"Ugh!!"There was a loud clang of metal, and then I was bouncing off the bars and onto the ground.The impact from the fall bruised my butt, and I glared ahead into the ever-present darkness that accompanied me these days."Goddammit!!" I yelled, feeling the itchy and raw feeling well up in my throat from disuse.I stumbled to my feet, locking my knees as I prepared to charge again.My legs were stinging, a result of the constant bruises forming against my skin.Before I could launch myself at the metal bars again though, I heard the door open.My dry mouth opened, desperately. "Brandon! Just let me out please, it's been days. What am I going to do? Run and get myself killed? I'm better than that, I promise I won't run!" I pleaded, my dry throat sounding gross and unappealing to my ears.I needed water, badly.Time was hard to keep track of with the blindfold. I knew Brandon visited at least once every other day, I'm not sure if it was out of his kindness or not, but the Beta would bring me scraps of food and water. Sometimes he'd just sit and chat even though I hardly ever replied. He'd update me on Elijah, and with the small tidbits of information that slipped in the cracks of the perpetual night I was subjected to, I figured it'd been about a week and a half.The darkness was becoming more frightening, I wasn't adjusting well.It's hard to adjust to feeling weak when all you've ever known is strength."Brandon?" I called again, surprised that he hadn't replied by now. Usually, he wouldn't shut up.
I heard his footsteps growing closer until they stopped right before the end of the cage. I knew because I'd counted. It only took five steps from the door, they always stopped at the same place."Since when are you on a first name basis with my Beta?"The voice instantly made me freeze.Morax.Even with the blindfold on, I could picture his cold, gold irises staring back at me. I could picture his domineering jaw, the flat ridge of his nose, and how it crinkled when he smirked.I also recalled how he had knocked me the hell out.I scowled."He's the one that told me to call him that. And you have a lot of nerve showing up here! You didn't have to capture me, I would've come willingly!" The reply was hot on my tongue, but I heard the Alpha scoff from the other side."In case you've forgotten, little wolf. You shot me with an arrow, forgive me for not taking the extra chance with you."His words made me scowl deeper, but I begrudgingly understood them. My shoulders slumped down, and I took a seat, relaxing. I curled my legs up as far as they could go and tucked them under my chin."So... how long will I need to stay like this..?"I still couldn't see anything. It made the Alpha's voice deceptively soothing, like a warm drizzle of honey. It was hard to believe the man was so brutal when his voice was so smooth and serene. Perhaps he really was like wolfsbane. It was vibrant and beautiful, deceptively alluring despite the lethal toxins that flowed throughout it, from its petals, straight down to its roots.I imagine Morax was the same way.A lethal flower with a pile of bodies beneath his feet.My chin lifted off my knees a bit, surprise settling inside my stomach as I heard a clutter of keys. My stomach dropped immediately, fear sinking inside my insides as they sloshed around in anxiety."What're you doing?" I asked, my voice in a harsh whisper.The door pulled open. The long creak of metal paused my heartbeats.I knew what men did to women who were prisoners of war, I had heard the stories. So my first instinct was to move back, covering my arms as I attempted to growl. But no sound came out--my wolf was still locked away. The shiver was alive in my arms, the bile high in my throat.Please don't!I was only seventeen, I didn't even know my mate yet!The thoughts were thundering in my head.I flinched when strong hands suddenly grabbed my shoulders, and I opened my mouth to scream."Calm down." His words made my breathing pause, and I heard him sigh. "I'm many things, but I don't care for forcing myself on a woman. No one in my pack would ever be allowed to do so, either. Whatever you're afraid of, it would never happen here. Besides, I'm insulted. Do I seem like the type to need that type of fake gratification, little wolf?"The way he said it, he sounded almost bored. And my eyes widened, not that he could see that, but still. I stared in the direction his voice came from, my mouth slowly closing."Then why are you in here?"His proximity was confusing me, my spine felt rigid. I had an intense urge to kick him, but I was sure it'd land me no favors. His hands lifted from my shoulders, and I shuddered when I felt them run over my cheekbones instead.I opened my mouth to question him again, but his finger shushed me.I paused, the rough surface of his skin feeling odd against my lips."Be quiet before I change my mind and leave you here. Then you can keep trying your chances at breaking down fortified titanium and steel bars. If that's what you want, be my guest."His arrogance pissed me off. I gritted my teeth, and without another word, I crossed my arms.I could have sworn he muttered 'childish' under his breath.Then his hands were back on me, stroking softly beneath the blindfold. I could feel his warm breath on my face. And then, I was blinking.His serene tones were set in a melodic hum as if he was coaxing someone to dance with him. The melody was beautiful, its ambiance lifting. I barely noticed that the blindfold was slipping off my eyes.
