Flashback - Arora’s POV
1 year ago.
The first time I opened my eyes, I were mesmerised by the moon. Although it burned to look at something so bright, I never averted my eyes away. The glow of the brilliant blue moon was comforting, and I could not help but bask in the light and warmth it provided. My whimpers could be heard by those around me, and soon I was scooped up from the floor and placed into the arms of an adoring woman. Her eyes filled with tears, but not tears of sadness, tears of pure joy. She nuzzles the skin of my cheek, cooing the name Arora into my tiny scrunched up face.
On my 3rd birthday, I was playing in the beautiful garden that was behind our house, it was surrounded on three sides by a vast forest. Although I did not understand the pull the forest had on me, I knew I was never allowed to venture inside the darkness of the tree’s. It was too dangerous my mother Milla would always tell me. I did as I was told and kept to the bright and colourful areas, that was the flower patches and lush green grassed lawn.
The familiar shouts between mother and father caused me to lift my head to see my father open handedly strike my mother on the cheek. It shocked me just as much as it did my mother, I had never seen my father so angry before. I knew him to be grumpy and not one to talk to unless spoken to first, but to see such awful behaviour was upsetting, but I could not turn my eyes from staring at the scene in front of me.
My father’s piercing dark eyes shot in my direction, causing my heart to pound harder in my tiny chest and tears to well in my eyes. I was terrified as to what was going to happen to me. In only a few quick strides he was in front of me and seized my arm in such a grip that it felt as if my arm was going numb with the lack of blood in my veins. I pleaded with him to let go, only to have my pleas fall on deaf ears. He dragged me away from the light and into the darkness of the small barn off to the right side of the house, tears blurred my vision and my feet stumbled as I struggled to keep up with my father’s rapid pace.
The protests of thick, heavy steel scrapping against concrete made my body quiver in utter fear. I had not been bad so why was he putting me in the basement of the barn. “Daddy please. No. I don’t like the dark.” My voice was piercing with every drop of devastation I felt. My struggling only angered my father more and his hand tightened in an unbearable vice like grip. He yanked me down the stairs into the obis and threw me onto the dark and damp floor. “Get in the box.” He ordered me. I was on my knees in a prayer like position begging him this time, again I was ignored and it was quickly followed by a kick to the stomach. With my limp and crumpled body now violently shaking on the floor in both fear and pain, my father grabbed me by my hair and forced me into the small wooden box.
Cold. I always felt cold, it is what I have felt for months, but it is not the only thing I felt though. Pain is another strong part of my life. My body was cramping while being confined to such a small space, I almost never got to stretch my legs like I needed to or see the moon to calm my mental state. It has been a long time, I do not know exactly how long, since I have seen my mother and missed her warmth and kindness terribly.
The loud creaking of metal was never a good noise, only on rare occasions did it mean food and water. This thankfully was one of them moments. Sheila came into view as she paced quickly down the steps, I could see she was scared to be down here with me. Who wouldn’t be? This was my father’s torture chamber. “Hey baby girl. I’ve brought you some food.” She smiled weakly as she looked upon my frail and filthy state. I did not have the energy to talk back or even lift my head to greet her. Seeing my struggle, she lifted and supported my head gently. Now I was in a albeit squashed sitting position, I was able to take small agonizing sips of water before trying a little of the soup she had brought me.
It was a slow process but after I had finished every spoonful and slurp of water, I felt a little stronger. “Thank you.” I said in just a whisper. Sheila’s smile grew but fell instantly when a second set of footsteps came down the stairs. She quickly gained her feet and scrambled past my father and out of sight without a look back or word spoken, just a small bow of respect to my father’s presence on her way past.
I watched as he took a key from his front pocket and stuck it into the lock on the door of the box and turned it. The faint sound of clicking was followed by a louder one and the catch sprung open. Even though the door to my cage was open, I coward to the back of the box. Still fearing my father and his intentions.
Over the last few months, I had gathered that I was to be sacrificed to the moon, inbetween beatings and whippings. This was normally done around each lunar cycle to prevent me from getting any ideas of freedom and from taking my true form. I always pictured a beautiful and lean white wolf when I dreamt, I hoped that this is what I would look like if I were to transform. I longed for the change to happen as it should when the moon’s rays finally cast over me on the night of my 4th birthday, but because I am in here where the moons beams could not fine me, I will be denied the experience. She continues to lay dormant and withering, trapped within my human shell.
“Get out.” My father seethed at me. I was paralysed in position and remained silent. “I. Said. Get. Out. NOW.” He enunciated each word and got louder with each one spoken. Again I made no movement to the front of the box, using his excess of strength and power, he ripped the top of the wooden box away and gripped onto my long white hair and dragged me from my sitting position and into his menacing face. The man was pure evil, all he cared about was power, and the need to gain more of it was his obsession.
The blow to the face came swiftly and unseeingly, the first I knew about it was the explosion of pain that radiated from my left cheek to the rest of my face. My scream echoed off the walls and surrounded us, after it evaporated to nothing it left but his seething heavy breaths filling my ears as well as the pulsing of my own heartbeat.
