A few days later Hunter was jolted awake by a scream. He bolted out of bed and opened his door to find Jace standing outside his bedroom as well with a look of worry and confusion.
“What was that?” Hunter asked his brother.
“I don’t know,” Jace replied as he began walking down the hall. They heard faint crying and their eyes widened as they realized it was coming from their parent’s room. They rushed through the door to find their mother sobbing, holding their father’s unconscious body.
“Mom!” Hunter ran to her side. “Mom, what happened?”
Jace stood above them on the phone, “Get the pack doctor up to the Alpha’s quarters NOW!!” Jace dropped the phone as he fell to his knees realizing he didn’t hear a heartbeat.
“Mom what happened?” Hunter asked again.
“He.. he.. he didn’t wake up,” she sobbed.
Tears burned behind Jace’s eyes, “He's gone mom.."
She shook her head in denial, "No! No, he's not gone!"
Tears fell down Hunter's cheeks, "Mom..."
Both boys sat beside their mother, holding her tightly as she sobbed loudly, mourning the love of her life.
The pack doctor rushed into the room, stopping in shock at the scene before him. He knelt on the ground in front of them, "Luna, I need to check some things, I need you to let go."
She shook her head, "No.."
Jace took her hands and pried his father out of her hands, laying him gently on the floor before standing and walking his mother to the bed.
Hunter sat with his mother, comforting her as the pack doctor examined the Alpha.
"She said he just didn't wake up,” Jace said quietly as he stood over the doctor, watching him work.
The doctor shook his head, "I won't be sure until I do an autopsy but it looks like he had an aneurysm."
"A what?" Jace asked in disbelief.
"An aneurysm. A blood vessel in his his brain essentially blew up like a balloon and burst."
Jace scowled, "But he was so healthy..."
The doctor placed his hand on Jace's shoulder, "If it WAS an aneurysm, there's nothing we could have done unless we had found it before it burst. It's rare to catch them. But it would have been almost instant, he wouldn't have felt a thing."
Jace let out a sigh, "That's good at least."
The pack doctor stood as his assistants carried the Alpha's body out of the room and to the medical building.
"Alphas, Luna, I'm so sorry for your loss. He was an amazing man and an amazing Alpha."
"Thank you," Hunter replied attempting a smile.
Ryann joined them and held Jace as he tried to keep back the tears but soon enough failed and cried. A little while later Layla burst in, her face holding sadness and worry for her friends.
She walked to Jace and Ryann and hugged him tightly. "I'm so sorry Jace."
After comforting Jace she turned to Hunter and Tasha who were still sitting on the bed. She walked over gently before kneeling on the floor in front of them. Layla placed a hand on Hunter's and gave him a tearful smile, "Hunter..."
Hunter broke down in tears and Layla reached up to hold him. Tasha sat beside them silently, clearly in shock at the loss of her mate. Layla held him close and rubbed his back, "Hunter I'm so sorry, I know how much you love him."
After a long time, the family went downstairs to the pack common area where the entire pack had gathered with tears and mourning.
Tasha put on her Luna face and stood in front of them tall with heavy eyes, "Black Ridge Pack, this morning Alpha Marcus passed away peacefully and unexpectedly. We are heartbroken by..." she began to choke up and Jace stepped forward, speaking in her place, "We are heartbroken by his loss and we feel and appreciate your love and support. Do not worry about your protection or leadership. After the funeral tomorrow we will make plans for the challenge."
The Alpha family gave a strong front but it was obvious they were hurting. Tasha’s eyes were red and puffy from crying and she could barely keep herself standing upright. Jace and Hunter looked as though they hadn’t slept in days even though it had all just happened that morning.
The funeral was nice, with each pack member coming forward and expressing their love and condolences. But there was a tension in the air knowing what was coming next. In a week there would be the Alpha Challenge and the uncertainty of it put everyone on edge.