"Make sure to read Chapter Six carefully," Mr. Sommers intoned. "There might be a quiz tomorrow."
I glanced at Elliot, who sat a couple of rows in front of me. I knew he knew I’d be looking. He shook his head the tiniest bit to let me know our teacher was bluffing, and there’d be no quiz.
Elliot can smell a lie, or notice the tiniest twitch of an eyebrow, or something like that. I don’t know exactly how he does it, but so far Elliot has never been wrong. It makes me glad that my parents took him in.
Having a foster brother who doubles as a lie detector can be amazingly useful, but there are downsides as well. Later that day, as we walked home, I tripped on a rock and fell towards the street. The pavement rushed towards me, but before I could put my hands out to break my fall, Elliot grabbed my backpack.
"Problem walking much?" Elliot jeered. I didn’t need to see his face to hear the grin in his voice. He kept me leaning, caught between standing and falling, unable to move.
"Thanks," I said through gritted teeth. If I knew Elliot, he was planning to draw this rescue out for as long as he could, savoring every moment like a raw slab of meat. "Could you hurry it up a little?" I asked, with little hope that he actually would.
Suddenly, Elliot yanked me backward onto the sidewalk. A dark car roared past where my face had just been, less than a second before.
"You were saying?" Elliot’s grin had grown into a smirk.
My heart pounded at the near miss. I didn’t know whether to thank Elliot or insult him back. With two rescues in a row, he would be completely unbearable.
The dark car screeched to a stop. Then, it backed up, quickly gaining speed.
"Uh, Elliot?" My brain was still addled, but I knew something was wrong. My foster brother and I both stared as one of the car’s tinted windows rolled down. Something long and shiny poked out.
"Run!" Elliot screamed. Thankfully, my body complied.
We sprinted away from the street. Elliot bolted over a wall, and I scrambled after him. We crouched down, catching our breaths. Something whizzed past and landed a few feet from us.
"What the--?" I asked.
Elliot scurried from the safety of the wall for a closer look. "A tranquilizer dart." Gingerly, he picked it up, then immediately dropped it like it had burned his fingers. "Silver-tipped," he said, through clenched teeth.
For a moment, Elliot and I stared at each other. "They know what you are," I whispered.
Elliot nodded, grimly. "And they want me as their lab rat."
Another dart zipped through the air between us. We had to get somewhere safer.
"Transform," I said. "You’ll be faster on four legs."
He bit his lip. "What about you?"
"They’re not after me. I’ll just run the other way, and I’ll be fine." Or at least, I hoped I would. Another dart landed by my feet. "Hurry! This wall isn’t going to protect us all day."
Elliot shook his head like he wanted to argue. Then he sighed. "See you at home," he said. His voice had changed into a low rumble.
My eyes became watery, so I couldn’t even make Elliot out, though I knew he was crouching right in front of me. I rubbed my eyes and when I looked back, a giant wolf sat where my foster brother had been. He turned his piercing werewolf eyes toward me.
I heard footsteps approaching, fast and heavy. "Run!" I shouted. "Just go."
Elliot raced away as three figures bounded over the wall. Then it was my turn to run.