Solstice Howl

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Chapter 4

They gathered all of us in a large group and put us in categories of age. How they found out my age, I have no idea, but the monsters grouped me with fifteens, sixteens, and seventeen year olds.

Thankfully, that meant Nova was with me. Her emerald dress hung on her undeveloped body loosely and her hair fell in golden winglets down her back. She gripped onto my hand with a vice like grip, holding it as if it were her lifeline. There was a 15-17 year old group and an 18-25 year old group. To which, the 18-25 year olds held most of the girls. I recognized quite a few ashen faces and gulped apprehensively.

“Unmated females from the ages 15-17, follow me.” The monster barked. He briskly walked to a large van that was made to hold ten people and we sullenly trudged behind him. I glanced behind my shoulder and took one last look at all of the older girls from my village, knowing deep down I’ll never see them again.

As we were pushed into the truck, I closed my eyes and sent a quick prayer that I’ll somehow find Carter and we can get away. It’s a 1/4 chance that I’ll be a mate to a wolf so, if I can’t get away, I’ll be trialed and most likely executed by the monsters.

I shook off that thought and led Nova to the seats in the back.

“Nova, I have a plan.” I whispered in her ear, watchful of the werewolf guards sitting in the front, who could be listening in on our conversation.

“You do?” Her hopeful voice had me almost smiling and I gripped her hand tighter, “I do.”

It isn’t a very good one, and can get us in a lot of trouble, but I’m not about to tell her that. Plus, it’s not as if we have many options.

We rode in complete silence, all of us.

Some are sobbing silently, some are peering out of the window unemotionally but, we were no doubt all solemn.

After twenty minutes of driving, we pulled into a large crowd and were ushered out of the vehicle, following the wolf-guard obediently. He led us over to a lot larger group, one holding happier females, werewolves. Us humans huddled together, not wanting to be close to the monsters.

“I hope mine isn’t a human male.” One of the female werewolves pouted, Her flawless face contorted into a puckered expression .

“It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as we find one.” Another one, this one tall said, twirling her hair wistfully.

“I hope I have an Alpha,” The obnoxious girl once again spoke, “Preferably Alpha Romano.”

“He is very attractive,” the tall girl agreed, “He’s been searching for his mate for three years now, this is his sixth Solstice. What if its one of us?”

“If its one of us, it would be me.”

That’s it, I tuned both of them out and focused on my very unthought out plan, pulling Nova closer to me. I tried unsuccessfully to find Carter over everyone’s head but since there are so many tall males, he blended in.

More and more people are arriving and I couldn’t help the nerves and unease to creep into my stomach.

“Are you nervous, Mya?” Nova asked shakily.

“Very,” I hoarsely whispered and once again looked for Carter in the crowd hundreds and thousands of people.

“Attention!” A sudden booming voice had halted everyone’s conversations. The moon hung in the sky brightly, as if this were a day to celebrate. “Our Solstice Moon is about to begin!” A man was standing atop a box and had a large megaphone, screaming into it. Once he yelled that, howls of excitement broke out, males whooping and females giggling. The male cleared his throat. “Werewolf females, human females, and human males have a precise five minute head start to run into the woods so their mate can track their scent. Once the time is up, it is fair game to the male wolves. Females, ready yourselves. Since there are so many of you, you need to all split up. Good luck. Let’s begin our countdown!”

“Five.” Everyone screamed in unison.

You can do this, Mya,

“Four.”

It’s all on you, everything is on you.

“Three.”

You can’t fail, you have to succeed.

“Two.”

Nova needs you.

“One.”

Run.

“Let the Solstice moon commence!”

I hauled Nova off to the far right, staying close to her but pulling my hair into a bun at the nape of my neck, tying it in a knot so my scent isn’t so heavy.

I then leaned over and ripped my dress at the end, Nova following suit.

I pulled out the silver knife that was in my combat boot from earlier. Nova gasped in glee and threw the ripped part of her dress off to the side. “We don’t have enough time to change but, Nova, we’re going to have to run like hell is on our heels. Can you do that?” She pulled a brave face and nodded.

“Good.” And just like that, we’re off. Nova isn’t as fast as me yet, she is quickly gaining speed, trailing behind me stoutly.

I was worried about being too tired to run for long but, thankfully my adrenaline has yet to cede.

And then I heard it, there was a horn, and then howls. Picking up speed, I ducked under a hanging branch and when I saw a puddle of mud, decided to roll in it.

“What are you doing?” Nova hissed between labored breathing, watching as I slathered mud on my hair and neck, the two places where wolves use to scent.

“Masking my scent, you should do it too.” I replied smearing it over my glittering dress. She did as well, coating her face.

“Let’s go,” I said after thirty seconds. sitting up and preparing myself to run again.

We continued on our way and I let out a strangled gasp as I stumbled into a clearing.

A wolf had sunk its claws into a girl. From the dim lighting, I couldn’t tell if she was human or werewolf but I definitely heard her stuttered breathing.

“C’mon, let’s go.” I muttered to a heaving Nova who’s eyes couldn’t leave the sight before us.

