Book cover of “The Unwanted Claim“ by Naomi Joseph

The Unwanted Claim

  • Genre: Werewolf
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Language: English
  • Author: Naomi Joseph
Could anybody predict the ending of a simple camping trip? Carla Wreath is an eighteen-year-old girl, just out of high school who embarks on a camping trip with friends. But when a chilling encounter with a wolf-like creature shatters her expectations, she's thrust into a world of werewolves, packs, and forbidden connections. To protect her friend... 

Chapter 1. Carla and Carolyne

Carla stumbled through the woods on trembling and unstable legs, the events of the night playing out in her head over and over again. 

She was frightened and scared out of her mind as she tried to process what had happened. 

This was not supposed to happen. 

It was not supposed to go like this. 

They were supposed to be safe, stupid kids having fun in the woods. 

They were not supposed to die, hunted down by some beast that crawled out of children's nightmares.

She leaned against a tree, trying to catch her breath and stay silent at the same time. They had all run in different directions; the ones still conscious or alive, in the hopes of throwing those creatures off their trail.

She was tired and losing energy fast, and worst of all, she had a feeling that what was hunting them, was playing with them. It may have been the anxiety and exhaustion talking, but the creature seemed to be taunting them.

Now and then she would catch a glimpse of a shadow, in the corner of her eyes, but when she turned, there would be nothing there.

She trembled against the rough bark and squinted into the dark, hoping to make out anything. 

Carla knew she had to get out of the woods, she was not safe in them, none of them were. 

She wished none of this had happened and she had not agreed to join Carolyne on this dumb trip. 

Carla wished she had tried to stop her friend from leaving as her mind flashed to earlier that week when all of this began; though they had not known yet, and they were still ignorant of the horrors to come.

Carla was startled out of her thoughts by a nudge to her shoulder. She pulled her headphones down to her neck and turned around to meet the excited grin of her best friend, Carolyne.

"You have to come," Carolyne stressed as she sat down beside her and Carla rolled her blue eyes in annoyance, turning back to her open book.

"It's going to be so much fun, please," she said drawing out the word 'please' and forming her lips into a pout.

"No," Carla stated in a no-nonsense tone, without once looking up from the words on the page.

"But why?" Whined the redhead as she placed her head on the blonde's book to gain her attention and Carla huffed in fond annoyance.

Carolyne had been Carla's best friend for the past three years but it seemed more like a lifetime.

The two girls had bonded over a shared lunch, when they were fifteen, after Carolyne had crashed right in the middle of Carla's solo picnic. They had shared what remained of the food and become inseparable since then.

There was Carla with her calm personality, pale blond hair and bookish character, and then there was Carolyne with her flaming red hair that looked almost fake, loud colours, jewellery made out of recycled materials and excitable personality. 

The two girls were an odd pair but they loved each other to hell and back, their friendship withstanding the obstacles that came with their clashing personalities.

Carla was usually the more reserved and introverted of the two, while Carolyne was the wild one. Whenever Carolyne wanted to go to some random party, she would drag along a reluctant Carla who rarely ever refused her requests (prodding and begging) which led to their current predicament.

Carolyne had recently made friends with a group of kids their age who were really into extreme sports, mountain climbing, sky diving and many more. 

Whatever dangerous activity a person could think of, they had probably done it or made plans to do it and Carolyne was enamoured by the whole thing. 

Ever since she met them, which was a month ago, she has followed them on nine different trips to do only god knows what and where, and always returned looking like she had been through hell, with a smile on her face.

Carla had declined every single one of the nine invitations to join them but was having difficulty declining this one. 

Sure she sounded resigned to her decision, but she knew that at the end of the day, she would end up agreeing to join them on their camping trip because, unlike their other escapades, this one was pretty tame and something she could find herself enjoying. 

It was just a simple camping trip with no heart-racing activities except relieving herself in the wild.

Ever since graduating, she had been too busy to spend time with Carolyne. Her parent's drama and their disagreement over tertiary institutions, having kept her occupied and irritable when they were together, and while Carolyne was an understanding and sweet person, she was still human and must feel neglected in their friendship.

She turned to look at the redhead, who was now sitting upright and trying to convince her by listing reasons a week-long camping trip was a perfect idea.

 ".....you could also try out this s'more pie thing Beckham says...."

 "Okay." 

 "What?" Came the shocked question.

 "Okay. I'll go with you for the trip, it's this weekend right?" She asked as she turned to face her friend, fully, only to find her arms filled with a squealing, excited body.

