'Come on. You can do it. It's...It's close.'
Markell struggled to keep his human conscious as he stumbled through the dark wooded area. Everything happened so quickly in that space of time they left work. The crashing of the car was their only means to survive.
Two hours earlier
Jacob noticed two black vans following him as he turned onto the main road and decided to take the alternate route back to Black Heart. It was designed to give who ever was being followed to lose their stalker through the multiple turns and for help to arrive. The outcome wasn't what he expected as another van joined. His stalkers seemed impatient as they attempted to run him off the road, the emergency phone rang Shane's voice pierced through the silence of the van.
"How many are there?" he asked quickly.
"Three vans. They are trying to get me off the road."
" Take the next left then the back road, we are close to you." was all the alpha said hanging up. Doing as he was told he took a sharp left, losing one of the vans behind while the other two began to jostle him. Banging into the back of his van. Looking into the rear view mirror after hearing a loud crash and gunshots, he quickly recognized one of Black Heart's jeeps. His attackers of the crashed van came out with guns blazing shooting at their own attackers. The loud scraping of metal brought him back to his own predicament. His body began to ache more than earlier, his vision was blurry as he took the back road which he nearly missed. The fever he contracted made him weaker and barely able to hold onto the wheel. The driver of the van miscalculated and drove pass allowing him to drive deeper onto the dark road. "Markell what's happening..to me?" he asked hoarsely.
'I'm sorry but it's time.' his wolf said apologetically. The mating caused his shifting to come earlier than usual. It was unexpected but it was time. The adrenaline and need to protect his human and himself was more than he can handle.
"What? No. Not now." Jacob begged veering off the road . He tried to get back onto the road but couldn't as he lost control of the van crashing into bushes and small thin trees. He tried his brakes but they failed him as the hill was a bit steep and the accelerated speed of going down hill. The trees became thicker in size making it harder for him to swerve turning sharply he crashed into one deploying the airbag putting him in a daze.
'Get up Jacob. We have to move.' Markell begged knowing whoever was after them wouldn't stop. Weakly his human opened the door and fell out of the van rolling down the hill into large rocks. The impact was hard against his already bruised body as he shifted to stand up a sharp pain resonated from his side.
'Shit. Don't worry it's just a cracked rib it will heal soon.' Markell reported. Jacob rolled onto his back, blinking at the night sky, no stars just darkness the moon was trying to bring light but clouds kept blocking it. Getting onto his knees he saw silhouettes of trees and nothing more. The headlight of his van was smashed out even the emergency light was out, maybe it was for a good thing that they crashed. Hopefully they won't track him down here, he thought to himself. It was then he realized he couldn't hear a thing. Wasn't there supposed to be a beeping sound from his van, night creatures, anything? Jacob began to panic. Hurriedly he checked for his earpiece, it was there but there wasn't transmitting any sound. Flicking the switch on and off nothing came. He was now naturally deaf to the world.
'It's not working. I... I can't. Markell I'm useless now.' he exclaimed trying over and over again to get it to work.
'Calm down. It's alright. This just mean we have sight and scent on our side now. Don't voice out anything.' Jacob calmed a bit at his wolf's words and stood up carefully using the rock as help. He looked around seeing no lights from company, he turned behind him feeling a cool breeze against his neck and the scent of murky water.
'It can be a river or drain. I don't know this part of the city.' he said to Markell following the scent. He stumbled over the rough terrain using the trees as support. The little light the moon gave showed them the way to a large open storm drain, looking up and down they analyzed their next move. Jacob was about to suggest something to his wolf but a very sharp pain surged down his spine bringing him to his knees. 'Grab some sticks and go into the drain. I'm sorry but it's beyond my control.' Markell whimpered. As he felt around for sticks that a thick enough to bite onto, a flash of light shone on his left.
'They are here. Quick. Head up the drain. Soak yourself in the water.' his wolf ordered. Biting through the pain he flipped over the concrete barricade landing in the shallow murky water of the drain. With help he trudged up the drain on all fours biting down on stick as the pain coursed through his body preparing his body for the shifting of his bones. He didn't know how far he crawled but it became unbearable. His breathing became labored, his lungs burned as it expanded, Jacob scratched at his chest as the muscle mass contorted and as his ribs shifted. Still on all fours he watched as his fingers turned into claws, his ears burned as it morphed into wolf ears, black fur grew at an alarming rate throughout his body. 'MARKELL!!!!' he screamed internally as his clothes was being ripped off his body.