“I said lets go Nova!” I barked and took her arm, dragging her into a half-jog.

My breathing is starting to become labored and face warming up but, I’m not going to stop.

I can’t.

“Mya, I can’t run much longer!” Nova gasped from behind me, slowing down and bending over, hands on knees.

“Put your hands behind your head, it’ll open your lungs.” I said between breaths, slowing down as well.

“I think we’re going to be okay, I think we can make it out of here.” She said once we managed to get our breathing under control, now walking briskly.

I hope so too, I silently thought.

I didn’t want to think about the punishment that we’d have to face if we don’t have mates and they find us.

I don’t want think think about having a mate.

After an estimated ten minutes of walking, Nova stopped.

“Do you think we can take a short break?” She pleaded, leaning against a tall tree trunk and smoothing her wild hair back.

“I don’t think so, we-”

Just then, a wolf crashed through the shrubs and launched itself at Nova, snarling.

Its pearl white teeth glinted in the moonlight as he attempted to latch onto her pale shoulder.

“Mya!” She pleaded, struggling as the monster wrapped itself around her, nuzzling into her neck with incessant growls.

I ignored its predatory gaze and crawled as quietly as I could behind it.

The wolf was so preoccupied with Nova, it didn’t notice me creeping up, my knife raised.

I made eye contact with her over its shoulder and plunged the pocket knife into its broad shoulder.

It growled and released Nova, slashing my face with its claws as it hurled towards me.

The force of his claws flung me onto the ground, causing my butt to hit the crunched leaves harshly.

I let out a groan of pain and clutched the side of my face which started to profusely pour blood, three slash marks covering majority of it. I winced when my fingers brushed an especially tender part of the slashed skin. The wolf once again prowled toward Nova, it’s glowing amber eyes focusing solely on her, thinking I’m too wounded to reciprocate.

I ignored my vigorous pain and pulled myself up, stumbling over and throwing myself at the large beast, grabbing onto its fur and then wrenching the knife out of its neck. Because of its large size, I hung off of it as if climbing a rock wall.

The wolf let out a whimper and swung me off of him, the momentum causing my whole body to be flung onto a tree trunk, bouncing off of it. I let out a loud curse and unsuccessfully tried to peel the large chunks of bark out of my skin. My head started to pound from the pain but, I once again pulled myself up. Limping my way to Nova who was running to me, causing the wolf to growl low in his throat.

He staggered towards me even as blood poured out of his stab wound, ready to make a meal out of my intestines.

But, I’m not going down without a fight, “Not today, mutt.” I muttered, launching myself back at him despite my aching body.

I then replunged it into the gushing wound once he was in arms reach, causing him to involuntarily claw out. And unfortunately, it was on my stomach, I let out a guffaw of pain as I clutched my now bloodied stomach.

“Put you your damn claws away, bastard,” I groaned, clutching my stomach.

Nova let out a cry of alert and I stumbled back onto my sore butt. Haziness blurred my vision and I clutched my stomach tighter with anguish.

Just then, the most soul-freezing, heart-clenching, spine-tingling growl rippled throughout the clearing we’re at.

Looks like another wolf has joined our little party, I noted through my narrowed vision.

Its arrival was anything but I was expecting. The moon highlighted its shimmering midnight fur in rippling waves- his aura emitting such power that I had to reduce the urge to bow. It’s eyes, a shade of cerulean illuminated with the pale iridescent moon behind it shrewdly narrowed.

The power alone was fear-inducing.

It snarled loudly when its keen eyes spotted my bloodied form and slowly trailed over to the now kneeling and neck-bowed smaller wolf. A wolf who just moments ago, was ready to end my life.

The smaller- now shaking wolf, shifted into an ass naked human man. His copper hair reminded me of dried blood, and his whiskey eyes unnatural.

Abominations.

“Alpha,” His ashen face pleaded, “She would not let me hold my mate. She interrupted us, it was my wolves natural response. We did not know she was our Luna.”

Just then, my heart dropped into my ass in realization and I shakingly stood up with the help of a sobbing Nova.

Luna, I know that word.

I searched through the premises of my mind trying to identify the word, but came up blank.

But it sounded so familiar. Scarily familiar.

The larger raven wolf merely snarled and trotted over to the hunched over man, slashing the side of his face with his large claw, anger-filled eyes assessing the man in contempt.

And then, a large human man replaced the burly wolf in one fluid motion, “You will be punished accordingly, leave with your mate and meet me at the pack hotel.”

The other man nodded solemnly and started walking to us, Nova clutched onto me as she sobbed, “Don’t let him take me, Mya!” She pleaded, squeezing her eyes shut. She knows not to let them see her eyes.

“C’mon mate.” The copper-haired man coaxed, blood still gushing out of his shoulder. By now, I was seeing double.

“Look away from him!” The larger man, The Alpha, snarled at me and shouldered the smaller one to where he was behind him. I also closed my eyes, not because of the large wolf’s nudity, nor because I didn’t want to make eye contact, but because I realized I can’t keep them open.

And then I remembered, Luna means Alpha’s mate!

“Mya?” Nova’s far away voice echoed in my conscious, and then, lights out.

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