I’ve never been so cold before. The rain is lashing and I feel a sense of loss so heavy that it physically weighs on my chest.
I float in and out of consciousness as I hear voices yelling that they found someone still alive. A light flashes across my eyes and then disappears. I'm carried and end up somewhere warm. I’m confused and mentally exhausted as I drift into the abyss.
I wake up to Abigail gently shoving me awake.
“Are you having that dream again?” She asks.
“Yes,” I reply, wiping the sleep out of my eyes. I'm exhausted but I can see the first tell-tale signs of dawn outside the small window so I know I can’t go back to bed. As soon as I sit up I feel the dream slipping away from me.
Abigail looks at me remorsefully, “You haven’t had that dream in a while. Was anything different about it?”
I shake my head. This is the only dream that I ever remember having. Recently, it has been coming more frequently and feels more and more vivid, but I can’t remember much besides feeling grief every time I wake up. I feel the chills so deeply and pain so gut-wrenching I want to cry out, then the haze and confusion pull me in and I wake up shivering and cloudy like I had just forgotten something important.
There’s something that I can’t seem to remember waking up, something that feels like I need to break through it.
Abigail pats my back and says, “Everyone else is already heading downstairs, I tried waking you a few times.” I look at the five other empty mattresses on the floor of our small attic room.
Shit. Being even a second late means the worst shift assignments since Meghan took over as lead omega. I can’t tell if the “power” has already gotten to her head, or if she’s overcompensating for how much we all loved our previous lead omega who one day retired and went back to the pack she was from without so much as saying goodbye to anyone
I tell Abigail to hurry down as I get dressed, but she waits for me. Abigail has been around since I got here as a kid. My earliest memories are of working in this packhouse. She has trained me how to do everything to the highest standards of the pack, she has covered for me when I made mistakes as a kid, and she has taken beatings for my mistakes.
She is my closest friend, even though she's 20 years older and feels like family.
I quickly throw on some leggings and a shirt, it doesn’t matter what we wear to the morning meeting as our uniforms depend on the s**t we’re assigned, and hurry down the stairs behind Abigail leading into the kitchen.
I try to hide behind the others unnoticed as Meghan, is talking about Hailey’s upcoming birthday ball her bleach blonde ponytail punctuating every sentence.
“I need everything to be perfect, as my name is riding on this.” I look at Abigail and roll my eyes, trying to hide a laugh.
We all know that she is sleeping with the Alpha, and that’s the only reason she got the role. His Luna is not his true mate, not many people know that.
Actually, outside of the packhouse no one does. In public, they play the part, but we know that people who are truly mated would never have eyes for another and the Alpha has made it very clear he has had eyes for a few omegas.
Usually, the head omega position is a position of respect and gained from years of experience, not a bleached blonde ponytail and a skin-tight dress. I didn’t have much contact with her before she was made lead but I know from the other omegas talking that she was lazy and always tried to pawn off her work onto others.
Meghan looks up from her hot pink clipboard when she hears my giggle. Her obnoxiously tall heels make it so she can see me over the other omegas. Her dull blue eyes seem to flicker as she plasters a smile onto her face.
“Ah Isla. It looks like you volunteered for deep cleaning duty.” The past few weeks she has been singling me out for everything, and I have no idea why.
I smile in return, “That sounds great, thanks.”
Meghan looks slightly shocked, but composes herself, “That’s what I like to hear from a mutt, you’ll take what’s given to you. Lucky to have a roof over your head even if you have to clean s**t stains off the toilets for the rest of your days in exchange for a lumpy mattress.” She raises one eye and smirks at me.
It’s almost as if she forgets that she’s an omega. In this pack, omegas are treated like filth. I haven’t been to any other packs but I heard once that omegas sometimes get treated like a part of the pack at some other packs, but that could just be rumors. Packhouse omegas are rarely allowed to even leave the packhouse here.
Meghan must have said something while I was deep in thought because she marches up to me and pulls my hair so hard I let out a yelp and am pulled from my thoughts.
“Listen to me when I’m talking to you, mutt.” This got a few laughs from the omegas that were trying to stay on her good side. Even though no one respected her, the Alpha’s anger was not to be messed with.
She pulled me behind her and the omegas made a path. My scalp is burning as I get pushed to the floor and hit my knees.
“You’re lucky you’re even considered an omega, mutt.” She glares down at me and I hold my gaze steady looking up.
Meghan fuels off the few uncomfortable laughs that she’s getting, mistaking them for people actually on her side.
“You should have died with your rogue parents, not like you’re doing much use here.”
I hear Abigail pushing through the omegas trying to get to me. No one's laughing at this point, they all know that she took it too far.
I consider myself lucky every day to be taken in by the Silver Moon pack, blessed by the Moon Goddess herself.
As an orphan rogue, I never would have survived another year in the wild, especially as young as I was.
I know what I am, and where I came from, but I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t remember anything before I was “adopted” by this pack and started working in the packhouse, but I know I got lucky being taken into this pack.
I try to stand up and she kicks me down. I look her in the eye and stand up again.
“I am blessed to be part of this pack. It is an honor, one that the Alpha saw fit to bestow on me.” I emphasize the word Alpha, “I am not a rogue, I belong to this pack, and you can say what you want about me but you can’t say that I don’t belong here. I am just as much part of this pack as you are '' I c**k my chin looking up at her even though she's a good half foot taller than me in her heels.
She raises her eyebrow but seems taken aback by my sudden defiance. Honestly, I am too.
She gestures towards the linen closets.
“I think it’s only fitting that you’re cleaning all the bathrooms on the Alpha floor. Alone.” I already know this is going to be torture, their bathrooms are huge and it usually takes a team of 5 to do them in a day.
"Make sure you take extra care of the Alpha's office bathroom, or there will be hell to pay."
I turn to walk away, I better get started as soon as possible.
“Oh, and Isla?”
I turn back without saying anything.
“It's a deep cleaning day, and I think we’re all out of gloves.” She smiles sweetly and laughs, turning back to her clipboard.