“Run, little girl, run, because once we catch you, we aren’t letting go,” he snarls, his hot breath on my face, his eyes pure gold with a crazy look of rage and anger.
The second wolf to his side has already transformed back into a muddy grey, landing on all fours as the forest around me disappears into a blur. My legs have already turned around and led me sprinting into the forest toward our border.
One slip-up and I lost track of where I was going. I knew I shouldn’t have wandered off without Sam. The precious herbs and fruits I was carrying were left back where I was tackled, my collection now spoiled and ruined as it toppled out of the basket when they struck me.
I fought as much as I could, remembering all the training our Beta showed me, angering one of them by slicing his foot open with the little silver dagger I always carry. His eyes said it all. He wasn’t letting me go when they caught me.
I sprint through the forest, trying to remember where to go through the unfamiliar territory as I run. Suddenly a faint smell of mint and honey flows through the wind, stopping me in my tracks. I look around frantically, trying to find the sauce of the scent. I wish now more than ever that I had my own wolf. She would be able to help me defend and move more quickly.
When nothing appears, I continue running. I hear paws pounding around me, but I’m unsure which way they are coming from. Suddenly a golden-honey, light brown wolf leaps over me, soaring above and landing on the grey wolf who’s about to pounce.
I scream, tripping over my feet as the grey wolf bites into the golden-honey wolf’s neck, and blood starts to ooze out, making him weaker. I’ve never seen this wolf before, but he instantly defends me with everything he has. Like his life depends on it.
The second wolf appears as a dark brown wolf with crazy eyes, ignoring the other two while stalking me like prey. He limps through the trees from the injury I gave him earlier. His eyes show an angry hunger as he fixes them on me. He snaps and snarls at me, baring his teeth, making me try to submit to him.
I hear a whimper from the other two. I snap my eyes over to them only to see the golden-honey light brown wolf bloodied and half on the ground next to a dead silver wolf. He’s looking between us frantically, trying to get up. The dark brown one lets out a loud snarl, echoing through the silent trees. My vision suddenly tunnels and blurs as he leaps on top of me. His foul stench is all I remember before falling into darkness.
“Sophia, Soph, come on, wake up,” I hear someone's voice ring through the darkness.
I feel my body being shaken by someone trying to wake me. My eyes finally respond to the caller as they pry open to find a concerned Sam standing over me.
“s**t, thank god, are you ok?” he asks, handing me a bottle of water.
I sat up and looked around. I was back in my room, snuggled up in my own bed. Sam’s standing over me with a concerned look and a towel in the other hand.
My body is coated in a layer of sweat that has completely soaked through to my bed sheets. My pyjamas are now disgustingly sticky and in desperate need of a change.
“I had a nightmare again,” I mumbled, accepting the bottle of water and towel before throwing the sheets over and sitting on the edge of my bed. “This time, it was different, though. It felt so real, everything, from the scents to feel,”
“I know; I could hear you screaming from my room. I linked your sister. She should be here soon,” he responds, moving around my room, making a few adjustments to try and help me feel comfortable. The fan on the ceiling starts to spin low, and the lights turn on to a dull setting, making it easier for me to see in my room.
“You didn’t have to. I’m fine,” I sigh, taking small sips of the bottled water and lightly moving the towel over my sweaty body.
“Soph, come on, it’s been getting worse. You need to tell Narissa. She can help you,” he counters, giving me an ‘I told you so’ look. I roll my eyes, giving him a playful glare.
“You can’t keep on taking her from her duties just because I have a little nightmare. Look I’m fine,” I sigh, trying to stand up, but my body is still so weak that I nearly fall over.
Sam catches me as I fall forward. Moving his arm around me, he helps me sit back in the bed. “Yep, you're fine,” he replies sarcastically, rolling his eyes as he lets go of me.
I look up to argue with my friend, but something stops me as I observe him. His light brown hair is shaggy, and his brown eyes look exhausted and deflated. He's wearing sweats and a grey tee, and he looks like he's just thrown on without any care. This isn’t the Sammy I was used to.
“When was the last time you slept?” I ask, trying to change the topic, as my concern grows for my sister’s Beta while he stands there looking like a mess. Both of them have been working nonstop to get out pack back to ‘normal’ but, in doing so, neglecting themselves in the process.
“I don’t exactly know what sleep is these days,” he shrugs and gives me a weak smile, trying to answer playfully.
“I’m sorry I woke you,” I whisper as a stab of guilt washes over me.
We both have had it rough since the two of us broke up a few weeks ago when my 18th birthday confirmed we weren't mates. These nightmares started that very night, each changing something different each time, it was about mum and dad, but those seemed more memories of a horrific past now. It’s morphed into this golden-honey wolf I’ve never seen before.
My sister hated the idea we were dating because mum and dad valued the bond greatly, but we felt connected. I truly felt Sam was my mate, and I hated that my 18th birthday was filled with disappointment and heartbreak. We have both tried to remain friendly for our pack’s sake, but it’s been hard. I miss him. It’s been hard being around everything but not being with him.
“It’s ok, Soph. I’d do anything for you,” he smiles, leaning in and kissing my forehead.
