My name is Selena and I was born a crime.
Werewolves speak proudly of how they take care of their pack, but in reality, not all wolves were equals. The pack hunted as a group, the stronger ones leading, while the weaker trailed behind and waited for their turn to feed.
The Alphas and the Betas would gorge on the flesh and the muscles, leaving the organs to the weaker ones.
Not allowed to show my face, I would hide within the thick foliage and wait until the pack retreated to take a look at what was left of the dead animal.
With a pack our size, hardly any muscle was left hanging on the hard-to-reach crevices of the bones. Instead, I would chew into the bones until my jaw would ache and suck out the marrow from the middle.
When my father, Bran, was around, he would hunt small rabbits from the end of our territory and bring it back for us. I, as a half-human, could consume herbs, fruits, and vegetables from the wilderness, but he only survived on the meat. And when he disappeared, I could only chew on the bones for nourishment.
For other orphaned werewolf children, elders would leap to adopt them and feed them, but abominations like me were pushed aside, left to die. They didn’t actively try to kill me, but they intended on slowly starving me.
That was all well and fine.
I planned on leaving the White Claw Pack. I had been going out into the human world and working human jobs to earn a little money. Having saved up a pretty penny, I intended on driving away from the pack and take employment in one of those farms until I had enough money to buy a small plot of my own.
The books on farming and cattle rearing were yellowed and frayed from overuse and I needed a few more months to have enough savings to leave on my own accord.
That night was the first full moon of the year, eighteen-year-old me peered out of my little hut and saw the light from the bonfire towering over the houses, the light beaming into space. I covered myself in a shawl and sat in front of the door and listened to the boisterous laughter and music floating from its direction.
Curiosity curled in my gut and I almost wanted to see what the bonfire would be like. Rumors had it, the wolves danced and drank to the moon and for one night, they were blissful.
Picking up my courage, I stood up and walked timidly to the open grounds. I hid behind one of the central huts and watched the crowd with fascination.
The men towered over the small women, their chests exposed to the moonlight and sparks of wire, while the women wore wrap dresses. Some of the younger females had skin adorned with aromatic and colored herbs and I blinked as they twisted and danced at the center.
They were no more than my age but bigger in size because of their predominant wolf genes.
I wondered what they were so happy about until the men crouched. Their bones cracked, the grotesque sounds following as their human wails turned to wolf-like howls.
My eyes widened as I saw them circle the young girls, herding them towards the darkness of the forest.
I sucked in a gasp and pressed my hand over my mouth when I recognized what was happening. The men were going to hunt these young women down and mate them.
I scrunched my brows in confusion as I thought about it. Women didn’t take sexual partners before their first heat and women who went into heat got partners almost immediately. So, I didn’t understand how so many women could be mated at once.
“Curious?” someone whispered from behind me. A chill went up my spine and I stiffened as I felt a presence looming behind me.
I turned my head stiffly to look at the face of the young but prominent beta of the pack, known for his devious charms and taste for female werewolves. His name? Chad. The worst name any wolf could ever have.
I shook my head meekly and tried to step away from him, only to be grabbed by my forearm.
“It’s good that you have arrived,” he said calmly. “You’ve been irresponsible by not joining into pack activities,” he said.
I remained silent, scared that a single word could enrage him. He tugged on my arm violently and I felt the piercing pain turn into a dull ache that permeated my muscles.
“Where?” I asked, my voice cracking.
He chuckled. “Do you think you are allowed to ask questions?” he growled. He forced me out of the shadows, dragging me to the center of the open field where only the elderly men and women sat, chatting and drinking wine.
Some glanced my way and turned away, their faces twisted with disgust.
“Why have you brought that thing here?” the sturdy-looking male said. I had only seen him during the hunts and could sense that his presence was oppressive.
The alpha of the pack, I recognized him. His name was Archer and he ruled his pack with a tight fist. He rarely allowed those of the pack to venture out into the world and I was only allowed to go out because I was practically an outsider. By being the abomination, I was less restricted.
I was kept away from such celebrations and at that moment, I wondered why I had let curiosity bring me there. Nothing good could come from exposing myself to the eyes of these wolves.
“Alpha, as a female of eighteen and a member of the pack, this girl is duty-bound to participate in the hunt,” Chad claimed.
“Don’t talk rubbish,” the alpha hissed. “The hunt is meant to induce the first heat of those female wolves. Who would claim a half-breed? The very thought of another spawn like her generating is a nightmare and a stain on our reputation,” he responded gruffly.
The others whole-heartedly agreed with him.
For this, I was glad. Prejudice might have saved me from a wretched fate. But my relief was short-lasting. It suddenly dawned on me that those women were being used as broodmare to strengthen and grow the White Claw Pack.
I didn’t know if I should be disgusted or terrified.
