One minute until my nineteenth birthday. I blink back the tears that burn in my eyes as I count down the seconds.
My birthday is not a cause for celebration. No one is happy on this day. I'm sure my dad is awake in his room right now, watching the seconds pass.
I let out a shaky breath as the clock changes.
On this day, nineteen years ago as I took my first breath my mother took her last. I can feel my dad through the pack bond, struggling, grieving his mate, his Luna.
After my oldest brother James was born a witch came with a prophecy. My mother would have two more sons, then a daughter, she wouldn't survive me.
After Murphy and Cash were born my dad did everything he could to prevent me. It couldn't be stopped, fate was sealed, I would be born, my mother would die. I was to be special, a seer, a protector over my people. My destiny was laid out before me before I even had a chance.
I wipe my eyes and pull myself from my bed. My room in the attic has the best view of the packlands. The sprawling forest stretching out for miles. I push my window open and climb out onto the roof. This is the perfect thinking spot. I've spent many hours here, looking at the world happening below me.
I long to shift, to run, to be a normal wolf. If it wasn't enough that I killed the pack Luna, I'm also a freak. A wolf with no wolf. The sorceress called it a "spirit wolf." I smell like a wolf, I can feel my wolf, I have the pack bond. I can release my canines and my wolf can take over my eyes. I just can't shift.
My whole life had been spent in quiet solitude. No one is ever outwardly unkind but it's clear that I am not accepted. My dad, the Alpha, and my older brothers are beloved. I am tolerated.
The loneliness and monotony of my life are worse even than not being able to shift.
My Aunt Gemma and brother Cash are my saving grace, they are the only people who don't treat me with indifference.
I sigh and force myself back into bed. I should get some sleep for the long day of sideways glances coming up.
As I drift into unconsciousness I feel myself start to be pulled toward the realm beyond. I try to shake myself awake but it's too late.
"Sorsha, why do you still fight it?"
I close my eyes, "I don't want this. I don't want to come here."
I feel warmth on my face, forcing me to open my eyes.
"This is a gift. I know you don't see it but it is." Her soft melodic voice sweeps across the expansive nothingness.
I stare into the abyss, the bright, open, nothingness.
"Yes, Goddess," I try to sound sincere but she knows all, lying is pointless.
"It's your birthday, I have a gift for you. You will have it soon." her voice is kind.
"Is that all?" I don't even pretend to hide the hope in my voice.
"I'm afraid not. There will be a rouge attack. A pack in Montana will be wiped out if you don't warn them in time," her gentle voice is serious, " warn the council, they need to prepare, something is coming."
I feel myself being pulled back into my body.
"What's coming, Godess, please!"
I awake with a jolt, sweating and disoriented. The sun shines through my window and I groan. I don't want to face this day. I had planned to hide out in my room like a coward but now I have to go talk to my father and figure out how to send word to packs in Montana.
I don't bother changing or brushing my long, tangled hair. It's best just to get this over with.
I hear the radio in the kitchen and some shuffling. Mia, the housekeeper must be here already.
"Owner of a lonely heart..." plays through the speakers and I scoff, of course.
I bypass the kitchen and make my way to my dads home office. I hesitate before knocking, taking a moment before facing him.
"Come in," his gruff voice vibrates through the door.
I crack the door open and flinch when I realize he's alone. I should have waited half an hour to try to catch at least one of my brothers in with him.
He takes a deep breath when he realizes it's me. He's trying to be calm and civil. He's always been quiet and reserved around me, holding himself back. I have never blamed him for how he treats me, for his inability to love me. I can't even imagine loosing a mate. He is a broken man, living inside the shell of who he used to be.
He doesn't speak as I enter, so I awkwardly sit.
"The Moon Goddess summoned me last night. There will be a rouge attack on a pack in Montana. They will be destroyed."
He nods solemnly before picking up the phone from his desk.
"James, get down here, now," he orders my oldest brother before slamming the phone down.
"Was that all?" His voice is tense.
"She said I need to warn the council that something is coming. She said 'prepare,' that's all."
"Hmm" is all he says before turning to his computer and typing something so quickly it looks like the keys will crack under his fingers.
James enters the room as I stand to leave.
"Sorsh," he nods to me quickly before turning his attention to my father.
He's tense, I can feel it. He doesn't want to upset dad who is always a bit of a wild card but today is particularly precarious.
I slip from the room and make my way to the kitchen.
"Were you in with dad?" Cash looks up from his eggs, surprise written all over his face.
"I was summoned last night. It was urgent."
He nods and goes back to his breakfast.
We sit in silence, eating our overcooked eggs. He slides a small brown envelope toward me before standing to leave. He gives me a quick wink before walking toward dads office.
I smile to myself. There is a thin rose gold chain inside with a tiny crescent moon charm. It's delicate and beautiful. I immediately unclasp it to put it on.
Song - Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes