That’s how I have felt for the past ten years. Numb. Completely void of all happy thoughts and feelings. Ever since he was taken from me.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I have the odd moment where things look a little less bleak and grey, but then the bone-crushing hurt is never far behind… it always catches up to me, no matter how hard I try running from it.
Standing at my bedroom window, I stare out at the palace grounds. I notice Ali and Anya - who are twenty-three now, flipping their lush copper hair over their shoulders, flirting with some of the pack warriors, they haven’t been fortunate enough to find their fated mates yet. Amber and Eddie are planning to send them travelling in the coming months to give them a better chance at finding their mates; it would appear they’re enjoying their last bit of harmless flirting before they’re potentially mated she-wolves.
I see Hunter and Ozzy – now seventeen, shadowing our father as he scouts new talent in a combat class. From the age of thirteen, they have been learning how to rule a pack - which included training at all the top packs. Our dad is doing his best to teach them how to be a fair and level headed ruler whilst also being undeniably ruthless as and when needed.
You see, when Hunter turned thirteen, we learnt that he was to be the next King; he has inherited our fathers’ wolf’s golden eyes, which means he is destined to be the next in line for the throne. Of course, ever since this revelation came to be, the she-wolves have flocked around him, like seagulls attacking a beachgoer for their chips – poor Hunter. I know most wolves would love this level of attention from the ladies, but Hunter is different; he’s not one to always fool around with the ladies, although I can see the temptation in his eyes at times. He can seem intimidating, due to the fact he oozes power and dominance... but when he lets you in, he’s a big soft teddy bear!
Ozzy on the other hand is destined to be a different ruler. The hellhounds interest in him in particular only grew with time; now they’re inseparable and are with him every moment of every day – I reckon he can’t even take a piss in peace without them howling to be with him on the other side of the door. He will be the next King of Demons when the time comes.
Our grandfather, Dominic will step down to the rightful King as planned, although Ozzy has been sneaking off as and when he can, assisting Grandad with his duties any spare moment he gets. He was a real troublemaker as a young teenager. On many occasions, I saw steam practically spewing from my mums’ ears due to Ozzy sneaking off through one of his portals – Oh yeah... he can create portals to the demon realm as and when he feels like it, a very cool ability if you ask me!
Meanwhile, I stay in my room or keep to myself most of the time watching the outside world pass me by – I am destined for nothing, I am destined to be a no one... and I am certainly not destined to be anyone’s… a spinster princess perhaps? Or maybe I’ll just become one of those bitter old ladies that hate everything and everyone but will also moan that they’re lonely; yeah, that sounds more likely to be my future.
Once upon a time, I had ambitions. I dreamt of the big white mating ceremony under the full moon, a royal gown and the entire pack in attendance celebrating our union. I dreamt of my house and how I planned to decorate it, I didn’t need anything too fancy, just enough space, ready for my mate and I’s pup. But all of my hopes and dreams were taken from me when he was taken. Now, all I hope for is a swift end to my misery.
I stand and watch a number of other pack wolves around my age, hanging around and talking to one another. In my heart, I want to be there with them, I want to laugh and feel happy, oh man do I want to feel happy! Well, to just feel anything positive, really!
Believe me, when I say I have tried to be ‘normal’ again, the last time I tried to engage, I approached the group whilst they were all laughing and having what seemed to be a great time… until I sat down, I smiled at them and everyone went deathly silent. I sat there for around 15 minutes of awkward glances and stiff conversation before I gave up and left. Ali and Anya caught up to me; I was wildly throwing my arms around, huffing and puffing about the effort I had wasted trying to be involved – you could call it a mini-meltdown.
They then told me that I was throwing out deadly vibes and icy glares, oh… and the friendly smile I gave them… it was, in fact, a snarl – my bad.
Out of all the wolves around my age, Ali and Anya have never given up on me, they don’t force me to join in conversations with them, but they allow me space to just be by myself within their company. They call it friendly therapy; they know how much my wolf needs that pack bond, but ever since he was taken, she was taken too in a way... she skulked away to the depths of my being... I haven’t felt her since.
I can’t shift without my wolf - Sierra, so I am essentially just a demon at the moment, and a lousy one at that; my demon abilities are pathetic in comparison to my mum’s raw strength. Meanwhile, I can barely ignite a 1-inch flame in my palm, it’s about the size of a small lighter flame, a neat party trick if a human were to see, but pretty pathetic to anyone else.
Even so, Ali and Anya are still hopeful that eventually, their wolves will be able to coax mine out of the woodwork of my mind. Although I might not always show it, I do appreciate their continued attempts and their friendship.
I realise I’ve been thinking about him too much when his smiling amber eyes appear in my mind, causing my heart to clench and feel broken all over again. When we first lost him, I would be hunched over in agony, my heart felt like it was being constricted, sometimes it would even cause me to empty the contents of my stomach… but since the numbness has taken over, I barely register the pain anymore. Though, the image of his eyes… Rex’s eyes… it’s enough to cause a tear to escape the confines of my eye and trail down my cheek.
