This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
I awoke with a start. Sweat covered my face and neck; my hair sticking to my skin. My heart was hammering and my hands shook. Out of fear my head whipped around the room; as if I was looking for an evil demon, or something else, that had scared me.
I took in the familiar view of my bedroom, and let out a breath of relief. “It was only a dream” I whispered, “it was only a dream”. I looked around the room, frowning slightly, before I flopped back down in the bed. It was close to dawn, but it was still dark.
I didn’t return to sleep, I just stayed lying on my bed for a few hours. When it reached close to six am, a knock came on the door. “Time to get up” my mother shouted, sounding rushed. She didn’t even open the door, before running down the corridor to wake my sister up.
I heard her say a few words to my sister, as I sat up in bed. I sighed heavily, looking over at my closet – my outfit for the day, which was picked out three months previous, was handing off the door, and my packed suitcase standing next to it.
The day was November 10th. To humans it was just another day, but to Werewolves it was a day of excitement and joy. Because November 10th was Mate Day. Every year, on the tenth day of November, every Werewolf from the age of eighteen to twenty five met on neutral ground – for the Mating Ritual.
The male Wolves – from all the different Packs – got the choice of all the She Wolves in the country. To see which one they wanted for mating. As soon as a She Wolf turned eighteen they had to go, and then if they weren’t chosen they continued to go back until they turned twenty five.
I was dreading the entire process. And the fact that all the She Wolves had to line up according to strength was just degrading. I didn’t want to stand with the other weak Wolves, awaiting someone to decide I looked good enough to be his mate.
However, my opinion was not shared with many. Most females couldn’t wait for the Mating Ritual, in the hope that one of the Alpha’s would choose them. To be picked by a Pack Leader – an Alpha – was rare, but not unheard of.
However, Alpha’s mated with Alpha’s. That was just how it was. An Alpha male, who wanted strong pups would always chose a She Wolf who had an Alpha father or grandfather; to ensure their pups would be as strong as possible. Yet, that didn’t stop the eighteen year old girls living in hope. It was in a She Wolves nature to want to be with an Alpha.
“Gemini you better be dressed in the next two minutes, or else I’ll come up there and dress you myself” my mother shouted. I groaned loudly, as I grabbed my outfit and walked into the bathroom. I glanced myself over in the mirror – realising that the sleepless night didn’t do me any favours. I had some serious work to do.
I showered myself before changing into my outfit – a knee length cotton white dress, with small delicate ivory flowers decorating the others. The top of the dress was strapless, and hung to my chest tightly – but not in a revealing way. The dress was A-Line and showed my figure. My mother told me that I had to show the male Wolves what they would be getting.
Once my dress was on, I headed downstairs. My mother and my elder sister were both waiting for me. My sister – Jazmine – was three years older than me. She met her mate, Adam, on her second year at that the Mating Ritual. Adam was nice guy, quiet, but nice. He was in our pack, so Jazmine continued to stay with our pack and live with us.
“Gemini” my mother greeted me, smiling nervously. “I knew that dress would be perfect. Now, please, sit”. There was a seat in the middle of the lounge, a table next to it covered in beauty products. I wore the basics of make-up most days, but looking at the table I suddenly felt like I knew nothing of beauty regimens.
I took a seat at the chair, and let my sister and my mother work on me. My sister curled my blonde hair, leaving it to cascade down to my lower back. My mother then worked on my face – making it seem flawless and bright.
I mean, I wasn’t an ugly person and I was fairly slim – but even I was surprised by how pretty and delicate I looked once I was completely ready. My skin seemed to glow, and my cheekbones were obvious. My large eyes, a silver colour, looked almost bewitching as they were lined with black.
“Well she definitely looks the part” Jazmine commented to my mother, who nodded in agreement.
“Let’s just hope they don’t try to talk to her, then she might have a chance of being picked by someone” she replied.
I frowned, slightly hurt, but didn’t comment. It wasn’t exactly untrue to say that my personality was somewhat lacking. I had been told I didn’t have a personality on many occasions. I was told I was boring and quiet, but I knew I was just comfortable in my own company. I got it from my father; who never really used to speak much; but when he did, it was said with wisdom.
“Let’s just hope her looks distract people from her strength and personality” my mother muttered, as I headed towards the front door. I grabbed my suitcase and pulled it with me. My mother kissed and hugged me goodbye, as did my sister, before they waved me off – not before a quick reminded on how I needed to act.
I met the other Wolves who were all going to the Mating Ritual. Both the girls and the boys were all dressed to impress; but obviously the girls more than the boys. When I saw my best friend, Jacob, I smiled and rushed over to him.
Jacob wore a pair of black jeans, and a white polo shirt. His brown hair was tousled and styled messily, but in a good way. Jacob was an attractive guy, there was no doubt that She Wolves would be pushing their chests out for his attention. “Gem” he smiled.
“Hey” I grinned brightly at him.
“You look amazing” he commented, reaching forward to give me a hug. I swatted his hands away – blushing profoundly. I didn’t like being the centre of attention; never had.
“Don’t mess up my hair” I frowned. He laughed at me, shaking his head. I was quiet, but I spoke more when I got comfortable with people. With Jacob, I could be myself. He gave me a large smile, before a voice sounded to my left. It was our Alpha – we had a bus taking us to the Mating Ritual.
