Author's Note: This is book two in a series. Please read Aura
How did we lose?
Torrents of screams whipped in a violent tempest around me.
How can he be stopped?
Blood seeped deep into my pores. Even in sleep I knew there was no way to wash away their blood from my skin. Horror unlike I’d ever like to witness again scattered the forest. Bodies unrecognizable even to what species they were. Vampire or werewolf, death was impartial and welcomed them all. Even the glossy new golden hues of my mother lifeless and dull, was a testament to the nightmare of war.
I awoke with a gasp. The curtain drifted from the window as the air kicked on. A sliver of light peeked through the dissipating gap. My gaze followed the white curtain drift back to the wall. The blessed darkness shrouded me once more. I shifted to my side in a futile attempt to get back to sleep. To analyze what went wrong. Davis had to have missed something.
With my father’s matured visions, the plan should’ve been foolproof. My fate without him in my life was an assured victory against the tyrannical High Alpha. The self-proclaimed king of the alphas claimed he was born from the line of the first alpha their Goddess created. There was no way to prove his origins, as the first alpha drowned himself at sea willed by self-loathing. He had fallen in love with a human and begged their creator for a life with her. In a cruel twist of his wish, their Lunar Goddess replaced the souls of the humans, and his love, with his pack members. As the pack split into three, he alone disappeared with heartbreak.
A gurgle emanated deep from within my stomach. When was the last time I ate? After my mother and father’s funeral; after everyone left, not much had motivated me beyond my nightmare. The slaughter of my father’s pack, my pack, had become my obsession; so much so that it overtook every other feeling in my body.
My eyes squeezed shut until a burst of light danced behind my eyelids from the pressure. I needed to remember every detail of the fight we should’ve won. Davis, my father, must’ve missed something. The play by play was nearly mechanical in my mind. Another pain struck my abdomen.
Fine, I bitterly thought. My joints felt rusted from disuse as I maneuvered out of bed. The pungent smell of sweat and stale air flared in my nostrils as I walked through the now empty house. Dust had settled on the pictures lining the walls. My stomach churned at the glance of my mother in freeze frame holding up her diploma. The sight of her beaming nearly tipped the corner of my own mouth upward.
My feet shuffled in the brown carpet, the same I’d learned to walk on. In the dim light, the rooms looked altered and foreign. The house was in need of repair but I couldn’t muster the energy to fix it. Ironic how tired I was all the time, even though I practically lived in my bed now.
The clink of the mail slot barely drew my attention. A small pile of envelopes mocked me on the floor. Red letters stamped an overdue warning on one.
My fingers pressed the power button on the forgotten phone left to charge. I swiped away the multiple notifications, fifty-one missed calls, and countless texts from my roommate last semester, a nearly full voicemail; until I reached the calendar. The kitten calendar on the fridge held fast to its last page, the cute tabby with a red ribbon looked longingly toward me as it popped out of a present under the tree. My hand lifted to tear away the last page, but it seemed not even my fingers could accept time had moved on after her death. Instead, I reached for the handle and tugged to open the door. The fridge was scarce of food. I pulled out a carton and determined the weight meant I could hide away at least one more day before shopping.
Two eggs sizzled in the pan. The smell called to my stomach but my mind was focused on the one thing keeping me moving; The High Alpha’s trump card.
I angled the fork down and cut the first egg. It tasted like ash in my mouth. I chewed through the nauseating substance and focused on what I knew of the witch queen, Ambrosia. She was infatuated with the High Alpha, enough to enchant his heart from Nash’s killing blow with a spell that protected his life force, his aura.
It was something that faded in and out with no reason for its presence, but after the first week of contemplating what I saw. I reasoned the colors had to be connected with an individual’s life or uniqueness in some way. The colors were always a different shade from when I glimpsed them. What concerned me was, I seemed to be the only one who could see it. I inherited my clairvoyant dreams from my father who had been gifted it by the Lunar Goddess for his faithfulness. He never mentioned seeing colors seep from a body or glow around a person’s figure. The fork dropped from my grasp as I scrubbed at my face in frustration. Was I even correct in guessing I could see a person’s aura? Maybe I was going crazy.
Black spots danced behind my eyelids from the pressure of my palms. My left hand reached for my phone on the counter. Doubt stopped my fingertips short of touching the device that would connect me with the outside world. A brief throb of shame beat in my breast. I couldn’t help them anymore. Nash, Amber, and Michael were off preparing for war against the Witch Queen and the King of Alphas. I was just a human. I wasn’t strong enough or smarter than the enemy. I was useless since my mother’s death, the only dream I had, was the reoccurring one of her last moments and our losing battle. Or maybe it was my father’s death that sealed away the dreams. He was the one who was originally gifted the ability, not me.
The chair screeched against the tile as I stood. I looked to the last egg in disgust; my mood had soured with my thoughts. I dumped the egg in the trashcan and washed the single plate. My phone lit up with a new call. I reached to answer but stopped as my stomach gurgled. The nausea roiled my stomach and burned my throat as I dashed for the bathroom.
I retched until I had nothing left and heaved into the bowl. Sweat beaded my forehead from the exertion. The back of my hand swiped at my hairline. How could I have gotten sick? Everyone had left two weeks ago. I pulled myself to my feet and furrowed my brow at the woman looking back at me.
She had sunken cheeks where mine were round. Her eyes were rimmed red with dark circles, unlike my bright blue eyes. This woman had stringy hair matted and knotted unlike my full dark locks. She was nothing like me and yet she lifted her hand to her lips like I did. She stared back in surprise, as if she couldn’t believe the differences either.
I opened the mirrored cabinet and pulled out the thermometer. The cabinet door remained open, the sickly girl made me uncomfortable. Two short beeps broke the silence as I pulled out the thermometer. I was one degree short of a fever. In three steps I cleaned the thermometer and put it back in its place. The cabinet door shut and the girl glared back at me with disdain. I leaned over and splashed water on my face then pressed the towel against my skin to dry it.
Fear widened my eyes as I looked back in the mirror. The sickly girl was gone; in her place was a pale beauty with violet eyes. Her hair was silver, the same color as her lips. A cruel smile tightened her features as she stared back at me like a predator meeting its prey.
What the hell? I mouthed in shock.