“Mayday, mayday! Engines down! Emergency landing required! I repeat mayday! Hello?! Mayday! Going down!” I shouted into my radio com as I wrestled the throttle for some form of control. The drift of cruel snow and forceful winds didn’t help either. I tried in vain to steady the small plane as I prepared for an emergency landing just like I had been trained. I guided the small white plane into the wind, trying to slow it down somewhat. I had given up trying to reach someone at the station. If no one had answered her distress call by now then no one would.
The plane slowed down just enough for me to guide it to a clearing between the large oak trees. The sharp white of the landscape hurt my eyes. But I ignored it like it was just another detail in a training mission. I smiled in a small victory as I gained control over the plane and brought it in to land. It was short lived as the forecasted storm hit the side of the plane, causing it to tilt towards the unforgiving line of thick oak trees. I had no time to try and avoid them so I braced for impact. I hit the trees nose first, the jolting impact throwing me into darkness.
It was the pain…. the excruciating pain in my leg and side that pulled me out of my dreams of planes crashing and gale force winds strong enough to overturn cars and cows. But it was the piercing coldness pressing into me that made me realize that it wasn’t a dream. I blinked away the blurriness that fogged up my vision and took in my surroundings. The windshield had completely shattered, with shards of glass glittering the co-pilot’s chair, floor and my lap. The left wing must have ripped off in the crash cause there was a huge gash in its place, allowing the penetrating cold into the plane.
The inside was a wreck, supplies and parts thrown everywhere. I don’t think the fuel tank got damaged so that’s a plus I reassured myself. I tried to get up but the pain in my leg and side stopped me. I looked down at my leg, groaning in frustration when I saw a jaggered piece of metal sticking out of it. It seemed that it was lodged into the seat underneath me, pinning me to the chair.
I put my hands on the seat next to my leg and pushed up. I screamed at the unbearable pain sliding down my leg and stopped the second I started. My heart was beating so fast that that was all I could hear. I took deep breaths and tried to calm my heart rate so that I could think clearly. I shook away the fogginess the pain had created and braced myself to try again. I send a silent prayer up to Artemis and I gritted my teeth and prepared for the agonizing pain that I knew was about to come.
I felt my body go ridged, every muscle in my body tensing, as I pushed up once more, this time shoving past mind-numbing pain. I felt every inch of the jaggered steal slide through my leg, the sucking sound caused by the tight muscle and free flowing blood made me feel sick as it rang through the cabin. I ignored it and continued until my leg was completely free of the rod.
I threw my body into the co-pilots chair and drew in deep breaths, waiting for the pain to ebb away slightly. It blanked out the pain in my side. I looked around the cabin spotting a scarf on the floor which I grabbed and wrapped tightly around the bleeding wound, tying it tightly above it in the hopes that it would slow down the blood that was staining a deep red path down my leg.
As I calmed down I realized for the first time that I was shaking and wondered if it was the rapid blood loss or the fact that all I was wearing was a thin long sleeve shirt and ripped jeans. I pulled up the bottom of my shirt, shivering as the freezing air met my exposed skin as I revealed the reason why my side hurt so much. I winced at the sight of already darkening bruises. I knew from experience that something was broken. I touched my side lightly, flinching at the pain as I pressed deeper into my side, feeling my ribs. I counted three broken ribs and at least two fractured. I pulled down my shirt, colder than I should be, and took slow breaths to control my bodies response to the pain.
When I could handle the constant dull ache from my ribs and the sensation of fire crawling under my skin from the thin hole in my leg I called on my wolf’s courage to stand up without crying out. I felt the familiar sensation of wanting to take on the world that came with using my wolfs valor.I held my breath and the scream bubbling in my throat as I slowly stood up, holding onto the back of my chair so that I wouldn’t fall over before making my way through the small plane. There wasn’t much here when I boarded the plane. I found an empty back pack which I filled with energy bars and water as well as a rolled-up blanket. I was about to make my way out the plane when I spotted a red bag with a white cross on it. I sent a silent prayer to Artemis, thanking her as I pulled it off the wall.
I took a seat on the long bench and unzipped it in a hurry, grinning at the contents. It held everything, from bandages and bacterial cream to a flashlight and small bottles of vodka. I grabbed the bottle of pain pills and washed two down with one of the bottles of vodka before zipping it back up and putting it into my backpack with the rest of my treasures. I grabbed my fallen coat and gloves and wearily stepped out into the cold.
I pulled on my black gloves and slipped on my grey coat, wrapping it tightly around me. I pressed one hand against the blood soaked make shift bandage and the other against my broken ribs, trying to limit my movements so that it would hurt less, before I started walking. I tried to call on my wolf but she refused to take on my pain so I swore her and pushed on through the cold.
My wolf and I didn’t get along at the best of times but she was my best friend. Everyone gets their wolf at different ages depending on their rank. So, if you were a beta then your wolf would come at the age of 10 but if you were an alpha your wolf would come whenever it deemed you were ready. I was the youngest alpha to receive her wolf. She came to me when our home was under attack by another rival pack, I was 7.
