I love you so much please remain resilient. No matter what happens you need to stay soft
Hell was the only way I could describe this place.
For most of my life, I had known nothing but cold stone floors and damp walls from the leaky exposed pipes. My body always ached from the nonstop work or heaviness of a hand across my face. And my wolf, she had not grown since the last time I had seen the moon.
It was a ridiculous thought. Hell did not have a moon, and the lunar goddess had long since abandoned this pack.
“Alright Omega. Time to get up.”
I winced as I sat up from the hard stone floor. One of the guards had opened the cell door, the creaky hinges squealing into the damp air. I guess it was finally morning, the only time I was allowed out to do my chores.
The Alpha, Jebediah Smith, saved these tasks especially for me. Three in the morning sharp, was when I had to clean every inch of the pack’s compound. No breaks or complaints allowed.
I walked silently through the stone and tile corridors of the compound, the faded logo of a long since dead company still lingering behind on the walls. Here and there on the old factory walls I would see the pack’s name, Blue Moon, sprayed on in paint and accompanied by Smith’s logo, a constant reminder to who we belonged to. Who I belonged to.
The guard stopped trailing me once I reached a familiar set of polished wooden doors. I thought of not knocking, of just sneaking back down the hall and trying to find a way out, but I just shook the thought away. It was a fantasy I foolishly entertained every day, one Smith would make me pay for should I indulge it.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
I sighed as my knuckles rapped against the wooden doors again, the beginning of the cycle again.
I walked into the room, the only place within the compound that was warm and filled with comfort. It was a wide space decorated with heavy drapes of deep blue covering the stone wall and woven carpets on the floor. Upholstered furniture shipped from afar sat around the room, with a large canopied bed being the centerpiece.
Standing near the single large window overlooking the factory floor was Smith. My tormentor. My keeper. My father.
He was bare chested with his brown hair tousled as if he had just rolled out of bed. A hand was lazily poised on his hip, while muscles rippled beneath his tanned skin as he raised the cup of tea to his lips. He didn’t spare me a glance.
The Beta, Chevron, looked newly risen as well with sleep clinging to his eyes. He lounged within one of the chaise sofas in the room, with one arm swung over the side so his hand could play within the hair of the sleeping man on the floor.
He was the third and last person within the room. My caretaker and papa, Data, kept here not because of his power or rank, but because Smith and Chevron liked him as a play thing. I could see new bruises that dotted his skin, already beginning to heal as they did within wolves.
Beta Chevron sat up slowly, casting a lazy gaze over me as he did so. His dark eyes raked my starved body, and I swore I could see satisfaction and intrigue within his eyes. It made me want to hurl.
“Kiari. You look absolutely disgusting per usual.”
I did not bother looking to Smith. He didn’t care what Chevron said to me, he just was not allowed to touch me. The Alpha didn’t like spoiled goods anyway.
I silently agreed with him with a nod, the only thing I could do. My tank top was holey and my skirt faded and plagued with loose threads. It was a horridly trashy outfit, befitting someone they only saw as trash. Still, I was lucky I was allowed these clothes when other females were spared only the dark for coverings.
“Good morning Alpha Smith. Beta Chevron,” I choked the words out as I had been drilled to do. I bowed my head to show submission as well, and felt disgusted at myself for doing so.
Still, it was what Data had told me to do. No need to cause more trouble than what you’re already in, he said.
I wondered if he was really sleeping down there on the floor, or was he just faking so they’d leave him be for a moment?
Alpha Smith sauntered towards me, his feet bare and silent on the carpet. It took all of my willpower not to shudder as he towered over me, a despicable smile likely playing on lips as he watched me struggle not to show fear.
"Enough posturing. Hurry up and clean, this place looks like a dump," he grumbled.
To others this would have been a palace, a luxurious penthouse high in the sky above the hellscape that the rest of the pack lived in. A privilege was what living here should have been, but to Smith it was nothing and he treated it as such.
I silently moved about the room, clearing away dirtied laundry and kitchenware. I pulled the bed coverings away, and saw the familiar tear and blood stained mattress beneath. By the time I reached for Data’s old bandages discarded within a trash can, nausea had begun to set in as it always did.
I finished cleaning as fast as I could and left unable to bear the aura of the room and Smith’s watchful gaze on me as I worked. No matter how many sprinkles of lavender powder I left behind, I still could never shake the coppery scent of blood from the room.
