“I’m sorry girls, but we have a flat!
Serendipity heard the bus driver yell from the front of the vehicle before it slowed and pulled off on the shoulder of the road. The girls all seemed to groan in unison. Serendipity glanced out of the foggy bus window and wiped away the condensation that was saturated on the glass. The sun was making its descent to rest for the night as the girls started piling off of the bus, to restless to stay still. They weren’t in walking distance to a bridge that would allow them all back into their area and she doubted that even if they started walking right that moment that they would make it in time. It was paramount the tire is fixed and the knowledge made them all antsy.
Serendipity stepped off of the bus and into moist air when she realized that she must have left her jacket at the manor. She knew that the jacket would more than likely be disposed of and she would never see it again. She wouldn’t be able to buy another one for weeks and she would be forced to endure the cold temperatures of winter.
She wrapped her arms around her body and rubbed furiously to create some warmth. Behind the bus, other women were either sitting in the grass or standing as they talked lowly. She caught sight of Lindsey who was resting with another brunette. She waved nervously. Serendipity wasn’t a great conversationalist for obvious reasons, and she came off as awkward most of the time.
“Hey, Serendipity. Sit with us.” Lindsey demanded, patting the ground next to her. Serendipity sat in the tall grass beside her friend. The wet ground was cold against her backside.
“Where’s your jacket? You’ll catch your death out here in this weather,” Lindsy asked.
Serendipity pointed towards the direction they came and looked towards Lindsey, hoping she would explain why she wasn’t talking.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Serendipity is mute so she can’t talk. I think she means she left it at the manor.” Lindsey told the stranger sitting beside her. The brunette looked surprised for a moment before her face turned a bright red.
“Wow, really? The other girls and I just thought you were too stuck up to talk to us. I’m sorry I haven’t been the friendliest towards you. My name is Lucia,” the girl apologized.
Serendipity nodded and gave her a friendly nod, shaking it off. The wind picked up suddenly and Serendipity rocked into herself, trying to shield herself from the frigid air.
“Did you enjoy your day Serendipity? I noticed the three bird brains forgot about you,” Lindsey joked. Serendipity nodded.
“You got Anna’s old cleaning job. That girl never had to do anything but show up. The Prince keeps his room clean for him to be a guy!” Lucia grumbled. Serendipity figure Lucia must have a more difficult position within the manor.
“I guess I know why they gave the job to you. You can’t spill any secrets you may find out about him or the family for that matter.”
Serendipity narrowed her eyes. There hadn’t been many rumors about any certain werewolves, at least none that she had heard.
Lindsey clucked her tongue in chastisement. “Don’t scare her Lucia.”
“What do you think happened to Anna? She probably got caught doing something she shouldn’t have in his room,” Lucia rebuked. Then she glanced at Serendipity. “You don’t know about our ‘Alpha’?”
Serendipity shook her head no.
“Oh, this is just too good. No wonder you were able to fall asleep in his room!” Lucia exclaimed as she laughed. Serendipity felt the blood rush into her face. It looked like it didn’t take long for gossip to get around.
“Lucia, stop! You are scaring her!” Lindsey protested.
“She wants to know. Maybe this will help her stay on her feet the next time she is doing something she isn’t supposed to. We both know how much trouble she would have been in if she would have been caught,” Lucia snapped.
Lindsey jumped up and walked towards the bus. Serendipity hoped she hadn’t upset her too much. Lindsey was the only person that had something to do with her, even if it was just a smile and a wave at times. She turned her attention back to Lucia as she started speaking.
“I guess it started before the war. Many humans knew about werewolves for decades before we were all enslaved. Some of those humans didn’t take very well to the idea that other species were inhabiting the world,” Lucia explained.
Serendipity’s eyes widened. Humans had been aware of werewolves before any of this had happened? Serendipity’s thoughts immediately drifted.
“Anyways,” the brunette said flipping her hair over her shoulder. Suddenly, Serendipity could imagine her shopping with all of her friends in a shopping mall. “Our government grew worried that something like this would happen, the world going to total shit, I mean. My daddy was the governor of Nebraska which was where the wolve’s stronghold was held. About a year before the war occurred, the president called for a total manhunt of their species.
“I remember the Alpha coming to the house with his wife and the prince. My mother tried to make me go to my room, but I peeked out of the staircase and watched as they talked. My dad brushed on a smile and made like everything was alright as he made plans to have a meeting with their whole pack. In the next couple of days, my dad sent me off to my aunt’s house and changed my name to protect me. My mother wrote to me and told me that my dad’s plan had been successful, but had come at a price. I guess it wasn’t as successful as they thought because a month later, we were at war.”
“There have been rumors, especially from the people who work at the manor full time. Supposedly, my dad set up the murder of the alpha, his wife and son. Everything didn’t go as planned and the only one who ended up dead was the Prince’s mother. During the war, the Prince led the wolves in their attack and he slaughtered armies of humans, showing no mercy.
