Apparently, since my grandmother had a new plan, she amped up the beatings. She started using a silver whip to rip open my skin. They bonded my hands in silver cuffs, but silver doesn’t affect Tundra like other wolves. It took a while for the cuffs to really start burning. And the silver-tipped whip only hurt because it was ripping my back open, not because of the silver.
She didn’t want to wait until a full moon, so she was trying to beat it out of me. I tried to be as patient as possible, but it was becoming too much.
Not only was I being beaten unconscious, but the vampires were feeding on me. I’m surprised I have any blood left. And poor Tundra is barely keeping me alive at this point.
I’m not sure how long I endured this amount of torture, but finally, I was forced up the stairs and out of the building. I noticed we were staying in an abandoned house and I was being kept in a cell that was built in the basement.
I could barely walk, but I knew I had to be strong, that this was my chance. They led me outside into the cold of a clear December night. The moon was shining brightly above us. They led me up onto a wooden platform and cuffed me to a thick wooden pole.
There were five people who wore black cloaks standing around the platform, and I couldn’t tell if they were males or females. A little further away were the guards. My grandmother walked up the platform to speak to me.
“Last chance to live, granddaughter.” She whispered to me. I said nothing. Either way, she will not be getting my powers today. She shook her head and turned to walk off the platform.
“Let’s start the ritual.” She called to the witches. I’m assuming they are witches, anyway.
All five of the cloaked people lit a torch. They were chanting away in some language l didn’t understand, and then they lit the platform a blaze.
This really couldn’t be that easy, I thought. My grandmother tried to make my wolf weak with the silver but she forgot or didn’t know that I could use my powers. Yes, I was weak, but I was going to fight until my last breath.
The cloaked chanted again and I willed the fire closer to my cuffs. I could melt them off while forcing the flames to burn hotter. The fire doesn’t hurt me; it dances around me. I could hear gasps and my grandmother yelling, but l just focused on the fire.
Once the silver melted, I threw the flames out at the people all around me. I could hear screams of agonizing pain, but I ignored everything and took off running into the forest. They did not dress me for the December night, but there was no way I was staying to look for the proper clothing.
Iran until l couldn’t move anymore. I flopped into the snow, but I knew my body was turning the snow red. To shift, I had to reach out to Tundra. I was going to freeze to death or someone was going to find me.
“Tundra, can you shift?” I panted.
“I’ll try.” She answered.
The shift into Tundra was painful, but I was so much warmer with her covered in fur. She rushed away in the direction I was originally running in.
She didn’t sense anyone around, so she could take her time and save some of her energy.
The sun was rising by the time we found a stream where Tundra could take a drink. The forest we had been moving through was dense and the snow wasn’t helping our progress. I didn’t know where we were or if we were heading towards help.
Tundra walked for longer until she sensed people.
She immediately shifted back. We didn’t need people seeing her white and gold fur.
But now I was na*ked, and it was still freezing. I leaned my back into a tree and listened. Men were talking about tracks but not finding anything. I jumped when I heard them call out to me.
“We can smell you, wolf, come out.” One man commanded.
“I can’t.” I yelled back.
“Why not?” He asked.
“Why are you out here?” I countered.
“We are looking for rogues’ responsibility for some recent attacks, but you don’t smell rogue
“That’s because I’m not a rogue. My pack is Silver Moon.” I answered.
“The Silver Moon Pack? What are you doing so far south?” He questioned.
“I don’t know,” I answered.
I could hear them whispering, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. My mind was racing and I couldn’t focus. I also couldn’t smell what they were as I was downwind from them. That was a stupid move and hopefully they won’t kill me.
“Why don’t you come on out and we can get you to safety?” He asked.
“l can’t. I’m na*ked.” I told him.
“What’s your name?” He asked me.
“Ashlyn.” I finally answered him.
“I’m Derek, Ashlyn. I’m going to throw my backpack over to you, and then my men and I will turn around. You can get dressed.” He told me.
“Okay” I answered. The backpack landed close to where l was hiding behind the tree. I looked around the tree to see that all the men, eight of them, had their backs to me.
I picked up the backpack and ran back to behind the tree. I went through it and found a hoodie, sweatpants and a pair of socks. No shoes, this is going to be a cold walk. I quickly got dressed and walked back out from behind the tree.
“Okay, you can turn around now.” I called to them. Still maintaining a suitable distance between us. I still didn’t know these men and how could I trust them, but did I really have a choice? I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere, where I’m probably going to bleed to death.
When they all turned around, they looked at me, stunned. I knew I was probably a sight with all my bruises and cuts on my face. Everything else was covered, but I knew it was bad. My hair was a knotted mess and I would probably have to shave it to get all the knots out. All the men were tall and I’m assuming built underneath all their bulky uniforms.
One of the men cleared his throat.
“Ashlyn, are you okay?” Derek asked. I knew it was him from the sound of his voice. Derek was the tallest, and he had light brown hair cut short and sea-green eyes. I’m pretty sure Derek was the one in charge. His aura screamed dominance, and he was definitely handsome. All the men were, they were most likely shifters, but I couldn’t place which animal they were.
“No, and l just want to get home. Can you help me?” l asked, feeling dizzy and weak. It’s probably my adrenaline wearing off and the massive blood loss is setting in. I couldn’t even hold the backpack anymore, dropping it in the snow.
My world was spinning, but I didn’t hit the ground. Someone scooped me up into strong, very warm arms. I couldn’t even fight if they were going to kill me. Hopefully they did it quickly, my will to live was gone.
“It’s okay Ashlyn, we’ll get you back to our base, just rest,” Derek told me softly. I think I nodded before I fell into the most peaceful sleep I’d had in what felt like forever.