Broken Hunger SF #1

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Chapter 2 - Alpha Born

When a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers at night, may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright - The Curse, Night of the Werewolf.


Weak.

It was a state of being that described perfectly the type of Alpha I was turning out to be. The word spoke of a feebleness that grated against my nerves in its intensity. Blatantly hinting at shortcomings yet to be mentioned.

My entire upbringing as the first born son of a powerful Alpha went against everything the word entailed. For generations there had always been a Delmont as head of this pack. Becoming Alpha of Nightshade had always been my legacy. As with my father and his father before him.

It was just a concept that had always been.

Training for the position was initiated at an early age. Even before we were granted the gift of our spirit half we were being prepared both mentally and physically. If not the animal would take permanent control during a youth’s first shift and not give it back. They’d become more animal than man and would have to join the pack of wilds not too far from our border.

The reality of it was harsh and there was no coming back from it.

I was subjected to years of Alpha gatherings, combative training that mimicked the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and the highest tertiary academic education the University of Virginia had to offer. All for the purpose of molding me into something I was not quite comfortable with.

My wolf was an Alpha.

I was not.

As an adolescent it was always a battle between fur and skin. I was an unbalanced shifter and it showed. To those who cared to notice, anyway. Growing up my mother always soothed my worries. Assuring me that the moon knew of my struggle and would pair me with a strong mate. Her strength would be unparalleled by any other female. Her influence would feed the fortitude I lacked as a man.

I was no longer the gullible youth I was back then. Now nearing my thirtieth birthday I knew not to place any bets on the matter. I loved the woman dearly. She birthed me and cared for me more than any other mother ever cared for their own young. But she had clearly been delusional.

Not only don’t I have a strong female at my side. I have no female to speak of.

The moon had cast me in her shadow and forgotten me.

“You look like shit, man. And not the sturdy kind either. The runny, extreme diarrhea kind.”

“Now is not the time, Marcus.”

A groan of exhaustion accompanied my words as I pressed the heels of my palms against my tired eyes. White spots danced tauntingly across my darkened vision and my temples throbbed with the effort it took to contain my wolf. Achilles didn’t think much of his mental cage and I found no pleasure in forcibly shoving him back. It was just the way it had to be.

He was a damn fine warrior, but he was a little too rough around the edges for everyday pack life.

Dealing with Marcus was only adding to my already shitty day. A man’s office wasn’t even his own anymore. Barging in unannounced was the Beta’s way of doing things. No amount of retaliation on my part had been able to break his annoying habits. Nowadays I was just too withdrawn to even attempt any form of admonishment.

Lifting my head I at least attempted to appear involved in whatever cockamamie bullshit my Beta was about to sprout. Rank wasn’t something I felt comfortable enforcing. Marcus knew this, of course. I would get the occasional inclination of his head or, on more serious days, a neck bared in submission. Those days were few and far between though.

Other packs had banished members for less. Most Alpha’s would regard Marc’s behaviour as highly disrespectful and see it as a direct challenge to their position. I thought the notion outright ridiculous. Yes, I had the unfortunate fate of becoming an Alpha by birthright when all I wanted was to find a mate, settle down and raise me some pups.

There was no reason to be an ass to good people about it.

Marcus was too carefree to worry over the little things and thought little of the possible consequences to his actions. His heart was in the right place, but everything else was a fucking disaster.

“Don’t ′Marcus’ me,” he fired back with air quotes. “When is the last time you ate a decent meal? Or had more than a few stolen minutes of sleep?”

“Would you stop?” I growled in annoyance. “You sound like someone’s mother.”

He gave a nonplussed shrug of his shoulders. “I’m a parental type of guy. You need to get laid, man. Your bad vibes are rubbing off on me.”

“My sex life is none of your concern. Go be the Beta I’m paying you to be.”

“You don’t pay me shit,” Marcus snorted through his nose.

“Clearly there is ample reason for that,” I replied dryly. “Besides, you earn a more than generous salary from our trade deals with neighboring packs.”

“An extra coin never hurt no one.”

I glowered at his nagging. “Really now?”

“Fine, fine.” He threw his hands up in mock surrender. “On a different note. Our apparent vampire infestation seems to be leaning more towards the likes of a single rogue vampire. She was spotted in the vicinity of the Hearts & Parts nightclub near the abandoned factories. That place gives me the creeps. It’s fucking mundane mania.”

A string of expletives flew from my tongue and Achilles rammed against our mental block. He wanted out, but now was not the time. With him in control a rampage would be soon to follow. Perspiration beaded against my forehead at the struggle it was presenting to shove the beast back to the recesses of my mind.

“Fuck,” I swore some more. “What’s the damage?”

“Three deceased. Two of which were drained of blood and the third evidently missing a heart if the hole in his chest is anything to go by. We suspect it’s the same leach responsible for the other killings.”

My hands curled tightly around the arms of my chair and the wood groaned faintly in protest. “Our visitor is making a mess of my territory.”

“Agreed. What are your orders?”

“I want scouts on the streets. If this vampire so much as flashes a fang, I want to know about it. It needs to be put down, but not before we know with absolute certainty that there won’t be more of them stepping from the shadows. And increase our border patrols. I don’t want anymore surprises.”

“Seems reasonable,” Marcus confirmed with his ever excited grin. “We’ll tail her ass until then and try to prevent her from slaughtering all the town folk.”

“Be sure that you do. With the body count rising we’ll be forced to deal with unwanted exposure to both the media and the local authorities. We need to string those clowns around by their noses. The council would not endorse a lawless bloodsucker running amok on our territory.”

Marcus gave a comical flinch that didn’t exactly agree with a man of his stature. “I hate those fuckers. Their underground campaigns to save the human race makes me want to puke. Purebred religious bastards.”

“As much as I agree, there is still protocol to be kept. Their numbers are unknown and their arsenal rumored to rival that of the US Military. I will not pick a fight we have no chance at winning. It’s best we remain under their radar.”

The Beta gave a reluctant nod of agreement. “I still think they’re assholes.”

“You are not alone in your conclusion. I assure you.”

“Very well. I’ll play nice. Hopefully this fanger is something to look at. Make my job a lot more enjoyable that way.”

“No thinking with your dick on this one, Marcus,” I growled as Achilles momentarily broke through my defenses. “Follow my orders to the letter or I’ll collar you to the lamppost outside my window. You are not to approach that vampire without my say so. Understood?”

“Geez. What’s got your knickers in a twist?”

My wolf snarled and snapped our teeth inches from the other shifter’s face. Marcus, who only now realized the calamity of the situation, immediately bared his throat in a sign of submission. He was my friend and although I looked past his obvious disrespect at most times, my wolf did not. He was a snappy creature and didn’t hesitate to draw blood.

My head throbbed with exertion at having to shove the animal back. Achilles had never been the domestic type, but his recent bouts of dominance was completely uncalled for. He kept sending distorted images by way of communication. None of it made any bloody sense. The only thing I was getting was a skull splitting headache.

“You back, man?” Marcus asked albeit hesitantly. His posture relaxing somewhat at my head nod. “Good, good. That’s good. Well, I’m off.” He shuffled backwards to the doorway leading from my office to the hallway. “You might want to keep Cujo there on a tighter leash though.”

His laughter trailed behind him as he bounded from the house. He was acting like a juvenile and it was riling up my wolf. Falling back into the chair behind my desk I massaged my temples to try and relieve some of the tension.

I was getting too old for this shit.

Yeah, too fucking old.

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