My eyes followed the flock of birds heading towards our home.
It's just another normal day . . . Those birds aren't a sign of bad times.
I repeated the words in my head, the reassurance was important to me.
Yet it wasn't enough to calm my racing heart pounding against my chest. I dug my nails into my jeans to prevent myself from putting my finger into my mouth and biting at the nail, something I often did when I was anxious or nervous.
Everyone who were aware of 'The Mate Hunt' knew that the messengers were usually not far away from the crazy flock of birds . . . It made sense, considering the messengers were usually shapeshifters that took the form of crows.
I didn't want this. After the accident five years ago, where I'd lost any and all memories from my life before it, I didn't think it was fair to be chosen and sacrificed to devil wolves in that God damn bloody mate hunt.
So what if all of these demon wolves were crazy because of the death of their mates? It was the consequences of their past actions, it was only because of the sins they had committed did they have to suffer the way they were doing now.
What I didn't understand was why did us mere humans have to be the ones sacrificed to them?
We were weak, could not survive a day in the Woods Of Abyss with those creatures.
I still had hope however, maybe I wasn't going to be chosen. Maybe, just maybe the heavens would feel sorry for me and I will be spared from this doom.
As if on cue, the universe seemed to knock me straight back to reality as a knock sounded on our door.
My mother lifted her hands to her mouth, her eyes one of worry and regret.
She must have already sensed what was to come, just as I did.
With trembling hands she reached forward to open the door.
The man dressed all in red scanned his surroundings, his eyes landing on me. "ALINA WITCHSTON?" He asked, even though his composure already said that he knew the answer to his own question.
Surely he already knew whom I was, the messengers were sent will all the information needed to ensure that they brought back the right girl. That included address, physical appearance description and as if that wasn't enough, a clear photograph that ensured you couldn't be mistaken.
I slowly nodded, despite my mind's protest.
"Congratulations!You've been this month's chosen one." He informed me, his words were spoken with little to no emotion.
Funny that he could be so calm when my heart felt like it was about to explode.
But why should he worry? He was just a messenger, whereas I was the one who was just hours away from being hunted by vicious animals.
"You already know of the rules. But for your sake I'll remind you of them before you enter the Woods Of Abyss . . . For now, you can say goodbye to your family members." He stated dully, his eyes bored.
How many times have he spoken those same exact words to other young human girls?
No one knew exactly what happened to them, all they knew was that after they were taken from their family, they were never seen again.
Now that I was about to find out, I was absolutely scared.
But who wouldn't be?
Who would be happy knowing that they were about to be fed to beasts?
Demon wolves weren't your average werewolves, no. These were wolf shifters that had demons trapped in their bodies. I didn't know the whole story behind it, this was all the information I'd gotten from my parents. But that information alone was all I needed to panic like crazy.
We knew this day was coming, hardly anyone in our village was spared or would be spared . . . Any young human girl that is.
I didn't understand anything about the rules or who exactly made them. Like I said, whatever memories before five years ago were completely wiped out my mind and I was 22 now. So everything wasn't exactly clear to me except the basics.
My parents didn't want to overwhelm me with too much information considering the horrible accident I'd been in. They told me I'd even been in a coma for months, that was why when I'd awaken my body was mostly healed.
I remember being scared, for I couldn't remember a single person. But they had welcomed me with open arms and I was happy to have a family like I did.
Now I was about to say goodbye to them for good.
My mother took me in her arms. "I'm so sorry I couldn't protect you." She cried.
"It's okay mother." I assured her. "I promise you that I will be fine. If I could survive a dangerous accident, then I could survive through this as well."
I wasn't sure whether or not that was true but I needed to say anything so that my family would feel at peace with my departure.
My father rushed through the back door, catching our attention. My younger sister right next to him. His gaze travelled to the messenger, his entire body stiffening at the sight in front of him.
"I saw the birds, I was hoping they weren't heading here." He admitted, his eyes sad and worried as he pulled me into his arms. "I'm so sorry bud."
I returned his hug. "You have nothing to apologize for father, you've raised a strong young lady. I will be fine."
His smile was sad as my sister also wrapped her arms around me. "I wish you didn't have to go." She cried.
I ruffled her hair and gave her forehead a soft kiss. "Me too, but I'll always be in your heart, no matter what. Right?"
She nodded. "Always."
"Just like all of you will be in mine."
"We're getting late." The messenger said looking at his timer. "The hunt is about to start soon. We have to get you back there in time or it would only mean more bad news for you." He informed me.
I tried not to glare at him, he was only doing his job. I said my last goodbyes before following him into the awaiting vehicle parked outside our home.
"Again, these are the rules. Number one: The hunt starts on time. If you reach late, the beasts would still be released at the appointed time." He started, staring pointedly at me.
Okay, I get it. I was already late.
"Number two: The most important rule. Run. Run as fast as you can. These are monsters, no one knows exactly what happens inside of there. Your best chances of survival is outrunning these beasts and staying ahead of them, finding a good hiding spot until the hunt is over."
My body trembled at his words.
"Number three: If one of the wolves want to mate, which is rare considering their true mates are all dead and half of them are already borderline insane. You must submit. Do not fight it."
Mating? That word sent my heart into a frenzy.
You can do this.
Just run . . . That should be easy, except for the fact that these were wolves and they could hunt better than a lot of species out here.
Mating with one of them should be the last of my worries. I've never actually seen one of these wolves in person, so I had no idea what they looked like or how they acted. I didn't believe that any creature who was close to insanity would be bothered with mating anyone.
My heart rate accelerated further as the vehicle came to a stop, the messenger ordering for me to get down. I bit at my nails as I tried to move my feet.
"You're losing time." He warned me, like he'd been doing since we met.
My body trembled as my eyes fell on the large gate that had signs hung up that said 'BEWARE' and 'DANGER AHEAD'.
Why would they even be sending anyone into a place that said danger ahead? Wasn't the point of the sign to keep everyone out?
All thoughts left my mind as the gates opened before me, the creaking sound frightening me further.
"This is it . . ." The messenger announced. "Run girl, RUN!"