I placed my hands in the running stream that ran behind the shed. I watched as the water turned red and then went back to clear. My mind was still unsettled and I felt gross, like worms were crawling on my skin. No matter how many times I washed my hands the blood of that demon, along with his words, left a permanent stain. I needed to escape it. Quickly I tore my clothes off and ran. The breaking of bones this time did not hurt me, even as my mind recalled the very vivid dream from last night. Which I was now questioning if it had even been a dream.
Always remember death is no escape but only the beginning.
The demon's words replayed over and over again in my head, as my paws hit the cool dirt on the forest floor. Was he trying to trick me? Did he know that I feared my death was close because of her rejection? Was it even possible for demons to read into your thoughts? His eyes certainly did seem to be reaching deep into my subconscious, so did he know?
Furthermore, I had never read anywhere about a demon being able to talk to people telepathically. But that was clearly what had happened. The demon had created a mind link between himself and I, and that could be the only reason Andrew and the others never heard him. Yet, was that even possible? As far back as our ancient text went, no one had ever been able to speak with the GONE. Yet, I had. I had spoken to it or maybe I should say I heard it. It had been a pretty one way conversation, if I dare call it that, but it had awoken Aesir which I had been trying to do for weeks now. So what had really happened?
After what felt like five to ten minutes my racing thoughts had started to calm, and I let my head look up towards the sky for some clarity. The sun was trying to cut through the thick leafy canopy and small specks of light shone down on my coat, almost giving my black fur a reverse Dalmatian look. Or making me look like a dead moon night. I suddenly stopped and realized where I was. The rushing of the water from the river was only a few feet away. Quickly, I shot my gaze out to the other side. I could feel a presence, was it the white wolf?
I stood perfectly still and watched as the bushes across began to shake, as a creature slowly stepped out into the sunlight. I growled in contempt on realizing how foolish I had been. The deer walked out on shaking legs and quickly scurried back into the cover of the deep brush when its eyes caught my imposing frame.
I chuckled at its fear, as I sighed, and started to make my way back to the pack house. I would need to grab a fresh shirt and jeans, and maybe a shower, before I made my way to the academy. The academy where I was sure to see her again, yet this time I need not care, at least that is what I kept telling my. Today I would spend my time in the library with those dusty cobweb covered books. I had to look into what had happened and do my best to forget about her. At least the demon's questions gave me a distraction.
“Oh My Gosh Alec!” Annabell yelled, when she saw me in my black wolf form. My blue eyes glowed at her, with "a don’t start look." I raced past her and climbed the stairs in one leap. Before I had a chance to put on a new shirt Annabell came charging in.
“Are you kidding me. You ran out all night and now you are running again this morning. You know we can only change once a day. Why in the world did you waste it?” I turned to look at her and just smiled.
“Don’t worry Bell. Your big bad brother can best just about any wolf in this land in human form, if I need to.” Yet, my words fell hard to the ground, as I felt her small body crashing into mine. I placed my hands on her shoulders getting ready to push her away when I suddenly felt them. They were warm again my chest and Bell never showed emotion like this, so something had to have hurt her. Tears were racing down her face faster than my t-shirt could wipe them away.
I went on my knees and slowly pushed her back, so she would look at me. “Bell, what’s wrong?”
“I saw you.” Her words made my blood run cold. “The monster, the demon. I was worried that Andrew was picking on you and so I followed you and I saw it. I saw…”
Before she could finish I clutched her tightly to my chest. “Stop, don’t say any more.” I held her as her breathing steadied and she no longer seemed to be shaking with fear. I lifted her head and used my thumbs to wipe away her few remaining tears. “Better?”
She smiled and nodded her head. I slowly got up and she turned around, so I could put on another shirt. I looked at the laundry hamper. Damn, three t-shirts in one day this had to be a record.
“Are you done?” She said, as she turned to see if I was completely dressed. I charged her and picked her up and swung her around.
“You can’t ask and then look stupid.” Bell laughed, as I carried her princess style all the way down the stairs. She was my little princess. Ever since Dad died he had made me promise to look after her and no matter how much I hated the man he did always want what was best for Annabell. Well, I had made sure of that.
“Put me down!” Bell fussed, as I placed her at the foot of the stairs. “Honestly, the day I get a mate you are going to need to learn to keep your hands to yourself.” She hissed, as she stuck her tongue out. Yet, her words were like sharp knives. She could tell she had hit something, but I quickly put a smile on my face and grabbed her bag.
