“I’m coming for you!” I hear his voice from behind me.
Time to pick it up a notch!
I push myself further as I pick up in speed. I keep sprinting even though I can feel just about every bone in my body scratching up against each other, that and my legs are turning into jelly. My heart is racing and my breaths are coming out in short pants at the fear of being caught.
I fly pass more trees as I continue on racing forward. The wind is blowing and I feel content in it as the world stretches past me in the blink of an eye. I breathe in a solid breath and hold it as I rush forward at an even greater speed.
If I could just make it to the clearing then I’d be safe. I begin to jump forward to quicken my speed; the footsteps behind me were getting louder by the second.
When the clearing comes into view, just a little below the cliff, I let out a breath of pure relief. I jump one last time, but as I am in midair, the wind is suddenly knocked out of me from a great impact of another force colliding into me.
Suddenly I am no longer jumping down the cliff, but rolling down the cliff. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another person rolling down with me - or more like on top of me. “Get off!” I yell as my head hits countless rocks before smashing against the snowy earth beneath me, the figure breaking their fall on top of me.
I use all my force to push the person off, despite the fact that I am still tumbling down the cliff at a tremendous speed. My head is throbbing, including just about every other part in my body. I am sure I am going to have broken ribs by the end of this fall.
“I’m trying!” He yells back as we both tumble over each other in the snow.
Apart from the fact that a heavy person is crushing me, I’m also temporarily blinded because of the great speed we’re moving at. It doesn’t help that I was sprinting before I was tackled, “Well try harder!” I scream and plunge my elbow into his rib cage to shift him away.
“Ouch!” He yelps as his head slams into a tree stump.
Suddenly, the world stops spinning and it dawns on me that we’ve finally reached the bottom, or at least I flipping hope so. I jump up onto my feet despite not being able to feel any limb in my body. Blood is rushing to my head, not to mention, blood is dripping from the fresh wounds in my flesh from sharp jabs of sticks and stones. I am not too bothered because I know my wounds will heal shortly - perks of being a werewolf.
I limp my way into the clearing, but when I see the two authoritative figures standing in the center, I immediately begin to turn back.
“Not so fast Hailey Taitz !” His voice sends shivers down my spine.
I was hoping they wouldn’t see me. I turn around and give him a sheepish grin before waving at him. The authoritative figure, also known as the Alpha of the Silver Moon pack, rolls his eyes at me, “Bring Kian and get your asses here!” He demands angrily.
I nod and then turn to the figure passed out unconscious on the snow. Great, looks like this is going to be a lot harder than I thought. I crouch down and attempt in lifting his body, but he’s just too heavy. I huff and push him instead, but end up with a back spasm. “Oh well.” I mumble to myself as I clutch onto his right arm and begin dragging him across the mud and ice until I reach his father. “And now I present you with Prince Kian your royal Alphaness.” I grin and step aside as I allow his father, also known as the Alpha, to inspect the damage done to his son.
“Hailey!” My mother scolds from beside the Alpha. She looks embarrassed and ashamed of me.
“Yes mother?” I answer simply. “What is your ish with the sitch?”
“Don’t be so forward and rude. Control that tongue young lady.” She reprimands me.
“Control that tongue young lady.” I mimic and roll my eyes.
My mother frowns at me before turning her attention back to the Alpha, “I’m so sorry for my daughter’s behaviour. Clearly…” She emphasizes and brings her brown eyes back to mine to add effect, “she hasn’t learned from the last time.”
I nod triumphantly, agreeing, “Clearly not.”
The Alpha cradles Kian’s limp body into his arms before turning to me with blazing eyes that I am positively sure can burn me alive, “This is the third time just today that you and Kian have sneaked off into the forest without my permission. We’ve been worried sick. There are rogues nearby. It’s not safe. I’ve got the Beta on your scents, not to mention the trackers tracing your paths.”
“Stop calling me that!” He snaps.
“Okay then, Master Alphaness…” I continue as he shoots me a disapproving stare at the nickname I had conjured up for him. “It was practically all Kian’s fault because he’s the one that followed me out into the woods in the first place.”
“Hailey, why were you in the woods to begin with?” My mother asks defiantly.
Oops…should have thought that one through first.
“Mother if you don’t mind, I’d like to finish speaking to Sir Alphaness.” I say in a cheeky manner, but it was enough to get her to quieten down and stop interrogating me. “As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted…” I trail off to give my mother a stern glance. “It’s all Kian’s fault. So I am going to get going now and I advise you to punish Kian when he awakes from his beauty sleep.” I say and quickly begin to make my escape.
