“ Daddy can you tell me the story one more time please?” Five-year-old Marcus asked.
“ Only if your mom says it’s ok buddy.” His dad said.
Annie sighed. She’s been trying to get Marcus to bed for a good hour but that boy always was so stubborn, just like his father. Every night he had to have Lucas tell him the story over and over and over again.
“ Ok, but only once and I do mean only once. We have a big day tomorrow and I need both of my boys to be rested.”
Both Lucas and Marcus nodded their heads in agreement, knowing not to get on Annie’s bad side. She was a kind, gracious Luna and mother; but when she wanted something done, you better get it done.
“ Alright love I won’t be very long. I’ll tuck Marcus into bed when I’m done.”
Lucas kissed the top of Annie’s dark chocolate hair, which happens to be one of Lucas’s favorite assets of hers. It also reminded him how exotic and different looking Annie was than the rest of the pack and how grateful he was that Marcus got most of his looks from his mother.
Annie nodded and turned to walk out of the room. She stopped right before leaving and turned back around to blow a kiss to Marcus, earning a giggle from her sweet son.
Lucas turned back and faced Marcus smiling, and said.“ Alright buddy, get all comfy and we’ll get started.”
Marcus got into the navy blue sheets and comforter, snuggled in, and announced he was ready. Though Marcus pretty much knew every word of his father’s story, he still felt anticipation eating him up. “Ok, where to begin…”
“ Oh come on dad, you know where to start!” Interrupted Marcus.
Lucas chuckled and shook his head. “ Ok. Two hundred years ago, the kingdom of Athana welcomed the birth of twins to Queen Elizabeth. They were girls born three minutes apart. The Kingdom rejoiced, for they have waited many years for descendants of the royal family. Many people came from all over to congratulate the Queen and to get a glimpse of the twins, for they must be the twins that will fulfill the prophecy…”
“ Dad,” Interrupted Marcus again, “every time you tell this part of the story, you never tell me what the prophecy is. Why don’t you?”
Lucas sighed, knowing that this question would be asked one day. He thought for a minute, wondering if he should share all of it or avoid answering it.
“ The day you become Alpha is the day I will tell you about the prophecy,” Lucas stated.
“ Ah come on dad! No fair!”
“We don’t have time for me to go into detail about it. Do you want me to finish the story or do you want to go to bed?” Lucas asked.
Marcus frowned, not liking his choices.
“ Ok dad, keep going.”
“ Alright, where was I before I was rudely interrupted by my impatient son?” Lucas jokingly asked.
Marcus chuckled, signaling that he was no longer mad at Lucas.
“ After a few years, the fanfare had worn off. The people returned to their daily lives, with the thoughts of the twins in the back of their mind. The Royal family got down to business on how to place the twins. The first born, Eve, was promised the throne. For when Eve was born, everybody around her could feel her powers radiating off of her, making it an easy decision. They have to have a strong queen that can protect them.
“The second born, Ember, was chosen to be trained as leader of the royal guard. When she was born nobody felt a spark from her, they wrote it off as she was unlucky and wasn’t gifted like her twin.
“ They grew up and became very skillful in their areas. Eve learned what it took to be a justful, gracious leader. Ember became one of the best warriors the kingdom has ever seen. Both girls were completely content in where they ended up.”
“ But that changes right dad?” asked Marcus with a yawn to end it.
“ Child of mine, if you interrupt me again, it will be awhile before I will tell you this story again. Am I clear?”
Marcus nodded with wide eyes, knowing his dad would keep his promise.
“ The day the crowning of the new queen had come. The two sisters stood in front of their mother, anticipation was killing them. The whole kingdom had come to watch, among them where other species to welcome their new queen. Werewolves, vampires, other covens, and many more. The crowning of the queen is the only time other species will gather together to celebrate.
“ The queen took the royal staff and relinquished her title. The staff spun around and Eve reached up to grab it, to claim her rightful title. But then something miraculous, unpredictable happened. The staff went to Ember and claimed her as queen of Athana. The fates had decided and once had done so, there was no going back.
“The kingdom was shocked. Nobody saw this coming, not even the queen herself. Eve was so hurt, that she let the darkness in her consume her. Eve blamed Ember and her mother. With that being said, she turned on Ember with her powers.
“ Ember, finally used her powers to prove why she should be queen. Nobody thought Ember had this much power in her. She has been claimed among the witches as the most powerful being our universe has ever seen.