I don’t know how long I was walking for, my pace slowing ever hundred meters, my legs numb and my feet sinking further and further into the growing snow. I was so tired. My wolf had stopped providing words of encouragement a few hours ago. If I didn’t bleed to death then the cold would get me. I felt my eyes begin to close. I looked up at the horizon, looking for any sign of civilization. I squinted against the growing darkness, not completely sure if I was seeing things or not. It looked like a collection of cabins arranged in an almost complete circle. I silently thanked Artemis for this stroke of luck as I sped up.
I did my best interpretation of a run, which was more like a clumsy stumble at a fast pace,until I eventually reached the outside of the circle. It looked abandoned. Not a single light was on. The wind whipped at my clothes, the cold that came with is stung my face. But I never paid attention to it. The wind carried a scent that drew out my wolf from her slumber. It smelt like warm cherries. My wolf perked up her head and sniffed the air trying to pinpoint the scent. As soon as she located it she took control of my entire body. I didn’t understand why she was so excited. It had never happened before.
I let her lead me, craving more of the wonderful smell for some reason. She lead me to one of the cabins at the head of the circle, almost going crazy with excitement. I made my way up the short flight of wooden stairs, wincing in pain from my leg. I tried the door but it was locked. My wolf growled in frustration. Shut up! I told her, I can pick the lock. That seemed to calm her down a bit. Hurry. She told me.
What’s with you? I asked as I took a pin out of my pocket and bent down to reach the lock. My mate is here. I can smell it. Hurry. She informed me. Her words caused me to stop. What did you say? I asked. our mate lives here. I can feel it. I know you can feel it too. Please hurry. She begged me. Ok ok. I told her resuming my lock picking. A minute later the lock clicked open and we both celebrated.
I knew that if she could my wolf would have taken over fully, but because I was injured I couldn’t transform. She did however take over all my actions, eagerly pushing open the door and stepping inside. The door clicked closed softly behind us. The smell was stronger in here, almost consuming.
I stood still, taking in the large cabin. It was spacious in a cozy way with a large fireplace with a flat screen and big sofas. It looked to be open plan. The kitchen was just off to my right, a breakfast counter separating it from everywhere else. Everything looked modern and state of the art but outdoorsy and rustic. It took my breath away. I wondered deeper into the cabin, past a large bathroom and a storeroom loaded with supplies, finally coming to a stop at the end of the cabin.
On the wall hung a large portrait of Artemis and Selene with two wolves at their side. It was beyond beautiful. I looked into the room on my left. It seemed to be a type of infirmary for one with a whole bunch of first aid fit to supply a small hospital. I pushed the door open further and stepped inside.
I raided the cupboards for bandages and disinfectant finding them both in the first one I raided. I soaked a cloth in warm water, took off my jeans and took a seat on one of the chairs. I unwrapped the blood-soaked scarf, wincing as it pulled at the jaggered cut. I wiped the area clean before disinfecting it and wrapping it neatly with the bandage. I pulled my pants back on and wondered into the last room directly across the infirmary.
I opened the door and the first thing that hit me was the smell. It was so strong that it made my wolf go crazy. The smell of warm cherries seemed to come from everything. I wondered deeper into the bedroom, turning in slow circles and taking everything in. a large bed took up most of the back wall, with a huge bookshelf on the right and a deep oak nightstand on the left of the bed, a small but crowed desk sat next to it against the wall. A fireplace sad directly opposite the bed with picture frames decorating the top and a mural of a forest above it.
I moved closer to the fireplace, wanting to get a better look at the pictures. All of them held the same girl with different people. It made me wonder if my mate already claimed someone, perhaps this girl. She was beautiful and it didn’t surprise me that someone would claim her. It made me jealous that it couldn’t be me. Maybe I was too late. There was no way I could compete against her.
Mate, mate, mate. My wolf chanted. No. I told her. He’s claimed her. I pointed out. She didn’t seem to listen to me though. I felt a deep sadness swell in my chest at the realization. I would never have a mate. Once a wolf claims another it’s for life. I looked up at the mural hoping that the mesmerizing sight of the seemingly endless forest will relieve the sadness. The more I looked at it the more it seemed like the forest was moving, I could even make out tiny wolves running through the trees. It took my breath away.
The sound of the front door opening pulled my out of the alluring picture. Strangers! My wolf shouted at me as if I didn’t already know that. But as soon as she said that the smell of cherries overwhelmed me. It was fresh, like my mate had just entered the house. I drew my gun out of its holster on my jeans and made my way cautiously back down the hallway and to the door.
Three people stood in the doorway, their faces in shadows as they stood against the light. The possibility of threats quieted my wolf as I aimed my gun at the middle figure. As the person took a step towards me into a shaft of light their face became clear, it was the girl from the pictures. “who are you and what are you doing in my home?” she demanded softly. Her voice sent goosebumps down my spine. Mate! My wolf shouted and forced me to lower my gun, refusing to aim a weapon at her no matter what threat she posed.
I took a step towards her, captivated. But as soon as I did that the tiredness that I kept at bay took over me. My eyes closed and I felt myself falling. I was so surprised when I never hit the hard floor but instead landed in soft arms. I looked up at the person that now appeared above me. I wanted to tell her but I had no energy. Instead the only words that escaped my lips were, “help me.” Before I passed out.