Caged Wolf

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Chapter Ten: Hayley

Song of the Chapter: In The Arms of An Angel by Sarah McLachlan

“So, the strongest Wolves have found their way back to each other even against our desires.” Draco states as we wait in the hallway for the Wolves, Dusk and Noah, to return to us.

“It would seem things are falling into place without us even meaning for them too.” Joey smiles, I sense his words might have a double meaning to them that I don’t want to think about.

“We must prepare for our first mating ceremony immediately,” Penny states excitement slipping into her voice causing us all to frown.

“Mating them wasn’t Jack’s plan, he wanted the Hellhound’s power and that was it, no reproduction.” Draco points simply even though I can sense a storm brewing beneath.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about Jack’s plan recently. I’ve concluded that the Wolves deaths are not necessary, I have a better idea for them. I’d like to make them into an elite task force, think about it they are practically indestructible beings already. Why should we be working towards taking their powers and reproducing them? If they agreed to work under us as protectors they would be agreeing to right their wrongs and potentially create a peaceful life for all of us without any further death required. In doing so they would save so many human lives, they would stop so many deaths. We need the Hellhound alive for that, we need her to trust us for that.” Penny continues but I think we’ve all stopped listening.

My head spins, her plan sounds crazy. The Wolves as a special elite task force working for the humans, it won’t work, would it? The Wolves would never agree to such an idea. Yet, it might be the only way they could ever live peacefully among humans. Protecting the humans might be the only way to regain their trust, I know many humans were already trusting that the Hellhound would restore balance before we interrupted her movements. Could such an impossible idea be the makings of a solution? The only true issue with this idea is it means the Wolves will have to give up any bit of control and freedom they had left, what freedom did Wolves ever truly have anyways? The correct response is none, te white-furs tried to rule but they didn’t present freedom.

“I think that could be a worthwhile plan. It’s the Wolves' only real option to show their worth and prove themselves valuable to humans.” I think aloud surprising myself, Joey’s eyes widen as he does a double-take as if he can’t believe my words.

“Don’t you mean us, they can prove themselves to us?” Draco questions me his eyes narrowed, I meet his eyes unblinking, he could be dangerous to me.

“I was speaking metaphorically,” I respond my tone bored, I will not rise to Draco’s suspicious bait.

Draco whispers something to Joey, I believe this conversation is over so I begin to walk away. I need to think about this more and try to piece together my thoughts, I’m supposed to want the Wolves dead but now I don’t know what I want. I’m conflicted at the presentation of this other option. Penny appears at my side as I walk and she hums a little to herself, it’s her way of signalling she is very deep in thought.

“How do you think we go about the task-force idea?” Penny asks me, I peer at her out the corner of my eyes unsure why she’s asked me.

“Continue with the current mating plans, they will forms packs and as the packs are forming consult the alpha’s and beta’s on the idea. I’m sure the Wolves already have a plan so presenting this one will give them one of two options. Try to escape or accept the idea of the future. Present your plan in such a manner that they can’t refuse, start with the Hellhound. I’m sure all the Wolves will come together under her making her our best bet and biggest risk factor.” I reply honestly, Penny seems to hang off of my every word.

“In between convincing the Hellhound, I can work on the government. After talking to the present and head of the military with my brother I’m sure they will be pleased with this idea. This will save millions of human lives, we might not even need human soldiers anymore, though we need to run some tests.” Penny suggests excitement taking over her voice at such an idea.

Penny pulls away from me taking a turn opposite from me. Suddenly Joey appears at my side, I realize he must have been following us. I let out a sigh of confusion, this place was supposed to be easy.

“Do you believe in Penny’s plan?” Joey questions me, hurt ringing in his tone though he tries to hide it.

I stop walking and turn to Joey. Our eyes meet and I can’t help but think how he’s nothing like Crane.

“Sort of. I still think we should continue our plan to execute the Hellhound she’s too much of a loose cannon after everything Jack did to her. However, you have to admit that maybe peace can be achieved through this new idea if the original plan fails. Maybe we can work with the Wolves to capture and kill people like the ones who killed our family.” I explain, Joey’s stiffens offended.

“It wasn’t people who killed our family, Hal, it was Wolves. You think they will kill one another for us?” Joey spits before he takes off leaving me behind to my thoughts.

