I heard voices around me. I tried to listen to what was being said, but everything kept fading in and out.
I didn’t know where I was or what was happening. All that was on my mind was finding my mate. I knew she was in trouble and I needed to get to her.
I needed to get up. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t feel anything. My body was numb.
Five words made their way into my mind, “He may not make it…”
Were they talking about me? Or someone else?
I needed to make it. I need to see Leah’s beautiful face one more time. I need to see the wonder in her eyes when she discovers something new or the crinkle in her brows when she doesn’t understand something. I need to have her in my arms again. I need her to feel whole once more. I need to tell her how much I love her.
I could feel myself fading. What’s happening to me? I need to stay strong. I need to stay here and find Leah.
“He’s crashing!” I heard someone yell. No…I needed…to…stay…
“Clear!” was the last thing I heard before it all went away.
I pushed the men faster.
My son didn’t have much time. I almost faltered in my steps when I thought about my son dying. I gave myself a mental shake. No. My son will not die! He is strong. He will pull through this. We will find his mate and bring her back. He will wake up and everything will be fine.
I pushed harder.
The information given about the abandoned house said it was about thirty minutes away. If we ran faster, pushed harder, we could be there in half that.
I linked with the men.
‘When we get there, surround the house. If anyone is there I don’t want them escaping.’
‘Yes, sir,’ resounded through my head.
Every wolf here knew to keep the Hunters alive, if they were there. This way, if my son’s mate was not found, we could use them for information. They were to kill only if absolutely necessary.
I noticed the trees were thinning and motioned for the men to move into position.
We stayed hidden watching the house for any sign of movement. Everything was still and silent. There were no signs of life anywhere in the house.
I was towards the front of the house so I did not know if there were any more buildings in the back.
‘Clayton,’ I sent to my son-in-law.
‘Do you see anything back there?’ I asked him.
‘Just a storage shed. There looks like a cellar door or something back here, also. Other than that, there is no movement in or around the house. What do you want us to do?’ he queried.
I thought about it for a minute before I responded. ‘I want you and two others to move in slowly. Stay low, and check out the shed and cellar if you can. Let me know what you find, if anything.’
While he investigated, I told two of our other men to patrol the perimeter. I needed to know if anyone was going to come sneaking out of the woods and ambush us.
A few minutes later Clayton contacted me. ‘Sir, there’s nothing in the shed that we can see. As for the cellar…’
‘What? What is it?’
‘I think the Hunters were here as the door is coated in silver.’
I started to mentally swear, but was interrupted.
‘That’s not all,’ he said. My heart dropped. I had a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. ‘We can smell blood coming through the door.’ I could hear the anxiety in his words. ‘There is a lot of it. Dad…’ he whispered, ‘If she’s down there…I-I don’t know if she’ll be alive.’
My worst fears were coming true. For Clayton to say that, there must be a really strong odor of blood coming up through any cracks. For that to happen there has to be so much blood that no one could be alive from the loss of it.
I pushed my thoughts away. ‘Clayton, I want you and the men with you to shift and search the house. See if there is another way into the cellar. Barring that, find something to break the damn door in! We need to see if she is down there. If not, then we need to find any clues we can.’
‘Yes, sir,’ was his reply.
A few seconds later, I heard the sound of the back door being smashed in. I walked around the side of the house and sat in front of the cellar door. I was still in wolf form, but I didn’t care. I was going to sit here until this door was open. Then, I was going to investigate whatever was down there.
If my soon-to-be daughter-in-law were down there and still alive, then I would be the one to get her out and bring her back to my son.
In the meantime…I waited.
I have no idea how long I have been stuck in this void. I have tried everything I can think of to wake up. I slapped myself, I ran around, I even fought with my wolf.
That was not a good idea. My ears are still ringing from the swipe she gave me upside the head.
So, I sat and watched the images flying by with my wolf lying next to me.
A scene caught my attention. Sitting up straight, I focused on it before it could disappear.
I gasped and put my hand over my mouth, tears coming to my eyes.
What happened to him? Why are all those people around him? What are they doing to my mate?!
