The invaders tore through the border defenders like one of those posters that cheerleaders hold up for the football team to run through before the game. In seconds, over fifty bloodthirsty wolves had ripped the throats of ten Pack members and left them bleeding into the pine straw that lined the forest near the edge of the lake. The Alpha looked at what was coming and knew it was hopeless. “Get back to the Pack House, defend it to the last man!”
Wolves started running for the large house in the middle dozens of smaller homes and cabins. Women and children ran or were carried into the basement, where the safe room was. In her home, the Luna was pulling on a sling, them wrapping my baby girl in blankets before setting her in it. Everything could burn, she would die tonight, but their daughter had to survive to carry on her line.
“Luna!” Cheryl was still in the building, she was a juvenile of fourteen who had been cleaning up the kitchen when the alarm came.
“Cheryl, what are you doing? Get to the safe room.”
“It’s too late, Luna.” Through the windows of the Alpha’s House, wolves were pouring out of the woods a half mile away at a full sprint. They would have to beat them to the Pack House, and there wasn’t enough time to reach safety any more.
“Follow me.” The Luna raced down to the basement, Cheryl on her heels. Moving aside a bookcase on hinges, she opened a door that led to a tunnel. “This leads to the garbage cans at the back of the property. Take her and run, run east until you reach the Oxbow Lake Pack. Let them know what happened to us.”
Cheryl looked up as the Luna took the sling off and put it around her neck. “What about you?”
She set her jaw. “I’m not going down without a fight. Go.” She practically shoved Cheryl into the tube, then closed the door and slid the bookcase back. Racing upstairs, she grabbed a shotgun from the cabinet just before the door was busted open. She cursed her pregnancy, only two months after her daughter had been weaned, because she couldn’t shift. Her son would die with her.
The short-barreled pump shotgun belched fire once, twice, three times before it fell to the floor. While she had been blasting at the five wolves in the front, one had run in from the kitchen behind her and knocked her to the ground. The black wolf’s jaws clamped down on her right elbow, and loud crunches accompanied her screams as she tumbled forward. Wolves surged through the undefended door, one grabbing her left forearm and pulling while others attacked her legs. The wolves kept her on her stomach, unable to fight their combined weight.
“Hold her,” the command came from outside, and a man came through the door. He was huge, his head almost touching the doorframe, his shoulders having to turn sideways to enter. He stepped over the dead wolves on the porch and looked down with disdain at the woman on the ground. She looked at him, fury showing on her face. “Your mate is dead,” the man said as she finally gave up her struggle, her broken limbs bleeding onto the glossy wooden floor. “Your Betas, your warriors as well. Your safe house is surrounded, it’s defenders lay dead or dying on the grass outside it.”
“You won’t get away with this, Todd.” She spit at his feet, the bloody mix not quite making it there.
“I warned your father what would happen if he turned down my proposal, and he should have known better. You refused me, but your daughter will not be able to. Where is she?”
He just laughed. “A couple years ago, that was the plan. Find her.” The men not holding her shifted and started to go through every room in the house. Their ears and noses would defeat any hiding place, he knew that. Todd casually walked over and sat down, unconcerned with his nudity as he looked at the bloodied young woman he had once courted.
His men that had gone to search the house came back, shaking their heads. “The kid isn’t here, Alpha.”
Todd just nodded. “The bloodline rights are to be mine, Luna. Turn over your daughter now and I’ll spare the ones in the safe room.”
“Never. My family line is not going to mix with your craziness.”
“Fine.” He looked at the wolves holding her in place. “Break her arms and legs and leave her here, then burn the house. The rest of you, with me. The truck should be here in a few minutes.”
“MAY LUNA CURSE YOU AND YOUR LINE TO ETERNAL HELL,” the woman screamed as her femurs were broken, leaving her helpless on the floor. “You’ll never have her.”
"She will be mine." Todd turned and walked out, as a man ran in with a can of gasoline from the garage. He started shaking it around the room, soaking the furniture and drapes. When it was empty, he tossed it aside and took the matches from the top of the fireplace. “You never should have rejected him,” the man said.
“You never should follow an Alpha like that,” she replied. The match was struck and tossed, the gasoline flashing to flames immediately. Before he was out of sight, the room was engulfed in flames. It took a minute for her screams to be overcome by the roaring fire.
The men were gathered around the entrance to the safe room, a reinforced-concrete room in the basement of the Pack House. “Beta, how long to take it down?”
All the men bowed their heads as Alpha Todd came to the front. “The door can’t withstand the blowtorch, boss. I’ll get through this in an hour.” Men were already hauling equipment down from the trucks that had just arrived out front.
