I sobbed, pulling fresh clothes on that an Omega had brought me as Jeremy left the room, claiming he had a few things to prepare before he took me to see his experiments.
The Omega had looked at me with absolute horror and pity, her eyes drawn to my face and throat times and time again.
I can’t say I blamed her - I hadn’t even seen my injuries, and I already knew they would be horrific. Jeremy had kept his promise. The more I hated what he did to me, the more he enjoyed it. At one point, I had lost consciousness, the hands around my throat squeezing tighter and tighter until I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t keep my eyes open. It had been a welcome break for a few moments. Until Jeremy roused me, and I realised all too late that I would pay for escaping him for even a few moments.
I had looked down at the ground as she came towards me with the clothes, too ashamed to meet her gaze. I did my best to cover my battered and bruised body with the scraps of clothing I had left, but it wasn’t enough. The Omega saw everything. Every bite, every scratch, every slap, and every cut. She had placed a hand on my shoulder, squeezing it gently as she gave me a kind smile.
I was her Luna from this moment on, after all, she had to show me some pity for what I had been through.
Though the mating hadn’t been complete, Jeremy had done enough biting of my neck to ensure I was tied to him from this moment on.
I choked on another cry as I thought of Eros. There were many times when Eros was rough in bed with me, many times when he had made my body ache with a burning pain - the difference with him though was that I had thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I had begged him for more and he delivered. It made me realise just how much effort he put into our sex life, how much pleasure he got from my pleasure.
Eros was rough, so long as he had permission. For every stinging slap he gave my body, he followed it up with soothing strokes. He took care of me, making sure I was fully prepared and ready. And afterwards, we would soak in a bath together, our bodies wrapped around each other.
There was none of that with Jeremy. He had been delighted at the struggle I had given. Had been ecstatic when he realised that I wasn’t wet at all and had actually laughed when he forced his cock into me dry, taking me roughly and painfully even as I cried tears of shock and disgust.
He had slapped, bit, nipped, punched, even slicing parts of me with his claws and had licked up my blood with a look of absolute rapture on his face. My chest had lines zigzagging all over it and my arms were raw with the force of his fingers digging into me.
It was my face and neck that was the worst. I could barely see out of one of my eyes it was that badly swollen and Jeremy had ripped open my neck as he mated himself to me, his teeth slicing through my skin. I had thought that would be the end of it, but he must have sensed something in my mind when he connected with me as I felt his rush of anger and then nothing but agonising pain as he yanked his jaw upwards, his teeth still inside my neck. I had no doubt that it was a very deliberate act and a display of power. He had left me with a huge, open wound on my neck that was still pouring with blood.
I had attempted to use the shirt that Jeremy had torn from my body but the blood had seeped straight through and I was becoming more than a little bit light-headed at the loss of blood.
Just as I was beginning to close my eyes, hoping for just a few minutes away from this cruel world I felt a hand on my shoulder, shaking me awake.
“There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead, sweet Sophia.” Jeremy tipped the sofa over, knocking me to the floor with a laugh as I howled with pain. “ Remember what happened the last time you foolishly allowed yourself to pass out.” I cringed as I thought of the punches and backhands he had given me whilst thrusting into my body. “Come on, I have something to show you.”
“Why the fuck is she in a cage?” I demanded the moment I saw Antheia. “She’s a child!”
“Have you ever had a conversation with her? She wants to think herself lucky she’s in a cage and not a body bag,” he snapped. I bit my cheek to hold back my bark of laughter. Eros had ranted about Antheia and her sharp tongue many times over the years that we had been friends, repeating the same stories and some new ones over the months we had been on the run together.
“Missing me already?” Antheia almost spat. I closed my eyes as I sent a silent plea to the Moon Goddess. Please, for once, make Antheia hold her tongue. She has no idea what Jeremy is capable of and I would never forgive myself if she were the one who was hurt in all of this. Especially considering she was one of the few people who were truly innocent.
Jeremy grabbed my hand and thrust me forward into the moonlight, allowing Antheia to see the full extent of my injuries. She let out a growl of fierce anger as her eyes drifted down to the mating mark on my neck - not the same one she had seen only hours earlier when I had arrived at her pack with her brother.
“You see this?” Jeremy hissed, twisting my face round to make sure that she saw every injury he had inflicted. “She suffered this at my own hands - she’s my mate, and I didn’t even hesitate when I rained blow after blow down on her.”
