Now Is Not The Time
“There’s nothing more calming in difficult moments than knowing there’s someone fighting with you.”
Chaos erupted around us.
In the distance, I saw the remaining adult guards sprinting towards us, but Brayden and the other kids lifted their weapons, aimed, and fired. All adults went down before I could see their faces clearly, let alone jump into the fight.
Brayden came over to unlock my handcuffs, but I merely slipped them over my wrists and said, “Lead the way to my sister.”
“Follow me, Spring Queen.” He cocked his head. “That- that sounded better in my head. Come on.”
Our pack followed Brayden into the compound with his companions watching our backs. When we entered the building, all hell had broken loose. Shadow turned on Shadow, some firing weapons at each other, some fighting hand-to-hand. I crept low to the ground to avoid being hit by the bullets.
“She’s supposed to be in room 313,” Brayden said, firing his rifle at an adult Shadow about to impale an unconscious kid with an ax. “I recommend taking the stairs. That way, you have some escape routes if need be. That, or you climb the ladder in the elevator rather than taking the elevator, so these bastards don’t see what floor you’re going to.”
Stairs it is. I decided. Spencer, Dom, come with me. Everyone else, fight and give them hell.
Our pack dispersed into the fray, ripping heads and throats within seconds. The Shadows watched with horrified fascination. Spencer, Dom, and I dashed through the bodies- both dead and alive- towards the stairwell. As we reached the doorway, five unnaturally large men blocked our way. I had no time to stop with the momentum I had going, so I barreled into the first one, knocking him backward into some of his companions.
Dom and Spencer shifted in midair before punching two men in the jaw with such force, they went down and out.
“Hey, Dom,” Spencer said, ducking from being hit in the head by a club.
Dom grabbed a Shadow by the throat, lifted him in the air, and slammed him into the ground. “What?”
“Are we going to talk about that flawless accent you used earlier?”
“Now is not the time, Spencer!”
“What?” Spencer punched a Shadow square in the throat before temporarily shifting into wolf form to crush his windpipe. “We’re just going to ignore it?”
“I never said that, but that doesn’t mean I’ll give you an answer.”
“Boys!” I interjected, grabbing an enemy’s head in my hands while he pinned me to the ground. I gouged his eyes with my nails. He howled in agony, and noticing my situation, Dom ripped the man off of me, sending him crashing into the wall. Spencer finished him off with a bite to the neck. I stood up, staring pointedly at them and saying, “Now is not the time to be arguing about Dom’s suspiciously impeccable Australian accent. We can prod about it later. For now, can we please go find my sister?”
The brothers nodded and followed me up the stairwell to the third floor. The moment we stepped into the hallway, we were taken aback by the carnage before us. The eerie silence- only broken by the muffled fighting two floors below- and the overwhelming stench of blood gave an ominous foreboding. Covering my nose to stop the assault on my nose, I scanned the room for my sister, praying I didn’t see her white-blonde hair amongst the bodies. Dom, Spencer, and I tiptoed through the bloody mess, searching for any familiar faces. As we did, I observed the injuries many of them sustained, and an epiphany struck me.
Kneeling next to a dead Shadow, I said, “This is a wolf bite. I don’t know of any weapon that can rip out a throat like that.”
“I’m sure there are some, but I think you’re right. Not to mention-” Dom lifted a white tuft of fur in the guy’s rigid hand- “I don’t think those weapons have hair on them.”
“Most of the Shadows have wolf bites,” Spencer remarked, pointing to several different mutilated bodies. “Do you think-”
“I don’t know how if she’s in as bad of shape as Brayden was saying she was in,” I replied, standing up. “We need to-”
“Hey!” Someone shouted. We all whipped our heads around to find a brown-haired teenager running towards us, clutching his shoulder. Three others followed him- a boy and two girls, one of whom couldn’t even be in the double-digits age-wise. I took a protective stance, unsure if they were friend or foe. Spencer and Dom did the same.
“Elsa! Thank God you’re-” the kid slid to a stop, throwing out his arms- “That’s not Elsa! That’s not Elsa!”
“I’m Anna, her-”
“Twin!” The little girl exclaimed. “You’re identical!”
I couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah, we are. You know where she is?”
“We were hoping she’d found you already. She disappeared in the fray not too long ago.”
Spencer frowned. “Are you shot?”
“Yeah. By our leader. I’m fine.” He gave a dismissive wave of his hand, then scratched his head, looking at the bodies. “You haven’t missed her by much, although, not going to lie, not sure how she managed to kill all these people. Can your super-sniffers track her down?”
Dom stared at him as if he was stupid. “Our what?”
“No, we can’t,” I said, shooting Dom a ‘really?’ look. He shrugged. “Not with all the blood.”
The boy sighed. “That’s unfortunate… I’m Viktor, by the way. This is Nicole, Kline, and Miriam.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Anna; this is Dom and Spencer.”
“Pleasure. We’ll be happy to catch you up on everything later, but for now, I think it’d be a good idea to- DUCK!”
Instinctively, Dom, Spencer, and I shifted into wolves, cowering to the ground along with our new allies. A fraction of a second later, bullets erupted over our heads. We swiftly crawled around the corner of the hallway, taking cover. While Kline, Miriam, Viktor, and Nicole loaded their weapons, Dom, Spencer, and I surveyed the situation, counting almost twenty enemy Shadows.
My attention was cut short when I did a double-take on the little girl loading a weapon, exclaiming in horror, “You’re going to let her fight?!”
Viktor grimaced. “They train us young. We told her to take cover somewhere, but she won’t stop following us.”
“Elsa said to keep you company,” Nicole told him angrily.
“Yeah, she didn’t mean to fight a war with us.”
Nicole stuck her tongue out at him. Viktor ruffled her hair affectionately.
We all peered around the corner at the sound of frantic shouts to find a wolf, its hair dyed red from blood, mauling Shadow after Shadow. Kline whistled and shouted over the chaos, “I found her!”
“No shit, Sherlock!” Viktor retorted. “The fuck did you put in that patch?!”
“I told you not to ask about it!”
“Elsa,” Spencer breathed. Taking advantage of the Shadows’ terror, Spencer launched himself down the hall and into the fight. I was right behind him with Dom on my heels.
Don’t distract her until the fight ends! She could get hurt! I warned. I knew it pained Spencer to obey because it pained me. I wanted to envelop my twin in the biggest hug possible, but I couldn’t risk distracting her until this particular battle was over.
Elsa had already taken down five Shadows and in the process of taking down her sixth by the time we reached her. She paid us no attention, her focus solely on the attack. Elsa was a blur of red, her teeth dripping in fury and blood. Occasionally, she shifted into a human, but never long enough for me to get a good look at her state of being.
Anna! Dom screamed. I froze in terror as an ax swung at my neck.
I had nowhere to go.