CHAPTER 1 – My Mate’s Funeral
Fire! I see the fire in front of my eyes.
I am burned by the fire that burns within me more than the flames that burn outside. I am standing right in front of the burning body of my mate!
It was my mate’s funeral!
I hear the painful howls of wolves. It was a whole moon night in the mid of the month of June. My throat was getting tighter, and a lump formed in it, coming closer to bursting outside while my mate’s burning body was floating on the flowery boat on the river going far from me.
I was an omega of the Moon Valley pack. I was afraid I would find my mate from another group, but I was over the moon when my mate, Beta of the collection, found me during the mating ceremony. I feared what would happen if I found my mate from a rival pack. But the moon goddess paired me with the pack beta. I always thanked her.
I was looking at the full moon and memorizing all the beautiful moments spent under this moon night ever since we mated. The promise we made to each other that we grow old together was no more valid because he is gone now!
Maybe I was not blessed with his pups because the moon goddess knew he would not last with me forever. He was so kind towards everyone, generous, fearless, and did his pack duties from the bottom of his heart.
Whatever I said, he was no more. Soon he will be a memory to everyone, but my shattered, wounded, painful soul will never get healed. I felt dizzy and fell to the ground on my knees. I couldn’t hold it anymore. I let the pain come out. The warm tears were rolling out from my eyes through my cheeks. Loud sobs were escaping from my mouth, and I was continuously hiccupping. My heart couldn’t bear the ache; it was flowing out like hot lava from my inside.
“Everyone, gather at the pack house after one hour. We should do the honor to our beta. Tonight dinner will be named after him,” I heard the Alpha’s voice. Alpha Lex was the pack Alpha and my mate’s best friend. I covered my face with my cold palms. The tears were falling to the palms and rolling out through the fingers. I can’t stop my pain or extinguish the rising high flames of pain in my heart.
“What would I do without you?” I whispered, and my hiccups were suppressing my words.
I screamed, and with my scream, another wave of painful howls came from the forest side. It was their last god bye to my mate as wolves, and after that, the silence started to rule.
“Samira, as a beta female, your presence is much required at the dinner, and I have to make some important announcements. I appreciate your presence for tonight’s dinner” I felt Alpha’s shaking palm on my shoulder. I know that, in his deepest point, he regrets deciding to go for the battle with the Blood Warrior pack. The victory was ours, but I wondered whether we won it. I lost my mate; he lost his best friend.
“Give me some time, and I will join you all,” I said, wiping my tears and nose. After a few times, the entire forest and the riverbank went silent. Only I was there to see the last flames of his burning corpse.
“Come on, Samira; we should leave for our mate’s last farewell dinner. You heard Alpha. He has something important to say” It was my wolf, Pepper. She was sobbing; it was a soul-ripping time for both of us, but what happened has happened, and we can’t reverse the time. We have to move forward with his memory.
I deeply inhaled and smelled the air to fill my lungs for the last time from his scent, which was fading into the wind. I gathered myself from the ground and turned to go back towards the pack house. I met a few hairs who hurriedly hopped to return to their bunny hole. I strolled until I saw the lights of the pack house. My legs were pulling me back to go and hide somewhere, but not here. In this packhouse, I have many memories with him.
I see the omegas quickly moving here and there to serve the dinner. I know the rituals; this happens when a pack member dies. We do this, but I never felt the gravity of it before because my mate was always next to me. I gathered all my courage and walked into the pack house without looking at others. I hear the mumbles, and I feel their pitiful gaze on me, but I didn’t want to stop to see the empathy in their eyes; I directly walked to our bedroom, sorry it’s not “ours” anymore; it’s mine now.
I see a pair of trousers and a shirt of him on the bed. I reached for the sweater with shaking hands and hugged it. I feel his warmth, his scent on it. I hid my face in the shirt and started to cry again. I couldn’t stop my tears. I fell on the bed and whispered his name.
“Beta female, Alpha requested your presence to start the last ritual feast” I heard a knock on the door, and someone from the pack delivered the message.
“Give me five minutes; I will be there,” I suppressed my cry and replied. She left the door, and I washed my face and looked at myself in the mirror. The reddened and fluffy eyes, with tomato red nose, were horrible to see. Then I remembered a promise I gave him; he made me promise that if he died one day before me, he would never cry.
