Grace woke to the familiar sound of clanging against the bars of her cell. She let out a sigh before rolling over and sitting up on her old dusty cot.
“Get up,” the guard boomed from outside her cell.
She stood slowly, her frail body struggling to keep itself upright. She staggered for a moment, shaking the dizziness from her mind. “Good morning to you too, Craig,” Grace mumbled.
He growled, “Lose the attitude, Grace. The alpha is coming down any minute. He won’t be as nice as I am if you give him any lip.”
Grace closed her eyes, still feeling a bit dizzy. “Can I eat first?”
He shook his head. “You’ll eat if you behave yourself. You know that. So please, just cooperate today.”
Grace sat on the bed. After living in this cell for years, she had lost a lot of her strength, especially since they started feeding her even less than they had before.
It didn’t help that Grace was alone. Her wolf, Naya, had left almost a year ago, and Grace didn’t know how much longer she could endure this by herself.
Her head snapped up when she heard Craig speaking formally. “Good morning, Alpha,” he said, earning a slight nod from his leader.
Alpha Knox was a hard, cruel, vicious man who saw everyone around him as inferior.
Grace knew why he was here today. It was time for her monthly interrogation.
“Hello, Grace. Happy three years,” he said darkly as he stood outside the cell, his large form taking up most of the doorway. His steely silver eyes showed nothing but darkness and hate.
“Hello, Alpha,” she replied quietly, keeping her head low with the hopes her submission would keep him calm.
“You ready to say anything?” he asked.
Grace looked down, knowing she couldn’t hide the fire in her eyes. “I don’t know anything, Alpha.”
He shook his head. “You’ve been here for three years, Grace. Give me something, and maybe I can help you.”
She let out a huff, knowing it was a lie. He was never going to let her out of here. She would die in here, no matter what she said.
She looked up at him with a small scowl. “No matter how many times you ask, my answer will always be the same because I truly don’t know what you want from me.”
Alpha Knox glared at her, his irritation bubbling to the surface with a quiet growl. “Open the door.”
Grace’s eyes filled with fear. She knew what was coming. The interrogations always ended the same when he didn’t get what he wanted. She always ended up in trouble.
He pulled her hair, forcing her to stand from the bed. Grace let out a yelp before meeting his eyes.
“Just tell me where they are, Grace!”
“I don’t know!” she yelled, wincing at the pain.
He slapped her across the face, throwing her to the floor, her weakened body unable to fight or even pick itself up off the ground. He kicked her in the ribs, and she gasped for breath, the pain searing through her.
She glared at him. No matter how many times he beat her, she would never give him what he wanted. Knox towered over her with a scowl, his dark hair falling into his face. “Maybe you will remember when I come back next month.”
Grace wiped her hand across her lip, the blood from the cut on her bottom lip staining her hand.
She pulled herself up onto the bed with a soft moan as she watched Alpha Knox leave her cell and walk back upstairs.
Craig walked in and handed her a cold towel. “Why don’t you just tell him?”
Grace looked up with narrowed eyes. “Because I don’t know.”
That wasn’t a complete lie. Grace didn’t know where they went after she helped them. Alpha Knox and his minions were abusive and cruel, ruling the Winterglade Pack with manipulation and fear.
They would beat members of the pack for no reason other than for entertainment and to reinforce their power over the pack. Nobody could leave; the borders were heavily guarded.
Not that anyone could afford to leave. The alpha took almost everything the members had to fuel his lifestyle.
But four years ago, she smuggled almost forty members of the pack out of the borders, mostly families with young pups who couldn’t defend themselves against their alphas who had put out an order to kill them.
They didn’t have proof that she did it, but it didn’t stop them from putting her in a cell.
Alpha Knox was almost obsessive, coming every day in the beginning to ask where they were. But now, it was just once a month.
Still, he was not about to let them go, even if it took him twenty years to find them. Not that she had twenty years left.
“Happy third anniversary, Grace,” she mumbled to herself sarcastically.
Grace looked up to see Craig in his usual spot by the door. “So, can I have my breakfast now?” she called out.
Craig chuckled. “That’s funny. You and I both know you aren’t getting any breakfast. I told you to behave yourself.”
Grace furrowed her brow before looking down at herself. Her body was thin—almost sickly—from the malnourishment. Her long auburn hair had lost its shine, and her blue eyes were no longer bright.
“Can I at least have another book? I finished this one weeks ago,” she asked quietly as she pulled a small book from under her pillow.
Craig sighed. “I’m not a camp counselor, Grace. I’m here to make sure you don’t escape, not to make sure you’re entertained.”
Grace sat back with a grumble before picking at the wall, wishing she hadn’t been caught.
“Someday,” she whispered. “Someday, I’ll get out of here, one way or another.”
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