The howls, the screams.
My heart pounded against my ribcage as I tripped over a log and forced myself back to my feet. Pain surged through my body in waves as I pushed my body forward, away from the vicious sounds.
The air around me felt heavy, laced in the metallic stench of blood. Breathing became a secondary thing once I realized my lungs fought the movement as I tried to suck in a breath.
Just when I thought there was no escape from the beasts that chased me, with the sound of the horn the howls and snarls behind me died down, and I collapsed, panting for breath.
“You were lucky tonight, halfbreed, but next time, you’re not getting away!” Someone shouted in the distance.
It wasn’t luck. It was their game – always staying close enough for me to know they were there, but keeping their distance to create a false illusion of safety.
Once I managed to calm my racing heart and breathing didn’t burn my lungs anymore, I tried to force my body up, just to be grabbed by the back of my neck and thrown against a tree.
The force behind the action forced the air out of me with a weak ‘oomph’ sound. Laugher – violent, with no mercy, echoed in my mind. My vision was too blurry to notice who had decided to attack me after the run, and unfortunately, I didn’t recognize the voice either.
“Why are you laying around like you have nothing better to do? Get your sorry ass back to the pack house, the pack members will expect breakfast to be ready in an hour!” A man snarled.
I tried to focus on the sound of his footsteps as I reached my hand behind my neck and felt for the damage. I knew I felt a sting, so it didn’t surprise me that whoever decided to have a quick fun with me extended their claws.
Despite the pain and slight dizziness, and being uneasy on my feet, I started walking back to the pack house.
Just one more day. They were more aggressive and vicious only because in a day I would turn twenty-one and might meet my mate. Once a man stood in front of his mate, the others had no right to use her as their plaything.
It felt like an eternity had passed when I reached the pack house. I felt uneasy as I entered it, dread washed over me when I saw my step-mother pacing the main area. The woman hated me, she despised me like no other person in this pack.
“You sure love taking your sweet damn time, don’t you? Get your ass in the kitchen, I refuse to be held accountable for your laziness!” She snarled and stormed away.
Like any other day, she had a look of disgust on her face. For most part, she made it feel like it was painful to look at me and avoided me like I had a plague. There wasn’t a motherly bone in that woman’s body, at least not regarding me.
Swallowing the bile that rose up in my throat the moment I stepped into the kitchen, I got to work. First, I cleaned up the mess everyone had left for me and then quickly made breakfast.
The maids, actual employees that were getting paid, started plating the food and brought it to the dining room. I listened to the sounds of chatter while the employees pretended I didn’t exist. By the time they had brought food for pack members and gotten some for themselves, there was none left for me.
Tears stung my eyes, but I knew I could wait until midnight and sneak upstairs to get something. As soon as I finished cleaning up again, I ran to the basement, where my room was located.
Come to think of it, I couldn’t call it a room, it once was a cell for a prisoner and down the hall from where I lived were actual cells for rogues, so this place reeked like death.
All I needed was a quick nap and I could survive the day with the monsters. That, also, didn’t work out as I was hoping.
I barely stepped into the cell and the door to the cells was kicked open, the awful sound was followed by the screech of my step-sisters voice. “Mother is looking for you, mutt!”
Although I didn’t want to keep running around and follow their commands, especially after the night I had, I knew I didn’t really have a choice. Disobedience was a crime, one I didn’t want to pay for.
My step-sister didn’t stick around as I struggled to get up the stairs. Everything hurt, especially my neck, but they wouldn’t show me mercy, so all I could do was pretend I was fine.
As expected, the step-monster stood at the door to the cells. She grabbed my upper arm and dragged me to the hospital wing of the pack house. Deep down, I almost let the hope bloom. Maybe she had a change of heart and realized all this torture was too much?
However, once she dragged me into a room, I think I knew what was about to happen even before she opened her mouth and started screaming at the doctor, who to his credit, refused to follow her demands at first.
The problem was that no one could fight against Luna’s command and he, the same as I, had no choice but to obey her.
Tears streamed down my cheeks as the doctor sank the needle in my arm and instructed me to lay down on the examination table. Within minutes, my eyelids grew heavier and I gave up on trying to stay awake.
If this was what fate had in cards for me, I just had to bite my tongue and endure. I was determined to get out of here as soon as I found an exit and if I met my mate tomorrow, at least my life wouldn’t be as bad as it had been so far.
“Are you sure, Luna? I mean no disrespect, but are you positive this is the right thing to do? She is just a girl, I fear the procedure is irreversible,” I heard the doctor try to reason with her.
As I felt the heavy veil of darkness envelop me, I heard her last words and let out a weak scream, fighting against my body and senses to stay awake. “No more halfbreeds.”
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