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A Spiritual's Mark

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This story will follow Phoenix and Hope

Sh*t, this was not good, I thought. Even half-conscious as I was, my body reacted to the mental images in my mind. I really was sick, wanting to f*ck the little female with blood on my hands, but what could I say? I had a strange thirst for it and her, and combined, it would be ten thousand times better. Sh*t, I would f*cking leave bruises wherever my hands would dig into her skin as I took her hard over and over. I knew I would never get enough. My c*ck had grown hard just from thinking about it, and that was a pretty good indication that she already had me completely at her mercy.

I didn’t like being touched very much. Whoever I did end up screwing was always bound, or I made sure to keep their hands away. But something in me craved to feel her even closer, feel her hands on me, and leave my scent all over her skin like she would leave hers on mine. I would never just want a quick shower afterwards. I would never just think of her as a way to scratch an itch. I would be so f*cking obsessed.

“Phoenix?” Chris called.

“Yeah?” I asked.

“You know we aren’t getting out, right?” he inquired.

“You think I am plotting our escape right now?”

“Well, you said you were thinking,” he countered.

“Yeah well, not about a plan.”

“No? Is it a certain person who has come to mind?” he suggested, his voice indicating that he saw right through me.

“Something like that...” I murmured.

***

Hope's heart is shattered into countless pieces. She can't shake the realization that Phoenix doesn't want her, and the weight of dragging everyone else down with her burdens her with guilt. She knows what she must do. She must leave so Phoenix can return home and reunite with his family. Unfortunately, things are far from straightforward.

Phoenix's initial reaction upon seeing Hope is to flee. He's acutely aware of the darkness within him and fears tainting her with his malevolence. Yet, when he is kidnapped and locked away with Octavia and Chris, he discovers an undeniable pull towards Hope. He craves her presence, knowing he can never release her once he finds her again.

Can Phoenix overcome his malevolent past and confront his demons, or will he unwittingly entangle Hope in his darkness?

*Book Ten*

Recommended to first read: A Bite From An Alpha King, A Beta's Undying Love, A Second Chance Mate, A Luna's Broken Heart, An Alpha's Choice, An Alpha's Dark Secret, A Luna's Power, An Alpha's Favor and A Beta's Half-Blood.

