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A darkened cemetery to an abandoned church. The moon full of ominous warnings.
Shadows surrounded him and encircled him as he walked deeper into the Garden of the Dead. A shiver ran down his spine, causing him to stop and look around.
He heard a twig snap and turned toward the noise, though he could still see no one. He calmed and forced himself to go a little further. Another twig snapping stopped him.
"Whoever you are, come out and face me," he stated. He hoped he had not betrayed his apprehension. He waited, then heard the rustle of dried leaves as someone approached. Again, he turned to where the sound came from, though he could find no one near him. He sensed the presence of another. Why hadn't they shown themselves?
The note had been clear.
Meet me at Saint Anne's Cemetery if you want the answers you seek. Midnight. Come alone.
Cryptic at best, something in the message compelled him to be at this place at the stroke of midnight. Never had an invitation held power over him like this.
He heard a nightingale sing its mournful song, then fly away. The air around him changed and closed in on him, intense and dangerous. Should I leave now?
No, you shouldn't--not if you want answers.
"Get out of my mind, damn it! Come out and face me!"
He heard another sound and spun around to come face-to-face with the largest silvery-gray wolf he had ever seen. The moonlight bathed the animal, giving it the appearance of having white fur. His eyes locked with the animal's glare, red with a devilish fire.
I will not harm you unless you force me to.
"Who are you?" he asked aloud, taking comfortin the sound of his own voice.
I am your future.
You are one of us--a hunter.
"No, I'm human--a cop."
A good one, but you need to discover your true potential. We need your knowledge.
"And you know about me how?"
Our history tells of a great hunter who'll give us what we need to survive.
"You're crazy. This is a dream."
No dream, my friend. It's time...
"No!" he yelled. His voice shattered the silence of the cemetery. He backed away, then ran. He knew it would be fatal if the wolf caught up with him but he realized he had to escape this insanity--his nightmare. He raced to the gates of the ancient graveyard, but only made it a short distance when the huge wolf tackled him. He rolled on his back and tried to fight the animal off. He grabbed a handful of thick fur to pull him away to no avail.
Teeth bared, the wolf bore down on him as his thunderous growl echoed through the night.
Why couldn't you have made this easier?
"Leave me alone!"
I'm afraid it is too late for that.
The wolf bent down, his teeth sinking deep into his prey's shoulder.
A pain-filled scream ripped through the night. God help me.
He can't help you now.
Sean McMurray bolted up, soaked in a cold sweat. Why the nightmare kept coming to him, he had no clue. As real as any of his dreams had ever been, this one had been the worst and too close to his own life. The setting had changed, but the nightmare remained the same. He would inevitably fight a mystic wolf and lose the bloody battle.
At first, he cast them aside and blamed stress, but he could no longer do so. They meant something to him and sooner or later, he would be driven to find out what.
He had been a detective on the Aspen Police Force since leaving Special Forces, where he had served the elite group as a tracker and surveillance specialist. His incredible night vision had been one of his greatest assets and garnered him nighttime covert assignments worldwide. When he had put his papers in for retirement, his commanding officer tried desperately to change his mind. Sean refused with three simple words--I've had enough.
The feel of the cool, hardwood floor under his bare feet chilled him and calmed him at the same time. He ran his hand through his dark brown hair and rubbed his neck. The dreams had to stop or he'd go mad. He stood up, the sheet dropping away from his naked body. Since his retirement from the military, he'd lived alone and felt no need for proprieties.
He walked to the bathroom and washed his face off, the heat of the water giving him some comfort. He dried off and went to the bar in his study, where he poured himself an old-fashioned glass of Jack Daniels. He looked at what he'd poured, downed it and refilled the glass. With bottle in hand, he walked to his leather couch and dropped down on it.
"I have got to get it together."