I braced myself on the wall outside the door, placing my head on the cold tile. Silently I counter to ten, and then continued onwards. The faster I got this done the better.
The breeding grounds were next, a long and tall ceilinged room within a warehouse, filled with spaced out cots for birthing and iron posts for the unruly and unyielding. The mated females needed prenatal vitamins to sustain them, the only luxury Smith had allowed after too many stillbirths had occurred. It would be hard to ruthlessly control a quickly dying pack after all.
“Morning ladies,” I said, feigning joy as I walked amongst them with a tray.
I had always felt that we maintained a delicate balance, with me gaining some sense of strength in their presence and them of course gaining the vitamins.
The women were spread out amongst the room, some still bedridden from a recent or upcoming birth while others where strapped indignantly to the iron poles. Still, they all managed weak smiles in my direction.
“I have the vitamins again,” I said, passing the supplements around the room to shaky hands that had experienced too many tragedies.
I finally came to a familiar face, Sarah. A thin brown haired and blue eyed woman who said she had known my mother Amaia. A bundle was swaddled in her arms now.
“The birth went well,” I said, barely able to contain my surprise. I meant it as a compliment, but I knew there was an unmeant tinge to my words. Neither of us had expected this pregnancy to work this time.
“Yeah. Finally,” Sarah replied. “He looks just like me this time and not like his father though, so that’s good.”
I smiled, gazing down at the small child in her arms. Sarah would keep this child until it grew, until she was required to have another to rebuild Smith’s ranks. These birthings were noticeably taking a toll on all of their bodies, and I selfishly felt relieved I would not have to endure this life. I’d probably be dead before I managed a proper bleeding anyway.
“What’re you gonna name him,” I asked. It was common for the mothers to give their children “true names” in secret, even though the name they were most known for was what the Nursery decided, the place Sarah’s son would be taken too soon.
“I don’t know. Michael wanted to name the child this time,” Sarah said, before she began to chuckle. “But I keep remembering what your mother said and why she wouldn’t let Joseph name you: If you let a man name your child, you’ll be damning that poor soul to a life of being called something like John Harold or worse, Gertrude.”
I laughed with her. Sarah had apparently been close to my mother, and could easily recall many quotes from the time they spent together. It felt nice to hear them, but I always felt empty afterwards. The stories were signs of a different time, where my mother was alive and where women could have friends and lives in this pack. I had neither of those things.
I left the building thinking of my mother as I always did. Of how her life was and what she would be like if I actually knew her. What would she tell me when it came time to name my child, that is if I even had one.
I lingered outside the door of the warehouse, feeling the coolness of the still damp early morning air. The moon had already disappeared and it wouldn't be long before the sun rose, bringing an agonizing desert heat with it. Here I felt tempted to call my wolf, to let her rend my skin into my beastly form and tear through the night as wolves were meant to, but I haven't been able to call on her in months, not since my last bleeding. Plus the guards still stood at their posts up on the high walls, a watchful gaze upon everything.
No guard had come to collect me yet, leaving me to pounce on a rare opportunity. Behind the warehouse and past a garage filled with old shipping trucks stood a small creek that flowed beneath the wall that surrounded the compound. Reeds stood at the edges of the green water, with fireflies still skimming the glass-like surface. My dirty brown face greeted me in my reflection, with my hair a tangle of curls per usual.
There was nothing I could but scrub the dirt away, so I peeled away the ragged layer of clothing and waded into the water until I was neck deep and ready for my usual prayer.
“Please, Moon Goddess, please. If there’s any way you can save us I beg you to take it. I don't care how or what form that help takes. I promise to be a good person, to bear as many pups as you desire, just please rid us of that horrid man. Take me elsewhere. Save me.”
I sat in silence, letting the words hang in the air between me and the invisible goddess. I’ve said this prayer so many times, yet my vision still blurred with tears and I carried hope that the goddess heard me this time.
By the time I scrub away the dirt and dried blood, detangling my hair along the way, the sun had begun to crest the horizon. I left the creek and dressed once more, ready to finish the morning.
In the large industrial kitchen I dumped butter and two eggs into a small metal bowl. Mixing the pancake cake batter like this was where I felt most comfortable. I was alone in the kitchen as I cook the Alpha and Beta’s breakfast, spared all disgusted or pitying glances from others. Here I had time to breathe.