“Tonight’s the night princess.” He used my old nickname, the term of endearment he once used towards me, is now a word he uses to mock me. I am nothing to him but a way of getting more power. I do not know what the sacrifice entails but I know it means my end, even as the small child that I am, I know that as a matter of fact.
The sun burned my eyes as I was pulled behind my father, I did not protest or whimper much because I have learnt that only makes things worse. Being thrown to the floor again, reopening cuts and the healing scrapes to my knees and shins. I can feel a trickle of blood oozing from my left knee but I stay where I am, broken and weak. I can hear the comings and going of the other pack members, the voices and laughs of other children around me as they played but I make no move to see them. Silent tears do escape my eyes though.
Running feet get louder as they approach, before being caught. “Leo please. Please let me hold my daughter again.” My mother’s voice was desperate with a touch of mania in its pleas. “Milla, I have told you before. She is not your daughter. She is the sacrifice.” The emotionless voice of him, held no volume but dripped with malice. “Please. Please.” She sobbed and dropped to her knees. “Get up. Have some dignity will you, your luna of this pack for fuck sake.” His venom woven into every word.
My hair once again was gripped and I was dragged to the lake, which was not far from where the main house were. Once there I was faced with two females I’ve never seen before, but their swooning eyes awed at my father. “Clean her up and prepare her for tonight.”
The black haired beauty on the left just stared in a dream like state, while the red head on the right answered him. “Yes Alpha.” She purred seductively and pushed out her chest towards him. Her nipples pert and wanting under the thin white cotton dress she barely covered herself in. He didn’t acknowledge either of them before leaving.
“Come here you little bitch.” The red head demanded. I timidly took a small step forward but it wasn’t quick enough for the black haired woman who grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the frigid waters of the lake. Without warning she took a knife and sliced the back of my too small dress open and ripped it the rest of the way off my body as well as my underwear. I cried out and pleaded for them to stop but they ignored me. They both just forced me under the water and held me there while I couldn’t breathe and thrashed around trying to get free and be able to take oxygen into my lungs. The shock of the cold water made me scream, releasing most of my air supply in one go.
A burning feeling blazed throughout my lungs, and my movements gradually started to slow. I was dying. Was this the sacrifice? Was it really this quick? In answer to my question it was not. My body finally broke the surface and I could once again pull air into my body. I tried hard to deeply fill my lungs before it happened again, but there wasn’t enough time. It felt like I was under the water for a lot longer this time, but that could just have been my imagination playing tricks on me and having no concept of time.
My body now even weaker than when their own personal brand of torture started, was expected to wash myself and hair. Getting all the grime, dirt and self-waste off my skin while being chilled to the bone in the lake. The women lounged on the bank in the warmth of the sun, going as far as to remove their dresses so they would tan evenly. They loved the attention they were getting from all the males around the lake, and now began touching and kissing each other, enticing them to come closer and join them.
After 10 minutes I was finished but remained quiet and still, not wanting their wicked attention to come back to me. “What do you bitches think you’re doing? I told you to get her ready, not fuck each other.” They pulled apart and coward away from his anger. He sighed loudly, dropping his angry expression and beckoned them to him. “Might as well have a little fun, we have time.” He smirked at the women.
I still did not move but looked down at the water not wanting to see anything of what was happening metres away from me, the noises alone made me feel sick to my stomach. “Arora.” I lifted my eyes the tiniest bit to see who said my name. It is the first time anyone has called me that in a very long time. My uncle Oberon stood to the far left of all the commotion and signalled to follow him with his finger, and headed back into the tree line.
My body shivered as I walked with him back towards the main house. Hope was building in the pit of my stomach that he was taking me back to my mother. I wanted to run ahead of him, find her as quickly as I could and cling to her and never let go. “Don’t even think about it.” I shrank back at the callousness of his voice. “Uncle Oberon plea-”
“Don’t call me that.” He snapped, interrupting my request. Snickers erupted around me, I looked around myself noticing the points of others fingers at me and became all too aware that I was naked.
My attention was diverted when shoved through the barn door, landing roughly on the hay that was scattered all over the floor. “Get her dressed.” Oberon ordered somebody before leaving. I openly cried then, I could not hold it back anymore. Arms enveloped me holding me close as I cried. “Hush child, come on now. We don’t want him coming back now do we?” I knew that voice. Sheila’s eyes bore into mine as I looked up at her. I hugged her back now realising how much I craved the affection of a warm embrace. “Come on, let’s get you dressed.” She directed me to the far corner of the room where a plain white cotton dress laid over a hay bale with a basket full of flowers stood next to it.
“Arms up.” I did as I was told as she slipped the simple dress over my head and gave me underwear to step into. “There now. That wasn’t so bad was it.” She smiled making me feel instantly loved by the kindness that she is showing towards me. It has not been the first time as she was always the one to bring me food. “Now take a seat and I’ll braid your hair, while you eat.” She pulled a cookie out from behind her and my eyes greedily took in the sweet treat before my hands could take it from her.
