Chapter 22: Living Nightmare
Chapter 22: Living Nightmare (Xander’s POV)
From stoned to sober in less than three seconds. I overindulge just to be able to deal with listening to the lucky bastard that has my V. His cold tone about V not being any of our business had me wanting to reach through the video call and straggle the fucker. I knew I had no right to hate him until that message came through. I pushed her away. I pushed her into him. This is all my fault. She may have wanted to stay but I gave her no choice.
The moment I read the message I knew it was from her. I also knew that I fucked up more by sending her away than I ever had before in my life. And that’s saying a lot because I snapped and ripped out my mate’s throat. Looks like I will be doing the same to V’s mate.
Fuck my whole life. Why did I make her leave? If this asshole has harmed one hair on her head. I will kill him. Then an even worse thought crossed my thoughts. The pup. Our pup. V’s pup. I saw red. I was up and marching out the door before I even knew what I was doing. Somewhere behind me, I knew X was yelling for me, but he might as well have been a bee buzzing behind me.
“Gather our allies and meet me there,” I said as I left.
I linked Jordi to have a seaplane ready for me in twenty minutes. My tone was full of authority so he never once questioned me. When I made it across the island in wolf form the plane was ready. I had researched Alpha Conner after V left with him. I knew where his Pack was located. It would take two hours by plane and then another hour by car to reach him.
Three and a half hours from the time we received the message that Conner was not a good mate and I was in the shadows outside the compound that held his pack. It wasn’t much more than a gated community. I could smell his guards that roamed the perimeter. I waited until they were a good distance away before I jumped the wall.
It’s still daylighted out so I keep to the shadows. I had made it a good distance, even moving slowly, before the first alarm went up. Guards must have caught my scent. That’s fine. I will go through them if I have to. Killing innocent bystanders is not high on my agenda, but for her... For them, I will perform genocide if deemed necessary.
I make it a few more miles, following the strongest scent of wolves. Knowing it will lead me to their Packhouse. It is then I meet my first obstacle. Three wolves jump at me from all sides. Not fully shifting I bring up two clawed paws. My jaw is elongated but my body is still more man than a wolf.
The first wolf attacks from my left. My claws find his exposed chest the instant he is close enough to reach. Another attack from behind. My right foot kicks backward at the mutt, and I swing the body of the wolf in my left claw at the wolf on my right. Twisting with the motion, I end in a crouch, facing the remaining two wolves.
They advance on me together head-on. Big mistake. I land a kick to one of them again and grab the other by their head. The snap of the wolf’s neck is lost in the sirens that blare around us.
The third wolf tries to take advantage of my turned back and leaps at me. I use his own momentum to flip him to the ground at my feet. Ending his life with my canines buried deep in his throat. Three down a whole army left to go.
Not pausing to appreciate my kill, I continue moving towards the stench of the Apollo Eclipse Packhouse. I can see it. There have to be at least three hundred wolves stretched across the lawn around the building. Three hundred to one. Could be worse odds.
I feel X enter my mind trying to link me. He must be close. I hope he brought the whole fucking cavalry.
“We are approaching the gates. I have a good hundred behind me.” X’s voice says in my head.
Not bad for the short notice and the travel time. I have been inside the walls for a little over two hours now. It’s been five maybe six hours since the message. It is growing dark now.
“I’m inside. I have a view of about three hundred warriors. The Packhouse is dead center of the compound. I have yet to...” I’m cut off by movement on the Packhouse steps.
“I know you are out there somewhere Xander.” A voice booms from the speakers that had just been blaring alarms. Conner fucking Briggs is trying to goad me. He stands at the top of a mountain of steep stairs pacing. “I’m impressed by you and a little ashamed of my Pack.”
Growls sound from his pack. It is never a good idea to insult your pack in front of an enemy. That’s how mutiny happens. Mutiny may be in my favor, so keep talking dip shit.
Then I see her. V my V. He pulls her to him. A muffled scream leaves her. Her arms are tied, her mouth gagged and her clothes torn to shreds. She looks like heaven and hell combined. I have never been so happy and so angry at the same time in my life.
“Now Xander I want you to listen. This is storytime. Time for you to learn exactly why you will lose everything tonight.” He pulls V tight against his chest with her back to his front. His left hand roams the course of her body, while his right is morphed into a paw and his claws are held tight to her neck. I keep a tight rein on Lucifer. It would do none of us any good for me to show myself now. No matter how much I want to rip him limb from limb or how much I want to hold her in my arms.
“Once upon a time I had a twin sister. The most beautiful girl you would ever have met. She had long blonde hair and curves for days that drove all the wolves around here wild. She loved all of the attention. She never wanted a mate. She saw it as settling. Why have one when you can have many.” He pauses. His clawed paw runs down V’s front as he cuts her dress open bearing her chest for all to see. Mine.