Until the sudden change of light hurt, and I squinted against the ray of yellow that pierced through the window.I heard more than seen the disgusting plop of wet flesh that fell to the cement floor."Ew, was that what you put on my face?!" I suddenly wanted to hurl. I was staring at the very much alive 'blindfold' that was riggling on the floor. It looked more like an organ than a red and black cloth. The slippery sensation made sense right then, it was secreting an odd obsidian liquid. Yet the color left no stains beneath it.It was the weirdest thing I'd ever seen. I bent down and went to poke it."If you do that, it'll latch back onto your face and I won't take it off again."My finger paused mid-descent. I pulled back with a grimace watching as he carefully placed a jar in front of it. It wiggled itself into the jar, like a worm, before curling up like a cat inside the clear glass.Disgusting.I made a point to look away.With my pupils finally adjusting to the light, I could finally see him fully again. And I was taken aback by how different he looked from the day he came to destroy mine and my brother's life.He was wearing a thin but heavily decorated shirt across his bulking muscles, lines, and twines of gold enriching his status as they shined with the same vibrance his eyes did. His long legs were covered in ripped black jeans that hugged his thighs. Alpha Morax was tall, at least 6'3. His face was clean-shaven and his brows were fierce as they stared down at me.I hated to admit it, but he looked like royalty. And when I peeked down at my own dirty and grimey clothes, I felt like I was just a slave next to him. I knew it was accurate considering my situation...But it still pissed me off."So does this mean you're releasing me?" I grumbled."Hardly." My eyes met his. "You'll be out of the cage, but you'll still be considered a captive and under surveillance until you can produce results on the artifact. And until you do so, your brother will not be leaving his cage."I paled at the thought of Elijah drowning in the darkness by himself, and I fisted my hands tight. I knew it was our punishment, but it felt cruel.Then again, whoever he killed would never be able to see the sun again. They would never love, dance, or enjoy anything again.The thought was heavy in my chest.My brother had killed someone. Yet I hated Morax for doing the same, did that make me a hypocrite?I shook off my thoughts, focusing on the goal in front of me. The artifact.The one I had no chance in hell of fixing."How am I supposed to do that if I have no leniency? I'll need ingredients at the least!" I spat, feeling frustrated and trapped as I bluffed my nonexistent knowledge about the artifact.I watched as his brow rose high on his face. It must be a habit of his. "I never said you'd be forced to stay in one place, I said you'll be under surveillance. You can gather whatever you need, but your guard will be with you at all times." He informed, looking smug.I decided then that Alpha Morax had a punchable face."Who will be watching me?"I couldn't help but hope it was Brandon. He was chatty and kind, warm like Elijah. I felt I could get used to his company, maybe even grow to like him in this hell hole.But when the man in front of me smirked, my hopes were dashed."You're looking at him, little wolf."The news couldn't have been worse. My face fell.
If he was offended by my reaction, he didn't show it. Instead, he moved over to me. Unshackled my ankle, and hoisted me up by my elbow."Hey, take it easy!" I protested, but he paid my complaints no mind. One foot in front of the other as he came to the large oak door.The sight of the door I had only heard for the last week, gave me an odd sense of freedom. I held my breath as his hand gripped the handle."Welcome to your new home."I gasped as the door finally opened.
When the door creaked open on its hinges, the air escaped my lips.It was beautiful.Everywhere I looked there were lush green leaves, beds of bright flowers, and wooden cottages that lined the area outside the prison. It was a large area with tall wooden fences, the grass high enough to sweep at my ankles. A bird chirped happily amongst the branches, and then a squirrel skittered up the bark of a large willow tree.It was naturalistic and glowing with life.I fought against the urge to smile, not even realizing when I had stepped past the Alpha. The grass tickled my toes while the sun beamed down on my face. I lifted my neck toward it, bathing in it. My wolf, which I could finally feel again, was practically prancing beneath my skin.It was an odd sensation.My wolf didn't have a voice, it wasn't a separate entity or being within us. It was like... an arm or a limb, you could just feel it. Like it was a part of
"Is this my new cabin?" I asked in awe, stepping into the door that finally gave way to the key. The planks that made up the floor were sturdy beneath my feet as I made my way inside. The creak of the wood echoing inside my ears.The cool brown interior looked polished and it glistened in the sunlight that poured in from the doorway. The little twists and swirls of the aged woods playing with my vision. It was like I was staring at a kaleidoscope of the previous trees lives. The little lines waving at me as I stepped over them. It was still hard to adjust to all the details when I'd spent over a week in the darkness. Nonetheless, it was beautiful and I admired the view. "Wow, it's ‘a huge!" Timmy all but jumped in excitement, and I found myself slowly nodding in agreement. I was surprised, too. The cabin was way more accommodating than I was expecting, like I was a new resident rather than a lowly prisoner playing at f
