Chapter Fifteen – So Many Questions   Leave a comment

Alpha Spirit by Katica Locke

Standing in the barn, surrounded by a pack of wolves, I suddenly realized that I was in shock, my arms and legs leaden, my skin cold, and I couldn’t catch my breath. I could hear a wheezing sound and slowly realized that it was coming from me. Something touched my hand and I jerked back, looking down into the concerned amber eyes of the silver-gray wolf, his right foreleg still drawn up against his chest. He cocked his head to one side and let out a plaintive whine, then leaned toward me, touching his cold, wet nose to the back of my hand. I pulled away and stumbled back, my heart pounding in my ears.

The silver wolf glanced at the others, then sat down on his haunches and dissolved into a roiling cloud of black mist. I stared, watching as it drew together into a solid form, my mouth dropping open as Marcus appeared, taking a hesitant step toward me.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I…I’m…not sure…” I said, looking from him to the other wolves. “Did that really just happen?”

“C’mon, I’ll take you home,” he said, reaching out and touching the back of my arm. “The pack needs to talk about this.”

“Yeah, okay,” I said, casting one last look at the wolves before allowing Marcus to shepherd me out of the barn. I stumbled a few times on the uneven ground, my steps unsteady enough to Marcus to feel the need to take me by the upper arm and help me walk. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have made it back to the jeep without him. I struggled into the passenger’s seat and he shut the door, leaving me to fumble with the seat belt while he walked around and climbed in on the other side. We left the clearing, driving in silence down the rough gravel road to the gate. I barely noticed him stopping and getting out, but I jumped when he closed the driver’s side door upon getting back in.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked, looking over at me. I nodded, but it was a lie. I was far from okay. I’d nearly been mauled by a werewolf. I was in a jeep with a werewolf. I was a werewolf. Nothing about any of this was okay.

As he climbed back into the vehicle after locking the gate behind us, I glanced over at him. “So this…this is all pretty normal to you?” I asked.

“Actually…no,” he said as he began to drive. “The pack rarely gathers together. If the Huntsman caught us all in one place…it would be bad.” I got the feeling that ‘bad’ was an understatement. “We met after Tobin died, but I can’t remember how long it had been before that. And there’s usually some arguing, but I’ve never seen anyone attack an Alpha like that.”

“Alpha? You mean Luna?”

“Yeah,” Marcus said with a nod.

“Which one was she?”

He glanced over at me like I was stupid. “You couldn’t tell?”

“No, all wolves look pretty much the same.”

“That’s kind of racist, don’t you think?”

I stiffened. “No. Wolves aren’t a race. They’re a species.”

“Fine, you’re a species-ist, then,” Marcus said.

“No, I’m not,” I argued. “I didn’t say I hated wolves, I said I couldn’t tell them apart. Are you going to tell me who she was, or not?”

“The sandy gray wolf who ripped Darkness’ ear to shreds,” Marcus said. “Or do you need me to tell you which one he was?”

“Why are you being such an asshole again?” I asked. “Haven’t I been through enough tonight?”

He frowned and opened his mouth like he was going to say something, then closed it again. After a moment, he said, “Sorry. You’re right, you’ve been through a lot and I shouldn’t take things so personally. It’s just, my arm hurts and I’m pissed at Darkness and I took it out on you. Sorry.”

“S’okay,” I said. “What happened to your arm?”

“I think it re-broke along the previous fracture,” Marcus said, lifting the cast out of his lap. “I felt it snap when I hit Darkness.” He gently rested his arm on his leg. I stared at it, a frown creasing my brow as something slowly dawned on me.

“You…The silver wolf was you…Where did the cast go? Where did your clothes go? And how come you were dressed when you turned back? Aren’t you supposed to wake up naked? And what about the moon?” I glanced out through the windshield, the sky a brassy gray, the clouds lit from below by the distant city lights. I couldn’t see the moon, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t full.

In the seat next to me, Marcus sighed. “Okay, so you know everything you’ve seen in werewolf movies?”

I nodded.

“Forget it,” Marcus said. “It’s all Hollywood bullshit. Some of the old myths and folklore are closer, but it’s still mostly made up. Ironically, old tales among werewolves say it was the wolves who made up the stories in the first place.”

“Why would they do that?” I asked. If werewolves weren’t monsters, why make everyone think that they were?

“Well, according to legend,” Marcus said as he reached the end of the rutted dirt road, signaled, and pulled out onto the dark, empty highway, “people have always hated werewolves. Werewolves were thought to be servants of the devil, and they were hunted mercilessly. Anyone suspected of being a werewolf would be tortured for information, trying to get the names of other werewolves, and then they would be executed, their bodies burned.”

“Sounds like the Salem Witch Trials,” I said.

Marcus nodded. “This was hundreds of years before Salem, in eastern Europe. To keep from being exterminated, the werewolves made up stories to confuse their persecutors. The silver bullet? Originally it was silver-tipped spears and silver arrowheads, but silver was a precious metal and hard for peasants to come by. So if you’re a hunter, and you meet a werewolf in the forest, but all you have are iron arrowheads, and only silver will kill it, are you going hang around, or are you going to run for your life?”

“Okay, that makes sense,” I said, “but why the moon? What does that have to do with werewolves?”

“Wolves have howled at the moon since men lived in caves,” Marcus said. “It’s always been a powerful symbol for us. When a human is brought into a pack and made a wolf, the ceremony is performed under a full moon and the new werewolf’s first transformation occurs under the next full moon.”

I tried to think back twenty days, to the morning of the accident, but I never paid that much attention to what the moon was doing, unless it was shining through the gap in my curtains and keeping me awake at night.

We came around a wide curve in the road and Marcus hit the brakes, the tires chirping on the wet pavement before we lurched to a stop. Standing in the road, bathed in the headlights, were a buck and two does. I heard the wolf spirit in my head growl, felt my heart quicken with the urge to chase, to hunt…to kill.

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Chapter Index


Posted July 23, 2015 by katicalocke

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