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GIFTED (A BIRTH CURSE SERIES NOVEL

)

TIFFANY M. OHARRIZ

Part One The Latency

© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

Chapter One

The trees whizzed by her in muted blurs of green, brown, orange and the palest of yellows; the wind nipping at her face and chilling her bones. Under different circumstances she would have ceased her endless running and enjoyed the beauty of the nature surrounding her, but the pounding in her heart and the rush of adrenaline forced her to pull the small bundled warmth closer to her chest and spurned her legs to push her through the thick underbrush faster.

They were gaining on her; she could feel the heat from their breath beating against her naked calves. She could hear the pounding of their feet. A couple more paces and they would

© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

all be in her territory, her land and she would have the upper hand.

“Slow down baby.” She heard his husky voice brushing against her mind, causing an inadvertent shiver. “We just want to play.”

Hefting the weight against her chest higher she made her way around a tree, snarling silently at the eyes closing in on her. The effect was instantaneous. Wordlessly as she continued forward their steps faltered. She pushed harder, exerting the last of her reserve she broke through the tree line and into the clearing she had claimed as her own so many years ago. She knew she only had a handful of seconds if that before her

© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

command would dissipate and the once frozen soldiers chasing her would continue their hunt, angrier and fiercer than before.

Frantically she dropped to her knees, gently placing the sobbing child she had held protectively on to the floor. She heard a shriek from the skies. Cursing her luck, she rushed to remove her jacket and wrap it around the little girl. “I need you to stay calm. Can you do that?” she asked gazing deeply into the young girl’s dark eyes, another shriek sounded in the sky. Without waiting for a response she continued, motioning to a tree “I won’t let them hurt you but I need you to be very brave and climb this tree.” Placing the girl on a low and sturdy branch she urged her up to the highest point “Go on, it’s safer up there” she promised, watching the girl rush up the tree in a way that only a child of their kind could.
© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

“You. Shouldn’t. Have. Done. That. Sienna.” He growled into her mind, forcing her to feel all his rage and humiliation; bombarding her senses moments before throwing a wall up to block her mind from his. She could hear them now, the sound of their feet rushing towards her and the sound of them snarling and growling.

A shiver of excitement rushed down her back as the hawk in the sky cried out again. They were closer. She could taste the fight brewing, smell the bloodlust. Sienna dropped down to the ground once more, landing into a crouch as a mammoth sized wolf lunged into her path. His jowls raised and his grey eyes boring into her blue. He growled deeply as the others took their place behind him; a small female panther making its way
© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

to his side, rubbing against the wolf before dropping lazily to the ground.

Sienna snarled, her attention split between the panther and wolf and the annoying hawk circling the tree the little girl was hiding in. The hawk swooped low as a half-dressed redhead moved forward. “Where is she Si?” the redhead purred, her skin rippling, the animal below the surface making itself known. The girl moved closer, tracing her finger across Sienna’s back and circling her. Sienna’s muscles tightened in anticipation. She glanced at the hawk again enticing another growl from the wolf standing directly in front of her, distracting her.

© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

They were playing a very dirty trick, attempting to catch her off guard and bombarding her senses with too much, every sensation vastly different. Sensory overload her father would call it. “Heather, enough” Sienna snapped at the redhead. Glancing back at the wolf and Panther she couldn’t keep the growl out of her voice. “Shane. Linda.” The panther stretched and moved its body under the chin of the wolf, causing another snarl to surface. In her distraction she missed the hawk swooping down towards the tree where the little girl shrieked in fear causing all sets of eyes in the clearing to glance up at the tree.

She blinked, shifting her footing and preparing her attack. The hawk swooped in again, legs first and talons ready “Stop” she growled forcing as much power into her voice and catching
© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

Heather’s eye. The hawk shrieked again diving down towards the tree then lower towards Sienna and back up. It shrieked again, mocking her, its message clear ‘Just you try. Make me.’

In the time the hawk used to taunt her and fly up towards the girl again, Heather had completed a full shift and Linda the panther had lunged at Sienna. ᕯᕯ There was a sudden hush that fell over the room as she walked in. She didn’t know exactly how she was supposed to act. The experience was completely foreign to her as well as any reaction she was supposed to exhibit. Should she fawn over him and ask him why? Why her? Why now? Or was she meant to act indifferent.

© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

Everyone was telling her how ‘special’ she was. How different she would feel. But she didn’t feel different and she certainly didn’t feel special. Maybe different was just a state of mind. Maybe she would feel different with time. Did she look different? When she looked in the mirror she still saw her reflection; the same pale skin, the same black wavy hair and big blue grey eyes. She still saw the same nose even if she wished that would change. So how exactly was she supposed be different. Bringing her hands up to her face, she massaged gentle circles against the bridge of her nose, temples and forehead hoping to rid herself of the migraine she was getting. Grudgingly she made her way to the front of the room to sit down and face The Council, what she wasn’t planning on was bumping into anyone. Glancing up meekly she found herself
© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

trapped, captivated by a set of dark brown eyes, a dark and bright blush staining her cheeks.

She hoped in vain that when she closed her eyes tightly and opened them she’d be back home, happy and snug cuddling with her cat. She recalled the last few hours in a bight blur. How she could see them in her mind, even before she knew who or what they were, driving into her neighborhood as only a funeral procession would. This was something she found ironic and interesting all at once since they might as well have been just that, a funeral procession symbolizing the death of her old life; each car turning and maneuvering the winding road with such ease and precision, stopping a few inches short from her house. The blinds in the surrounding houses closed

© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

as the cars parked, with only a sliver of light peeking through and a few prying eyes here and there.

The woman who had raised her, the one she had thought was her mother rushed her out toward the middle car, a silver Charger. She could still see his yellow eyes shining in the dark, right through his mirror tinted windows. Worriedly she glanced to her side hoping for some form or reassurance but there was none. His window lowered in a faint buzz, forcing her to look back towards the car. The man with the dark salt and pepper hair and yellow eyes smiled at her causing her to shudder. It seemed almost kind, even with his eerie features. Tentatively she smiled back. Then in a rush he was whispering something in her mother’s ear and she was being hugged

© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

goodbye and shoved into the car next to the man. Zahara Frost knew only six things for certain. 1. She missed her home, her cat, her mother and her old normal life. 2. Lucas Frost, the man who whisked her away from any semblance of normality was a creepy man. 3. Rhea Moretti was her mother not the woman he lovingly called Gaia Moretti Frost. 4. She really hoped his last name didn’t mean what she thought it did. 5. She was a seventeen year old witch about to undergo her binding oath ceremony. 6. Sean Embers was still the most attractive guy in her grade, even if he was sitting across from her in this nuthouse of all places.
© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency

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© Gifted: A Birth Curse Novel Part One The Latency