He clutched his side and blood coats his hands. I help him into the house, locking the door. Not that it would do much good, still I feel safer. He makes it to the bathroom down the hall where I get out the first aid kit.
The wound is beginning to heal but I don’t want it to get infected. His skin is pale and his teeth gritted. I sit him on the ledge of the tub and begin to clean the wound with warm water. I’m not sure what to do next so I reach for the alcohol.
“No! That’s just going to sting like crazy, peroxide should be enough to keep it clean enough to heal.” He breathes out.
“Okay. What on earth happened?” I ask as I douse the hole in his side with warm water.
“Three wolves entered our territory. They had been there awhile. When I got close enough to smell them, one launched itself at me and took a chunk out of me.”
“What do they want?” I pat the closing wound dry feeling dizzy at the sight.
“I don’t know. They immediately attacked. Would you lookie there? It’s finally closing up. Thanks momma bear.” I can’t help the laugh that escapes.
“You’re welcome, and lookie is not a word.”
“And werewolves don’t exist.” He snickers. He leaps up from the bloody tub and I rinse the remainder down the drain. It looks like something from a horror movie. I scrunch up my nose at the sickening sight.
“Got anything to eat? I’m starving.” I shake my head in disbelief.
“Y’know, I was pretty sure you were dying five minutes ago so I’ll let your lack of manners slide.” His color is returning and he is back to his goofy self.
I rummage around the fridge thanking God the kitchen was the first fully stocked thing. I chop up some greens and vegetables for a salad so he can snack while he waits for the left over lasagna from lunch to warm up.
“Any word from him?” I ask quietly.
“No news is good news. Don’t sweat it, alpha is ruthless when it comes to defending his people.” The answer only worries me further.
Rylin suggests that we unpack some more furniture. He finds my record player and picks something out. The music plays softly as we unpack some of Nik's books. Rylin abruptly stops and cocks his head to the side. His brows furrow and he turns the music off.
He motions for me to stay quiet and to stay in the bedroom.
I look out onto the balcony and see dark clouds approaching. Rain is coming and I'm worried about all my new friends. The front door bursts open and the handle rolls across the floor. I shriek involuntarily.
My heart begins to race when I hear his voice. Rylin growls in warning and Robert just laughs manically.
"Listen up, pup. I know she's here and I will kill you with her if you interfere."
"Robert, you know I can't let you hurt her. Please don't do this." He breathes out. My heart threatens to explode.
"You kids have brought great shame to this tribe, siding with the human outsider. She will pay for her father's sins. She must die like my sweet Calliope did.”
I peek over the railing and see a horrifying scence. Robert has shifted only half way and looks like a werewolf from a horror movie. The face of a wolf and body of a man. I tremble as I sneak as quietly as I can to the bed and get out my bow. I can't let him hurt my sweet pup, Rylin.
I hear a commotion and run back to the railing. Robert and Rylin are both half shifted and dance around like boxers. Rylin snarls, spit dripping down his wolf like face. He swipes a clawed hand at Robert's face and blood spews from the wound. Robert growls so loudly it shakes the house like the approaching thunder. Rylin manages to tear through Roberts torso, exposing flesh and making my head spin.
He grabs Rylin and throws him into the couch, breaking it in half. When his hand goes through Rylin's stomach I snap out of my daze. Robert's mouth is foaming just like the black wolf. He is going mad.
I pull back the string of my bow and aim for his heart.
"Oh god, Ellie! No!" Rylin shouts but I barely hear him. All I can think is that it's time to end this.
"It's me you want, so come get me! Put him down!" I shout in anger.
Robert flinches at my command and I think nothing of it. I am terrifying when I am angry.
"Oh, don't worry. I'll have my way with you. Tonight you die!" I aim at his heart and hope the arrow will be enough to at least put him down until help gets here.
"I know my father was at fault for the death of your mate but he has suffered too. He is sick and I think he is dying because he can't go on any longer. It messed you up too. That's why your head is a mess. That's why you're going mad!" I stall him trying to make a plan as he stands below me.
"Mad? I'm past that. I am delusional with rage and I can already taste your families blood. They all will pay. I have been sending rogues out here for years hoping they would find them and do my dirty work. There are three lone wolves out there right now and I have led them straight to your family. You're all going to die."
Rylin groans and tries to stand up but being seriously injured twice in just a few hours has taken its toll on his body. He can't recover enough to help. I have to decide this on my own.
The door bursts open, breaking off completely now and Nik stands there gloriously naked. I don't have time to appreciate his body because I am ready to fire this arrow into this mad man's heart.
"Robert! This won't bring her back!" Nik yells.
"No, but it'll help me die. I figure if I kill your girl and her wretched family, you'll kill me and I can finally get some peace."
"Neither will I. I won’t have peace if it ends this way.” Nik states calmly. Robert begins to change back into human form. The wounds try to heal. He collapses onto the floor and weeps.
"I can't stay here any longer." He whispers.
"Koda needs you, you can't give into the heartbreak. Hang on just a little longer." Nik tells him. Robert looks at me.
“Please.” He begs and my heart aches for him.
"I won't kill you! I won't repeat history!" I say as I lower my bow. My arms scream from the taut muscles.
“You don’t have to. My time has come.” He breathes out.
“No! Robert, you can’t do this!” Nik shouts and runs up to him, holding him. Nate and Lee burst through the door that no longer hangs there.
I run down the stairs to Rylin and cover his wound with a dish towel, trying to stop the bleeding. He smiles weakly. His body is pale and he leans into my touch.
“Hush, you’re going to be fine. Someone needs you to stay alive.” I remind him and he closes his eyes as I stroke his short, black hair.
Roberts eyes turn back to normal, the madness that fogged his mind dissipates.
“Forgive me, all of you. I’ve gone mad with loneliness.” He pants as Nik hangs onto him.
“Elliana, I am sorry. My wolf was crazed.”
“It’s okay. Just stay with us. We can make it through this.” He smiles a melancholy smile.
“I hear her calling my name. My time has finally come. Tell Koda I love him.” And with that his eyes glass over and his breathing stops.
Just then Koda runs into the room and holds his father. Silent tears run down his cheeks. I feel as if I’m invading the tribes privacy by being here but I can’t leave Rylin. I decide to keep my eyes on him as he quietly reassures me with a gentle squeeze of my hand.
Minutes, hours, days seem to pass and my eyes shut on their own. I slump against the wall, spent from the events. I feel Rylin leave my arms and I worry for him but can’t seem to find the strength to open my eyes.
Two strong arms hold me and I fall deep into the rabbit hole of my dreams. Roberts death haunts me in some of them and in others I’m running endlessly through the meadow, swinging so high I touch the clouds, kissing Nik goodbye as my seven year old self.
I can’t figure out what’s real and what’s made up so I just enjoy the peace of the sweet dreams and hide in a corner of my mind when the blood and death comes. Wave after wave hits me and I decide to give in and drown.