The human female had been brought in the previous night. She shouldn’t have been there. I knew who she was. Maria had been told. Alpha Bryn had been adamant. She could visit but on no account was she to set foot in the forest, nor was she to be told of our true nature. It wasn’t that difficult. It seemed however, that it was. The patrol had found her, chased her down when she screamed and ran. If she hadn’t seen them, I may have been able to let it pass. She had seen them though, seen them shift. That had been too much for her tiny human mind to comprehend, so now she was in the cells, waiting for the Alpha to return. He would decide her fate.
In some ways it was better that she had lost consciousness. A conscious human being dragged to the cells screaming wouldn’t have done anyone any favours. There were no other humans this far out, but you couldn’t be too careful. Hence the patrols. In a way she was lucky the patrol had found her. We had a few rogue problems lately, if they had found her there would have been nothing left.
The guards had told me when she had woken, they had given her food which she had refused.
That wasn’t strictly true. When I went down to check she was cowering in the corner, visibly shaking. I could smell her fear. My wolf could smell something else, but I shut him down. He had been restless just lately. I was twenty five and still to find my mate. Every female he came across from outside our territory he became excited, only to be disappointed. This girl was human after all, the likelihood of her being our mate was remote. Besides she wasn’t even from this country.
She was pretty though, for a human. Long blonde hair, and beautiful blue eyes. Her skin was pale. I wasn’t sure if it was always so pale, or whether the shock of her circumstances had made it so. She was thin too. Or maybe humans were supposed to be that way. I’d never really come across any. She did smell different though, different to the she wolves. We really wanted to find our mate though, if only to stop the unmated she-wolves throwing themselves at me. A beta of the largest pack in Arizona would be quite a catch. I could have any one of them, but they weren’t mine. I could be stealing someone else’s mate, and that would be wrong.
Bryn was in the same situation, that was why he wasn’t here. He was visiting other packs in hopes he would find his mate. I had done the same thing last year, sadly to no avail. He offered me the chance to go with him this year, but someone had to stay behind, deal with the rogue threat. He would be back in a few days.
I sat in my office, going over some paperwork. I was interrupted by a knock at the door.
“Come,” I growled. Annoyed at the interruption.
One of my warriors walked in a little sheepishly.
“I’m sorry Beta, but Maria is outside demanding to see you.”
I frowned, “Why?”
“She demanded to see the Alpha, something about a girl. When I told her the Alpha was away she demanded to see you.”
I leaned back in the chair and sighed.
“Very well, I’ll talk to her.”
Not that she would be happy with what I was about to say.
I walked outside of the pack house, and she was standing there, she looked like she was about ready to shift, the anger in her face apparent.
“Where is she? What have you done with her? I demand you release her,” she growled.
I folded my arms over my chest.
“Only the Alpha can decide her fate, and he is out of the territory. In the meantime she is being held here.”
Maria glared at me, then her eyes snapped towards the cell block.
I knew what she had heard, I heard it too. The faint voice. Not faint because it was so far away. Our enhanced hearing saw to that. It was faint because there was something wrong.
“You put her in a cell?” Maria hissed, “A werewolf cell!”
I rolled my eyes.
“Where did you expect me to put her? If the Alpha was here and she was any other human she would have been killed.”
“But she isn’t just any human, is she? She’s my step-daughter. She’s the daughter of my mate,” she hesitated, her voice cracking, “please Tobias, she’s innocent. She didn’t know.”
I shook my head, “She was your responsibility Maria. I will try and make her comfortable until Alpha Bryn returns, but her fate is in his hands, not mine. A report on the incident has already been filed.”
Maria ran her fingers through her hair, “what am I supposed to tell her father? He sent her here because he thought it would be safer. Safer than backpacking in the outback, now my own people are about to execute her.”
A tear trickled down her cheek.
“I’m sorry Maria. I’ll do my best, but I can’t make any promises.”
Maria nodded, “Can I...Can I see her?”
I shook my head.
“It’s best that you don’t, especially if she doesn’t know who you are, what you are.”
She nodded again and walked away. Heading back to her cabin on the outskirts of town.
