The words left my mouth in a hurry and the large red wolf immediately shifted to her human form. She was a tall, lanky woman with vivid red hair similar to that of her wolfs fur, but it definitely pales in comparison, her eyes were a pale green, much like jade. Her nose and cheeks were dusted with freckles, and she held a permanent scowl on her face. She was probably in her late 30’s if I had to guess, but so beautiful, almost mesmerizing.
“What do you mean Alpha Everett said we could help?” She spat at us with as much venom as she could muster. The howls that were coming from the Carmichael pack were closing in. We don’t have time for this.
“Please, I can explain later. We just need to get somewhere safe because we just escaped from the Carmichael-“
She cut me off with a nod of her head, “Enough said. Come.”
She shifted back into her wolf form and beckoned me to climb on after I carefully placed Charlie on the smaller wolfs back. “Hold on tight, Charlie.” Was all I was able to get out before the two wolves took off and cut through the forest at a speed that could easily put some distance between us and them.
Hopefully with the scents of the rogues, Chris won’t be able to track me and Charlie as quickly. I sighed in relief as the thought passed through my mind. Although, being around the rogues quickly replaced my sense of relief and I began panicking for a whole new reason all together.
Rogues were ruthless, cut-throat wolves that didn’t belong to a pack. They did what they wanted, when they wanted, and however they wanted. They were exiled from packs because they were unable to follow the orders of their Alpha and did not conform to pack life. To say I was frightened would be an understatement. Everett wouldn’t send you here if he thought it was unsafe. I thought to myself.
Before I could dwell on it any longer, the wolves stopped abruptly causing Charlie and I to almost topple over their heads. The red-haired wolf looked up at me over her shoulder with her red eyes and nodded towards the ground. I quickly slid off her back and noticed Charlie doing the same.
After he was off the brown wolfs back, he ran over towards me and burried his face in my stomach. He was still afraid of Chris, and the rogues. “It’s alright, Charlie. Chris can’t get us now.”
“Chris? As in Beta Chris?” Said the red haired beauty, making me flinch as I just realized both wolves had shifted back to human form.
“Yeah.” I sighed as I turned towards her.
“Hmm... seems as though we are both in the same boat then.” She said. “I’m Katerina and,” she nodded her head towards the other woman, “that’s Maggie.”
Instead of letting the fear take over, like it has been trying to do ever since our first encounter, I nod my head at both women. “Nice to meet you both, I’m Amelia and this is Charlie.”
Upon hearing his name, Charlie slowly turned his head and peeked at both of them shyly. “H-hi.” He stuttered.
Katerina looked bothered by Charlie, almost like he was a nusiance. Maggie, on the other hand, walked up to us and squatted down so she was eye-level with him and she gave him a mega-watt smile.
“Hi Charlie, don’t worry. You’re safe now.”
As she said the words, I visibly relaxed and let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. Charlie sensing this, released me hesitantly and turned to face her completely. “Thank you.” Was all he said as he returned her smile with one of his own. As Maggie rose to her feet, I was finally able to make out her features.
She was a petite woman with features to match. Brown eyes, medium brown hair, high, sharp cheekbones and straight jaw; she really was striking. Or she would have been if it weren’t for the countless small scars that were scattered on her face.
Being werewolves, we weren’t prudes. So with them standing stark naked in front of us, seemed like the most casual thing in the world. If it weren’t for this, I probably never would have noticed the scars covering nearly every inch of her body.
I had to pry my eyes away from her body to keep myself from gawking at the damage that had been done. I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see Katerina’s stoic face. “Come, let’s get inside.”
I looked around to see where inside was, but saw nothing but trees in all directions. “Where are-“ before I could finish my question Katerina interrupted me with a roll of her eyes and in an agitated tone said, “Come.”
Snapping my mouth shut, we followed Katerina and Maggie a few more meters through the forest and came to a halt. They quickly sniffed the air and darted their eyes all around the forest, I wondered if something was wrong. I inhaled along with them, the only thing I could smell was the distinct scent of the rogues.
After they determined there was no threat, they crouched down near a sparse shrub and dug around in the dirt for a bit. Charlie latched onto my hand as the wind started to pick up and a chill ran through both of our bodies. The silence drug on as they continued to dig through the dirt as if they were looking for something.
“A-ha!” Maggie exclaimed and waved at us to come closer. She began to pull on whatever she found, and it turns out it was a handle to hatch. Charlie and I shared an impressed expression with one another.
Katerina began to descend into the hole, then Maggie told us to go next as she soon followed us.