He flung me to the side, knocking me to the floor with how quickly he let go of me, not giving me the chance to gain my balance before he turned his gaze back to Antheia. “Now think back on all the spiteful words you have flung in my direction during your short stay and then take a moment to imagine what I’m going to do to you.”
Antheia backed up as he walked to the door of the cage, swallowing in fear as he twisted the lock, a look of pure determination and hatred written on his face.
“No!” I roared, jumping up and rushing at him, ignoring the way my body screamed in protest.
Before I had even reached his side, I was seized by his deformed warriors that had blended perfectly into the shadows, remaining unseen until he had a use for them.
“You’ll pay for that, you little bitch,” he hissed, kicking me in my stomach, the warrior behind me keeping me tightly in his grasp as I doubled over in pain and struggled to breathe.
Antheia looked around and my heart broke as I saw the look flash in her eyes. I knew she was mentally running through every possibility of what could happen if she allowed Jeremy to reach her.
She took a deep breath, her eyes snapping into focus as she seemed to come to a decision. She crouched down low, and I heard the seams in her clothes tear as she began her shift.
She was going to fight her way out of here.
Just when I began to have a little bit of hope, I heard Jeremy laugh - a sound that made my stomach drop with the pure evil that ran through his voice.
I looked over at Antheia and gasped. She was stuck. She had managed to shift her torso, which was now too long for her body, and had her curled into a ball as fur sprouted over her. The bones in her arms had snapped, but she hadn’t been able to find the strength to complete the shift into her paws, and so they remained useless to her. Her snout had elongated, but her eyes had stayed where they were so that her face was mushed up, her lips pulled back into the snarl that should have become her werewolf mouth but was now a painful grimace.
“Leave her!” I screamed at Jeremy, openly crying at the scene in front of me. This was every wolf’s worst nightmare, something that was always at the back of our mind every time we shifted. There was rarely a way to complete the shift one way or the other. The person usually died like this, their body forever twisted into a horrific amalgamation of their human and wolf form.
Jeremy ignored me, pulling something from his pocket as he continued to approach Antheia’s whining form.
Fuck this! I raged inwardly, jumping up, wrapping my arms around my knees as I brought them to my chest. The warrior struggled with my new weight distribution, fumbling as he figured out the best way to hold my body.
I used this to my advantage, tipping my body forward with all the strength I had left until we both fell to the floor.
I jumped to my feet and raced over to the cabinet on the wall. My eyes honed in on the one thing I wanted and I twisted, whistling to Jeremy to get his attention.
“Leave her alone,” I demanded, bringing the needle to my neck, pushing it against my skin but not yet breaking through the barrier.
Jeremy’s eyes widened as he realised what I had.
“That’s right,” I snapped, nodding at him. “Hurt her and I will do it. Don’t play games with me right now, I’m not joking.” To prove my point, I stabbed myself in the neck, my thumb hovering over the rounded tip that would release the liquid with a quick push.
Jeremy looked back and forth between Antheia and I as he struggled to make his decision. My heart beating was so fast it was the only thing that I could hear in the quiet room.
“Do it,” Jeremy said, shrugging his shoulders and meeting my eyes with a level gaze as he began to walk back to Antheia.
I screamed as I pushed down, noticing that Jeremy paused a moment, the veins in his neck protruding as his jaw gritted against the pain. He let out an agonised chirp that I knew belonged to his panther before he shook his head and forced himself to keep moving, straight towards Antheia.
Sweat dripped down my forehead, but I refused to give in to the pain or agony of my loss. I had to try to stop him. I took a step forward, but my knees gave out and I fell to the floor.
It didn’t stop me though. I crawled on my belly towards Antheia. If I could just touch her, to let her know I was here, and she wasn’t going to have to go through this alone. I owed her that much. She wouldn’t leave this world thinking I had abandoned her to her fate.
I was almost there. Had crawled through the door, knowing that Jeremy was watching me with an amused look and no longer caring. My one goal was Antheia. I had to do this. For Eros. For her.
Just when I was within reach, Jeremy gave a nod to the warrior that had held me back earlier and I felt myself pinned to the floor once more as he pressed his foot into the bottom of my spine, grinding his heal into my bones. “Antheia...” I whispered, stretching my arm out to her as Jeremy leaned forward and injected what I thought was wolfsbane into her neck. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled as the black haze washed over me once more, a single tear slipping from my eyes as my last image was of my hand, so near but so far.
Antheia would die alone.
I had failed.