The big man walked to the door and banged on it three times with his large fist. “This is Alpha Todd Blackstone. Your Alphas are dead, your mates as well. Open the door in the next two minutes, and you will live as Omegas in my Pack, but you will live. Your young will grow and find their mates, maybe you will find love again. No one can know what the future holds except ME. And I promise you that if this door is not opened in time, we will come in and take what we want and leave your dead bodies in there for the rest of time.”
Inside the room, huddled in the corner, the women of the Pack put their heads together. “You’ve heard the stories,” one said. “The Bitterroot Pack is horrible, their Alpha a monster.” She switched to the link while rocking her young child on her chest. “You’ll live, yes… live to be raped daily and watch your children be taken from you and turned into monsters like him. I’ll never give myself up to them.”
Heads nodded, tears were wiped away. “I’ll kill my own children before I let them be captured by that man,” one said.
“Me too,” said another. One by one, the eighteen females in the room nodded their heads in agreement.
“May Luna forgive us for what we need to do now,” the first said. Hands moved to where they were hidden from the children, and razor-sharp claws extended. “On the count of three.”
When the count was reached, claws sliced through throats, and shocked faces looked up at their mothers as their lifeblood drained away. The mothers then took their claws to the remaining children, then their own necks.
Forty-five minutes later, when the door was finally breached, all Todd and his men found was a pile of bloody corpses. None of the year-old children found among them were female.
Cheryl moved as fast as she could through the narrow tunnel, careful to keep the baby from banging into the walls. It wasn’t easy, her jaws had a good hold on the sling, but her back was scraping the top and the sling was inches above the bottom. The emergency tunnel was built of 24” concrete sewage piping and had been buried underground for four hundred feet until it came out in a culvert near the lake. She reached the end, stopping and using her wolf senses to look for danger.
The air was full of smoke and the smells of strange werewolves and blood. No one was near, so she carefully pushed the grating and was relieved when it hinged open from the top. She crawled out under it, setting her precious cargo down on the rocks before grabbing it with her teeth, making sure it closed again quietly. With all these fighters around, she couldn’t be spotted now.
She waited a few seconds, making sure she was in the clear, then picked up the sleeping child and started moving quickly and quietly along the trail near the beach. The clear, cool night was illuminated by several of the houses burning brightly, including the Alpha’s. Men, dozens of them, and trucks were parked outside the Pack House. She could hear their laughter as they plotted the final destruction of her home and her Pack.
Cheryl moved quickly, glad she couldn’t cry as a wolf. She had her first shift a few months ago, so her senses weren’t as highly developed as an adult. If she let her guard down, they both were dead.
The farther she got from the house, the faster she ran. It was when she heard the howls behind her, the howls of a Pack on a hunt, that she knew her escape had not gone undetected.
She pushed her body hard through the forest, but she was no match for mature trackers who could run for days and had the noses of bloodhounds. The men were getting closer, and her neck was screaming in pain from holding the baby as she ran.
She saw lights up ahead and waited in the woods until the car passed by on the seldom-used county road. She wasn’t going to make it, she could hear them only a few miles behind her. Making a choice, she put the baby down by the side of the road, then turned and raced back the way she came.
A mile or so later, she stood at the top of a granite ledge, the best defensive position she had seen during her run. It was only six feet above the pine straw and dirt of the forest, and her heart pounded in her chest as she saw the group for the first time. Warriors in their prime, running hard on a trail that was easy to follow. Raising her head to the full moon above, she let out her best war cry and prayed to Luna for a good death.
The warriors fanned out, making sure she had no escape. They stopped twenty feet away, and one shifted. “Young one, come with us and you may live.”
She sat down, looking submissive, shivering in fear and baiting him to come closer. He was three times her size, and his chest and arms bore the marks of countless battles. He smiled, seeing her coat and getting a smell, she was newly shifted and unmated. She would make a good addition to their Omegas and help birth the next generation of their warriors. “It would be easier if you just came with me,” he said as he reached for her scruff.
She moved with lightning speed, snapping up and grabbing is thumb with her teeth. Biting down with all her strength, she held on to the digit as she was jerked up off the ground. A large fist collided with her chest, knocking the air out of her and breaking several of her ribs. She bit down on the thumb until it came loose in her mouth. “YOU BITCH,” he said as he tossed her thirty feet, her body rolling to a halt in front of his men.
She shifted, moaning in pain, her body trying hard to catch a breath over the pain of her ribs. “Fuck her then kill her,” the angry Beta said, then he started looking for his missing thumb. Picking it up, he put it in his mouth and shifted, running back towards the house to find their Pack Doctor. Two men left with him.
Twenty minutes later, after the men remaining men had their turns, they cut her throat and tossed her body into a shallow ravine. “Come on, let’s get back to the others,” one said and they all turned back the way they came.
On the side of the road, the little red-headed girl woke up, her little arm working free of the blanket and reaching for the moon high above her. “Oooon,” she said with a laugh.