Hot breath tickled the back of my neck and I stumbled, hands flying forward to grasp the banister of the stairs. Slowly, I turned to face Willow, who watched me with unusually dark, scrutinizing eyes. I noticed the absence of her uniform, and her brown hair which was usually pinned away from her face fell freely down her back.
"I just wanted to inform you that Anabelle was imprisoned this evening."
The rapid pace of my heartbeat only increased at the mention of her name. I straightened, facing the guard fully. Her usual blank, empty expression was gone, and in its place was concern.
"For slapping me?"
Willow nodded her head in confirmation. "She will be imprisoned for two days and will be returning back to her home immediately after her time is served."
She searched my face, and frowned, perhaps at my lack of emotion towards her words.
"Where is the prison located?" I asked, eyes flickering to the chandelier above, body untensing as I attempted to appear as nonchalant as possible.
"It's outside of the nearby cluster of homes, a bit in the southern area," She looked me over, visibly becoming suspicious. "Why did you ask?"
My fingernails dug painfully into the wooden bannister and I stepped backwards, becoming nervous under her penetrating stare, which soon became a particular gaze which most lycans have when regarding humans like myself; it was almost as if they could see right through my words and knew what I kept secret.
"Curiosity." I bit out when I realized that I had not responded. The long pause which had followed after she asked the question had only grown her suspicion but I refused to show my nerves physically. "Goodnight Willow."
Willow nodded her head, not moving, lips set in a firm line. Swallowing thickly I turned and walked up the stairs, hand trailing along the smooth wood under my palm, back burning from her stare.
I came to a halt, shoulders stiffening and my eyes widening. I inhaled deeply, back facing her as I spoke. "Yes?"
"I ask that you please refrain from doing anything that could eventually bring harm upon yourself."
A wave of unease travelled through me, but I managed a small smile when I looked over my shoulder to her. "Of course."
Willow nodded again, stepping backwards, disappearing into the shadows below, the soft pitter-patter of her feet letting me know that she was leaving.
I carried on walking up the stairs then, letting myself into the room, staring at the bed which I knew I would not be sleeping in.
I had lied to Willow. What I intended to do in a couple hours time would not only highly put me in harm's way, but perhaps could make me face the wrath of Willow's Alpha.
My eyes lowered to the coat which belonged to him, folded sloppily on the edge of a chair. My stomach fluttered at the sight of it, fingers curling around the sleeves and then dropping it to the bedroom floor. Stepping over it, I sat on that large, wooden chair, eyes becoming fixated on a hanging clock.
Maybe, in due time…
The snowfall carried on overnight and into the morning, but I dressed warmly, determined not to change my plans because of the weather.
The bedroom door creaked when I opened it, and I winced, face scrunching in irritation, pausing and deciding I would slip through the fairly small space, as I did not want to cause further noise by opening it some more.
I only had one hour to find the prison which Anabelle was in and to also meet Helda's family; Willow and Jeremiah would be back outside of the bedroom after that hour, and as commanded by their Alpha, would check to see if I was inside.
I moved swiftly down the stairs, thankful that it was not too dark below. With bated breath I grabbed at boots, jerking them on, eyes flickering around me as I did so, pausing at the sound of what I thought to be someone walking. My heart leapt to my throat at the thought of being caught and I hastened fastening the boots and walked quickly to a table standing against the wall.
I hesitated, but eventually wrapped my fingers against the handle of a drawer of the table, breathing a little easier when it opened soundlessly. With one last look around me, I turned my attention to what was inside.
A dagger rested upon soft, wolly fabric. Blood spilled from my finger once I touched the sharp point and my lips curled in satisfaction, gaze lowering to the hilt of the small dagger, examining the engraved initials on it, not bothering to figure out who this dagger belonged to.
I had first seen this dagger before I left the house to travel to Helda's. Elijah had been fussing about in the drawer, seemingly searching for something and I managed to take a glimpse of it before he'd closed it.
Carefully holding the dagger in one hand, I walked to the door which, after ambling down the long stretch of the hallway, led me outside.