I stand still as confusion builds within me, my heart is telling me something different than my brain and that’s never happened before. It’s always been about wanting all the Wolves dead so the world can be safe. I feel like a double-edged knife ready to slice open either plan. I’m a two-faced snake prone to either plan, not knowing which plan I truly prefer. Suddenly my head grows light and my legs wobble beneath me, I lean hard against the wall as I try to regain myself from the threat of my memories. At that moment I hear the quiet sniffling of another person behind me. I turn my eyes finding a hidden nock in the cavern wall where a crumbled body sits curled in on itself. I move closer to a terrible smell I recognize reaching my nose that almost causes me to gag. This is a smell I recognize from my memories, blood. This person is covered from head to toe in thick, sticky, red, blood. Trails of clear watermark the line of tears away from this person’s eyes causing me to swallow hard. I watch, hypnotized, as the eyes flicker open and deep green ones meet my own.

“Crane?” I ask gently but even then he flinches away from my voice.

I move in closer as he tries to control his breathing to contain his uncontrollable sobs.

“Why did you ask to fight? That was no fight, that was a slaughter.” Crane groans at me his voice wobbly and barely above a whisper as he questions me.

“Slaughter?” I repeat confused as I try to remain composed, the last time I heard the word slaughter swims in the back of my mind.

“This wasn’t a simple murder sir, this was a slaughter. The Wolf killed all but these two, it ripped them to shreds leaving them barely recognizable.” The deputy's voice carries from the other side of the ambulance as I breathe in deep breathes panic edging my stomach.

“That’s what my sister, my parents, must have felt when we whipped them out. They must have felt this horrible pain and confusion. To go through such death.” Crane babbles his words making little sense to me as they pull me back to reality.

“Crane what did they do to you?” I prod and his eyes flicker back to mine as he gives me a crazed smile giving me shivers.

“Nothing, they did nothing to me. It’s what they did to the adults, it’s how they did it. It’s what I had to do after that.” He continues to smile as he talks and I’m beginning to think he might be a bit delirious.

“Crane I don’t understand,” I state hoping my clear confusion might break him from this odd spell.

“No, how could you? You think we are monsters, you think we don’t care for anyone but ourselves.” He spits suddenly, his eyes clearing as he looks into mine accusing.

I flinch a bit at his sudden cruelty but I know I deserve such an attitude. Crane is only speaking the truth, yet the truth hurts me for once.

“I’m not sure what I think anymore,” I tell him honestly, my words seem to gain his full attention.

“Can you take me to Dusk, please?” He asks gently as he props himself up getting to his feet though he leans heavily on the wall for support.

When he sways unsteadily I go to him without hesitation catching his body weight with my own. I can tell he doesn’t want to but he leans on me allowing me to help him. A ragged bloodline is ripped through his shirt and trails down his back. I notice his clothes are ripped in several spots and his hands are grimy with blood.

“Will you tell me what happened?” I push as we begin to move, Crane winces with every step.

“You really don’t know?” Crane questions his voice vulnerable as I lead him.

“If I did would I be this persistent?” I respond, my response is much cooler than I meant for it to be.

Crane remains silent as if pondering whether he trusts me or not. His eyes flash, haunted with ghosts of what he has experienced. Finally, he let out a defeated sigh.

“Shortly after I left you and Reaper I entered the room I dreaded returning to. All the omegas turned to look at me with the adults surprised I was back. That’s when the collars all started buzzing at the same time and all the adults began shaking and grabbing at their heads. I went to my aunt and Cassie’s mom thinking they might be in pain but my aunt snapped attacking me. I didn’t understand what was happening until the adults began to drop like flies, pink oozed from their ears, eyes, mouths and noses. The collars were frying them from the inside out, the pain of such a death drove them insane enough to turn on one another and kill each other. I started off trying to protect Lora, my aunt, as best as I could but she wouldn’t let me. Every time I got too near she would turn on me, Cassie’s mom fell quickly. I couldn’t do anything to save either one of them when their brains melted, I couldn’t do anything to save my aunt. I was in mourning and at a complete loss as mates turned on each other and death began to smell around me. I was drowning in death until the young omegas came to me when they realized I wasn’t going to turn on them. They snapped me back together and I protected them in the way that I couldn’t protect my aunt or Cassie’s mom. I protected them until every adult was no longer a threat and we were saved, I protected them and I’ve never felt so right and wrong about one thing at the same time before.” Crane finishes and a stray tear trickles from his eyes.

