The water felt like knives slicing through her flesh. Daggers jabbed at her lungs as she tried to keep her head above water. Cassie had no sense of direction. One second she faced the land, and the next a current drug her down beneath the surface. She had no idea where Max was in the water. The only thing she could focus on was not drowning.
A wave crashed down over her head and sent her reeling. Blackness was all she could see. Panic set in as she struggled to find the surface. Hands flailed, feet kicked, but she couldn’t tell if she was going deeper or rising. Her lungs burned and pleaded for her to take a breath, but if she did only water would go in. Darkness seeped into her vision as everything began to slip away. I’m going to die.
Hands grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to the surface. Cassie gasped for air as she found herself being dragged closer to the bank. Thank God! As her hands dug into the dirt of the shore, she crawled on her hands and knees to get away from the water. She spit the dirty water from her mouth without realizing someone was still holding her. Once her lungs stopped burning she glanced over her shoulder to see Max. He looked at her with concern in his eyes.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes…” she said through a fit of coughing. Max knelt down closer to her and gently rubbed her back. “It’s okay… It’s okay…” he repeated softly in her ear. His voice anchored her as her lungs continued to burn. Tears filled her eyes and fell freely onto her cheeks. It took several moments before the last bit of water finally came up. Fear gripped her as she realized that she had almost drowned in the river. The idea of drowning had always terrified her more than anything else. Just the sound of the water crashing against the bank sent chills up her spine. Cassie leaned into Max for comfort. He is so warm…
“Are you okay to move?”
Cassie looked up at Max and saw him eyeing the bridge a mile away. “Yeah I’m fine. It is probably a good idea to take cover.” He sighed with relief and helped Cassie to her feet. Max didn’t let go of her as they walked towards the tree line. She was a bit wobbly, and if not for the moon light, they wouldn’t have been able to see a thing. As the trees grew closer darkness fully engulfed them. Cassie could barely see two feet in front of her. Her foot hit something hard as her hand brushed against a tree. Cassie leaned down and felt the smooth surface. “If you turn you can sit on that large boulder.”
“How the hell do you know that?”
He chuckled at her outburst. “Because I see better at night than you.” How the hell does that work? Is he part dog or something? Her butt hit the rock and she released her grip on Max so she could situate herself on the boulder. Max knelt down in front of her with his bright blue eyes. They almost seemed to glow in the night, and they were full of questions left unspoken. Cassie avoided making eye contact. She feared telling him the truth above all else. But she couldn’t run from it now, she had to tell him.
“What just happened?” Max asked. Worry and confusion reflected from his eyes. “Why were you there? How were you there?”
Cassie gulped. She tried to relax her stiff shoulders. She wanted to just tell him, but she couldn’t get the words to come out. “I wish I could tell you…”
“Tell me what?” he reached out, resting his hand on her knee. “What aren’t you telling me?”
She looked at him, the tears threatening to fall. I have to tell him. He needs to know the truth.
“Is it that you’re a witch?” he asked.
“What… No I’m not a witch,” Cassie said exasperated. “Why would you think that…witches aren’t even real.”
Max smirked at her and squeezed her hand. He averted his eyes for a second then took a deep breath.
“Then how did you know where I was and that I needed your help?”
Cassie squeezed her eyes shut. She exhaled loudly through her teeth. “Because I saw it…all of it.”
He cocked his head to the side and looked at her with confusion. “I don’t think I follow…”
“Max, I saw you die,” Cassie yelled throwing her hands up. There I said it. Now he will know I’m a freak. A freak of nature. She expected him to laugh. She expected him to accuse her of lying. She just wasn’t ready for the silence. Cassie turned and looked at Max, who had surprise written all over his face. He was in shock. “You saw me die?”
His words felt more like an accusation than a question. She didn’t know if she should be offended by his response or let it slide. Cassie watched the color drain from his face. “How did you see me die?”
“That’s the thing, I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Max asked as his eyebrows went sky high.
“I think they are like visions or something…they just happen.”
He needs to believe me. I couldn’t stand it if he thinks I’m crazy. Max shifted his weight then sat down with a plop. His back was against the trunk as he rubbed his eyes. “So you’re telling me you had a vision of me on that bridge about to die?”
“Yes,” she said with a nod.
“Holy shit,” he said. “I was supposed to die and you saved me. Wait! Has this happened before? This couldn’t be the only time you’ve had visions, right?” He jumped to his feet and began to pace. His hands ran through his hair and made it stand on end. He’s kind of cute when he gets all flustered. Jesus, what am I thinking? I need to get my head in the game. I don’t even know if he believes me yet.
“Yes, this has happened before.”
“When? Wait…the bank robbery. That’s how you pulled it off, didn’t you? You saw it before it happened.”
