I heard your siren call, and I calmed my wolves.
Their great paws unleashing claws on the earth,
biding their time, scratching their vengeance.
My pack is fierce, and hungry.
They feast on the lies of the self-righteous,
they eat the dreams of the sanctimonious,
and they swallow the pride of the selfish.
Yes, we heard your siren call—
And we’re coming for dinner.
They charged, but we were ready. Quil sent up a howl—the call for help. I didn't think we would need the reinforcements, but if they arrived in time, all the better. Sam was headed straight for me, and I knew that he would aim to take me out before the others.
I heard the crack as the first wolf to reach Edward was smacked back down. I saw out of my periphery that it was Embry, but he shook it off and got back up. And then the giant, pitch black wolf was face to face with me, the drool hanging in strings from his jowls. His teeth loomed seconds before he jumped, but I angled my head and went for his throat. The satisfying sound of his flesh tearing reached my ears, followed by his anguished cry. I spit out the pungent lump of fur and skin and advanced on his form as his body quivered.
The warning came two seconds too late, and I felt another wolf lunge onto my back before I could dodge. I tried to shake him loose, but he was tenacious. This time, I was the one crying out as his claws dug into the thick sinew of my shoulder. I avoided his snapping jaws and rolled, dumping him off my back and righting myself again.
Paul. Of course he wouldn't give up his chance to maim or even kill me. Sam was on his feet again, blood seeping into the dank earth as it dripped from the wound in his neck. I backed up until I bumped into something solid; when I glanced behind me, it was Jake. He and I were rump to rump, the only real way to cover each other's backs.
You need help? I heard him ask.
I can hold them off until you take care of your problem, I answered.
Edward and Jared were locked in a struggle, Edward holding off the large teeth of the werewolf with his hands pushing open Jared's jaw, and Embry had gotten up again and gone after Jake. Jake wasn't terribly worried, because Embry was injured. Quil paced, not sure what to do.
Quil! I shouted in my head. You take one, I'll take the other.
He met my gaze and nodded, then proceeded to stalk Paul. The four of us circled each other, waiting for someone to make a move. I heard the thoughts of my siblings as they neared; backup was on its way. Sam made his move, dipping low to grab my left front leg in his mouth. I howled in pain as he crushed my bones in his teeth, and as I screamed in my head everything happened at once.
I went down as my leg gave out, and Sam and Paul jumped on me. Quil took a hunk out of Paul's shoulder, but Paul returned the favor by snapping at Quil and catching his side. Edward threw Jared off and tried to get to me, and Seth and Leah came crashing through the line of forest that edged the lawn. Jake took Embry down, and from what I could see, he wasn't getting back up anytime soon.
The pain radiated through my body, my body's natural defenses trying to speed the healing process. I couldn't get Sam off my back, and I felt the rage building inside me. I howled and screamed as my body shook, the tree line shook, the sky shook.
It took several minutes and the reaction of the others for me to realize the ground was the only thing actually shaking. I couldn't get up, my body was too spent, too injured, the healing not happening fast enough for me to move. I heard the confused shouting in my brain, which I desperately wished I could turn off as the words buzzed and ran together. The shaking wouldn't stop, the accompanying noise that of cracking trees and breaking earth. I watched as the trembling caused a split in the ground that Leah tumbled into, her terrified eyes disappearing over the edge. His motions almost a blur, Edward was diving in her direction, grabbing her tail in one hand and a tree root in the other.
Her body flew through the air, landing with a thud near the house. Edward swung himself up and out of the massive fissure, and looked in my direction as another one opened up. The ground beneath me lurched, and I felt Sam finally let go as I started falling. I tried to get up, to run on three legs. I moved incrementally, but the silt fell faster than I climbed it. The last thing I saw was Edward's horrified face as the dirt covered me.
I only laid still for a second, catching my breath before I started moving, shoveling the sediment away with my good paws. I felt the fear ripping through me, and my body wanted to shift back to my human form. I was pretty sure that would be the worst idea, so I struggled to maintain my wolf sense. I moved and the dirt moved. I clawed at the loose soil above my head, and soon I was free to my neck.
