By Kelley Armstrong
Table of Contents
01 • Gift
02 • Survival
03 • Domestication
04 • Identity
05 • Stonehaven
06 • Temper
07 • Malcolm
08 • Campaign
09 • Territorial
10 • Cleanup
11 • Dominance
12 • Schooldays
13 • Freak
14 • Hierarchy
15 • Snitch
16 • Duel
17 • Dare
18 • Broken
It was a late summer night. Hot and sticky, like most summer nights inBaton Rouge. My family had
retreated to an RV campsite on the city’s edge, as they did every summer weekend. It was pastmidnight
and I was wandering the woods alone. Nothing unusual about that. I suppose there should be something
unusual about a six-year-old roaming the forest at night, but my parents had a vague idea of my
whereabouts, and didn’t care about the specifics. So long as I stayed out of trouble and didn’t bother
them, I could do as I liked.
Saturday nights at the campground were always the same. My parents and their friends would gather at
one of the sites, start a bonfire, and drink and talk until morning. We kids were left to amuse ourselves.
My older brothers were supposed to look after me but, as usual, they were with their friends, enjoying
filched beer and cigarettes, and were quite happy to let me take off on my own, so long as I hightailed it
back to the campsite when my parents finally whistled us in to bed.
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I wandered the wooded paths for a while, but didn’t expect to see anything. Not what I wanted to see,
at least. I’d only seen it once, and when I had, I’d ran and not stopped until I was safe with my brothers.
I’d cursed my cowardice a million times since then. All my nights of exploring, and when I finally found
something worth seeing, I’d bolted like a baby. Each Saturday night after that, I screwed up my courage
and ventured into the woods . . . and saw nothing more wondrous than fireflies.
Time was running out. Just yesterday, my brothers had said there were only two weeks of summer left,
which meant only two