“We need to talk.” Her sweet and melodic voice filters through the speaker of my smart phone. Is it really her? “Celeste?” It comes out in a whisper, disbelief flooding my system. This is a trick, a cruel trick. “Yes Austin, it’s me.” I breathe a sigh of relief and close my eyes, my name sounding heavenly coming from her lips as I rest my head against the tree behind me. It’s been over an hour of searching and I had taken a break to calm my nerves.
“Come home to me Celeste. I’m sorry for getting angry.” I look around the seemingly endless forest in hopes to see her there. “Vance told me what happened with your uncle.” My hand subconsciously tightens its hold on the phone as I think of the torture she had to suffer through, a crack forming on the screen. “I won’t get mad anymore. I’ll shut up when you’re telling me your stories. I’ll doanything.” The sound of my voice sounding desperate is new to my ears, but I think nothing of it as my only thoughts are about getting my mate back.
“Something has come up and I prefer to handle this problem myself, but there’s one thing I need from you first.” She replies exhausted. “What is it? I’ll give you whatever you want.” I answer quickly to which she chuckles lightly. It was music to my ears as a smile tugs at the corner of my lips.
“You’re not going to like it.” Her answer comes out softly, so softly I almost missed it. “I don’t care if it means you’ll come home.” An annoyed huff leaves her lips and I can just picture her blood red eyes squinting into a glare. “Don’t call it that. It’s your home, not mine.”
“You’re my Luna, of course it’s your home, too. Everything of mine is yours.” I graze my hand across the blades of grass next to me, pulling out pieces along the way. “No, Austin. It’s not my home because I’m not a pack wolf, I’m a rogue. I don’t belong in a place where people despise the way I was raised and the way I live.”
“No one in my pack despises you. They just want their Luna. Please, just tell me what you need. We’ll make a trade, I give you what you want, and you’ll give being my Luna a shot, deal?” It takes a couple seconds of horrible silence for her to think before she finally speaks. “Okay, deal.”
He breathes a breath of relief when I agree to his terms before speaking. “So, what do you need?” Anxiety begins to fill every inch of my body as I take a few calming breathes. “I need my wolf back, Austin.” I can feel his hesitancy, the need to protect his pack and the need for his mate colliding together once again.
“Look, before you disagree there’s something you need to know, I’m only coming back if you give me my wolf. If you disagree then, well, I’m leaving with Cal. He’s agreed to help me find a way to get her back if you won’t help me.” A low growl comes from the speaker of the phone that has me tensing up. The sound of something snapping makes me shoot up to my feet, my guard on high alert.
“Austin?” My voice shakes a little, I don’t know if it’s from a fear of him being hurt or a fear of if I should run, maybe both. “You are not leaving Celeste Middleton.” His voice is dark as his anger seeps through every word. “I can’t give you her. I have to protect my pack, you know that.”
“Well I have to protect my family!” I yell frustrated, pulling my hair as I begin to pace. “I have a duty to protect my family just like you have to protect your pack and I won’t letyou stand in my way, so give. Her.Back!” A low animalistic growl emits from my chest between each word and I step back in surprise. That shouldn’t have happened.
“Celeste, you need to calm down. All this stress is going to force a shift.” I’m frozen in my place as I register his words. “A forced shift.” I mumble softly to myself as an idea begins to form. “Celeste, I know what you’re thinking,don’t. You know just as well as me that if you force a shift while your wolf is restrained, you’ll die.”
“There’s still a slim chance of survival.” I start thinking about all the people who have wronged me, the people who have hurt the ones I love. I need to make myself mad. I need to feel the need to survive. “The chances are a million to one, don’t do it Celeste!”
“You’ve left me no choice Austin, goodbye.” With that I hang up on my mate as he calls out my name. “Cal, get out here.” I shout to which he quickly complies. “Did he agree?” I shake my head no and a look of defeat claims his chubby baby face. “I can get her back though. All you have to do is hit me.” I say simply with confidence. “Are you crazy? I’m not hitting you.” He scoffs causing me to roll my eyes. “I need to force a shift, like I did when I was younger. You need to hit me, use your powers, doanything to make her mad, to make her want to survive.”
“A forced shift will kill you! You’re lucky you lived when you were little. I’m not doing it.” He goes to turn away and me being the impatient person I am, I hit him. Punched him right in the cheek. His head snaps to the right and he just stands there frozen. A glob of blood is spit from his mouth before he turns to look at me slowly, his violet eyes lit with fury. Lucky me he’s a multi faced witch with a really short temper.
In case you were wondering, my dear friend Cal here, is two faced. A multi faced witch who has two sides, a dark side and a light side. It’s like multiple personalities, except without the extra personality. One side is kind while the other holds all his anger.
“Hit me.” I say again to which a sickly-sweet smile makes its way across his face. “Gladly.” He whispers before I’m tackled. He wastes no time, throwing punches and kicks. Using his spells of healing to close up the wounds I inflict back.
After one final hit to the side of my head, my knees buckle as black spots cloud my vision. That feeling of nothing inside as I welcome the darkness to surround me. Then, a new anger sparks inside of me, something I haven’t felt in years. It flares up, spreading light through the darkness that consumes me. It leaves no corner of my body in the dark and then the pain starts.
It’s like a fire burning my soul, it consumes me. A scream is ripped from my throat as my body jolts up. My eyes open to see Cal standing above me, eyes wide as he calls to me. He tries to grab hold of me, but his touch is like a hot iron being held against my flesh, branding me like a cow.
I scoot away from him, resting up against my broken tree. “Don’t.” I mumble and he backs up, hands up in surrender. Another wave of pain hits me twice as hard as another ear-piercing scream rips its way from my burning throat. I can feel my canines elongate as my nails fall out and claws are replaced.
My skin starts to stretch to the point where it wants to break, but it won’t.“Celeste...” Her voice is a faint echo in my head and despite the pain coursing through my veins, I smile.“C-Cat?” My wolfs name sounding so foreign in my head, it’s been years since I actually said her name. I was so angry with her for all the things she has done, I could barely speak to her without anger dripping through.
“What have you done Celeste?”Her voice seems to be getting farther away as the darkness once again consumes me and my eyes fight with me to stay open.“He took you. I needed you and he took you away from me. He wouldn’t give you back.” I can feel tears threaten to spill as my body becomes numb to the pain surrounding me.“Shh, what do I always say Celeste? Chin up, eyes open. No tears shed and no hearts broken.” I smile at the little rhyme she created when I was seven. The first time I ever really cried.
“You’ve done something bad, Celeste. If I was any other wolf, you’d be dead. Now, our mate is here. It’s your job to make him let us go so we can save our family. They’re in pain, their wolves call out to me to help them.”At the mention of Austin, my eyes crack open and sure enough, there he was running towards us.
He runs up to Cal first where he begins to yell. If only I could hear them, but all I can hear right now is the sound of my heart. It’s so low, like a whisper. “Austin...” I lose my train of thought as my words drift off quietly into the crisp autumn air. He still hears me though. He’s at my side in the blink of an eye, hauling me into his lap. My head resting on his thigh as he strokes my hair.
He’s saying something, but I can’t hear him. My eyes scrunch in confusion when I see a single tear make its way down his cheek. Using all my strength, I lift my hand, wincing slightly from the movement, and brush my thumb across his stubbly cheek, wiping away his tear.
“Shh, Austin. Chin up, eyes open. No tears shed and no hearts broken.” My voice sounds so weak, so frail as I speak, but before I can dwell on that fact, the darkness eats me alive as I fall into an eternal, blissful sleep.