Chapter 2: Pieces
The sting on my cheek pushed through the fog in my brain. I opened my eyes, seeing Vivian leaning over me. I was on my back, on the floor in the center of the room, and everything was fuzzy and spinning. Her lips were moving, but I couldn’t hear anything. She grabbed my arm and Tandy took the other, between them they pulled me to my feet. I could barely keep my feet in contact with the ground.
They started pulling me towards the door, where I saw the other women gathered. They were backlit by the flames, smoke coming in the top of the room. My plan worked, and the thing that saved us from the explosion was the very structure used to contain us. Alone among the rooms in the basement, the room we stayed in had concrete walls and ceiling, meant to keep us in. What was meant to control us, saved us.
Nancy and Sheri were supporting Kirsten just in front of me, and Mary and Nancy were up front. All looked to have survived the explosion well, the mattresses did their job. Kirsten looked half dead, but she looked that way when we brought her back. Mary led the way into the burning basement, we had no choice, staying here we would die within minutes from the smoke.
As soon as I got to the door I could see the enormity of the explosion. The rooms were no more, the house had exploded and collapsed down in many places into the basement. I started to get my feet under me, and they led me carefully around and over the fallen and burning debris. We all ignored the pain of the broken glass and wood that cut into our feet, we were used to pain, we would get past this. The smoke was getting thicker as we approached where the stairway used to be.
It had collapsed, and what was left was a jumble of debris. The girls were frantically looking for a way out, and not finding it. Nancy was trying to scale the fallen walls and floors, but the building collapse had cut everything off.
Meanwhile, the fire had moved in behind us. I looked back with Vivian, burning debris now blocked our retreat, there was no getting back to the room. We all looked around for a way out, not finding anything. We huddled together near the stairwell, yelling for someone, anyone to help before the smoke and heat ended our lives.
“I’m sorry,” I said to the other girls as we clung to each other, our bodies heated by the fire and lungs aching from the smoke. “I love you all, at least we took them out first.” The other girls were saying things to me, I tried to read their lips but the smoke was stinging my eyes and things were still a little blurry for me. We moved as far away from the fire as we could, I started praying to Luna that she would make our end quick.
I looked up when some debris started to fall onto our huddled backs. LIGHT! There was a sliver of daylight, and then it got bigger as something was shoved aside. A few moments later, the smoke was venting and a manhole-size opening was made above us. I could see a man’s head and shoulders, and the arms of another as they furiously tried to make a space. His eyes lit up as he spotted us, and he put his upper body into the hole, his arm reaching down for us.
Nancy and Sheri moved first, climbing with Kirsten as high as they could before Kirsten’s hand could reach his. He was a strong werewolf, and had no trouble lifting her up and through the opening. They pushed me forward next, and a few moments later I was pulled into the daylight. I was carried to a clear spot in the grass, coughing and limping, as I struggled to get down. I didn’t want to leave, I had to make sure my girls were out, but his arms were like steel bands. When he set me down, I tried to get up but he shook his head no, mouthing “I’ll get them all” before he ran back. Kirsten was shuddering with sobs, so I moved over and pulled her to my side as I watched the rescue. Vivian came out next, followed by Mary and Nancy. Only the twins were still there.
I put my hand to my mouth as the house shifted, more areas falling into the burning basement as additional floors and supports collapsed. The smoke and dust obscured the opening, where the two men were hovered over the hole. I cried tears of relief when one man carried Tandy, followed by the second man helping Sheri. They all collapsed next to us, our faces and bodies covered in soot and burns, miraculously alive. I moved from one to the next, hugging them and crying as we watched the Pack House burn, our tormenters still inside.
A man ran up, he had a raw neck from a slave collar that was gone, and was bruised and beaten. He embraced Luna Kirsten, then used the long boltcutter he was carrying to cut the back of her collar. His gloved hands pulled it apart easily and he tossed it aside. He moved to the next girl, each time snapping the silver and leather collars before bending it enough to get it off. When he got to me, I ignored the pain and the burn of the silver, that would heal. Moments later the silver was gone from my neck for the first time in over eleven years.
With the silver holding her back gone, my wolf surged forward in my mind- and she was PISSED. I could feel her power surging into my body, finally released to heal and strengthen. My cuts and burns started to heal, and with a loud POP my ears could hear again. The sounds of the fire, of screaming wolves dying in agony, of rescuers desperate to reach them, the cries and words of my sister Lunas, I could hear it all now. I stood to my full height, my dominance as an Alpha Female pushing off me into the surrounding wolves.