'It will be over soon. I promise.' his wolf said softly his voice filled with pain. Jacob thought his head was about to explode as it felt like thousands of jackhammers pounding into his skull. His fangs made themselves known as he fully morphed into a large midnight black wolf. On weak legs he paced inside the drain, growling uneasily, his new body was heavy and needed rest but he knew they couldn't. His attackers were out there still. How was he getting home.
'Are you okay? I will be in control now. You rest.' Markell said weakly. 'You don't sound too hot.' Jacob argued.
'I will be fine. We both will be fine' he said sitting on his hind legs looking out in to the darkness. The beams of flash lights shone a few feet away from them but none turned to their direction. A thought came across to him and he decided it was worth a try.
'Can anyone hear me? We need help.' he called out to his pack weakly. His eyes were heavy with tiredness as he called out two more times.
'I'm coming baby.' Her voice was the last thing he heard over the link before the darkness claimed him.
"The alpha's signal is coming from here. The enemy stopped a good distance away. According to the outlook of the land it's a simple wooded area. The darkness is a disadvantage and advantage for us. You see this right here?" Shane pointed on the map they sequenced from Jacob's GPS. He traced a long line from the city all the way up to the dam which was a town over.
"That's a storm drain. He can be anywhere in there. Either up or down." he continued.
"Groups of one human form and two wolves. Gear up. Charlotte. Winchester. You are with me. Shane take your pick of men, I want you to go down the drain. From the sound of Markell's voice they aren't doing well." Renae said firmly as Charlotte helped her gear up, ripping her skirt on the sides and strapping up her bullet proof vest.
"Sure thing. Two vans were ahead of us that's why we stopped half a mile away from Jacob's location. We have to go in quietly not to spook them."
"Alpha. His transmitter just went down. They found it." Ryan reported.
"Who the fuck are they? Only few know of it's hiding spot. Let's get a move on" she cursed.
Renae tightened her boots then took the guns Ryan handed her. Two semi-automatics with sliver bullets and a German HK33A2 with a Trijicon ACOG optical sight. Extra cartridges were packed into the pockets of her vest as Charlotte held her hair in a tight pony tail then placed her night vision goggles on. Though her assault rifle had a vision aid she wanted to be extremely accurate in spotting out her enemies. Checking her guns she glanced over to William and his father who already shifted and was standing near Ryan, their wolf form was tense and on defense as they looked into the night. They too was worried of Jacob's condition. Shane threw a GPS handheld for her as she positioned an ear piece to communicate with Golden Wolf. When they were all suited up and shifted she held two fingers up and motioned for them to go down the hill taking cover in the trees as they made it to Jacob's last known location. She was filled with worry and guilt but couldn't give in to them, she had to focus.
Shouts and lights welcomed them, they hit the ground and crawled the rest of the way. The wolves stayed by the sides of their human partners as they surveyed what was before them. "Boss wouldn't be happy if we lost the fucking human. I can't get his scent anywhere. Check the road and trees again. Next team check the drain. He's probably there making his way back to the city." a gruff voice ordered. A light with wind blew their enemies scent their way covering them completely. "Changelings. Be alert." she warned to everyone.
Shane double tapped her leg and left with two groups in addition to his following the changelings heading down the drain.
'Markell? Jacob?' she called out to her mate hoping he would answer. She stayed still on the ground waiting to hear his voice in return but nothing. Charlotte looked down at her friend who shook her head sadly. 'We will find him.' she assured her.
Renae answered by sending the wolves in first getting her rifle ready walking steady behind the wolves. "SHIT!!" someone screamed out as the loud snarl of a wolf was heard. The smell of their blood filled the air shortly. Renae looked at the chaos before her through her rifle lens. The changelings were fighting with well trained movements and was holding up their own. They knew where to attack and how to protect themselves while doing so. Hearing the breaking of twigs and angry snarls to her left she quickly turned and released her first shot of the night placing it right in the middle of his fore head. Another came at her from the right swinging at her with a punch but she quickly dodged it bringing him down with the hilt of her rifle then placing a few bullets in him. A chain reaction began as changelings who haven't been brought down by the wolves came after her and the other two men in human forms. Shots filled the once silent night as they made their way to the crash site of Jacob's vehicle. Holding off their enemies was easy as they didn't expect to be hit with silver bullets and decided to come at them head on. "Spread out." she shouted taking precautionary methods if they call in for help.