"Bella!" I heard Edward calling my name.
I howled, scratching more at the dirt and roots around me, freeing my chest and front legs. I found myself on a ledge of sorts as I shook off what dirt I could and rose, my injured leg pulled up underneath me. My head was pounding, and adrenaline was pumping through my body.
Edward! I called in my head, hoping he could hear me. I considered shifting, but then I'd be naked in front of the men up on the surface. I pictured a bird, a little blue bird perched high up in a tree. I closed my eyes and slowed my breathing, waiting for rescue, hoping I could be reached. As I pictured again how easy it would be to fly away if I was a bird, my body shimmered, my fur tingling and my skin slipping. I felt like I was shifting against my will, but I hadn't imagined myself as a human. I calmed my senses once more, then settled against the wall of earth next to my head. My leg was throbbing like crazy, and I looked up, thinking of birds flitting through the trees, mostly unaffected by the earthquake.
The ground above my head shuddered, and I was pelted with clumps of dirt and small rocks. Irritated, I looked up and spotted Edward looking over the side.
Edward! You see me!
"I have to figure out how to get you up if I come down, Bella," he called. Stupid wolf form had to be as big as a horse.
I can phase back to human, I offered, though it would suck to be seen.
"I think that's the best idea." He glanced behind him. "Everyone else is occupied at the moment."
This time I concentrated, but the idea of flying up to Edward as a bird invaded my mind again. It was bizarre, but when I changed forms, I was farther from Edward then I expected to be.
"What the fuck!?" Edward shouted. I opened my mouth to answer him, but found no words. "You changed into a bird, Bella. A bird!"
I looked down. Indeed, I was a small mountain bluebird. I stretched a wing and examined it, then looked down at my four tiny toes on each spindly leg. My head lifted, and I spotted Edward's perplexed expression. Focusing on him, I flew up and landed on his shoulder. It felt like ice to my hairless bird feet. I dug my claws into his shirt as he dashed to the side of the house where my clothes were.
I thought of being Bella, two legs, two arms, ten digits. No feathers! Everything distorted and the air wavered in my vision as I exploded into my own body. It left me weak and I knelt on the grass to catch my breath. Edward grabbed my clothes and helped me to dress. I shivered violently in the cold that had rarely bothered me before.
"What happened?" I croaked.
"There was a pretty massive earthquake, Bella. I saved Leah from disappearing into the crevasse, but I couldn't get to you in time. Sam and Paul went over right next to you, and there was nothing I could do. Embry is injured but stable, and the rest of Jake's pack seems unharmed. Jared ran off into the forest, and I am unsure of his fate." He shook his head as I looked up at him. "I cannot believe I saw you turn into a bird!"
"I've only ever known I could be a wolf. I haven't ever tried anything else. I wonder what my mother shifts into." I stretched, and my body protested. "It seems that the injuries I sustained as a wolf healed when I became a bird. I feel sore and stiff, and really exhausted, but uninjured."
I heard the others speaking, in human form now, and I struggled to stand. Nausea washed over me, and I stumbled in Edward's grip. "It appears this type of shifting has consequences, my love."
"Yeah," I mumbled as he swept me into his arms.
As we moved into the front yard of Jacob's humble house, I saw the massive damage the surrounding area had sustained. Trees were uprooted and toppled like dominoes, several cracks in varying sizes separated the yard into segments, and dirt and debris were still floating through the air. Jacob's house appeared untouched, for which I was thankful.
Leah approached me and Edward, and I couldn't discern the expression on her face. "You saved me. You saved me instead of Bella. Why would you do that?"
He set me on my feet but maintained a steadying hand on my shoulder. "You were in immediate peril. I was the only one able to save you, but other wolves could have assisted Bella. I had no notion that Bella would suffer the same fate as you."
Leah stared at him for a long time. Jake joined us, and I hugged him in relief. When I released him, I noted that Leah had her arms tentatively wrapped around Edward.
"Fuck, you're cold," she muttered. She let him go. "I can never thank you enough." She backed away, looking embarrassed, and buried her face in Jake's shoulder as I returned to Edward's side.
"What the hell do we do now?" Jake asked.
That was a good question.