Living In Misery

2663 Words
CandiAnn POV   I gasped and sat straight up in shock as a bucket of ice water was dumped on me, waking me up and soaking the thin blanket I was covered up with. I heard several people laughing and then I heard my sister's voice saying, "Get up, wench! Breakfast won't make itself!"   I finally managed to focus enough to see my fraternal twin sister, Katya and her boyfriend Cody standing over me, while Cody's best friend David was standing just behind them. All three were laughing at me, and an empty bucket hung from Cody's hand.    I wanted to glare at them and inform them they could make it themselves, but I knew better. Talking back to them only served to bring about another beating.    "I'm coming," I told them, careful to avert my eyes.    "You have fifteen minutes, wench," Katya snarled. "If I'm not eating in fifteen minutes, well, you know what happens."   With that, the three of them left the room.    I shuddered. The last time a meal was late, the beating I'd gotten from various pack members had left me unable to walk for a week.   Let me introduce myself here. My name is CandiAnn Amberson. My twin sister Katya and I are the daughters of the gamma of the Howling Wolf Pack. But if you were to ask our parents - Gamma Richard and his mate Kelly - they would tell you they only have one daughter - their precious Katya. I don't know why they resent me, why they're ashamed of me. I've given up trying to figure it out.    I'm seventeen years old. I'll be eighteen in three days. That's when I'll finally get to meet my wolf and shift for the first time. You see, we're werewolves. You've probably been told we don't exist, but we do. Most humans have no idea we live and work among them every day. We live in packs scattered across the world. I live in Little River Falls, Wyoming, on a mountain called Grand Teton. Our pack is pretty large - we have around 1000 members. We're not the largest pack in the United States though - that honor goes to the Whispering Pines Pack in Pike's Peak, Colorado.    I'm basically the pack slave. I had to beg to be allowed to go to school. I'm a senior at the pack's high school - Howling Wolf High. (I know, very original, right?) But besides going to school, I have to cook breakfast and dinner for the pack every day throughout the week, and on the weekends I'm responsible for all three meals. I also have to clean the packhouse from top to bottom, and keep up with laundry for everyone living in the packhouse. That's about fifty werewolves. I usually only manage to get about 3-4 hours of sleep a night. Luckily wolves don't need as much sleep as humans. My bedroom, if you want to call it that, is a converted walk in linen closet. There's barely enough room for my small, twin size cot that I sleep on. I have one pillow - which I had to beg for - and a thin blanket to cover up with.    I went to the bathroom across the hall, grabbing dry clothes from my small stack of clean clothes on the way. I have exactly five outfits, and two sets of pajamas. Most of my clothes have holes in them, which I've carefully patched myself using the sewing skills I'd taught myself by watching videos online. Two of my outfits were for when I was cooking and cleaning, and the other three were dedicated to school.    I quickly did my business, then changed into the dry clothes after quickly drying myself off with a used bath towel someone had hung over the shower curtain rod. I shoved my long, straight-as-a-pin blonde hair into a high ponytail, then brushed my teeth. I glanced in the mirror as I brushed. I didn't think I was ugly, but I was definitely no beauty queen. I noted that my green eyes looked dull and lifeless, but I suppose that was to be expected, given the living h**l my life was. I was too thin, but since I wasn't allowed to eat much if any of the food that I cooked, I couldn't help that.    I quickly ran up the stairs to the kitchen. The rest of my so called family lived on the third floor of the packhouse, along with the beta's family. The alpha and his family lived on the fifth floor. But me? My family forced me to live in the basement. I just tell myself that it might be cold, dark, and damp down there, but at least I have the entire basement to myself, with the exception of a few mice. The basement was underground, with no windows, so no one else wanted to live down there. I don't want to either but I have no choice. The first and second floors of the packhouse were for any pack members that wished to live there, which mostly consisted of the young, unmated members. The fourth floor was for the offices of the alpha, beta, gamma, and their mates. There was also a big conference room up there for when officials from other packs came for a meeting. Also on the first floor was the kitchen, dining room, and the common living area. In the living area there were three couches, a few chairs, several chairs, a big 50 inch flat screen TV on one wall, and a pool table. There was also a separate, slightly smaller TV that was just for gaming. We had a PS5, an XBox Series X, and a Nintendo Switch. I only knew about those because I had to keep them clean. I wasn't actually allowed to play them.    