I never asked for this. To be changed. To be on the brink of death, waiting for release from the pain, only to wake and find out I was a monster, an impossible thing, an animal. The thought was funny, really. As I lay there going in and out of consciousness, I laughed. I was a vegetarian. I couldn’t be a werewolf, I just couldn’t. But there was no denying what I was becoming. I could feel my inner wolf lingering inside me, waiting to break the surface.
That’s when a steely voice broke through my thoughts. His voice, my savior and my maker. ‘You are a werewolf and you’re mine.’ My insides turned over at the mental invasion. Yet, it felt like he was a part of me. ‘Pack.’ Something inside me whispered. The searing pain that burned on my abdomen threatened to make me go unconscious again.
“Stay with me. Please survive,” his voice said aloud this time, and I felt a hand cup my face. The last thing I thought of before losing consciousness again was the memory of my body lying in the winding road that led to Mt. Hood. Of the tall dark man that changed into a werewolf and ripped me to shreds with his teeth.
I awoke sometime later and sat up, fully expecting to be sore or to have stitches all over my body; bandages, a cast, something. I looked down and saw my pale skin. I had a t-shirt on and it smelled like him. I pulled it up and traced my fingers along the white jagged scar that marked my belly. That’s where he bit me first. Other than that bite mark, my skin was flawless. I looked around. I was in a simple room. There were hardwood floors, a small bed and a dresser.
My mind flashed back to the scene, to last night. The dark-skinned man that turned into a… a wolf, and attacked me. Well, that wasn’t quite right. I had been in an accident. Oh god, it was bad. I grabbed my head remembering the pain I had felt. My leg had been twisted at an odd angle. Blood had poured freely from my abdomen. I was waiting to die. If I hadn’t tried to swerve and miss that deer, I wouldn’t have crashed my Jetta. What do they tell you? Swerve into the mountain? Away from the mountain? Don’t swerve? Hit the deer? I couldn’t remember, and I was a vegetarian, so I went on instinct. My instinct said Don’t hit the cute baby deer, and it got me killed. Well… I would have died but then He attacked me. He changed me. I knew it. I could feel it. I was like him. I was….. a shapeshifter?
‘You’re a werewolf.’ The man spoke into my mind, and I jumped startled and looked around. My heart was racing. I looked down at my body once more. No marks other than the bite mark on my stomach. I healed, like in the movies. Like Hollywood werewolves do. A soft knock came at the door and I covered my legs, which were bare.
“Come in?” I said, unsure. It’s not like it was my room. A girl who looked to be about twenty years old poked her head in. She had bright red hair that was cut in a short pixie style and spiked up all over with long bangs in front. She had a heart-shaped face and green eyes. ‘Pack,’ I thought, and shivered at the new feelings. The voice.
“Hi,” she said tentatively as she came in and softly closed the door behind her. In her hand was a bag.
“Hi,” I croaked back, unsure of what to say.
She tossed the bag onto the bed. “We seem to be the same size, so I hope they fit.” She gestured with her hands, as I opened the bag and saw clean clothes and a pair of flip-flops.
“Kai sent me to check on you. To help you get accustomed. I can’t believe you survived.” Emma sat at the edge of the bed.
“Kai?” Somehow the name resonated deep inside me.
“The guy who saved your life. Our Alpha.” She seemed unsure of what to say next.
‘Our Alpha.’ My stomach dropped. Everything I had ever heard or read about Alphas was not good.
“Does he own us?” I shuttered at the thought. I worked very hard to get my college degree and become an independent woman. The last thing I needed, on top of becoming a flesh-eating monster, was to have some psycho hopped on steroids bossing me around.
The girl barked out a laugh. “Well, that’s funny. I hadn’t thought of it that way. He protects us, keeps us safe from rival packs and others. Keeps us fed, happy, and takes care of all of our needs. He keeps peace within the pack. He’s a good Alpha; the strongest man in the pack. We’re lucky to have him. My name is Emma.”
She held out her hand to me; I shook it. I noticed she didn’t exactly answer my question. “I’m Aurora.”
“How old are you?” she inquired.
“Twenty-two, how old are you?”
“Nineteen.” She sat there in silence for a few minutes biting her lip. “Look, I’m sorry about your accident. This must be really overwhelming. I can take you out to meet the others but first we should go over some things. Kind of like werewolf 101.”
My accident…so she knew. “Werewolf 101?” I queried.
“Yeah, let’s start with the rules. When you’re around Kai, you don’t look him directly in the eyes for more than a few seconds. You actually wouldn’t be able to hold a staring contest with him; it’s physically impossible for less dominant wolves. You don’t want him to think you are challenging his strength to lead us. How’re you doing, you okay?”
I picked this odd moment to think of my roommate and my mother. How worried they must be that they hadn’t heard from me. “When can I go home?” I asked shakily.
Emma’s face fell. “Aurora, you’re pack now.” She rested her hand on my knee and it felt oddly comforting.