I instantly took a seat near the back, next to Jacob and we shared his IPod for the ride. When we arrived, our Alpha gave us a small speech about presenting ourselves. Our Alpha, Alpha Jones, was attractive – for an older man – and always walked with an air of authority.
I climbed off the bus and Jacob placed his hand my lower back. It was an odd thing for him to do, and I frowned. It wasn’t that I had a problem with him touching me, it was just that I was there to find a mate, and his touch was like a claim. He was warning other males away from me.
“Jake, what are you doing?” I hissed quietly, as we lined up at the entrance. As if he hadn’t even realised what he done, he dropped his hand.
“Sorry” he mumbled, almost embarrassed. As I waited to get my badge – which would say my name, my age, my strength out of ten and my current pack – I looked around. The entire ritual was held outside.
There was three large marquees, all containing; food, drink and other refreshments. People stood around everywhere, just talking and mingling. There was a long queue to get the badges, and get inside.
When I got to the front of the queue, an elder Werewolf asked my name and then handed me my badge. It was small and white, with basic script and words. Gemini Burn. Strength 3/10. 18 years old. Gresall Wolf Pack. I looked at it with slight distaste, before I clipped it to the top of my dress.
“The Alpha rated you a three out of ten?” Jacob asked, looking upset. I gave him a look, telling him I was fine with it. But it wasn’t. I knew three was not good. There was only so far my looks could get me – I wouldn’t get much attention from the males. Because my pups wouldn’t be strong.
“What did you get?” I questioned Jacob; changing the subject.
“It’s alright” he smiled smugly, before giving me a playful smirk.
I giggled, “I’m surprised you got that high”. Annoyed Jacob pushed my shoulder, I hadn’t been expecting it. I yelped in shock as I fell backward, but I didn’t hit the floor. No, I hit something worse, or rather someone worse. I crashed straight into an Alpha. But not just any Alpha – the scariest Alpha of them all.
The Alpha was tall with a large build – his chest wide set and toned, and his tattooed arms were bulging from his shirt. He was a beautiful looking man; hair the colour of a midnight sky, and eyes the colour of a plush green field in summer. He was a good foot, or so, taller than me – just adding to his intimidation.
I was terrified. I had never met a man more scary in my life. His face was void from all emotion, as if he was a zombie – completely wiped clean of all thoughts and feelings. I gulped nervously, as his arms steadied me. His hands were strong and firm; as if they were made of steel. I glanced at his badge and almost collapsed.
Alpha Vetteriano. Strength 10/10. 25 years old. Endoro Wolf Pack.
I knew who Alpha Vetteriano was – everyone did. The man was well known, and not for any good reasons. On his eighteenth birthday he murdered both his parents, before taking over his Wolf pack. He ran his pack harshly, and if anyone so much as looked at him in a way he didn’t like – he would kill them. He was the thing of nightmares, a monster of the greatest heights.
Every year at the Mating Ritual – since his eighteenth birthday – he hadn’t picked a mate. He refused to do so, yet he showed up every year; more because he had to, not because he wanted to. That was the last year he would be able to attend, and the last year he would be able to choose. But, everyone knew he would remain mate less – despite the hundreds of She Wolves who threw themselves at his feet. He was the Blood Alpha; and I had just crashed into him.
“A-Alpha” I stuttered out, jumping away and snapping my head to the floor. I was being submissive – showing him that I understood that he was my superior and I was weaker than him. “I’m sorry, it was an accident. Please forgive me”. I was terrified he was going to kill me; right then and there.
“Look at me” he growled out. His voice was rough and hoarse, a hint of foreignness in his accent – he was a quiet man, I knew that, he never addressed many people. Only a handful of people, outside his pack, had ever heard him speak. I gulped at his tone. But, I didn’t dare look up at him. “I said look at me” he snapped.
I whimpered in fear, as his hand grasped my chin. His hands were hard and callous; as if he spent his entire life doing manual labour. I was shaking, terrified, as he pushed my chin upwards. My eyes, unwillingly, met his. His eyes were large and circular, with a bright green orbs that looked both alive and dead at the same time. Alpha Vetteriano scared me to my very core. He didn’t get the nickname ‘The Blood Alpha’ for no reason.
He stared into my eyes for a few seconds, his eyes narrow as if he was trying to read my mind. Then, finally, he let go off me, before stepping away. He paused – fingered my badge to see it clearly – before stalking off. He walked with as much dominance as he stared with. When he was completely out of sight, I let out a long shaky breath.
I quickly looked around, noticing everyone’s eyes on me – they all looked as terrified as I felt. I had a feeling they all thought he would have killed me as well. But then, as I reminded myself, he could still come back for me. That thought made me shiver with fear.
“Gem, I am so sorry” Jacob gushed, pulling me into a tight hug. I no longer cared that it may have turned other male Wolves away from me, because they thought I was already spoken for, because I was still shaking with fear. “I can’t believe I almost got you killed” he breathed out, pulling back.
“I was so scared, Jake. I thought he was going to kill me” I muttered. I was close to crying – to breaking down. I didn’t have a lot of courage, or experience with Alpha’s, so I felt like I was about to keel over in fear.
“Come on, let’s get you some water” Jacob suggested, taking my arm and pulling me towards one of the marquees. He was trying to make me feel better. As we walked away, I glanced to my left to see Alpha Vetteraino once more. And his intense stare was firmly on me.
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
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