“Where do you think you’re going Missy?”
As I turn around I bump into a stern and muscular frame. I glance up to see that the Beta had finally caught up to me.
“Why hello there your Betaness!” I chirp excitedly. He raises an amused eyebrow at me.
I take his distraction as my chance to leave.
It’s not even a second later before I am picked up by the collar of my shirt. He’s holding me up with only one hand. “I don’t think so squirt. You’re in a lot of trouble.”
I begin to fight back, but my attempts prove futile. I eventually give in after much persuasion. I cross my arms and glower down at the soil that my feet are sadly no longer touching. Here I am dangling in the air by the hand of the Beta for the second time just today. “Put me down you bully!” I whine.
“James put the little rebellious fighter down.” The Alpha insists as James drags me back to him.
I clap my hands excitedly as I am lowered down much to James’s disliking. I stick my tongue out at him in victory. “Take that James!”
“That’s Beta to you squirt.” James quickly corrects me.
“Sure sure James. What ever makes you pee at night.” I wave off the matter casually.
James rolls his eyes at me like a little child himself, “That’s not even how the saying goes.”
“Well I created my own version so suck it!” I smirk in triumph.
“Hailey Taitz, this is not the way I raised you!” Mother scolds yet again. It is getting overrated.
“Yes it is!” I chirp in.
My mother sighs at my pestering, “I am sorry Beta. My daughter has a lot of growing up to do. Her behaviour has been nothing but rash.”
I roll my eyes at her poor excuses and make hand signals behind her in mockery as she speaks.
The Alpha gives me a knowing look, but I’m sure that he’s suppressing a smile. “Come on kiddo lets get you and Kian cleaned up. There’s blood everywhere.”
“Tell me about it. I’d ask if you want some flesh with that blood, but hey at least they’ll be strong fighters one day.” Mr Betaness shrugs and grins to himself.
I barely register anything he says because my mind still can’t wind itself around the sentence of me being cleaned up. “No!” I screech and jump away from all of them. “I don’t want to bath!” I whine in a high pitched voice.
The Alpha just smirks in response, “Who said anything about bathing?”
I cock my head in confusion.
“Yeah!” I scream in excitement as I land in the ice springs.
I dive under the water despite the ice chunks floating about. It is freezing, thus giving me an adrenalin rush.
I watch as the Beta throws in a sleeping Kian after me only for Kian to yelp out in surprise before joining me under the cool water.
We laugh and begin to splash each other, despite this being our punishment according to Alpha Leo. Far from it really. He stands there motionless with a frown on his face because we are supposedly not to enjoy this at all. I grin and swim up to the bank of the springs before I begin to splash him. Kian doesn’t hesitate before joining me, despite the fact that his father was currently seeming some what peeved at our childish behaviour.
Alpha Leo seems to be a ticking time bomb as each drop of water soaks him further from head to toe. “James see to them.” He demands before turning his back on us.
Guess he can’t tolerate little angels…
I turn to Kian with a mischievous smirk as I motion to the Beta who seemed some what too dry for my liking. He catches on quickly and fortunately the Beta doesn’t. We both swim back up to the bank where the Beta stands, unaware of our evil ploys.
He notices us both staring at him which brings about his skeptical side, “What?” He asks. We move closer in response and he seems to understand what is about to happen. “Oh no you don’t!” He says and is about to back away, but it’s too late.
“Fire!” Kian yells aloud as we both begin to splash the Beta with as much water as possible until he too is soaked from head to toe, matching Alpha Leo.
A dark grin escapes onto the Beta’s features as he inches closer to us from the bank. “You two are just bound to cause trouble where ever you go.” I giggle, aware that he’s just teasing us - but then suddenly my insides turn cold as the Beta sniffs the air and stiffens in his spot. His grin fades and is replaced with a concerned gaze. “Get out the water.” He says in a low voice.
Under normal circumstances I would have questioned orders from a higher rank just for the heck of it, but something in his tone is off-key. I grab Kian by the arm and gesture for him to obey. We both climb out the water and stand beside our Beta.
“Go! Run! Get out of here!” James suddenly raises his voice at us in a panic.
“What? Why?” Kian questions with sheer worry laced into his green eyes.
“Don’t question me Kian! They’re here. The rogues have just hit the pack site. Just run! And keep running! What ever you do, promise me that you won’t stop to look back. Find another pack and seek help.” James orders in a growl as his eyes begin to glow yellow. He is about to turn - transform.
