Sweat trickled down my forehead and I tried not to blink, to keep the snarling creature within my sight. Its brilliant white fangs were bared, fur bristling and eyes glowing in the light of the full moon. All my attempts at escape had been thwarted, but I hadn't really been attacked yet, almost as if…it was herding me. Suddenly the scene melted away and I was staring at the faded cream color of my ceiling with the alarm blaring in my ear. "Ugh," I groaned and rolled over, blinking my dry eyes, I'd fallen asleep with them open again. Ever since that one day I'd gotten lost in the thick forest of my new backyard, I've had the same nightmare. Sighing, I rubbed my eyes and sat up, the bright morning light making me squint. I turned to the clock, fiddling with the buttons till I just frustrated myself into pulling out the plug. I'd fix the time later.

Stumbling out of bed and across the floor of my small messy room, I eventually made it to the bathroom. I leaned against the sink, blinking my dark brown eyes against the harsh mirror lights and scowling at my reflection. Another day to get through with nothing to look forward to, it's life. I pulled a brush through the snarled mess that sleep had made of my hair, the thin brown strands beginning to stick up from the static. I put the brush down in disgust and threw the mass up in a ponytail, the only thing to do when it's so stubbornly straight. After brushing my teeth and returning to my room, for school supplies and my usual black ensemble, I headed for the kitchen; it was empty as usual.

My mother was hardly ever home, I don't think she was meant to have children, she certainly never knew how to take care of me, that was my fathers job. My father, Michael Allan James, had died in a construction accident when I was eleven and my mother didn't know what to do, she's always been too flighty to keep a job. I shook off the memories.

With my stomach still churning from the dream I passed by the mostly empty fridge and left to catch my bus. Sitting in the front, directly behind the driver so I wouldn't be bothered, I pulled out my CD player and tried to use music to drown out my thoughts. It didn't work. My old town, my old home, I missed the familiar surroundings and my one friend…Matt. I sighed and tried to concentrate on the dream instead, what did it mean? I knew logically that my mind was just fabricating reasons I could deal with to fear the forest, it was better than having no reason to feel freaked out when I looked towards the thick trees, but I wished it had been more than a nightmare. I wished, as I always had, that all those myths and legends I had read about could be real. But like everything in this town, even the comfort of daydreaming in the woods would be denied me. Of course it was really the fault of my directionally challenged mind that I had gotten lost and probably hallucinated, but I felt better blaming this place.

We stopped in front of the school and I was the last to get off in order to avoid the jostling press of bodies, I'd have to deal with that all day inside. I clutched my books tighter to my chest as I stepped off the bus and a chill autumn wind blew across the parking lot, of course I'd forgotten my jacket today. Shivering I walked through the glass doors and into the packed hallways. It had been about two weeks since I moved here and the small-town curiosity had faded quickly so the staring stopped and I was finally invisible, as I wished. Making friends took too much effort, especially when everyone knew each other and probably their family history, so I walked to class alone.

I rolled my eyes at the group of kids laughing loudly and blocking the hallway. I was preparing myself to edge past them when I was shoved from behind and fell suddenly into the circle. A blush crept its way up my face as I bit my tongue to keep from yelling in anger. I got to my knees and started searching for my things when I heard a male chuckling. With my lips set in a scowl and my cheeks burning crimson, I glared up at the boy standing in front of me.

He had sandy hair and a face that could have been sculpted with the most beautiful emerald eyes I had ever seen. When he saw my face his lips pulled back in a wicked grin and he kneeled down in what was probably an attempt to help me. Something about him scared me though, and when my mind returned from its scan of his perfect features his face was just a few inches from mine. I dropped what little I had managed to gather and jumped back, why did I feel the need to run? His grin widened at my reaction and he raised one glorious eyebrow. I readjusted my features from shock and terror to a more reasonable angered expression and held out a shaking hand for my books.

