking deep breaths in and out as the shift continues to wreak havoc on my body.Serafine stands back in the corner, her eyes closed in concentration as she chants softly under her breath, I feel a cloud of air hover around my body.The pain reaches an all-time high, and I feel like all the bones in my body are shattering and reforming, from the tiniest to the longest, I'm going to lose consciousness at any moment. But then, just as suddenly as it had started, it stops.I gasp for air, my chest heaving as I try to make sense of what's happening.I realise I am on my belly, lying down although I can’t remember how I got there. A distant cool breeze washes over me and I discover I am outside in the forest. I can see the colours very clearly and even tiniest of insects.Cecily rushes to me and helps me sit up, and I look down at my hands in shock. They're not hands anymore. I now have paws.Thick, furry paws that are covered in white and black fur. I lift one up and examine it, marvelling at how strong and powerful it feels."You did it, Nakia," Cecily says, grinning from ear to ear. "You're a werewolf now."Serafine steps forward, her eyes still closed as she runs her hands all over my glistening fur. Her hands emit a soft light which hover just above my skin, the light is warm and cool at the same time."You're strong, Nakia. Stronger than most. But you must learn to control your new instincts. The wolf inside of you is powerful, and it will not be easy to keep it in check, we must also teach you."I nod, knowing that she's right. The urge to hunt and run free is already coursing through my veins, and feel the power welling up inside me, it runs from my claws to the tip of my nose. I can feel my muscles twitching with the need to move.“You carry the mark of the prophecy” Cecily lets out a gasp that has me turning my wolf head towards her and seeing her covering her mouth makes me a bit uneasy.I want to ask what prophecy but I realise I can’t talk in wolf form, but I keep it at the back of my mind to ask later."We'll help you," Cecily says, sensing my unease."We'll teach you how to control your wolf and use its strength for good. I’ll tell you later about the prophecy.”“No. She is not ready.” Serafine says with a tone of finality.I am already quite burdened by a lot of things; I won’t add one prophecy I am not sure I want to hear about.Together, we spend the next few hours exploring the forest, with Cecily and Serafine showing me how to use my new senses to track prey and navigate the forest. It's exhilarating, and I feel more alive than I ever have before.I learn how to shift back from my wolf form into human form, it is apparently much easier than I envisaged. I think about my human body and close my eyes, I can feel the bones in my body going back into shape and I feel my bones lengthening. I do this a couple of times with Serafine and Cecily standing watch.Strangely, I feel comfortable in my naked skin, perhaps it is the effect of my new wolf counterpart or my inhibitions have been markedly reduced from the exhilarating feel of the shift.I realise quickly that I can see the top floors of the Oasis from where I am standing in a forest. A quick look around tells me we appear to be in a forest behind the building. It is a wide piece of land that has a combination of tall and small trees, with leaves that are different tones of green.The sun setting gives way to moonlight shafts that pass through the trees cause the forest floor to be covered in swirling shadows. A natural obstacle course is made by the dense, tangled undergrowth, which is covered in vines and creepers that wind around the tree trunks.The floor is covered in fallen logs and boulders, making movement challenging.I can hear a nearby waterfall from a distance, and the air is crisp and chilly with just a whiff of moisture. The air is thick with the smell of damp dirt and pine. The woodland comes to life with the sounds of singing birds and scurrying little creatures.Moving further into the jungle, the number of trees increases and the ground is covered in long shadows. A low-lying mist adds to the air's growing coolness and moisture, lending the forest a spooky atmosphere.Both the calm trickling of a neighbouring creek and the sound of the waterfall are audible in the distance.Along with the setting sun and the rising of the full moon in the sky, I feel a new sensation building within me. The urge to shift and run free is stronger than ever, and I'm afraid that I won't be able to control it.Cecily and Serafine sense my distress and quickly lead me to a secluded clearing in the centre of the forest, just by the waterfall.There, they help me shift into my wolf form, and I feel the familiar rush of freedom and power as I bound through the forest.But even as I revel in my new abilities, I can feel a sense of danger lurking in the shadows. Something is out there, watching me, and I know that I need to be on guard.

Blood

The phone ringing startles me sharply out of my dreamless sleep, and I sincerely wonder why I got an iPhone in the first place. My ringtone never fails to make me curse out loud early in the morning.

"Hello?" I call out groggily without checking the screen.

"Wake up, Nakia!" My younger sister screams into my ear, and I check the screen, wondering if there was any information I missed but not seeing a thing but some Instagram notifications.

"What is it?" I ask, turning on my back and wincing at the sunlight streaming through my window. I should get new curtains, preferably dark ones.

"What do you mean, what is it?" Do you not know it's my birthday? I have been awake since midnight, expecting your call. "What happened? "Did you forget?"

Of course, I forgot, but I definitely can’t tell my sister that; she’d probably have my head through the phone.

"Come on, give me the benefit of the do

Heroes

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