“But your Betaness where is my mom and dad? Why don’t you contact Alpha Leo to warn him and the others?” I plead, not wanting to leave my family behind.
“I tried Hailey! He’s not responding. No one is. I can’t reach anyone. Just get out of here!” James yells out in a desperate tone before he begins to transform into his wolf.
I force myself to block out the sound of breaking bones as my hand finds Kian’s hand, “Kian we have to go!” I say with urgency.
Kian has tears in his eyes, “I’m not leaving without my dad.” He insists.
James has just turned into his grey wolf. He snarls at us to get a move on.
It’s then that I hear it. The low growling that doesn’t belong to the Beta. I turn around just in time to see the other wolf lunge at James.
I run forward, preparing to contribute my help, but James steps in front of me to defend me from the rogue wolf. He growls at me in a warning tone. I know he wants us to leave before the rest of the rogues get here. I also know that if we leave then James would be outmatched. He’d die. He seems to know that too.
Even if we stayed, there wouldn’t be much we could do against a pack of rogues. We’re both still too young to transform. Without our wolves we are pretty much useless. I reach for Kian and force him to move, “Come on Kian!” I encourage, but he stays in place and watches as James and the other wolf fight it out to what would be the death of one of them.
I don’t want to still be here to see James die. “Kian!” I screech and drag him behind me as I begin to sprint away from the bloody scene.
My wolf hearing is still developing, but I can hear the rest of them approaching. I hate feeling helpless, but there’s nothing we can do. We might be the pack’s last hope. If we don’t find help then everyone who dies will die in vain.
Kian seems to come out of it as he begins to sprint after me. “Just pretend you’re chasing me.” I say to comfort him as we continue on sprinting, the only difference being that this time we are sprinting for our lives. Rogues show no mercy. If they catch up to us, we’re as good as dead.
We have no clue in which direction we’re headed. We could be heading into enemy’s territory and we wouldn’t even know it. Running is our only option now. Sadly, we’re just not fast enough. It’s when I hear the distinct snapping sound that I stop in my tracks. I know I promised James that I won’t turn around, but I have to. I know what that sound means, I just don’t want to admit it to myself. As I turn, I see the same wolf headed directly for us. If he’s coming for us now it can only mean one thing…James is dead.
Tears brim my eyes as the future of our pack and lives hang in the balance. The pressure is weighing heavily down on our shoulders. I bury my sadness and fears and instead I focus on getting me and Kian out of here alive. “Don’t stop Kian!” I yell from behind him as the wolf begins gaining on us.
The odds aren’t in our favour because we’re easily outrun by the wolf seeing as we’re on two legs and he’s on four. I am tackled to the ground as the brown wolf stands over me with yellow eyes. Kian hears the noise from behind him and stops to come back for me. “No Kian! Keep running! Don’t stop!” I yell to him, but he’s stubborn just like his father. It’s a distinct characteristic of an Alpha.
Kian’s panic turns into rage at seeing me in danger. His eyes begin to glow a distinct gold colour as a result. He begins shaking before there’s a distinct sound of bones breaking. He’s turning for the first time. I try to block out his screams of agony, the first time turning being most painful from what I’ve heard.
The wolf above me is distracted by Kian. I take this as my chance to shove him off. I get my footing again and take up a defensive stance that I had been taught by our trainers. The wolf growls and begins to circle me, perfecting his time of kill. I move with him, not wanting to be caught blind-sighted. He suddenly prowls onto me, but he’s quickly thrown of by a pure white wolf.
Kian just saved my life.
Kian begins struggling against the other wolf. He seems to be fighting a losing battle from his lack of experience. I survey my surroundings, looking for nearby resources to fight with. I have to do something. I grab a sharp tree branch and rush to the battle. The other wolf is so preoccupied with Kian’s throat that he doesn’t see me coming. I take the opportunity to plunge the stick as hard as I possibly can into the side of the wolf.
The wolf whimpers before falling flat into the snow. He raises his head to give one last final howl. Fear sets in yet again when I realize that he’s calling for help. The rest of the pack can’t be that much further away. They’d be here any second.
I’m so distracted by my own fear that I fail to see that the wolf had stood up again. I am attacked from behind and somewhere along the line he gets a hold of my neck and begins to suffocate me. His teeth sink into my flesh and the blood begins to drip out and mix in with the mud and ice.
The last thing I see before the blackness sets in, is Kian lunging at the wolf who had a grip on my throat.
The distant howls begin to near.
I know it’s all over as my eyes close on their own accord.