“Now that smells absolutely delicious.”
Fucking hell. My chest tightened, as the sound of the approaching Beta grew closer behind me. I could feel heat pull in my lower back before sinking lower to my rear, a sign of that pervert's power and where his gaze was.
“It’s pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs. How the Alpha likes them.”
“And what about what I like?”
I felt chills as his eyes raked my back. I could tell he was looking at me, I know what he wants.
“The same Beta,” I choked out. He only chuckled in response.
“Take all the time you need, we’re not in a hurry today,” he said, leaning against the counter beside me.
He wasn’t as thickly muscled as Smith, but power still lounged gracefully within his body. He made sure that I knew that as he crossed his arms so I could better see the ripple of muscle beneath his brown skin.
“You know, you smell kinda better than usual today. You finally in your heat yet?”
I cringed. I knew what he was suggesting, and I be damned before I be mated to him.
“No sir. It’s just the smell of the brown cinnamon sugar in the pancakes I've made for you and the others,” I muttered. “They’ll be ready on the table shortly.”
He chuckled again. “You can be funny sometimes, when you’re not trying to scurry away from me. Still, you seem pretty flighty. It’s almost as if you're trying to avoid me even now.”
I could feel his presence in my spine as he crept closer to me. Soon I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. I saw out the corner of my eye, a hand creep upwards towards me before he remembered and let it fall.
"Maybe I could convince Smith to let you be my breeding wench,” he said in a low voice, letting his words burrow into my ear like parasitic worms. “It might take a while, but all I need to tell him is that this would be better torture. Besides, you’re mature now, you might even like it.”
Both of his hands were on either side of me on the counter, still not touching me although he surrounded me on all sides.
“You don’t know him Kiari. And he wouldn’t listen to you anyway, even if you told him I did this.”
I felt a hand on my bare legs then, sending my heart in a panicked race.
I looked to the other omegas that passed for help, but all I could see was brokenness as they averted their gazes and scurried away. I was desperate and probably frazzled looking as I looked out from the kitchen into the open floor of the factory, trying to find at least one soul to help me.
Then I spotted him, Data ,my papa, limping down the stairs after likely just rising. There was pleading in my eyes and I could barely stifle a whimper in the back of my throat, but he was too far away on the other side of the large factory floor. But it wasn’t like there was anything he could do anyway. It was just me. A girl about to disobey his one rule, and cause trouble.
Calmly I set aside the mixing bowl and lifted a knife, pretending I was going to set to moving the contents to pan. It was a foolhardy plan, but one that paid off as I slammed the knife down into the counter.
Chevron let out a surprised yelp, as the knife burrowed through flesh and bone to collide solidly with the counter. I could hear the sickening sounds of his hand being rended as I twisted the knife back and forth before ripping it away.
The Beta had moved to try and slam my head into the counter, but I managed to duck beneath his arm and scurry away in time.
It was his blood that was everywhere this time. Splattered on the floor, the counter, in the batter, across his clothes, and on my knife. The smell of it seemed different to me. Not like the dried blood from Data that made me want to vomit, no, this smelt sweet to me like a nicely fermented wine. I wanted more of it.
He was still stunned and surprised to the point he didn’t see me come up behind once more. The knife darted in and out of his back, and then his side, his arms that had likely once held Data in a merciless hold as he pleasured himself, and finally the chest that had nearly pressed into my back earlier.
I felt nothing but rage, heartache and a blissful bloodlust as I raised the knife higher before bringing it down again. I could see Chevron’s eyes change and his form ripple. A shifter’s last resort, their wolf.
I wouldn’t give him the chance.
I raised a knife to swing against him one final time, through the heart, but then a roar shook everything within the kitchen. I scurried away in time as a wolf barreled into the room to stand in between me and the Beta, its height near my own and its body poised to pounce. The Alpha’s coat was a red close to the shade of a penny, and his eyes were just as bloodshot with rage.
"I let a lot of things slide from you, sometimes too much, but if you think because you’re my daughter I’d let you kill my Beta, then you’re more fucking delusional than I thought."
Smith was close and in my face as he spoke. Veins bulged within the column of his neck and human teeth were barred as if the red wolf from earlier still stood before me.
Data moved to stand cautiously behind where I stood.
