Amara was happy, it was her seventeenth birthday and her parents had promised it was going to be special, that they had plans to celebrate it that very night. She'd dressed in a pretty little black dress, donned the locket she'd received as a present that morning with Amara engraved on it and little heels, sitting in the lounge room and waiting for them to come back from wherever it was they had gone.
The hours had passed, she remembered. So long, the clock ticking loudly and endlessly as she'd gotten concerned. It wasn't like her parents to be late, let alone keep her waiting for so long. She glanced at her phone for the hundredth time, tried to call them once again and again got their voicemail. It was getting dark and the sun had set long ago, the night creeping in and still no sign of her parents, let alone her stepbrother Damien, who was meant to be celebrating along with them all. She'd never met her stepbrother. He was a few years older than her and the Alpha of the neighbouring pack. All she knew of him was that he'd been away at college and now ran the family business. Otherwise she knew nothing, had no clue what he looked like, let alone what he was like. She remembered wondering where he was as well. Was he with her parents?
The doorbell rang and she moved towards it in a daze, hand outstretched, wondering why her parents weren't just letting themselves in like they normally did. The scent she smelled was familiar though and it took a moment for her to realize who it belonged to before she opened the door on autopilot, seeing her Alpha on the front porch alongside the Beta, his eyes full of anguish and sorrow. Why had the Alpha knocked on the door? He'd already wished her a happy birthday she'd remembered, her knees suddenly feeling weak as she clutched at the door, her strength disappearing completely.
Something was wrong, she'd sensed it instinctively. Alpha Malcolm had gently taken her arm and led her inside the house, making her take a seat as she'd looked up at him, her whole body trembling in fear.
"Where are my parents" she croaked out and he looked away, exhaling deeply, while the Beta gave her a sympathetic look.
"Amara, there was an accident" her Alpha had said very softly, and she remembered thinking that they were just in the hospital, that her birthday could wait so long as they were alright.
"In the hospital" she'd asked numbly and he'd shaken his head.
"I'm sorry love" he'd told her and she'd stilled, terror taking hold.
"Then where" she choked out and he'd reached forward to take her hand, holding it within his own as he stared into her eyes.
There were hunters, he told her as she'd listened, feeling like she was in a trance, unable to utter a single sound or cry. Her parents had been captured coming back to the pack house, still in human territory. They hadn't stood a chance. There had been too many of them to fight and the wolfsbane they were shot with had been a large volume, proving to be fatal. Alpha Malcolm had gone in search of them once they'd taken too long to come back and stumbled on their bodies, lying on the ground next to their car. There had been nothing he could do, he told Amara, it was far too late and they were long gone. His eyes were full of pain and regret as she'd inhaled in shock and then begun to cry, tears trickling down her cheeks.
Her stepbrother had never arrived, having phoned to cancel citing he couldn't get away due to the business. Amara supposed it was a blessing otherwise he might have been killed by the hunters as well, but it stung. Would her parents still be alive if there had been three of them fighting instead of just the two? She would never know.
Amara had assumed she would go to live in the pack house, having no one to look after her and wanting to stay within her own pack. It had made sense to her, so when the Alpha had informed her she was to travel to the next pack, the Crimson River Pack, to live with her stepbrother, she was shocked. How could she live with someone she didn't even know? She hadn't wanted to go, had pleaded with Alpha Malcolm to stay but his hands had been tied. Her stepbrother Damien had been placed as her guardian in her parent's will and legally she had to go whether she liked it or not.
So she'd packed, she'd traveled and she'd moved into a new pack house, but not in her stepbrother's wing, but the omegas. She was turned into an omega, her wolf not coming to her until she turned eighteen, spending her days cleaning alongside the others as her stepbrother ignored her completely. She still had yet to lay eyes on him as he never left his wing unless it was in the dead of night to go on business. It had looked like he hadn't really wanted to be her guardian either and she was left alone every night, a small bedroom her sanctuary and nothing but orders barked at her all day long by the other shifters who saw her as nothing but a pathetic shifter who did their laundry and cleaned their rooms.
Every night she had the same dream. A group of hunters were pursuing her as she ran, still not able to shift into her wolf form, her legs pumping wildly as a group of them stalked her, rifles held up on their shoulders, dressed in their camouflage clothing. Shots would be fired and tranquilizer darts and silver bullets would go flying past her head as she struggled to get away before finally being hit, sprawling to the ground and lying there, unable to move as one man in particular came closer, his eyes shining in the darkness as he leant down and whispered "you're all mine little wolf."
Amara woke up screaming once again.