“W-who are you?!” I demanded. “Show yourself!”
The voice remained calm. “I cannot reveal myself, even if I wanted to, dear Wolf.”
I turned again in the hopes of finding someone behind me, but I was alone and the empty void grew torturous. A soundless night; unnatural. I rubbed at my ears, trying to ease the building ache. It was something so simple - sound. And yet, the absence of it mortified me. I couldn’t imagine a world without noise. Without music. Without the violins.
“You see, my dear, I’m but a spirit. A being without flesh or form. I can neither be touched nor seen.” His voice was crisp, his words eloquent.
I stared at a nearby tree as he spoke. At its branches, specifically, blowing in the wind, thrashing with vigour. None of it reached my ears. Branches danced, bending with ease. Grass twirled in a whirlwind of debris. And while a symphony of sounds should have been orchestrated, silence loomed. It closed in on me with a deafening lull.
“Wh-what’s happening?” I asked, slightly off balance. Wind ripped at the white dress I wore. “What do you want from me? Make your intentions known!”
“I come to you as a friend. Not foe,” he said, his voice circling around me.
“Then why do you corner me alone in the forest?”
A moment passed. “You are free to leave whenever you please. I do not intend to harm you, in fact, I would like nothing more than to help you. As I’ve told you, I carry a message, one you might find to be of great value.”
For a while I stood there, contemplating whether I should listen to the ramblings of madness. “What sort of message?”
“A message of your future.”
The hair at the back of my neck rose as the wolf inside me stirred. A cold shiver crawled down my spine, leaving a trail of goosebumps in its wake.
“I can see the future, Wolf. I know when your end will come and when fate will crush you.”
Crush me? I didn’t trust this unknown voice and wasn’t interested in hearing any more of his mindless mumbling. My mind was made up and I moved. Swiftly, heading straight for the packhouse.
“Aren’t you curious?” The whisper asked, following me through the forest. “Don’t you want to know what my message entails?”
“Nope.” I quickened my pace.
“I promise, you’d want to hear it.”
Ignoring it, I rubbed at my ears again, wishing for sound to find its way back to me.
“Raiden’s not your mate.”
I stumbled. What did he say? How could he possibly know?
“You will lose him to another. Soon.”
The blood in my veins turned to ice. My feet had stopped moving. I wanted to speak, but my mouth dried and I found my tongue sticking to the top of my palate. How? What? Who?
I couldn’t move. Couldn’t think, couldn’t react. Instead, I just stood there, staring into the nothingness. My whole world. He was it for me. Raiden. It couldn’t be true. I wouldn’t survive it if it was. All the plans for our future? Everything we’ve built together? All of it, lost in a single sentence. Raiden is not your mate. How could this voice know anything about me or Raiden to start with? Where did it come from and why was it telling me this?
“You don’t scare me,” I bit out through gritted teeth. “Raiden will never betray me!”
“The mate bond is strong; he won’t be able to resist.”
My heart hammered in my chest as I spun around, hoping to see the face of the creature taunting me. My eyes stung. This couldn’t be happening.
“It does not matter how much he loves you now. He’ll not be able to fight against it. You will be tossed aside, and he will move on to live a happy life with his true mate.”
Warmth trickled down my cheek. A single, fat tear.
“You’ll be forced to see him with another. Happy and starting a family of his own. One without you in it.”
Pain. Loss. Betrayal. It cut so deep into me, I could barely breathe.
“You’ll start to die on the inside. Your wolf will be in excruciating pain. Every day you’ll wither a little more until only a shell of a woman remains.”
I shook my head; I couldn’t bear it any longer. Pressing my palms against my ears, I sank to the floor. “St-stop,” I stuttered, tears streaking down my face. “P-please, stop.”
Memories of Raiden and I flashed in my mind, fueling my sorrow.
“What about my mate? If Raiden has a different mate, shouldn’t I have one too?”
“Your true mate is dead.” His words cut through me. “The mate you were fated to be with died two years ago, during a rogue attack on his pack.”
With trembling hands, my fingers clawed at the dirt. “I don’t believe you.”
I did believe him. Through blurry eyes, my chest too tight, Istruggled forward, crawling. I needed to suck it up and keep going. I needed to be strong, as always. Strong as a Luna. A Luna was graceful and elegant even in the toughest of times. A Luna couldn’t show emotion. A Luna had an obligation to her pack. A Luna couldn’t be a weakness. I stopped, closed my eyes and let the gravity of his words settle on my shoulders. Raiden is not your mate. I was weak. I was frightened. And I was no Luna. The cracks of doubt had already webbed through my mind. Discovering Raiden wasn’t my fated mate was one thing, but knowing that I’ll never be gifted a mate at all? That was something else entirely.
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked, my voice broken and laced with defeat.
“Because I would like to help you. Not only can I see the future, but I can also render it.”
Render it? As in, change my fate?
“I can give you everything you’ve always wanted. Everything you’ve always dreamed of. More, even. For you, it would be like the magic stories you’ve been told.”
I tilted my head back, looking up and gazing into the night sky. Millions of stars lit up the heavens. I couldn’t hear the violins playing anymore. There was no cello in the background. No piano and no grand crescendo.
“But I’ll need something from you in order to do so.”
My stomach churned. “What do you need?” I asked softly.
“I need you to show me how much the boy means to you. I need to know if you’re worthy of such kindness. I need you to let me into your mind, and into your thoughts. To let me in completely.”