The Queen in Shadows

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Chapter 44

I run out into the hallway just as Sloane runs around the corner.

"Everybody get to the tunnel!"

My aunt and uncle are down the long hallway, banging on doors, pulling people from their rooms.

People are shifting and running toward a staircase at the end of the hall. I don't think I could shift if I wanted to, my wolf is so fragile. Celine grabs my hand and we run, as fast as I'm able, I can tell she's moving slowly for me.

She stops for a moment, running into a room for a moment. When she reemerges she's wearing a long cloak.
"A girl needs her supplies," she winks before we resume continue.

When we reach the bottom of the stairs we follow the crowd out into an overgrown courtyard. Everyone seems calm and sure of where they are going. They must have set up evacuation procedures.

We walk through the woods on a trail that seems like it was once well used, now the shrubbery is growing over into the walkway.

The sun is setting in the sky above the trees, the forest growing darker.

Miles runs over to walk beside me. He looks nervous to approach me.

We walk silently for a moment.

"What's in the bag?" I decide to break the ice. He's carrying a large plastic bag that looks oddly shaped and heavy.

"It's explosives," he whispers, "we're blowing up the armory before we strike. We need to take out the inventory of silver bullets. We didn't have time last time, the bomb wasn't ready."

My eyes go wide. A lot has happened since I've been down.

"Titus and Dannon have been kept far enough away that they can still sneak into the city and gather intel. Most of us have targets on our heads, they are still anonymous enough. We have a friend at the armory, she's going to let them in to set up the charges."

I stare at the ground, lost in my own head. Lost in the memory of clear blue eyes...
If we had been able to do these things before everything fell apart last time, maybe... maybe things would have been different.
I will the ache from my chest as we continue deeper into the forest, the trail disappearing completely.
I look over the hordes of people, the wolves trotting through the dense trees. I want to feel joy, I want to feel excited about this but I can't. I wonder if I will ever feel more than this all consuming pain.

Suddenly a deafening boom rumbles the ground beneath our feet. Several people around me grab ahold of trees or each other to stay upright. I stumble forward and grab onto a tree to keep from falling.

"Where are Alex and Sloane?" I ask, not to anyone in particular.

"They stayed behind to... clean up," Miles tells me as he grabs my arm to help me steady myself.

We walk for what feels like hours in the darkness. My legs burn and I'm covered in light sheen of sweat, my body and my wolf are in really bad shape.

"That's it, just up ahead," Celine tells me, clearly worried about my condition.

I give her a tight smile, hoping that sill reassure her. I don't have anything else to give.

When we get to one of the abandoned buildings I can see inside, the floor has collapsed. I peer over the edge into the tunnel below.

Carefully walking around the crumbling edge I make my way to the other side of the hole, needing some separation from the crowd.
Aside from my close friends or family no one has said anything but I can see it in their eyes. They're pitying me. While I do feel pitiful, I don't want to see it etched onto the faces of strangers, people that didn't even know Phoenix.

I sit on the dirty floor leaning on some large pieces of rubble.

There is a small commotion by the door. I look over and let out a breath I hadn't noticed I was holding.
Alex and Sloane are coming through the door looking a little worse for wear.

When Sloane sees me they carefully inch past the hole and sink to the ground next to me. They look exhausted.

"You look like shit," I nudge Alex, mostly kidding.

"There were nine of them, they dropped a bomb on the building. We had to take them out and run all the way here. In order to have the element of surprise on our side, we need to hurry. Whoever sent them will be expecting them to return soon."

As he speaks two Alphas jump down into the hole with sledgehammers. I lean back and close my eyes. I need to rest while I can, we'll be moving again soon.

"Elle?"

"Mmm?" I quirk my brows but don't open my eyes.

"The dream you had... can you tell me about it?"

"I was with P-Phoenix..." I can't even say his name without whimpering.
I take a deep breath, clear my throat and start again.
"We were in a meadow somewhere. He told me to warn everyone, to evacuate because they were coming."

"That was it?"

I open my eyes, confused, "he touched my arm and my cheek, he wiped my tears away. That's why it felt real. When I woke up... it was like... I could still feel him, his touch on my skin."

He nods his head thoughtfully.

"Why do you ask?"

"I don't know it's just..."

He's cut off by a loud rumbling and a huge chunk of the floor falling into the hole.

One of the Alphas pulls himself up from the hole, "we're through. Time to move."




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