Another body dropped to the ground. He pants heavily as he wipes the blood from his mouth. Another battle has been won. This isn’t the first Alpha’s challenge that Ryker faced. Almost every week, there would be another one challenging his position as the Alpha of the Southern Werewolves Pack and the Councilman of the Supernatural World Council.
It has been a year since Mathias’ death, Ryker pushed his graduation and ascended as the Alpha to replace his father, Cohen Kingsley, who now spends full time with his mate Mira Kingsley who fell into a deep depression shortly after Mathias’ funeral. She refused to leave the bedroom and has been locking herself from time to time making Cohen remove the lock from the bedroom’s door.
Ryker chose Luna Blake, the oldest of the Blake siblings, as his Beta—the first female Beta while Arielle Kane as the Gamma, also the first female Gamma. Eva Blake, Mathias’ former lover, has left the pack and hasn’t been heard for a while. She does send postcards or letters from time to time to ensure her family that she’s safe and sound.
“Anyone want to challenge Alpha Ryker?” His beta asks the rival pack.
“Well, he’s not dead,” Arielle says after checking the wounded Alpha.
The rival pack bow their head down as a sign of surrender. Ryker walks away without a word. He returns to the pack mansion to get himself cleaned. This has been another normal night for him. He doesn’t kill his rival. He knocks them down. Sooner or later, they would come back for another challenge.
“Momma…” Ryker startles at the sudden sights of his mother in the kitchen.
Since a year ago, this is the first time Mira ever walks to the kitchen and it is almost a rare sight for Ryker. Everyone is still hoping their Luna is doing well and healthy. She still holds the current Luna title until Ryker has a mate and crowns his mate as Luna. However, with the current state, the Luna role is temporarily assumed by Leah Blake, the second sibling of the Blake family.
“Come on, sit down,” his mother orders him.
Ryker nods and sits down. Mira wets a paper towel and uses it to wipe the blood off his knuckles. His mother hasn’t spoken much either. Even for dinner, his father would bring the food up to the bedroom. Mira’s eyes are losing its life. There’s no more joy or happiness in those beautiful blue orbs. That saddens Ryker even more. He would do anything to get that happiness back into her eyes but he doesn’t know what to do.
“How are you, momma?” he asks her.
Just like that, his question remains unanswered. It breaks his heart that he’s losing his mother. Her mind seems somewhere else as usual. After she’s done wiping blood off his knuckles, she walks away just like that.
Luna comes back alone while Arielle goes with the Enforcers to escort the rival pack out of their territory. Ryker takes off his dirty shirt and throws it into the lit fire pit. He pulls a new one from the drawer in the office.
“We have another report from the town,” Luna says, putting a file on his desk.
“What is it about?” Ryker asks, putting his shirt on.
“The same thing. Disappearances, unidentified corpses, and there this one lady kept saying she saw a large and tall man in black coat. Probably standing over seven foot tall.”
“Have you sent a team in?” Ryker asks, looking into the file.
“I did and they found nothing. We have an overnight team as well, guarding each of the locations where these sights were seen.”
Ryker sighs and leans on his chair as he thinks. For the past four months, there has been an increased number of sightings in the town. The witnesses often described something supernatural. Ryker has increased patrolling teams into the town trying to find out the problems but the reports kept piling up while the answers were none.
“I’ll go later, alone,” he tells Luna. “Get some rest.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to follow you?” she asks.
“Pretty sure. Maybe these things don’t like crowds. Maybe if I go on my own, I’d get a result.”
After an hour going through the reports, Ryker memorizes the addresses before going out using his car. He drives to the town and it’s already past eleven in the night. The streets are almost empty. The nightlife continues but other shops are closed. He parked his car in a dark alley, near one of the locations where a teenage girl had spotted a large bat-winged creature flying from one building to another. Maybe it was her pigment of imagination. That could be the only explanation but he couldn’t use the same reason for every report. His pack receives a report from an insider inside the precinct. That is one of the many ways for Ryker to put an eye and ear in everything in the town.
He sits there for nearly an hour or so, nothing comes up. Ryker sighs and drives to the next location. He spends nearly an hour in each location until he decides to investigate an old mansion where nearly four reports were filed in about.
He comes out of his car and looks at the eerie looking old mansion. Ninety years ago, it was owned by a millionaire who passed away three months later in the master bedroom. Then, it has been passed down from one owner to another. Until thirty years ago, it was turned into an elderly home which received dozens of controversies. Eventually, the place shut down and it was left abandoned till today.
Ryker knows it’s a famous spot for paranormal groups. Sometimes, he thinks they’re too dumb for their own good. Ryker has witnessed dozens of paranormal videos posted all over the internet and yet none of them actually capture the real thing. Everything was exaggerated way too much.