I don’t know what to say or how to feel, I’m shocked. Crane shakes as we walk and I can’t help the squeezing in my heart, I can’t help but feel for him, for them. I don’t think it was part of Penny’s plan to have the adults killed off, she would have needed them for her elite task force idea. I think someone else ordered their deaths. My suspicions turn instantly falling on Penny’s green-haired counterpart Draco. We near Dusk’s room, I’ve come to be able to recognize it, and Crane comes to an abrupt halt. Crane’s nose is picking up something I’ve already deciphered, Dusk’s room is full of Wolves as well as Penny and Draco, Penny is probably pitching them her plan. Before I get the chance to breathe Joey steps from the room, his eyes instantly locking onto me and Crane. Crane goes deathly still beside me his eyes boring into Joey.

“What are you doing with one of them, helping one of them?” Joey snaps his eyes narrowed to where my body touches Crane’s.

I open my mouth to respond but I don’t get the chance as Joey smirks and obvious smirk at Crane’s injuries and Crane reacts. Crane steps out of my help and right into Joey’s space, he stands his full deadly height even with his injuries. Joey pales as if he forgot, even injured, Crane is a Wolf.

“You’re worse than my kind now, you took place in a mass murder willingly.” Crane spits his fists curled at his sides as he speaks, disgust and anger rolling from his body in waves.

“You can’t murder what isn’t human, you should know that Crane considering you helped murder what wasn’t white-furs,” Joey replies boldly causing Crane’s green eyes to glow and something inside me snaps with shock.

I believe Crane’s accusations of Joey, I trust Crane over Joey. I know what took place was unnecessary slaughter and Joey doesn’t feel anything about it. Joey killed when I murdered I felt so broken up about it that I’ve been scared to be what I truly am for so many years. I can tell from these Wolves, from Crane, that every death has worn on them, every ghost is a demon of their pasts. All this time I thought I was a monster, I thought these Wolves were monsters but the truth is clear in front of me now. The truth is Joey is a monster, the truth is anyone who kills and it doesn’t haunt them is a monster. I am not a monster, the Wolves are not monsters. Crane must sense my realizations as he steps away from Joey and towards me, in that second Joey meets my eyes. Joey’s face pales as he reads me then he shoots around me without another word.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t want you to find out he took part in it that way,” Crane whispers as he moves to me pulling me into an embrace I didn’t know I needed.

Even injured and vulnerable Crane holds me with such comfort and strength that I realize what it means. I realize I need to stay away from him because I can never be what or who he needs. Sadness enters my soul as I leave Crane’s embrace without a word before entering Dusk’s room. I do my best not to feel Crane’s hurt and confusion as all eyes turn to my entrance than his. I move to Penny’s side as Noah moves. Without a word Noah bites into his arm before offering his blood to Crane who hesitates. They share an indistinguishable look before Crane accepts the blood and their loyalty to one another is cemented, Crane is cemented to them. I briefly avert my eyes to whisper to Penny before all eyes return to us.

“I need to talk to you, it’s a pressing matter,” I whisper as my eyes return to Crane tracking him to his sister’s side.

“We shall discuss the matter immediately following this conversation. I’m glad you wore your contacts Draco has become suspicious of you.” Penny assures me before she whispers the last part to me.

Our eyes dart across the room to where Draco leans on a wall watching this all unfold his face distorted with clear disgust at being surrounded by Wolves, I know my suspicions about him are right. Penny seats herself on a sofa across from Noah and Dusk before I move around to stand closely behind the sofa trying to show my clear loyalty to Penny.

“Why are you here, invading our space?” Dusk questions straight to the point as Noah’s fingers drum lightly against her arm.

“It is clear that humans simply do not trust your kind, some would call you monsters, bloodthirsty creatures who only know violence. After watching you closely I know the truth, you are the same as us. For this, I want to help you gain human’s trust back and thus your freedom. That is why, with the government’s approval, I would like to create the Wolves into an elite task force to protect life as we know it. I think this is the only way we can ever hope to live peacefully together and eventually without such a program in place at all.” Penny explains slowly emphasizing every word.

“Freedom, we’ve never had freedom, this place made sure of that!” A girl with striking purple eyes snaps.

Others speak out after her but I pay them no attention as I keep my eyes trained on Dusk. Dusk’s reaction is all that matters because the others follow her, they will respect her. I watch silently as Dusk’s mind works as her eyes flit with indecision until they land on mine clearing.

“How can we trust you?” Noah questions, Penny’s eyes briefly connect with mine.

I understand now why Penny has not yet told them of today’s events as it would break any amount of trust these Wolves are willing to give. Suddenly my eyes bounce around until they find Crane and our eyes meet. I know I have to keep him from telling Dusk about the adults, about Lora. My heart aches at the notion of making him carry such a burden, yet it must be done for the better good.

