I am being forced to train with my shadow today. It is not an option for me like the rest of the pack.
I never have an option on anything.
The others have their wolves. I am still human.
Life is unfair.
Chase has all the trainees standing in a military-type line. Straight with our hands crossed at our backs. There are at least ten of us and I feel out of place.
These people have experienced their first shift.
Their wolf has already invaded their minds. They have someone to guide them and protect them.
My eyes stay trained on Chase as he yells out what we are going to be learning today and I pay no attention to him at all as my eyes dart out to the packhouse.
The back door opens as my mother steps out taking a seat on the steps looking out at us. I swallow down my nerves and look away before we can lock eyes.
“Pay attention Melody!” Chase hisses and my head snaps to his directions and I grind my teeth.
I may be the daughter of the alphas but only a few people know that. Chase is one of the few. His eyes stay locked on me.
“Let’s see what you pups know,” Chase says and his eyes are still on me and I swallow down my nerves, I don’t know much. “What is the reason why you would not be able to shift? Melody,” Easy I know this.
“Because you have not come of age,” I breathe out in relief.
“True, is there anything other reason?” He maintains his gaze on me and I try to hide my panic. Another reason...
A tough-looking guy raises his hand and Chase nods at him, “Another reason would be that somehow wolfsbane got into your system. Either by eating, drinking, or it was injected into your system making both you and your wolf ill and unable to shift.”
Wolfsbane? How could I have forgotten that?
“Correct, anything else.” A pixie-haired girl giggles and Chase arches an eyebrow and I stretch out to look at her. Her hair bounces around her as she nods, “you have more to add?” Chase questions and she giggles again.
“Um. You might not be able to shift if you lose control of your wolf or lose it altogether.” She chimes and beams a sparkly smile at Chase.
“But that has not been proven yet,” Chase interjects.
“Chase,” her voice is authoritative, “let her finish,” we all turn and my mother is a few feet away. “The possibility is plausible so let her tell you her theory.”
“The alpha wants me to continue,” the girl looks at my mother star stricken. My mother is an enigma to the people that are not in her close circle.
“Please continue I also had the same theory,” my mother gestures for her to continue with her hand the girl’s face lights up like a Christmas tree.
“Well if your wolf goes through a traumatizing event such as losing a mate, parent, or child, for example, your wolf depending if he or she was attached to them might get lost in our suffering as well and be no more. They might let themselves get lost in the oblivion of our own tortured mind. But that is what I think like Mr. Chase said it has not been proven.” She looks away from my mother sheepishly and my mother gives her a warm smile.
“I believe that you sparked something in me, Liv.” My mother smiles at her proudly.
Blah, blah, blah Liv! Why am I getting so annoyed with this?
“Erm, okay let me see,” Chase seems as confused as I am at the moment.
“Is it true that we are only able to shift in a full moon?” He throws that one out there and we all know the answer.
The boy next to me has not uttered a word since we walked out here snorts and then takes in a heavy breath, “That’s just a myth so that the people in town can rest easy the rest of the time. We can shift whenever we want once we get used to the pain and our wolf in our mind,” the scrawny nerdy looking boy looks down at me as I stare him in utter surprise.
He speaks! I joke to myself and try to laugh out loud.
“Close your eyes," Chase demands. Everyone listens and we close our eyes, "Take this scene in. You’re in the woods, in your wolf form," this is harder for me. I don't know how it is to be in wolf form but I try to imagine it. "You're out there minding your own business when out of nowhere you’re shot by a hunter," my eyes close tighter. My hands itch but I keep them at my side, "and the bullet happens to be a silver bullet. What happens, Melody?" My eyes shoot open and he is staring at me again.
Shit! I don’t know.
“You die!” I say sarcastically earning some laughs from the people around us. I take a chance and look over at my mother who shakes her head disappointedly.
“Being shot with silver, like anything else, hurts a lot. The fact that it is silver means nothing. The bullet rips through your skin and momentarily immobilizes you. If you are in human form it is worse. As a wolf, your body can take so much more pain than humanly possible. The shot itself is rarely deadly unless...” the girl at the end says but stops as if waiting to be asked to continue.
“Go on,” Chase and my mother say in unison.
“Unless the bullet it laced with wolfsbane then the hit can be deadly. If the bullet punctures a lung or gazes at the heart your chances of survival are most likely five to one percent.”
You can die! Not that getting shot normally sounds appealing but this wolfsbane sounds like a killer drag.
Chase keeps asking random questions and it is a learning experience since I do not know anything at all, to be honest.
After about an hour of this Chase wants to see what he is working with. He partners us up as best as he can and I get the little pixie girl, Liv.
“Okay, I want you to give the person the best fight that you can. Fight as if it is life or death, understand,” Chase looks over at me as if he is only coaching me alone.
“I got it!” I hiss at him as he passes by in front of me. My mother is now standing behind us looking over her future pack members. I shiver as I feel her eyes on me.
“Before we start please raise your hand if you have shifted already.”
My eyes move down the line and there is no denying it I am the only human on of the bunch and it is more obvious since all their eyes go to me.
Should I lie?
I look up at Chase for some support but he knows what I want to do and shakes his head telling me to be honest.
I sigh in defeat, “no big bad wolf here.”
