I stared at the word now engraved on my chest, the word that now marred my chest just beneath my color bone. It was just another addition to my life story sprawled out across my body. Just another insult, just another lie, as my mother would say. Question was though, was it really a lie? Not this time. I was a mutt, just as the crimson letters stated, thanks to the white bite-marks on my neck and across my shoulder blades. I should probably introduce myself. My name is Jacob, Jacob Tyler. Everyone just calls me Jake, though. I chose my mother’s maiden name because apparently my father had built a new life for himself with another woman and two perfect little children. He didn’t want me, never had, so why should I have acknowledged him? My stepfather, Oliver Stone, simply adored me though…note the sarcasm. He was nice at first. He surely protected us...that was until we found out he had a bit of a temper and had a very lethal condition when enraged. The condition was actually only lethal to those around him…
He had passed his little condition on to me. You see, he was a werewolf, a Lycanthrope, as he calls himself, and after one little nip so was I. My mother fled the day he accidently bit me, because she didn’t like her chances of survival with two wolves under the same roof. I was seven when she left. I never knew where she went, if she had ever made it to her destination safely or even if she was still alive. I had spent the next ten years of my life under my stepfather’s, I should technically say alpha’s, reign. At seventeen the only things I knew how to do were run and kill.
I walked over to the waterfall just outside our camp with a limp to try and rid my body of the previous night’s events. Unfortunately there’s no waterfall for my mind though. I stared idly at nothing as I felt the water cascade down my back. My alpha’s face came to the front of my mind. I saw his contorted features as he grunted and cussed, forcing himself into me as deep as he could. I remember the pain of his fist upon my body, emphasizing his cruel words. The tears running down my cheeks as I obeyed every last command like the pathetic dog I was.
Have you ever wondered what the biggest downside to being a werewolf was? I can tell you that it is definitely the obedience thing. All pack members must obey their alpha, no matter how absurd the request. Do you want to know what the biggest upside is, though? The biggest upside is the heightened senses. Even where I stood, under the crushing weight of the waterfall, I could hear the beast breathing deeply and evenly in his tent, still asleep. I could even hear the slight thumping of his heart. I could smell the dying fire in the middle of his tent, the very fire he heated his knife with before he sunk it an inch deep into my flesh. I could hear the entire pack. Most of them were still fast asleep, some were stirring and one was on the move.
I shuffled out from under the clear, icy water and got dressed. I picked up my ring, the moonstone laced with white gold my mother had given me before she left. She had told me that it honored Diana, the goddess of the hunt and protector of animals. She had told me that it should keep me safe. I guess it made sense since I was an animal. The same ring doubled as a glamour charm to hide my scars, my shame. I headed for the clearing in the middle of camp where the pack always kept a fire roaring. Beside the fire, on her hunches, sat a small Asian girl with raven hair cut into a short bob. She glanced up at me with her fiery, chocolate eyes and a sad smile played at her plump pink lips.
“Morning, Jake.” she said standing up, putting her lean 5’3’’ body on full display. I’m not sure full is the right word though, because she was dwarfed by my own 6’5’’ body. The surprisingly petite daughter of Ares, Melanie ‘Mel’ Chan joined the pack just over a year ago. She was found hiding from monsters, nearly dead, and Alpha dearest just had to save her.
“Morning Mel, thanks for getting started on the food.” I said pointing at the bubbling pot over the fire.
“Well, I thought you might need a break this morning…” she said, avoiding my eyes at all cost.
“Thank you” I said simply. I was very much aware what she was thinking, even without the mental link. That was just another downside to the being a werewolf. Your thoughts were never private, or at least not while you were in range or if you outranked others. Luckily I outranked everyone but the beast himself. I loathed reminders and if anyone knew exactly what occurred when the beast and I were alone, I’d be facing challenges every hour until I was dead. I took a seat next to Mel, staring at the pot. We had found that the easiest way to feed twenty two meat crazed mouths was to just throw meat into a pot with a few other filler ingredients. Needless to say, it was a pretty big pot. We sat in silence for a while before she shyly looked up me.
