A/N: It is important to read the first book, ”Winning Over the Alpha” before you start this one. Enjoy!
The sound of a rat nearby peaks a young wolf’s interest as his stomach churns from emptiness. Normally, a wolf can easily see in the dark, but after years of being trapped in a never-ending night, some senses faded, letting others exceed.
The wolf’s ears track the gentle melody of tiny feet against the saturated cobblestones, and the dead silence makes the rat easy prey. The wolf quietly gets into position, ready to pounce, because this was a meal he couldn’t afford to miss. ”Be careful. Be cautious,” the wolf thought, knowing one wrong move could mean starvation.
It was becoming difficult for the wolf to keep his heart rate calm as minutes ticked by, in time with the sound of water dripping from the ceiling. The last thing the wolf wants to do is let the rat know it’s being watched. ”Closer, closer,” the wolf thinks with anticipation.
His back paws silently adjust for the kill. ”Now,” he thinks, taking the leap of faith, but he’s misjudged the distance. The young wolf is snatched back from his advances as a familiar sting digs into his raw bare neck. The rat retreats to safety in its hole, and the wolf lands hard in the puddle from the dripping water, exhausted.
The stinging sensation from the collar is the only way the wolf knows he’s still alive, but for what? "It’s time you gave up like I did,” a voice hopelessly says in his mind.
The wolf was tempted to believe the voice was finally making sense, after all this time. He had no idea how long they’ve been trapped in the darkness, but it has been all the wolf has known since he awoke within this shell of a body. Since then, there have been no chances of escape and no change.
"Just lay here and sleep,” the voice coaxed, yearning for a different kind of freedom. Peaceful freedom that often crossed their mind during hopeless nights or days, one couldn’t tell in this abyss.
The wolf ignored the voice’s plea, choosing to hold onto the small fire burning inside him. "Have hope,” he tirelessly urged the voice while trying to raise his head from the puddle, but it was so heavy. The voice inside his mind continued making sleep sound very welcoming, with promises of food, comfort, and love. "That sounds nice,” the wolf thought, only being a victim of hate his whole existence. His eyelids grew heavy with sleep, but the wolf fought to keep them open.
Then, the stinging began to disappear into a numbing vibration as the wolf’s breaths came out in shallow gasps.
“That’s right. Sleep,” the voice gently cooed, and the wolf’s limbs twitched as the vibration spread. Before the wolf succumbed to the darkness, a faint sound played in the distance, piquing the young wolf’s curiosity once more.
Suddenly, a warm breeze filled the stale, damp air, enveloping the wolf’s body in a foreign feeling of comfort. "What’s going on,” the wolf questioned, but the voice was silent.
The breeze continued to run over the wolf’s mangy fur, brushing gently past the large sensitive patches of raw, bare skin until finally wrapping around his neck. He watches a soft amber glow chase away the darkness, allowing him to regain his vision for the first time. This seemed to have sparked a newfound ambition from within, and the wolf finally found the strength to raise his head. A metallic clink sounded, and soon the heavy collar fell with a splash to the floor.
Rising to his feet, the wolf felt weightless for the first time in his life. He slowly walked around the cell on shaky legs, taking in the only home he’s known. It was as terrible as the wolf imagined, cold, wet, and dreary. A creaking moan echoed throughout the space, and the warm breeze blew, pushing the wolf toward the sound as if begging to be followed. "What do we have to lose,” the wolf thought, becoming encased in the warmth once more before it retreated again.
The wolf was being led by the breeze for a long time, following the twists and turns of the unfamiliar building. "Where is it taking me,” he wondered, turning to climb a flight of stairs to a door. The wolf hesitated in fear of what could be waiting behind the door for him, and dreadful memories of the torture he suffered resurfaced, but the warmth pushed him gently, urging him on.
Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes, searching for courage, and charged ahead. His frail body slammed into the obstacle standing in his way and effortlessly tumbled out onto the soft wet ground. He was instantly met with an overwhelming amount of unfamiliar scents that sent a wave of panic surging through his body.
He laid in a protective fetal position, anticipating the painful beating that always came after breaking the rules. But, when nothing happened, curiosity beat fear, and the wolf forced one eye open. He was instantly met by a blinding light, more powerful than the soft amber he became accustomed to. "Too bright," he whimpered while his eyes struggled to adjust to the relentless rays of the sun.
When he could finally see, he was met with a beautiful clear blue sky. He’s never seen a space so open, and as his eyes traveled further down, he saw a dense forest going for miles in front of him. His paws subconsciously clawed at the dirt, wanting to run, so he gave in to his instincts and ran freely across the open field as far as his feeble legs could take him. After only minutes, his body began screaming for him to give up, but he refused and pushed on, needing as much space between himself and the hell he called home.
The sun began its descent in the sky, and the wolf felt peace at the simple fact of knowing the hours of day and night. His stomach was now full of remnants from a carcass he found on his run, and pleasant exhaustion overtook his body.
He curled up in the trunk of a fallen tree, easily hidden from view, while his mind began to wonder about his captor’s disappearance. ”If they come back, there is no way I’m going back in there,” he swore, tucking his face into the warmth of his full belly. He’d rather die than let them take him back there, especially now that he’s tasted freedom.