Run it Off
We were still waiting for my Dad to get here, and I saw the motorcycles coming but no ambulance. I looked up when Abaddon opened the door and slid into the seat. “What is happening,” I asked.
“Your Dad and Meghan are taking care of the injured wolf,” he said. “They will be a while. Gabriel and the others are coming here to protect you.”
“I’m fine,” I said as I sat back again. “I’m surrounded by Pack in the middle of the woods.”
“Well, you gave everyone a scare these past few days, so you’ll have to be a little patient with them. Word of advice, whatever your Dad or Gabriel tell you to do, do it immediately and without any sass. You have zero slack in your leash, Eve. They aren’t far from locking you up until they can trust you again.”
I looked up as I saw them coming, Gabriel in the lead. They parked their bikes along the road, the others coming to greet them. “Stay here,” he said as he got out.
I tried to listen to what they were saying, but as werewolves they could talk softly enough I didn’t overhear the conversation. Once in a while they would look over towards me, Gabriel would shake his head, then they would continue talking. I watched Gabriel take a call, when he hung up everyone was heading for their bikes. Abaddon went to his motorcycle, started it and took off. Raguel opened the door of my car and started it up. “What’s happening?”
“We’re moving the vehicles out of sight,” he said. I watched as we moved into the middle of the guys, driving the mile or so down the road to the old Pack House road. The guys rode single file through the trail, we followed until we got to the first area where the trees stopped and we could turn around. All of the bikes were parked facing the road again, and the guys started to strip and put their clothes in their saddlebags. Figuring we were going for a run, I took the locket and necklace I’d found and put it deep in my pocket.
Gabriel opened the door and pulled me out, leading me away from the guys while they shifted. “We’ve talked, your father and I, about how best to handle what is happening here.”
“I’m sorry, Gabriel. I really messed my life up.”
He put his big hand on my shoulder. “We’re going to find a way out of this, all of us. Right now, your mate isn’t happy with you and I can smell why. He’s gone back to his home, where he will spend a few days resting up. In the meantime, we’re going to have a wolf boot camp of sorts here.”
“What do you mean?”
“Part of the problem why you and your wolf aren’t on the same page is that you don’t spend enough time with her, she doesn’t get to be in charge often. The lack of balance can affect things in human form. What did your wolf say while you were in the hotel room with Mitch?”
I thought back, my wolf had withdrawn after telling me that it was wrong. “She fought me, but I ignored her, I pushed her so far back I didn’t have to listen to her tell me it was wrong.” I looked at my feet. “I didn’t listen to her, either.”
“Exactly,” he said as we turned around. The guys had all shifted, and the wolves were spreading out, some close by the clearing, others pushing out to make sure the perimeter was safe. “When you and your wolf are truly one, you listen and trust each other. That is what we are going to do while your mate is healing.”
“We’re going for a run?” I opened the back door, tossing my shoes in before taking off my shirts. Gabriel and all the others were looking away from me as I stripped.
”Not just a run, we’re going to stay in wolf form the whole time,” he said over the Pack link since he had shifted. “We are going to run, hunt, live as a Pack and reform the bonds. When we are done, we’ll see if your mate is willing to talk to you.”
I tossed the rest of my clothes in the back and closed the door, quickly shifting into my white wolf with grey paws. I moved over to Gabriel, rubbing my face against his shoulder as the men gathered around him. He let out a powerful howl before he ran for the trail; as the lone female, and since I was not his mate, I ran in the center behind him and his leadership. About half of us were running in the group, the others were maintaining position up to five miles away. We kept up with each other’s positions as we ran.
“My old Pack house is just over this hill,” I sent. “I found my grandparent’s house there, my mother’s papers had photographs of it before the Pack was destroyed.”
“I visited there once as a young man,” Gabriel sent back. The pack was quiet, they stopped at the top of the hill overlooking the ruins of the Pack. Gabriel and I trotted down together as they watched. “The property is still in a trust for the descendants, you could live here if you wanted. Rebuild it.”
I chuffed. “Rebuild? With who? It’s going to take generations for this Pack to get back to what it was, and that’s if my mate accepts me and the curse breaks.”
“Your mate. His name is Adam, Adam Johnson. He’s from the Pack as well.” I thought back to the records I had found in Jessica’s stuff, there wasn’t much in the way of photos of others. We trotted into the area, each sniffing the ruins.
“My family’s house was over here,” I said as I sniffed around the edge of what had been their house.
“I’m sorry about your family, Eve. It was a tough time for everyone, the Alphas were going nuts and many Packs were lost to war.”
I kept sniffing, hearing the others move down in to the ruins and checking them out for themselves. We got closer to the edge of the clearing when I caught a good sniff of the most wonderful scent, I froze, letting it wash over me. “Mate,” my wolf said to me. I could feel my body respond, I wanted him, I needed him. I followed the trail for a while before Gabriel cut me off.