She nodded her head.
He threw himself against the tree and slid to the ground. Max was just stunned. He was at a loss for words. His eyes turned to her and he grinned. “I knew you were a witch. I could smell it.”
“What the hell are you talking about!” she said with a glare. “I’m not a witch.”
“Yes, you are.”
“No, I’m not,” she growled. “I’m just some kind of freak or something.” She hung her head in shame, avoiding his gaze. He crouched next to her then reached out, his hand engulfing hers. Max smiled with a spark of mischief in his eyes.
“You’re not a freak. You’re just different.”
Tears threatened to fall as she tried to get hold of herself. I can’t cry in front of him. He will just think I’m an emotional girl. Max dropped to his knees and hooked his free hand under her chin so that they were looking into each other’s eyes. “If you are a freak, then we can be freaks together.”
She didn’t understand what he meant until his eyes shifted from his natural blues to gold ovals. Oh my god, it’s like looking into a wolf’s eyes. She gasped. Max stroked her cheek as she tried to register what was going on. “What are you?” she asked mesmerized.
Max blinked, breaking the connection, and instantly his eyes turned back to blue. He looked down and scratched the back of his neck. She couldn’t help but notice how reluctant he was acting all of a sudden. He doesn’t want to tell me, or he doesn’t trust me. I wouldn’t either since we only met today. But saving his life should help break the trust barrier.
“I’m a werewolf.”
Cassie jumped to her feet in surprise. Max fell back on his butt from the sudden reaction. He swallowed hard as he looked up at her shocked face. Her mind was racing a mile a minute trying to process what Max had just said. A werewolf. It can’t be…no it’s just crazy…he’s messing with me. But his eyes, they were so wolf-like. Maybe if werewolves exist other things exist. That could explain my visions. I could be one of these supernatural creatures.
“You said you smelled that I was a witch,” she said while pacing. “Could that be the reason why I have the visions?”
His body started to relax. “It is a strong possibility.” Max leaned forward and sniffed the air around Cassie. She froze in place, wanting to slap him for acting so strangely. But that’s the thing, he isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary…to him. He has these special abilities. He could be the answer to all my problems. “That’s weird.” Max said.
“What? What’s weird?”
“Your scent—it doesn’t smell like it did at the bank. But your scent is familiar, I just can’t figure out what it smells like.”
Cassie froze as Max got to his feet. He walked over to her and stood inches from her face. Max looked into her eyes with a serious expression. Her breath froze in her throat. What the hell is he doing?
“We will figure this out together. I won’t rest until you know why you’re having these visions. You won’t be alone in this anymore. I promise.”
A weight lifted off her shoulders that she never realized she’d carried. She had been holding in this secret for so long. To finally have someone on her side who believed her and would go to bat for her was amazing. Without thinking she threw her arms around Max and hugged him. “Thank you, you have no idea how much your words mean to me.”
“No problem. We just need to figure out our first step.”
She released him slowly. “I don’t even know where to begin.”
“I do. When it comes to abilities like yours, they always stem from a family member.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means we need to talk to your parents.”
Cassie thrust her hands in her cold wet pockets and took a deep breath. “I just have a mom. I don’t know anything much about my dad.”
“Well then we start with your mom.”
Max turned and started walking towards the main road. Cassie blinked. “Where are you going?” Max looked over his shoulder with a grin on his face.
“Got to go see your mom. Bet you two to one she knows about your visions.”
Oh crap! “Umm… Perhaps it would be a better time to go see her after the sun rises.” Max stopped mid step and turned her way. “Fine then, breakfast is on you, hero.”
Cassie followed Max up the rocky terrain until they neared the bridge. Max peeked out from behind the cover of a tree.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“What does it look like I am doing? I’m checking for the warlocks.”
She looked around the tree and watched three cars drive by. Cassie rolled her eyes and then stepped around him. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Cars wouldn’t be going across the bridge if they were still blocking it with their vehicle,” she pointed out.
Max grunted and stepped up next to her. They made their way over to the bypass and saw the black SUV was gone. “Huh…they must of thought we drowned or something.”
“Perhaps. Do you think that is the last we’ll see of them?”
Max laughed. “Holly hell! The Triad never leaves the supernatural alone. Trust me, this is just the beginning.”
Great, that is what I was afraid of…
Thank you for reading chapter 10 of my Vortex Series: Book 1. Want to keep on reading? Click here for Chapter 11.
Each chapter is released on a month to month basis to my Dragon Ryder VIP Reader List. If you have missed a chapter feel free to check out the Library. The library will list all the available chapters.
Disclaimer: You are reading the first draft of this book. When the book is finished it will go through an extensive edit. It will also have a read through with my beta team. Then once completed ebook copies will get sent out to all members.