“Before long, revolting was happening all over the world. Werewolves and vampires successfully succeeded in overthrowing humans. I don’t know why but the new government showed me pity and didn’t execute me when they found out who I was. I hate this life but I’m too selfish a bitch to hope for death, ” Lucia finished her story with damp eyes.
Serendipity’s head reeled with the new information. Humans, her species who she had protected and defended for so long, hadn’t been the victims. They had brought this among themselves by making the first move. Serendipity felt sick but still smiled weakly at Lucia before she stood. Lucia didn’t stop her when she walked away and Serendipity knew that she probably needed a minute to herself. She walked quickly towards the tree line as her body rejected the little contents that her stomach had in it.
Serendipity couldn’t believe that she had let herself fall asleep in his room! The thought of that monster finding her in his bed just kept playing in her head like a song stuck on repeat as another wave of sickness pulsed over her and she threw up again on the leaves that littered the ground. She wiped the sickness off her mouth off with her hand and then turned at the sound of cars racing up the dirt road towards them.
No one ever came down these roads except for human staff. She had never even seen a car in use besides the buses and figured that werewolves just didn’t need them. Something had to be seriously wrong for this to be happening. She walked to where everyone had gathered on the side of the road to watch them go by. Her fear eased when she saw the black SUV’s race past them. The tinted windows kept the inside of the vehicles a secret and her curiosity grew.
When the vehicles had made it out of sight and sound, the women around Serendipity burst into loud gossiping. Serendipity walked over towards the woman changing the tire, wanting to be back in her apartment. She bent down beside the woman who looked to be struggling with a jack and helped her with it, holding down the end. Mrs. Harris looked surprised for a minute but kept working.
Serendipity’s brother had fixed cars for a living and she often went to work with him when he couldn’t find someone to babysit her. She wasn’t completely useless when it came to this kind of thing.
“Thank you, Serendipity. I see one of you here has hands and is not too worried about all of the cars going by. It’s like they’ve never seen one.” Mrs. Harris sneered. “They don’t even seem worried that we may not make it back in time.”
Serendipity noticed how hard the woman had been working. Sweat beaded down her face and neck even though the temperature was so cold. She felt a little guilty that she too had been enjoying her free time while the bus driver had been doing all the work. She stood up and helped Mrs. Harris grab the huge bus tire out of the back.
Serendipity mostly tried to stay out of the way when she wasn’t needed. She was glad she had something to do to warm her up and keep her mind off of the bitter cold. Eventually, the tire was back on and Mrs. Harris called for everyone to get back onto the bus.
The ride back was spent mostly in silence. It had gotten dark and being late had made all of the girls fearful. Thankfully, they still had an hour left before the deadline which was plenty of time to make it to the bridge.
Thirty minutes later, they made it back to the border. The first thing Serendipity noticed was that the gate was down. It was never down unless a permitted car was going over it in fear that humans would try to run. Serendipity tried to brush it off. She had never been in the area this late before so she figured it was just something that occurred at night time when most of the automatic lights in the city went off.
The same werewolf who had greeted them that morning got onto the bus but didn’t make them get off like they usually did. He only counted to make sure everyone was on before sending them off. Usually, the werewolves were obsessive with border control.
The bus took its regular route back into Seattle. Serendipity knew she would be getting off last and settled in for the long haul. A couple of the girls smiled and waved at Serendipity as they got off which was something that had never happened before. She was unable to hide her smile. Maybe she had made a few new friends today after all.
The city was beautiful at night. All of the lights that hadn’t been turned off shone brightly in contrast to the black background. Before she knew it, it was her time to get off. She waved at Mrs. Harris before stepping out into the night a few blocks from her apartment.
“If you want to come over you can. You know I saved up to get that TV and I think tonight is the night that the government is allowing us a movie,” Lindsey offered, but Serendipity was tired from the day and shook her head. They said their goodbyes and she headed towards her complex.
Serendipity was exhausted by the time she made it back to her building. She sighed in comfort as she entered the warmth of her apartment building lobby. She expected to be greeted by the sound of laughter, but no one was in the gathering area watching TV like they usually were on Fridays.
Serendipity made her way up the stairwell, climbing fast. She just wanted to run a hot bath and soak before bed. She wasn’t required to work tomorrow since it was Sunday so she would be able to sleep in. She made it to her floor and reached into her pants pocket to grab the key.
Her heart stuttered for a moment before it stopped completely. Her door was opened wide and it looked as if some of her things had been boxed up and sat outside. Serendipity backed away from her room and into the stairwell out of sight. She heard someone move around in her room. A man dressed in a black suit walked out and looked around. She did not doubt that he was a wolf. Serendipity stood completely still and looked away from him, squeezing her eyelids shut. Her heart pounded in her chest and she held her breath.