“ Ember won the battle and Eve ran from the kingdom into exile. Ember took the throne and within a year of being queen, Eve came back and vowed to take back what she thought was rightfully hers. Eve had started to build an army of mass destruction to help overthrow Ember from the throne.
“ One day, the fighting got bad and so destructive on both sides. Ember finally decided to give the throne back to her mother until she could defeat Eve for good and return peace to the kingdom. So, Ember set out to bring her sister to justice and get the kingdom back in order.
“ It’s been over a century since anybody has seen or heard from the twins. Some say they are both dead, others say they are both building massive armies to destroy each other and this period of quietness is the calm before the storm. What do you think of Marcus?” Lucas asked.
“ Maybe they made peace with each other and are living somewhere peacefully together.”
“ Well that would be a nicer alternative than the other two. Ok son, it’s time for bed.” Lucas reached over to turn Marcus’s night light on and kissed his forehead.
“ Night daddy. Thanks for the story.” Little Marcus said with a yawn.
“ Night son, sweet dreams.” With that Lucas walked to the door, and on his way out he turned back to look at Marcus. He was already sound asleep, curled up with his bear in his arms. Pride filled up Lucas. Marcus may be young, but he already had the qualities to become a great Alpha.
Lucas left the door slightly closed and walked to his own bedroom. Only the right side lamp was on, giving a soft lighting in the room. The bed was in the middle of the room and on it was his beautiful mate. She was fast asleep in the middle of the bed. With a chuckle Lucas removed his shirt and pants, leaving him in just his boxers, and climbed into bed. As gently as he could, he began to move Annie to the right side of the bed. Annie grunted and opened her soft brown eyes.
“ What are you doing?” She mumbled.
“I’m moving you so I can get into bed without falling off.”
“ Ugh thanks for waking me up for nothing.” She glared and turned her back to him. Annie hated when she was woken up from a dead sleep and she could sleep through anything. Sleep was the third love of her life.
“ Love you too babe.” He leaned over and kissed her on her cheek.
“ Love you too Lucas. See you in the morning.” And with that she was out like a light.
Nights like this Lucas stayed up and thought deeply. Every time he told the story to his son, he wonders where the twins are. His pack had given their allegiance to Ember and knew if a battle were to happen, they would gladly give their lives for the cause. And for the prophecy, well, Lucas didn’t know what it was. The only people that knew were the former Queen Elizabeth, Queen Ember, and Eve. Nobody outside that circle knew what the prophecy truly said.
Just as Lucas was about to drift into sleep, there was a loud explosion, like a bomb had gone off nearby. He sprang out of bed just as his Beta Dave busted into the room, waking up Annie.
“ What is going on?!” Annie asked angrily.
“ Alpha, there has been an attack east on our land. There’s something massive moving our way.” Dave said while turning around and running down the hallway.
“ Annie, grab Marcus and bring him back to our room. Go hide in our closet.” Lucas got up and quickly threw on pants.
“ What about the women and children?” She asked.
“ I’ll figure it out, you and Marcus are my first priority to protect. If they get a hold of you or Marcus they would use you guys as bait for me. I can’t risk that. Please Annie, I’m begging you, get Marcus and yourself to safety.” Lucas leaned over the bed and kissed Annie with such fierceness that it scared her. Annie knew how serious he was and knew not to go against his wishes.
“ I love you Lucas, please come back to me safe and sound. Without you the sun will never rise again, leaving me in absolute darkness for the rest of my life.” Annie said, with tears in her eyes.
“ Oh Annie, you are my life. I love you.” Lucas kissed Annie one last time and ran out of the room.
Annie wiped her tears away and ran out into the hallway towards Marcus’s room. Opening the door and stepping in quickly. She turned back making sure nobody had seen her and shut the door softly. Marcus was still sleeping peacefully in his bed. Annie walked over and very gently, but urgently woke him up, praying he wouldn’t make any sound. After a minute or two of trying to wake him up, Annie finally just threw off his covers and grabbed his sleeping body and began to carry to him to his door.
“ Mommy, what you doing?” A sleepy Marcus asked.
“ Nothing baby, just go back to sleep. Mommy’s got you.” A fierce howl pierced the silence. Then, more followed. It sounded as though a war had broken out and they were smacked dab in the middle of it.
