~Lakota (age 10) ~
I remember the cold surrounding my frail little body. How the chains rattled with every little move I made. I was held upright on the cold wall as the silver stung my wrist and ankles. I didn’t know why they hurt so much, I hadn’t turned yet. The slow rhythmic sound of heels clicking against the stone floor was forever echoing in my skull. Closing my eyes I prayed for whatever was to come to already be over. I couldn’t stand it anymore. The pain and suffering of my life had to end somewhere, I just knew it but when? How?
“How’s my little mutt doing today?” The smooth sound of her voice caused a shiver to run down my spine.
I just want to be left alone. Set free.
Her gloved hand grabbed my chin roughly, forcing me to look up at her. The moment our eyes met I couldn’t help the glare I gave her.
“Oh, what a scary look pet.” She tisked.
Whack! Her hand came fast and hard across my face and I jerked with it, my body swing from the force in the chains.
“Have more respect for your owners, dog.” She snapped through her clenched teeth.
Blood soon filled my mouth but all I did was stare at her. Sadly I was used to this treatment. The whole reason I have been chain to the wall for weeks now because I accidently spilled water on the mistress’s pants when I tripped.
“I’m a bit hungry pet, let’s have a snack.” She smiled sadistically.
This caused a skip in my heart.
“Please,” I begged, using my scratchy unused voice for the first time in weeks. The screams I’ve made since being locked in here has made my throat permanently raw now.
“Ah, ah, ah.” She ticked her finger at me as she brought her hand up to her mouth and bit down on her gloved finger. Nipping the tip of the fabric and pulled it off revealing her pale hand. I started panting in terror.
Slowly her hand inched closer and closer to me and I could do nothing to stop it. Then she touched my bare chest. And a raspy scream left my mouth as my body seized with excruciating pain.
“No!” I shot up from bed.
“Shh” someone was hugging me close. I tried to jerk away, no more I didn’t want to be in pain anymore.
“No, please don’t touch me anymore.” I heaved, unaware of where I was.
“Lakota calm down, you’re alright. You’re safe.” My struggling slowly stopped as the voice registered in my ears. Quickly I glanced up to find Gale’s silver eyes staring down at me.
“Hey there, you’re finally awake. I looked everywhere for you today.” His large warm hand was caressing down my hair, combing his fingers through the strands.
“After what happened earlier I wanted to see how you were doing and I found you fast asleep.”
Frowning I glanced around me and did indeed find myself in my room.
“You want to talk about it?” Gale asked suddenly, and I cringed.
“I really don’t”
“Where is Cyrus?”
“Why, am I not good enough?” he cried, and I snapped my gaze towards him only to see him smiling down at me playfully.
“He told me that he was going to go out for a run a while ago after checking up on you.”
“Oh, I see.” I was angry at how I sounded so dejected. It wasn’t Cyrus’s fault that I lost my wolf. I shouldn’t be so jealous about it.
“You’re not okay, I can see that Lakota” Gale said suddenly, and I looked up at him. His hands reached out towards mine. Gripping them tightly between his. The warmth of his hands was surprising, thawing the ice from my skin.
“Tell me what you need Lakota, please.” His brown eyes pleading.
“Need?” I questioned silently.
“Yes, tell me what you need from me to make things better.”
Better? Was there a way to make me feel better? If there was, I wouldn’t know what it was. I no longer had my wolf, I was having horrendous flashbacks of the Syrins, my long lost parents and one of my mate’s father was going to start a war, dragging the Sky Raven pack along for the ride with him. If anything, instead of thinking about getting better, I’m sure that I felt like my head was going to explode soon.
“Lakota?” my chin was softly lifted up by his finger, I had no choice but to look into his eyes. Like always I was instantly lost in those deep brown depths. “Talk to me.”
“I can’t” I whispered.
“Yes you can”
“No, Gale, because if I do I don’t think I’ll be able to hold myself together again. I’ll fall apart.” I confessed. He sighed then, lowering his head till his cheek rested against mine. I closed my eyes from the feeling of his skin.
“Then I’ll be here to put you together again. Fall apart Lakota. Scream, cry, rage. No matter how you feel, where those feelings take you, I’ll be there for you. Right next to you every angry, sad, agonizing step of the way if that’s what it takes.” His words were hard, like a bulldozer to my heart and soft. Every wall that he tore down would be mended with delicate care.