 "This is going to be so fun! My best friend meeting my other nice friends. I can't wait to tell them you said yes." She rambled with an excited and beaming smile on her face.

"This is going to be so fun," she repeated again with an encouraging smile, "and I'll help you pack, so you have all your necessities and something cute to wear," she assured her shy friend who nodded with a forced smile.

"Thanks, why don't you come over to my house today? We can hang out and then pack, okay?" The blonde offered, finding it hard to recall the last time she had invited the redhead over. She was such a terrible friend.

"Of course," she responded with an excited grin then began to list everyone that was coming and all the activities they planned on doing when they got to the campsite.

Carla listened intently to her friend's rambling, her mind often drifting to the thought of how uncomfortable this trip was going to be for her. 

She stared at the excited girl and felt guilt wrap itself around her heart, going would be worth it if it made Carolyne happy, she assured herself, determined.

Friday morning found Carla sitting in the colourful contraption Carolyne called a car as they sped down the highway towards the decided meeting point.

Everyone was to meet just outside town where Mark, who was the only person in the know of their campsite's location, would lead the others with his car.

Some obnoxious pop song played on the radio and Carolyne sang along, under her breath as she drove. Both girls had opted for tank tops and cargo pants because the sun was far too hot for anything else and they did not want to burn through the car's fuel by turning on the air conditioning.

Carla was already bored and over this whole trip but did not dare say a thing to avoid hurting her friend. She was also highly unsettled for two reasons; the first being that only one person knew the location of the campsite (which to her wasn't logical or safe) and the other was because there was a well-known campground just miles away from the meeting point so she could not understand why they were not going there instead.

It was all so problematic but she kept her observations to herself to avoid frightening her friend, who was easily spooked.

They pulled up to the spot and Carla's eyes narrowed when she caught sight of the fifteen cars parked haphazardly, in the event they needed to make a quick getaway (because why would a bunch of teenagers care about orderly parking). She caught a glimpse of her fellow campers and sighed in exhaustion, what had she expected from people who jumped off cliffs for fun?

They were disorderly, rowdy and irritatingly loud, the kind of people she avoided for the sake of her sanity, but she was doing this for Carolyne, so she slapped a fake smile on her face and walked over to them alongside the hyper redhead. 

Carolyne fit right in as she quickly immersed herself into the conversation going on while Carla stood there, awkwardly as introductions were made, speaking every once in a while to avoid appearing foolish or mute. 

Carla couldn't pretend to care about most of the people introduced. Their haughty attitudes, undeserving self-righteousness, crazily expensive cars and pricy but unnecessary camping gear showed they were not just adrenaline junkies, they were wealthy adrenaline junkies and that dampened her mood further. 

The only ones she liked, because they were not annoying like the others, were a blond, green-eyed boy named Lukas, who possessed a lanky, thin figure and a rather charming smile and a dark skin girl named Aria, with the brightest pair of brown eyes she had ever seen, who was the only one with enough sense to park her car in a good position (nose facing the road).

They were just waiting on Mark, who was taking his sweet time to begin their hours-long journey.

They waited for about two hours before he finally arrived, giving Carla enough time to go from slightly irritated to downright murderous.

The only thing that had stopped her from leaving was her two new friends who managed to distract her long enough for Carolyne enough time to get high on an assortment of brightly coloured pills which meant she had to drive no thanks to the idiot who thought bringing d***s on a camping trip, in the wild, was a brilliant idea.

Mark casually drove by in a plain silver car, stopped, honked multiple times to get their attention then drove further away and stopped.

"What an *ss," muttered Lukas as he straightened up from his position of leaning against Aria's car and Carla nodded in agreement as she glared at the car.

"We'll talk some more when we get to the campsite right?" He asked the two girls with a shy smile.

"Sure Lue," Aria said as she gave him an encouraging smile. She knew he had a hard time relating to other people because he was so timid so his reaching out to them was wonderful.

"Without a doubt," Carla responded with a small smile and watched the blond walk towards his car, giddy with excitement.

"He's sweet," she said to the brunette with a smile.

"Yeah, help me look out for him?" Aria asked good-naturedly.

"Just try and stop me," she responded and waved goodbye to her as she walked away, Mark's obnoxious honking, making her fists clench.

She walked over to her s****d friend and began dragging her back to their car, kicking a rock angrily when the honking grew more aggressive.

"A*shole," she muttered under her breath as she placed Carolyne's relaxed body into the car and got into the driver's seat. 

She started the vehicle and got behind Lukas' car in the line they were forming.

The journey had finally begun as they drove in a single file towards their destination, the sun, shining down on them.

    

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