“As soon as this meeting is over I plan on holding mating ceremonies starting with Dusks and yours. From there we will work on creating a compound in which you will be moved to for living in between missions. From this moment on we work together every step of the way, from this moment on you take part in the decisions made.” Penny smiles but, things fall silent as we all anxiously await Dusk and Noah’s decision.

“Even if our pack agrees to this what makes you believe the others and their packs will be on board?” Noah prods a relevant question.

“We have a good, strong belief that they will follow in your path. That they will trust you to make the right decision.” Penny replies honestly her eyes flickering to mine.

“This is truly our only opportunity to right our relationship with humankind? You aren’t holding anything else back from us?” A white-haired guy with a resemblance to Dusk and Crane questions.

“It is the only viable solution that has been backed by the human government.” Penny states and I’m glad to see a lot of heads shaking in agreement.

“Will we have to continue to wear these collars?” Noah asks causing hands to shoot up knecks.

“No we do not wish to control you, as soon as all Wolves unit and present no threat to one another collars will be removed,” Penny replies.

“Why not now as a sign of agreed trust?” Crane’s voice pushes surprising me as I didn’t expect him to speak out.

“There are some Wolves we do not trust as of yet, we don’t want them joining you and yours simply to have their collars removed,” Penny explains calmly, I know she’s grasping at straws now.

I blink and briefly look at the ground hoping upon praying that they can’t decipher Penny’s last words as the half-truth that it is. I look back up and meet Dusk’s narrowed eyes as her nostrils flare. Everyone falls deadly silent as Dusk stands before stepping around the sofa and into my face invading my space. We look at each other and I can tell she read me like an open book, she was watching me just as I had been watching her.

“Your leader here claims she has been honest and open with us but your reaction is what I’ve been watching for. You see you let me know that though you believe in this program you are also keeping something from us, perhaps about your green-haired friend. Something about yourself, personal fear is also holding you back from the truth.” Dusk speaks her voice calm, her last words cut me as I drop eye contact with her.

“There is a matter we wish to discuss with you, however, we must learn more of the details ourselves before that happens. As for personal matters, don’t we all have some we prefer to keep to ourselves?” Penny prods but Dusk remains in my face.

“Packs trust each other with everything,” Noah states his gaze hot on my body as he watches Dusk and me intently.

I finally return Dusk’s gaze only to find her head cocked slightly as her thoughts are distracted. Noah looks similar so I take a moment to peak around noticing how Crane stares at Dusk intently as if they were mid-conversation. All the Wolves share that weird similar look and Dusk suddenly backs off me.

“You have three days to decide if you want to be completely honest with us and earn our full trust, or you can not tell us and cause problems. You and I both know that for the greater good I have to agree to your program, however, I don’t have to make it easy unless you choose such a thing. Choose to work with us, not against us.” Dusk proposes using some of Penny’s own words against her before she pushes past us and leaves out into the hallway.

One by one the Wolves follow her until Penny and I are left alone in the room with Crane.

“Why shouldn’t I tell my pack, my alphas of what you’ve done to our elders?” Crane gets right to the point, his voice startling Penny who didn’t realize he had remained behind.

“I didn’t order the death of any Wolves, no was I aware such unfortunates were occurring. I believe Draco has taken it upon himself to continue my brother’s original plan to kill those who could not be controlled and use those that can be with some inside help.” Penny explains a clear mixture of disgust and horror echoing in her voice.

“What will happen to those who murdered my people?” Crane prods lightly his eyes on me because I know he knows he is asking for Joey to be punished.

“Come tomorrow night they will be dealt with and, if need be, killed,” Penny replies before turning and leaving Crane and me alone.

I try to digest her words, Joey could be killed for what he has done. Does he deserve it? I turn to follow Penny to talk to her about Joey when Crane reaches out halting me from continuing.

“Dusk will not prod about your secrets again, though she’s smart enough to probably have figured out what I’m still working on. As for your other more prominent secret, we all do things we regret in the end, Hayley. My sister won’t judge, Noah won’t judge, these Wolves won’t judge, I won’t judge.” Crane states before letting me go.

I don’t walk away from him as I should. Instead, Crane pushes past leaving me alone to my thoughts, right now I’m wishing he had stayed even though I know him and I can’t be a thing. I hang my head as I lean against the wall for support, my body feels heavy suddenly. If Crane tells Dusk about the adults before we can figure out why it happened than any hopes of peace are lost.

