My eyes snapped open in the dim room and my mother came into view. She looked worried, but a small smile graced her pink lips as she spoke to me. In my sleepy haze, I didn’t realize what she was whispering as she grabbed my hand and pulled me out of my bedroom. My father was waiting in the hallway, dressed in his black coat and work boots. His skin nearly blended with the coat, something I used to tease him about, but he would remind me that my own skin nearly blended with my tan coat, and I would giggle at the thought.
His face was stern as he bent down in front of me and grabbed onto my shoulders.
“Margo, I need you to be a big girl, honey,” he whispered, stroking the side of my face. “Listen to me and Momma and be very quiet.”
“Daddy,” I whimpered, looking between him and my mother.
“Shh,” My mother hushed, pulling my arms into my coat, and handed my father my old black shoes. He lifted me into them and buckled the latch around my foot. They each took one of my hands in theirs and pulled me down the hallway of our small apartment building. As we exited the building, they looked out at the guards that stood watch over our small human compound.
There was only a few of us left in the building after that winter. My mother told me the other family had moved to a different pack and the older lady that lived next to us had gone to visit her son. Now there were only twelve of us, including our small family.
The werewolves lived around us in big homes, some of them lived in the pack house on the edge of the territory. They were important, and I was told never to speak to them.
“Which way?” My mother whispered to my father.
“East,” My father told her, pulling us along the perimeter of the building. I stumbled between them, but they held me up by my arms and pulled me along. They exchanged a few whispers, but I continued to stare at their feet, wondering why we were leaving our home in the middle of the night.
We made it halfway across the territory before one of the guards saw us between the trees. He called out for us to stop and began running towards us. My mother picked me up in her arms and began running, my father right next to us. My head faced over her shoulder and I watched as the wolves slowly closed in on us. My father had placed his hand on my mother’s shoulder and told her to run as fast as she could before he stopped and faced the wolves.
My mother faltered, turned around to look at my father as the guards tackled him to the ground and forced his arms behind his back. She whimpered and placed a hand on my head, running faster.
We were caught seconds later.
I was ripped from my mother’s arms as they pulled her hands behind her and tied her wrists with rope. One of the guards held his hand out for me and I naively took it and began walking beside him, behind the guards who were guiding my parents. They walked us all the way back to the pack house, were the Alpha had been alerted of our escape and was waiting with his guards.
He glared down at us as the guards forced my mother and father to their knees and placed me beside them. The Alpha declared that we would be punished in the early morning, when more of the pack could see us. They carted my mother and father off to the cells in the basement of the pack house. We were rarely allowed inside the pack house and as we walked, I looked around in wonder. It was a grand place, filled with beautiful things, none of which I could touch.
The guard who held my hand pulled me a little quicker and allowed me to share a cell with my mother. I fell asleep in her lap, playing with her long blonde hair, tired from the running and being woken up; I don’t think she ever slept.
In the morning, one of the guards came and removed us from the cells. The same guard who held my hand came back and walked me behind my parents, again, to the front of the pack house. There, a large pole was placed in the front yard with a rope sectioning off the area. Most of the pack stood around it, watching us arrive from the basement. I had never seen so much of the pack before, each time they gathered we were not permitted to attend.
The Luna, an older lady who always had a scowl on her face, motioned to the guard to bring me to her. He walked me over and waited for me to let go of his hand. I didn’t want to, and the Luna peeled my fingers from him and placed her clawed hand on my shoulder to keep me in place.
They dragged my father to the pole and tied his hands around it. The Alpha walked up beside him on the small, makeshift, stage and began speaking loudly. I wasn’t paying attention to him, I was looking at my father who had tears streaming down his face. He never cried before. My mother was on the other side of the rope, calling out his name, “Levi! Levi!” but her voice was drowned out by the Alpha’s loud tone. My father called her name and mine, trying to find out where we were. “Viviana! Margo!” he cried, turning his head to either side, searching for us in the crowd.
The Alpha picked up a long, brown object and the crowd around us cheered. I looked around in confusion until the Luna turned my head forward. The Alpha raised the object and struck it hard against my father’s back. My father cried out as his shirt split open and blood started running down his back. I whimpered, afraid to cry out.
The Alpha continued whipping my father for several more minutes, getting more excited as the crowd around us cheered. My mother fought against the guards with tears streaming down her face, crying out my father’s name as he sunk further and further down the pole.
Eventually, the Alpha stopped and set down the whip. My father was no longer moving when the Alpha stepped off the stage and allowed the guards holding my mother to bring her up to the pole. They tied her around the same pole as my father and called out for the other guards to join them. My mother sobbed loudly as she stood over my father, his bloodied and battered body in shreds on the floor.
Eight or nine guards surrounded my mother and began tearing her clothes off. She screamed but no one came to help her as they took turns raping her and beating her. The Luna behind me grabbed my chin and forced me to watch as they tore my mother apart. Tears silently dripped down my cheeks, but my mouth remained locked shut.
I don’t know how long it was before one of the guards hit her in the back and her spine snapped in two. She was instantly quiet as her body fell to the ground on top of my father’s body. They left her there as the guards climbed down from the stage and retreated to the pack house.
The Luna let go of my shoulder and stepped away from me, walking towards her mate, the Alpha. They were in charge of all the werewolves, and incidentally, the humans in the pack. They began speaking, pointing, and staring at me, trying to decide what to do with a newly orphaned four-year-old.
I continued to stare at my parent’s bodies until a boy with honey colored hair stepped in front of me. He smiled, revealing his missing front teeth and waved his hand slightly. I lifted mine and waved sadly before I tucked my chin into my chest. He grabbed my hand and I looked up at the boy who was still smiling, blissfully unaware of what had just happened. In a way, I was too.
“My name is Caddy,” he grinned.
“I’m Margo,” I whispered, wiping the tears from my ruddy cheeks with my palms.
“Do you want to be my friend?” He asked, tilting his head to the side. I nodded my head and allowed him to pull me behind him. We walked past the Alpha and Luna who seemed fine with our arrangement.
“I don’t have a lot of friends,” Caddy babbled, leading me into a room with toys and play structures. “Mommy says its because I’m gonna be Alpha one day. Maybe you can be Luna!”
I shook my head and he frowned.
“I’m human,” I said softly, staring at the ground.
The boy walked towards me and placed his hands on either side of my head, rougher than he intended, and smiled at me.
“Well, then I’ll protect you. We can be best friends.”