Chapter 1 : Beth

2824 Words
Chapter 1: Beth Her pupils wandered under the thin layer of her eyelids. A sheen veil of sweat covered the surface of her fair skin, glistening and cold. Fingers twisted around the bedsheet like the vice grip of a snake trying to strangle its prey to death. Every muscle in her body was protesting against her mind, as if they were possessed by a spirit that knew her too well to control every aspect of her being. The struggle that she was putting on, was enough to kill, only the intention of hers was to break free of her own prison. “Elisabeth, wake up.” The raspy, yet calm voice was too familiar, yet unknown. Elisabeth’s dry lips were blue from the cold, they parted and a groan escaped them. The same voice repeated the same words, Elisabeth was thinking hard amidst her own broken imagination. Who are you? She wanted to ask but she seemed to have lost her voice to an unknown calamity. “Wake up, it is not time yet. Come back.” The voice sounded well-paced but the urgency in those words was lost amidst the colors behind her eyes. The mosaic that laid before her was a dream Elisabeth was more familiar with, more than the voice that was echoing within the walls of her ears even now. Elisabeth looked down and saw a pair of hands, her own hands. the clothes she was wearing were her own, yet not hers. She was in her body, yet it was not hers. It was a dream, one that felt too real. Elisabeth could not see anything clearly except her own body, a reality that was being created as she saw them. Once again, the voice whispered in her ears, this time as soft as it could get, gentle, yet commanding, “Wake up, It’s not your time yet.” With a painful gasp, Elisabeth felt her eyes snap open. Wide eyes saw nothing but the darkness that enveloped the walls of her room and consumed her within its depths. Her chest heaved with long breaths, she was hungry for breath, like a new born who had just learnt how to take air into its lungs for the first time. Her clenched fists let go of the bedsheets, leaving a clump of wrinkles and creases on the surface. An uncertain tear made its way down the side of her face and slowly trickled over her pillow before it was soaked into it; leaving no trace of itself behind. “Who are you?” She asked to no one in particular. The voice was nowhere to be heard, it left her as soon as Elisabeth came back from her dream. Every time she called out, all that was she received was an echo of her own trembling voice. If her dreams were a prison, then the voice was nothing more than a mysterious guard who released her each time. Elisabeth laid in bed with herself, occasionally her eyes flicked to the window and took a glance at the moon. Every day it seemed to be smiling down at her, today was no different. The spots on the moon were hidden under the spiritual light it gave to the beings of earth. Sleep never came back to her, and Elisabeth was afraid to close her eyes. What if she dreamt again? What if this time she was not rescued by the strange voice? The possibility of her getting trapped into the unknown world was terrifyingly high. Even though it was always the voice that brought her out, she could not trust it to always be there. “Win?” Elisabeth called in her mind as the first rays of sun flashed under her window and chased away the darkness. Elisabeth, who was embraced by the darkness was now basked in the warmth of a new entity. There was no response from her wolf, exactly what Elisabeth had expected. Sighing, she slowly rolled out of bed and padded her way to clean up. The frost in the air was visible as fog and warm breath floating before her face in small clouds. As a wolf, she was thankful to have the natural insulation to protect herself from freezing. However, it would be better if her wolf was a little more interactive. Her pack was shocked when they first heard that Elizabeth’s wolf was dormant. Having a dormant wolf was a big deal and it required lot of willpower for the human to survive the world after it was discovered during the first shift. Steam gathered around her naked body as hot water cascaded down her curves. Her blazing red hair turned a few shades darker as the water dampened it to its core. Gentle droplets rolled down her long eyelashes and dripped down her nose as if escaping her touch. Her dry lips were pink again, pursing and parting as she breathed into the fog filled air and sighed. Morning’s were difficult for Elisabeth. Precisely because she had to get ready for school and look into the mirror, more specifically, her eyes. A pair of mismatched eyes stared back at her with a rising hostility. The green was a gentle color, yet while she looked at her left eye in the mirror, they were rough and endless dept of forest where she got lost and died every day. In an instant, the crispy frost enveloped her when she shifted her eyes to the right, flashing grey. The contrasting colors were both fascinating and terrifying. One of the reasons Elisabeth was inclined to lower her head not show them to anyone. Elisabeth decidedly got ready for school. It was both, a routine and something she never looked forward to. If possible, Elisabeth