Episode 1 : Clayton
The ground was hard and cold, his small chest was bare and his pajama bottoms were soaked. His small eight year old body shook with such a force he was surprised he hadn’t fallen over yet. The cold winter wind nipped at exposed and wet skin, but he didn’t dare make a sound. His bare feet were almost numb against the chilled wooden boards of the small storage shed. The white light from the moon peeked through the worn wooden walls. It bathed his bruised body, offering a little comfort. The moon was watching.
He didn’t want to enrage him anymore than he already had.
“You little shit, you’ve pissed yourself!” His father said, his narrow face lifting up towards the night sky scenting the smell of urine. His face scrunched together in anger, his dark blue eyes blazing and he stomped towards Clayton’s small form.
Trevor O’Connor, Clayton’s father, stood over him with his hand raised before swiftly striking down and slapping his son across the face.
The young boy’s face whipped to the side, a large red hand print taking up one half of his face.
Clayton nearly fell to his knees. He held strong as another hit came his way, his nose broke and blood spilled, pouring down his face. Tears trekked their way down his face, his small lips trembled and he gazed up at his father, begging him to stop.
He knew that he wouldn’t.
Trevor O’Conner was more of a monster than the beings they were able to turn into. With his nearly bald head, his striking blue eyes flickering with flecks of gold and his trained built body, Trevor was the devil in disguise. His mother and other females had raved about how attractive of a male he was, how sweet and caring he could be. Little did they know, he harbored a deep hate for his son.
Clayton didn’t understand why his father hated him so much. He’d never done anything truly wrong. Sure as a small boy of eight he sometimes got into a little trouble. He’d colored on his bedroom walls because he’d run out of coloring pages, and he’d walked across the carpet with his muddy shoes on because he’d simply forgot to take them off. There had been a time when he’d gotten in trouble with Alpha Normus, he’d been playing hide and seek with his friend Artemis. He’d run around the pack house looking for somewhere to hide and after a last minute decision he’d sped into the alphas office and had hidden under his desk.
The alpha had been furious with him. He’d taken him roughly by the arm and escorted him home. His mother was fearful, his father had been enraged.
Maybe that was why he hated him.
“You’re weak Clayton. Look at you! You’ve pissed yourself! What kind of wolf pees on himself” he snarled a low ferocious sound that had Clayton shaking harder. His father grabbed him by the back of his head, his large hand easily tangling themselves in his short messy blonde locks. Sharp pulls of pain traveled across his scalp and he couldn’t hold it back any longer, he cried out. He wobbled on his feet before his father picked him up off the ground and slammed him back down, his face smashing into the old wooden flooring.
He tried to breathe through the pain. He didn’t know how much more he could handle, how many more nights he could take. He coughed as his father shoved his face into the small puddle of urine, scolding him like a dog.
“Are you going to do this again?” Trevor’s voice was cold and seething. His lip drawing up in a silent snarl.
Clayton shook his head, the pain in his head increased. His ribs felt broken, his legs ached and his face was swollen.
Trevor released him and stood up. He glared down at his son and scoffed. “You’re fucking useless. A waste of space. I pity the female that finds you” he said before pulling his foot back and sending a swift kick to Clayton’s stomach. His father spat at his small prone body, before turning and storming out of the small shed.
Clayton curled in on himself, bringing his knees to chest. He was thankful it hadn’t lasted as long as it normally did. He began to cry and realized his father was right, he was weak. He’d never be as strong as a wolf should be. He’d never be a true male.
The wooden door to the shed creaked open and Clayton froze, unwilling to move. Had his father come back? Was he going to kill him now? After a year of this torture he’d expected to die already.
Small footsteps hurriedly made their way over and he knew who it was.
Clayton blinked his eyes open, grunting past the pain and rolled into his back, gritting his teeth past the pain. The long open marks from the whip were sore and aching. No doubt infected. A small body hovered over him, panic choked him. He didn’t want his friend to see him like this. He was ashamed.
Artemis’s gray eyes blazed back at him, taking in his injuries. “Clayton, can you hear me?”
He realized Artemis had been calling his name for a while, he nodded slowly. His blue eyes taking in his friends dark hair and green button up pajama top and loose pajama bottoms. “H-hurts” he whispered out, his nose still spilling blood, it coated his mouth and dripped down to his ears.
Artemis sighed, his small nine year old form began to shiver. Whether from the cold or fear, he wasn’t sure. “I know. Can you stand?”