“I’m sorry you have to go through…” she drifted off and I fixed my gaze sternly on the fire, refusing to look at her. She must have seen my body tense because she continued with “…that…so often.” Her voice was so small and fragile that I couldn’t be mad at her for mentioning it. She was one of my best friends after all and at least she was under the impression that the beast was only hitting and cutting me. Speaking of best friends, it was at that moment that the lanky, 6’3’’ blond figure of Sam plopped down on his mate’s other side, pulling her into his lap and nuzzling the back of her neck. A small giggle escaped her lips as she halfheartedly tried to swat at Sam away.
Sam Johnson. Pack medic and my honorary brother, although he was technically my uncle. The son of Apollo was brought in six years ago. He was frightened as Hades, but who could blame him. Sometimes, when I looked at the strong, dangerous, 16 year old, I couldn’t believe that he was ever so weak. The pathetic 10 year old boy was so long lost that he could never have possibly existed.
I felt the red hot pain across my cheek as yet another arrow went wide. The stinging hand had almost sent me flying to the side.
“You’re a pathetic little shit!” Fred, my instructor, sneered as he shoved me forward as an order to go fetch the arrow. I walked past the makeshift target and started scouring for my arrow. When I finally found it buried deep in a bush, I quickly plucked it out and returned to find Alpha was waiting for me along with Fred.
“Come along, pup. There is a surprise waiting for everyone back at camp.” Alpha said with an evil grin that made my mind scream at me to run for hills, run and never look back. Despite my mind’s best efforts, my body just simply had to obey the command. Alpha had told me to come along and that is exactly what I did. I followed the other two back to camp.
In the middle of the clearing was a small boy clutching desperately at the hem of his shirt in the hopes of finding some comfort as four wolves circled him snarling. As we approached the wolves morphed back to their human forms and the poor boy just about collapsed. He slid down onto his knees, sky blue eyes wide and red rimmed with tears, chest heaving with silent sobs.
“What is your name, son of Apollo?” Alpha’s voice boomed and all fell silent. Even the crickets refused to make a sound.
“S-s-s-s-s…” he stuttered, starting to hyperventilate in his efforts to talk. I looked at the boy, urging him to pull himself together. I knew full wel what happened when you disobeyed or showed any kind of weakness.
“Spit it out, runt!” Alpha raised his hand and just before he could bring it down onto the boy I slipped into the shadows and reappeared right in front of the smaller boy. I felt that red hot pain for a second time that day and Alpha growled in frustration, literally. I don’t know why I did it. Maybe it was because I saw myself in the boy, my own fears, own tears. Maybe I just couldn’t stand the thought of another innocent boy being hurt like I had been. Maybe it was my inner wolf that made me protect the weak or maybe I just did it out of sheer stupidity.
“Please...” I said, my voice as small as ever, refusing to look up at the black pools I knew was hatefully glaring at the top of my head. In moments like these, it was best to be submissive. That way your actions couldn’t be seën as a challenge for dominance “...he’s just frightened, don’t hurt him.” I pleaded in a whisper, already flinching away from the expected blow and unsurprisingly Alpha’s boot sent me ten feet to the side. Alpha returned his icy stare to the boy.
“...well, runt? I asked you a question.” He said flatly. The boy stared at me and seemed to muster up some courage.
“S-S-Sam Johnson.” his voice was nearly inaudible, lips barely moving as he continued to stare at me, frozen in all movement.
“Well, Sam...” Alpha said clapping his hands together “...welcome to the Moonstone pack.” he stalked over to the boy grabbed an arm and bit the boy right above his pulse…
“How you feeling man?” Sam asked in that deep, soothing sound he calls his voice.
“As always, Sam, fine.” I said with a sigh. Concern flooded his eyes for a moment before he continued his lighthearted nibbling of his Melanie’s neck. He knew better than to pry the subject. He knew that if I ever wanted to talk about it, he would be the first to know. Not that I would ever want to talk about it. It should be buried deep where no one will ever find it.
“Looks like Dad’s busy...” he said almost dreamily as he watched the sun already high in the sky. Why he keeps on calling that joke his father I will never know. I mean the poor bloke was at Camp Half-blood since he was five and has been here since he was ten. He has never even met the sun god. His ‘dad’ has never done one single thing to help him, just like mine. That being said, the camp around us started bustling as everyone woke up.