I quickly began pulling out eggs, bacon, and pancake batter. In just a few minutes, I had several stacks of pancakes ready, a couple big bowls of scrambled eggs, a couple plates piled high with bacon, and was brewing my second pot of coffee. I even managed to hide in a corner and shove a piece of bacon in my mouth. I immediately followed it up with a breath mint so hopefully no one would notice the smell of bacon on my breath - eating without permission would result in ten lashes of a belt across my bare back. I had learned that the hard way a couple of times. And I had always been curious about if coffee tasted as good as it smelled, but I wasn't allowed to actually drink it. I was only allowed water.   I carried the plates out to the dining room and began setting them out on the two long tables that were pushed together to form a buffet of sorts. After I'd done that, I took one of the pots of coffee and walked around the dining room, filling coffee cups for anyone who wanted it. I was careful to turn my head away from everyone, not wanting them to smell the bacon on my breath. Even though I'd taken the breath mint, werewolves have a very strong sense of smell.    I was pouring Katya's coffee when she suddenly grabbed my shirt and yanked me down to her, putting her face in mine. The sudden movement caused the coffee to slosh out of the pot, landing on her arm. "Ouch!" she screamed. "YOU BURNED ME!!"    "No, I - " I started to protest, but she cut me off.   "Don't try to deny it!" she shrieked. "Everyone in this room saw you do it!"   Several wolves surrounding her murmured and nodded their heads in agreement. She smirked at me. "Also, is that bacon I smell on your breath? Dad!"   Dad - or Gamma Richard, as he makes me call him - walked over to us. "What's the problem, sweetie?" he asked her.    "The little thief is at it again," she told him. "She's been stealing bacon. I can smell it!"   Gamma Richard glared at me. "Is that true, wench?"   If you haven't noticed, 'wench' appears to be their go to nickname for me.   "No," I lied.      "Lies!" he roared, backhanding me across the face.   Everyone in the dining room stared, but no one dared to intervene. Most of them probably thought I deserved it. And most of the ones that thought I deserved it had slapped me around a few times themselves.    I shrunk back from him in fear. I was only 5'8 and 110 pounds soaking wet. He was 6'3 and 240 pounds. Not to mention that he was muscular and I was stick thin.    "Please," I whimpered, "don't hurt me. I haven't eaten in three days. I-I was starving. Please...."   "You deserve to starve after what you did!" he screamed at me. "You broke the rules so you don't eat!"   By "broke the rules," he meant I had been three minutes late serving dinner a few nights ago. Dinner was to be served at 6:30 on the dot. I had cut my finger chopping vegetables and had to quickly bandage it up to keep from bleeding into the food. In hindsight, I should've just bled all over everything and let them eat their bloody food on time, I thought bitterly.   "Please," I whispered. "I won't do it again."   "To the basement with you!" he roared.    I bowed my head and started to walk towards the stairs, knowing that he was right behind me and already unbuckling his belt. My heart was pounding in my ears.    "Wait." I turned to see Alpha Kyle Jacobs, Cody's father approaching us. "Gamma, I know this is not my business, but she turns eighteen in three days, correct?"   "Yes, Alpha," my "father" replied.   "Perhaps she should be allowed at least a few meals between now and then, so she will have the energy to shift. Child sized meals at least," Alpha Kyle said calmly. "After all, if she dies, we would have a body to deal with plus we'd have to find someone else to cook and clean."   Gamma Richard considered for a minute, then nodded. "I suppose you're right, Alpha." He turned to me and grabbed my chin, forcing me to face him. "You got lucky this time, you little thief. But mark my words, if you do something like this again, it'll be twenty lashes and a whole week with no food, you hear me?"   I nodded.    "I don't hear an answer!!" he roared.   "Y-yes, Gamma," I stammered.    "Now, what do you say to the alpha?" he demanded.   "T-thank you, Alpha," I stammered.   Alpha Kyle nodded at me and walked away.    Gamma Richard glowered at me. I knew that was because he felt like I'd gotten him in trouble with the alpha.  "Now, since the alpha has suggested it, go fix a child's size serving of eggs and pancakes and eat it. No bacon, since you already stole a piece!"   I nodded quickly. "Yes, Gamma."   I hurried away before he could say anything else. I placed half a scoop of eggs and a single pancake on a plate and took it to the kitchen to eat it.    After breakfast, I had just enough time to clean up and then I had to hurry to school. I used to walk to school, but a few weeks ago I saw a bicycle placed on the side of the road for the garbage truck to pick it up. It had flat tires and one handle on the handlebars was missing, but I aired and patched the tires up and wrapped duct tape around where the handle went and it was ready to ride. The light pink paint was chipping off and it had a couple small rust spots, but overall it was in decent shape. It sure did make the trip to school and back faster.     I threw my backpack on my back and ran back down to my room where I had my bicycle squeezed in beside my bed. I quickly but quietly rolled it up the stairs and out the front door, making sure it didn't leave tire tracks or dirt behind. Once I was out of the parking area, I pulled my helmet and knee pads out of my backpack and made sure the chain and lock were there. I'd had to carefully save up the change I scrounged up out of the couches and the washer and dryer in order to buy them. The helmet was light pink, and the knee pads were white.   I was about halfway to school when Katya flew by me in the little black sports car our parents had bought her for her - technically our - 17th birthday. They never even bothered to acknowledge that it was my birthday, too.   Katya tooted the horn and waved with her middle finger in the air as she drove by. I simply ignored her and didn't bother to react.    I arrived at school just three minutes before the bell rang. I hurriedly grabbed the chain and lock and locked my bike to the bike stand at the edge of the parking lot. When I turned to hurry into the school, I groaned when I saw Cody and several of his goons standing near the entrance.    I walked with my head down towards the doors. Hopefully they would just let me pass without messing with me.    "Well, well, well, what have we here, boys?" Cody drawled.   D**n it. Why couldn't they leave me alone?   I tried to keep walking by them, keeping my head down to avoid eye contact, but Ethan Lovelace - the pack's future gamma, since my parents didn't have any sons and Katya didn't want the position - stepped out and blocked my way. (The gamma position, by the way, had never been offered to me and I wouldn't have accepted it if it was.)   "Please let me by," I whispered quietly. I knew that they would still hear me due to werewolf hearing.    They all guffawed. "Please let me by," Ethan mocked me in a high pitched, nasally tone. Then, in his normal voice, he added, "But why, baby? Don't you want to hang out with us?" He attempted to run his hand down my back, stroking my ponytail, but I shoved his hand aside.   "Ooh, Ethan, did she just hit you?" Cody hooted. "You gonna let her get away with that?"   "You know, I don't think I am," Ethan answered. With that, he shoved my hand away and grabbed my ponytail this time, yanking my head back.    I felt tears of pain spring to my eyes as he pulled my ponytail as hard as he could. I'm surprised he didn't rip it out.   "Listen here, fatty," he growled. "You hit me again, you'll be swallowing your teeth, understand?"   I just stared at him. I hate them, I thought. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them!   He pulled my head back a little farther. "Did you hear me, fatty?!" he roared.   "Yes!" I managed to say.    "Yes, what?"   "Yes, I understand!" I whimpered.   He let me go and slapped the back of my head, shoving it forward so fast it's a wonder I didn't get whiplash. "Good. I'm glad we had this talk."   Cody and the other goons all snickered as they walked past, and Cody shoved my head down too.    I just stood there for a minute, trying to pull myself together. I had made myself a promise years ago that they would never see me cry again, and so far I'd kept that promise.    One more month, I told myself, just one more month. Just one more month and I can blow this town. I was turning eighteen in three days, and would meet my wolf and shift for the first time. Then, as soon as I graduated, I would be just fine to survive on my own. I couldn't wait.    
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