As our ears began to pop, we finally reached the bottom of the ladder. We seemed to be in a long hallway that was illuminated by a minimal amount of candlelight. The warmth of the hall quickly took the chill out of my body and as I looked closer it looked like there were also other hallways that branched off of this main one, so there was no way to know how large this underground bunker really was.
“Let’s get you some food, shall we?” Maggie inquired after pulling on some clothes that were stashed near the ladder on a small shelf. At that exact moment Charlie’s stomach began to rumble and growl making Maggie let out a chuckle.
“Food, then we talk.” Katerina said curtly as she pulled on her clothing as well. If they weren’t helping us right now, I would be rolling my eyes at her dry personality.
They lead us through the twists and turns of the bunker, you could easily become lost if you didn’t know your way around. We stopped in a room that held a large oak dining room table, it had a total of 20 chairs. I wonder if that’s how many wolves are here? Rogues don’t typically stay in groups this large.
We sat down quickly and Maggie left out of the only other door in the room. The silence drew on as Katerina sat across from Charlie and I, she looked at Charlie with an eyebrow quirked up and a serious look on her face. Charlie just squirmed around in his seat uncomfortably under her gaze.
Maggie made her way back in the dining room and the smell of roasted chicken hit our nostrils making our stomachs rumble and our mouths water. As quickly as Maggie could set the platter down on the table, we were reaching for our helping. It was filled with wings, breasts, and drumsticks. As I brought a drumstick to my mouth, I had a thought.
“No wolfsbane, right?”
“No wolfsbane.” Katerina and Maggie said at the same time. I nodded my head and took my first bite. Having not eaten for days had really taken its toll on me. My energy was drained, I was dehydrated, and I felt 15 pounds lighter.
The chicken was amazing to say the least, Charlie and I polished off the entire platter in under 10 minutes. With our bellies full, we murmured our thanks to both of the women. Charlie let out a big yawn and his eyelids drooped over his stormy eyes, showing the pure exhaustion he was suffering from. I doubt it’s just from our journey today, he probably hasn’t had a good nights sleep in a while.
Charlie nudged me and waved me toward him as he whispered in my ear, “can I go to sleep now?”
I let out a low chuckle and placed my hands on his cheeks, “Of course you can, buddy!,” I turned to Maggie, “Maggie, is there anywhere Charlie and I could sleep tonight?”
She smiled widely and said, “Sure, follow me.” I scooped up Charlie in my arms and he twined his hands around my neck, and we trailed behind Maggie, leaving Katerina in the dining room.
The bedroom we were staying in was only two doors down from the entrance of the dining room, fairly easy to find. I laid Charlie down on the queen size bed and began tucking him in under the blanket.
I leaned forward and pecked a small kiss on his forehead and whispered, “Good night, Charlie. Sweet dreams.”
Before the words even finished coming from my mouth his eyes were closed and he had fallen asleep. I turned around and was met with Maggie smiling softly at our exchange. We slowly made our way out of the room and back to the dining room, where Katerina still waited tapping her foot impatiently. She’s just a ray of sunshine. I thought sarcastically.
As soon as we entered the room, Katerina said, “So, what’s your story, Amelia?” I flinched inwardly as my name left her mouth, sounding oddly familiar to the way Chris used to say it. Laced with venom and distaste. She noticed my reaction and gave me a small smile. I have only known her a few hours and the gesture seems so forced and awkward on her face.
Maggie and I sat across from Katerina at the table. With her strained smile still on her face she looks me in the eye and says, “I’m sorry, Amelia. I’m not trying to be rude, it’s just we don’t really trust outsiders here. We hardly-“
I cut her off by raising my hand and giving her a sympathetic grin, “It’s fine, it’s really fine. I understand completely and thank you for bringing us here and feeding us. Chris and the others would have caught up to us in no time if it wasn’t for your help.”
As I said the last sentence, you could feel the tension in the room grow thicker. I shifted my gaze from Katerina to Maggie. Katerina looked angry, to say the least. Pissed off. Well, more pissed off than usual. Her face was as bright red as her hair and her eyes were shinning if the all to familiar glint of hate. Maggie had her gaze locked on the wall behind Katerina, frozen in place. She looked as if at any moment she was going to vomit all over the dinner table.
“I-I’m sorry. I didn’t-“ I stammered and nervously tucked my hair behind my ears, before being interrupted by Maggie’s sweet voice as she grabbed my hand that was resting on the arm of my chair.
“No, no. Do not apologize. Never apologize for a man. Ever.” She rubbed over my knuckles, while giving me a comforting smile and stared in my eyes as I nodded and released a sigh of relief.
“This is what happened...” I began telling them.
I told them the entire story from beginning to end. From the Summit to now. I still can’t believe all that has changed in my life after only a few short weeks.