“False alarm. She isn’t back, I repeat she has not made it back. There is no need for back up,” The man spoke softly into a phone.
What the hell was he talking about? They had gotten her mixed up with someone else. She heard the man return into her room and she slowly found the courage to leave her hiding spot. She walked back towards the door keeping her footsteps as light as she could.
She saw her brother’s baseball bat sat on top of one of the boxes and picked it up before sneaking into her room a few steps. She made it to her bedroom before she was caught. The man came out of the bathroom startling her. He rushed her and she grew scared, backing away and raising the bat a little above her head before swinging. She missed and the man cursed.
“Whoa, little missy! I’m not here to hurt you! Just calm down,” the man pleaded with his hands held out in peace.
Serendipity didn’t hear anything though. She just saw herself as Anna. She would disappear and someone else would take her place. Who knew what would happen after that! She could be killed or tortured and then thrown away and forgotten.
Her back hit the wall and she swung the bat as hard as she could. A sharp crack echoed out in the tiny room and then there was a loud thud. Everything suddenly grew quiet. She opened her eyes and gawked in surprise.
She had knocked the man out! Her short one hundred- and five-pound self had just knocked a two-hundred-and sixty-pound man on his ass. She smiled before she noticed the bump, she’d given him. She dropped her bat and walked towards her bed without taking her eyes off the werewolf. She grabbed a pillow and picked up his heavy head before laying him on it. She hoped with everything inside her that she hadn’t killed him or done any permanent damage.
Serendipity noticed the earpiece on his ear and her eyes grew wide. She then remembered the man had been talking to someone on the phone earlier. There had to be more than one wolf close and when they called to check back in with the man, they would be coming up to check on him when they didn’t receive an answer.
In fear, she ran straight to the bathroom and opened the cabinet. She was thankful they hadn’t cleaned that out yet and she grabbed her necklace. It held her brother’s school ring he had given her before he left for the War. She cherished it so much that she never wore it out when cleaning because she was scared she would lose it. She clutched onto it like a lifeline and ran back out into her room, sparing a glance at the man still passed out in the floor before passing him and running back out into the hall.
She considered going out the back but figured that since she hadn’t seen anyone parked in the front, the safest option would be to exit the way she entered. She was proven correct as she heard the back door burst open. She sprinted around the corner and down the stairway, hoping that they hadn’t seen her. She made it to the lobby and burst through the doors into the brightly lit city.
“- this girl you are to report her to the local authorities immediately. Her name is Serendipity Tasen Summers and she works for a cleaning company that frequents the royal manor. The Authority wants to recognize that she has done nothing illegal, but-, “Serendipity’s head swam as her eyes gazed at the televisions that were flashing her picture up all over the city
She began to run, not knowing what else to do. She didn’t know where she was going or how far she would get before she was caught, and she knew that she would be caught. It was inevitable. Everything blurred past her and things jumbled together. Confusion clouded every coherent thought she had until her mind was a state of chaos.
Serendipity turned down street after street. Her legs protested and her lungs labored for breath. Eventually, when she almost tripped from aching legs, she turned down an alleyway to rest. Her hand gripped the cool brick and held her steady as she leaned over and breathed deeply, trying to calm herself. Her breath came out in little white puffs of condensation and she looked up. She walked back onto the sidewalk only to back into the shadows once again as a large SUV drove by slowly. Serendipity knew they had to be looking for her.
Serendipity’s mind raced as she thought of where she could go. There was only one person that popped into her mind. Lindsey had invited her over anyways Serendipity thought deliriously. When the car had passed, she stepped out and walked towards the blonde girls’ apartment, hoping that she’d be accepted inside.
She tried to understand why all of this was happening. If the government wanted to get rid of her she knew that, just like Anna, she would be gone. She doubted they would plaster her face everywhere as they were doing now, and it scared her. She didn’t know what she had done that was so bad. Had they found out that she had fallen asleep in the Prince’s bed? Had they found out she had picked up the book?
She kept her pace up, face down, and ears open. She didn’t want any surprises. A headache plagued her mind. The throbbing in-between her temples matched the pace of her steady walking. She grew hopeful when she saw Lindsey’s apartment building about five hundred feet in front of her.
She sprinted towards the complex as the nervous cramping in her stomach eased. She felt safe there and she hoped this would be the last place the werewolves checked when looking for her. The post light suddenly flicked on when it sensed her walking underneath it and Serendipity jumped in fright. She turned and scurried inside.
The inside of the building was identical to hers. All of the buildings were identical, inside and out. Only building numbers kept people from getting lost. She caught sight of a woman washing her clothes and when their gazes met, the woman slammed the door to the laundry room shut with a forceful bang. Serendipity’s heart dropped at the rejection.