Tears leave my eyes, streaming down my face silently. At that moment, all I want to do is tell him how much I love him, and nothing else matters, but I can't. I don't want to make things harder for us both.
Narissa flies into my room just as he pulls away. I quickly wiped away my tears before looking at her, not that it really mattered. She probably could smell them.
“Are you ok?” She asks frantically, pulling me into a hug as she sits beside me.
“I’m ok, Nass, I promise. It was just a dream this time, a nightmare, not a memory,” I smiled weakly, trying to reassure them both.
They look at me with uneasiness. I hate that I always pull them away from work. I hate that my night terrors woke everyone up. Of course, I was dubbed as the weirdo who screams at night.
Everyone in the pack knew what was going on. We were a small pack of about 300 people in the middle of nowhere. We were in a secluded area where everyone knew everyone. The pack house was always full of people. About 100 lived here, and the rest lived scattered around us. Wanting privacy to raise their families.
Once you found your mate, you could decide to stay in the pack house or have your own. A lot of people wait until they are ready to have a family before leaving. The perks of chores and cooking come with living at the pack house. The maids helped out a lot with everyone.
Mum and dad ran the pack for years until a few years ago when they died in an attack that nearly cost us, everyone. We were around 800 strong but were wiped out entirely by an attack from a neighbouring pack wanting our land. Dad and them have always had a feud and were butting heads, but we never actually thought they’d go to ‘war’ over it, but then they did.
When we were on our moonlit run, they snuck up on us, killing nearly everyone. Kids, women, and the elderly. They didn’t care until dad challenged their alpha.
Dad fought hard for us as his daughters and his pack, but he was already weak, the other alpha wasn’t even in the attacks. They first went for mum making him even weaker, as soon as they knew the bond had snapped they took dad at his most vulnerable. We all felt the link snap as our Alpha and Luna fell, my sister the most. She transformed into her beautiful midnight wolf Netty and killed everyone else in sight for retaliation in killing our parents and pack members.
From then on it’s just been the three of us leading this pack, although not many people really trust me as of late with all the night terrors. When it’s something they can’t explain, they freak out and think I’m a bad seed or something, plus the fact I can’t shift into a wolf or show any signs of magic ability considering dad was an Alpha and mom was a witch from a strong line of witches.
“Ok, do you want to go back to sleep or food?” Narissa asks, looking between me and Sam.
“I would love food right now but my body is just in a slump. I think if I try to sleep more maybe that will help,” I sigh, rubbing my eyes and slowly moving towards my walk-in closet to change into a fresh pair of pajamas.
“Ok, how about we get you something small while you get changed,” she suggested.
My eyes quickly lit up in excitement at the prospect of food. I glance at my clock on my bedside only to see it's 3am.
“Ok,” I sigh, giving in. I can see them linking to each other, probably discussing me. They both nod and leave me in my bedroom fumbling through my closet for clothes.
After waiting for them to return I grow concerned when they haven’t come back. I grab my nightgown and throw it on before heading toward the kitchen or Nass’ office. The small automatic hall lights flicker on as I move through our packhouse offering some light in the dark hallways. Most of our members are sleeping except the ones who run patrol in the evenings with Nass.
I’m just about to walk past her office when I hear their voices. I’d recognize them anywhere. They’ve always fought like siblings and I can still hear them arguing through the closed door.
"You can’t keep hiding this from her Nass,” Sam says disapprovingly.
“There’s nothing to tell her, okay. I don’t want to freak her out more or cause her any more pain,” Nass’ voice snaps back.
“You can’t ask me to keep this from her, I won’t do that to the one I love,” Sam responds.
My heart breaks hearing the pain in his voice as he tries to fight her command.
I love him and he loves me but we aren’t meant to be together … we aren’t mates. We know that there is someone out there for each of us, more likely for him than for me. For our future mate we need to move on to avoid more heartache.
“What would you have me tell her, Sam? That I’m dying?” Nass’ hissed in a low voice. “You saw how she coped when mum and dad passed away. What do you think will happen when she finds out I am, too. She's only just recovered from mum and dad, and then you two just broke up. What am I to do?”
My heart stopped, I threw my hands over my mouth to muffle my gasp. Both of them were extremely good at scent and hearing everything, I didn’t want to be caught sneaking around even if it was an accident.
“At least please stop using magic to heal people, it's growing, and the more it grows the weaker you get,” Sam begs. “What’s the point in healing everyone when we won’t have an Alpha to lead us? Magic always has a price, and it seems, when you heal people it’s a life for a life, it’s taking away your life because you give it to others.”
“I can’t let my members die, Sam,” Nass sighs as I hear them shuffling around behind the closed door.
“Then at least allow them to pass naturally, we have medications these days, try different avenues before magic, make it a last resort. You and Soph are the only family I have left, I don’t know what I’d do if both of you leave me,” he pleads again, trying to make my sister see reason.
Tears stream down my face as I grasp the understanding of how sick my sister is. I have to pull myself together because, if they find out I know, it’ll be bad, she won’t be happy. She didn’t talk to me for ages the last time she found out I was eavesdropping.
I creep back to my bedroom, completely losing my appetite for food and curl up in a little ball hoping my dreams will whisk me away in a peaceful sleep, possibly dreaming of my savior, the golden-honey wolf.