The Wolf Cult

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Reprimanded

She fought the haziness of her brain as she worked to focus. Her hands were clammy, and she felt nipped by the cold air. Her heart was pounding so hard that it made it impossible to concentrate. Swaying a bit, she saw a row of about six vehicles lined up not too far away from her.

She trekked as fast as she could with bare feet to the cars. She checked to make sure no one saw her and then went to open the door to the blue ford truck. The truck she recognized as the one that drove her off the road. It was locked.

Heart pounding and nervous, she crouched down and moved to the passenger side. Each time, her heart pulsated, eager for a door to be unlocked. Each time, the door was locked. By the third car, as she reached out for the door, feeling the same anxious excitement for it to be unlocked and was met with the least expected result. She jumped at the blaring of the car alarm and made haste to the woods.

She wasted no time thinking. Alongside the woods was a road that the cars must drive down, so she followed that.

She ran as fast as possible despite the rough gravel, sharp rocks, and thorns that found their way to her feet.

The pain was worth the freedom.

As she ran, the racing of her heart seemed to intensify the drug running through her veins. By now, it became even more impossible to think. She did everything in her power to keep moving.

A howl broke through the sky, and it sounded near to her. Jaelynn turned to see if she could see the beast; as she did, she stumbled and fell.

She woke from her sleep in a matter of seconds, feeling like she should go back to sleep but knowing she had to rise to run away. Her body was as heavy as bricks. She could hear the crunching of footsteps behind her. All she could do was just lay there.

“Alright, back you go,” Daren grunted as he lifted her. Jaelynn moaned in protest.

#

Her eyes opened to still being at the party. Everyone danced and sang as if there were no cops in their backyard. She glared at every one of them as realization sunk in. What could happen to her now that they had caught her trying to run away?

Daren’s glare came into view as he gazed down at her. His expression was utterly unreadable besides his heavy breathing. Jaelynn’s heart sunk.

“Daren… I-”

His voice came softly with his anger barely composed, causing Jaelynn to realize the trouble she was in. “Save it! Lies will only get you into more trouble than you are already in.” Jaelynn gulped at his words. “Someone get her some water!” He spat.

Kelsey hurried over with pure fear filling in her eyes. She gave Jaelynn a pitied look as she handed the water bottle to her. Jaelynn looked over it with suspicion. “Drink, Jaelynn. I need you sober for what I’m going to do to you.”

Tears filled her eyes as she obediently took a sip. Images of Colton being beaten came to mind. She wasn’t sure if she could handle that amount of brutality.

“More,” he demanded, and she complied. “Next time, think twice before trying to run away from a werewolf.”

She froze. She had heard the howl before she was knocked out. Was that a wolf? Or just a coincidence?

Jaelynn sat in fear for what felt like a couple of hours. She watched the party-goers enjoy their time. Not one person other than Kelsey had looked her way and given her any sympathy. Daren stood brooding the whole time, standing guard. He offered no gentle glances, and she knew it was wise not to speak. She just sat, cried, and waited.

Her heart clenched in her stomach as she watched to boys roll back the wooden beam onto the stage. Another man consulted with Daren. “Yeah, she’s ready now.” She could hear him say. She broke down in tears.

Daren turned to her, still sternly looking at her. “You put this on yourself. You need to learn our ways. Now come.”

With shaking legs, she rose and followed him. She could hear the man on the stage make the announcement, but she couldn’t distinguish the noise. Heat rose to her ears. She suddenly felt too hot. And then, unexpectedly, she leaned over and vomited. The sour liquid burned her nose and scorched her throat as she heaved all she had out of her body.

No one came to help her or offer a helping hand. Instead, she rose to Daren impatiently, waiting for her to stop wasting his time. She wiped her mouth the best she could and then walked onto the stage.

“Lean over the beam, please.” Daren directed her, and she slowly complied. It was slightly higher for her than Colton, and when she leaned over wholly, her toes barely touched the ground.

Daren came around to strap her hands and legs in. “Remember, I don’t want to be doing this to you. This is for your own good.” He reasoned with her, touching her cheek softly.

“Please don’t,” was her last attempt for refuge, and it was left in the air. Daren came around back, cracked the whip in the air, so she knew what was coming, and then flicked the whip onto her back without hesitating. The dangling leather tail flew onto her pure, undamaged skin and stung like a bee. She felt the welt instantly rise. She didn’t even bother to be strong. She screamed bloody murder as she felt the whip crack repeatedly.

The crowd chanted, “for the pack. For the pack!” They seemed to enjoy watching her be beaten even more than Colton.

Sixteen slashes later, Daren paused. “Jaelynn, what are the rules you have broken?”

Unwilling to admit she’d done anything wrong, she had to bite her tongue and play along to avoid the sting of the whip. “I-I ran away.”

“And?”

“I’m sorry, and I won’t do it again.”

“That’s great, Jaelynn, but what other rules have you broken?”

Nervous about being whipped again, she scrambled through her mind. She wasn’t sure what else Darren wanted. “I-I don’t know.”

“You don’t believe we are werewolves.” His icy voice slicked over her. He rose and cracked the whip again. “Do you believe we are werewolves?”

She cried from the pain. She couldn’t take much more of it. “I believe you all are werewolves.”

He hit her again. “I can tell when you’re lying, Jaelynn! Do you believe we are werewolves?”

“Yes!” her broken voice screamed. The whip cracked again, and the question was asked again and again.

Thank you so much for reading the seventh chapter of The Wolf Cult!

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