There is some snickering I have half a mind to brofist their face.
“Don’t worry Melody we are not fighting in wolf form,” does that even matter? I bet that with their wolf they are stronger than a mere human! “Melody can I talk to you for a moment,” Chase nods his head to the side and I roll my eyes and follow Chase as he walks close to the trees.
“What now?” I growl at him.
“I know what you are thinking and I know that you can handle this and I am not the only one your parents think so as well or else you wouldn’t be here.”
“I’m screwed don’t you see that Chase. Might as well hand them my ass on a silver platter. After this how much do you want to bet that I will probably have three shadows on me.” I seethe and feel myself shaking with anger at my weakness.
“You didn’t have a shadow today,” he beams at me.
“Oh shut up I saw Thomas running in the trees on my way to school.” His jaw clenches in annoyance and then shrugs.
“Well now it is your time to show us what you got,” he grabs my shoulders and pushes me back to the group, he probably thinks that I am going to make a run for it and if I am honest I thought about it.
“Okay on the count of three I want you to go all out are you ready,” Chase plants me firmly in front of the pixie girl and I look over at her. She appears to be a good 5′2 in size and I am 5′5 so that gives me an advantage somewhat.
I look at her deep in her brown eyes and I see something that I would not think I would see in a small girl, determination.
“One,” Chase looks around making sure that everyone is their spots, “two,” Chase looks over at me seeing if I am ready.
“Melany,” I hear someone say and I turn to look and I see my Uncle Andrew walking over to my mother and I feel this nervousness sweep over my entire body.
“Three!” My head turns to the Liv girl as she crouches down and pounces with the grace of a jaguar at me.
“Fuc-” I step away from her as her body barely misses me she lands gracefully before me and she turns to look at me and I see the darkening gleam in her eyes and I know that she and her wolf are trying to coordinate her next move. “Hey no wolf,” I hiss and run at her. My hands grab her shoulders and I shove her hard to the ground.
I land hard on top of her and she growls beneath me her fist is quick as it flies at me connecting with my cheek my teeth bite into the inside of my cheek making my mouth fill with blood. I roll off of her getting on my knees and hands as I spit out all the blood out of my mouth. The howl that erupts from behind me I know that Trevin is upset.
“Trevin heel,” my mother shouts at him and I know he wants to help me.
“Damn that hurt,” I rub my cheek as if to soothe the pain but I can feel the girl getting to her feet.
“Melody show her what you’re made of!” My uncle yells as I push myself up and she groans as she lunges at me attacking me with my back towards her. She closes in on me and I turn leading with my elbow as it connects with her temple and she drops to the ground.
She rolls to her back cradling her head trying to sooth away the pain.
“Okay Melody back away,” I stare the pixie on the ground and her eyes narrow on me as if waiting for me to attack her while she is down. I walk over to her and her eyes close shut.
“Hey,” her brown eyes go to me opening up slowly as I stretch out my hand out. She stares at it as if it is a foreign gesture. “For the love of God,” I lower down and grab the top of her arms and help her up.
Once we are both on our feet I glance over at Chase and he is staring at me in awe. “That was big of you Melody,” he smiles at me.
Liv decides to call it a day but she said I would be seeing her tomorrow that I would not be getting rid of her that easy.
I watch the rest of the people go at it and if I had, to be honest, I was horrified. They are so much stronger than me. I might have beaten Liv just out of sheer luck but these wolves mean business. There is a pair of males beating themselves to the brink of knocking each other out.
I guess Chase has enough since he dismisses us and I turn to head my mother and uncle.
“Hey baby girl,” I look at my uncle and wrap my arms around him as his chuckle vibrates against my hurt cheek. “That was painful to watch you know.”
“Probably not as painful as it felt. I bit myself,” My tongue runs over the area that I am bleeding and the taste of iron fills my mouth. I push away from him and spit out the blood as he looks at me.
Andrew does not look a day over twenty-five but having three teenage kids might send a normal human person over the edge but in our family, it is a normal wolf thing.
“You did great Melody,” my mother smiles at me and I nod at her. There is a hint of pride in her eyes as she turns to congratulate the other wolves that pass us.
“So how was that for my first training alpha?” I can sense Chase behind me.
“Great! I’m happy that just because I was here that didn’t detour you from picking on Melody,” Chase nods and looks down at me.
“She’s one tough cookie but she has a lot to learn.”
“Melody, how about you take a shower and change then we’ll have dinner.” My uncle says beaming at me.
“Okay.” Anything to get away from the conversation that includes me and my mother.
“And then maybe I’ll take you for some ice cream so we can catch up.” Uncle Andrew has the biggest sweet tooth in the pack.
“Sure thing,” I smile at him. If he weren’t considered my uncle I would see him as my best friend, my confidant.
“Chase, will you join us for dinner at our place?” My mother says as I am about to head inside and grab my stuff.
“Sure if Melody doesn’t mind,” I turn on my heels. I try to hide my confusion but I know that it is showing on my face.
Is there any getting rid of this guy!
“I don’t mind,” I plaster on a fake smile.
“Okay count me in.” A bigger smile fills his face as he sees my scowl.
“Dinner will be ready at seven.” With this, my mother dismisses us all. I rush away from them and run to the packhouse.