“There’s pain so deep in your heart you have no idea what to do with it Lakota. I can feel it. I can see it in your beautiful golden eyes.” So that finger he had holding my chin, moved upwards. His fingers gently traveling up my face. My heart stopped with every gentle caress till I was just a mess of feelings in his hand. My head tilted towards his touch. I felt him move his face away from mine to get a good look at the disgraceful display I was giving him.
“Let me have your passions lakot,” there he goes with that stupid nickname he gives me. “Give me your all baby” he whispered.
“Gale” I whimpered as his fingers continued to travel down my cheek and through my hair, finally resting on the back of my nape.
“Show me your worst, show me your best. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to love all of you no matter what.”
No one prepared me for this. I didn’t know what to feel, I didn’t know how to feel it. But Gale didn’t care how it came as long as it came to him. As long as I shared it with him. Gripping his shirt in my hands I bit my lip hard. I didn’t know what was going to come out but all I knew was that it was not going to be pretty.
“Let it go Lakota” he breathed in my ear wrapping his arms around me.
And I did.
With clenched teeth I yanked him close to me by his shirt, burying my head into his shoulder and screamed.
I screamed out the pain, the loneliness, the agony, the betrayals, and the emptiness I felt. A lifetime of misery and anguish. Then it hit me. A question I asked myself so many times before.
Was life even worth all this suffering? What was the point!
What was the point in living if you only know pain?
“Then I’ll be here to put you together again. Fall apart Lakota. Scream, cry, rage. No matter how you feel, where those feelings take you, I’ll be there for you. Right next to you every angry, sad, agonizing step of the way if that’s what it takes.”
The sound of Gales words rang true as I stopped by the door. My run had enhanced my hearing to an excellent degree and I heard every word they exchanged. I was just about to enter the room when those words were spoken. I froze. They were all true. It was exactly how I felt. I would take Lakota no matter how he came. I would endure everything he gave.
I would give anything to take away this pain he had been put through and I knew what he’d been through. Living with him for the past few years I knew he suffered things unimaginable and still survived. Still moved on as best as he could. All those years of him in his wolf form, hiding from the evils of this world. I wanted nothing better than to hold him to me forever and protect him, but I knew that it was impossible. I knew I would have to let him live his life for himself. Experience a world that wasn’t surrounded by dark cellars and chains. But this was not what I expected his first true taste of freedom would be like.
The moment my mates scream rang out and echoed in my ears I couldn’t hold it anymore. Emotions that I had held back for so long came crashing to the surface and I collapsed. Sliding down the wall towards the floor I fell in a heap at the closed door. The sting in my eyes and the hot trail of tears pouring down my face were my first warnings to how much this hurt to hear him suffering like this.
Grasping my chest I sobbed dropping my forehead to the floor. Why Lakota? Why did this have to happen to him? He was nothing but the sweetest pup that had ever graced us with his existence. We were the lucky ones to know him, to be around him. I was blessed to be privileged with the honor of being his mate. So why did he have to suffer like this!
Then I heard it.
’Was life even worth all this suffering? What was the point!
What was the point in living if you only know pain?’
My head suddenly echoed with Lakota’s voice and I swore my heart stopped.
No! I mentally yelled.
“No!” my exclamation was voiced out loud from inside the room as I shot to my feet and jerked the door open. Gale had felt the same way and vocalized it to Lakota. They were embraced as Lakota continued to shriek his agony. Quickly I ran to the bed where they were holding each other and went behind Lakota and wrapped my arms around him so tightly I’m sure he couldn’t breathe but I just held tighter. His smaller body was shaking so hard.
“Never think that!” I cried in his ear. “I love you with everything you are.” I looked over at Gale who was staring at me now with pain etched into every feature of his face. “No, we love you with everything you are. Gale and I will be here for you no matter what.” I wept burying my face into his neck.
I didn’t know if he truly heard me or not, but Lakota sobbed harder. His screams coming in small intervals, slowly becoming quieter and quieter till there was nothing but his shaking body and his breath coming in gasps. All three of us found ourselves laying on the bed now embracing each other like we were our only lifeline.
And in a sense, it was true. Lakota was what kept us in this moment, what kept us to the earth. If he were to ever leave, there would be nothing left of me or Gale. We would cease to exist.
With all our limbs intertwined, our breath mingled together as our heads lay touching, we fell asleep with the knowledge that we really were each other’s reason for living and wouldn’t have it any other way.