Chapter 1: The Picking
I woke up to the sounds of trucks. It was the sound that most dreaded each year. I looked at my phone and could not believe I have forgotten that today was picking day.
Years ago the world had been taken over by werewolves. There were no longer cities, but different packs ruled by Alphas. There were strict laws in place, and the only religion we could practice is the Moon Goddess.
There had been countless battles, and finally, all the humans in a pack were segregated to a small part of town. Soon enough we found out that the only reason that humans were still part of the pack because the women could potentially be a werewolf’s mate. In werewolf culture, mates were what werewolf’s considered soul mates, their other half.
At the age of 20, a werewolf would be able to pick up the scent of his mate. Once a year each pack sends all women 20 and up who have not found their mate to different packs, with the hopes that they would come across their mate.
There were six packs and we were all equal in size and had Alpha’s ruling each pack. I was part of the Golden Moon pack, next to my pack, then there was the Red Rock pack, then the Blue Moon pack, next was the Green Mountain, the Black Sun Pack, finally, the Midnight Rouge pack.
The sounds of the trucks coming closer brought me out of my daze. I had just turned 20 a month ago, and it was my turn to go this year. I lived with just my Dad who was human. A year after I was born my mother turned 20 and was forced to go on the “mate tour”. Her true mate had found her and she left with him, leaving my Dad to take care of me which lead to him resenting me. We barely talked and I took care of myself.
Life in the human part of town was pretty weird. We weren’t the warriors of the packs, or the higher ranks so we were tossed to the side and forgotten about until it was time to chose a female mate.
We were allowed to have normal jobs like nurses, chefs, or store owners. However, we were under strict rules and we realized that we were expendable to the werewolves. We were each given a small allowance of $20 a week until you turned 20 then you could get a job to support yourself, if you rebeled against the pack you would be abandonded and left to fend for yourself.
I quickly threw some clothing and toiletries with me leaving everything not essential behind. If we were claimed by someone we would move in with them immediately, never returning home.
Everyone wanted a mate who was in their home pack, but if your mate lived near you he would be able to smell you once you turn 20. Packs were so close that they would be able to smell you no matter where in town you lived.
I quickly threw on a pair of leggings, a sweatshirt, and some sneakers. I went downstairs and saw my father in the kitchen, drinking coffee.
“I am leaving,” I said to him, hoping for some words of encouragement or even a hug goodbye.
“I hope I don’t ever see your face again,” he said, before returning to his TV show, and I felt like I had been slapped. I held back tears and I grabbed my stuff and walked outside. I walked next door where my best friend Lucy lived.
“Bella,” She said to me giving me a hug the look of fear in her eyes mimicking mine.
“Lucy,” I said quietly making sure to keep hold of my duffel bag while hugging her.
We have been friends since we were young, she was the more outspoken one out of the two of us, but I didn’t mind I let her do all of the talking.
We were about to keep talking when we heard the truck pull into our lot. We live in the middle of the forest and our houses were pretty hidden. I finally saw the truck and it was a huge silver truck that looked like the trucks used in the army.
The man driving it hopped out and he was clearly a werewolf by the fact that he towered over my 5′9 figure by at least afoot. I have seen him around before, and believe he was a protector from my pack. He opened up the back of the truck and inside sat eight rows of two seats, all but two were filled by girls from my pack. I recognized them from my classes but we all didn’t speak a word.
We silently filed in, and we knew it would be a thirty-minute ride until our first stop at Red Rock. The trucks would go around to every single pack, and every un-mated male in ranking order would come to the truck and try to sniff and see if they smelled their mate. If they found them they would take them back to their home. If you weren’t claimed you were allowed to return until next year. Once you turned 30 you were in the clear and didn’t have to go anymore.
Once we reached the first stop, we were first greeted by the Alpha Jason, and his mate Luna Lilly they gave us small smiles and stepped aside. Next came all of the un-mated wolves. Out of the 16 of us, six had been claimed by males, which was what we all had hoped for because out packs were allies and right next door,
The next stop was an hour away and was the Blue Moon pack. The girls were restless because apparently this packs Alpha was un-mated and extremely attractive.
“Bella, could you imagine being an Alpha’s mate?” Lucy asked nervously.
I thought about it for a few moments, then shook my head no. Alphas were naturally possessive and protective mates. They couldn’t help it because they needed to be in control. Actually most male mates were controlling, but Alpha’s senses were heightened so it was worse for them.
As the doors opened, we were greeted by Alpha Kyle, he gave us all a grin which made his blue eyes twinkle and his light brown hair seem brighter. He sniffed the air and he became serious.
“Mate!” He said and his blue eyes turned black which meant his wolf was in control. He looked in Lucy and I’s direction and scooped up Lucy and walked away. She started blushing and waved a silent goodbye to me.
I instantly felt lonely without her by my side. After this stop, there were eight of us left. We all gave silent sighs in relief. Even though we were told to see getting a mate as a blessing, we all knew how male werewolves could be and if you got a mate who was abusive or possessive you would be in for a long ride.
The next stop at Green Mountain was quick with only one girl being claimed leaving seven of us left. The next stop had us all waiting in fear and anticipation. The Black Sun was religious, and they were notorious for having very conservative rules. They also were known to have pig-headed males.
When we stopped at the Black Sun there were only ten un-mated male werewolves and they claimed four out of the seven left of us.
The three of us sighed in relief because the next stop was Midnight Rouge and we knew that only two girls in the past five years. Un-mated males weren’t required to try and find their mates it was only if they wanted to. The Midnight Rouge pack was known to be fierce warriors who took their jobs too seriously to spend time having a mate.
I was in the back so I moved to sit next to a girl I had classes with in school. Her name was Lilac Brown and she was extremely shy. She had blonde hair and brown eyes. She had just turned 20 yesterday and just barely missed the cutoffs. She was about 5′2 and looked like a child still. I also looked over and saw June who was 23 years old and has been through this process three times. She looked extremely relieved that she made it another year without being picked.
As the trucks stopped I felt an anxious feeling growing in my stomach. I saw that Lilac was trembling and I grabbed her hand and she gave me a small smile. The doors open and in walked Alpha Kane.
He was the oldest Alpha to not find a mate, being 30 years old, which was almost unheard of. He was about seven feet tall, and he had silver eyes and dark brown almost black hair. He was tan and completely ripped. He smelled the air and stopped in his tracks.
He turned his head and looked at me, involuntarily his eyes turned a dark shade of black. He growled and then said one word I was dreading “Mate”. He then swore and turned around ordering someone to bring me to his room and leave me there.