“You know it’s possible to be who you are truly meant to be still.” Dusk’s voice comes behind me starling me as I turn to find she is closing the door behind her.

Her words bounce around inside my mind even though I don’t want to believe them if I believe them than I will have hope. I can’t afford to have that kind of hope, not after what I’ve done.

“I don’t think I should ever be that Hayley again, that Hayley was a monster,” I whisper, again I trust Dusk with my words even though I should just turn and walk out the door.

“This Dusk is a monster because she has to be to keep her pack alive, I have to be a monster to protect those I love. Just because we are a monster once doesn’t mean we always have to be that monster.” Dusk replies smoothly surprising me as I look up into her eyes seeing she believes her words.

“I’m afraid I’ll lose control again, I’m afraid I’ll hurt people again,” I tell baring my biggest fear to this Wolf.

“You won’t if you stick with us, we can teach you, Hayley. We can help you, but if you don’t let us help you then you will lose control again and you will hurt more people.” Dusk explains her words pointed, these are not meant to reassure, this is a warning.

I don’t know what to say, which doesn’t matter because the door opens as Noah re-enters the room. His eyes meet Dusk’s and they turn to leave the room again together, Dusk doesn’t even look at me as she leaves. She’s said her part and that’s all she can do, now it’s up to me to either listen or ignore her. I don’t hesitate in the room this time, quickly I follow behind Dusk and Noah as I exit into the hallway. I can’t help but watch them as they walk away casually holding hands, their love is easy to see.

“Let’s go find the guys and talk to them before we perform their mating ceremony. Maybe that Wolf will remain quiet, we have to hold onto our hope.” Penny sighs to me the moment I turn to her in the hallway, she had been waiting on me.

“That Wolf, Crane, told me Joey was part of the murdering, I believe him. Plus in his own way, Joey admitted to the crime. How will they be punished, Penny?” I question as we retreat down the hallway, suddenly the air coming from around seems to bounce cooly off the stone walls.

“We take them to the mating ceremony and see if it helps open their eyes to how much we need the Wolves. If it doesn’t then tomorrow they will face the Wolves, I don’t think they will kill Joey Hayley but you should be prepared for it.” Penny replies, her voice simple and devoid of emotions.

I don’t like the idea of my best friend being handed over to the mercy of the Wolves, in the same sense what he took part in was wrong. Joey should face the result of his actions, the same as I will soon have to face him about the truth. We continue in silence each buried deep within our thoughts, I know Penny once loved Draco. Eventually, we arrive at Penny’s office where Draco and Joey are already waiting on us, this proves they are guilty. Joey and I lock eyes and I can sense fear mixed in with mistrust coming from him.

“So, why did you kill off all the adults?” Penny questions straight to the point, Joey pales.

“They were uncontrollable, they had to go!” Draco sighs in exaggeration and not a single cell in his body shows any remorse, my blood boils.

“They would have respected and listened to the Hellhound, Draco. Now you have jeopardized our chance at peace.” Penny points her voice heavy with disappointment that seems to strike Draco as he flinches.

“Peace with those monsters? You really have lost your way Penny, your brother would be so disappointed in you.” Draco scoffs causing me to bristle as Penny stiffens beside me.

“No Draco I have found a new way. The Wolves indeed have more animalistic tendencies than humans but in many ways, there are little differences to us and them. Humans murder, humans rape, humans kill needlessly, thus humans are just as violent!” Penny claims, her points are valid, ones I never thought of before.

“No Penny, Wolves are not the same as humans, they are pack animals, predators who will turn on us humans! That will be on you!” Draco spits before he gets up from his spot sitting on Penny’s desk and rushes from the room dramatically.

“Joey, do you share Draco’s point of view?” I prod gently causing Joey to look at me, the idea he does scares me.

“I don’t know. Wolves murdered our family Hayley, yet, humans very well could have done the same thing. I just want justice, but where do I get it?” Joey responds deep in thought, his vulnerability surprises me.

“Take some time to think Joey, but, decide wisely as such a crime can’t go unpunished,” Penny states causing Joey to jerks his eyes up to her.

Joey nods his head before hanging it as his cheeks colour with shame.

“Come, we have a mating ceremony to hold. I’ve done my research and this should be a beautiful moment. More beautiful than even a human’s wedding.” Penny urges as soundlessly Joey and I follow her.

I don’t look at Joey anymore and he doesn’t look at me. Suddenly there is a wide valley between us and I don’t know what to do about it. I could help Joey but it would ruin us forever.

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