“Come on, we are going to be late for class.”
As we sat in the car Annabell tried to mess with the radio and sing along with whatever top 40 garbage middle schoolers listened to now. She was only in 8th grade, or 14 years old, so I can’t hate her for her bad taste in music. Hopefully when she got her wolf in three years she would have better taste.
“Do you have your id?” I asked Annabell, as she let loose a note that was way too high pitch for wolf ears. I winced in pain. “Bell!” I growled at her, as she giggled.
“Yes, I have my id. Honestly, your as bad as Arthur.” She hissed, as she pulled out her id and handed it to me. Just like father, Arthur had never once showed Annabell hatred, but I did not trust his doting on her. There was something strange in his eyes that made me wanted to keep her away from him. Suddenly, I felt her warm hand on my arm.
“Alec whats wrong?” I made a left turn out of the safety of the woods and chose not to answer her pleading question. “Please tell me? You have not been the same since Homecoming.” My grip tightened on the steering wheel and Annabell quickly withdrew her hand when she felt the tension in my arm. I could sense her sitting back down in her seat, as she mumbled under her breath. “When you're ready.”
I sighed and let my hands grip the wheel normally. She would never understand what those words meant. So young and so patient where it really mattered. I hoped whomever took her away from me would be an Alpha worthy of her being his Luna. Yet, I would need to save those thoughts for another day because we were here.
Ashfork Academy, was a school with an imposing facade. If you didn’t feel the power from the massive campus, you would from the over ten foot wrought iron gate that was decorated with twisted pictures of wolves, witches, vampires, demons and even the worthy human. It welcomed you the moment you drove in, in all its overpowering glory. Ashfork was a school to train the odd and supernatural. Alphas learned what it meant to be a leader here, and witches learn their spells and incantations. Vampires, at least the ones that had lived long enough to stay out in the sun, wandered the halls like deadly phantoms. They learned about how to control their cravings and how to care for their food, or trick it into thinking you cared. There was also the occasional odd human. No one knew why they were exactly allowed to come to Ashfork, but we were all told to be leery of them. They were more disturbing than the pale faced blood sucking vampires. They would be caught constantly having their heads down and muttering to themselves. A few people believed they were possessed by demons and had been deposited to Ashfork for the mortals' safety. Others believed they were the pets of the vampires. Either way none of us tangled with them.
I handed the guard our ids and noticed him smile at Bell. I growled in his direction. He was just a level 6 warrior, only a step away from omega, how dare he covet what would never be his. Bell laughed into her hands, as I grabbed the boys wrist and pulled him towards me. My blue eyes glowed in anger.
“Don’t make that mistake again pup.” I said with my Alpha voice, as I watched him cower and quickly nodded his head as he handed the ids back.
“Have a good day at school today Lord and Lady Holloway.” He squeaked out.
I quickly rolled my window up and made our way to the valet.
“You did not have to scare the poor pup. He was kind of cute.” I growled at Annabell’s words, which caused her to laugh. “You are way to protective Alec, but I know it's only because you care.” She said, in a patronizing tone.
“There is more to it than that Bell. You are royalty and anyone who dares show you disrespect, outside our grounds, could be killed. If Andrew and Arthur knew what just occurred that cute pup would not make it past the day. I saved that boy's life.”
Annabell sighed, as I parked the car and walked around to let her out. I heard the other shewolves a twitter with excitement at my arrival, as I handed the valet my keys. “Thank you, Lord Holloway. I shall protect it well.”
I laughed at his words. “Just make sure the rookies don’t scratch the bumper this time. I hate spending money on fixing this worthless thing. I much rather use what nature gave me.” I pointed to my chest, as the valet bowed to me, but I saw a smile peek out. It seemed my joke was not lost on him.
“Can I go now?” Annabell said, impatiently, as she tapped her foot. I saw her usual group of friends waiting for their leader and nodded my head. I watched as her long black curls bounced as she ran towards them. She had them tied up in a pink bow. She was wearing a pink dress today, a baby doll look she said. Or was it kawaii? I don’t know, something that made her look like a toy. I hated it on her but a brother has to pick his battles. I swung my bag over my shoulder and started to make my way to class. I wondered if skipping and spending my day in the library would be a good idea. At least it would lessen my chances of running into her, but after four steps my journey to the library was quickly ended.