As she approached the van two scents met her, she was happy to recognized one but not the other. 'Could it be....?' Kara said in disbelief.
'No time to play Sherlock Holmes.' she snapped following Jacob's faint scent. Crouching down to the ground she found a piece of fabric on a jagged rock. It was grey and had a smear of blood on it. No one didn't have to tell her twice, it was Jacob's. She followed the new trail of his blood to the rocks then halted as a bullet whizzed by her head. Taking cover she looked out from behind her vantage point. Three men with masks had their guns focused on her position, crouching to the ground she fired one shot to the man on the right while the other two scattered taking cover. The bullet got him in his shoulder, the others opened fire and she did the same edging closer to the concrete wall.
'Go now Alpha. We got them' one of her men said to her as they covered her as she flipped over the wall. A stinging and burning sensation hit her leg causing her to drop harshly into the drain, screaming out in pain as she knew that it was silver liquid running out of the wound. "Damn it" she cursed unstrapping the knife strapped to her thigh. She had to get the bullet out before it dissolve further. Renae tore a strip of her skirt to use as a make shift shift glove and tearing another to wipe away the silver. In practiced movements she dug out the remaining bullet wrapping it in the cloth the discarding it. 'I need y'all to search on either side of the drain, I'm going further up.' she notified them as the gun play was still going on with screams of pain. Bandaging her leg she took the strength Kara pushed onto her and crawled up further the tunnel. The little silver that got into her blood stream made her weak but she was strong enough to push on. Up ahead in the middle of the drain was a large black wolf breathing heavily.
Taking in it's scent tears pooled in her eyes, "Jacob? Markell?" she cried out softly rushing to them. She threw her arms his body, kissing his snout, nuzzling into his fur telling him how scared she was. "Baby please get up. It's me." she cried into his fur. Listening for his heart beat she sighed in relief that it was steady. Renae beamed down in pride, her mate shifted into one of the largest wolves she have ever seen. Guilt of not being there for him ate at her as she placed his head in her lap. "I'm sorry. I should of been with you." she said out loud once more.
'Guys I've fo.....' she started to say before capturing the scent she wanted to deny and the voice of the most unlikely person pierced through the night. Upon reflex she went for her hand gun and focused it on the uninvited visitor.
"Well this is a surprise. He's a halfling. Congrats Alpha" His take on the word Alpha was filled with venom as he easily walked towards her.
"Daddy?" she called out, her voice filled with hurt and betrayal as he looked down at her. The coldness in his eyes were like icicles wanting to freeze anyone over.
"I think it's time you no longer call me that." he sneered. The disgusted look he gave her all her life was shown ten fold.
"What do you mean?" she asked. Her hand trembled as she held the gun aiming at his heart. Everything that happened to her mate was because of this man, she wanted to deny it but it was all right there. He knew how her vehicle tracker worked, he knew the escape routes at best.
" Black Heart will be mine once more. My pack won't be run by some hormonal bitch. It was never yours." he snapped looking down at her distastefully ignoring her question..
"All of this. It's because you want the pack?"She wanted to shoot him for all that he done but she was frozen in shock. Can she shoot her father?
She heard him chuckle darkly, "You can't even shoot me can you? That's how weak you are."he taunted. Tears of betrayal escaped it's hold. 'He's right.' she said in a defeated tone dropping the gun.
"Don't know what Richard saw in you. You made him soft." he spat. Renae saw the gun he took from behind his back, shielding Jacob she quickly got her other gun. They both held their weapons at each other not tearing their gazes from one another.
"How did I do that? He did everything you asked of him dad. Even going out after those rogues."
"Stop calling me that. I am not your father. I never told him to go after them. He went because he got word of you being out there. You killed him. Just as I would kill you" he said darkly taking off his safety but he was too slow for her. With her safety already being off she made her shot, he leaned to the left letting the bullet settle into his shoulder. The silver burning into his body distracted him as she shot at him once more, disarming him. She was about to shoot him once more but he made his escape, not wanting to leave Jacob again she notified her men in surrounding areas.
Questions stormed her mind as she tried to process it all. Her father was the one who made the changeling, put a price on hers and her family's head all for the pack. Renae broke down in tears mourning the loss of her family, the lies she lived through her life and the verbal abuse she took from a man who wasn't her father. A man who she wanted to make proud but it was all a waste of time.
'Who is our father then?' Kara asked solemnly.