❝When my last breath has been taken, I hope that I will have lived and stood for what I believed in.❞
I don’t know how long we’ve been here, the moon appears and disappears beyond the clouds, completing a whole night— nights that I have lost count of. I was still unsure of what they need from me, us. My gaze flickers over to Mom’s pale form leaning against the molded grey wall, each day the same man would come inside with the same four syringes and extract blood from our veins for unknown reasons.
I’ve come used to the flames that would consume every inch of my body, with no strength, I was barely able to move without using up most of my energy. They left the collar off knowing I wouldn’t be able to defend myself or try to escape, it was either in the morning or evening that they would bring us something to eat, something small so we wouldn’t have too much strength. It was always once a day; keeping our strength at a minimum.
I don’t eat much as I give it all to Mom, she needs more than I do since she’s eating for two; no matter how many times I give her my food. . . she’s still becoming paler.
“Mom?” I call out, she doesn’t stir from her sleep, “Mom.”
Her fingers twitch and her eyes flutter open halfway, I watch her gaze shift around the room than to me.
“Yes, sweetie?” her voice was hoarse and dry. She cleared her throat, pushing herself to sit up straighter.
“How are you feeling?” I ask, doing the same, my back resting against the hard wall.
Her shoulders lift and then fall while rolling her head to the side. “I’m fine.”
Her state didn’t define the word ‘fine’, the sweat on her forehead and neck made hair stick to her in clumps and the shudders that racked her body was telling me the jacket she wore wasn’t doing anything, my worry only increased for not only her health but also the one in her womb. A distant sound of a door shutting echoed in the small dungeon, booted footfalls growing closer and I couldn’t help the way my heart sped up in pace and drummed against my ribcage, fearing the man was back to inject me with silver. It didn’t take long before his shadow illuminated on the ground.
He stops in front of the cell with two metal plates that held the same amount of food and servings, two pieces of bread and a slice of meat, opening the door the tossed the plates on the ground not once caring that pieces of food flew to the grim ground as he stepped back outside the cell and locked the gate.
“Eat up,” he said gruffly before walking away, taking his foul smell with him.
I remain still and wait for the sound of his footsteps to fade away before I make a move. Struggling to my hands and knees, I crawl across the room and over to the trays with small steps and push them over towards Mom’s side, leaning myself against the wall beside her: my arm brushing against her’s as I draw both trays around and in front of me while grabbing a piece of bread and handing it to Mom.
She shakes her head, leaning her head on my shoulder. “I’m not hungry,” she whispers.
I urge the bread toward her mouth, “I don’t care. Please eat, not only for you but for my brother or sister.”
At the mention of the child in her womb, her limp hand drapes over her bulging belly and with a small hesitation, she takes the bread and begins to nibble on it, taking pieces of meat that I gave her as well as I ate my own small portion. That’s what we did the entire time, we sat huddled together, eating what little food we had and lost in our own thoughts, my own drifting to the visit that man gave me; his words still lingered in my head.
“I think it’s time for you and your family to pay for their sins, along with the rest who have followed.”
I glance at the top of Mom’s head that rested on my shoulder, her eyes shut as she basked in my body heat, moving my eyes away from her, I stared at the wall in front of us. Sin? What sin were we committing that was so bad that people had to die?
“Mom?” I spoke out.
“What ‘sin’ did you and dad commit?”
Her response wasn’t immediate as she simply rested her eyes, breathing deeply. “I figure Cole has already told you about the treaty of Skin and Fur,” she finally says.
I nod my head. Her sigh resonated through the room and I prepare myself for whatever she was going to say.
“I don’t know much about the Lycan or werewolf history and never really cared to learn about it, but what your father did tell me before I chose to spend my life with him was that our children— will always be in danger.”
Moms voice lowers in pitch, her eyelids drifting open as she stared out into nothing. “He told me about this treaty that half of his kind still went and lived by, he told me that if we were to ever have kids, we’ll always be on the run.”
She pauses and reaches for my hand, clasping one between her cold ones, I tighten my grip on her hand, waiting for her to continue.
“I was so caught up with your father that I didn’t care about the risk, I just cared about being with him and starting a life,” her thumb rubbed back and forth on the back of my hand. “It was then that you were born that I finally understood what he meant, they wanted to kill you, they wanted to kill my baby because we ‘violated the code’.”
For the first time in years, I see anger brimmed in Mom’s eyes, burning so bright and intense with a fire that she would have lit a whole forest in flames if she could have.
“Part of the treaty claimed that humans and Lycans couldn’t mix their gene pools together, though it brought peace among the two species I think it’s utter bullshit,” she coughs, turning her head away as she did so.
“What they forgot to conclude was that wolves can’t choose who their mates are, so killing the offsprings will do no one good besides putting a bad name on those who overlook the supernatural community.”
My mind reels with all the information given, “Why me? What about Mason?”
“Male and female werewolves are different. But I’m guessing your father has already told you that too.”
My silence was all that was heard, clarifying that she was correct.
Something wet dripped onto my arm and seeped through the layer of clothes, I peered down at Mom’s face to see tears striking a clean path over her dirt covered cheeks, she turned her head to look me in the eyes, sudden sadness highlighted in them.
“If I don’t make it out of here. . .” she pauses, “I want you to take care of your sibling because I know your father won’t be able to when I’m gone.”