"Much better Anna." He had a voice to match the looks, deep and resonating… my heart just may have stopped. He raised both eyebrows in a suggestive manner and handed me my things. My eyes widened in shock and I gripped the books numbly to my chest as what he said sank in. How did he know me? Surely I hadn't missed someone as god-like as him walking around this dismal place? I barely registered the surprise on the other boys' faces who had just ignored everything till now. I was with them, I mean really, no one talked to me.

He must have read the emotions on my face because the next words out of his mouth were, "Everyone here knows your name miss Anna Marie James." His lips twitched into a smirk, "You were new here not too long ago, my apologies for grabbing everyone's attention with my arrival." He gave a mock bow and his little gang came back to their senses and began falling all over each other with laughter.

I tried to control my temper but, "If it was going to be this kind of attention," I gestured at the hyenas, "then you're welcome to it." I said through clenched teeth and stormed off. No matter how good-looking they were always so childish. The rest of the day passed without further incident and my mood had improved somewhat…till I got to my locker. When I entered the combination and wrestled it open to put away my PreCalculus book, I realized that when I had dropped my stuff I had never picked up the bag with my work clothes in it. I needed my Stop and Shop uniform and I had already missed my bus so I couldn't go home to get another set. I groaned and punched the puke green door of my locker, causing a bit of paper that I hadn't noticed to flutter to the tiled floor. I picked it up curiously and read the neat handwriting.

Forget something?

I incredulously followed the arrow up to the shelf in my locker and saw my bag there. "Oh…my…god." I whipped around expecting whoever left the note to still be there, "That's really creepy!" I called down the empty echoing hallways. I shuddered. "Great, now I have a stalker." I mumbled to myself as I grabbed the bag, slammed the door shut and headed to the bathroom to get changed. Upon opening the bag I discovered another note, I opened it with a grumble about people not understanding when their advances were unwelcome. It was that same neat script:

I noticed you had forgotten your jacket this morning.

You can borrow mine for now, I don't really need it.

A friend

P.S. Be more careful in the hallway

I just blinked and stared at the paper for a few seconds, "This has to be a joke." But I looked in the bag again and sure enough there was a rather warm looking brown jacket. I pulled it out, the thing looked like it would dwarf my five foot five, petite frame. I changed and scurried out the schools main entrance, shamefully wearing the coat. It was cold and I was nothing if not practical.

Work was the same monotonous shelving of products and sorting out the back room. It was a mindless job that gave me far too much thinking time, but it paid and I needed the money. Not to mention I was in the stockroom most of the time and out of the public eye, always a plus. I walked home in my work clothes, wary as always of how fast the light was fading and the fact that I was a girl…alone. But I had some confidence in myself, I might be a girl but my muscles were pretty impressive from carrying heavy boxes all day, all the walking I did, and my previous jobs. I was tired and wished I had a ride home for once. I really needed to get my license but didn't have the time for classes. Oh well, I'd get it when I turned eighteen.

I grabbed the mail on my way up the gravel driveway, scanning through it and biting my lip, so many bills. I threw them on the table to be sorted later and wondered when my mother would be getting home tonight, if she came home at all. Walking into my bedroom I flung my things on the ground and flopped face down on my bed. I really just wanted to fall asleep right then, but I was still hungry and needed a shower, thank goodness it was Friday. I rolled over in order to get up but just ended up hitting the floor, my laundry saved me from any serious injury. I began picking up the used and crumpled clothing. As I bent down to pick up a shirt I felt a cold draft run across the skin of my exposed lower back. I turned around and noticed that my window was open just a bit, maybe I had forgotten to close it. I dropped the clothes I had gathered and walked over to shut it. But as I looked beyond the pane of glass I remembered again my dream, for the scenery from it was right before my eyes. My heart raced as I thought about the day we moved here.