never wished to face anyone. “Win?” Elisabeth called her wolf again as she pulled a black cardigan over her white shirt. Elisabeth, not expecting a reply, pulled her messy, wavy and long red hair up in a high ponytail. The curls on the lower half of the ponytail ended at her waist. For the last time in the day, Elisabeth looked at herself in the mirror. Her eyebrows were long and sleek, a soft curve over her eyes. Her bow shaped lips were delicate over her fair face. Everything about her were adjectives of those words; delicate, fragile, soft, mild, and the list could go on. The only thing breaking the list were her mismatched eyes. The fierceness that they carried were not hers. Elisabeth was often taken back at the amount of wrath they sometimes carried and flushed within her. Elisabeth feared herself more than others. Carrying her bag over the shoulder, Elisabeth exited her room with a sigh as she was carrying the weight of the world. Covered in black from head to toe, she resembled a dark shadow as she descended down the stairs to the kitchen, almost shocking her roommate to death. Aria raised an eyebrow at Elisabeth and asked, “Is it field day again?” Elisabeth wordlessly nodded and took a seat the four-seater dining table they had at home. The pack school of Wolus pack was indeed peculiar in its teachings and curriculum. Unlike other schools, the goal of Wolus pack school was to ready their students both mentally and physically. To achieve this goal, three days out of five were dedicated solely towards field training, wolf and human both. Having a dormant wolf brough curious eyes and snickers all around her on these days, Elisabeth hated it. As she was thinking about excuses to get out of the three-hour long training, Aria placed a plate of pancakes and a bottle of maple syrup on the side. She then came to her side and took the bottle of syrup, opened the lid and squeezed the syrup out as if taking out her vengeance. Soon enough, the pancakes were drowning in syrup and Aria looked satisfied with her work. Elisabeth’s lips twitched. “This will cure your rotten mood. Eat up pup.” Aria patted her back and went to retrieve her own stack and joined Elisabeth for breakfast. They ate silently, however, the silence on the surface was the complete opposite to the storm raising inside her mind. The dream was once again taking over her thoughts. If Elisabeth was to describe them, they did not sound like dreams at all. More like fragments of images pieced together and placed before her like a puzzle to solve. They were different every time she saw them, never the same. All she could clearly see was herself, her body, but nothing else was clear. Like a layer of thin veil was covering her eyes from seeing the world. Her thoughts were apparent in form of a frown over her forehead, her eyebrows scrunched together and formed a crease on her smooth skin. “It is the dream again, isn’t it?” Aria asked softly. Elisabeth lowered her head down even more, afraid that she would look into her eyes and find the truth. However, Aria did not need to look at her to know that Elisabeth was troubled. That’s what costed Elisabeth for staying with Aria. Her worries, her happiness, troubles, everything was unknown to the world, locked away into the deepest, darkest part of her where no one had access to; her heart. Aria came closest to that part of her, the only person she trusted herself with. But Elisabeth still felt highly uncomfortable when Aria was able to just say when she was disturbed. “I am fine Aria.” Elisabeth spoke for the first time since she woke up. Her fork swiftly pierced the piece of pancake and held it up. She looked up with a small smile. There was nothing wrong with the smile except that it was a perfectly manufactured, fake smile. The pancakes went into her mouth and she took her time savoring the sweetness before she spoke again. “You don’t have classes today?” She placed her fork down, “Upper-level students are given too many privileges. And here we mid levelers will be dragged on the field again.” Aria also smiled, although it was more genuine. Elisabeth envied her for being able to smile so easily. “No, we were given a day off precisely because mid levelers will be dragged on the field today. They don’t have a spare slot for us.” Elisabeth continued to eat her pancakes; the clock was ticking on the wall over her head. As soon as the hand struck seven, Elisabeth picked up her bag and rushed out of the house. Morning sunlight warmed up her face, shone over her red hair like a bunch of silk. The streets of the pack started to fill early in the morning, no one glanced at her as she made her way to school. Others who were also going in the same direction, same destination joined the same road and soon she was surrounded by her own branch mates. Alone and cut off, Elisabeth continued to walk on her own, holding her bag straps tightly in her fists. Her soft footsteps were overwhelmed by the sound of heavy running of other students who were excited to beat each other up in the field today. The Wolus pack had only one school in its territory, one that every one attended if they wished