Chapter Sixteen – Animal Instincts   Leave a comment

Alpha Spirit by Katica Locke

“Aren’t they beautiful?” Marcus whispered, staring raptly out through the windshield. The buck was a big, regal four-point, his antlers gleaming wet from the rain. After a moment, the does turned and bounded across the road, their white tails flashing. He followed more sedately, walking out of the light and into the darkness. After they were gone, Marcus drove on as though nothing had happened.

Shaken, I glanced over at him. “Beautiful? Is that all they were? You didn’t want to- to…”

“Hunt them?” Marcus said, finishing my thought.

I nodded.

“Of course I did,” he said. “The spirit gives you the instincts and physical knowledge of the wolf form – it helps you act like a wolf, instead of a human wearing a wolf skin – but we are still human. I can see a deer and want to chase it, and sometimes we do hunt, but it is a choice we make, not a demand that the wolf makes of us. This was something that Tobin always made very clear to all initiates – we have a responsibility to maintain our humanity, no matter what form we’re in.”

“So…werewolves are not monsters,” I said, though I wasn’t really sure if I believed it. “So, why is everyone afraid of them if they’re not dangerous?”

“I didn’t say we aren’t dangerous,” Marcus said darkly. “We’re as fast and powerful as wolves, with teeth and jaws that can crush an elk’s windpipe, and as smart and cunning as humans, with all the spite, jealousy, and arrogance that humans possess. You could say we’re the best – and worst – of both species. Most of us get along just fine, don’t cause any trouble, don’t hurt anyone, but some…they let the power go to their head, they use the wolf as an excuse to unleash their darkest desires and urges. And it only takes one to the give the rest of us a bad name.”

“You mean someone like Darkness?” I asked.

To my surprise, Marcus shook his head. “Darkness is an asshole who wants to be the Alpha, but he doesn’t run around tearing innocent people to pieces just for the fun of it.”

“I don’t know, he seemed kind of psycho to me,” I said, seeing those sharp teeth bared in a snarl as Darkness had leaped at me. I had no doubt about it – he would have killed me if it hadn’t been for Marcus. I stiffened, shocked as I suddenly realized that Marcus had saved my life.

“Trust me,” he said, “Darkness is as sane as any of us.” He seemed to hesitate. “Do you remember a few years ago, there was a terrible house fire west of town? Killed a family of six?”

“Yeah,” I said. It was horrible. The oldest child in the family had been my age.

“The fire was a cover-up to hide the fact that they’d been mauled, ripped limb from limb, and partially eaten. There were also three homeless people who disappeared the same week.”

“Wait– Are you saying they were killed by werewolves?”

“No. Just a werewolf,” Marcus said as they passed the run-down gas station on the outskirts of town. “Just one guy who never should have been made a wolf.”

“Was he part of your pack?” I asked.

Marcus shook his head. “We don’t know who he was. Just a loner, a rogue.”

“What happened to him?”

“We killed him,” Marcus said. “Well, I wasn’t there – I wasn’t old enough – but Tobin and Luna and several of the others hunted him down and killed him. That’s what happens to wolves who cause trouble, who endanger our pack, who threaten to expose our existence and destroy our peaceful way of life.”

“Is that what will happen to me if I don’t join your pack?” I asked after a minute. Marcus glanced over at me, then back out at the road.

“No,” he said, and I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. “You don’t have to join the pack, although it’s nice to have people you can turn to, who know what you’re going through, to help you when things get rough. There are several lone wolves in the city, though. You wouldn’t be the first, and we wouldn’t bother you as long as you didn’t become a problem.”

“And if that’s what I decide, what then?” I asked. “You wouldn’t be allowed to talk to me anymore?”

“Of course not,” Marcus said, then he added, “but I wouldn’t be able to teach you the secret handshake and you wouldn’t get invited to the annual Halloween party.”

“That’s not funny,” I said, but I couldn’t stop a crooked smile from tugging at the corner of my mouth. It was kinda funny. After a minute of mulling our conversation over in my head, I remembered something. “Before we saw the deer, you were talking about the moon. What happens if someone is made a wolf and it’s not a full moon? They’re not cursed or anything, are they? Or does it not work?” I asked hopefully.

“No, it always works,” Marcus said, frowning slightly. “At least, I think so. I can’t remember the last time someone was made a wolf outside of the ceremony. Maybe your spirit knows.”

“Couldn’t you ask yours?” I asked, still a little reluctant to talk to the voice in my head in front of someone.

“He knows what I know,” Marcus said. “You see, when you’re bitten by a wolf, a tiny bit of their spirit passes into you, but it’s not sentient, it’s like a seed, and it takes twenty eight days to grow into a wolf. It usually becomes aware at two weeks and starts talking to you at eighteen or twenty days.”

“This one started talking sooner than that,” I said.

“Probably because he didn’t need time to grow. He was a transplant, not a seed. Which means, he knows everything he learned while he was part of Tobin. It’s almost like Tobin is…still alive.” He glanced at me, and even in the dim light inside the jeep, I saw a look in his eyes that made my stomach knot up. It was like he thought I could replace his dead mentor.

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Chapter Index


Posted July 30, 2015 by katicalocke

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