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The Shadows

“Life is tough, my darling, but so are you.”
~Stephanie Bennett-Henry


“Think she’s killed anyone?” A guy asked. Judging by the crack in his voice, he had to be on the younger side.

“I bet she’s ripped someone’s throat out,” a girl responded. “She doesn’t look deadly, though.”

“That’s what makes them so dangerous,” a gruff voice said. “Her kind looks just like you and me, but they think they’re superior. They’re out to kill us and won’t hesitate. Be careful getting so close to her without a weapon to strike her with.”

Groaning, I opened my eyes to find a tall, buff man standing over a table, his back to me. Two kids- a boy and girl- stood next to him, facing me. The boy appeared to be around fourteen or fifteen, but the girl couldn’t be older than ten. Her tender age struck my senses back.

“Where am I?” I demanded, struggling against my restraints. Glancing down, I found my hands and ankles shackled to a chair, the metal chafing my wrists. Despite my supernatural strength, I had no hope against the steel. “Who are you?”

“Tyrese Jacobson. I am part of what you and your pack-” he nearly spat the last word out- “call the Shadow People or the Shadows. I have questions for you, and you’re going to answer them.”

I stared warily at the glinting knife in his hand. Taking in the room around me, I saw more weapons than I cared for. I was in deep trouble if I didn’t escape. “What kind of questions?”

Tyrese turned around. “About your pack, your kind, and any other question I ask. First question: what’s your name?”

“Elsa,” I said.

“Last name?”

Telling him my last name could buy me more time. I thought. But he could also use it to blackmail my parents and get them here. I can’t let that happen. I can’t use the Stark last name, either. Shit…

“I don’t have a last name. I revoked it when I left my pack,” I said.

“You mean, the pack you were with when we took you into custody?”

“Custody?” I repeated incredulously. “You make it sound like I committed a crime.”

“You did. You’re a werewolf. That’s crime enough.”

“We prefer the term shifter since we don’t transform only on full moons, but-” I stopped when the kids’ eyes widened in horror. “We literally just transform into wolves whenever we want. That’s all we do.”

“That’s all we do,” Tyrese repeated mockingly. Before I could react, the knife whistled past my face. A warm sensation trickled down my cheek. “Bullshit. Who is in your pack?”

“I don’t have a pack. I’m a rogue wolf. I left my family, and the people you found me with were rogues too. We banded together for safety, that’s it. I’m the omega, so if you want information, it’ll be easier to get it out of me. I’m the weakest, after all.”

“What do you know about the Laroches and Starks?” Tyrese asked, grabbing a square box with two silver prongs on the end. He pressed a button on it, and electricity crackled between them.

Suddenly, a revelation dawned on me. “You’re not going to torture information out of me in front of the kids, are you?”

“Yes. They’re my trainees: Viktor and Nicole,” Tyrese said, looking at me like I was stupid. “One day, they’ll be doing the same thing as me unless we can exterminate your kind once and for all.”

“You’ve got to be joking!” I snarled. “The girl can’t be any older than ten! And the poor boy should be enjoying high school! Not watching some dickface torture a Shifter! Did their parents agree to this?”

“We don’t have parents,” the boy said. “We’re adopted.”

“You’re adop- wow,” I breathed, staring daggers at Tyrese. “Is this what your kind do? Adopt kids and train them to be murderers and bigots like yourself? You brainwash them into your program’s beliefs?”

“Watch your tongue, or I’ll cut it out,” Tyrese warned. “Besides, you’re one to speak. You’ve known how to kill since you were born.”

“Just because we’re predators doesn’t mean we’re killers. The only thing I’ve ever killed is some deer and elk to keep the population under control. I’ve never killed a person, regular human or shifter.”

“Really?” Nicole asked, cocking her head.

“Don’t believe her,” Tyrese told her firmly. “Their kind do nothing but lie. The only way to get the truth out of them is to force it out.”

“Says the person spitting nothing but lies,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Look, I was minding my own damn business when you and your assholes slammed into my car and kidnapped me, so you can fuck right off saying my kind do nothing but lie!”

“You wouldn’t have come willingly, nor would you have answered our questions if we asked you as normal, civil human beings. Do you deny it?”

“No, because we don’t trust people outside of our packs because of the exact situation I’m in now.”

Tyrese stuck the Taser into my stomach. Electricity coursed through my body, and I screamed in agony, body convulsing. He smiled maliciously, pleasured at the sight of me in pain. I wanted to spit in his face, but I could barely focus on him, my vision swimming.

“There,” Tyrese said, finally removing the Taser from me. My body continued shaking and jerking. “Are you ready to answer my questions without giving me stupid answers in return?”

I forced myself to meet his gaze. “If the questions aren’t stupid.”

“Still got some cheek to you, I see.” Tyrese grabbed my chin, squeezing painfully. “Tell me everything you know about the Laroches and Starks.”

“Why?” I asked.

“You don’t get to ask the questions here.”

“Tell me why you need this information first.”

“We’re trying to find a way to kill them,” Viktor piped up.

“Shouldn’t a few sniper rifles take care of that?”

“We’ve tried,” Tyrese said, “but something, or someone, is protecting them from us. Do you know why?”

“No, but it sounds like you’re lying your way out of being a shitty shot.”

Tyrese jabbed the Taser into my stomach again, and this time, I couldn’t hold on and slipped into unconsciousness.

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