She made her way up to the fifth floor where Lindsey’s room was. She hesitated a bit outside the room. What if Lindsey didn’t want anything to do with her? What if she ratted her out to ‘New Nation’? Serendipity knew she couldn’t go back to her room and she couldn’t stay on the streets all night. She’d be caught unless Lindsey offered her shelter until she could figure out what to do.
Before she could think any more, she knocked once on the hard-wood door. Serendipity heard shuffling and then suddenly it was swung open to reveal Lindsey in her pajamas.
“Serendipity! Thank dear baby Jesus you’re okay! I was so worried.”
Serendipity swallowed hard, her eyes filling with unshed tears. She wanted to sign something, anything, but she couldn’t make her hands work.
“Get in here before someone sees you! There are a lot of snitches that live in this building,” Lindsey told the frightened wide-eyed girl.
Serendipity nodded, not thinking twice about it. She walked in and was amazed once again at how much like her room Lindsey’s was. Lindsey brushed past her and cut the TV off which had been showing a different picture of her than the one that had been plastered earlier.
“What in the hell have you done Serendipity?” Lindsey’s asked sounding flabbergasted.
Serendipity shrugged and held up her arms. She didn’t know what had happened. The only thing she could think of was her falling asleep in the Prince’s bed, but they wouldn’t hunt her for something of that sort. She would have only ended up right back at the castle on the following Monday where they would have been able to punish her without making such a scene.
“I’m so sorry Serendipity. You don’t deserve this. None of us do. I can’t imagine what they would want with a sweet girl like you. But God has a plan for you, I’m sure.” Lindsey comforted, leading Serendipity over toward her bed where they both sat.
Lindsey pulled Serendipity’s hands into her own and she bowed in respect to Lindsey as the girl began to pray. She closed her eyes for just a moment, sending a tiny prayer of her own for her to wake from this nightmare. Lindsey looked back up when she was finished and stood to grab a blanket and a pillow from her bed.
“You can sleep here tonight. It will buy you some time to think, but Serendipity you have to realize and prepare yourself for the fact that they will find you. When they do, even I won’t be able to help you.”
Serendipity swallowed the lump in her throat and signed a quick thank you.
Lindsey yawned. “Try to get some sleep, Serendipity, and we’ll see what we can do in the morning,”
Serendipity curled up on the floor and grabbed her brother’s ring, putting the necklace on. She gripped it tightly as she closed her eyes and tried to pretend that this was just a sleepover.
She tossed and turned throughout the night, never truly being able to close her eyes. She expected the Authority to bust into the room any minute to kill her, and Lindsey for helping her. That’s when she knew she had to leave.
Lindsey, the nice women who had helped her through everything since they had been placed in the same district, was at risk for helping her. Serendipity rose from her place on the ground in the early morning hours and tip-toed towards the door. She took one last look at the sleeping form of Lindsey and took off through the door.
Serendipity yelped as she bounced off of a hard chest and hands grabbed her shoulders to steady her. Looking up, Serendipity winced when she saw the werewolf she had knocked out with a bat. She pushed against his chest in fright.
Looking for an escape route, she saw two other wolves behind him and her eyes got wide before she stilled. There was no point in fighting. Even if she managed to get away from one, the other two would be on her in a second.
“Tell the others we have the asset secured,” the man said, looking back at the other two. Serendipity cried out at the man’s grip on her wrist. He turned her around, pulling her shoulders roughly back as he grabbed her hands and tied them together.
“You are being brought in by the authority of the royal family. Do you understand? There is nowhere you can go and no way you can fight your way out of this,” he told her, turning her back around. Serendipity nodded once, her heart in her throat as tears gathered in her eyes.
She heard the door open up behind her.
“Serendipity?” she heard Lindsey gasp.
“There is nothing to see. Go back inside and stay there,” The man commanded Lindsey, his eyes flashing an eerie yellow.
“With all due respect, you are unnecessarily scaring her and she has done absolutely nothing wrong,” Lindsey argued.
Serendipity gaped at her. Her friend was either very brave or very stupid. The man stood his ground and Lindsey’s expression turned to one of anger.
“She can’t even speak for herself! Do you understand, you buffoon? She’s mute,” Lindsey told him. The man’s expression turned to that of shock and he eased his death hold on Serendipity.
He turned to the other two men who didn’t move to say anything but looked as equally as surprised. He turned back to Lindsey.
“Fine. You can understand her?” He asked quickly. Lindsey nodded her head.
The man nodded at the other two wolves. “You’re coming with us then.”
Lindsey knocked one of the men’s hands off of her shoulder.
“I can walk on my own, thank you very much.”
They descend the stairs. Fear knotted her stomach up making her feel ill. As Serendipity and Lindsey were placed in the back of the car and the wolves piled in, she couldn’t help but feel like a lamb off to the slaughter.