My wolf’s head lifted as she stared intently at the scene unfolding before us. We watched as they placed something on his chest and his body arching off the table. A single tear escaped, but I could not look away from what was happening.
Were they torturing him?
‘No Ainia,’ my wolf said. ‘Read their thoughts. Listen to what is being said.’
I concentrated. The man making Devin’s body jerk and arch was yelling at the others around him. He kept saying they needed to get his heart started again.
More tears spilled from my eyes. No…Devin no. Please…do not do this to me. I begged. You need to come back. You need to come and find me.
A beep filled the air. Did he hear me? Another beep echoed around the silent room, then another, and another.
Everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief. He was back. He was going to be ok.
I buried my head in my hands as my body shook with the force of my sobs. My wolf whined and put her head in my lap, trying to comfort me.
I wiped away my tears and focused on Devin.
If I was not able to wake up then I would watch over him.
Do not do that to me again, Devin, I sent to him. I need you here with me. I do not know if I would be able to survive without you in this world. Please stay strong. Find a way to get better so you can find me.
The beeping increased. Everyone in the room looked at the thing making the noise. When the beeping decreased, and became steady again, they all left the room.
Devin, can you hear me? My own heart rate was increasing. I held my breath.
The beeping increased again. My heart stopped and I breathed out shakily.
Mate, know that I am here. Even if you cannot see me, I am here. Stay strong. We will be together again.
My wolf and I sat there watching Devin. He looked more peaceful now that he knew we were with him, if not physically, at least mentally and emotionally.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
What was that? The noise was not coming from Devin’s room or from the void.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Devin’s heart rate stayed steady, so he did not hear what I am hearing. His image started to fade. Looks like I am waking up now.
I will see you soon, I sent before he was gone from my site.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Oh… What now?
What was taking those boys so long? I was pacing while staring at the silver-plated door. If I could melt the door with my stare, it would have been a puddle a long time ago.
A movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. Finally! Clayton and a few of the other warriors were walking towards me. I noticed they were carrying something between them. I also noticed they were all clothed.
I guess the Hunters left some things behind.
Clayton held a pair of shorts out for me. I shifted and put them on. “What did you boys bring me?” I asked, trying to get a closer look at what they were carrying.
Clayton’s face lit with a smile. He was a handsome kid. He had the California surfer look going for him. With the blonde hair to his shoulders, dark blue eyes, and beach tan. However, he was good to my daughter and granddaughter. That’s all that mattered in my book.
“We found a solid oak table in that dump.” His eyes twinkled with amusement, “Figured we would lay it against the door to block the silver, and ram it open.” He clapped one of the other men on the shoulder as they placed it on the ground.
I smiled at all of them. Clayton may look like a beach bum, but he was sharp as a tack.
“Well, what are we waiting for boys? Set that sucker up. Let’s see if our Luna is down there.”
They hoisted the table off the ground and walked towards the cellar door. The angle was a little awkward to ram in human form so we all shifted and ran at it as our wolves.
It took several tries but eventually we were able to break the doors open. Shifting back, we used a torn shirt to pry the door outward so we could see what was inside.
It was pitch black. Even using our wolf eyes it was still too dark to see what was down there. The smell though hit us like a ton of bricks. We could smell blood, death, and decay.
My heart was sinking by the second. Before I took a step into the dark, I listened. I needed to make sure that there was no one down there that was a threat.
Straining my ears, I heard it, the faint sound of someone breathing, and a steady heartbeat. From the rhythm, the person was either sleeping or unconscious.
“Bring me the bag with Leah’s shirt in it!” I yelled to the men in the woods. A minute later, our best tracker exited the woods and headed towards us.
I took the bag from his hand and took a whiff of her scent. She smelled like lilacs and fresh rain. Turning back towards the cellar entrance, I took a deeper sniff of what was down there. The stench of blood and death was overpowering, but underneath it all, I could smell her. She was down there, but I wasn’t going to breathe a sigh of relief until we made sure she was the one that was breathing down there.
Looking along the sides of the cellar entrance, I noticed some night vision goggles. There was only one pair, so I motioned for Clayton and the others to stay there while I went down.