Her touch was gentle as she brushed out the knots and tangles my hair was now drying into. Once it was smooth and tangle free she began to pull the front parts of my hair into a twist that framed around my head like a crown and intertwined flowers within the twisted braid. I felt beautiful for the first time in a long time, even with it only being for this ritual.
I spoke for the first time since being reprimanded by my uncle. “What will happen to me?” Sheila’s eyes brimmed with pity and held back tears. She sniffled but did not answer me. I knew it would be bad, but her silence on the matter only served to confirm it. We sat in the barn quietly as the sky outside started to turn to twilight. The door opened and Uncle Oberon stepped in. “Let’s go.” His voice was soft, pained almost but I went to him silently not wanting more pain than what I was about to feel.
I walked through the members of the pack as they made a tunnel for me, after I had passed them they fell in step with me, following me to a place I did not even know. It wasn’t long before we stopped in front of a large stone alter on the pier of the lake. This must have been why there were so many people at the lake today, they were constructing this.
Fire torches were lit in each corner of the platform and in the middle of each edge. My breathing started to hitch as my fear got the better of me. My father appeared at the other side of the alter, flanked by my uncle and his wife to the right of him and my mother’s tearful form to the left with my brother standing just behind her holding hands with Sheila. He stared back at me as if I were a complete stranger, but I faintly felt his apprehension through our twin link.
“Put her on the alter.” My father instructed. I was immediately grabbed by two pairs of strong hands and lifted as if I were nothing onto the stone, and tied down by my wrists and ankles with silver straps. I struggled and screamed but as every other time I were ignored. The two young males that tied me down now stepped back into the formation of the pack. I franticly pulled against the straps trying to get loose but it didn’t work as I wanted it to, they only get tighter and now cut into my flesh. “Remove your dress and lay down next to her.” His voice was bitter as he demanded my mother to obey him.
I stopped struggling in time to see her raise her chin defiantly and pulled the string at the front of her dress, releasing it. It fell to the floor effortlessly and she ascended the few steps and laid down next to me. I looked into her eyes, scared to my very core as to why she was here beside me. I did not want her to be hurt. “It’s okay Aurora. Just be strong a little bit more for me.” Her voice was a whisper, but her words were oddly comforting. The heat radiating from her warmed my chilled skin, I wanted to reach out to her and hold her hand but couldn’t.
“Your here to bear witness to the Super Blood Wolf Moon ritual. This ritual dates back to the first generation of our ancestors. For those that do not know, this ritual will harness the supremacy of the moon to grant our pack not only the power of the ancient wolf gods but immortality and give us their strength as well.” Cheers erupted around us as the pack urged my father to proceed with his depraved plan.
His movements towards the bottom of the steps caused me to panic. He removed his shirt before climbing the three steps and towering over me. His feet were bare as they straddled me, I was so scared I start struggling again, with tears and screams flowing out of me, louder than before. “Hold her down and shut her up.” He ordered. The same two males from before stepped forward again and pinned me to the cold stone, while my own mother gagged me. “Shush baby, not long now. Stay strong for me.” Her breath tickled my ear as she spoke, she was so close that I could feel her rapid heart beating.
“We pay homage to the moon gods and offer the heart of the pure first born daughter of the crescent pack to you. Grant us the gifts of the gods, create us in your image.” His voice boomed into the silence of the night. “Brother’s and sister’s take your true forms and pay your respects to the moon.” Tearing and ripping of material broke the silent night before multiple howls rang out loud and clear. Every wolf’s head was craned upwards in honour of being blessed in its magnificent rays. “Get ready to run.” Were the last thing my mother said before removing her hand and laying back down next to me.
My father’s huge frame kneeled over me, dwarfing my tiny body. “Remove the restraints.” He panted catching his breath after paying his tribute. The silver straps were removed but I still did not move from that position, paralysed by fear. Once the silver was removed I felt for the first time the power of the magic within me, my body reacted to the moons rays, I could feel the shifting of my bones and organs, but it all halted as I opened my eyes and looked up at my father. He took a knife out from behind his back and sliced into his right palm and then did the same to my mother’s.
He mixed their blood together and pooled it into his cupped hand, it now dripped from the overflowing pool of his palm. Discarding the knife he dipped his index finger into the deep crimson puddle and drew a symbol I didn’t know onto my forehead. “I anoint thee with the symbol of the gods as offering to them.” He drew a second symbol over my heart. Wind began roaring through the trees of the forest, as thunder rumbled overhead. “I sacrifice the heart of my child to you, to dine on. Her pure heart is filled with fear for your satisfaction.” Rain started pouring down over us. He turned to my mother and drew the same symbols on her and then himself. “We three are linked by blood and blessing. We honour you as humble servants and in return are open to receive your benevolence, by bestowing us with your immortal gifts.”
The howls of the pack wolves once again rang into the night air and lightening lit up the darkness. Taking up the knife my father pointed it to the skies as another rumble of thunder rolled across the heavens. “Moon gods, give me your acceptance to my offering and grant me your power.” Lightening struck the bone blade, making it vibrate with a blue glow, signifying their acceptance. His arm descended quickly, blade pointing directly above my heart as if it knew its target. With one last scream I closed my eyes and accepted my fate.