Autumn opened her eyes and looked at the clock. “Crap,” she muttered as she scrambled out of bed. She rushed around her room in search of clean clothes and everything she needed for the day. “Crap, crap, crap, crap...” she said to herself as she pulled a tee shirt over her head and ran out of the room and downstairs.
“Nice of you to join us...” Luna Joella said as Autumn came downstairs.
“I’m sorry Luna, my alarm must have-“
“I don’t want excuses, Autumn. Finish the breakfast and then get on with your chores. We have a busy day today,” she said dismissively before walking out of the pack kitchen.
Autumn cooked breakfast just in time for the meal to begin. As pack members started making their way in she gave them their plates and then proceeded to clean up the kitchen.
“What are you still doing in here?” Joella hollered as she walked back into the kitchen.
“I was just finishing up the dishes, is there something you need?” she asked.
Joella huffed, “Here is a list of things I need done today, on top of your usual chores of course.”
She took the list from Joella and read it in disbelief. “There has to be thirty things on this list, there’s no way I’ll get this done today.”
“Well then, you better get started dear,” she said with a smirk. “Oh, and rein in that attitude, it’ll get you in trouble.”
She lowered her head in submission. Really it was only because Autumn knew if she looked Joella in the eyes she would see the defiance and irritation in Autumn's face. She sat at the kitchen island for a moment to figure out how she was going to get everything done. After a few minutes Autumn stood up and started on her chores, knowing she didn’t really have much of a choice.
Autumn was twenty and finishing up her second year of college when her parents died. She found out they owed massive debts to the Alpha and the pack. She didn’t know how they got so deep, but when they died the Alpha pulled her out of school and told her she had to work off their debts. So here she was, four years later, still cleaning the toilets and cooking every meal in the pack house.
Autumn got through most of Joella’s list before she had to stop to work on dinner. She walked into the kitchen looking a mess. Her hair was falling out of the ponytail she'd had it tied up in and her shirt was covered in various substances. She leaned against the counter and took a deep breath. Someday she would leave this place and would never have to do another person’s chores ever again.
She started on dinner when she suddenly heard alarm bells going off. She looked around in confusion as pack members began running around. She followed the chaos until she was able to finally grab a hold of someone. “What is going on?” Autumn asked.
“Alpha Warner just defied the treaty... he just attacked the Red Moon Pack and now they are on their way to our borders,” the girl said with panic before running off.
She stood frozen to the spot. Breaking a treaty was already bad news, but breaking the treaty with Red Moon? The treaty with Red Moon Pack had been made by the Alpha King himself. Defying the King would mean the pack would be punished in a big way.
“What were you thinking, Warner?!”
Autumn turned around to see the Luna stopping Alpha Warner in the hallway. She ducked behind the wall so they wouldn’t see her. She had heard the rumors about King Elijah and if they were all going to die, she wanted to know why.
“Joella, not now! There are too many things in motion,” the Alpha said quietly
“Warner, you know what he’ll do. Why would you break the treaty so openly? I thought we had a plan!” Joella asked and Autumn could hear the concern in her voice.
“Red Moon just...”
“Just what?” Joella snapped, “Is this some power play? Did you do this to try and take over their pack?”
“Their land is our land, Joella! They stole it from us and then convinced King Elijah to let them keep it!” Alpha Warner growled.
“If you attacked them then it means you thought you could win. So whatever you’re doing, do it fast. As soon as Elijah hears about this it’s all of our heads,” Joella whispered.
She leaned against the wall, angry that their Alpha would do something so stupid for a few dozen acres. She huffed and then stood to go back to making dinner when she was grabbed. Autumn spun around to find Joella standing before her.
“Luna...” she said as she lowered her head.
“Were you spying on us, Autumn?” Joella spat.
“No Luna, I was just finishing up the list you gave me,” Autumn said quietly.
“Ha! Not likely,” Joella scoffed as she grabbed Autumn’s arm, “Come with me.” She dragged Autumn up the stairs and down the hall to Autumn's small room at the end of the hallway. She tossed her in and closed the door. “What you heard will never leave your lips. Now you will stay in here until this is all figured out,” Joella said with a glare before turning out of the room and locking the door behind her.
Autumn frowned before deciding to take advantage of the time off. She took a long, hot shower to make up for the one she didn’t have this morning, washing off all of the grime that had layered itself on her skin from the chores she had done today. She pulled on a large tee shirt and crawled into her bed.
She tried to sleep but she could hear the fighting out in the distance. Autumn laid in bed listening to the howling and she could feel the pack mind-link in overload with a chaos of yells, commands, and calls for help. The pack was at war now and she knew any time now the warriors would be returning injured and tired from their battle at the border.
Finally, Autumn drifted to sleep thinking about what was about to happen when the King found out.