I wiped my face with a towel and changed my clothes into a covered shoulder knee-length black dress with classic flat shoes. I combed my hair, and without applying any makeup, I left the bedroom with a sigh.
When I reached the dining hall, it took a gloomy nature. I heard their mumbles, and I walked closer to the Alpha.
“Come and stand next to me, Samira,” was Luna Betty. Alpha and Luna were both kind to me. I nodded my head and walked to sit next to her. I see that the only empty chair is his chair. A lone tear formed in the corner of my eyes, but I should be courageous to handle my emotions as a Beta female.
“Please sit, everyone,” Alpha wakes up his voice. Everyone in the hall sat on their respective chairs. The tables were separated according to the ranks. I see the omegas seated at the corner of the hall. I was there once too, but I am in the top-rank table now.
“We gathered here to fulfill the final rituals for our Beta, William. He was a brave warrior; he did his duties to the pack and the pack house until his last breath. He sacrificed his life for the pack to save a pack member on the battlefield. He was a great friend, a fabulous mate to his mate” Alpha looked at me and paused.
“Anyway, this is to him.” he raised the glass of whisky to everyone.
“To William,” I tossed the glass with my shaking hands. I finished it with one zip and kept it back on the table.
“I have more important messages to deliver, but I would love to hear that before that. If any of you want to share your thoughts about William, now it’s the time” Alpha sat back on his chair.
I see the Gamma of the pack standing up from his place. I was swimming in the thought of William; I didn’t hear what they said; all my mind was cooking about how can I spend life without him. My eyes looked into the tall figures standing from time to time to share their thoughts on William, but none of them mattered to me. He is gone now!
“Thank you all for sharing your feelings for our late Beta William. As a pack, we can’t move without a Beta; we will be weak. We need a new Beta to run the pack and support me” This started to draw my attention to Alpha. I slowly turned my head at him.
“Pack members, please welcome our new Beta, Marius Lockwood.”
The crowd was silent, and I got the second shock for the day. How can he appoint another one when the former beta’s gone? I am here to handle the duties I can, and I know that I can handle Beta’s tasks. He didn’t bother to ask me, at least.
“Alpha, may I have a word with you?” I didn’t want to disrespect him in front of the pack. I walked away where no one could hear us, and he walked to me.
“Yes, Samira” he was cool and calm.
“What the hell is this? How can you appoint another Beta before it passed 24 hours to your former Beta’s death? Besides, I am still here and can manage the duties” I lowered my voice.
“Samira, you know the pack rules. It was not my decision; it was the council who appointed him. I can’t turn my back on them; it’s the pack rule. When someone died…”
“Someone? He was your best friend; you both are pampered friends; how can you allow another one to sit on his chair? I am going to talk to the council” I turned my back and started to walk.
“Samira, stop. You can’t just behave like this. I know you are mentally unprepared for this decision, but the time will let you know. Don’t do anything stupid” he blocked my path, and I saw his jaw clenched annoyingly.
“Then do something; stop this,” I said.
“I am not finished yet with my messages for the day. You can come back and sit on the place,” he said and walked away.
After he saw that I had settled on my seat back, he looked at the crowd. I slowly moved my gaze to see the so-called new Beta sitting on his chair, boring holes into me. He nodded his head with a gentle smile. It’s not his guilt; it was the council’s decision. I served him a small and kind smile. He seems like a good person. I saw him as one of the gammas of the pack. I determined to help him to fulfill his duties as the Beta.
“Attention all, before wrapping the day, I want to deliver another message. This one is going to be an important one for the late Beta’s mate,” saying he looked at me.
What kind of a bomb was he going to throw at me now? I narrowed my forehead with a questioning look on my face.
“Samira, you can pick Marius as your mate. We all know that Marius already had a mate, but he agreed to look after you. Also,” my ground slipped beneath my floor.
“Alpha Lex, with all due respect, I would like to remind you that I mourned for my mate’s death a few hours ago. How could you be senseless?...” that’s all I could tell, my voice turned heavy, and I couldn’t continue my talk; a lump formed in my throat. My words got stuck in my throat. I couldn’t express what I wanted to say to Alpha. I pressed my lips and left the place immediately.