Chapter 28 - A Battle with Hunger
The light from outside streams in as the door swings open, then the wooden stairs creak under heavy footsteps.
Alpha Maddox descends the stairs, followed by Delta Roche and a burly guard. He walks straight to my cell without sparing Jorden a glance. His cold eyes are fixed on me.
Danger. The newly awakened part of me is wide awake and is on full alert.
Alpha Maddox is in his late twenties. He looks nothing like his father except for his hard eyes and the cruel way that he rules the pack. His father looked at me with lust while Alpha Maddox always seemed to be filled with mild annoyance on best days and something close to hatred on other days. I think he hates it that I’m bad at following orders and that I’m too stupid to feel and submit to his Alpha’s superiority and authority like everyone else in this pack.
He’s not exactly brimming with love when he’s looking at me now. He’s furious. His eyes flash like he’s close to phasing into his wolf to tear me to pieces. But as he gets closer, something about me must have amused him because his stern lips lift up into a little sneer.
I’m suddenly aware that I am still crouching close to the steel bars with my arms around my knees. My position now is that of a submission.
The guard produces a set of keys that jingles as he unlocks my cell room and I see Jorden in his own cell, starts moving back and forth like a caged tiger.
I quickly climb to my feet and stare back at the Alpha. I know he hates that. It’s disrespectful and you don’t stare at the Alpha in the eyes unless you’re issuing a challenge.
When the big Alpha steps into my tiny prison, Jorden is gripping the metal bars like he wants to rip it apart.
“You’re just a tiny human,” says Alpha Maddox. His eyes are watching me assessingly like he’s looking at a puzzle. Measuring.
Tiny human or not, I can see that I got under his skin. His eyes narrow and the tightness of his jaw indicates that he’s gritting his teeth. Different expressions chasing one after another on his face: anger then intrigues...but mostly loathing, revulsion, and contempt. This man hates me. “I can’t believe an insignificant little human like you could wreak havoc to my pack. First, you disappeared, causing my father to go berserk. I had to send my men all across the country to look for you. Then you did this!”
“I didn’t ask for anybody to come looking for me. You should have left me alone.”
“What did you do to my father? What poison did you give him?”
“I didn’t give him anything,” I yell back at him. “I didn’t do anything to him!”
“Liar! If you didn’t do anything, he wouldn’t be in the hospital fighting for his life right now!” he roars. So the bastard is still alive. Good. I can’t wait to kill him.
He grabs my shoulders and shakes me like a ragdoll. “Tell me what poison did you give him!”
“Nothing...” I try to answer but he’s shaking me too much, my teeth are chattering. Then he throws me against the wall.
Owwww...that hurts! But instead of feeling mad or scared, I feel elated and gleeful, so I laugh. The old bastard is still alive!
My thoughts are so clear and precise. That newly awakened part of me is playing a movie in my head; all featuring me torturing Old Maddox in a thousand different ways as a prelude to killing him. I lick my lips. I do so crave more sight of his blood.
Alpha Maddox stalks to where I’m sitting, slumped against the wall. “Tell me, what did you give him? If he survives, we might let you go free but if he dies, you die.” Liar.
They need to know the type of poison so that they can find a way to cure the former Alpha. That’s the only reason I’m still alive right now. Once they know, they won’t need me anymore and they’ll get rid of me. So, I’m dead either way.
He must be desperate, to come down here himself. He must love his father or need him in some ways.
I smile up at him. “I hope your father gets better soon,” I tell him sincerely.
That seems to piss him off even more. He grabs me by the neck and roughly hauls me up. “You filthy human! Tell me!” he yells. His big meaty fingers are crushing my windpipe.
Vaguely I hear Jorden’s voice cursing and yelling at the Alpha to let me go.
“Alpha,” says Delta Roche. He whispers something into Alpha Maddox’s ear and the Alpha releases me.
Both of them are now looking at Jorden. My eyes seek Jorden’s in alarm but now he seems a lot calmer than he was a second ago.
All of them move away from my cell to Jorden’s. The guard closes and locks the door of my jail with a clang then hurries over to unlock Jorden’s.
The Alpha glances back and flashes me an evil smile. No. No, no, no...not my cousin!
I jump to my feet and grip the cell bars closest to them. I will kill them if they touch Jorden. All of them!
When the Alpha steps into Jorden’s cell room, my breathing starts to get ragged. My chest burns. A burst of pinkish red spreads through my vision.
“If you touch him, I will kill you!” I yell wildly, yanking at the steel bars. Both Alpha Maddox and Delta Roche laugh.
Both of them stop laughing when someone opens the door of the cell room and enters in a hurry. Another guard.
He approaches the Alpha and whispers something in his ear. The Alpha’s eyes widen for a second then he looks at Delta Roche. Delta Roche raises his eyebrows in question but instead of answering, Alpha Maddox turns to me and says, “The next time I come back down here, I will kill him...slowly. Be prepared to watch your cousin’s pain and hear his scream.” He bares his teeth into a cruel smile. “When we’re done, we will toss his mangled corpse at your feet and know that you’re responsible for it.”
