Kylie's bare feet moved quickly against the earth as she ran. She heard the blend of voices coming from the dining hall where everyone had congregated after Ellie's funeral. Ellie, who'd died at the hands of Mario.

Another wave of guilt washed over Kylie. She ran faster. She didn't want to join the crowd. She wanted ... needed ... to be alone.

She'd almost made it to her cabin when she felt a whoosh of air fly past her. A vampire whoosh. Maybe a vampire on the hunt.

Kylie pushed herself to run faster and mentally prepared herself to fight. Not that she stood a chance of winning a battle with a vampire. Whatever super strength she had only served her when she was helping others.

A protector, the other supernaturals called her. But how could they call her that when she hadn't protected Ellie? Even Kylie's healing abilities had failed. How unjust was it that she could save a bird, pull it back from death, and yet couldn't save a friend? She would have paid the price. It wouldn't have mattered how much of her soul she'd had to give to save Ellie.

She felt it again-that flash of air as something swooped past. This time she saw a curtain of straight black hair billow in the wind. Definitely a vampire.

But not one on the hunt.

Della appeared beside her, running at the same breakneck pace. But being vampire, she moved with ease, as if she were taking a leisurely jog.

"What's wrong?" Della's dark hair, hinting at her Asian bloodline, flew behind her like a flag.

"You are what's wrong." Kylie came to a jerky stop. "I hate it when you fly by me like that and I can't tell it's you. I feel threatened. I feel like ... prey."

"Well, damn," Della said in her everyday bad-attitude voice. "Excuse me for being concerned. I heard you running like hell and thought someone was chasing you."

"Sorry. No one is chasing me." Kylie's gaze shot back to the woods. They're just taunting me to step into the woods and face them. But who was it, and for what reason? Earlier she'd assumed it was Mario, but could she have been wrong about that?

"What happened?" Della asked.

Kylie pulled her eyes away from the woods. "Nothing."

Della tilted her head to the side, as if listening to Kylie's heart, listening for signs of deception. Della rolled her eyes. "Liar. Liar. Pants on fire."

Kylie groaned. "Fine. I'm lying. And if I were wearing pants, they'd combust and burn my ass."

"Wow. You are in such a lovely mood. What took a bite out of your attitude?"

"You did." Kylie flinched at the sound of her sharp tone.

Della grinned as if enjoying Kylie's anger. Kylie started walking.

"Who's supposed to be shadowing you?" Della asked.

"I don't know." Kylie's gaze shot to the woods and the sensation hit stronger than ever. She took off running down the path, pushing herself harder. She didn't stop until she got to her cabin. Her stomach cramped from running. She dropped down on the edge of their porch.

"So what happened?" Della, not even breathing hard, plopped down beside Kylie.

Something in the woods is calling my name. That sounded crazy. Kylie couldn't say it. She looked at Della. Her roommate's slightly slanted black eyes appeared genuinely concerned, and that made Kylie feel like a bitch.

"Sorry. I'm in a bad mood."

"Which is so rare," Della said. "I kind of like it."

Kylie rolled her eyes and pushed back her reservations. "Have you ever heard of chameleons?"

"Yeah," Della said.

"You have? What do you know about them?"

"They're lizards that change colors. According to Chan, they don't taste too bad. In Hawaii, the local vampires sell their blood. It's supposed to be as good as O negative."

"No." Kylie pulled her knees up and hugged them.

"No, what?"

"I mean ... chameleons as a type of supernatural?"

"A lizard supernatural?" Della laughed.

Kylie jumped up.

"Hey." Della popped up beside her. "What's wrong with you?"

Kylie yanked open the cabin door and looked back at Della. "Everything is wrong."

"Is this about Ellie?" Della's voice hinted at an emotion that the vamp kept hidden.

Kylie's heart gripped tighter. "Yes, it's about Ellie. It's about me being a lizard. It's everything."

"You're a lizard?" The seriousness faded from Della's eyes, and she grinned.

Kylie stormed through the door, then swung around. "Yeah, you're a vampire, and I'm a lizard, so just friggin' get used to it."

Della's smirk faded. "Have you been smoking something? Seriously, I think you're a werewolf. This new snarky attitude is a dead giveaway."

"And vampires aren't snarky?" Kylie rolled her eyes.

"No, we're pissy. Snarky and pissy are two totally different things." Della moved inside. The vamp's attempt at humor was to help, not hurt.

But Kylie wasn't in the mood. "I'm not a werewolf." Tears stung her eyes. "If I were, then Lucas would be happy and all would be right in the world."

Della's mouth dropped open. "You're serious. Who told you that you were a lizard?"

"My dad."

Della's eyes widened. "You're shitting me."

"No shitting."

Della fell into the sofa and her gaze darted around the room. "Is he here now?"


"Good." She slapped her hands on her thighs. "Maybe he was smoking something."

Kylie rolled her wet eyes. "Would you please stop making wisecracks?"

Della snatched up a sofa pillow and tossed it at Kylie. "See, there's the werewolf attitude coming out again."

Kylie swung around to go into her room, but before she got to the door, Della shot in front of it. It was freaky how fast a vampire could move.