to become a successful warrior or successful in general. The annual record of the Wolus school of Combat and Literary arts was famous for its ways of teaching, yet no one tried to adopt the technique. The school was divided into three branches; The upper level was the branch made of the most skilled, warrior material students. There was no age limit to be able to join the bunch. The only requirement were skills. They were more respected as well, as they would lead the future of the pack when they graduate as different leaders in various fields. The mid-level were students who were moderate in their skills and needed enhancing, they were also students who could not make it to the upper level and were held back to polish themselves. Then came the lower-level branch, the most innocent and sought-after branch of the school. All new comers joined the lower-level branch like kindergarten in human language. However, they were much older when they admit. Then their skills are determined and they are chosen for combat or literary, if none then they are by default pushed with the combat trainers to be useful to the pack. Elisabeth belonged to that little group who was pushed into choosing combat, she was given that part to play; and so far, she was failing miserably. Mid-level branch was the cruelest out of the three. It pushed and punished at every step, the trainers and teachers were devil incarnates who would expect nothing less than perfect. Needless to say, Elisabeth suffered endlessly among them. Mid-level branch was the biggest out of all three, as every year, lower level would pass on the mid-level but all mid-levels would not pass on to the upper level. The more years one spent in the mid-level, the more shameful. Which was why Elisabeth was determined to pull through this year. She had been held back for two years already now, third year would leave a mark of disgrace on her, darker than the mark of having a dormant wolf. Elisabeth felt her phone vibrate in her pocket and swiftly pulled it out to check. Werewolves in a pack usually spoke to each other in mind links if separated by distance, but since Elisabeth had a non-responsive wolf, she could not connect herself to her pack members. Thus, the phone came to her rescue. Aria had sent her a message, ‘Kill it in the training field pup, cheering for you!’ Elisabeth slowed her steps and fell back into the crowd swarming around her. Her bow shaped lips tiled upward as she typed back, ‘Pray that I don’t get killed, that will be enough for me.’ The message was sent and a ting sound came with the next reply from Aria, a smiley face emoji. Shutting off the phone, Elisabeth tucked it into her pocket and started moving in the same pace as rest of her school mates. But since Elisabeth was not looking up, it was not long before she bumped into a solid figure and was thrown back a few steps. Elisabeth’s first instinct was to look up. In front of her, no was none other than the mantis who chased her around the campus every chance it got; Rhea. Her green hair was made into a half updo, that was the first thing anyone would notice about Rhea. Then her eyes fell on the neon green eye makeup, effectively matching the greenery on her head. If Elisabeth was not so afraid of Rhea, she would have laughed at the sight of her. But no one dared to laugh, as she was the alpha’s daughter. Elisabeth saw the scowl next and lowered her head instantly. She saw the studded boots coming her way and stiffened. “It is the mid-leveler again,” Rhea taunted in her high-pitched voice as she took heavy steps in her direction. Elisabeth only tightened her grip on the bag straps on her shoulders. Something inside her was pushing on the surface of her skin, trying to get out and do what she was unable to do. “Win?” she called to her wolf in her mind. Her own voice echoed in the hollow of her heart, as usual, there was no reply. “Are you seeking death, Beth?” Rhea took hold of her chin and pulled it up so Elisabeth’s face was exposed to her. She immediately closed her eyes and pursed her lips. “I am sorry.” She whispered pathetically. Something was burning inside her, like acid bubbling in the pit of her stomach. Those words did not sit well with Elisabeth, yet, she had to say them. Her so called pride crushed to the ground into unrecognizable pieces. With her sharp claws digging into Elisabeth’s skin, Rhea snickered and her friends joined. Elisabeth did not dare open her eyes. She did not want to remind them of another reason to bully her. “Oh well, its field day today, we can settle the score there.” Rhea cheered and her friends followed heed, “Be ready, it’s going to be so much fun trampling over you. Mutt.” With that said, she let go of her sharp grip over Elisabeth’s chin. The by standers who were watching left as soon as the drama was over. Elisabeth touched her chin and lowered her hand to see a small drop of blood on her finger tip. Her fist clenched over the drop of blood and her lips trembled. Expressionless, and her fists by her side, knowing she won’t be able to do anything, Elisabeth made her way to school.
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