She had simply packed her things, arranged for her manager to take care of the store while she was gone, and driven herself to the airport. It had been a long flight, with her laboriously speculating about what could be wrong. She had sent a text to Jacque just to make sure she was okay, but didn’t mention that she was on her way to Romania.

Now here she was, stalling. The flight attendant stuck her head in and smiled.

“Everything alright?” she asked sweetly.

“Um, yeah, everything’s fine. I was just making sure that I had all of my things,” Lilly told her as she put her bag over her shoulder and headed for the exit. She followed the long corridor that attached the plane to the airport. She had been told that the lady picking her up would be “different”. Lilly wasn’t sure what to expect, but when she looked up as she exited the corridor, the woman waiting for her was definitely not it.

Tall, with long black hair that had a strip of white in the front, she had two different colored eyes, one blue and one green. She was beautiful in a very odd, but striking way. Her lips were full and red and when she broke into a smile it made Lilly’s skin crawl. The closer Lilly got to the woman, the more she realized that it was the evil emanating off of the woman that was causing her discomfort.

The woman was wearing a red cloak which was odd in and of itself, as it looked like something someone would have worn a very long time ago. The air around grew thin and, like an invisible barrier, people in the airport gave her a wide berth. They seemed to sense what Lilly did, that this was not one to be trifled with.


The woman’s voice raked over Lilly and it took everything in her not to take a step back. She pasted a smile on her face and nodded. “That’s correct. And you are?” she asked, trying to draw on her Southern upbringing to be cordial, no matter how badly she wanted to turn and run as far as she could from the evil standing in front of her.

“I’m Mona. Alina sent me to pick you up.”

Right, Lilly thought, and if I say Beetlejuice three times a creepy, albino dude with bad hair will show up.

“Well, it’s nice to meet you.” Lilly reached out her hand to shake Mona’s.

Mona looked at the offered hand and Lilly saw a look of disgust quickly pass over the woman’s face before it was masked with what could only be described as mild dislike. She took Lilly’s hand, grasping it lightly as if she might catch something from the mere touch. After a single shake she quickly pulled her hand away. Lilly discreetly wiped her palm on her jeans, trying to rid herself of the cold wrongness of Mona’s touch.

“Shall we?” Mona motioned in the direction she wanted Lilly to follow. “The pack is waiting for you and I know Jacque will be surprised that you are here.”

“I bet she will.” Lilly smiled as she followed Mona. “Shocked out of her ever-loving mind is more like it,” she muttered under her breath.

It was clear by the way that Mona walked briskly through the airport that she already knew where she was going. Lilly nearly had to run to keep up with the long legs of the woman in front of her. And as they walked, she was amazed as she watched people move quickly out of Mona’s way. She walked straight, never having to walk around someone. People just moved, like the parting of the Red Sea before her. Lilly wanted to be impressed, but, frankly, it was a little more than creepy.

The pair finally made it to the entrance of the airport.  When they exited, Lilly saw that there was a black car waiting. Why is the car always black when you're being abducted? she thought grimly. How cliché.

A driver briskly walked around the car and opened the back door. Mona entered the car first and Lilly climbed in after. Before she knew it, they were off. The windows were tinted so darkly that Lilly could barely make out the landscape around her. She was pulled from her attempt to see where they were going when Mona spoke.

“How was your flight?”

“It was good. Long, but good.” Lilly smiled.

The smile Mona returned looked like it could double as the mask used in the Scream movies.

“So how are Jacque and the others?” Lilly asked, looking for any crack in the persona that Mona seemed to have adopted.

“They are doing well,” was the only answer Mona gave. The tight look on her face told Lilly that any further questions would be ignored.  They continued the drive in silence, with Mona looking out her passenger window and Lilly mirroring her on the other side.

Finally the car turned onto a dirt road, which soon began to wind up a mountain. Trees grew over the road, their branches stretching, reaching for each other across the expanse. Darkness had begun to descend as they continued higher into the mountains. Lilly was about to ask how much longer it was going to be when a large house came into view. The driver turned into the long driveway.

They stopped in the circle drive in front of what Lilly could now see wasn’t a large house, but rather a small mansion.  She climbed out of the car and looked up, and up, and up, to the very top of the house, which was at least three stories high, if not more.

She watched as Mona climbed out of the car. This time the smile on Lilly’s face was the wolfish one.

“Now would be a good time to cut the crap, don’t you think? We both know you aren’t a member of the Romanian pack. You didn’t bring me here to see my daughter and you could give a rat’s ass how my flight was. So who are you and what do you want?”

Mona threw her head back and let out a loud laugh.

“Oh, man, I can see where Jacque gets her spunk. You are definitely going to give him a run for his money.”

“Give who a run for his money?” Lilly asked, not hiding the impatience she was feeling.

“Personally, I don’t make it a habit to stand out in the fresh air. Call me what you will, but I like my air stale and stagnate.” Mona motioned to the steps that lead to the double door entry. “Why don’t we go in and I will explain everything to you.”

Lilly decided things would move along a little more quickly if she didn’t argue at this point.  There would be plenty of time for that later. She walked up the steps with Mona right behind her. The door opened before they reached it. Lilly stepped back and made it clear that she wanted Mona to enter first. She followed Mona over the threshold of the door and as she did she felt a shift in the air and a shift inside her. Her life had just changed and would never be the same.

Tags: Quinn Loftis The Grey Wolves Young Adult