The sound of his fists connecting with the punching bag resonated across the room. Grunts and growls tumbled out of his mouth. He was going at it for the past hour. Her inquisitive gaze traced the wide expanse of his back.
Six feet two inches, broad and muscular with a square jawline, Nate reminded her of those royal lycans she often steered clear of in the past. His blonde hair and pale green eyes stood out from the others.
She eyed the other equipment that lined the wall. That morning when the lanky doctor showed up with the upgrades the lycan asked for she knew Nate had won. His task was to befriend her. A frown tugged at the corners of her mouth. What if Nate was actually helping the doctor? She quickly curbed the thought. It was she, who found them in the first place.
In a lonely world filled with strangers, he was the only one who could hear her in the dark. Unlike the others, he heard her the first time and was even able to see her. Though his arrogance and cockiness infuriated her to no extent, she couldn’t help but go back to him. Because he was her key to the home.
Did she have one? She now knew the witch who adopted her did so with evil intentions. Also, the same witch was now back to destroy the earth and every life in it.
“Lycanthropes are a bunch of uncultured mutts and they kill without mercy. Stay away from them.” That had been Mother Guinevere’s warning to her when she turned sixteen. Then her curiosity always got the best of her. She often snuck away to wander the supernatural realm and stacked a fair share of adventures.
Her first encounter with lycanthropes wasn’t a memorable one. The furry beasts didn’t even bother to listen to her reasoning as they chased her out of their territory. She barely made out alive and never dared to go anywhere near them again.
When Mother Guinevere found out about her adventurous escapades, she often locked her away for days without food. She never knew who her real mother was or how she ended up in the hands of a witch.
A squeak of chains brought her out of her thoughts. Nate had moved to the next equipment she didn’t recognize. When he started running, she stared at him in awe. What sort of magic was this? The humans were excessively knowledgeable. They didn’t possess natural magic like the witches. However, they tinkered with the objects to create things that beat magic in her opinion, which also made them a very lethal enemy. Not that they could win against her.
They’re not our enemies. We protect them. The little voice inside her head advised as usual. She rolled her eyes. The faceless guardian as it claimed often sprouted nonsense she didn’t want to listen. If the guardian protected her, she wouldn’t have ended up here in captivity.
She rubbed her temples, trying to fill the huge void in her memory. She woke in the captivity with little memory of her past and so many nightmares about the future.
Her physical body had been too weak and she had no choice but to wait. She had known who she was. A cursed creature that shouldn’t have born on this earth. The events that led to her current situation were still vague. She had regained some of those memories as her strength returned.
A sigh drifted off her as she watched Nate’s powerful legs run at the maximum speed. His claws had extended and his eyes were now glowing green. Lycans were the beasts that lived with nature. Caging these beasts was dangerous. Nate must have amazing control over his beast side. That reminded her how these new generation lycans were entirely different from the ancient ones she knew.
Just like that, her mind was back on the memory lane. During the times her body allowed to use her magic, she left the captivity in her spiritual form. Initially, she tried to find where she was. However, the moment her spirit left her mortal body, it acted on impulse. The short trips she took was out of her control. She was moving toward someone or something. Every time she got closer to the target, she was pulled back into her body because it had grown too weak. There she would wait for hours and sometimes days before she could leave again.
Finally, one day she stumbled on a woman who radiated a strong aura that pulled her like a magnet. Only she had taken a step back upon seeing the lycan by her side. However, desperation had her go back repeatedly. In other words, she had no choice. It was as if her spirit was in tune with the woman. She didn’t know how they were connected, but there was something that always pulled her to the woman.
As more days passed her visions intensified. The gory scenes of an upcoming war grew vivid and she saw the signs of the apocalypse. The voice that had been silent for too long, her guardian urged to go to the woman and lycan suddenly. She hadn’t remembered he existed until that moment.
“You again? Where were you all these days?” Memories flooded her at the sound of his soothing voice. It made her emotional for some reason. Maybe because it was the only thing she had close to a parent. A real caretaker, unlike the witch.
“You were too weak to communicate, little Dora.”
“Do not call me that. You left me. You…you failed to protect me.” She didn’t remember how exactly her guardian failed. If he had done his job right, she wouldn’t have ended up in this wretched place as a prisoner. To them, she was nothing more than an object of interest. They called her subject X. “Why do you care?”
“I never stopped caring for you, little Dora. I kept you alive all these years,” the voice softened. “Find her, Isadora. Warn her. She will help you.”
“What’s so special about her?” Her irritation flared. “Why do I keep going back? Was that your doing?”
“Trust her; she is the key to end this apocalypse,” the voice replied. “Go to her.”
“Why? If you really care, get me out of here.”
Silence stretched. Seconds turned into minutes before her guardian responded again.
“I can’t. My hands are tied.”
She laughed deliriously. “Some guardian you are. Leave!”