Dinah is still positive he is out there somewhere; she says she can feel it in her bones as a mother and as a witch. When I was younger, this would fill me with hope, but with every passing year, I began to give up on a fairy tale reunion. Now, when she says hopeful things like that, I force a polite smile and nod... though it’s probably more of a grimace.
Of course, I still wish for Rex to be returned safe and sound, but with the amount of effort my dad has put into finding him and all of the leads continuing to go cold - my hope has dwindled.
My dad is determined to fulfil his promise; he hasn’t stopped searching to bring him home; he will never rest until we have answers… even if they aren’t the ones we want to hear. Closure – we need closure, whatever that might be.
Whoever was involved knew exactly what they were doing; they left no scent, no traces of where they could’ve gone after the 30ft radius of the crime scene; even more worryingly, they knew how to immobilise a Lycan… he could be anywhere.
I think back to the moment he was taken. His eyes were so full of happiness and filled with promises of the future – our future. Then, within seconds, everything – my whole world, changed.
Later that evening, I head to my dad’s office before our Sunday family meal; I tend to visit him most evenings. As I reach the large mahogany double doors, I hear what sounds like papers being scattered or shredded and my dad yelling out in frustration.
I push open the doors as his fist collides with his desk.
“Fuck!” he shouts; as a large chunk of wood falls to the floor.
I guess that means I’ll be breaking the news to mum later that dad needs - yet another new desk.
He sinks back down into his chair, pushing his hand through his hair in frustration as he sighs.
“Sorry Mae-Mae, I’m not having the best evening tonight”, he says apologetically, though what he actually means is; he’s found no new leads in Rex’s disappearance.
My dad spends most of his evenings trying to piece together any potential new evidence that comes in, my mum and dad go for “walks” most days, though; I now know this is code for scouting for new evidence. I have to give it to them; they have never given up, they refuse to give up. Dad vowed he would find the culprit and that’s what he intends to do, his wolf will not rest until this vow has been fulfilled.
I know that might sound selfish to some... but I worry that if I don’t even meet my own basic needs, the depression and emptiness will return... I fear it will consume me to the point I accidentally starve myself to death.
In the beginning, my days were spent sitting in bed staring vacantly at the wall. This went on for around a month; succumbing to sleep would be the only way to break my lifeless staring. My mum and dad were so concerned that they put me on 24/7 watch, even hiring a team of carers to keep me clean and force-feed me.
I wish I could help more; I wish my wolf would come back so that I could put more energy into finding him, but so far ten years on… no such luck.
“Anything I can help with?” I laugh at myself internally.
What a stupid thing to ask, there is nothing that a wolf-less wolf can help with, I have the same capabilities as a human for crying out loud, no extra strength, agility, hearing or smell, just the basics for a human… lucky me.
“No sweetie, it’s fine. Why don’t you go and get yourself ready for dinner?” he says tenderly, I can tell he’s trying his best to protect me from his bad mood.
I nod as I begin to turn and leave, a paper catches my eye. It holds a photo attached… a photo of the blood-covered grass at the scene of Rex’s disappearance, my stomach drops and my insides churn.
I feel like I’m going to be sick. There was so much… blood.
It takes me right back to ten years ago, making me feel like a frightened fourteen-year-old all over again, making the physical pain of losing him tear through every nerve ending in my body.
I raise a hand to my mouth as my knees buckle and give way, strong, comforting arms catch me before I hit the floor…Dad.
See… dad + wolf speed = helpful. Me + no wolf = burden.
I snuggle into him as he strokes my chestnut hair soothingly and carries me back to my room, I feel like a tiny girl again. I love and adore my mum to pieces, but I will always be a daddy’s girl.
He places me gently on my bed as a couple of staff around the palace come in with a large glass of water and what looks like a pre-dinner snack.
“Eat and drink up darling, when you’re feeling better come down and join us for dinner… oh, and don’t tell mum about the snack… she’ll kill me if she finds out I ruined your appetite with snacks” he smiles impishly at me.
“I promise”, I return his smile, before he turns and walks from my room.
I can’t help but feel like I’m still treated as a child sometimes, but I know they come from a place of love, they know I struggle to look after myself, so they’ve taken on that role of parenting again to make sure I’m not going hungry.
About 45 minutes later I make my way to the dining hall. We eat here with our family on random nights throughout the week, but always every Sunday. By family I mean, my mum and dad, brothers – Hunter and Ozzy, Beta Dinah and Idris, Amber and Eddie, Ali and Anya, Gamma Jude, his mate Maria and their son Hector, who is twenty-five years old.
As I push open the large doors, they clunk and creak as they swing open, heads turn my way and eyes snap to my own. I bow my head and attempt a half-hearted smile to apologise for my tardiness.
I used to love these family meals. but ever since that day, and he is no longer here... I find them almost unbearable. I will catch the odd sad eye... lingering on me... pitying me… I can’t stand it. I know they don’t mean to make me feel uncomfortable, I mean, I probably make them feel uncomfortable too. No one knows what to say to the girl who lost her potential mate, the person who could’ve been the other half to her soul.
What is there to say? I guess it’s hard for people to act as though nothing ever happened to the girl who is still crushed and heartbroken every single day by the loss.
As I take my seat, I groan internally, thinking about what fresh horrors will be the topic of conversation this evening.