shades of SUMMER

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5. A NEW DAWN


Aura


The pounding of wolves paws, the wind in my hair, the lull of the night, it was like the wound in my chest was reopened and stabbed once. It seemed like it was a long time since I felt like this. Since I felt alive.

I didn’t want to visit the memory lane, I kept buried and stashed away.

I had learnt that early in my life, in the land of power and dominance, everything had a price. A price to pay to breathe. To eat. To sleep. To appreciate what you were offered. Never regarded anything for free. Or, out of the goodness of someone’s heart.

A taste of my freedom to run with the wind was what I born into and Alpha Demetrius had stripped me of my shadow. My wilderness. My wolf. A gift moon goddess bestowed on me at my birth in my mother’s womb.

So, when I was tossed between the packs, the southern alpha didn’t give me my freedom back. No! He just transferred the authority he had over me to someone else without my consent.

I darted my gaze to my side and stared at my new owner running beside me. His brown coat was spattered with more white and black at his neck and underbelly. His body was muscular and his movements were fluid and poised.

As if sensing my eyes on him, Aloïse glanced at me. His golden orbs burning in the night like two suns and I quickly averted my gaze and looked straight ahead.

The night stretched long and after hours of running through the meadow upon the wolf, my back ached. The bumps and holes on the dirt road didn’t make the journey any less exhausting. When the dawn approached, I wrapped my arms around its stomach and pressed my face into its back. Though I could sense the wolf didn’t appreciate my closeness but I was passed the point where I had no energy to keep up with myself and worry about something so trivial. Finally, everything was catching up with me — the exhaustion, constantly running away and looking behind to make sure no one was following me, barely putting anything in my stomach, the anxiety if I got caught, and the days rolled into nights and the nights spun into days without an ounce of sleep.

I didn’t remember much of the journey nor I made an effort to keep my eyes open to see where I was taken away. I had survived so far. I wouldn’t accept my defeat now. Whatever they had intended it couldn’t be worse than what I had suffered. They might have tossed me from one pack to another for their personal gains. But I couldn’t be of much help to myself when I was mentally drained and physically exhausted. So, a little nap would hardly make a difference in my current situation.

I woke up with a sudden jolt as my body was thrown to the ground, for a moment I was kind of lost to gather myself up. The wolf who carried me on its back, looked at me with an annoyance as if I was the cause of such behaviour, then it trod behind a tree. After a few rustles, a female came out.

Her dark skin made her look like a goddess, an other-worldly beauty, child of the earth. Her black hair was braided and reached up to her waist. Her clothes were dyed in a shade of tanned leather, wrapped around her upper and lower body with some sort of cords to tie at her side, keeping her stomach in full display.

She flashed her teeth at me in warning when she noticed I was gawking at her and took a threatening step towards me. My body automatically responded, leaned back and prepared to scurry away.

“Halina,” She paused in her steps and looked over at the voice who called her out.

A hard look shadowed over Aloïs’s face as his gaze fixed on Halina. He seemed like a wild thing, standing tall over six foot, bare-chest, wearing leather pants. A double-bitted axe hung belted at his side. His dark hair was pulled tightly into a bun, away from his bearded face.

“Thank you for your service. Go back to your mate and pup. They must be waiting for you.” Aloïs didn’t explain further, he didn’t need to because Halina understood what he wanted to say. Whatever it was, he himself would deal with me without anyone’s interruption. She nodded her head and left, this time she didn’t even pay a single glance at my way.

“Come with me,” I looked over Aloïs, he stood still with a composed look on his face but I didn’t miss those little cracks out of his facade. His jaw tightened and the intensity to which he stared me down, I wondered if I should be more afraid of him, sprang to my feet and ran away.

But where would I go? So far, Aloïs didn’t make any move that would make me doubt his intentions. So, this was my best bet if I could convince him that I meant no harm to his pack and let me stay here until I find out what to do with my current situation. Would he listen?

I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t notice when Aloïs cut the distance between us, tightened his grip on my arm and hauled me to my feet.

I collided with him, and instantly let out a shriek, planted my palms against his broad chest and pushed him back. But he didn’t move an inch and I began to thrash.

Aloïs just stood there with a bewildered look on his face, when he finally realised I wouldn’t stop flailing, he withdrew his hand and took a step back. It took me a moment to grasp that he wasn’t holding me anymore and I stopped.

My heartbeats were pounding in my ears and skirted my gaze to see, a crowd gathered around, looking at me like I was a deranged female. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself, tucked my hair behind my ears and meet Aloïs gaze head-on. Whatever he saw, he didn’t comment, he cleared his throat and nodded at the structure behind him, tucked between the trees and said, “Follow me.”

Aloïs didn’t look back to see if I was following him. He didn’t need to because after what just happened he knew I would prefer to go on my own accord than let him dragged me there.

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