(words in Prentiss is the translation)
Warning *Graphic content*
It’s 1922 in Aalst, Belgium. I just turned eighteen only days ago, and I am enjoying the freedom of being an adult. After having a night with my friends, I walk home in the fresh night air. As I turn onto the street to my family home, I hear some noise in the bushes. I turn to check it out. “Hallo? Is daar iemand?” (Hello? Is someone there?) I caution, my eyes widen with fear.
I pick up my walking pace when two men step out from the bush, stopping me. My eyes dart around, looking for someone to help, but I am all alone. “Hey, beautiful,” One of the men says with wondering eyes.
I look at the men, confused. “Ben je verdwaald?” (Are you lost?) I ask, looking at them. “Sorry ik spreek geen Engels” (I’m sorry I do not speak English) I try to explain.
“She is a local. She doesn’t understand us,” The man says, while the other man steps towards me. I back away slowly. “Wat wil je?” (What do you want?) I ask, looking between the two men as my hands tremble.
The man keeps coming towards me, and I turn to run, but the closest man grabs me and shoves me into a nearby trail. “HELP!!!” I scream, kicking the other man in the face.
“YOU LITTLE BITCH!” The man shouts and slaps me across the cheek. I struggle to get away from the men, but it was no use. I am no comparison to these men.
One of the men holds me down while the other grabs my clothes and rips them off “Stop alsjeblieft!!” (Please stop!!) I cry out as tears fill my eyes. The man holding me down covers my mouth while the other unzips his pants, then he rips my panties off and forces my legs open, shoving himself inside me.
I try to fight back, throwing my hands, but they would slap or punch my face every time I move. Once the man finished, the other man proceeded to take his turn. At this point, I stopped fighting, and all I feel is numb as tears fall down my cheeks uncontrollably.
The men pull up their pants, and as I lay there with no hope, the men kick and punch me half to death. One of the men picked up a large rock, smashing it over my head, thinking I was dead, and they take off. I wait for them to be out of sight, and I try to move for help, but my vision is in and out, and I don't have the strength.
A stranger comes to my aid, a woman in her early twenties with sandy blonde hair and eyes bluer than the ocean. “Ik ben hier om je te helpen, wees niet bang” (I am here to help you, please don’t be afraid) The beautiful woman consoles me, kneeling at my side.
“Ik wil niet dood” (I don’t want to die), I whisper faintly. “Ik laat je niet doodgaan, maar de dingen zullen hierna anders zijn en je hoeft je nooit meer zorgen te maken dat iemand je pijn doet.” (I won’t let you die, but things will be different after this there is no going back to your old life, but you will never have to worry about anyone harming you again.) The blue-eyed woman explains.
I start to get woozy as I lose more and more blood. I am about to let go of the fight when the stranger sinks her teeth into my neck, and a burning sensation erupts through my veins as my body convulses.
It took several minutes before my body stops shaking, and the sensation was gone. However, I am still dying. “Ik kan je niet laten lijden, ik beloof je dat dit geen pijn zal doen” (I can’t let you suffer. I promise this won’t hurt). The woman reassures me as she grabs me by the neck and snaps. Everything went black.
I shove the man through the door to my father’s office in downtown Portland. “Morning dad” I grin at my father, pushing the dirtbag into a chair and dropping a folder down on my father’s desk.
“What do we have here?" my father asks, picking the papers up to look at them.
“This dipshit thought it would be smart to assault his wife and skip bail," I reply, sitting on the desk next to my father’s, picking up an apple in a basket next to me, and taking a bite.“My wife deserved every damn thing I gave her,” Dipshit said, laughing. I stand and walk over to him kicking his chair out from under him. “You’re a piece of shit," I snap, looking at him as he lays on the floor. “Who’s laughing now, douchebag?” I laugh and turn to my father. “Send the money to my bank and text me any new bounties,” I say as I’m turning for the door.
I close the door to the office, walking out onto the sidewalk as my phone pings. I stop pulling it out of my back pocket. I swipe it open to see a text from my mother.
Harlow: “Sloan, your father called me. He said you seemed upset last night after work. I know today is the anniversary of the night in Aalst, so I wanted to check on you.” I sigh and tap my fingers on the keyboard.
Sloan: “I’m fine, mother.”
Harlow: “Okay, sweetie, I just wanted to check. I’ll see you later for dinner.”
Sloan: “About that, I think I’m going to pass on dinner tonight.”
Harlow: “Sloan, this is the 3rd dinner you have canceled. Something has to be bothering you?”
Sloan: “I don’t want to talk about this right now. I’ll talk to you later. My mother sends another message, but I ignore it.
