Kieran - Chapter 1
I run through the thick forest, farther, and farther away from the pack territory, hearing them calling after me. I shut the mind link, I don’t want to hear them, nor their reasons.
I know I’m being a coward, and childish. I know I’ll eventually have to come back and face my pack, face the shame of running away from my new responsibilities. Right now I just need to be alone, and alone is not something you get to chose for yourself once you’re Alpha.
I tell myself I should stop, face them, accept my destiny, and impose my will over the pack. But leadership has never been something I wanted, and power never appealed to me.
But our Alpha died today. My father died today.
I managed to live 26 years of my life in complete bliss, knowing that I would never have to carry the burden of leadership since my two older brothers would become Alpha and Beta after my father’s passing.
But they were killed during the last rogues’ attacks. The two strongest warriors in our family. Both of them, unmated, so the burdened heir was now the runt of the litter. Me.
I managed to live three more years under the ruling of my father, suffering day after day of Alpha training, failing miserably to convince him to appoint someone else, someone more suited to become our leader.
But the man was inflexible and for some inexplicable reason, he and our pack firmly believed that the Blue Moon Pack had to remain under his bloodline’s ruling.
Three years I had to endure the dreaded fate of becoming an Alpha, lessen only by the knowledge that my father would still live for many long years.
Until he didn’t.
And the fucking old man decided to die in the most stupid way possible.
“Who the hell chokes on a piece of meat?! We are bloody carnivores, for fuck’s sake!!”
My paws kicked the dirt with force, propelling my body forward, now in the unmarked territory. I had to go back, before risking an encounter with rogues or humans.
I knew there was a highway near the border of the forest, and at this point, I was so disoriented, I had no idea of my exact location. I’ve managed to left behind my pack members, but I could still feel our Beta trying to reach me through our mind link.
“I just need a moment! Please!”
If I was going to spend the rest of my life leading them, I had to put my thoughts in order. It was already bad enough to have cut my training short. The second my father’s body dropped stiff on the floor, everyone turned to me for answers.
What should we do for the funeral? What do we tell the other packs? How do we prevent territory quarrels? What about our border patrol? Shall we refurbish the old Alpha’s room?
“Are you serious now?!” I let out a wail of pure frustration.
I felt exhausted after hours of running aimlessly. My legs were throbbing and I was panting. I slowed down for a moment, looking up at the stars. It must be close to midnight by now.
I took a deep breath. It was time to go back.
I looked around me, not sure of directions anymore, so I sniffed the air to find a familiar scent. It was then when I sensed it, the disgusting smell of decay and rot. A rogue.
It is said that due to their lack of companionship, rogues slowly lose their minds and that deterioration begins to rotten their bodies. But I honestly believe that is a fairy tale. The lanky guy that snarls in my direction needs to be reunited with a toothbrush more than a pack.
Drained as I am, I know I can stand my ground against one rogue. I might not be as formidable as my brothers were, but I’m not a weakling.
I face him with a menacing growl, showing my dominance and power over him. The pathetic mutt cowers in fear, but he is soon joined by two other nasty beasts, and I know the time to show off has ended. I need to run.
I swiftly turn on my heels and run without direction. I just need to leave them behind. I can hardly see anything anymore, my eyes can’t focus due to exhaustion. I hear them snarl right behind me, vicious jaws snapping on my heels.
There is no room for mistakes here, I can’t stop.
I can’t leave my pack without guidance, I can’t fail my father, my brothers now. I can’t die without finding my mate, without knowing love.
It is the most inappropriate time to be falling into a spiral of self-discovery, but I feel it now, clear as daylight. I know I wouldn’t be so afraid of ruling if I had someone by my side. Someone to hold me and comfort me. My mate.
A sudden strength surges through me and with a mighty roar, I dig my claws on the ground and take a powerful leap, startling the rogues and leaving them behind. Even then I don’t stop. I run as if possessed by the certainty of a newfound purpose.
The wind rushes around me as I leave the trees behind, stepping abruptly into a clearing, its forms veiled by the darkness of a moonless night. And as I leap through the emptiness, I see it.
I’m on the highway.
I have only a fraction of second to feel relieved at the late hour, and the absence of cars before the deafening screeching of tires snaps my attention to my left. I’m immediately blinded by the bright lights and I don’t even get to land on my feet before the machine thumps on my side and sends my sprawling into the pavement.
The whole world starts to swirl around me, and I can’t help to whimper at the awful pain.
Luckily, the driver managed to slow down the car. Otherwise, I’d be nothing but mincemeat on the ground right now.
I try to get up and hide, but I might have several broken bones. Not a chance in the world to heal before they see me.
I hear the car’s door open and the hurried footsteps of the driver coming my way. A wave of dizziness washes over me, preventing my escape. I lay on the pavement, hoping that the human thinks I’m dead and simply drives off.
I close my eyes and stall my breathing. My senses are somehow dulled by the impact, so I can’t make any detail of the person approaching me. Not one to be deterred by my inert appearance, unfortunately.
I feel them kneel and loom over me. “Fucking animal lovers!” This is the last thing I need right now. There is a moment of hesitation before they react.
“Oh no! You poor doggy!” There is a tremor in her voice and honest concern. Being so close now, I can begin to perceive some details. She is a young female, undoubtedly human.
Her voice is appealing. It’s strange that even under her evident distress, she managed to calm me. I dare take a deep breath since curiosity got the best of me. I slowly fill my nostrils, taking in her scent. Jazmin and cinnamon rolls.
Everything around me freezes. There is no sound, no pain, not a single smell that it isn’t her. Out of my control, my head lifts from the ground and my eyes snap open, fixing on her face with a ravenous stare. I want to see her! My mate!
But the car’s headlights are blinding me. “Mate!” My mind is reeling, I no longer care if my body falls apart, I want to turn and look at her.
“No, no! Don’t move!” She tries to soothe me, speaking softly and placing a warm hand on my ribs. Her touch is like a healing balm and as soon as her palm lands on my side, I feel so much better and I struggle to get up.
“Ouch!” Ok, not really healing. The sharp pain on my side is not abating, and a new wave of dizziness forces me to lay down once more. But now I can see her face, and my jaw drops in amazement.
She is gorgeous! Her perfect round face, framed by a wild tangle of dark curls, falling over her chocolate, bright eyes. I feel the need to bury my fingers on her locks until I focus my eyes on her plump lips and my mind loses all grip on reality.
“Are you alright puppy? Did you hurt your face?” She looks more and more concerned. Probably because the sight of a wolf with their mouth hanging is not very common. I snap my mouth close, I’m making a fool out of myself!
She reaches with both hands and cups my face, stroking my mane. I stare at her, marveled at the delicious awareness her skin stirs in me. While she carefully inspects me, I melt under her touch, memorizing the shape of her slender body and her caramel skin. “Oh, goddess! I’m dying to lick every inch of that velvety...”
“I think we should get you to the vet, puppy. I don’t like how these wounds look and I need to have you checked anyways.”
...She, what now?
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