‘Raven. Don’t let go of my hand. We have to run!’
‘Wren, I’m scared! Where’s mama?’
‘I don’t know. NOW RUN!’
The air fills with screams and death.
‘Raven? RAVEN!! RAVEN!! WHERE ARE YOU?’
I jolt up in bed. My body covered in sweat. My face wet.
I scrub a hand down my face. Breathing heavy. I grab the practically empty whisky bottle on my night stand, pop the cap and chug back a shot.
This is a typical morning for me. Has been for the last ten years.
I have a shower and go to the mirror. I wipe off the condensation revealing my blue eyes, wet jet black hair. Face, void of expression.
Do you know what it’s like?
To wake up day after day. You go to work. You socialize with people. Walk around acting like you belong there, but you know you don’t.
People tell you. You’re part of the family. You’re included. Part of the pack, but you never feel it.
You feel the separation. You feel the loneliness.
Do you know what it’s like?
But….I wake up. Go to work. Socialize. I throw on that fake ass smile that says. “Hi. I’m Wren Miller and I’m happy.”
But it’s not true, is it.
As I stare at myself in the fogged mirror, I think, is this the day?
The day I say fuck it. Turn Rogue. Go off into the wilderness. I’ll stay there until just before the Rogue Sickness sets in and walk my ass right into the middle of the Falcon Ridge Security Unit and let them take me.
At least I’d correct the wrong that happened. Correct the fact that I should have died in that storm ten years ago instead of being here. Alone.
The story of my life can be summed up in three little words.
I Am Alone.
And I always will be.
So I could turn Rogue. Let the Sickness consume me, but I don’t.
Why? Because there’s always a battle to be fought or a person’s life that needs saving.
But one day. One day the burning question will be asked.
Who’s going to save me?
I swipe my hand across the mirror, interrupting my reflection as I leave the room.
I put on my happy face. Today I train Black Rock’s Luna to control her newly found wolf.
I’ve been training her for the last couple of months because that’s what I do. I train young ones to control their new wolves.
But the Luna is hardly young. She is special. After being poisoned by the chemicals in Torrents bite, she was miraculously cured and integrated with her wolf. So she hired me to train her to control it.
I accepted because it keeps me busy. Keeps my mind off the nightmares in my head. When her trainings done I don’t know what will happen next.
“Ok, Sam. Call the wind.” I instruct. We’re at the back of the packhouse property. Today, we’re going to play a little game of tag in the woods. Sam will learn how to properly instruct her wolf and communicate through the link.
We both shift into our wolves.
“Sam, can you hear me?” I link her.
“Yep.” She chirps. Her wolf pants.
“Good.” My black wolf barks. “You’re it!”
I take off running into the trees. Ducking and dodging the brush. Sam is hot on my tail. Her wolf keeps up pretty well. After a few minutes, It starts to stray. She stops to sniff some smells.
“Sam, get control. We’re not sniffing, were playing.” I warn.
“Oops. Sorry.” Her wolf gets back on track.
We’re running in circles and figure eights through the trees when I caught a scent. It doesn’t smell like anyone from the packhouse. It doesn’t smell like a rogue either. This is different.
I stop. Sam doesn’t notice and nips my but. “You’re It!” Her wolf barks.
“Wait, Sam. Be quiet.” I look into the trees. Adjusting my vision to see if I can catch any movement.
“What is it?” She asks.
I raise my nose up. “I don’t know, but I don’t like it. Luna, get to the packhouse.”
Her wolf quietly growls. “I can’t leave you out here.”
My wolf turns to hers and growls. “Just go. I’ll be fine.”
Sam turns back to the house while I take cautious steps around. Whoever it is, they’re moving and they’re quick.
I shift and peer into the darkness. “Whoever you are, this is private property. You will vacate or I will be forced to kill you. I have your scent and you can be tracked.”
I listen for sound, but hear nothing. I also smell nothing.
Shifting back, I run to meet up with Sam. “I think it’s OK. Probably a kid or something getting too close to the property.” I catch my breath.
“Thanks for looking out.” The Luna grins.
I nod. “It’s what you’re paying me for right?” I smile back.
“Right.” She thumbs over her shoulder to the forest. “You wanna go back and finish training?”
I fix myself up. “I cant now. I have to report to the Alpha. You know how he gets when we keep stuff like this from him.”
She rolls her eyes. “Please. He’s just dramatic. Honestly. We haven’t had any disturbances up until today so I think he’s just being paranoid.”
We meet Bastian in the house and I inform him of the trespasser.
"So you don't think it's a threat?" He crosses his arms looking sternly at me.