A part of him wanted to stay here, curled up. But he was cold and he wanted to wrap himself in his Spider-Man blanket and sleep. He nodded and with help from his friend, he stood on shaky legs.
Artemis scrunched his nose up in distaste as he smelt the urine. Clayton blushed, feeling embarrassed “Sorry” he muttered dropping his head, his chin resting against his chest.
“Don’t worry about it. It happens” Artemis kept his arm around him and helped him out of the shed. The back of his small brick house came into view and he bit back a shudder. He didn’t want to go home.
“You can come over to my house again”
Clayton agreed without second thought. He knew he’d get into trouble for not being in his bed but he couldn’t risk going back home.
Artemis nodded and led them away from his home.
As they neared Artemis’s home, he gave Clayton a look. At only nine years old the look of a child shouldn’t frighten him but it did, “One day I’ll kill him for you”
Clayton shivered partially in fear and partially in anticipation and excitement “One day, I’ll help you”
They entered Artemis’s house and he froze at the sight of Artemis’s parents sitting on the couch, the warm sorrowful looks were enough for him to break. Tears traveled down his face once more. Angie, Artemis’s mother rose quickly from the couch in one fluid movement, she gripped Clayton’s tight form against her and hugged him hard. Her own tears slipping down her cheeks.
Brandon, Artemis’s father was staring at them, his brows scrunched together and an angry scowl on his face. Clayton shrunk into Angie’s comforting embrace hoping Brandon didn’t hit him for coming to their home.
“Clayton why don’t we go get you showered and changed, ok?” Angie said with a small smile on her face.
He nodded and glanced nervously at Artemis who didn’t notice as he stood next to his father, they were talking in hushed whispers. Clayton hoped Artemis didn’t get into trouble for bringing him here. Angie grabbed his hand and helped him up the stairs to the bathroom. She adjusted the water for him before stepping back, her brown eyes were red and puffy. She sniffed and choked on a sob as she examined his back, “Oh Clayton. How long has this been going on?” She asked, stepping away to grab a towel.
He kept his eyes downcast, shame filled his heart and he shrugged not wanting to answer her. He knew exactly how long it had been. One month ago had been a year. One whole year since his father hadn’t been able to contain his rage anymore. He’d pulled Clayton from his bed in the middle of the night, just as he’d tonight and he’d tossed him around the small storage shed like a rag doll. His body had been broken and bruised.
Angie stepped towards the door and froze, “Does your mother know?” She asked almost hesitantly and he could tell by the look on her face she was afraid of his answer.
Clayton gave her a short clipped nod and watched her face turn into one of disbelief and rage before she slipped from the bathroom.
He tore his pants and underwear off and stepped in. His skin burned underneath the spray as the warm water hit his freezing skin. He wiggled his toes, finally getting feeling back in them. He cringed and gritted his teeth together as he cleaned his body and washed his hair. His body would begin to heal itself as it always did, it wouldn’t take more than two days.
Clayton turned off the water and stepped out. He dried himself and was surprised to find his pajama bottoms and underwear gone and in its place, clean clothes. He pulled them on, feeling a bit better and walked out of the bathroom easily making his way back downstairs where he could hear Artemis’s family talking.
They stopped abruptly, and he knew they’d picked up his scent.
With hesitant steps he made his way into their small cozy rustic living room. Artemis was curled up on the couch sleeping, his head on his mother’s thigh. Brandon stopped mid pace as Clayton walked in. He gave Clayton a small smile.
“How’s your back?” He asked.
He figured Angie must have told her husband about what she’d seen. He shifted on his feet nervously, “Fine. It’s a few days old, it’ll heal soon” which was half a lie. Although his healing process was about three times quicker than a human, he would still bear the scars of the lick of the whip.
Angie cleared her throat and asked quietly, “Artemis has told us that your dad is the one that does this and you said your mom knows about it?” He nodded almost reluctantly. He didn’t want to cause problems. More problems meant more beatings. “Has she ever tried to help you? Does he hurt her too?”
“She’s never tried to help and no, I’ve never seen or heard him do anything to her” he replied. He stifled a yawn and cringed at the painful twinge in his ribs. Sympathy and pity clouded Angie’s eyes and he turned away not wanting to see it.
Brandon was unsettlingly quiet and it put him on edge.
“May I go to sleep now?” He asked hesitantly.
Brandon nodded and Angie rose from her seat, carefully removing Artemis so as not to wake him. She scooped him up in her arms effortlessly and nodded at Clayton to follow her. Although he’d been here hundreds of times and he knew where everything was including Artemis’s room, followed behind her anyways.