Chapter Thirteen – The Pack   2 comments


Alpha Spirit by Katica Locke

Marcus climbed out of the Jeep and I reluctantly followed, hunching my shoulders against the cold, wet wind that swirled through the clearing, making the nearby trees rattle and groan. Gravel crunched underfoot as we approached the barn, the big, main doors standing open wide enough to allow us through. It was warm inside and smelled of old straw and some kind of musky animal scent, like a wet dog. A few chairs and some ragged bales of hay had been set up in the middle of the barn, and I froze at the sight of the people seated upon them, waiting. They looked like normal people, in jeans and sweatshirts, one old woman with a crochet shawl around her thin shoulders and her gray hair swept up in a tight bun on top of her head. The only thing unusual about them was that they were all staring at me.

Marcus stepped forward and cleared his throat. “Thank you for agreeing to this meeting, everyone. I know things have been rough since Tobin’s death, but I have good news – amazing, unbelievable news. Tobin’s spirit lives.”

Nearly everyone present gasped and glanced around at each other, then looked to the old woman, seated in a wooden rocking chair. She looked at me with eyes as amber-gold as honey, staring as though she could see the spirit inside of me. Before she could speak, however, another voice rang out from the rear of the barn.

“That is unbelievable news, Silverpaws,” said a young black man, stepping out of the shadows near the empty stalls. He was well-dressed with short hair, his amber eyes seeming to glow against his dark skin. “In fact, I don’t believe it.”

“What are you doing here, Darkness?” Marcus asked, his voice low, and the hair on the back of my neck prickled as the spirit inside me growled.

“He was invited, as were all members of the pack,” said a woman with short, red-brown hair and striking blue-gray eyes.

“This meeting should be for all loyal pack members,” Marcus said, raising his broken arm slightly and giving Darkness a cold look. Darkness opened his mouth to respond, but the red-headed woman cut him off.

“There will be no squabbling here,” she said, looking first at Darkness, and then at Marcus. “Silverpaws, when you are the Alpha, you can decide who is invited to pack meetings, but until then, it is my decision, and what you are suggesting effects Darkness as much as any of us.”

“Yes, Luna,” Marcus said, lowering his gaze and taking a respectful step back. Darkness just got a smug look on his face and crossed his arms over his chest.

He’s always been a cocky little prick, the spirit said. He barely listened to Tobin; Luna is a strong leader, but she’s reluctant to resort to violence, and that’s the only thing a wolf like Darkness will respect.

“Now,” Luna said, stepping forward and speaking to Marcus, “why have you brought this outsider to a pack meeting?” She gestured to me. “You know the rules; all potential members must be carefully assessed by the Alpha before they are introduced to the pack. By disregarding the rules, you have placed our lives and his in danger. If he is not suitable to join us, he will have to be killed.”

I felt the color drain from my face and my heart begin to pound. A dozen pairs of amber eyes – wolf eyes – fixed on me, and it was all I could do not to run.

Then Marcus stepped in front of me. “I gave him my word he wouldn’t be hurt.”

“I guess maybe you shouldn’t have done that,” Darkness said, a smirk on his handsome face. I saw Luna frown, the muscles in her jaw tightening, but she didn’t say anything. The spirit was right – she didn’t want to fight with him. Instead, she turned her frustration on Marcus.

“I ask again, Silverpaws, why is he here? He looks far too weak and timid to be a useful member of the pack. Can he hunt? Can he fight? I doubt he would even survive the transformation. What were you thinking?”

Marcus cringed at her harsh tone, lowering his head like a…well, like a subordinate wolf cowering before the ire of his alpha. It was crazy, but these people were behaving just like a pack of wolves. I guess some things will just keep shocking you no matter how many times you are confronted by evidence of it. It was also strange to see Marcus acting almost afraid of this woman, a good eight inches shorter and a hundred pounds lighter than him. Yeah, well, she wasn’t my Alpha. I gathered my courage and stepped forward.

“I’m not here to join your pack,” I said, struggling to keep my voice from fading as everyone stared at me. “He brought me here to talk to you, so that you can tell me what the hell is going on, and why I have a voice in my head that keeps saying it’s Tobin’s spirit.”

An audible gasp filled the silence that followed my little speech and the gathered werewolves glanced around at each other, as though seeking conformation.

“That’s not possible,” Darkness said over the hum of whispered conversations. “Everyone knows when the wolf dies, the spirit dies too.” Several people nodded in agreement and turned suspicious eyes on me, probably wondering why I would make up such a story. Personally, I was wondering why I hadn’t just kept my mouth shut. “Enough of this, let’s just kill him so we can all go home. He’s not going to join us, you all heard him yourself.” Darkness didn’t move, but several of the others stood and started toward me. I drew back as Marcus moved in front of me again.

“Wait.” The quiet voice held an air of authority that stopped everyone in their tracks. Even Luna and Darkness turned to regard the old woman seated in her rocking chair. “He may speak the truth,” she said. “When I was a young woman, there was an old wolf who claimed that his spirit lived inside of another before him. He said that as a boy, he had shot a wolf that had been stalking his father’s cattle, he was at the wolf’s side when it died, and he felt the spirit pass into him. A month later, he turned into a wolf, never having been bitten.”

“That’s just a story,” Darkness said, eyeing me. “He can’t be one of us.”

All of a sudden, I realized what they were saying and my heart nearly stopped.

“Wait,” I said, “are you saying that I’m a werewolf?”

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Posted July 9, 2015 by katicalocke

2 responses to “Chapter Thirteen – The Pack

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  1. So, next Friday?

    That was so very mean Miss Katica! What a cruel cliff hanger! The agony! Last Friday I stumbled upon your Fictionpress and read Broken Wings. Since then I’ve bought your Magebound series – can’t wait for the 3rd book – and read all your other free fiction (still getting through Izeri’s story – I took a break from it to read your other stuff). Slash isn’t a subject I read often either because the person who wrote it has a horrible writing style (or doesn’t know how to write) or it’s really porn with zero plot and I like my characters to have development and there be more then sex more often then not. I love your stories. You write well and your creative mind is fascinating to read from, I can’t wait for more.
    Your Reader,
    Crae

  2. Oh such short chapters you start getting interested and boom it’s done
    I want to know what happens i don’t want to wait aargh
    C u next week 😦

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