Wild Claim

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28

SAGE

It happened so quickly. A brief glance before everything raced between us. Jerked and tossed as the car spun on the small country road. The impact hit my side and then the car flipped. I heard growls of many wolves. Scents of unknown werewolves. The sound of metal scraping against the cement. The car had flipped so many times I have become disorientated. My head slammed against something and I lost consciousness immediately.

I don't know how long blackness surrounded me. How deep I feel into unconsciousness—but when I awoke, I was hanging upside down. Blood dripping down my face and into my eyes. I blinked several times and tried to move. Pain shoots up my right arm and I screamed. I could smell the car fumes and the mixture of smoke. I also heard the loud, feral growls all around the car.

Using my uninjured hand, I wiped the blood from my eyes and moved to unbuckle my seatbelt. Preparing for gravity to pull me down, I moved my head to avoid hitting it. My body hit the roof of the car.

Remembering that Liam was in the driver seat, my eyes darted to where he was supposed to be, but he was nowhere in sight. Panic rolled through me. Did he get hurt? Did he fly out of the car while we were hit?

"Liam?" I breathed. My head pounded and I winced in pain. Gingerly, I moved to touch my forehead and noticed a huge gash on my right forehead. This must be the reason why I lost consciousness. I looked around the car for an escape route.

I noticed gas leaking and dripping onto the side of the road but Liam's driver side window was opened. I wiggled my way out of the car. I grabbed ahold of the underside of the car to assist me in standing up. Everything spun for what seemed like forever. My body swayed towards the car as if I was about to fall flat but I refused to lose consciousness again. I needed to find Liam.

Refocusing my eyes, I blinked until I can see what was going on around me. We were surrounded by rogues. Liam stood in front of the car. His t-shirt was torn, revealing gashes and wounds. His tattoo on his back enhanced with the headlights of the car.

"Liam," I said a little louder.

"Are you okay, Sage?" he called out, not looking back at me. His attention entirely on the rogues that surrounded us.

"I'm o-ok," I said after looking myself over.

"Are you injured?" he prodded further. His voice turning deeper and angrier.

"A cut on my forehead and right arm. I-I also think I dislocated my right shoulder," I said and fought back tears.

"Are you able to pop it back in yourself?" he questioned calmly but from his stance and the worry in his voice, he was anything but calm.

"I can," I replied.

My mom is the pack doctor. She taught me how to tend to myself. The basics of medical care. I hobbled into a standing position—pushing away from the car. With the uninjured arm, I grabbed the wrist of my injured arm. Breathing heavily through my teeth as the intense throbbing pain hits me hard. I felt like hurling onto the side of the street. Counting in my head, I waited till the count of three before I jerked. Pulling the arm forward and straight in front of me. I heard it popped into place. I cried out in pain, collapsing onto my knees.

"Sage." Panic mixed into Liam's voice.

"I'm fine," I strained softly.

My arm still throbbed but it felt better. The rogues were getting closer. Their eyes were not on me. They were on Liam. I wondered why Liam didn't shift. We were clearly outnumbered. The first rogue attacked, kicking off the ground and flying towards Liam. Liam kicked the rogue mid-air. He went flying and slammed against a tree.

Slowly, they began attacking. First at a small number but it grew when they realized that Liam wasn't going to taken down that easily. A rogue attacked from behind just as Liam was delivering another hit to a rogue ahead of him. He clawed at Liam's back, tearing his shirt off completely. They were relentless and like rabid dogs.

I needed to help. Running towards Liam, I launched myself at the nearest rogue wolf who was about to attack Liam's back once again. Wrapping my arms around his neck, I twisted and jerked. There was a loud crack and the wolf stopped fighting. Dropping him, I took position behind Liam's back. There was still a distance between us.

When the rogue wolves realized that I was going to be a problem, half of them turned their attention to me. From the corner of my eyes, I catch a flash of grey. I spun on one foot, wrapped the other around the wolf's neck, dropped onto one knee and twisted with my other leg that was wrapped around the wolf's neck. I stopped once I heard his neck crack and his struggle stopping.

Glancing behind me, Liam was taking down three at a time. I stood up and blocked the attack of the next wolf. He was snapping his jaws irately and pawing his clawed paws at me. I had to use the back of my arm to hold him back.

In blocking the move, another rogue took advantage. I felt canines dig into my shoulders. They dug deeper, ready to tear me to pieces. I cried out in pain.

Liam jerked around and catches my situation. He took three steps towards me, ripped the wolf that was in front of me from my hands and tore his head from his neck with one single jerk. With my hands freed, I punched the wolf's muzzle and forehead. He released me. As soon as I felt his canines pull out, I pivoted to face him. My nails lengthened to claws, I grabbed at his throat and tore it from his body. I watched the life leaving his body.

Just as the body dropped, I looked up to see that Liam had finished the last surviving wolf too. He walked over to me while I swayed on my feet. Exhaustion and my head injury really catching up to me. My eyes did a slow scan of his body and noticed a reddening bruise on his chest. It spread all over his body. Alarmed hits me and I met him halfway.