It used to be famous because of those exaggerated videos until one member of the last crew, who decided to stay overnight here to capture something, went missing a month ago. There were four of them staying in the old mansion overnight. Each of the members stayed inside one of the ten master bedrooms accompanied by infra-red cameras, motion sensors, and all sorts of technology.
Since then, nobody came here. Ryker is totally grateful for that as he hates people intervening. He walks to the front door and sees it’s slightly ajar. Without touching the doorknob, he kneels down and shines his torchlight on the floorboard then to the pavement that leads to the front. The pavement is wet because of the light rain earlier. There is one set of footprints entering the mansion indicating someone has been here before his arrival.
Ryker pushes the door open and walks in, still shining light to the footprint on the floorboard. He looks up and tries to make up the room he walks in. There’s a grand staircase before him made of expensive marbles. The large chandelier hanging on the ceiling. The floor to ceiling windows are shielded by black curtains, eliminating any chance of light to shine into the mansion.
It almost looks like a grand ballroom. This building could have been phenomenal if someone took over and did a little renovation around it. The ceilings look sturdy for now but not for long. After decades of no maintenance, the mansion is in bad shape.
As soon as he arrives on the second floor, Ryker ducks down immediately as someone charges towards him with an object. He grabs the person by the neck and slams the person to the wall.
“Ouch!” the woman groans in pain. “Could you be gentler?”
A british accent. On the floor is a blonde woman with a petite body. She’s wearing a brown leather jacket with a red scarf and dark blue shirt underneath. Her jeans are dark brown paired with leather boots. She has plump cheeks and pink lips. She looks like five foot three compared to his six foot seven height. Her cheeks are red because of the cold weather.
“Shit, you broke my camera,” she curses as she gathers her broken camera next to a frying pan. “What are you? A goddamn hulk?”
He wonders where she got the frying pan from. It looks so ancient to him.
“What are you doing here?” Ryker asks her.
“Well, what are you doing here?” she dusts her pants as she stands up and looks up at him.
“Who are you?”
Ryker cocks his head, not believing her answer. “The name tag says Aida Dennison.”
“No, thanks genius. If your eyes could see my name tag, why do you have to ask for my name, you stupid bloke?”
Ryker is about to answer here when he hears loud growls coming from downstairs. Aida jumps and hides behind his back, annoying him.
“What was that? I swear to god, I’ve heard things I didn’t want to know,” she whispered, holding tight onto his shirt.
Ryker turns around and she steps back realizing she’s invading his space.
“Frying pan?” She offered the frying pan.
“What do you want me to do with that? Smack it on the head with a frying pan?”
“Well, it’s better than nothing, you dumbass. Do you want to bitch slap whatever it is with your bare hands?”
“I’d take my chance.”
Ryker walks down the grand stairs, trying to look for the source of the growls while Aida is taking protection behind him. Ryker tries to focus on searching the source. Then, he hears the sound of water dripping from somewhere. He checks the window and sees it’s not raining outside. The water supply to the mansion has been cut off since the elderly home was shut down. There shouldn’t be any water source in the mansion.
Ryker opens a door that leads to the grand dining room. There’s a twenty-seaters grand dining table. Everything seems to be made of gold. He inspects the table and confirms the table is made of gold. That’s pretty unusual. A large valuable item like this still remains untouched. There’s something rummaging in the darkness. Ryker focuses his eyes to the dark corner of the dining room, trying to make out the thing rummaging there.
Out of the sudden, a large black rat jumps on them, causing Aida to hit it with the frying pan in the moment of reflex.
“That was one fucking large rat,” she curses out, panting.
Ryker amuses at her colorful vocabulary. Although he’s not much of a talker, he feels like he has to always say something. Then, Aida is pulled by something into the darkness.
“Blondie!” Ryker yells, running to follow her scream.
He continues to follow her scream until it ceases in one of the largest rooms in the mansion. There, he sees her standing in the middle of the room, not moving. Ryker rushes to her but he crashes against something invisible. Ryker stands and looks around. There’s an invisible barrier standing between him and her.
Aida turns around. “What’s happening?”
Ryker pounds on the invisible barrier and it ripples but not broken. Definitely a work of a magician.
“You should have seen it here. There are people,” she tells him. “Old people…”
It makes Ryker confused. He sees nothing but broken furniture, black curtains, and some trash on the floor.
“What do you mean?”
She spins briefly to see whatever is behind her and turns to him. “They’re not moving. They’re just standing idle. I recognize all their faces.”
Aida takes something from her backpack and shows it to him. “It’s the elders who used to stay here when this place was an elderly home.”