I will rip out every man’s eyes in attendance. Lucifer fights against my hold. The more time I can buy X the better chance of survival for us all. His Pack is larger than our group but they are poorly trained. Our group I know is well trained. Even if they are from our surrounding allies.
“Our parents had other plans though. They wanted her to settle down. They wanted her to be a good proper woman. So, five years ago they sent her to a claiming in Florida. You were at that same claiming weren’t you Xander.” Conner lets a growl slip through his cold tone.
Cordelia. The name almost slips past my lips. This is more my fault than I could ever imagine. My own worse demons are coming out to play. My deepest regret pulled forth for all to see.
“You took my sister from me that night. You took my best friend. My other half. You took my world.” His hold on V tightens even more. I have forgotten how to breathe. “It had taken me years to pull together my plan to take yours away. After I killed my parents for sending her away, it took time to get my Pack in order. Then I managed to get an invite to your precious little island.”
X nudged at the back of my mind, but I couldn’t take my focus off of V. Tears stream down her face and I take note of the faint purpling that has started to form along her jaw. I open my link though so X can know what I did. How my mistakes have lead us here.
“I was just trying to gain some intel on what made you tick. What would hurt the feared damaged Beta? And you, oh you, handed me everything I needed on a silver platter.” He sounded joyful. Filled with evil glee, accompanied by an evil laugh. But he was right. I handed him my heart without regard. “I, like my sister, have never had any interest in my mate. Though she is a sweet little morsel, she is tainted by none other than your demonic spawn.”
The next moment is the worst of my life. Conner flings V forward. Her face smacking first on the stone steps, then her torso. With Her arms restrained she can barely move to try to protect herself. The fall snaps the final thread in my sanity. My V, my pup. I’m not sure when I stepped into the open, or when my body shifted into Lucifers wolf form. All I know is that my entire world just fell as I watched from the sidelines.
The first line of wolves reached me within seconds. I tore through them as if they were made of papier-mâché. I was surrounded by a sea of wolves. They all flowed into me from every side. My wolf is massive easily twice the size of any other in attendance, but their sheer numbers outweigh my skill. I’m still fighting though. Still trying to make my way to V.
I barely feel it as teeth and claws make contact with my fur and flesh. Blood runs across my eye. Not sure if it is mine or my enemies. Cracks of bones both mine and theirs sound too far away to be in the present.
Then a familiar sound breaks through. A roaring growl of a hundred other wolves approaching at a stamped speed. X’s voice fills my head. “I’ve got your back bro. This fucker is going down.”
Conner’s voice breaks over the crowd. “Ahh... Alpha X. So glad you can join us. Now you can feel my pain. Know what it is like to lose your twin. Since your’s took mine.”
A surge of adrenaline kicked through my tiring body and I tossed wolves from me with gusto. I wasn’t alone. I had fought the line of wolves and was near to the foot of the steps. The sight before me though nearly brought me to my knees. A battered and broken V laid still. No movement. No cry of pain. NO! NO! NO!
The growl that ripped from my chest held every bit of Alpha I had denied after the claiming. X may have held the title by name but I held it by power and birthright. The wolves that surrounded me cowered in fear. My own backup is closing in. The hole in their defense leads me to V. Lucifer dropped to her side. Nudging her with our nose. Looking for any sign that she was okay. That she was just sleeping.
A gust of wind shoots past me and up the steep steps. X is like lighting crawling across the stone. He is in front of Conner before I can find the will to move. The pain in my body mirroring the pain in my heart. Let me die. With her, with them. They never deserved this it was all on me.
X dodges the teeth of the golden-colored wolf that is Conner. A quick shoulder to the side sends the golden wolf into the stone wall behind him. Before Conner can regain his footing X is on top of his teeth wrapped around his throat. A quick snap of his jaw is all that it takes to dull the life from Conner’s eyes, but X doesn’t stop there. To add insult to injury, with his teeth still buried in the golden fur, he pulls, ripping Conner’s throat out for good measure.
War over. The remaining Apolo Eclipse warriors all turn to X. They bow and show their necks in respect to their new Alpha. For the only way to ever truly take over the Alpha roll is by killing the former Alpha in combat. Wolf to wolf challenge. X is now the official Alpha of Apolo Eclipse.
Howls are shouted into the night, but all I can think of is V. I shift back to human form. My body was wrapping and conforming to hers as if we were in bed. The world is tilting and spinning from blood loss. I watch X raise a paw in victory before the world around me turns black.
The surge of power that runs through me is unexpected but welcoming. I had been playing Alpha these last five years. Now I am Alpha. I howl and my new Pack howls with me as they show their necks as a sign of respect. I raise a paw in the air, but what catches my eye next has me far from celebrating.
I am down the steps and shifting over my brother and V’s bodies. I feel around hoping beyond hope that they still live. Then I feel it. I hear it as if it’s the only thing in the world. “There’s a heartbeat. Someone better have a doctor for me in the next thirty seconds or I will burn this entire compound down with all of you in it.”
I will not lose you.