“Not yet, we need to stay away from his house until he and his wolf are ready to see you,” he said. “This way.” He and the others moved west, and soon I heard the sound of running water. It was a hot day, and when we found the wide, deep area of the spring-fed creek, we all ran into it. My wolf was giddy as she splashed around in the cool water, rolling on her back and wiggling down into the sand and rock. We stayed in there until we were shivering, then we shook off and ran for the top of the ridge. There, we found some flat rocks to lay on while we dried out and watched the sun as it went towards the horizon. I didn’t get up until Gabriel came and nudged me.
“Scouts found a moose, five miles west, we’re going hunting,” he told us. The men were up instantly, and I was beyond excited. Hunts were a rare thing for me, since my movements in wolf form were so restricted. I’d helped on a deer hunt once, and chased down a few rabbits, but this was exciting. My wolf was almost quivering with the need to prove herself as we headed off in a long line.
We stopped at the top of the rise, looking down at the swampy area off the small lake. The wind was in our faces, perfect for our hunt. ”We’re going to wait until the sun dips down,” Gabriel said. “That will help hide our approach over this open ground.” He divided the group into four; two groups would focus on preventing the moose from escaping, just harassing it back towards the others. One group headed by Gabriel would attack from the front, while the other led by Michael would circle around behind the bull moose, attacking the flanks and legs. Cooperation was a must, as a two-thousand-pound bull was dangerous prey. The antlers, over six feet across, could tear you in half, and those big hooves could crush your skull.
Haniel, one of the younger members at thirty, was assigned to be my bodyguard. “Don’t let her approach until I tell you it’s all right,” he instructed him. We were assigned to one of the two herding groups.
When the sun finally dipped just below the horizon, it was time. The moose was slowly working his way towards solid ground, moving from out right to left. Michael’s group took off first, they followed the curve of the lake, pushing through the swamp and above-ground areas. When they were within fifty yards, they crouched down, noses still in the wind. The two herding groups went next, our group going well left, circling around until we were between the moose and the deep woods. We would circle to the back side on the attack, cutting off his escape, while the other group would cover back towards where we came. When we were in position, Gabriel’s group moved quickly and silently down the slope, trying to get as close as possible before being spotted.
“GO,” he sent as his group broke into a run. The bull spotted them just before Gabriel leaped, snorting in alarm and turning quickly towards them. Gabriel got underneath his muzzle, his teeth tearing into the soft throat before he leaped away, the big horns barely missing him. The enraged bull charged him, only to have Michael and Azazel each leap for his back legs. Michael’s bite just behind the knee cut his hamstring, while Azazel ripped a big chunk off his flank.
The bull stopped his charge, turning towards the pursuing wolves who quickly leaped back. His snorts and stomps filled the air as the werewolves pressed their attacks, always striking and retreating as the bull started to tire. A few minutes later, bleeding from multiple wounds and barely able to lift his head, Gabriel spotted an opening and leaped for his throat again. The other wolves crashed into the side of the moose, causing it to stumble and fall as Gabriel held on with a death grip.
“Attack the legs now, everyone to him, don’t let him up,” he sent as he hung on to the struggling bull. We raced forward, my wolf eager for the chance to do her part. She found an opening in his soft underbelly, and we tore into the flesh with teeth and claw. A minute late, there was one raspy breath and the moose stilled. We backed off, my wolf was shaking, we had done this! Gabriel lifted his nose to the sky and let out a howl, joined by me and the others as we thanked Luna for our kill.
We stayed back, waiting our turn, until invited closer. Gabriel tore off a chunk of liver and tossed it to me, I gobbled it down before licking his face in thanks. Our Pack ate well that night; a normal wolf could eat over twenty pounds of meat in one sitting, our larger wolves could do even more. We gorged ourselves on the tender flesh, eating until our bellies were distended and we barely had the energy to move.
We cleaned off in the lake, then found a sheltered location under trees for the night. Tucked into the center of the Pack, I was safe, secure and content with everything except what I needed the most. I got up, heading to the edge of the woods to relieve myself. Two men went with me as I walked down to the lake, drinking some of the cool water, before sitting and letting out a pained howl to the sky. I wanted my mate, I just poured my pain and loss into the song as I begged Luna to help me get him back.
I woke in the middle of the night, Alan was reading by me bedside. “How are you feeling,” he asked.
“Like I got run over,” I said. I looked at the open door to my bathroom. “I have to go,” I told him.
He helped me sit up, then brought me an empty Gatorade bottle. “Low tech, but Doc says you shouldn’t stand up until tonight at the earliest,” he said. I pulled my boxers aside, relaxing as I filled the bottle and capped it. He took it, taking it into the bathroom to take care of, and came back out with a wet towel and a dry one. I cleaned up as best I could, then he helped me sit up in bed. “I saved you some dinner, you’ve been sleeping for eight hours,” he told me.
“Open the window?” He did so as he left, my nose taking in the comforting scent of the forest around me. I heard him in the kitchen, the microwave beeping.
My ears perked as I heard a howl, I froze, listening to the pain and loss in the sound. My wolf was distraught, he knew who it was. It was my mate, and her heart was broken. I closed my eyes as each note tore through my soul, my wolf begging to go to her.
“We’ll see,” I told my wolf.