Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.
When ‘Calling’ begins we are back in the helicopter; on-board is Maya’s best friend, Daniel, her loyal dog Kenji, unconscious Rafe and Maya’s old friends and classmates; Sam, Corey, Nicole and Hayley. The mayor of Salmon Creek is also being taken to safety … but it doesn’t take long before it all goes horribly wrong. Maya and Daniel’s suspicions about the danger they experienced on the ground are reignited mid-air, when the pilot starts veering off-course and a tussle ensues. Now Maya and Daniel are convinced that the St. Clouds drug company is out for their blood – and they can trust no one from Salmon Creek. Not even their parents?
Maya Delaney and other teenagers in Salmon Creek have discovered that they were subjects of genetic experimentation. All of the kids had been enhanced in some way, with the new traits only coming into full flower post-puberty. Unfortunately, a few kids have also suffered from bad side effects, such as debilitating headaches or even psychosis.
Maya’s enhancement is that she is a shape-shifter, in this case meaning she can turn into a cougar and back. Rafe, Maya’s sometime boyfriend, is also a shape-shifter, as is his sister Annie, who has, however, become mentally enfeebled as a result. Maya’s best friend Daniel is a “benandanti” – someone who can sense evil. Most of Maya’s friends don’t know what their enhancement is yet, although they can guess at it from what they excel at doing.
The teens figure out that they have been changed as part of a lethal inter-corporate struggle between St. Cloud and a rival corporation, both of which are staffed with adult supernaturals. Creating future enhanced employees is how the companies intend to get a leg up on rivals staffed with “only” humans. Maya and her friends realize they are in danger as their skill sets develop, and they endeavor to get away.
Both corporations pursue them, not intending to let any of them escape. The fugitives need food, money, and help, but they don’t know who they can trust. In addition, they struggle not to be defeated by fear, increasingly bad side effects, or internecine conflicts.The first two chapters of ‘Calling’ concern a helicopter crash with devastating consequences and body-count. After the explosive, helicopter-crashing first chapter though, things take a turn for the slightly more sedate… After surviving the crash, Maya and her remaining friends find themselves in yet another forest, and they are not alone. St. Cloud employees are hunting them – and as their trek to safety unfolds, they discover another group of players – the Nasts are also hot on their trail. The teens make the long, dangerous trek back to Salmon Creek.