My mother was babbling on as usual, "This is gonna be great hunny, I promise! Think about it, a nice quiet town and a house for just the two of us." She smiled encouragingly. I just grabbed my junk from the old, rusted piece of junk she called a car and entered the small kitchen. In front of me was the half wall that separated the living room, with one of those gross brown carpets, from the cheap tiling of the kitchen floor. To the left was a short hallway that led to three different empty rooms and a bathroom. I threw my stuff in the last room on the right, it had a nice view of the woods in the backyard and was closest to the back door. My mom ran in behind me, shouting her delight, "Isn't this great! You even get your own room, not like that apartment we had to live in before." She began loading her boxes into the room opposite mine.

"Wonderful mom," I said without much enthusiasm. With the way she flew through life I'd basically had the apartment to myself, just like I would this house in a few days. I opened the side door and stepped into the muggy air, still warm from the end of summer. The trees had just begun changing color and I marveled at how thick they seemed to be. There was a small path that I spotted which looked interesting, so I decided to see where it led and explore my new backyard.

"I'm going out!" I heard my mother yell from the driveway.

I rolled my eyes and turned around, "Already?" I asked without really caring. She just grinned at me and waved as she backed out. "Whatever," I mumbled to myself. I was fine on my own.

Stepping onto the path, a tiny thrill ran through me. I loved exploring, especially walking through the woods. I watched and listened as I walked, letting my feet carry me where they would. It seemed peaceful and the thin patches of sunlight reaching through the canopy made the scenery breathtaking. It was perfect for writing a story or a poem, I was inspired. I thought I had been walking for only a few minutes and so turned around to head back and get my notebook. It was then I noticed that the path was no longer beneath my shoes. No problem, I thought, I'll just turn back and find it again. I walked a few feet in the opposite direction before it finally hit me. I was lost. No problem, I'll just…just…wander aimlessly. It was after all, the only thing I could do.

Soon enough the sun began to set and I had been lost for hours. Twilight had caused me to panic, it cast confusing shadows and didn't provide enough light to really see or enough dark for my eyes to adjust. Tired and thirsty I stumbled through the undergrowth, tripping over unseen logs and rocks. My hands and knees were scraped raw and the worst part was knowing that my mother would never find out I was gone. Tears trickled down my face as I continued on and it is at this point that the memories grow fuzzy. I don't know how I made it out.

I came back from my thoughts when I caught a slight movement near the edge of the woods. It looked like a dog, so I grabbed the brown jacket again and made my way outside. "Hello?" I called as I reached the tree line. My eyes widened in shock and I stifled a scream as someone stepped out from between the trunks. "What the hell are you doing here?!" I screeched, angry now as I recognized the figure. He grinned and I got butterflies in my stomach. It just made me more frustrated.

Looking me up and down like I was something to eat he stalked forward, coming towards me. I held my ground, he looked like he could easily run me down if he wanted to and I didn't quite want to find that one out. Even with just the light of the full moon I could still see the ripple of muscles beneath the tight t-shirt. His pants were too baggy to see the great toned legs I knew he would have. What I really wanted was to lift up the shirt and find out if that stomach was a six pack…

"Just came to get my jacket back Anna." His amused tone brought me back to reality.

"Your jacket?" I asked in a daze. Man this boy really packed a punch.

"Yes," he chuckled. I didn't even realize how close he had come to me and that's finally what snapped me out if it.

"Back up a moment there buddy," I pushed him backwards with a hand on his chest and he took the step back out of courtesy, it was like moving a rock. "If this is yours," I ripped off the offending article of clothing and threw it at him, of course he caught it with ease, "then that means you broke into my locker. How dare you! I don't even know who you are. I suggest you just follow everyone else's lead and just leave me alone." I glared at him, the effect somewhat ruined by my rumpled work clothes and the escaped pieces of hair flying in my face. I would never be as impressive as him by a long shot, but as attitudes went I had one of the best. My mother sometimes told me it could wither the spirit of a fairy; let's hope it worked on he-men.

"My name, princess, is Logan." He tapped me on the forehead and I slapped his hand away, "Make sure to remember it." He gave me a wink that made me blush, and walked away. I fought down the urge to stick my tongue out at his back like a two year old. It was a tough urge to fight down.