Without a word, she dropped to the ground. I couldn’t help but smile at how well she was taking to her training. I watched as she circled the tree and began her climb once again. She had been practicing her agility for almost three hours. The afternoon was drawing to a close. We needed to get back home.
A yelp escaped my throat and she jumped down immediately, landing with barely a sound. We raced back to our cabin. She got faster every day. Back home, we changed back into our proper form and put on our clothes we left behind.
“You’re getting better each day,” I whispered.
“I know. Soon enough, I’ll be stronger than you,” she said with a coy smile.
“My little sister, Amy, the smartass of the pack,” I said.
“Mark, we’ve been working on my agility for weeks now. I get it. It’s important but I’m feeling good. I’m comfortable. I think it’s time to move on.”
I stared at the floor and tried to think of a better response than a shrug. I had avoided the question every time she asked. Defense training was next on the agenda but I was hesitant. I’d never trained a sibling before. She needed to be put in danger to get her ready for the inevitable but the thought of doing that made me sick to my stomach. She was the only family I had left.
“Earth to Mark,” Amy said. “So can we start tomorrow or what? You can ease me in. I can tell by the sickly look on your face that you’re not looking forward to it.” She turned and walked into the living room. She vaulted over the couch with ease and landed softly in a crouch before laying down.
“I guess it has to happen eventually,” I whispered.
“What’d you say?” Amy asked. I shook my head before flinging myself beside her on the couch. Suddenly exhausted, I could feel my eyelids drooping as Amy thumbed through the TV channels.
* * *
It was dark when I woke. My eyes adjusted quickly and the room suddenly came alive around me. Amy was nowhere to be found. I moved quietly down the hall and found her sleeping soundly in her room. A twig snapped outside her window. I crouched down and moved quickly to Amy’s side. I nudged her and her eyes snapped open.
“What is it?” she asked.
“They’re here,” I said.
There was no need for further explanation. Amy jumped out of bed and followed behind me as I made my way back to the living room.
“I see three lights outside, maybe four,” I said. “Looks like you’re going to get your defense training a little early, Amy.”
Her eyes twinkled at me and I knew I’d been wrong to second guess her ability. She was ready. She always had been.
“How do you think they found us so quickly? This place is in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t even have a road leading to it!” Amy asked.
“I have no idea but we’re not waiting around to find out. The lights have moved around to the back. Let’s go,” I said. I opened the front door slowly and immediately realized my mistake. There weren’t three. There were thirty. I moved Amy behind me as I took in one of the largest group of trackers I’d ever seen.
“Amy, this is going to be harder than I thought, okay?” She squeezed my arm tightly. “You go right and just run. You’re faster than them but do what you have to if one catches up to you. They don’t want to kill you. They want to catch you.”
Amy’s hand was shaking on my arm but I had no time to worry.
“Now, Amy. Go!”
We both changed in an instant and Amy took off to the right and into the woods. She’d be home free in no time. I turned my attention to the men in front of me. They paid no mind to the fleeing cub. They were here for me. I prayed she’d understand why I lied. We couldn’t both escape and she was the future of our kind. I pushed my body low to the ground as the men moved forward. I could take a few of them out before it was over.
With one last thought of Amy, I pounced.
Come get Sloshed at the Speakeasy!