I was pulled from the packhouse, floating just outside the second-floor window. I could still see Alpha Asher and I in bed, his arm wrapped lazily around my waist.
Looking down at my own hands, I noticed the shimmery and almost dream-like quality they had taken on. My skin was nearly translucent, showing the ground beneath me.
I held my arms out in the air, trying to move myself towards the bedroom window. My body refused to respond, as if I were tethered to the spot.
I had never experienced a dream quite like this. Watching my sleeping body just ten feet away was quite unsettling. My stomach lurched as I began sinking to the ground. It felt like going over the crest of a roller coaster, right before free-fall.
For just a second, I wondered if my feet would pass through the earth. I had passed through the packhouse with ease. Some of the fear in my stomach was quenched when my feet gently hit the ground.
Everything was lit beautifully under the night sky. The moonlight bathed everything in shades of deep blue. Something stirred at the forest line.
I tried to take a step back when the familiar icy cold front lapped at my skin. I couldn’t force my body to move, once again tethered in place.
After seeing the moving shadows during the fight, it was easy to spot them now. It was as if once you noticed the shadows, you could never miss them again. The shadows gathered along the forest line, painting the leaves and bark in black.
I watched as some of the shadows took form, only to break apart and slink away. The shadows continued to build, and my discomfort continued to grow. My skin was cold to the touch, even with the warm nighttime breeze.
As the shadows gathered, other parts of the forest line became lighter. Tree’s and details were easier to make out as the shadows pulled themselves further away. The shadows merged, creating a towering form. The form was shaped like a man.
Standing at six feet tall, the form had no discernable details. I could see its frayed edges, where the shadows were unable to become solid.
The human shaped shadow approached me. Each individual hair on my body stood on end as the silky voice emerged from the shadow. The cold front seemed to follow the shadows, growing stronger the closer they approached.
‘You have been called’
‘Called?’ My voice sounded strange as the word tumbled from my lips. It was an octave higher and left a dull ringing in my ears. As much as I wanted this to be a dream, it was far too accurate for my liking. The knot that had formed in my stomach grew bigger each time I dismissed this as a dream. While I wanted to ignore the truth, my gut already knew.
I tried to reach out to Maya, to feel her within the confines of my brain. I was met with an emptiness that rattled me. Searching the corners of my mind for my wolf, she was no where to be found. The only voice inside my head, was my own.
I pressed against the invisible barrier that held me in place, pushing until my body ached and my head throbbed. The shadow man glided forward inhumanly, it’s arms and legs remained still throughout the motion.
‘Do not fight’
The words came from the shadows in a silky hiss, their voices floating to my reluctant ears. Before I had the chance to react, a smoky hand wrapped around my wrist.
My mouth opened in pain, but nothing came out. The smoky hand around my wrist was colder than anything I had felt.
I couldn’t pull myself from it’s grasp. Icy shards dug into my skin and I wondered if there would be a wound where the shadow had touched me.
Nearly three whole seconds after the shadow grabbed my wrist, the packhouse around us had faded from existence. It was like watching an old television.
The background became enveloped in static, details and object disappearing from the background until we were left with nothing.
As quickly as everything faded, a new surrounding replaced the old. My limbs felt like jelly, my tongue sandpaper in my mouth. I was overwhelmed with fatigue, as if I had just traveled a great distance.
I turned around, looking at my surroundings as they came into existence. I wasn’t by the packhouse anymore, but inside someone’s home. From the looks of it, I was standing in someone’s living room. My body still had that hazy dream-like quality, but everything around me seemed so… real.
The living room was bathed in shades of maroon, brown and black. A leather couch sat in the middle of the room, facing a blazing fireplace.
I could feel the heat crackle against my skin, it’s warmth attempting to counteract the cold. Bookshelves lined the walls, a large mahogany desk sat at one end of the room. Statue’s and works of art were scattered through out the room, all looking priceless and ancient.
Once I finished looking over the room, my eyes fell on a familiar head of blonde hair. Looking much like he had at the swimming hole, Tristan was seated in one of the chairs. A glass of amber colored alcohol sat in his hand; his face contorted into a grimace.
Without giving it much thought, my hand reached up and ran against the mark Tristan left on my shoulder. I knew without looking, it was still there. It had followed me into my dream—or whatever this was.
My eyes fell on another man, and I wondered how I hadn’t noticed him before. He wasn’t any vampire I had ever seen, not that I’ve seen many to begin with.
His hair was the color of night, a deep shade of black that nearly grazed his shoulders. The midnight colored waves seemed oddly familiar.
I walked around to get a better look at his face. Neither one seemed to notice my presence. The man’s hair was lifted from his face, the deep waves fanned over his head.
The man looked quite young, possibly in his late twenties. While he looked young, there was a strange aura that surrounded him. Power and wisdom floated around him like a harsh wind.
