Don’t make a sound. Don’t cry, don’t move.
I cover my mouth with both hands. I won’t even breathe. I’m curled up next to a garbage dumpster, closing my eyes and trying to stop my erratic sobbing.
I’m so scared I’m shaking like never before. I close my eyes and start to pray.
Please, don’t let him find me, please, please, please….
My heart is pounding so loudly in my hears; I’m deaf to anything else. Even the downpour seems almost quiet. Never have I been so scared in my life before.
This time, he will kill me. I’m dead if he finds me.
Moon Goddess mother, please, don’t let him find me…
As I can’t hear him yell anymore, I sneak a peek behind my hideout. Is he gone? Did he go somewhere else?
“Gotcha! Come here, you whore !”
He grabs my hair, and the first blow is so violent I hit to the ground. The pain is terrible. My vision goes blurry, tears flow. I scream again, out of fear, trying to protect myself. He punches me again, and gets on top of me, pinning me to the ground.
He keeps hitting me, one punch more violent than the previous. I keep screaming, crying, begging, he won’t stop.
I’m going to die.
***1 week earlier***
“Give it to me, I said”
I shake my head, confused.
“I don’t have anything, I swear! He didn’t give me anything, Alec, he really didn’t! You know he gives it all to you!”
He growls in anger, but I keep shaking my head. What is wrong with him? I just got back from work, and he started searching for me, even emptied the content of my bag on the floor, and now he keeps asking me for the money. What money? He knows Robert gives him all of my salaries! I never see a single cent I work so hard for!
Even the customer’s tips, Robert just takes it from me as soon as my shift is over! I could never hide any of it! And Moon Goddess knows I wish I could!
“Why do you ask? Do ... Do you have money issues again?” I ask
He glares back at me, furious.
“Again? Isn’t that your fault I’m ruined! You are just a damn waste of money! How can I ever live in peace if I have to use all of my money on you! Can’t you work harder? How am I supposed to make it through with this measly paycheck you get?”
I’m astounded by his words. How dare he? I work like a slave all day and night! The Alpha makes me do all the chores for the pack, from cooking to laundry, cleaning the whole house, on my own. And Alec got me this job at the local pub when I was fifteen, making me work those crazy shifts for half of the night! I can only get a few hours of rest at night, and it is never enough.
He, on the other hand, never had a proper job. He is twenty-three, but Alec says he doesn’t need a job because he has to focus on the pack, for when he will be chosen as the next Beta. As if that would ever happen. Even I know there is no way my brother will ever get that position. No decent Alpha would ever appoint someone so lazy and self-centered as a beta.
However, my brother is convinced of it. And that only makes me act even more arrogantly and unreasonably. He just spends money whenever he wants and shows off in front of his friends while I have to watch. That money is the one I earn with my sweat, and yet he is the one who spends it. How can he pretend I’m the one he uses it on? I don’t own anything but a few clothes! I don’t even have a bed, and I have to try and sneak out some leftovers to be able to eat.
So why is it that now he is now interrogating me like I’m some thief?
“Anyway, you will be working tomorrow night.”
“What? But I haven’t had a day off in weeks! And the Alpha wants me to make dinner, someone from another pack is coming! I will never make it in time if…”
“I don’t care! It’s your problem, not mine! You will go to work, and I’ll kill you if you don’t! And the Alpha better not be angry at me because of you!”
I stand there, shocked as he exits the room. What is wrong with him? He has never told me to do anything that might upset the Alpha, and now he wants me to go to work? Either he or the Alpha, one of them will be mad at me!
I take my head in my hands, so lost. What do I do now? The Alpha was so adamant about me preparing all of this diner! Some big shot from the Blood Moon pack is coming, that is big for our pack, he will never forgive me if I don’t help him welcome them.
Our Jade Moon pack is one of the oldest in the area, but we are not that imposing. There is about a hundred of us, including the ones too old to take their wolf form and the few pups. We have some strong adult wolves, and our location is one of the bests in the area.
But we are nothing next to the Blood Moon pack.
I only know what I could hear from other people's conversations, but that was enough for me. The Blood Moon pack, despite being only a few decades old, is the strongest in the area, and unrivaled. Even the Sapphire Moon and the Gold Moon packs are no match.
They have grown so prominent in recent years, that they even had to reorganize into subgroups under the supervision of their lieutenants. But the number is not what makes them so powerful. No, the Blood Moon pack is so fearsome because it is wealthy, hungry and ruthless. Some say the Alpha leads with an iron hand, and no mistakes are permitted. They're scary, but they are like royalty among wolves.
Our Jade Moon Pack is on neutral terms with them, so far. I don’t believe any Alpha leader would willingly become their enemy.
So what would happen if I ruin this diner? I can ruin relationships between the two packs, and lead ours into a disaster! The Alpha will definitely banish me, or worse.
I try to sleep, but I’m too worried.
What is wrong with my brother? I have seen him in need of money, but now, he acts like he has gone crazy! He was even searching in the basement when I came home, looking for any money. When I escaped him, I heard him ask Amber for cash. What kind of trouble did he get into this time? I don’t like this.
What will I do tomorrow? I can’t do both! My shift starts at four, and the diner has to be ready at nine. Should I do as Vince said and skip work or obey Alec? None of them we let me off.
Vince hates me as well, and never hesitates to beat me. I fear his beating more than I fear my brother’s; he is way too strong.
Either way, this won’t end well for me.
The next day is a nightmare. My brother is already after me when I’m making breakfast for everyone, threatening me non-stop.
“You’d better not let me down, Nora. I want this money, you hear me? You are going to work as long and as hard as Robert wishes you, and you better come home with that paycheck in your hand! Or else you’re gonna regret it, I swear!”
He just won’t stop until the Alpha comes downstairs to eat. Vince glares at me, and I lower my head, as submissive as I can be. A few other pack members enter after him to join the breakfast. Among them, Marcus sends me a lewd glance, making me shiver with disgust.
“What are you waiting for, you stupid girl?” Says Amber “Won’t you hurry up and serve us the food? Want the Alpha to starve or what?”
To add to her words, Vince growls. I can feel my wolf whimper inside, afraid. I can barely feel her nowadays. I serve the breakfast as fast as I can, feeling the angry eyes of the Alpha on me. He is not the only one. I can hear my wolf whining continuously inside. She doesn’t want to be there, and me neither.
I’m about to leave the dining hall when the Alpha calls me again.
“Nora. Tonight’s dinner is essential for our pack. If you make any mistake, you will be banished of this pack for good, you hear me?”
I glance at my brother, sitting a bit further from the Alpha, but he acts like normal. Alec will blame me in any case.
I jump. The Alpha got impatient from my silence. I nod slowly, and he growls once more before starting his breakfast.
I leave the room, exit the house for fresh air. What do I do now?
My eyes set on the forest. This green, vast and beautiful forest. My wolf wants to go; she wants to run among the trees, feel the fresh cold air. The autumn’s fallen leaves, the gentle breeze of the wind, the smell of the grass. I know. How I wish I could let her out too…
I bite my lip. I wish I could be a free wolf. Free of my brother, free of my pack and free of those painful memories.
Let’s go, please. Can we go? Asks my wolf
No, no, no we can’t. We will die if we do. We tried running before, remember what they did to us? We can’t escape…