It was a werewolf town. Humans occasionally passed through, but rarely. Even more rare was one stopping. There were shops and schools, but no hotel. It would be rare for anyone to stay. The police department was run by werewolves. It was more of a front, or to keep the juvenile wolves in line. It also helped to move on any errant humans who thought about stopping. If a huge muscular cop pulled you over, you didn’t argue. Especially if he was sending you on your way with a warning not to linger.
I could never understand why Maria had left. She put in a formal request to the Alpha, saying she wanted to find her mate. He agreed of course. He had no idea she would fly across to the other side of the world. He was slightly disgruntled when she decided to stay there. It lasted longer than anyone thought it would. She promised not to divulge who she was, so Alpha Bryn agreed that she could stay there, even though he was human. Maria didn’t cope well with being in a city. No werewolves do. She couldn’t persuade her mate to return with her, and somehow managed to make him reject her. She accepted it and came back to us. We could see what the pain of the rejection did to her. It took her years to get over it. We didn’t think that keeping in touch with her mates daughter was wise, but it was what she wanted. It was the closest thing she would ever come to having a pup.
That was the only reason why the Alpha had permitted the visit. In hindsight he should have said no.
I headed back into the pack house, grabbed a blanket and headed to the cells. Maria was right in a way. The cells were no place for a human, but we had nowhere else to hold her, and she had seen too much.
When I reached the cell that the human had been put in, I half expected to be met by the stench of fear. I wasn’t, it was ultimately worse. The smell was putrid and it reminded me of rotting flesh.
I looked at her pale skin. She was shaking, despite a the sheen of sweat which covered her skin. Her breathing was shallow. She was sick.
As I moved closer, I almost gagged on the smell.
Had no one noticed the claw marks on her back. I hadn’t noticed yesterday, but then I hadn’t got too close. They were noticeable today. Mostly because of the thick yellow discharge which seeped from them. Some sort of human infection.
We had learnt about humans in school. How they were weak because of their slow healing. How the slightest injury could kill them. Our cuts would heal in minutes, theirs could take days, even weeks.
Had the patrol not had the presence of mind to inform someone that her skin had been broken? Maybe they thought there would be no point if she was due to be executed, or maybe they hadn’t seen the depth of the cuts. There was no point trying to second guess.
I put my hand on her forehead, she was hot.
As my skin touched her own, I felt a shock pass between us.
I snatched my hand away.
No! This wasn’t possible. I was a Beta. How could the moon goddess give me a weak human mate.
My wolf growled
Mate. Mate hurt. Save Mate.
I put my nose against her neck and sniffed. Now I could smell her. I was close enough so the putrid smell of death didn’t overtake her own beautiful smell.
I shook my head. If I hadn’t seen her, smelt her or touched her, I would never have known. My wolf didn’t care she was human. He only cared that we had found her.
I could reject her, or if Bryn executed her. It would hurt, but not as badly as if I had marked her. The closer I was to her in the next few days the stronger the bond would become. It was weak right now. Mostly because she was human. She wouldn’t even know. Could I reject her? My goddess chosen mate.
I quickly wrapped her in the blanket, avoiding anymore skin on skin contact. The less I touched her the less chance of the bond becoming strong.
I quickly carried her to the pack doctor.
He frowned when I walked in.
“The human they brought in last night, she has become infected. You need to treat her, until the Alpha decides her fate.
I laid her on an empty bed.
“I will send guards to make sure she doesn’t escape, I suggest you shackle her to the bed.”
The doctor nodded.
“Of course Beta Tobias, do you want to be kept informed?”
My wolf paced around in my mind. He knew I was thinking about rejection, and he was annoyed.
“Yes, send a written report to my office… So I can keep the Alpha informed,” I added quickly.
I quickly left the infirmary, running my fingers through my hair.
My wolf growled, so I blocked him.
Was I a coward? A bad mate? What if the moon goddess had chosen an Omega for me. Would I have rejected her too?
There was only one person who I knew had a human mate, and that was Maria. Did I really want to talk to her given the circumstances? Her pairing hadn't worked out particularly well.
I needed to clear my head, so I headed out of the pack-house and towards the woods. I quickly shifted and ran. I kept running until I reached the lake. Trying to take my mind off my current dilemma.