We held onto each other for dear life as our screams filled the room. I barely registered our dad, Aleksei, running into the room looking panicked.
I could feel Zia’s spine snapping in and out of place against my hands on her back. Her screams and whimpers were ringing in my ears as her head lay on my shoulder. Her tears were soaking my shirt but my own were falling on hers as well.
The pain of shifting for the first time was excruciating. Everyone told us it would hurt but they never said just how painful and scary the whole thing is.
Our dad squatted down beside the bed and rubbed our backs in encouragement.
“It’s okay, my pups. It will be over very soon. You are doing so well!” And he was right.
Just as he finished talking, Zia’s shirt had started to stretch and rip with mine following suit. As my hand touched her bare back, I could feel her small one on mine. Then we both gasped as our skin was replaced with growing fur.
Then we were no longer holding each other.
“Zizi?” I said but no words came out. Only a strange sound.
As I looked down at my hands, I realized I no longer had hands. They were replaced with paws. My head snapped up to look at Zia and I saw her wolf. She was sniffing around her paws before she looked up at me and barked. Then her tongue stuck out and I could feel my wolf surge forward and tackle her. Our wolves started playing with each other growing and yipping as they tumbled all around the bed.
Our father stood up and laughed as he watched our wolves play together. We heard a gasp come from the bedroom door and stopped to look at our mum, Masha, standing there with her hands over her mouth in shock.
“They shifted already!?” She said to our father as Zia and I’s wolves tumbled over each other to jump off the bed and run to our mum first.
She laughed as she crouched down to catch the two pups that jumped towards her. The second she lost her balance and fell to her side was when our wolves attacked her with licks and kisses. Her laughter filled the room and soon our little wolf bodies were picked up in two large hands.
Our father placed a kissed on each of our furry heads before he announced that it was time to run with his wolf. The whole way out of the house our wolves were yipping and barking in excitement about seeing their dad. As he opened the front door, our mother’s cream coloured wolf ran out and waited for us in the thick layer of snow.
Our wolves’ fur was so white that Zia and I almost blended into the snow. Our wolves were the size of young adult/teenage puppies. But we were told that after our first shift our wolves were going to grow fairly quickly. In a few short months, we will nearly be the size of our mother’s wolf. And in a year’s time, we would be the size of our dad’s wolf.
After our father shifted, we all went for a run around our pack. It was the best day of our lives. Our wolves had so much fun running for the first time and spending time with their parents. Our dad’s large black wolf stood so tall. He was almost as large as the alpha wolf, considering he is the pack beta. The alphas second in command. The right-hand man of the alpha.
Just a few short weeks after that day everything changed.
We were no longer in the pack, no longer with our parents. We were rogues, on the run for our lives. The new alpha of the pack had become deathly obsessed with Zia and would stop at nothing to get her. I was already too late once, and I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
We spent months running through Russia trying to escape our pack who now hunted us. Zia was hurt, she took weeks to heal and that was only the psychical wounds she had. It wouldn’t be until two years later that her mental wounds finally had the chance to start healing. A year after we escaped Russia, we spent another year just trying to get to another country that we felt was safe enough for us. Other countries always felt too dangerous for us or too close to home and to him.
The day I saved Zia was the day I vowed that I would never let her down again. I vowed that I would always be there for her, that I would love and protect her until the day I die. I no longer cared about finding my mate. I gave that dream up the moment I took my sister and ran from the pack.
I made the decision to make us rogues, but it was the only one that would have saved her life. We miss our family so much, but we know we can never go back. That we can never contact our parents.
There were so many clues, so many fucking clues that if I had only just paid more attention to them then none of this would have happened. Zia wouldn’t have gotten hurt, she wouldn’t have lost her spark, she wouldn’t have lost her will to live anymore. Everything is always linked back to me.
If only I was a better brother, then I could have saved her sooner.
Everything that happened was because of me.
2 YEARS LATER....
We had just spent another night sleeping in an abandoned log cabin. The wind howled all night and did nothing to cover the silent cries coming from Zia.
Every night was the same.
She’d have those nightmares again. The ones where she’s back there in the pack, being forced to love a cruel man who was once our friend. Be forced to do things she was too young to do. Every night she would scream in her sleep. She would scream from the nightmares that were her memories. She would shake and whimper in her sleep, with her cries echoing around the room.
As I laid there looking up at the cobwebs swaying from the wind, her nightmares would flash through my mind. Our link showed me everything. Our twin link made me feel the pain she went through, the terror she felt, the loneliness and the heartbreak she felt thinking I had left her. That I had forgotten about her and left her to that monster.
My regret and guilt replayed every time she had those nightmares. I could easily block our link and not see them, but I can’t. I’m the reason she has nightmares in the first place. I’m the reason I ignored the warning signs and dismissed all the creepy feelings she had.
I’m the one that said there was no monster standing in the shadows watching her at night.
It’s my fault, because there was.