It was like a sonic boom of dominance to the wolves gathered around, mostly those of low or normal ranks. They and their wolves had been lost, their Alphas, Betas, Gammas, even many of the warrior ranks had been killed and their wolves didn’t know what to do. When they felt my Alpha, their wolves grabbed on to the dominant wolf in the area.
They submitted to me.
One by one they knelt and bowed their heads, accepting me as their Alpha. I looked around, my wolf demanding the rest submit. I was shocked as my fellow Lunas also knelt before me. “What are you doing,” I asked Vivian as she bared her neck to me.
“You are our leader, you have been for years,” she said. “None of us would think of challenging you for Alpha.” I smiled and pulled her up into a hug. “I will be your Beta, though.”
“I’d like that,” I said as the others gathered around. The remainder of the Pack was pulled inexorably towards me, almost all of them getting a smile and a touch as they submitted. I hugged the two men who rescued us tightly, they were from Kirsten’s pack, and were now mine. They had refused to submit, refused to denounce her, and had proven themselves to me. “What happened,” I asked them as I let them go.
“When the explosion occurred, the loss of their Alpha and Betas sent them to the ground in pain,” the first one said. His name was Craig, he was a Pack Warrior. “We overwhelmed the guards and broke into the closet where they kept the tools. We cut the locks off our collars, then ran here.” Only the Lunas had welded collars, the normal slaves had hinged silver collars held closed with a keyed padlock.
David picked it up. “We had to try and save our Luna, so a few of us ran here while the others went for the buses. We figured if nothing else, we could use the distraction to escape. We heard your yells, we managed to find you, and now you’re here.”
“And thank Luna you’re all right,” Craig said. I nodded, we all looked back as another section collapsed into the basement.
My wolf had her mind link back, and all those who had submitted to me were able to hear me now. “Everyone meet around me at the front of the house. Chain up and bring anyone who refuses to submit with you.” I turned to David. “Go back to the slave barn and bring chain and collars, as many as they have.” He touched Craig’s arm and they both ran off to get the stuff.
A teenage girl, clearly an Omega, came up to us with a stack of clothes. Her head was down and she was shaking as I took them and handed the summer dresses out to my girls. I pulled on the cotton print dress, the first clothing I had been allowed in over a decade. “Come here,” I told her as I grabbed her hand gently. I pulled her into my arms, kissing her hair as my wolf and I comforted her. “You’re safe now, I won’t allow anyone to hurt you again.” When I let her go, another took her place, and soon we were surrounded by new Pack members, all getting hugs from their new Alphas and Betas.
There were about a hundred new Pack members gathered around, I asked them to sit as I looked at the smaller group, now silvered and bound, herded into a group to our side. I looked at my girls. “What do you want done with them,” I asked as I looked over at the group in disgust. Among them were the sadists, the rapists, those who enjoyed our suffering. Some were cowed, others defiant, but all would feel my justice.
Kirsten spoke, the first time she had spoken in more than a whisper since she arrived. “If they raped, they die,” she said. “It is the Law in my pack. If they hurt us, they become rogue.” The other girls nodded, that was the Law in their Packs, as it had been in mine.
“And so it shall be.” We walked over to the group, the stronger males in our Pack with us. We separated them into two groups, about a dozen in one, three dozen in the other. I looked at the rapist group in disgust, every one of them had taken me again and again, and they hurt my girls as well. “These men have committed the crime of RAPE against a she-wolf. There is no mercy to be found for them.” I stared the men down. “Throw them into the fire.”
The men started to scream and struggle, but with their hands bound behind their backs and their werewolf strength bound, they were helpless to stop what was going to happen. One by one, a pair of large men picked them up and dragged them to the still-burning house. They tossed them into the flames, their screams ringing out for a few seconds until death took them. It was far too quick, and a part of my wolf wanted them to suffer more, but it was effective. None who watched justice being carried out would ever doubt a price had been paid.
One of the men handed me a silver knife. I walked to the others, and as the men were held still I carved a large ‘R’ into their right cheek. The silver burned as it cut, the wound would not heal quickly and would leave a prominent scar, the same kinds of scars that covered MY body. The ‘R’ marked them as rogue, indicating their Alphas had kicked them out of their Pack for serious crimes. No place would be found for them at another Pack, they would live at the edges of our society, always looking over their shoulder. When the last was done, I handed the knife back to the man and turned to David. “Have them loaded into a truck and taken to neutral territory before letting them go. If they resist or come back onto my land, kill them.”
The dozen men were herded away and I was left in the yard, the fire still burning, debris everywhere. Despite it all, we had survived. My girls gathered around me and we cried together.
It was a new start.