That word keeps replaying in my head as I make my way through the woods, branches scraping me and cutting my feet along the way.I’ve always loved to run, it made me feel free. But this feeling is different, it’s a feeling I know all too well.
It courses through my veins as I pick up speed. I don’t even know where I am, but my gut tells me I won’t like what I’m about to see.There’s a breakaway in the trees and the sight in front of me has me falling to my knees. His pack, our pack, it’s fallen. Our members all lay across the lawn, their throats torn and their eyes empty.
A strangled scream leaves my mouth as I stand and slowly make my way past the hundreds of dead women, children, and men.
A pit of dread grows in my stomach as I get closer and closer to Austin’s house. I climb the front steps and pause just before the cracked open door. I know what I’ll see when I open it will break me, but I can’t seem to stop my hand as it raises to the handle.
Pushing lightly, the door swings open and my heart stops. Austin is on his knees, a man standing behind him and holding a silver dagger to his throat.
I look up to the man, but my eyes can’t seem to focus on his face. Every time I try to look, a pain burns behind my eyes and I have to look away.
Instead my gaze turns back to Austin. His face shows nothing but pain, pain at the loss of his pack, his family. “I-I’m so sorry.” I make a move to go towards them, but the man’s grip tightens on Austin’s shoulder and the knife gets closer to his throat, making me stop.
“Please, don’t. Take me instead!” I call out to the man, but he only chuckles darkly at my pleas. He raises his hand, his hand and dagger shinning in the sliver of sunshine coming into the dark house. My gaze catches on a scar running down the palm of his hand and down his arm. I know that scar.
Before I can think more on it, Austin speaks. “Your fault.” He whispers before the dagger his drove into his chest. I scream in pain and anger before trying to dive at the man, but it’s like I’m frozen, I can’t move. The man chuckles as he makes his way around Austin’s lifeless body and past me.
He disappears and I have movement again. I fall to my hands and knees as strangled sobs leave my lips. I crawl the few feet between us and pull Austin’s limp body onto my lap. “Austin?” I shake him lightly. “Come on, wake up.” I call out helplessly.
“Austin!” I clutch onto him, tears falling onto his shirt as I call out to him. “Austin!”
“Austin!” I shoot up in my bed, sweat covering my body as I clutch onto the sheets for dear life. My breathing comes out in pants as I look around the dark room.
When my breathing calms, I lay down again when the shrill ring of my cell phone goes off in the quiet night, making me jump up in fear. I’ve never been so jumpy, and it agitates me.
Without looking at caller I.D. I answer. “What?” I growl angrily. Whoever is calling me this late is so going to get their ass kicked. “Celeste.” His gruff voice filters through the line and my breath catches. “How’d you get my new number?” I whisper quietly. I never gave it to him. “You’re having nightmares?” He asks instead. I swallow the lump in my throat as my nightmare flashes before my eyes. “Yeah, they started a few days ago.”
“Mine started the day after you left.” Guilt floods through me as I hear the sadness in his voice. “I’m sorry.”
“Come home.” I sigh heavily and flop back down on my pillow. “I will once I’ve found who took my family. I think I’m close.” The line is quiet, so I try asking my question again. “How’d you get my number, Austin?”
“Cal gave it to me, he was worried. Said you haven’t been sleeping well since you left two weeks ago.” I glare angrily at the ceiling, imagining it as Cal’s stupid face.
Note to self; kick Cal’s ass.
“You know I could come get you anytime I want Celeste.” It comes out as a halfhearted threat. “No, you couldn’t.” I smile to myself knowing I’m right. “And why is that?”
“You don’t know where I am. Hell, I don’t even know where I am.” He chuckles lightly and my heart warms at the sound. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that, darling. Check outside your window.”
Growing confused I stand up from my bed, the cold air hitting my bare legs as I walk towards my balcony. When I open up the glass doors, I catch the smell of wolves. Austin’s wolves to be exact. Looking down I find three men standing under my balcony, watching the woods.
“Guards Austin, really?” A loud booming laugh comes from my phone. “Yes really. If I can’t be there, then at least let me have some of my men there.”
“I don’t think I really have a choice so okay.” I walk back to my room and climb in bed, suddenly feeling tired. A yawn escapes my mouth so after saying goodnight to Austin, I drift off into a dreamless sleep.