“Get down!” Francesca yells as another round of silver-laced bullets comes blasting over our heads.
She tackles me into a ditch, and we lay there for a few seconds in utter shock as the bullets keep flying overhead. She has her body covering mine protectively with her head tucked in low, trying to avoid the onslaught from above. I can feel her rapid breath in my neck just underneath my green, army helmet and the smell of smoke and blood hangs thick in the air.
“Thanks,” I mumble into her golden hair as she straightens up a bit to peek out.
The firing has now changed direction and is aimed further to our left, “coast is clear, come on,” she whispers while getting off me and tugging on my arm to follow.
We crouch low and move quickly, working our way through the tall grass towards what is left of an old storage building. I can feel my jet-black ponytail sticking to the back of my neck as sweat starts to cover every inch of my body. It is hot and humid out in the tall, slightly damp grass, with mosquitoes and other insects hovering about. The bulletproof vest I am wearing doesn’t help my suffering at all since it feels like it weighs a ton, not to mention the heavy boots I am obligated to wear in situations such as these.
“There,” she whispers, slowing down for a bit and gesturing towards a building in the distance.
“Melena, where are you? We need you NOW!” We hear the Alpha barking through our pack link.
Francesca instantly turns to look at me with her large, brown, concerned eyes. The Alpha sounds desperate and very agitated.
“Thirty seconds out, Sir,” I respond immediately through the pack link and flash Francesca and apologetic half-smile.
“Duty calls,” I say while patting her twice on the shoulder and jumping up straight.
“No, Melena!” I hear her yelling in panic from behind as I bolt towards the battered building in the distance.
I have already lingered far too long; the Alpha’s son’s life is at stake and it is up to me whether he will survive or not. Now is not the time to be playing it safe, now is the time to be saving lives.
I clutch the straps of my backpack tightly in my fists as I sprint towards the building. Gunfire and yelling can be heard all around, but I keep my eyes fixed onto the building up ahead.
“Cover her!” I hear Alpha Julian barking over the pack link again, informing the rest of the warriors of their primary task at hand.
Suddenly I feel a strong tug on my backpack, making me stumble momentarily, but I waste no time in fixing my step and running as fast as I can towards the building. I can hear Francesca firing shots from behind, but I do not have time to turn around and see what is going on, I need to get to Marcus before it is too late.
When I am about six feet away, the door flies open, and I jump headfirst into the opening as numerous bullets come flying in right behind me.
I am quickly jerked aside by the straps of my backpack and pulled out of harm’s way.
“Melena! Over here!” The Alpha’s voice yanks me back to reality and I am pulled up onto my feet by the straps of my bag once again.
I am still panting heavily as two large, masculine hands steady me and gently lifts my chin up so I can face him. Otis.
“Are you hurt?” He asks in a deep voice, studying my face in concern.
I take a second to think and focus on my body. I don’t feel any intense pain, apart from all the new scratches and bruises, obviously.
“N, no, I don’t think so,” I rasp out, sounding a bit unsure myself.
He nods and directs me over to where the Alpha is bent over his son’s bloody body, lying limply on the ground.
I take a deep breath and swing my bag off over my shoulder, propping it down onto the floor next to us.
“He is still breathing, but the sound of his heartbeat is fading,” the Alpha growls out helplessly, begging for me to save his son. His face is contorted with worry lines and trails of sweat running down the sides of his face.
“Please, Alpha, step back so I can get to work,” I ask, squeezing his arm reassuringly.
Otis immediately steps in and pulls his Alpha away, relaying some news of the battlefield to him as a means of distraction.
Otis is our Beta, the right-hand man of our pack’s Alpha, Alpha Julian. Right now, I am working against the clock to save the life of his eldest son, Marcus, who is also the next heir to our pack, Feral Grove.
My hands work in sync and my mind grows calm as I carefully, but swiftly begin to extract as much silver as I possibly can from the open wound while ordering a nearby warrior to put pressure on the blood gushing opening in the young Alpha’s chest.
“Julian, they are retreating!” I hear Otis yelling from the door and Alpha Julian quickly moves over to have a look.
“We need to get him to the infirmary as soon as possible!” I yell over my shoulder as the young Alpha twitch and jerk under my hands from lack of oxygen and excessive blood loss.
“NOW!” I bark out, not caring whether it is disrespectful to my Alpha or not. If we don’t move now, his son will be dead within the next few hours.
“You heard her! Get him out of here!” The Alpha yells to his men.
They quickly huddle around us and slowly slide their hands underneath his limp body.
“On the count of two!” I yell and they all nod in unison.
“One, two,” the men lift, and I straighten my legs along with their movement, keeping my hands securely placed on Marcus’s wound.
“You got it?” I ask the warrior with his hands pressed to the young Alpha’s chest. His eyes are as wide as saucers and sweat have started to accumulate on his brow, but he nods in confirmation.
“Good, let’s go,” I order as all of us start moving together towards the exit.
An old pickup truck promptly pulls up in front of the building and a warrior jumps out to open the back for us.
“This is the best I could find, Doc,” he says sounding very out of breath. There are smudges of blood and scrapes all over him.
“This will do, thank you,” I reply with a nod as we lift Marcus up onto the back, with me and the other warrior climbing on along with him.
“Keep putting pressure on that,” I eye the warrior seriously, gesturing with my face towards the chest wound. He nods again and the truck starts to move.
“Inform Doctor Keller we are on our way!” I yell towards Otis one last time as we speed off towards the packhouse.