I woke up with a groan. My head was pounding. As I managed to wake myself up even further I was very aware of the pain that I was in. My mind tried to understand why I was in pain, I didn’t go drinking last night. Did I? I moved my hands to push myself up.
My mind registered that I wasn’t in a bed. It felt like grass. My eyes popped open to find out where I had woken up. My head turned so fast to look all over my immediate area. I was in a forest, but I lived in a city. How did I end up here?
I held my aching head trying to make sense of what was going on. No matter how hard I tried I could not remember what had happened that lead me to this place. Even a clue to where I was would have been useful. Thinking about it was just making my head hurt even further so I gave up. I got up off the ground with the intent of finding someone to help me. Everything else I would make sense of later.
I started wandering around through the woods hoping that there was some type of civilization. I don’t know how long I wandered until, to my shock I came across a coastline cliff. I was more confused than ever before, I lived hours away from any coastline. Just where was I!
I tried not to think to much about it. I prioritized finding someone to help, because now I was certain that I was too lost to ever find my way back myself. I followed the coast line in the hopes that beaches meant people. My hope paid off when a group of people on the beach started to come into view.
I started to rush to make it over to them. As I approached them I started to become a bit wary. It was a large group, maybe fifty people or so, which wasn’t suspicious but they had these ears and tails on that made me think, “cosplay convention on the beach?” They all seemed to have high quality gear too so weren’t they afraid to ruin them with the sea water? I decided beggars couldn’t be choosers so I approached them.
“Um excuse me...” I called out approached two people who were fishing on the beach. They turned around and seemed friendly enough.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but can you tell me where I am?” They looked me over and their demeanor changed. Instead of answering me they started to whisper to each other. I decided that I had chosen the wrong people to ask and turned away to find someone else to help. I froze when I saw the attention of practically everyone in the immediate area had turned to me.
I was getting an uncomfortable feeling. I took a step back getting ready to make a run for it. Someone stepped closer to me and my flight instinct kicked in. I turned to run for it. I didn’t make it very far. The sand around me kicked up as I halted myself so that I didn’t get any closer to the enormous wolf that was stalking closer to me.
The people behind me started cheering. I would have turned around to look at them like they were insane if I wasn’t too afraid that if I gave this wolf an opportunity he would pounce on me and rip my throat out. My mind reeled trying to make sense of the situation.
Had I made the mistake of walking up to some homicidal cult? I looked to either side of me for a way out. I was trapped, to my right was a cliff and the ocean was on the other side. Out of the two options, jumping into the ocean was the better, not that I knew where I would go from there.
“Please don’t...” Someone spoke to me. It was an arrogant tone, and I’m sure they were talking about my escape planning. I looked around for the owner of the voice. All that was there was the wolf. He stepped forward and I stepped back. My body was shaking now that the panic had set in.
I got backed up right against the cliff, the worst case scenario. The wolf’s eyes never left mine. I tried making myself as small as possible in the small hope that the wolf would lose interest in me. Suddenly things changed drastically. Someone started yelling, the mass of people started to run for cover. What sounded like a mass of horses headed closer.
“Stay down!” The same masculine voice from before sounded. Again I didn’t know where it was coming from. The sound of hooves got closer and the wolf jumped in front of me. I thought that was the end of me so I closed my eyes. When I felt nothing happen I opened them again. The wolf was in front of me, protecting me? I tried getting up a little to take a peak of what was going on. The wolf growled and I stopped to back up as far into the rocks as was possible.
The sound of the hooves was just about on top of us, and approaching quickly. My eyes widened when I saw something I never expected to. It wasn’t horses, well in some sense I guess it was. A herd, at least I think they are called a herd, passed by us. A herd of centaurs! Just as quickly as they were there, they were gone.
“Alpha! Are you and the human alright!” Someone called out from somewhere. I couldn’t see anything from my position. The wolf looked behind him at me. My body was practically convulsing, my breathing was uneven and my head hurt even worse than before. No I was not alright.
“She’s alright, leave us.” This time there was no mistaking that the voice I was hearing was coming from the wolf himself. I held my head wishing to wake up from this nightmare. I shied away, not caring that the sharp rocks of the cliff were poking into my skin, when the wolf laid down on his side facing me.
“I know, try to calm your breathing. You are safe, everything is alright.” The wolf spoke again. He was trying to calm me, but it wasn’t working.
“W...whe...where...am...I?” I was struggling to ask my question. The wolf paused for a moment, it almost looked like he was considering whether or not to answer me.
“We call it Isoual, but I believe that humans call it Monster Island.”
“What do you mean humans call it?” I had a sneaking suspicion that I knew the answer the the question I was asking but needed confirmation.
“There are no humans indigenous to Isoual. The gods gift tribes by sending them a human to care for. For you to arrive and find your way here to us means that you are a gift to my tribe.”
“The wolf tribe. My name is Leit, the alpha of this tribe. The gods have chosen me to be your mate.”
“I don’t...” I tried conveying my discomfort.
“I know, it’s quite a bit to take in at once. You need to rest, we can discuss more once you’ve rested. Come with me.” He stood up shaking the sand off of his fur. He was massive. I didn’t get up, I wasn’t even sure if I had the energy in my legs to lift myself. Leit looked back at me expectantly.
“Do you need me to carry you?” I couldn’t tell if he was unhappy with me and I somehow shot up to my feet with the fear that he would attack if I made him angry. “Hold onto me, I will make sure no one approaches us. You are safe with me.” I reached out grabbing a handful of his fur on his shoulder. He started slowly walking forward and I followed next to him. Leit walked through the crowd of what I thought were people.
Part of me couldn’t believe that what Leit had told me was real. After all, everyone here looked human. Yet, Leit and the Centaurs running through were proof that what he said was true. My stomach was starting to somersaults analyzing what was going on around me.
“Don’t try to figure it out yourself. Just think of questions that you want to ask. Once you’ve had a chance to rest and relax a little I will answer all of them, I swear.” Leit seemed to know just what was going on in my head.