Placing the goggles over my head and turning it on everything changed. I could now see the stairs descending into the unknown.
Slowly and quietly, I made my way down the flight of stairs and came to an open space. There was nothing in front or to the left of me. I looked to the right and saw a set of bars. There were two bodies lying within.
I reached for the cell door and it opened with a groan.
The cell was small, barely able to contain the two bodies on the floor, let alone myself. I reached for the first body and saw it was a man with an arrow through the eye of his goggles similar to the ones I was wearing. I felt for a pulse.
Thank the Goddess he was dead. I dragged him from the cell and went back in to inspect the second body.
I saw it was a small female wearing nothing but a shirt. She had a collar around her throat that was chained to the stone wall behind her.
As I walked towards her, she began to stir. I hurried to her side and placed a hand on her shoulder. She jerked away from my touch and shrank into the wall.
“Shh. Shh, I’m here to help you.” I could tell she couldn’t see me as her eyes were flicking back and forth trying to figure out where I was.
“Ok, I know you can’t see me in this darkness, but I can see you.” I told her. I needed to make sure this was Leah and not some other she wolf that was being held captive. “I need you to nod your head yes or no for me when I ask you some questions. Ok?”
“Alright,” I paused and took a breath. I could smell her lilac and fresh rain scent along with the faint scent of Devin. That helped me to relax, but I still needed her to confirm my suspicions. “Now, are you Leah? Devin’s mate?”
She nodded vigorously.
“Thank the Goddess!” I sighed. “Alright, Leah, I’m going to get you out of here. I need to unhook the collar from your throat so please don’t be alarmed if you feel me brush against you.”
I went to reach for the collar and her hand shot out and grasped my arm. I was going to ask if she was ok when I saw her eyes close. A second later, I felt a pressure against my mental walls, then, her voice floated through my mind.
‘Please do not touch the collar,’ her mental voice was soothing and sent calm throughout my mind.
“Why not?” I asked aloud.
Her eyes opened and she stared towards me in the dark, ‘It is coated in silver, along with the chain. If you touch it you will burn.’ She stated matter of factly.
I nodded my head, even though she could not see me. “Ok, sit still for a minute,” I said while backing away. “I’m going to get something to help remove it. Just please don’t do anything that will injure yourself further.” I pleaded.
I saw her nod as I backed out of the cell. I made it to the bottom of the stairs, “Clayton!” I yelled up them.
“Is everything ok down there?” he yelled back. “Is our Luna down there? Have you found her?”
“Yeah, she’s here!” I looked around and noticed the dead body again. If this was her captor, he might have a key on him. “Listen, I need you to find me something to cover my hands.”
There was silence for a minute before, “Why?” he yelled down.
I sighed, “She has a silver collar and chain on! I can’t get it off without burning my hands to the bone!”
Silence again, “Ok, hang on a second!”
I heard movement at the top of the stairs and then something landed at the base of the stairs. I walked forward and saw a pair of shorts lying there. Grabbing them up, I walked back towards the dead body. After a little searching, I found a ring of keys in his back pocket.
I ripped the shorts in two and wrapped each half around my hands. Gripping the keys, I made my way into the cell and towards Leah.
“Alright, I have something covering my hands and I have a key,” I said kneeling before her. “I need you to sit completely still while I get this contraption off of you. Ok?”
I made quick work of the collar and gathered my future daughter-in-law in my arms. She was still as stone while I hugged her to me.
Pulling away I said, “It’s ok Leah. I’m Devin’s father. I’m going to take you to him. He misses you something fierce.” I felt her relax into my arms at my words.
“Can you stand?” I asked. As an answer, she struggled to her feet. I noticed she was unsteady so I picked her up bridal style. She stiffened immediately. “It’s ok. I’ll carry you out.” I made my way out of the cell and towards the stairs.
I looked down towards her. My son found himself an adorable mate. “Leah, you may want to close your eyes when we get to the top. I do not know how long you have been down here in the dark and the light might hurt your eyes.” Her eyes fluttered shut.
I awkwardly took off the night vision goggles while holding Leah and made my way up the stairs towards the fading evening light.
I had my son’s mate. It was time to go home.