The Alpha turns and walks away, followed by his men while the guard locked up before he hurries off after his Alpha.
The fire in my chest intensifies at his words. It spreads all over my limbs and my whole body shakes. Everything around me turns a deeper red.
“Quincy! Are you okay?” Jorden’s voice penetrates through my haze. “Quincy, look at me. Quincy---”
I turn my red gaze towards him and he winces and doubles over like he’s being punched in the gut. He struggles to stand upright and his expression turns fearful. I can hear his heart beat like thunder in my ears. “Q...it’s me. It’s me,” he says. “Q, it’s me...Jorden.”
I rest my back against the cold damp wall and trace the teeth marks on my neck with my fingers. It doesn’t hurt anymore but it’s still there. I hate it.
The desire to kill the monster who gave it to me is like an itch I can’t scratch. It’s driving me crazy. Something dark and forbidding in me is hungry and is struggling to come out.
“If it’s any consolation, it doesn’t look much like a claimed mark from here. It looks more like a battle scar,” says Jorden. he’s also sitting on the floor with his back against the steel bars despite having a bed in his cell.
“You think so?” I ask him, still tracing the scar.
“Yeah, I do. It seems like it’s fading too.”
We’ve been sitting like this for hours now...or maybe just minutes. It’s hard to tell. Seeing the fear in Jorden’s eyes somehow helped me return to normal...somewhat. I’m not fully normal yet. I don’t know if I’ll ever be again.
The thing is, I don’t fully understand what’s going on with myself. The uncontrollable fury is contained for now and with that, the heat in my chest.
The red veil that makes me seeing everything red is gone but now I can see more. The dim light doesn’t bother my vision now. I can see every single detail that escaped me before. For example, now I can see every stain, nick, and scratch on the walls, floor, and ceiling. I can see that there is another door on the far wall. It’s rusty steel and it looks solid. I wonder where it leads to. I can see chains hanging from the ceiling in each cell with dark dried blood coating the bottom ends.
I can tell that they’re dried blood with certainty because I can smell the revolting stench. I smell stale blood everywhere in here, also a faint smell of urine, and puke among other things. That is something I couldn’t do before. I wish I couldn’t again. Sometimes it’s true, ignorance is bliss.
I can hear Jorden’s heartbeat. I can hear his breathing and if I listen hard enough, I can hear the blood rushing through his veins....or maybe that’s just my imagination.
I also imagine that I can hear the noises from the floor above us. We are in the pack house’s basement but it’s supposed to be soundproof. I hear people talking, mostly women, though I can’t really make out what they’re saying. I can’t latch onto one specific voice so far. I feel like I could do it if I concentrate hard enough. There are so many noises blend together. It sounds almost like they’re having some kind of festivities up there.
Then there’s also this...thing that’s growing inside me. This newly awakened consciousness that responds to anger and hatred and intensifies them by tenfolds. Whatever it is, it’s menacing. It’s getting more powerful, trying to take control of me and it’s so easy to just let go. So very easy but I’m struggling to keep it restrained. I have a feeling that letting go would be deadly to everything and everyone around me, including Jorden but I don’t know how much longer I could keep it restrained.
“J?” I call out. My voice echoes through the stark room. I can hear so many notes and layers to my voice now. “What’s happening to me?”
“Just now?” asks Jorden, shifting around trying to get comfortable. That’s not really what I was asking him but I let it go. “Your eyes were black, Q. All of it. You have this...black lines...veins coming out on your skin.” He makes a motion with his hand on his face.
I remember seeing that happen to Caspian up on that mountain when I asked him to show me his lycan. Is that what’s happening to me?
“Was that what’s scaring you?”
Jorden stops moving to look at me. His brows pull together. “No,” he finally answers. “It’s the energy. The powerful energy of rage. It’s more powerful than that of an Alpha. Stronger than anything I’ve ever felt. It’s so powerful that I felt like it was sucking the life out of me. Like you could’ve killed me without even touching me. It’s scary. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen or felt. I’ve never met a lycan but I think you really are turning into one.
“I always knew that you were meant for more than this place. You were destined for more....just more.” He rests his head against the steel bars and chuckles. “Queen Quincy. Imagine that. Will you still remember me when you’re a queen, Q?”
“What’s that? J? J who? I don’t know any Jorden St. Martin,” I say and he laughs. “You’re getting ahead of yourself there, J. I don’t know if he’s ever coming back for me. He might have found somebody better and forgotten all about me.” I miss him so terribly, it’s a constant pain in my chest now.
“No way. You’re awesome. Besides, lycans never give up on their mates. Never. He’ll find you.”
His words and conviction ease my pain...a little, but I dare not get my hopes up. “So, you think I’m awesome?” I ask him instead.
“I’m saying that one time only. I’m not repeating it. If you ever told anyone I said that, I’ll deny.”