He was normally a timid man, brown skinned and thin with his dark hair grazing his shoulders slightly. He hated confrontation, and I slightly hated myself for dragging him into this. No more trouble than what we needed.
“She was acting in defense. I saw the Beta try and make a move on her when I was coming down the stairs,” Data said, likely trembling from being in Smith’s direct gaze. “The Beta tried to deflower your daughter.”
Daughter. I knew he threw that in to catch Smith’s attention, and it worked as the Alpha reluctantly tore his gaze from me to look at Data. I was his “daughter”, he was obligated to protect me and my chastity no matter how much he despised me. He had to protect his goods.
I willed tears in my eyes as I said in a trembling voice, “I’m sorry Alpha. I was just trying to make breakfast and he kept saying things and touching me….”
Touching me. Smith’s attention lingered on those words. Data squeezed my shoulder, I had done good.
"Every morning for the past six years this has been my job," I continued, the few straggling pack members now looked upon me as I spoke. “I try to do this job the best I can and I can’t because of him…”
Smith was all too aware of the pack’s eyes on us. Chevron, his wounds already beginning to heal, lingered uncertainly by the kitchen’s entrance.
"He just kept touching me. Wanting me to mate with him. Why didn’t you protect me-“
The sound reverberated throughout the large open space, echoing even in the cobweb plagued rafters up high. I had gone too far. It was one thing to gain sympathy with the pack, but another to make the Alpha look weak in front of them.
The sound seemed to have made the other pack members remember where they were, in what circle of hell they lived in, and they moved along. Even Data seemed to inch away from me.
The Beta snickered as I kept my eyes on the ground, my heart now pounding as a sting set in my cheek and more tears welled within my struck eye. I wouldn’t meet Smith’s gaze, for fear of inciting a challenge. I could be foolish and battle hearted sometimes, but I was not dumb enough to bring a death wish upon myself. Even though this life and world was terrible, I wasn’t ready to leave it.
I could distantly hear Data’s pleading to Smith. “Please spare her this time,” he said. “I’ll take the punishment this time,” he continued. My hands nearly balled into fists and my heart began to ache again.
When would I stop bringing this pain to Data?
Some part of me, that same part that had fueled me to attack Chevron, urged me to challenge Smith. Death over obedience it crooned. But I silenced it. I was endangering more than myself here, and breaking every rule Data had set to keep me alive. Stay humble. Stay obedient. Stay away from trouble.
“Data shut the hell up,” Smith hissed between his teeth. “This bitch has skated around every punishment because of you, and now she thinks she’s untouchable because of it. Disobedient just like her whore mother. Maybe I should send her to finally meet her this time.”
I cringed. Disparaging my mother and threatening our reunion in one breath, I may have gone a good bit past “too far” this time. Sarah had said I was like Amaia, enough so that it was “too much so to be a good thing.”
"I’m really starting to tire of both of you more and more. Omegas are nothing but mouths to feed and holes to fill. You’re too damn skinny to bear any pups. You leave a mess behind everyday that has to be cleaned up. You even endanger your poor “papa” for a sick thrill,” he spat.
I couldn’t help but flinch. He knew exactly where to strike, a tormentor needed to after all.
“Looking like your damn mother more and more everyday you really want me to believe you give a damn about your virtue? That it’s something precious to you when I know its nothing but a tool you like to dangle over my head. Well listen to me Omega, I’m not taking the bait anymore.”
He didn’t bother saying my name. I don’t think he ever did. To him, I had always just been the Omega that he had been burdened with as a daughter because he killed my real parents to become Alpha. To him I was trash that, so long as he didn’t let me get caught up in the winds of death, he need not give a rat’s ass about.
“You’re going to another pack. You’re going to be their problem, theirs to do as they please with you. And you can try and scream and stab as many of them as you want to, but I doubt they’ll leave you alive for long if you try. When you do die, so hello to your mother in hell for me."
Alpha Smith walked away, tension still in his shoulders. Data gave me a worried look before he was grabbed by Smith and hauled away back to that room, to where the Alpha would relieve any pent up anger he had.
I thought of the blood stained mattress again and buried my face into my palms. Another pack. I was being sent to die or worse, serve another bastard like Smith.
Chevron had left the room as well, leaving me alone in the bloodied kitchen with the meal I had begun to prepare. The smell of maple syrup and cinnamon lingered in the air, sweet and taunting. But only the salt of my tears passed my lips.