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We were in the middle of nowhere, and all I wanted was to get back to Ava. I was still in the ocean, fighting the riptide, the guy named Jace already surfacing on the beach. I pushed against the water. When I went under a foot or two, I could feel the sand with my toes. Almost there. Then you can get to Ava. That was the thing that kept me going- Ava. The problem was, I was sure that it was the same thing that kept the other ones- Jace and Roman- going, too.

           I finally felt the sand under my feet, and it was fairly easy from then on as long as I avoided the waves. When I reached the shore, the view was definitely… interesting. First of all, that ***, Jace, was sitting down on a huge leaf, looking like he was just out for a freakin’ tan.

           I grabbed a stray leaf and hit him over the head with it, his eyes shooting open as he jumped up from his spot. “What the **** was that?” he demanded, glaring at me. I noticed he was a few inches shorter than me, leaving me with a smile. Ava likes her guys tall.

           When I didn’t answer, Jace led me away and towards the trees, which had wooden houses built into them- I know. It sounds crazy, but it was like there were tree houses as a… tree community. Instead of roads, there were dozens of bridges leading from one to the next with a few ladders leading down to the sandy beach. I looked at the guy next to me. “What the **** is this?”

           He shot me a smirk, meeting my gaze with a sidelong glance. “This is The Eastern Wolf Village.”

           “What the **** does that mean?” I asked, already getting a pretty good sense, seeing as it obviously wasn’t very original.

           “It’s one of the actual villages made up entirely of our world.” He surveyed me, looking up and down. “Well, until now. **** humans always messing with everything.”

           “Then why’s it called The East-“

           “Mostly Shifters live here. Mostly wolves, as it happens to be. And I Shift into a dog, while Roman’s Shifted form is a wolf.”

           “So, you’re like, his ******** I asked, lips raised in a smile.

           He rolled his eyes and called up, “Hey, Infinity!”

           “That, like, code for something?” I chuckled, rolling my eyes.

           Lightning fast, a figure flew down the rope ladder and stood before us. “Hello, Jace. I see you’ve brought a…friend? We don’t allow humans here. You know the rules.”

           He smiled. “Trust me, I’d agree normally. However, we seem to have to make an… exception.”

           The woman surveyed me. She looked about twenty-give or take a couple of years- but her eyes showed a sense of age. “Come on up, then.”

           “Fin, we came with Joseph… Our boat capsized, and we don’t know if he made it. Actually, he probably didn’t.”

           She nodded, a flicker of sadness flashing in her eyes before returning to a swirl of colors- blue, purple, and green all mixed into one.

           And, so, we went up the ladder and into the… eh, The Eastern Wolf Village.

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