“ Mommy what’s that sound?” Marcus was more aware of his surroundings and had began to get very scared.
“ Marcus, do mommy a favor and put your hands over your ears when we go out to the hallway. I’m taking you to Daddy’s and I’s room. Ok?” Annie asked.
“ Ok Mommy.”
Annie began to open his door, when she heard a woman scream. She quickly and quietly shut the door and locked it. Annie could here banging in the next room getting louder and louder. It took her a second to register that they had broken in. She began to cry silently so Marcus couldn’t hear her, there was no way out of this. The only thing she could do was to protect her son.
Annie locked the door and walked over to Marcus’s bed to set him down when the door handle began to shake, as though somebody was trying to get in. The look on Marcus’s precious faces was pure fear.
“ Listen to me Marcus. Get under the bed and stay there until me or daddy come and get you. Do you understand me?” Annie asked.
Marcus shook his head.“ But what about you mommy? Where are you going to hide?” Tears were streaming down Marcus’s face.
“ Mommy’s going to be ok. You need to hurry now ok? I love you Marcus so much, don’t you ever forget that. You are going to be an amazing Alpha and I am so grateful I got to be your mommy.” With a kiss on his forehead and a big hug, Annie knew it would be the last time she would ever be able to kiss her precious son again.
“ I love you too mommy.” With that, Marcus got off the bed and crawled under it just in time. The door to the room flew off the hinges and in walked one of the scariest man Annie had ever seen. His eyes were like black holes and he had a long, jagged scar running from the bottom right of his chin and ended on his left black, bushy eyebrow. The minute he walked into the room, a dank smell had followed him, almost making Annie gag. The only thing that stopped her in doing so, was fear.
“ Well what do we have here? How did I get so lucky to get stuck with a Luna? This will be fun” A sinister smile was placed on his face. His voice sounded raspy, as if he hadn’t drank anything in days.
“Then what are you waiting for?” Annie asked, walking a little further from the bed and putting her back into the wall. She wanted to make sure he would be as far as she could get him away from Marcus.
He began to move towards her, leaving a gap between him and the doorway. She started to consider her options. She could run and lead him away from Marcus, or she could fight like hell. She knew she was going to die either way. Annie decided to go for it and hoped she could get away. If she was going to die, she was going to go out fighting but not in front of her son.
He was getting closer to her and she knew now was her chance. Annie pushed herself off the wall, jumped on the bed and got off on the other side, putting a little more space between her and her soon to be killer.
Just as she was seconds away from the doorway, big bulky arms clamped tightly around her waist. Next thing she knows, she was airborne and slammed into the wall.She was lying face first on the ground and turned her head to the right making eye contact with soft brown eyes that Marcus shared with her. Annie felt as though the air had been sucked out of the room, she was going to be murdered right in front of her son.
The monster stepped right in front of Annie, blocking her view of Marcus’ sweet face. He reached down and grabbed a handful of Annie’s dark chocolate hair making her stand to her feet. He let go of her hair and proceeded to grab her neck, cutting off her air supply.
“Any last words Luna?” He laughed with a chuckle at the end.
“ Yeah, fuck you!” With that, the monster broke her neck, ending her life. Her body dropped on the floor with a heavy thud. Marcus looked into his mother’s lifeless eyes, silently crying.
The monster turned around and started walking towards the door, only to be stopped by Lucas.
“What did you do?” Lucas whispered as tears started streaming down his face. Marcus will never forget the look on his dad’s face. It was a look of a man that just had his heart ripped out of his chest and had lost all hope. This was a look that Lucas will wear till the day he leaves this earth.
“WHAT DID YOU DO?” Lucas screamed.
The monster smiled and rushed towards Lucas. Even though Lucas was grief stricken his fighting skills were still on point. Lucas immediately shifted into his wolf form and attacked the monster, ripping him into pieces.
Once satisfied, Lucas shifted back into his human form, crumbling right next to Annie. He lifted her up and cradled her in his arms, holding her as he let his grief consume him.
“Oh my Annie, I’m so sorry I wasn’t here. I’m so sorry my love.”
Marcus crawled out from under the bed and grabbed his dad’s hand to hold.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t save her dad.” Lucas didn’t say anything as he pulled his son closer to him. Both consumed by the fact that Annie was never going to wake up again.
That was the night Marcus stopped believing in fairytales.