I dial my father. He picks up on the second ring. “Sloan, we have a new bounty. This guy is a nasty one; we need to stop him, and his last known location is in werewolf territory, and you know our kind is not wanted there. So you will have to be extra careful.“my father urges. “Don’t worry, Dad, I’ve got this. What’s this guy’s name?” I question. “Drake,” He replies.
“What has this guy done?” I ask. “He raped and killed a 17-year-old girl.” He tells me, clearing his throat as this situation was once his own.
“I’m on it now,” I declare, ending the call. I put my phone back into my pocket and picked up my helmet, placing it over my head. I swing my leg over my bike and turn the key and take off down the street.
I ride several miles and stop close to the edge of the territory line. I put the kickstand down and hop off the bike, removing the helmet lying it down on the bike seat.
Pulling out my phone to see the picture of Drake my father sent. He has dark brown hair with honey yellow eyes and tattoos on the right side of his face. I take a mental note and put my phone away.
I step into the woods and pull out my gun from the holster attached to my leg and load it. I walk through the woods, coming to a run-down shack. I step around the corner of the shed, slowly peering to find a man sitting on an old board.
I point my gun at the man. “Stand up and turn around slowly!" I demand, keeping my eyes on him the entire time. The man stands, holding his hands up and turns as I ask him to. I stand face to face with Drake. “I’m here to take you in, but I should just kill you here and now. No one would miss you,” I declare. Drake smirks, putting his hands down. “Why would they send a woman like you to come after me?” He says smugly.
I rush at Drake like the speed of light and pick him up with one hand by the throat. “I can kill you with my bare hands, so I’m not just a pretty face, you piece of shit!” I hissed, threatening Drake, and his eyes go wide.
A growl echoes from behind me, making the hair on the back of my neck stand. I drop Drake turning quickly to see a massive black wolf. Drake takes off, running in the opposite direction. “Damnit!” I shout, turning to see Drake a few feet away, but before I can chase him, the black wolf pounces.
I twirl my body like a ballerina and bring a kick to the wolf’s snout; my power knocks him through the wall. “DAMNIT WOLF!!" I shout angrily, turning to run after Drake, but It’s too late he is gone.
When I turn around, the wolf growls, baring his teeth. He stops to stare at me with his goldish brown eyes, and he lets out a whimper. I narrow my eyes at him with confusion about why he stopped the attack.
The sound of bones cracking as the wolf shifts back to his human form. I look at his muscular body covered in tattoos, and his hair is dark brown. His eyes are still the same goldish brown as in his wolf form. “Don’t you dogs carry extra clothes” I sigh, looking away. “Why are you on our land, bloodsucker?” The wolf asks. “I was about to take down a killer, but you screwed that up dog,” I retort irritably.
“That’s your excuse?” He questions with a laugh. “Why else would I want to be on your damn land? I am a bounty hunter, and that man you let get away raped and killed a 17-year-old girl,” I hiss, walking up to the wolf and shoving him hard in the chest.
“You better watch it fangs,” He growls, standing straight again. “I don’t have time for this. He got away, and all you’ve done is waste my time," I snap, turning to leave. “Where do you think you are going?” He demands following after me.
“Hey, bloodsucker, I’m talking to you!” He shouts, grabbing for my arm. I spin around, punching the man right in the nose, making blood gush out. “Leave me alone, wolf!” I demand, leaving the shack and walking back to the road.
I grab my helmet, slipping it on and hopping on my bike, taking off before the wolf can even catch up to me. I speed down the highway towards my cabin outside of Portland. I ride up the drive coming to a stop on the side of the house, turning off the engine and sliding off my bike, taking the helmet off as I walk up the steps, setting it down on the porch.
Once I enter the house, I close the door shut, and flop down on the sofa, letting out a sigh. ‘That stupid wolf,’ I thought to myself. I stand and go to the kitchen, grabbing a beer from the fridge, popping the cap off, and taking a swig as I lean against the wall.
The phone buzzes on the counter. I picked it up to see a call from my father. “Hey, Dad,” I answer. “Sloan, we have a big problem,” He declares. I take another swig of my beer. “What’s the problem?” I ask. “There’s been another attack on a 15-year-old girl this time,” He replies. My eyes go wide with fury. “I won’t be bringing him in alive,” I snap and hang up the phone.
“AAAHHH!!!” I scream, throwing the beer bottle across the room, it shattered against the wall. “THAT FUCKING WOLF!!” I shout aloud.
I slide to the floor and lean against the wall putting my head in my hands. All the thoughts of that night come flooding back, but I'm jerked from the thoughts as a noise comes from the front porch. I stand quickly, running for cover behind the door, pulling out a knife from my shoe. The door swings open, and I jump onto the person’s back, knocking them to the floor.
The person turns over to defend themselves when I recognize his face. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE??!!”