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Chapter 1: Feeling Hopeless
Note: This series is a darker werewolf series not following the usual "plot" of fated mates. Be aware of described violence, s****l abuse, k*dnapping, torture and death. -Hope- I had always seen the world as bright and colorful, but it was no longer the same vibrant palette as I had always perceived it. Now it was dark and cold, but that could also be attributed to the drastic change in weather. The leaves had fallen off the trees, and the ground was blanketed with a thin layer of snow. Despite this, the snow still possessed a certain beauty, perhaps that’s why I always found myself out here on the porch, even if it meant enduring freezing temperatures, clad only in his oversized sweater, which draped like a dress on me, and holding a cup of hot cocoa in my hands. I savored the sweetness of the hot beverage, a ritual I adopted after being introduced to it. This routine was essentially my every morning. Just before the sun ascended, I would leave my room, prepare myself the hot cocoa, step out onto the porch, and settle on the first step to watch as the sun emerged, casting its rays upon the glistening snow, devoid of any warmth now. The sun remained, yet it failed to warm my skin. That was all right. I felt the chill hold onto every inch of me, even indoors. I hadn’t anticipated it would be like this. I comprehended that my decision carried consequences, but I never envisioned it would be this challenging. Rejecting the Goddess’s gift or transgressing her rules in any manner would incur her wrath twofold. “I’ve learned my lesson,” I muttered to the sky. “Can the torture end now?” But it persisted. Each night, I found myself curled up in a ball on his bed, unable to resist. I hadn’t returned to the room assigned to me since Phoenix left. I attempted to sleep there the first night, but the pain was too intense, rendering sleep impossible. So, I wandered until I found myself at the door to his room. I didn’t need anyone to inform me it was his. I could discern it from the lingering scent, which enveloped me like a drug. I inhaled deeply, seeking solace in his smell, for it was the only thing that alleviated the agony, if only momentarily. Just for a moment, the pain disappeared. However, the room was undergoing a transformation. It was gradually becoming more mine than his. Months had passed without his return. No one had received any communication from him, and slowly but surely, his scent was dissipating as well. Soon, there would be nothing left. “Hey Hope!” A voice called out to me from inside, and I turned to see Harper approaching. She was an early riser, though not as early as me. Nevertheless, she always sought me out, whether to study together or to keep Angela company. I didn’t mind because I knew she did it out of concern for me. She understood the extent of my pain and wanted to offer me a distraction. I was hardly in the mood for anything except lounging in Phoenix’s room. My behavior concerned everyone, for Phoenix was considered a brother to them, and as his mate, it was their responsibility to care for me as they would for their own mates. “Would you like to accompany me into town today?” Harper asked. “Angela really wants me to pick up some things for the babies. They’ll be here soon.” Yes, Angela had less than a month to go, and soon two new wolves would enter the world, both males. They had already settled on the names Cain and Jayden. Angela was ecstatic. I would have shared in her excitement, but I doubted I would ever have that experience. After all, she had two mates vying for her attention, whereas I hadn’t even one, despite having marked someone. “Oh,” I realized I hadn’t responded. I had been lost in my thoughts. “Sure.” “Great. You should get dressed though. I don’t want you catching a cold.” “I’m fine,” I replied. “Hope.” When she uttered my name like that, I had to listen. Harper was one very tough half-blood. She was not someone you wanted to argue with. I admired her a lot, especially because she had endured so much with her mate, and yet she still loved him passionately, and he reciprocated that love just as fervently. The same dynamic existed between Angela and her mates, but even though not everyone was mated yet, no one seemed as despondent and withdrawn as I did. I was the one casting a shadow over everyone else, and I was exhausted by it. I swiftly changed into a pair of jeans, but I opted to keep his sweater on and slipped into some comfortable and warm boots. Going to the kitchen, I knew Harper would be waiting because there was no way she would let me leave the house without eating. She had quickly picked up on my reluctance to eat and my habit of merely pushing food around on my plate. So, she had made it her mission to monitor my food intake. “Hungry?” she inquired, offering me a white bowl and a spoon. “Not really.” “Well, you’re going to eat anyway.” And I complied. At least I managed to consume some of the cereal I had poured into my bowl. It was more than yesterday, and although Harper disliked acknowledging that I couldn’t finish it all, she still reassured me that it was progress, though we both understood that I wasn’t making much headway. “Come on, let’s get going.” Harper and I stepped outside, where we entered one of the many cars. Since I couldn’t drive, Harper took the wheel, guiding us back into the city until we found a baby store that Angela had grown fond of. “Are we here for Angela or for you too?” I inquired as we entered. The store had just opened, so it wasn’t crowded. “Well, I can’t deny I’m not doing a little browsing,” she replied with a slight smile, placing her hand over her small stomach. She was only showing a little, but she already had that glow I had heard people speak of. I had never truly experienced it before. In the other world, nobody was pregnant except for a few, like my mother, who had conceived before the attack that led to our rescue by the Goddess and our relocation to safety. In that world, a few of us were born, but since then, there had been no pregnancies. We merely existed, prayed, learned the old tales, and read stories. Yet, we weren’t all allowed to read the same texts or enter all the same rooms. No, some of us were chosen for other tasks, tasks whose nature I wasn’t always certain of. “Hope!” “What?” I asked. “You’ve been staring at a doll for the last thirty seconds,” Harper remarked. I glanced at the doll in front of me, finally noticing it. It was just a small plastic doll, nothing special, yet I reached out and took it, continuing to gaze at it. In a way, I felt like I was akin to this doll—frozen in time. But now I was out in the real world, where so many things were happening, making it difficult to keep up. “Are you okay, Hope?” Harper inquired. I sighed, setting the doll aside. “We both know I’m not okay,” I conveyed, meeting her gaze. She nodded and reached out, placing a hand on my arm. “You want to talk about it?” she suggested. “What is there to discuss? My mate doesn’t want me, and he isn’t coming back,” I stated. “You don’t know that.” I understood she was trying to maintain my hopefulness. Everyone was, and it wasn’t solely for my benefit. They wanted Phoenix back. He was important to them, but I had driven him away. Something needed to change. “Hope?” Harper called after me as I walked away, venturing further into the store, struggling to find the right words. Harper followed me, no longer focused on shopping. Instead, she directed all her attention towards me, her green eyes radiating strength and love. She was a compassionate person. It was evident she cared deeply, which was an essential trait for a healer—or in her case, a doctor. “This is nice,” I remarked, holding up a small dress with its bright pink color and odd plastic jewels. “We both know that’s not true,” she countered with a slight smile. I returned the dress to its place on the rack and ran my fingers over the fabric. It didn’t feel particularly nice, but I didn’t care. “Hope, just talk to me,” she urged. “I understand you’re in a lot of pain.” “But you don’t understand the pain.” “No, I can’t claim to understand, but I was separated from Archer for a while too, and it was agonizing,” she confessed. “But he wanted you. You knew that.” She sighed, and I caught a glimpse of her nodding out of the corner of my eye. Still fixated on the dress, I struggled to articulate my thoughts. “He doesn’t want me,” I finally admitted. “Hope—” “And he won’t come back, because I’m there.” “I don’t think—” “That’s why I need to go,” I interrupted, finally turning to face her. Harper stared at me wide-eyed, uncertain of what to say. It was evident she thought I was jesting, but I wasn’t. I had to leave so Phoenix could return home safely. I knew they wouldn’t choose between us, so I made the decision for them.

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