I was sure my heart ceased its erratic beating the moment I looked into his eyes. What I saw made the icy waves come back with a vengeance.
I saw myself mirrored in his bright eyes, my own staring back at me. It was then I was able to make the connection between myself and this man.
This man was my father.
His bright eyes were identical to my own, his raven hair the same shade. I had always thought I got my dark hair from my Grandma, but now I could see the difference. Grandma’s black hair was the color of obsidian. My hair was such a deep shade of black, it almost held a blue hue to it.
The color of rich midnight skies and lurking shadows. His lips were like my own, plump and full with a deep cupid bow. There was a coldness to the man’s eyes, one that set my teeth on edge. His eyes were hard as he looked into the fire.
The man turned his head to Tristan, and I watched as Tristan stiffened in response. The man—my Father commanded a lot of respect, that was evident in the way Tristan responded to his gaze.
‘You may leave, Tristan.’ His voice was deep and rich, striking a chord within me that I had long ago forgotten about. His voice was familiar, delving down and reaching memories long ago forgotten.
How could I remember his voice if I hadn’t met him before?
As deep and rich as his voice may be, it reminded me of the icy shards that licked my skin. His voice held a certain coldness to it, one that spread around the room like a thick frost. I was almost certain I’d be able to see my own breath as it escaped my l!ps.
Tristan stood, giving the man a small bow.
‘Yes, my Lord.’ Tristan murmured politely, retreating to the large doors before he disappeared from the room.
My Lord? The strange words danced in circles around my head. The truth was sitting right in front of me, waiting for me to wrap my hands around it.
I couldn’t bring myself to put the pieces together. I would much rather live in the dark, ignore the pull I felt in my gut as I looked on at my Father.
The pieces were fitting together in my head, and it took all my willpower to keep them apart. Just as the pieces clicked together, the man opened his mouth and spoke.
‘I know you’re here, Lola.’
Bile churned in my stomach, threatening to rise. Could I throw up in a dream—or whatever this was? I wasn’t sure, but I had the strange feeling I would find out. The icy shards continued lapping at my skin, but the shadow figure had retreated to the other side of the room.
The figure melted into the shadows cast by the blazing fireplace. Part of the room darkened as the shadows melted into the background.
I opened my mouth to speak, but what could I say? I wasn’t sure what to say, let alone if he could hear me. As if the man could read my mind, he spoke once again.
‘I cannot hear you, but that isn’t necessary.’ The man shook his head, his eyes never once leaving the blazing fire. ‘You’re a smart girl, I’m sure you’ve figured out who I am to you.’
For once, I was thankful I couldn’t speak. I hadn’t been rendered speechless before, but I was now. There were a million questions flitting through my head, yet none of them seemed to break through the surface.
‘The Shadows are your birthright, Lola. They are my gift to you.’ My Father voice came out strong, his words had an uncomfortable chill to them.
‘I felt you call out to them just a few hours ago. As you have learned, they demand a price for their work. The steeper your request, the higher the price.’
As he said the last sentence, his head snapped over to me. His eyes were locked on my own, as if he could see me standing in the room. My mouth was open in shock, my body frozen in place.
‘You can deny what you are, but sooner or later you will find your way to me. By force or free-will, you will find your way to me.’ My Father’s voice was hard. I looked into eyes identical to my own, searching for some form of light within them. Instead of light, I found shadows.
‘Together we will eradicate our enemies. You will take your rightful place at my side.’ My Father spoke with conviction, as if it was all set-in stone. ‘It is what you were created for.’
‘No.’ I shook my head, uncaring if he could hear me or not. ‘I won’t—I won’t betray my family, my pack.’
‘Embrace your other half, Lola. Look into the past and remember.’
‘No!’ Frustration and fear bubbled within me, the desperate scream tearing through my throat. I didn’t want to be here anymore, I wanted to be safe in bed with Alpha Asher. I could have gone my entire life without seeing that, without experiencing it.
I felt myself fly backwards; torn from the place I had stood. My entire body was surrounded by the icy frost, my skin stinging as it tore me away from my Father.
I was back at the packhouse, my toes wiggling over the dewy grass. The shadows against the forest line looked and felt normal. The icy waves that lapped at my skin ceased.
I would’ve thought I was awake if it weren’t for my translucent skin. I felt myself being lifted upwards, as if a string were tied around my waist. I was thrown into the bedroom, catching a glimpse of Alpha Asher’s sleeping form.
I sat up from bed, my heart hammering in my chest. A thin layer of sweat clung to my skin. While my skin was coated in sweat, I felt like a block of ice. My teeth gnashed together, fighting the urge to shiver.
Sunlight streamed through the curtain’s, battering my eyes from the intensity.