The stillness of the early morning immediately brought about a tidal wave of emotions. Peace, excitement, fear. They all flooded my mind and I, for just a few seconds, stood outside of the front door of the house, simply being, not worrying about the possibility that what I was about to do could somehow lead me to being imprisoned again, or death.
I watched silently as the snow fell, shuddering at the cold wind blasting against my skin until I pushed forward again, moving south, eyes searching for any lycans patrolling the pack.
And, eventually, after a few minutes of walking, I did see lycans.
I scrambled for a place to hide after that, ducking my body behind a barrel on it's side, knees pressing into snow and eyes warily following the slow, languid movement of the lycans as they spoke quietly amongst themselves.
I could not help my relieved sigh when they walked out of sight. None of them had seen me.
Or so I thought.
I carried on walking, hands stuffed deeply in pockets, fingers ever so often grazing the hilt of the dagger, eyes narrowing against the growing strength of the wind.
I finally caught sight a large, grey building, which was surprisingly unguarded. At first, I thought the door to be locked, but after a few hard yanks, the knob turned, and a familiar scent of feces and urine flew towards me.
I stepped inside without hesitance, hearing the door close behind me soon after. Rows of cells could be seen and I travelled by each one slowly; they were few who were imprisoned, and the ones who were, were lycans. None of them made any threatening movements as I passed by. They appeared too captured by grief or was sullen regarding their fate.
Immediately, Clyde's face came to mind and I strode forward, quickening my pace. I was here for Anabelle and had no time to figure out why these other lycans were in this prison.
But it was only when I came to a halt outside of the sleeping lycan's cell that I realized that I faced a problem.
The cell door was locked and a key was needed to open it.
I stood silently for a short while in contemplation, holding the dagger tightly in my right hand and then switching it to my left when I stepped backwards. I walked further down the rows of cells, searching, and then finding what I sought.
Keys were hung behind a locked glass cabinet and I swiftly broke it, uncaring of the bruises which arose on my knuckles and the fact that Anabelle could be awake because of the noises. I grasped the key for the cell, confirming that it was the correct one when I read the label taped above it; the number matched the one on the cell.
Anabelle was awake as I had expected when I returned before the cell door. Surprise flickered in her eyes, but dampened. Her mouth parted as my hand lifted to shove the key into the lock, her tongue ran over her teeth and fangs when I turned it.
She bucked forward immediately, the door banging open, but I was quicker, allowing myself to step aside and she stumbled headfirst into the opposite cells' bars, the noise of her head colliding against steel echoing in the once quiet prison.
My dagger plunged into her back before she could recover. Her howl pierced the air and my head throbbing at the loud sound. Heaving a breath I withdrew the dagger from her back, saw the way she attempted to shift, skin rippling and jaw twitching as she advanced towards me.
My face ached with the swipe of her claws, flesh being upturned and blood dripping immediately. But I didn't allow the pain to distract me as I ducked low, jerking the dagger into the top of her stomach, dragging it down to her groin with much effort.
All the while I endured her claws dragging across my neck and back, but the sight of gushing blood from her body was worth it. I kicked backwards, carrying the dagger with me, noticing that the back of my clothes were now drenched in my blood. Her howls had turned to whimpers and her hands desperately pressing against the deep wound.
Determination still lingered in her gaze, and time was moving fast, so I knew I had to end this soon. Knowing the consequences, I leapt forward, feeling her claws pierce my stomach, but watching the way the dagger slid across her throat and clatter to the floor when I stumbled backwards.
Her claws withdrew from me then, and her hands grasped at her slit throat, eyes widening and choking sounds emitting. Blood dripped down her chin and into her shirt and I watched with a hand against my stomach as she collapsed onto the floor, blood quickly pooling where she laid.
I heaved another breath, pressing my hand tighter against where I had been stabbed, my neck and back stinging. I watched as Anabelle succumbed to her wounds, the sounds emitting from her lowering in volume, her chest movements slowing as she died at my feet, her eyes remaining wide open.
"Am I pathetic now, Lilith?" My raspy voice reached the female lycan who stood in the doorway of the prison.
Lilith straightened, disgust and confusion etched onto her face, making her appear older than she probably was.