"UP, UP, UP, RISE AND SHINE EVERYBODY!" The chorus of groans were a clear reflection of how everyone in the field felt right about now, and for once, I almost felt like I could forget I wasn't part of this clan. The faces of strangers bound together and relatable when I saw my own feelings reflected back in them. We all stood, somber in rows as the light barely breached the chilly skies.I watched as a bird landed on a tree branch, its little beak just now beginning to chirp.It was so early. We had beaten them to their songs of dawn.I frowned.Fatigue was heavy in my bones, and I felt brittle and tired despite my young age. I tried hard not to let a yawn escape me, my body begging me to go back to sleep. Getting to sleep had been hard, especially in my new cabin. All I had been able to think about was Elijah. I couldn’t help but wonder where he was and worry if Morax had even kept his word. My mind had played tricks on
"I understand you're upset, Morax. But I'm your best friend, don't you trust me?" I watched as the Alpha of the Aconite clan sized up his beta, their stare down intense as some of the younger pups whispered amongst themselves. Everyone in the training group looked lost. A young pup that had bright red fur tripped over a hurdle, too focused on the tension between the two males. It was funny to see.But I couldn’t say I was fairing any better. I was wondering what the tension was about too, and I was surprised to feel a boiling sensation well up inside me. I felt angry, I realized, on Brandon's behalf. The man had stepped in and broke it up—what else could his impossible Alpha expect?"I won't say anything here, but we both know why I can't take your word right now." Morax practically sneered.I frowned. His amber orbs were glowing in the morning light, and Brandon's face was scrunched into a sullen look. I wasn't used to the expression. Without using my brain, I stepped in front o
It was like all I could see was white suddenly. There was the white of those fangs, the startling white of bubbling foam against blackened lips, and then the stark white of panic. I knew I wouldn't have a chance to move. "Don't--" I barely managed to gasp the words before I was being covered by a heavy body, and the white disappeared. My mouth was agape. My tongue was heavy with confusion as pain failed to blossom against my skin. I was still standing there, waiting to feel the harsh shred of teeth.But it never came.Instead, I realized I was almost bent backward, a strong shield of muscle rippling against my back. My eyes met high cheekbones, and Alpha Morax's furrowed brows. Those piercing gold eyes weren't looking back at me though, my hands resting uneasily on his chest as he held me up. I followed his line of sight, and my breath caught in my throat. Fraudian was dangling from his other hand, snarling and foaming aggressively. Those eyes from before were now a startingly sh
I had to know the truth.Without giving any more of the merchandise a once over, I selected my weapon. Quickly I tugged the bundle of arrows tight to my shoulder and marched back into that room like I was on a mission.Yet when I passed the threshold of the archway, it felt like my mind was playing tricks on me. My feet paused just beyond the door.The two were standing there, innocently chatting about the different flavors of tea. Their forms were relaxed and idle, in a way I wasn't used to seeing the foreboding Alpha.He was leaning back against the table, one leg crossed. Mrs. Pearl looked just as flippant, her animated hands carrying her abundance of teabags.Nowhere in between their passing conversation did the name 'Fraudian' emerge.Was I losing my mind?I fumbled, my palms wrapped securely against my arrow holster. My eyes flickered back and forth between the two adults, but only Mrs. Pearl turned to acknowledge me. I watched as her gaze drifted up to the gleam of rainbow sha
Listening to his casual disregard for my life perturbed me. As if meeting me was a simple thorn in his side, like I was easy to forget. Although I had already admitted to myself that when it came to Morax, I probably was. It didn't make it any less warped to me though. It didn't hurt or anything, per se, since I knew I was just a spiteful wolf from another clan.The sister of the boy who killed one of his pack. But it was sometimes hard to remember my place in his presence. It was as if his fleeting moments of humanity were a harsh splash of embers across my face. Once again, I found myself comparing him to poison. Morax made you want to believe in him, but then he'd burned you. He'd say just the right thing to make you feel nauseous. Afraid. I turned away. "Well, you've already established I'm not fit to lead this outing, so go on. Show me where to find the faux crag. There should be minerals there, right?" I heard the Alpha move a few steps past me, left of the direction I'd
"So, how many rocks do you think I should bring?" I asked despite my pride as I chiseled away at the rockscape. It felt like it had been hours since Morax first introduced dread into my system, and the space between us had been filled to the brim with awkward silences. But now, as I sat back into the beaming sunlight, it was getting more difficult to keep my mouth shut. The sides of my hands burned from their rough exertion. It was more strenuous than I thought to break through the rubble with just the tip of my arrow, but still, I focused on any pieces that looked significant to me. If it had any sort of sheen or was just slightly off in color, I noticed. Or hell it didn't even matter if it was just the slightest difference in texture, I snagged it. The work was grueling and by the time twenty minutes had passed, the sun was baking me through my jacket. I wiped my arm across my brow, breathing in the dry air around us. It was different than the moisture in the forest. It seeme