Thomas was racing over to me with his usual goofy expression as he slammed into my side. His golden blonde hair and brown eyes had been a fantasy for many of the girls at the academy, even some of the witches fancied him. Yet, those were his words not theirs. Only a few steps behind him was Bryan with his devilish redhead and green eyes, that girls knew they were getting into trouble with if they got to close. I watched as he planted a kiss on a shewolf’s cheek. Most likely his girlfriend of the week. Poor thing. We were already of age that we would be able to find out who, and who was not, our fated mate but Bryan rather fool around. Lucky ass.
“Get off me man.” I groaned, as I pushed Thomas off.
“You do know he is a prince, Thomas, and you should treat him as one.” Richard, a dark brown haired boy with glasses, said above the crowd. Instantly the group of students who had been watching our spectacle parted letting him cross. Almost like Moses and the Red Sea.
Richard was one of the smartest boys in our class but he was not a geek. On the contrary he was stoic and the girls found him to be “husband material.” Yet, I had never seen him pay any female an ounce of attention. He swore from a young age he would be my beta, the day I became Alpha. We had only been in kindergarten at the time, but the intensity in his dark brown almost black eyes told me he was a hundred percent determined.
I watched as Richard ripped Thomas from me and growled at him.
“Ok Richy Rich, calm down.” Thomas huffed, as he dusted himself off. It was an unfortunate event that, that stupid movie had come out, for Richard was from a very wealthy family and thanks to some wonderful alliteration Richard became Richy Rich to everyone at school. Everyone except for me.
“See you later baby.” Bryan said, as he waved goodbye to a girl with platinum blonde hair, as the girl swooned and giggled to her friends. I glared at him. “What?”
“You know I don’t approve of you dating around.” I said, as I reached down to pick up my bag off the ground, which had dropped thanks to Thomas’ antics.
“Well, we can’t all wait for our mate like you prince charming.”
I felt the bag slip from my fingers as my heart pounded in my chest. Before I could stop myself I grabbed Bryan by the throat and slammed him into the wall. I could feel his bones crunching against the blow. The girl he had just been kissing screamed in horror. Thomas and Richard tried to pry him from my grip but my eyes glowed red with alpha furry, or Aesir’s furry, as my grip tightened. He wriggled under my grasp begging to be set free. Yet, in that moment all I wanted to do was kill him. To rip his tongue from his mouth and never let him kiss or talk to another shewolf again. Why did this disgusting player get to trample on my heart and my values! I wouldn’t allow it.
“Aesir! Damnit!” I growled at him, as I pulled him back into the deep recesses of my mind. “Our anger is with another, not him.” I panted, as Aesir finally let go and crawled back into the darkness.
“Alec, stop this.” Richard begged, and slowly my mind cleared and my hands let Bryan go. He crumpled to the ground and clutched his neck. His eyes wide with fear and confusion.
“Why?” He choked out.
“I don’t need a reason when one shows me disrespect.” I snatched my bag and made my way to class. Aesir was getting out of hand, I almost killed a pack mate. I ran my hands through my hair in aggravation. Maybe the demon was the least of my worries, my blood thirsty vengeful as hell wolf was the real problem. For weeks he had stayed quiet in the background. He refused to speak, even when my brothers were beating the crap out of me or when I was forced to look weak in the warriors ring. In the past he would growl and snarl like a caged beast and demand we fight back, but now he just sat there watching me be pummeled. Almost as if he had accepted our bond was an unholy doomed one, and he wanted nothing to do with me. However, ever since that demon spoke to us he was different, restless. He was taking control too quickly and too easily. It had taken everything I had just to pull him back.
“Are you alright? Not, that I have a problem with you reprimanding Bryan on his absurd flirtations with the shewolves, but that seemed a little over the top. Don't you agree?” Richard said, as he placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
I had been so absorbed in thought I had not noticed the guys were following me. I was too exhausted to explain myself, and so I just shrugged Richard's hands away, leaving all three of them confused. I knew Richard would not press me any further, but he would also not let this go. Being my beta meant accepting all my problems and finding ways to solve them. I had just given the brainiac a problem to ponder and he was going to stop at nothing until he found a solution. I was doomed.