Every year they came. Every year they tormented. Every year they stared from dark eyes and huge bodies at the offerings of the village.
This year was my year.
Turning eighteen was meant to be some amazing experience that the village deemed as an honor because of them.
Like being a chew toy for a bunch of asshole alphas for the night was something to celebrate. Like saving my vagina to be ripped to shreds by them meant I should be forever grateful to their big hairy balls. Yeah, right.
The village was usually quiet, but not tonight. Tonight was the blood moon. The night of the offerings. It was alive with music and the roar of a bonfire as the village prepared.
I looked over at the white dress my mother had laid out and sneered.
I had contemplated forgoing the whole thing by ruining my “purity” with the baker’s son in the men’s village, but last time they had been offered a nonvirgin, the alphas had lost their shit and burned almost every hut to the ground, ravaging the offender like a whore in front of the flames.
I shuddered at the memory of her splayed limbs getting fucked for the entire village to see. The worst part was, she had enjoyed it. They were that good with their wolf dicks.
The girl thought she was some sacrifice to them, giving her body willingly, letting them take her in every hole in the dirt and mud, screaming in pleasure for hours.
I shuddered and sank below the water of the tub I was in. The water was almost cold now and I had scrubbed every part of myself clean, but I couldn’t bring myself to get out.
I wasn’t just on show for the alphas tonight. My dad was coming to the offering. I hadn’t seen him in years—since puberty. He lived in the men’s village with my brother and had for years, as was the tradition.
Girls of the village turned eighteen, gave themselves to the alphas, then came back the next day as “women.”
The men had their choice of a wife, but being a wife was a loose term. It just meant they had been chosen to reproduce. My father had chosen my mother because she had nice tits.
I scoffed and looked down at mine with a roll of my eyes, sinking lower so I couldn’t see them. I had inherited those and was dreading the disgusting men that would come to inspect them.
I had no idea who it would be. The men and women were not allowed to have any contact before eighteen to avoid the temptation, but I was looking forward to meeting my brother.
He was my twin, and I had never met him. It was fucked up but there was nothing I could do. Nothing except get out of the bath and put the stupid dress on.
I was about to get out when my mom came in. Her face dropped when she saw me still in the bath.
“Lorelai! Hurry along, child! We need to get you to the bonfire with the other offerings!” she fretted, patting her blonde hair back into her claw clip.
She was wearing a stunning royal blue dress that matched our eyes, with a thigh slit and a deep V that wrapped across her thin waist.
Her dark red lipstick was perfect on her full lips, and I knew she was trying because she was going to see my father again.
Hopeless romantic that she was, she still believed he loved her.
I smiled. “You look beautiful, Mom.”
“Thank you, sweetie.” She blushed before pursing her lips and hurrying me out of the water.
I pushed her hands away as she tried to dry me. I snatched the cloth from her and wrapped it around myself.
“I will be out in a minute,” I promised, and she hesitated before nodding and leaving.
I needed longer than a minute, but I was already late.
That wasn’t a surprise though. Most of the tasks I was given seemed menial and dull, not worthy of my promptness. The ladies of the village had given up trying to lecture me in punctuality.
I slid on the white silk dress with a lace slit up the thigh running up my body to the side of my breast. It hung low, showing off everything I had to offer.
I grabbed for the white lace underwear and looked between them and my boxer shorts. They were white and infinitely comfier. I chewed my lip in indecision. They were coming off anyway, so did it really matter?
“Don’t you dare, Lorelai. Wear the clothes you have been given,” my mother said, opening the door with a firm scowl. She knew me too well.
I huffed and slid the panties on with a grimace. She beamed, then came forward with a brush. I sat down at the wooden vanity as she brushed out my damp waves that were raven black, just like my father’s.
“Are you nervous?” she asked, and it was the first time she had openly spoken about the offering.
I shook my head. “No. It’s just sex.” I shrugged, and she smiled warmly.
“Then you are braver than I was at your age.”
“Did it hurt?”
She nodded, her eyes shimmering with the memory. Thanks Mom, now I was afraid.
“But not to worry. The alphas now are much nicer. Gentler.” She gave me a reassuring smile, but I didn’t believe her. The alphas were anything but gentle.
“How many offerings are there this year?” I asked, not sure why I cared.
“Seven. You’re the last, being born in winter.” She smiled, but it was a timid smile, and I was sick of the pretending.
I spun to her, clutching the back of the chair as she paused midbrush.
“Oh, I forgot, winter borns are cursed,” I snapped. “Maybe I’m lucky; they’ll have tired themselves out by the time they get to me.”
My mother gulped, then slipped her palm down my cheek, resting my chin in her fingers. “It doesn’t happen like that, Lori,” she whispered, and I frowned.
“Well how would I know? You haven’t explained anything to me,” I huffed, and spun back so she could finish my hair.
We had to go, or I couldn’t offer my precious purity to the beasts that lived in the city. The brush came through my hair slower before my mother stopped.
“They’ll come and inspect you all. Then you’ll get in the carriages. Their favorites will get in their personal carriage.
“You’ll go into the city to their compound. It’s beautiful, a gorgeous mansion filled with all the amenities, food, and luxuries you’ll never see again. It’ll have you in awe, and then they’ll split you into groups. One per alpha,” my mother said, seeming far away, but I was transfixed.
She had never gone into so much detail, and I didn’t know how much I wanted to know.
“Wait, you don’t have to be with all three?” I asked, relief pouring through me, until she gave me a sad smile.
The three alphas ran the three different parts of the realm, but they all lived in the city.
We lived in the Grassland, where hills and farmland stretched for miles broken only by the gravel roads. The other two were the Forest and the Water.
“Not at once. You’ll be put in the group with the Grassland offerings first. Then they’ll barter,” she said, and her voice broke.
I narrowed my eyes at her. “Barter?”
“Swap and trade which virgins—offerings, I mean,” she corrected, but I had heard it, “they will have first. Which alpha will be the one to claim your purity.”
“And once the groups are chosen?” I was afraid of the answer, but my mother huffed and stood up, rubbing her thumb on my cheek.
"And then they will accept you as a part of Werewolf Territory, taking your purity as an offering.”
“You mean as payment,” I sneered, and Mother scowled at me.
“They protect us, Lorelai. If it weren’t for the wolves, our village would have been destroyed during the great war, the vampires would own humans, and we would simply be walking blood bags,” she reminded.
“As opposed to walking sex slaves?” I taunted, and her scowl deepened.
“Enough, Lorelai. It’s the way things are. We are human, surrounded by creatures far more terrifying than us. We must accept the blessings we are given, and that is the protection from the alphas,” she said, then left the room, expecting me to follow.
I did—just as the horn blared from the bonfire.
Mother’s eyes widened. “Lorelai, run!”
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