"What happened to you?" I ripped the rest of his tattered shirt off his body to look at his chest.

"Broken rib," he grimaced and laid a hand above his abdomen.

"What?" I said in a panic but he was already grabbing onto my face and looking me over. His eyes meeting the cut on my forehead.

Then he moved his hand lower to my neck, to the wound on my shoulder from the rogue wolf, and then to my arm. His eyes darkened with anger with each second that he used to examine me. I must look horrible.

"We need to go. Go to mom. She'll—you'll be fine," I mumbled and tried to push his hands away from touching me. Didn't he understand he was more injured than I was? How can he fight like that with a broken rib?

"I'll be alright. Come here, Sage. Let me at that head wound again." He beckoned with his hands. I shook my head and slapped his hand away.

"Stop. We need to go to the pack. We aren't that far. Just outside the territory," I rushed to say and tried to evade his hands again.

"Sage," he released a loud irritated growl.

I stopped to look at him.

"I'm fine. See?" He pointed to his body and I noticed the redness on his body was going away slowly.

"I-I don't understand," I whispered.

"I heal quickly. A lot quicker than you," he revealed.

"But aren't you hurting?" I looked up at him.

He nodded. "It hurts but I have experienced much worse."

Worse? What can be worse than a broken rib? I wanted to ask him but he yanked me back to standing in front of him. His hands moved to cup my cheek. We stood in the middle of the road with about thirty rogue dead bodies around us.

"We are going to have to report this," I told him. "Do you know why they attacked? What they wanted?"

I know our pack doesn't have enemies. We haven't had a battle since the attack from the human hunters eighteen years ago.

He shook his head. "I don't recognize them."

I frowned because why would the rogues attack us out of nowhere and how did they know who we were? Have they been tracking us for a while? How long have they been following us? All these questions were floating through my mind. Another wave of exhaustion hit me and I rock back and forth on my feet. I grimaced in pain and touched the wound on my head.

Liam's hands came to grab at my shoulders to steady me.

"We need to get you back to the pack," he stated.

"That was what I was saying to you," I grumbled unhappily.

"Not for me. For you," he added.

"I'm fine," I lied.

"You are not fine," he bent down and swept me up into his arms. "Put your arms around me. I'm going to run us the rest of the way there. I don't know if there would be more coming. I can't take the risk, especially with you injured like this. We would need to travel fast and quick."

"Avoid highways and roads," I mumbled with my eyes closed to stop the spinning. I wanted him to know we should also avoid highways and roads. We should stay low.

I think he nodded because his body moved. He held me closer to him. Then there was a soft jolting rhythm to his run. I laid my head on his shoulders.

"Talk to me, Sage," he urged.

I knew what he was doing. He was trying to keep me awake. He didn't want me to go back to sleep yet because of my head injury. I could be having a brain bleed. He was afraid.

The wind whipped my hair from my face and I buried my face into his chest, loving the feel of his warm bare body.

"I saw you fight. You fight beautifully," I sighed.

"When I saw you unconscious in the car, I was terrified," he admitted. "There was so much blood."

"I'm okay now," I told him.

"You're strong," he stated.

"That's why I told you not to run away," I grumbled my displeasure.

"This was my fault. If I didn't run, you wouldn't have left the pack. You would have been safe," he rushed to say.

"Don't, Liam. I am not fragile. You don't have to take the fault. I am afraid that we would encounter obstacles like this. It is only natural. You can't blame yourself each time something happens to me. It would make me upset," I told him.

He brushed his lips against my forehead. I sighed happily, enjoying the firm pressed of his lips against my forehead. He returned his attention back to running. Silence passed between us.

"Are you still awake?" he asked.

I nodded my head.

"Talk to me, Kitten," he pleaded.

"When we get to the pack, I think my dad would be angry," I mentioned. I meant to amuse him but he didn't seem amused.

"But I think I would be ok. I'm just tired from the accident," I continued.

"You will be okay, Kitten." It sounded like a command.

I lifted my head to look at him but he refused to allow me to move. He hid my face back into the crook of his neck.

"I forgive you, you know," I told him.

"I don't deserve your forgiveness," he replied.

"You deserve everything," I argued.

The air began to change. Our pack scent mixed into the air and I knew were close to home now. He moved fast because, in a matter of a few minutes, we made it to the packhouse. He kicked down the front door with his feet.

"Katya," he roared loudly.

A few feet scuttling on the marble flooring. I knew he was heading towards the medical wing.

"What? What happened?" Katya asked.

"Get Rosemary," Liam ordered his sister who I felt listened and left right away.

I was gently laid down on a hospital bed. A doctor that worked with my mom appeared in front of me. His name was Eric. He touched my head.

"That is quite a cut, Sage," Eric mentioned. "Let's get you to CT."

"You'll take care of her," Liam said.

Eric nodded. "No worries. She'll be safe."

Eric wheeled me away but I turned my head to look at my mate who was staring back at me. He looked distraught and with the distance, he looked like he was fighting an internal battle. We rounded a corner and disappeared down a hallway.

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