We stay like that, just talking or lost in our own thoughts. It’s not like we have tons of things to do in here.
“I’m guessing it’s lunchtime now,” says Jorden, staring at his untouched breakfast, still sitting on the floor.
“Yeah, I’m hungry too,” I tell him. The cold toast, scrambled eggs, and orange juice look very good when you’re hungry but we both don’t want to get drugged again.
There’s some commotion just outside the door of our confinement. I struggle to my feet and stare at the door.
“What is it?” asks Jorden.
“We’re getting company,” I answer.
“How’d you know?” Jorden is staring at me, looking incredulous. He’s a werewolf, so his hearing is usually a lot better than mine.
Before I can answer him, the key is being turned in the lock then the door swings open.
Alpha Maddox arrogantly walks down the stairs, brimming with self-importance. My eyes follow his every movement hungrily. After his last threat on Jorden’s life, I want his blood. My eyes stray to his jugular vein pulsing at his neck. I could sink my teeth into it. Come now, Alpha Maddox. Come closer.
Unfortunately, he stops, moves aside and stands by the last step. I seriously want to rip the steel bars off the concrete floor to get to him but I get distracted by the heaviness in the air. It crackles and sizzles with electricity. An amazing scent reaches my nose.
My heart skips a beat when I catch the sight of more men coming down the stairs until my Golden God is standing at the bottom step. His eyes are firmly locked on me. I might be dreaming but the wave of power from him is like a surge of electricity charging the air feels so real. It jolts through my whole body. My stomach feels like it’s bursting with a thousand butterflies taking flight all at once. My heart beats faster with every step he takes until it’s painful even to breathe.
I’ve forgotten how big and tall he is. I’ve forgotten how utterly, heartbreakingly beautiful. His golden hair is shiny and stylish. He’s wearing tan chinos that hug his muscled legs with a grey tweed jacket over a black dress shirt and a pair of black brogues boot. He looks like he just stepped out of a fashion magazine.
In contrast, I must look a mess, but the way his intense electric green eyes are drinking the sight of me makes me feel like I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. A flash of hunger and primal possessiveness briefly cross his expression before a cold mask sweeps his features.
“How long have these prisoners been in here?” somebody asks. I was too focused on Caspian, I didn’t even notice another lycan who has been standing beside him.
“They’ve been here since last night, Your Excellency Lord Archer,” answers Alpha Maddox who is still standing behind the two.
Lord Archer. I turn to look at him as he watches me with unconcealed interest. I’ve never seen him before. He looks like he’s in his mid-twenties though I’m very sure he’s a lot older than that. He’s beautiful in an exotic kind of way. The first thing that I notice about him is his unusual eyes. They are closer to yellow than brown. His light bronze hair is almost the same color as his flawless skin.
I hear a low growl. Very low that I doubt that anybody else in this room could hear it. The sound is unmistakably possessive. Caspian is looking between the two of us with narrowed eyes. He’s almost baring his teeth. His lips are stretched tight across his teeth that I can see the bottom edge of his canines.
I think Lord Archer heard him. A corner of his lips curls up into a faint smile before he dips his head slightly and turns to look at the person next to him who happens to be a werewolf I don't know.
I switch my attention back to the irate prince. There is no need for him to be jealous. I was not checking the guy out. I was looking because he is very unusual and I doubt that Lord Archer is interested in me in that way either.
I bet I look like a nightmare. I’m dirty and smeared in dried blood. The white gown I’m wearing is torn and bloody. One lace shoulder is in tattered pieces. Anybody who wants a piece of this needs his head checked. Obviously, my prince does...need his head checked, I mean.
“When is the trial and the prosecution?” asks Lord Archer again.
“We haven’t decided yet, Your Excellency. Maybe in a week or two,” replies the Alpha.
I can’t help but scoff. There will be no trial. They’ve already told us their plan. They will kill Jorden slowly and make me watch. Then they will have their fun with me before they end me.
The Alpha scowl and I lick my lips hungrily. Something in me wants to come out and play.
Lord Archer raises his eyebrow. Amusement flickers in his eyes.
Caspian’s eyes on me turn wicked and predatory. His lips slowly curl into a playful yet sinister smile. “I want it done today,” demands the crown prince, suddenly.
The Alpha looks like he’s about to object for a second but he catches himself.
“Get the preparation going,” says Lord Archer with finality. He dismisses the Alpha and motions everybody to get out.
Caspian is the last one in the room. I thought he’s leaving like the rest of them but when everyone is out, he turns around and leans close to me. His lips almost touch my neck as he takes a deep breath like a man drowning, dying without oxygen for too long.
“My love...” he whispers. His voice is breaking. Desperate. I can’t help myself. I raise my hand and run my fingers softly along his jawline. He closes his eyes like he’s tortured. The crackles of energy flow between us and we savor the brief contact. Then he turns around and briskly walks out without a backward glance.
“So that’s the lycan prince,” says Jorden. His eyes are wide with the look of awe.
*My next update will be next Monday again. Have a nice week!