As my eyes flicker open, white shining light fills them and beautiful choir voices fill my ears, hymns of old and new and everything in between.
It’s as if I’m lying on nothing, with only the songs of time keeping me afloat.
Only from willing it, I stand, although I feel nothing below my feet but mist and almost inaudible whispers.
Heavenly light covers all sides, blinding me to any fears or evils in the world. Am I even in the world anymore?
What is going on?
I died…I’m sure of it.
Or did I?
Two doors suddenly appear.
To the right, a glowing emerald door appears, thistle branches capturing its frame.
To the left, a golden door, its gilded frame glimmering brightly.
I walk toward the golden door, but when I touch the door knob it disintegrates into nothing.
”Not yet”, an angelic voice whispers to me, “it is not yet time.”
I turn to the other door.
This time the doorknob doesn’t disappear. Instead, the door swings open with ease.
Suddenly, I am pushed by some invisible force.
As I plummet through a forest canopy, I can’t help but think, “How did I even get here?”
“Alpha Nickolas is holding a pack meeting. He’s finally declaring who his mate is,” Mama tells me as I walk through the front door from school.
I stop in my tracks at the news.
Alpha Nickolas found his mate?
I can’t help but feel jealous. The most advantageous thing about being a wolf is the fact that they can know who they truly belong with… who their soulmate is.
We humans have to go through life, through different relationships, in the hope that we’ll be right this time. That this man or woman is who we’re meant to be with.
Or, maybe, because we don’t have mates, maybe we don’t have “the one.” Maybe we’re destined to look for many types of love.
Still, I adore the mate idea: the feeling of truly belonging with someone, feeling safe in their arms, their wish to make you happy and vice versa.
But alas, I’m human. The chance of a werewolf being mated to a human is rare. The compatibility of soulmates should at least be based on the same species, right?
I do have a boyfriend at the human school that I go to. His name is Eddie, and while I like him a lot, I could never imagine telling him that I live with werewolves. I mean, I haven’t even told my best friend Freya.
How can Eddie and I ever end up together when I have to lie about so many parts of my life?
Mama pulls me out of my spiraling thoughts, frantically tugging on my arm in order for us not to arrive late.
Another thing to know about me is that I’m cursed with clumsiness, so obviously I trip over my feet as we rush out the door.
At pack meetings, Mama and I stay at the sidelines, hoping we are invisible and willing ourselves to shrink into nothingness.
Of course, being human, my scent is wildly different to others, making it impossible for me to stay completely in the shadows.
The previous alpha welcomed me into his pack when my mama brought me home after finding me, abandoned, in the rogue lands.
The new alpha, on the other hand, Alpha Nick, hates me.
In fact, he detests all humans.
“Today is a momentous occasion for me,” Alpha Nick begins, his voice echoing throughout the hall. “I have found my mate, right here in our pack.”
Wolves can only smell their mate when they turn of age, eighteen.
Alpha Nick has been waiting a few years, so his mate must be just of age, or maybe they’ve known for a few months if she belongs to this pack.
“Here she is,” he declares. A tall, beautiful girl joins Nick on the stage, her glossy hair cascading over her shoulders and hazel eyes glistening in the lights.
A girl, a wolf, who has bullied me every day of my life.
We’re the same age and her and her friends were my tormentors in my childhood. Ever since I started going to a human highschool, I see her less. Thank Goddess…
But that doesn’t change the fact that she will become the Luna, the female leader of this pack, as she is mated to the alpha.
And, like her alpha, she detests humans.
“Now comes time for our tradition,” announces the alpha, “when an alpha finds his luna, he grants her one wish. Her deepest, darkest desire.”
My mother gasps next to me, a look of panic washes over her face.
We all watch as Victoria whispers into his ear, giggling.
“Can’t say I’m surprised,” snickers the alpha, before turning to the crowd, “my brilliant luna has requested the immediate expulsion of all humans.”
She shoots me a devious smile from across the room, raising her eyebrows knowingly.
For a moment, time pauses. It seems like every single pack member is looking right at me and my mother.