I shake my head. "Not at all. It's probably someone who got off the beaten path. The Luna is protected so don't worry."
"She better be. I'm paying good money for your protection." He warns.
This gets him a backhand to the chest. "Bastian! That was rude!"
"Ow! Sorry!" He flinches away.
I chuckle a little bit. It's nice to see someone putting Bastian in his place for a change.
"Well, if you'll excuse me. I have some paperwork to fill out and I want to phone Jayson to see how the baby shower went." I bow my head quick and turn on my heels to the packhouse security office. Bastian set up a desk in there for me temporarily, to do reports on. Honestly, this place is quite passive. Despite all the events of the last year, not much goes on here.
After listening to Jayson go on about hoping the next pup will be a boy because he hates the color pink, I decide to do a sweep of the grounds before turning in.
I'm skimming the property line when I caught the scent again.
I thought to myself, this guy must have a death wish.
I devised an ambush. I found his trail and followed it. Then I see him.
I sniff again. Her, not a him. A she wolf. I've smelled her before somewhere. I just can't put my finger on it.
She's black. Smaller then me. She's stalking through the long grass along the tree line.
I crouch to get a better location in which to make my move. I make sure to stay downwind as she prowls my way.
Once she's in my zone, I initiate my plan. I spring my ambush and slam into her side. My fur is up and my eyes shoot daggers. Growls rumble on my ribcage.
The she wolf looks almost shocked and tries to run, but I'm faster.
I land on her back, biting her. She's yelping in pain.
I feel the warmth of her blood as I tear into her shoulder. She cries out and calls the wind.
She shifts and I stumble back. I wasn't expecting that.
"Wren, stop!" The naked girl in the grass says.
I shift. I'm standing there blinking as the black haired, blue eyed girl stood up and faced me. "Wren." She winces holding her bleeding shoulder.
My brows stitch together as I try to figure out how this girl knows my name. Then it hits me.
"You're the girl with Chase." My chest heaves with anger.
"No....I mean....I was, but that's not who I am."
"You're a Dragon. I should kill you right now." I step toward her and she steps back.
"Wren! Don't!" She held her hand up in surrender. "I'm not a Dragon."
"Then what were you doing with one?" I demand.
"It's part if the Alliance." She swallows her pain. I can tell she's getting tired. "We have a treaty."
"Who. Who has a treaty?"
The girl looks into my eyes. "Helena."
My rage boils more. "You're lying! Helena was destroyed!" I step closer to her.
"No, Wren. The original was, but it's been rebuilt." She gives a half smile. Something pings in me. That smile looks familiar. "It's not like you remember, but it's home to some of us."
"So what? You just decided that you were going to be the Helena pack? You realize over five hundred people died under that name. How disrespectful can you possibly be?" I seething in rage. Helena was my home. My pack. To think some strangers can just claim it as theirs pissed me right off.
"Wren, not all of us died?" She stepped closer.
"You're lying! Why would you lie about that!" My emotions started to skyrocket. Tears stung the back of my eyes.
Her face softened. "Wren. I'm not lying. If you come with me I'll show you."
"I'm not going anywhere with you. If anything I'll be arresting your ass for trespassing." I spit.
"Wren. I know this is a shock, but I can prove it to you. Our pack is alive." She gestured to for me come with her.
I swallow the lump in my throat. "No. This is some sort of Dragon trick. I'm taking you in...." I step to her.
She backs away. "It's not a trick! Not a trick! Wren I was there. I was there when they attacked..."
I stopped. I stood blinking at the young girl trying to defend herself against my distrust.
"Come with me. Talk to the Alpha. He'll tell you."
My face twisted. "The Alpha is dead."
She shook her head. "No, Wren. It's not the same Alpha, but he’s just as good."
I stood for a minute. Trying to wrap my head around what she was saying.
She looks at me and grins.
"What are you smiling at?" I say through my clenched jaw.
"You're a lot smaller then I remember." She folded her arms. "Or maybe I was a lot smaller."
"Who are you?" I looked the girl over.
She giggled. "You probably wouldn't recognize me. I look a lot different then when you saw me last."
Her laugh sounded so familiar. Her eyes poked at me. Probing at me to find what I was trying to remember.
Her face went soft again and there was a little bit of sadness in it. "I forgive you, Wren."
My eyes went wide. The realization of who this girl was hit me like a lightning bolt to my brain. My body went numb. The tears fell from my unblinking eyes. My face, full of disbelief, heated as the memories flowed through.
I fell to my knees.
"It's me Wren." Tears filled her eyes as she smiled. "It's me."