The dented apple
My head was pounding like a jackhammer. I clutched it hard with my hands, trying to relieve the pain. Opening my eyes, a jolt of pain shot through my head, making me groan and squeeze them shut. I reached back to feel the spot where the pain in my head was the most intense. It was wet. I pulled my hand back and opened one eye. My fingers were bloody. I started trembling. I assessed the rest of my body, but but to my surprise, I was unharmed, besides the head wound.
Last thing I remembered was laughing and calling goodnight to Galina. Then nothing, until I woke up here.
I took a deep breath, trying to remember what happened. I slowly opened my eyes and looked around. I was in a dark, concrete room. The floor was cold and damp, the corners were covered in green moss. I was laying on a dirty, brown blanket. Besides the blanket, the room was empty. I looked at the heavy, steel door. A faint light was gleaming underneath it.
Suddenly I heard heavy footsteps on the other side of the door. They were moving towards me. I shuffled myself in to the corner of the room. My heart was hammering in my chest, my body drenched in nervous sweat.
The steps stopped. I could see a shadow blocking the little light from under the door. A few seconds went by, then I felt a prick on my neck, and everything went dark again.
I bolted out the door and let out a furious roar. I collected all my pent up rage, and slammed my fist in to a nearby tree trunk. Pulling my arm back, I glared at the massive hole I’d made. Flexing my hand, I saw the cuts stretch and blood prickling out of the open wounds. Heat built up in my wrist and spread up my arm and out into my fingers, pulsing, burning. I deserved the pain. I should never have let her out of my sight. Marcelo came jogging up behind me.
“What happened?” he asked.
“I felt her, she was terrified” I replied, breathing deeply in and out through my nose. Every muscle in my body was tense, I was shaking with anger.
“Any clues?” he asked carefully. He knew I was close to losing it.
“No. I think they’ve been keeping her knocked out. I think she woke up and got sedated again. I only felt her for about half a minute” I said frowning.
“Shit. I hate to say it out loud, but this guy ain’t no idiot.” he mumbled.
“I know, which makes him all the more dangerous.” I replied, trailing a finger over the exposed core of the tree.
“Well, Jackson is all set up, lets go get some coffee and try to figure out where to start.” Marcelo said, squeezing my shoulder as he pulled me back inside.
A cold drop hit my face, jolting me awake. I looked around the room with narrowed eyes. The memories came flooding back. My mind instantly went to Alaric. He must have felt horrible when he realized I was gone. My heart twisted painfully, imagining how scared and angry he probably was right now. I tried to center myself, hoping he would sense that I was at least alive.
I already knew this was Virion’s doing, but I wondered what his endgame was. What did he want with me?
Suddenly the door opened. I yelped and shuffled backwards and in to the corner. A boy, he couldn’t have been more then fifteen years old, walked in. He halted went he saw I was awake. He was carrying a tray. His dark blue eyes stared at me with a puzzling look. Annoyance? Concern? His brows furrowed as he crouched down and put the tray on the floor a few meters away from me.
I looked at the tray, then up at him. I realized I was looking him straight in the eye, so I quickly closed them, expecting a hit or kick for my insolence. But it didn’t come. He just stared at me, before getting up and quietly leaving. I was famished, so I crawled over to the tray. It was loaded with half eaten scraps. The bread was stale and the edges of the meat was dry and had teeth marks in it. I sniffed it and it was clear, it was turning bad. I picked up the bread, I had to at least eat something.
Just as I was about to take a bite, I glanced back at the tray. There was a ham sandwich where the bread had been. I dropped the stale bread on the floor and dove for the sandwich. It smelled amazing. For a second I wondered if it was poisoned, but why would someone go through all the trouble of kidnapping me, and then turn around and feed me poison? Seemed like a lot of work for a quick death.
I took a large bite. The bread was so soft and the ham so sweet and tender, it brought tears to my eyes. I wondered if it was the boy who gave me this.
There was no window in the room, so I had no clue how long I’d been here. How I managed to keep calm, I didn't quite understand. I hadn’t had a single panic attack while I'd been here. How strange.
This was a combination of so many things that scared the living shit out of me. Unknown people, confinement, possible beatings, and of course not knowing how this all would play out, not to mention Virion. Even just the thought of him made me nauseous. There was nothing to do here, but think, still, my mind was not pushing that dreaded panic button. I couldn’t figure out why.
After what felt like maybe a day, I was so hungry again, I was considering eating the moss growing in the corners. I started to hum, to try and distract myself. The hum turned to singing, one of my favorite songs, Battlefield, by SVRCINA.
No time for rest
No pillow for my head
Nowhere to run from this
No way to forget
Around the shadows creep
Like friends, they cover me
Just wanna lay me down and finally
Try to get some sleep
We carry on through the storm
Tired soldiers in this war
Remember what we’re fighting for
Meet me on the battlefield
Even on the darkest night
I will be your sword and shield,
Your camouflage and you will be mine
I let the lyrics swallow me whole. I let them warm me, strengthen me. I made them about me and Alaric, thinking that this was our battle. I felt more confident. I felt stronger. I was determined that I would not let this break me.
Suddenly the door opened again. I was startled and abruptly stopped singing. The teenage boy stepped in. He put his finger to his lips, signaling me to be quiet. He looked out the door again, then quietly closed it and sat down on his knees. He waved me closer.
I was suspicious, but also curious. He had given me proper food when he was clearly instructed to give me scraps, maybe he wanted to help.
He leaned closer, his mouth was by my ear. Instinctively I wanted to pull away, my wolf didn’t like being near strangers like this, but I had to know what he wanted.
“I’m not going to hurt you. Please stay quiet, or I’ll have to leave.” his voice was barely a whisper. I nodded once in understanding.
“You have a wonderful voice, by the way.” he muttered. I pulled away slightly so he could see my face. I gave him a small smile, and nodded once as a thank you.
“I want to help you, but I’m not strong enough. These guys are terrifying” he whispered, his hands were trembling.
“There are people looking for me.” I breathed back in his ear.
“I need a name. Sometimes they send me to get supplies. Maybe I can get a message out.” he murmured, the wheels in his head clearly turning.
“Alaric.” I said softly, squeezing my eyes shut, trying to hold back tears. Just saying his name was painful. I let out a shaky breath.
“You’ll find him with the New Moon pack.” He nodded and got up on his feet.
“I will be back. Here, eat it all, don’t let them see as much as a seed.”
He got up and left. In my hand was a red, lightly dented apple. A tear escaped down my cheek. His kindness was overwhelming. I took a bite of the apple, careful to be as quiet as possible. After eating, I quickly fell asleep.
I woke up with a jolt. Someone was stomping down the corridor. I looked around, making sure I had eaten the whole apple. The door slammed open and Virion strolled in, snarling.
“Well hello there, long time no see, Bitch!”