I had seen her whilst slitting Anabelle's throat and I was baffled as to why she had not intervened.
Lilith strode into the prison, hips swaying, high-heels clicking against the floor. Her grey-blue eyes locked onto mine until she came to a halt a few feet away from the dead body.
"You actually killed her."
My eyebrows furrowed, eyes flickering down to the body and then back to Lilith. "I told you I would."
Lilith's scowl deepened, eyes glittering under the harsh overhead lights. I could hear the lycans in their cells moving, shifting on their feet, the deep sounds of them inhaling as they smelled death.
"Why didn't you stop me?" I asked Lilth, eyeing her warily. Lilith crouched low, examining the wounds on Anabelle and then looked back to me.
"I overheard you speaking to Helda and her family about what you plan to do, and knew immediately that you intended to kill Anabelle before you left," Lilith shook her head, expression becoming grim. "However, I did not expect that you actually would have managed to murder her."
My boots moved soundlessly away when Lilith straightened, and I could tell her mind was churning as she watched me steadily.
"Have you told Hannes about what you heard?" I inquired, becoming anxious the longer I stood talking to her. I began to walk forward, stepping carelessly over Anabelle and heading towards the door of the prison.
"No." Lilith hastily responded, jogging to keep up with my fast pace. I paused then, arching a brow in surprise.
"I want you gone. You know that."
My lips flattened and I carried on walking through deep snow, securing my now bloodied coat tighter around me. I was beginning to feel faint, and breathing became difficult as I walked. The pain from my stomach was becoming more noticeable and I grimaced, placing a hand there.
Lilith's lips curled cruelly at the action. "Ah, there it is. I knew Anabelle wouldn't have gone down without a fight."
I forced myself to walk even faster, seeing the light from Helda's house as I approached it. "Goodbye, Lilith."
She stopped at my dismissal, and I could feel her watching me as I knocked on the door, giving Helda's uncle, Ryker, a fright when he answered it.
"What the hell happened?" He grabbed at my shoulders when I stumbled, but I shook my head, looking away from him and towards Elizabeth and her two sons, and then at Helda. It appeared that they had been waiting for me.
"Ryker, bring the car out front. Luke, bring me some bandages please." Elizabeth shot out orders, directing me to a couch, forcing me to sit on it. But with shaking hands I directed her away.
"We need to leave. It is only a matter of time be-"
A howl barreled through the crisp morning air, and I watched the way Elizabeth's face paled. She yanked me upwards, directing that her youngest son grab the two bags.
I watched as Ryker drove a car to the front of the home, rushing out to grab the bags and throw them into the trunk. "The lycans have began roaming the pack. Something happened." He looked towards me pointedly before urging that Helda make haste.
Luke dropped bandages into my hand and I walked briskly to the car, throat burning when I caught sight of lycans approaching, some appearing confused, others evidently angered. I heaved a breath, eyes narrowing on one lycan in particular.
Even from the distance, I could see Hannes' eyes sweeping up and down my body, taking in my blood drenched clothes, the way my hand was placed against my stomach. His sharp features tightened, becoming harsher and I stepped into the vehicle, wincing as both Luke and Garrett got in as well.
"Where's Yanneek?" I hissed to one of them and my response was given by Helda, who roughly shoved her way in, shaking her head.
"He refused to come with us."
I cursed, feeling the car jerk forward when both Elizabeth and Ryker entered it, heard the wheels kicking up snow. My heart pounded and head turned to watch as the lycans broke into a fast sprint, clearing the distance between us rapidly.
I lurched away as a body collided into the passenger side of the door, just as the car began moving, speeding through the snow.
I watched in horror as some lycans shifted outside and my eyes locked with Hannes' just as he allowed himself to shift as well, clothes ripping apart, his thunderous roar immediately urging a heavy feeling to form in my stomach; he was barely a few feet away from the car and I knew that if Ryker chose to slow just a little bit, that we would be caught.
And Ryker knew this as well, so the car bucked forward as it finally tore down a road outside of the pack and I quickly lost sight of the lycans.
But nonetheless, I knew that they were still nearby in these woods, pursuing us.
Hope you all enjoyed the chapter! Do you think they will be caught?