Caged Wolf

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Chapter Sixteen: Hayley

Author’s Song of the Chapter: Like I’m Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor

I move before I think about it and it costs me everything, as Joey goes flying by becoming safe behind an ice barrier that I could have been behind too, had I not moved. My eyes meet Dusk’s determined ones as she moves for me but she doesn’t reach me before the room ignites with flames. I scream as agony fills me, flames shoot down my throat scorching my lungs from the inside out. I’m being burnt alive in every possible way until Dusk reaches me, the moment she touches me the fire no longer burns me as she absorbs it away from me protecting me. Dusk’s touch is surprisingly cool and soothing against my already very crispy skin. Out of the corner of my eyes, I see Noah approach a screaming Draco, his body burns an impossibly bright skeletal blue.

“You don’t get to die yet.” Noah murmurs as he freezes Draco, barley alive.

Once Draco is dealt with Noah turns, he uses his hands to bundle the fire controlling it as he sends it at Dusk and I. I flinch expecting to feel more blistering pain instead it’s like Dusk takes it all into her very being. Terror fills me as Dusk’s skin cracks glowing with vibrant red lines until it flakes away showing her skeletal frame. Her eyes become red flaming holes in her skull, I open my mouth to scream when suddenly it all goes away as the room returns to the dull gray colour it is supposed to be. Voices pour into my burnt ears as the ice wall collapses splashing over me with soothing ice-cold water.

‘Your secret is about to be out to everyone, take my blood and do this in the least painful way possible for yourself.’ - Dusk’s voice bounces into my mind surprising me as she offers me her lightly bleeding arm from where she bit into it.

I accept Dusk’s arm, I accept Dusk’s blood understanding it is a smart move, it is the move that will make this all less physically painful.

“What are you doing?” Joey’s voice cries as he collapses beside me, my ears ache.

“Helping her!” Crane replies from my other side, a challenge ringing in his voice as he holds my hand.

“Stop, stop it!” Joey screams at the Wolves, I close my eyes because his scream causes my whole being to throb painfully.

Dusk pulls away from me falling into Noah who catches her as her eyes flutter, she’s given me a lot of blood. My pain has eased greatly, my healing has kicked in meaning I won’t look like a burn victim for too much longer. I blink tears filling my eyes because what I’m about to do will hurt worse than what I went through already.

“Joey, I’ll be okay,” I tell him testing my sore throat out, my voice is raspy but it works.

“How can you be okay? Hail you should be dead, you look like a burn victim, we need to go to the hospital!” Joey rambles from beside me as he grasps my one hand in his, Crane still holds tightly to my other hand.

Crane squeezes the hand he holds lending me the support that I didn’t know I needed to say what needs to be said.

“I don’t need a hospital, Joey, they can’t help me. I’ll heal on my own. I’m one of them Joey, I’m a Wolf.” I explain turning my head so I have a full view of Joey’s reaction.

Joey freezes looking at me silently, his face is a stone-cold mask right up until he discards my hand from his own. Disgust and pain shatter his facade as he scrambles away from me needing to put distance between us that kills me internally. Quickly Joey gets to his feet before he turns taking off running leaving me and our friendship behind. When Crane scoops me up against his chest I shatter, sobs rack my body painfully. Soon the pain is overwhelming as my heart breaks causing me to pass out.

I awake to a cup being pressed tightly to my lips, the liquid within is heaven and, greedily, I gulp it down wetting my sore throat. I blink my eyes adjusting as I see Crane kneeling beside me, he’s the one helping me drink.

“We have to keep you hydrated while you heal gorgeous.” Crane smiles down at me as I drain the cup of its contents.

“We?” I croak, Crane simply nods his head in response.

I’m in a bed but it’s not my own. In the corner curled up and passed out are Noah and Dusk Soda cans surround their sleeping forms as Noah snores lightly over Dusk’s head.

“They refused to let anyone else heal you, they’ve decided what happened to you was their responsibility to fix. Your wounds took a lot of blood, you’re own healing wasn’t working quick enough.” Crane explains as he gently brushes the hair from my face.

Hair! I sit up suddenly, too suddenly as the room sways. Crane steadies me as I take a moment to appreciate my almost fully healed body. What isn’t healed is covered in bandages that are a weird purple colour.

“Sicora’s powers have two purposes, to either heal or hurt. Her poison can draw out infection and help heal when mixed into the proper dosage with some herbs.” Crane smiles at me as he explains the purple bandages.

“Are you saying you have a potions master in your pack?” I tease gently as I dab my fingers into the substance before bringing it to my mouth to taste it.

I swallow and I can feel it’s instant effects on my throat just as Crane blesses me with a laugh. His laughter causes Dusk to stirr but upon taking one look at us she quickly falls back asleep against Noah’s chest.

“So, why all of the concern for me suddenly?” I ask genuinely interested.

“You’re one of us Hayley, we take care of our own when you let us.” Crane states simply but I can tell there is more to it than that, he just doesn’t want to discuss it.

When Crane doesn’t elaborate we fall into what should be an awkward silence, if he were Joey it would be but nothing is awkward with Crane.

“Has Joey tried to come by since…” I trail the question off as I don’t want to recall the burning nor Joey’s reaction to my confession.

“No,” Crane replies honestly, I can’t form words.

My best friend’s absence stings more than I ever imagined it could. Suddenly Crane’s arms come around me and I’m surprised at how appreciative I am of the gesture. I lean into Crane letting him hold me until the sting inside of me subsides a bit.

“What now?” I ask curiously.

“Now we play our part to regain our freedom. Dusk and the other alphas agreed to Penny’s plan, now we set it into motion.” Crane explains to me.

Another wave of tiredness washes over me suddenly, I close my eyes relaxing into the bed and Crane.

“Hayley, am I staying?” Cran questions cautiously.

I know what he’s asking. Crane is asking me if I choose him if I choose the Wolves. If I tell him to stay it means I am finally giving in to the drawing pull I have felt to these Wolves and Crane since the moment I came to them. It means I am giving into the hope that I refused to believe I could have. It means I am a Wolf, there is no more denying it.

“You’re staying.” I murmur before I drift back off to sleep as my body continues to heal.

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