“I don’t need you. Leave!” she bellowed. Alarms blared around her and she saw the humans rushing to her. Some ran to the machines, pressing several buttons while some checked her vitals. Their touch infuriated her. She didn’t like being touched. “Stop touching me!” They continued despite her protests.
“They can’t hear you,” her guardian’s sad voice whispered. “She’s special because she’s your sister.”
She directed her anger at him. “Sister? I don’t have a sister.”
The voice, her guardian went silent for a moment before it spoke again. “Now you do. It’s been thousands of years, Isadora. I had waited too long for this day. I send her here so you could protect each other.”
“I do not understand.”
“I shouldn’t tell you this…” He went silent again. “I created you so you can protect this world and maintain peace among the creatures. But…”
“You see I’m the God of Justice. The fellow gods were jealous and they cursed you. When you turned eighteen, you lost control and died.”
“Almost…” He sighed. “I managed to save you and locked your life source inside your body. All these years I was waiting for you to wake up.”
Before she could ask the next question, he left her alone to mull with her thoughts. Despite her unwillingness, she found herself sharing her dreams with Alexandra after a couple of days. While she waited for her body to recuperate, she sent her visions to her sister.
Isadora blinked her eyes at the sound. The tiny taps that jerked her out of her thoughts continued. She turned her head to see Nate leaning over the glass wall that separated them, his eyes twinkling with mischief.
The attractive male in his early twenties astounded her every time their gazes locked. Sheen of sweat covered his tan skin. Heat rushed to her cheeks at the sight of his shirtless torso.
“Control yourself, Isadora…” His thick baritone slipped into her mind. “He’s watching us.”
She averted her gaze. “Go away.” Her voice came out soft, huskier than she intended. She cleared her throat.
“Your acting sucks.” He scratched his chin. “My name is Nate,” he continued with a playful grin. “What’s yours?”
“My acting sucks?” She was on her feet. However, the moment their gaze locked again, her heart skipped a beat. “I don’t like you.”
“I’m expecting more.”
She blasted him and laughed aloud when he landed on his butt. “Want more?” Her lips quirked.
Instead of climbing to his feet, he just folded a leg and rested a hand over his knee. “Cool, sweetheart. I just wanted to know your name.”
“You already know my name.” She moved closer, flattening her palm on the glass.
He gave her a coy smile. “We are the only ones here. It would benefit us both if we can become friends, don’t you think? I mean...” He continued with a shrug, “We can keep each other company.”
The way he stressed the word company sent heat down her spine. His gaze ran along her length before traveling back to her face.
“I don’t want to be your friend.”
He scoffed. “Why not? I’m awesome.” He jumped to his feet. “Think carefully…” he drawled with a smile.
She watched with a frown as he produced the remote from his back.
“You don’t have to answer me immediately. I can wait.”
The curtain began to cover the glass wall as she fought the urge to stop him. He was really leaving her like that. She chewed at her lip.
“See you soon, sweetheart. I’m gonna shower now.”
The curtain now covered the wall completely, leaving her alone in the room. She suddenly felt at loss. She went to the bed, contemplating. There was nothing she could do here. The empty walls offered no solace. Her gaze went to his side of the wall.
Should I go to his room?
Unfortunately, after her last stunt her body had grown weak. She’d have to wait before she could pull something like that.
“My doors are open.”
Huh! She blinked. Did she say that loud?
“I’m naked under the shower. I don’t mind if you wanna watch,” he teased.
“You’re shameless.” She cupped her cheeks, trying to rub off the tiny tingles caused by the sudden flare of heat.
His rich chuckle floated into his mind. “I have an audience watching me shower every day. Having one more to the pile doesn’t make any difference.”
She frowned at his words before realization dawned. The humans were watching. Tiny popping sounds echoed from the room at the flare of her anger.
“Wow! That was fast. I see you’re not the sharing kind.”
Isadora lay on the bed, a smile stretching her lips. Sharing. She never possessed anything that she had to share with the others. What did he mean by sharing?
“What do you mean by that?”
“It means you’re possessive.”
“I am not.”
“Hmm…Allow me to elaborate then. You don’t like them watching me. So, you blasted the cameras. Sweetheart, that’s being possessive.”
True. Isadora pursed her lips. But she did not possess him.
“But you do not belong to me.” Nothing belonged to her. She blinked back the tears. She was alone in this world. There was nothing she could call her own. Nothing. She fiddled with the hem of her oversized hospital gown. Even the clothes she wore didn’t belong to her.
“Why? Do you not like me anymore?”
She swallowed. “I like you.”
Silence stretched for a full minute before he spoke again. “Then I’m yours as long as you want me.”
“Mine?” Her heart skipped a beat before racing several beats per second.
The curtain opened again. Nate stood there, now clothed in a pair of plain t-shirt and sweatpants. “Yours.” His lips stretched. “So, what did you decide? Wanna be friends?”
Friends…She tasted the word. She wanted more than that.
“Isadora,” she replied, her bow-shaped lips slowly curved to a smile. “My name is Isadora.”