The Panther's Claw

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Chapter 5: Claw

We walk to a large room with books coating the walls. The smell of dust, paper, leather and ink soak the room. I love that smell. He sits scarlet and I down in matching dark leather wing-backed chairs. I dont want to break it.

This whole place makes me nervous. Nothing is broken or needs to be repaired. Furniture matches and some things even look new. Im afraid to touch anything.

Alpha Wyatt sets a large midnight leather bound book on his desk.

"I dont know what you know and what you don't so I'll just cover all that I can." I like Wyatt. He seems understanding which I think is an important trait in a leader.

He opens the book and I see an ink sketch of a screaming panther with the words: The Legends of the Panther scrolled below. He flips through the pages until he finds the one he wants. Its a diagram of what looks like a wheel.

"Panthers are quite different from other shifters. You have your own special magic. You are also the only shifter able to give birth to other types of shifters. But all females are panthers.

"You also take mates differently than other shifters. Since all panther shifters are female you will find your mates in other types of shifters." He explains. Scarlet lets out a snort no doubt thinking about our conversation earlier.

"Love is very important to Panthers." He continues. I cant say I disagree.

"Many confuse them with succubi." What?! Shifter romance novels did not prepare me for this!

"I feed off of sex?! But im a virgin!" I shriek.

"Not exactly." He chuckles looking a bit pink. Scarlet however is rolling on the floor laughing at me. Thanks for the support. "Like i said people confuse panthers with succubi. But panthers are much more...robust with their needs." That sounds like panthers are a bunch of kinky bitches. I mean I was a cage dancer. He may not be far off.

"What do you mean robust?" I ask.

"There are different types of love. You will need it all to feel complete. Panthers are very protective and caring for their Claw but they are also... almost like a hub of power.

"Once you find a home you will start attracting powerful shifters to you. If I'm correct you've already started with Scarlet. Sisterly love.

"Earlier I was called by my wife telling me that Scarlet was poisoned." He grins. "Imagine my surprise when I get to Jan's and hear about some tiny woman accosting and dragging out a rattlesnake shifter. I received another call from my wife saying Scarlet is alive and well and we have an anti-venom. If that's not love I dont know what is." Well hes got me there. I look over to see Scarlet beaming at me.

"Dont get any ideas. I dont swing that way." I smirk at her making her laugh again.

"Anyway, shifters who are a part of your Claw will be very strong, most likely alphas and betas maybe enforcers. They will reap benefits from your binding just like you will." He glances down at the book again. "It says that a bond with a panther is a badge of honor. She won't take just anyone into her Claw. Those who deserve it will be blessed."

"Huh. Thats a lot to take in." I mutter. Scarlet brings me into a hug. After a life of cruelty and cold loneliness maybe it will work out in the end? Here's hoping.

Alpha Wyatt invited me to join the pack for a bonfire party tomorrow. I am down for smores. He even loaned me the panther book to read. So I'm not completely and utterly lost.

Tripp drives us back to our dorm and I leave them to say their good nights. I make my way past the familiar earthy smell and up the stairs. I go to open the door but stop. There is a very large shed snakeskin hanging from our doorknob.

What. The. Hell?

This thing has to be at least fifteen feet long and thick! Surely one of the students dont have a massive snake living in the dorm and I did have a fight with a snake shifter today. Thats gotta be it. More shifter shit. I stand and stare at it not wanting to touch it until I know what the fuck is going on.

I hear scarlet coming up the stairs. Maybe she'll know. Probably. She swings around the corner and her blissful smile falls when she sees the skin.

"Looks like someone made an impression." She smirks.

"What does it mean?" I ask.

"Its a "call me babe" signal." She giggles. "Lets see if he left a number." She starts lifting the skin gently. "Here it is!" She hands me a green-gold business card.

Everett Cole

CEO of Cole Corp.

"Huh. This has got to be the weirdest pick up line I've ever received." I mutter.

Amethyst is enjoying the attention. Shes worth it.

I go to throw out the skin but Amethyst has other plans. She leaps forward taking control and we end up keeping the skin. Great.

Scarlet is chuckling as she carries the other half of the snake skin.

"Amethyst is a bit of a hoarder." She giggles.

"Well, my life has been hard for her. She loves attention and now we know people who smell good and she can be around." I shrug. If I'm completely honest I am enjoying the hell out of it here too.

We head to bed and I fall into a fitful sleep of panther claws and my cruel memories.
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