“Here, take this,” my mother whispers to me as she shoves a letter into my jacket pocket, “it has all the answers you will need.”
I don’t have time to ask any questions because the alpha, the beta, and the luna are walking right towards me. Their eyes seeping menace and danger.
The pack stands back, watching as I’m banished from pack territory, driven out across the borders with the alpha, luna and beta pushing me along.
They didn’t even allow me to take anything, and my mama couldn’t stop them. Since she’s a wolf, getting banished from the pack would actually be painful, the pack ties having to be severed.
She has no choice but to let me go.
I turn my head and catch one last glimpse of her. My Mama, my protector, tears streaming down her face.
“Remember the letter,” she mouths to me one last time.
But then I feel Alpha Nick pushing me from behind and I know that I have to keep going.
Once we’re across the borders, we enter rogue territory, and I question why I have to be left out here.
Rogues are notoriously vicious, and will kill any unfortunate human that lands in their path.
They remain silent, an amused expression on all three faces as they notice my frightened one.
These three are evil and sadistic.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, I feel a sharp knock to my head and I tumble to the ground. My vision blurs, the throb in the back of my head mind-numbing.
I cry out as I’m turned onto my back, pinned down by the alpha’s large hands on my shoulders.
His full body weight crushes me, and I see the flash of his knife trailing along my jaw. His still-amused face wears a devious smirk.
“What are you doing?” I ask in an almost inaudible whisper.
“Why, little Rory, we’re getting rid of you permanently,” Nick tells me in a cunning tone. “I can’t have your pretty little mouth telling someone about wolves, about the pack.
“Humans can’t be banished,” he says. “Humans have to die.”
With no more warning and no seconds left, the metal digs right into the skin of my neck and slits it open.
I feel the need to cling to my neck, to try to breathe and stop the blood spewing all over my hands.
Before everything goes black, I feel my mother’s letter heavy in my pocket, full of all the secrets I would never know, all the questions left unanswered.
It’s all over.
They’ve killed me…
Before I can properly get my bearings, I realize I am about to hit the forest ground at full force.
I brace myself for a painful impact, but no such thing comes.
The choirs cease, the almost painful but charming light is now gone, replaced by blackness.
I blink my eyes open and am shocked to find myself back in the woods, back in rogue territory, back where my alpha killed me.
I scramble to my feet to search the surroundings.
The night rolls in as the darkness envelops me like the soft chilly breeze. Sounds of wildlife echo through the whistling trees.
The rustling of leaves sends shivers down my spine, and I clutch my arms, recoiling at the haunts of this territory.
Just as the next member of any pack, I’ve heard all the stories about rogues. Lone wolves that refuse to be governed, refuse to bow down and pledge loyalty to any alpha.
They are wolves without discipline, without morals, without the need for companionship.
And I’m in the very heart of their territory, having been seemingly resurrected from the dead.
I’m reminded of how insane that seems.
I freeze, realizing that the warm liquid I’m feeling on the soles of my feet is actually my own blood, the blood from my neck.
It now pools under my feet, staining them crimson with hints of mud and dirt.
How is this possible? How am I here? Am I really here?
Maybe I’m not alive. Maybe I’m a ghost. Or maybe this is the afterlife, and that the door I was pushed through happened to be the gateway to what comes after death.
I touch my neck to find it still tainted with blood, but the wound is fully healed, as if it were never there.
I couldn’t have been imagining it all, the blood is the evidence of that.
I dare to take a step and, naturally, I slip.
On my own blood…
I roll onto my back, completely drained of all my energy.
All I know is that I need answers.
Suddenly, I remember the letter in my pocket…
I reach into my jacket and am relieved to feel the paper between my fingers.
This is the last thing I’ll ever get from my mama.
I’ll never be safe to go back there and she can’t leave the pack.
Did she know they were going to kill me?
Unfolding the blood-stained envelope that’s tucked into my pocket, I dig at the opening to get to the letter.
I quickly read the letter and gasp in shock.
Right there, on the page, in my mother’s neat handwriting, were all the answers I had ever been looking for.
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