My heart lurches at her words and I pull away causing her to sit up on her own, “What are you talking about?! Mom, we’re both—”
“No,” she cuts me off, shaking her head, “Promise me, Abigail.”
I purse my lips together, clenching my fingers together, my emotions going haywire.
And for the first time in days, a gentle smile lies on her face, brightening her features. Sighing, I move back to leaning against the wall and she moves to rest her head on my shoulder again, I can only put my arms around her and not speak further on the matter.
“I love you,” she whispers.
I shut my eyes to get rid of the burning sensation, “I love you too, Mom.”
I woke up to Mom’s sharp cry of pain. With my strength returning from the lack of silver in my veins, I woke with a growl, rising from off the wall with tense muscles that coiled up ready to attack, the beast comes to the frontier; gazing out of my eyes while searching for danger. My eyes wildly searched the small cell and then fell on the heavily breathing form of my mother, she was on the other side of the wall, as far as the chains still clamped in her wrist will allow her; her hands were clenching the fabric of her shirt over her belly, holding the underside of her stomach.
“Mom!” I whisper, crawling over towards her.
As I did, liquid splashed under my palm, slipping between my fingers, I gazed down at the floor in the darkened room and could see the outline of a puddle that traveled from between Mom’s legs. Shock coursed through my system as I slowly looked up to see her staring at me with a pained expression.
She licks her lips, dropping her head back until it thumped on the concrete wall. “My water broke, Abigail,” she utters, wincing. “And I need your help.”
It took a minute for me to process what she said before I begin to blink rapidly.
“Okay, okay, wow, all right. Um, what do I do?”
Mom gestured to her pants, tugging at the sides while uttering, “Off.”
My hands flew to her pants buttons, unbuttoning them and tugging them from around her waist and down her legs as quickly as I could, I flinch when a sharp cry spills from her mouth. Once the pants were off, I could see her underwear were completely soaked, I reach to remove them as well; her lower half now bare. She spreads her legs and pushed herself straighter against the wall for support, I position my body between her, there was no time to feel weird that I was staring down at my mom’s bare vagîna.
“What do I do now?” I ask, placing my hands on her knees, looking up into her dull eyes.
“Nothing.” she breathes, eyes crunches in pain. “Wait for a contraction and I’ll start pushing.”
“How do I know when you’ll have a—”
Her groan of pain cuts me off and I watch her clench her fist together and her stomach tightens as she begins to push, a cry of pure agony resonates in the empty cell. The goes on for a total of ten seconds before she stops and exhales a deep breathe she was holding.
“Oh god,” she cries, tears spilling down her cheeks. “I can’t believe I’m doing this a third time.”
Not even a second later after she speaks, she’s pushing once again, her face scrunched up in pain. My eyes glanced down to see blood gushing from between her legs, I began to grow worried as more began to flow to the floor as she continued to push, a small patch of hair coming to view, warmth bloomed through my chest as more hair was revealed.
This process continues on until the baby’s head slips out, showing me my sibling’s face for the first time, I couldn’t stop the smile that spread across my face as I lifted eyes and connected gazed with Mom’s exhausted ones.
“The head’s out,” I speak, moving my hands up and down her thighs as she took a breather.
A tired smile sported her lips as she blinked lazily, “Thank goodness.”
Her face then flinched with pain and I knew she was going to start pushing, and on it went with Mom pushing, her screams of pain filling the air around us while taking short breaks to catch her breath, it seemed awhile before the neck and shoulders stretched her beyond what she could withstand. Instincts lead me to reach forward and gently grab ahold of the baby’s head and slowly twisting it’s body pulling it until the rest of the body fluidly follows along.
With a quick check between the legs, I cradled my brother to my chest, not minding the blood and body fluids that coated his body, he began to squirm and twist in my hold the cold air finally reaching his nerves; and with his eyes squeezed tight, he released a strong sharp cry, indicating his first breath of life into this fücked up world.
“What are you going to call him?”
I used my sweater that I wore to half clean the baby before wrapping him in it. Mom rested against the wall as I checked over her body, she looking paler than ever while still leaking small amounts of blood, she told me not to worry and that it will heal in due time; with uncertainty, I placed her jeans and underwear between her legs at an attempt to stop it all.
I lifted my gaze back to her face, waiting for the answering.
“London.” she whispered, weak and tired, yet her eyes shone brightly as she gazed down at him, her fingers striking his cheek.
I yawn, moving next to her until we both were settled into the most comfortable position we could be in while looking down at the joy in her arms.
“I was reading about different names with the meaning of moon and this one caught my attention, London means ‘fortress of the moon’.”
I hum, my mouth opening into another yawn, my head tilting to rest on Mom’s shoulder. She chuckled, turning her head far enough to kiss me on the crown of my head.
“Go to sleep, sweetie, I’m going to be up a little while longer feeding him.”
“You sure?” I question, my eyes already shutting.
And that’s what I did. I don’t know how long I was sleep or how much time has past but I was once again woken by the shrill sound of London crying his little lungs out. I jolted upwards and turned to find him squirming restlessly in Mom’s lap, little hands closed in a small fist that waved in the air.
I moved my gaze to Mom’s face and found her dull eyes open and staring out into nothing, a small smile sporting her dry cracked lips, no rise or fall of her chest.