"Fine," Della said. "I'll try to be serious, but ... it's crazy. I know you don't want to believe this, but someone's pulling a practical joke on you. There's no such thing as a lizard supernatural. Just ask her."

"Ask who?" The cabin's main door slammed as Miranda stepped inside. Her blond hair hung loose, streaked with pink, green, and black. Kylie didn't know if Miranda used her Wiccan powers to color her hair or Nice 'n Easy.

Miranda frowned. "Why did you leave me?" she asked Della.

Della made a face. "Sorry. Kylie's having a crisis. I can only be Superfriend to one of you at a time."

Miranda looked at Kylie. "What kind of a crisis?"

Ordinarily, Kylie shared everything with Miranda and Della, but at this moment she wished she'd kept her mouth shut. All this time she'd longed to know what she was, thinking it would solve everything, and yet here she was, supposedly knowing, and feeling more confused than ever.

"A tasty reptile crisis." Della giggled, put her hand over her mouth, and then looked apologetically at Kylie. "Oops."

"What?" Miranda asked.

Della propped one hand on her hip. "Tell Kylie there's no such thing as lizard supernaturals."

"Perry can change into a lizard." Miranda's eyes brightened with pride. "Yesterday he shifted-"

"Please, not another Perry story." Della pressed both her palms against her stomach. "I swear, I'll hurl."

"You are such a bitch," Miranda snapped.

"I'm not a bitch. I'm just sick of hearing Perry stories. 'Perry's pinky toes are so cute. Perry's got the most charming freckle behind his right ear.'"

"You're just jealous! Because you don't have a boyfriend and Kylie and I do!"

Did. Kylie had a boyfriend. She wasn't sure what was going to happen with her and Lucas now. His pleas for her not to run off echoed in her heart.

"Jealous?" Della roared back at Miranda. "Please, I'll chew out my own heart before I become lovesick like you."

Miranda held up her hand and wiggled her pinky-a sure sign a spell was about to spill from her lips. Della's eyes brightened and her canines came out to play.

"Stop!" Kylie looked from one to the other. She couldn't take it anymore. "Oh, hell, don't stop. You two have been threatening to kill each other since I got here, and it's driving me mad. So just kill each other and put me out of my misery." Inside, Kylie flinched again. She didn't mean it. Not even now, when furious, but maybe a little reverse psychology would fix these two.

Miranda and Della stared at Kylie as if she'd lost her mind, and they could be right, but it was partially their fault. Their arguing had caused her to go nuts.

"Come on. What are you waiting for? Kill each other. And make it entertaining." She crossed her arms over her chest and stared daggers at the two of them. Her right foot started tapping, just like her mom's tapped when she was about to blow a gasket.

Della's eyes returned to their black color and her canines disappeared under her top lip. Miranda dropped her threatening pinky. So reverse psychology did work. Ha. Who knew?

"What's wrong with her?" Miranda asked Della as if Kylie were too mentally unstable to ask.

"Nothing's wrong with me," Kylie answered, frustrated beyond her limits. "It's what's wrong with you two."

Della glanced at Miranda and shrugged. "She thinks she's a lizard."

"A chameleon," Kylie corrected.

Miranda rolled her eyes. "Poor thing. She's acting like a werewolf."

Della shot Kylie a smirk. "I told her that. But did she listen to me? Hell, no."

"I'm not a werewolf." It didn't matter what Kylie now wished she was.

"If you are, it's okay," Miranda said. "We've vowed to love you anyway."

Kylie dropped down onto a living room chair while her two best friends stared at her with a mix of pity and leeriness. They thought she was crazy. Heck, maybe she was crazy. She thought the woods were calling her name and she believed she was a reptile. She leaned back and stared at the ceiling.

"I'm a chameleon," she said, hoping that saying it would bring some kind of instinctual understanding. She held her breath, waiting for an epiphany-an internal knowledge that would make her right with the world.

Nothing came. And nothing felt right. Not her being a lizard, not seeing a ghost with the face of someone who was alive, not with her dad suggesting she would soon be making a trip into the afterworld, and especially not Derek's confession of love.

Nope. Nothing felt right. She moaned.

"Get her a Diet Coke, Della," Miranda said. "Maybe the sugar will give her some brainpower."

"It's fake sugar," Della answered.

"I know. But haven't you ever heard the saying fake it until you make it?"

"Ugh, forget the soda. I'm going to bed." Kylie popped up from the chair and went into her room, slamming the door so hard it rattled on its hinges.

From behind the door she heard them say in unison, "Definitely werewolf."

She hadn't gotten to her bed when she heard a loud commotion from the living room. Had Miranda and Della finally decided to really duke it out? Feeling guilty for encouraging them, she went to stop them but stilled when she heard voices.

"Where's Kylie?" Burnett's deep tenor spilled through the walls at the same time that her phone started ringing.

She pulled her phone from her pocket and jerked open the door. Burnett stood there with his hand raised to knock. Both anger and a thread of guilt filled his expression.

"Something wrong?" Kylie's ringing phone hummed in her hand.

"Are you okay?"

"Why wouldn't I be?" Had something else happened? At this point, nothing could surprise her. Copyright 2016 - 2023