Chapter 12: The Nightmare Returns
Laughing, Alpha Kean wiped blood from his busted lip before giving Nicholai’s beta one last kick in the ribs. All in all, we had shone restraint. A few of the men were beaten unconscious, about a dozen broken bones, but no deaths. Orion was relishing in acting like we were teenagers. Kean turned to us, beaming a wide smile.
“Now, that was the best brawl I’ve had in ages!” He exclaimed.
“Come, we have to celebrate!” He insisted clapping Orion and Jarrod on the shoulders, leading us toward his camp.
Jarrod eyes me for hesitation, “Why not?” I smirked. Today, had all in all been a great day, might as well end it in a drink.
Alpha Kean and his pack were the only ones to attend from the southern hemisphere, based out of the human territory of New Zealand, he was equally familiar with the ice and cold, just a distant one. He had brought several cases of signature beer brewed in his home and some delicious vodka called 42Below.
After the four of us finished the second full bottle, Orion passed out. Heaving him across my shoulders, Jarrod and I bid our goodbyes and staggered back to our own camp. Jarrod offered to have the, now snoring, Orion sleep in his cabin. Dropping him like the dead weight he was, I made my way clumsily back along the footpath to my own lodging.
Walking alone, I thought of her, wondering if she felt the same void deep inside that I did when we were apart. I mind linked with Jac to check in, he had just finished doing another round around his family’s cabins, everything was clear.
Silently I thanked the Moon Goddess for finally blessing me, while I am not sure I deserved it, I would do everything and anything it took to keep her safe. Now that I had the strength of my wolf and control of my gift, I vowed to never let anything take her from me. I would not lose another loved one because of my weakness.
Collapsing on my bed, I stared out the window at the waxing moon. After tossing and turning for what felt like hours, I feel into a deep, but restless sleep. Images flashed across my mind. It was always the same dream, the same nightmare that had plagued me for years. My last memories of my mother, the night she died.
It was twilight, that precise moment where the last rays of sun lit up the frozen arctic tundra. Every detail was precise as if I was viewing them for the first time. I was a young boy, barely six years old, I had not come into my power and could not help her. Not against this beast.
My father was fighting against four other massive wolves, each more ferocious than the last and a barrage of human warriors. His resilience was legendary as he continued to fight savagely even when arrow after arrow of silver pierced his flesh.
The monster before us had planned this, the only way to defeat a wolf as devastating and powerful as my father was to kill him from the inside out. To stop his heart from beating in the most malicious way possible, by murdering my mother and I. I do not know how long my father lived before he found my mother, his mate. I do know that the tamed the beast contained in him. After that day he would tell me how he died with her that day, all that was left after was a shell of a man.
The monster’s wolf was massive. I remember large silver grey eyes glinting with malice as he beheld my shivering form. His fur was a deep crimson, the color of blood. Where his paws met the ice steam rose, the saliva dripping from his open jaw steaming in the cold surrounding us. When he growled, the tips of his fur seemed to ignite. Circling around us like a predator who knew he had cornered his prey, flames fell from his body in waves, the heat scorching the ground in his wake. His gaping maw smirked in apparent victory.
My mother kept me behind her as she clutched a single silver dagger. The hilt burning her own skin, she didn’t notice as she gripped the weapon tightly. I was crippled by fear, fear for her and fear for myself. My father was the one blessed with gifts by the moon goddess, not my mother. I stumbled and fell, crying out as I hit the ice hard. In a flash he leapt towards us.
Time seemed to move in slow motion, she could have leapt out of the way, but that would have given him a clear path to me. My eyes wide I met her face, staring into mine, not in fear or anger, in acceptance. She knew what she had to do, the only option she had. She let his massive form hit her head on, giving her the opening to dig the knife deep into the flesh of his neck.
A scream pierced through the air, blood splattered across the ground, steam rising from as the warm liquid ran over the ice. Vaguely, I realized that the scream came from my throat, still lying on the ice. I remember looking down at my legs, my hands, any part of me that touched the ground was stained by the growing pool of blood, intermingled with my mothers and the monsters. I raised my tear streaked face to see her body, lying before me, crushed and broken, the massive form of the crimson wolf covering her lower body. I heard a strained wheezing as the flames of his coat smoldered and stilled. His body was still. Crawling over, I cried as I held her hand tightly to my face. I begged her not to die, not go leave me. Her expression remained serene as her own chest heaved in ragged breaths.
I remember my fathers shout of anguish seeing my mother’s broken form. It was then that his eyes shone like never before, it would be the last time he fully released his wolf. Lightning cracked across the sky, illuminating the single tear that fell across her cheek as her eyes met mine with her last breath.
Lightning struck all around me, in a moment devastating the face of the tundra. Violently striking every inch of the expanse, the remaining enemy warriors and wolves were enveloped in crackling electricity. I could hear their screams through the lightning crashes. I didn’t turn my head to look, I just held onto my mother’s hand, unable to move from her side.
Here is where the nightmare deviated from reality. Staring into her eyes, I couldn’t look away even thought I wanted to with everything in me. Time stopped as the lightning continued to strike, the booming noise ceasing as in that moment as even the wind stilled, and everything was silent.
Soulless eyes beheld me as the words of her dead voice breathed a warning.
“My son, when you find your strength do not fear the flames.”
“When gray takes over your mind…”
“and everything you see is red.”
“Do not lose hope in the one whom your heart belongs to.”
Her pale face smiled then, blood trickling from her head, leaving crimson streaks over her cheeks. “I will be with you always,” she whispered.
Time resumed it’s normal pace and lightning pierced the flesh of my back, searing pain erupted across my small body. Screaming with all the energy I had left in me, I collapsed on the icy ground. My eyes never wavering from her dead stare, the smile never leaving her features. Then everything went black.
I woke violently, covered in a sheen of sweat. Throwing my sheets off of me, I blinked several times at the small window, shielding my throbbing head from the intense light.
My eyes adjusting to the mid-day sun, I realized I had overslept, “I was supposed to meet Red before the games. Shit!” I cursed, jumping up rushing to get dressed. My legs, still caught up in the sheets, caused me to trip, hard.
Well at least yesterday was a good day, my wolf chided me internally, hiding his own head from the light. I rolled my eyes, continuing to rush about the room.