Chad clucked his tongue. “The Pack doctor created a strong concoction that keeps female bitches who birthed recently from getting pregnant,” he said slowly, the insinuation clear in his voice. The little hope I had ceased. “It works well for the women and the men are satisfied.”
He chuckled salaciously and I felt the hair at the back of my neck rise.
The alpha glared. “It works on wolves, it might not work on… it.” He raised his cup in my direction.
There was a cough from one of the male elders. The alpha turned to him curiously and the dilapidated man finally spoke up. “There has been an increase in the number of young unmated men in the pack. Add in the widowed wolves, we have fewer bitches to serve them. You could use her.”
A silence fell over the crowd.
I struggled in Chad’s grasp, willing what little strength I had to break away from him. I knew from the uncomfortable silence that I would be thrown into the darkness to fend for myself, hunted down like prey, and used until I broke or died.
And I refused to let that happen.
Alpha Archer looked at me from head to toe, the wheels in his brain turning.
“Satiated men are better hunters and live a happier life,” he thought out loud.
“Unsatisfied wolves are more aggressive and kill bigger prey. They protect their lands more fiercely because resources are scarce,” I panicked and made something up to protect myself.
Chad’s grip on my arm tightened. “Shut up, girl.” His voice warned me of death.
“Is that so?” Alpha Archer questioned, arching his eyebrow.
“Yes,” I stated. They couldn’t have me. I was supposed to leave this place, not become a glorified female the men visited to take out their frustrations. If that happened, I would never be able to leave this place.
I would never be free.
I chanced a glance to my right and caught the sight of a dejected widow. She gave me the look that warned me not to cause a scene and yet, I couldn’t help but protect myself.
I knew what happened to women who lost their mates. They met the same fate as they were punishing me to. This woman knew the life I had ahead of me, but still, she would doom me to it?
“I can’t send you in there and do as I wish?” he questioned once again and waited for my answer.
I knew how this would end for me. Alphas despised their authority being challenged. Actually, most men would be furious at being spoken to like this, to begin with, but for some reason, Alpha Archer seemed to find this amusing.
“I don’t want to be… that. Please allow me to leave.” I chose a softer tone so that he wouldn’t fly into a fury.
“Well, then.” He slapped his hand on his thigh. “Chad, bring her into the forest and set her free.” He smiled when he turned to me. I could see his intentions clearly in his eyes.
He wasn’t allowing me to leave. It was just the illusion of it. The moment I ran into the wilderness, the wolves would hunt me down, the scent of a female would be just as enticing and they wouldn’t care who my parents were or what I was.
I struggled against Chad. He crouched down so that he was eye-level with me and spoke lowly so that only the two of us could hear. “Most women in the pack would kill to be in your position. Do you realize the pleasure you would have? The power you could wield on those people?” He chuckled. “I have watched you. You are different from them, which is exactly why the moon goddess requires me to take you.”
Take me. What an eloquent way of saying that he wanted to break my will and feel triumphant when he was done.
“I don’t believe in the moon goddess and I certainly don’t believe your honeyed words,” I muttered.
“Nonetheless,” Chas said, stretching his hand towards the forest. “The alpha asked me to free you… so, I must follow.” When he smiled, his lips curled over his teeth. He looked feral at that moment.
I shook my head. This couldn’t be happening. I didn’t want to stay here. I had my life all planned out and this wasn’t part of it. I jumped to my feet and ran past him before he could grab me. I raced into the forest and two Sentinels moved to block my way, but Chad ordered them to move out of the way.
Chad let me go.
He let me run.
And then, in the distance, I heard the wretched howling of the wolf.
I had joined the hunt and I had no other choice but to hide until morning light colored the sky.
The other females in the pack could transform into their wolves. Despite my father’s attempts at teaching me, I could never go past the excruciating contortion and breaking of my bones. I never transformed into a wolf, my human genes preventing me from using any kind of wolf qualities that I might have had.
The only redeeming quality I possessed was that I could run fast… fast enough to keep pace with the pack.
So, I ran.
Selena POV:I didn’t stop until I breached the thickest line of the woods. There, I waded through the thick bushes, knowing that none of the men in their wolf forms could venture into the thorny shrubberies and hurt their legs.I ran until my bones ached and my legs no longer felt like they could carry me. I knew I had run quite a distance because the landscape was slowly changing.I knew that I shouldn’t stop but I needed to rest. I found a little cave that sheltered me from the weather and slumped down to the ground, allowing my body to sag from the weight of everything that had happened.Just when I thought life would be okay, something came along to fuck everything up.I didn’t want to be part of this pack that hated me. I didn’t want a mate. There were plenty of other women in the pack for them to choose from. Why the hell did they choose me? And I wasn’t buying into the nonsense about the moon goddess.Tho
Duncan POV:As the Alpha of a pack, there was more to do than just lead the wolves into the hunt. Before that, I had to prepare each and every one of them for the hunt to come. If it was a wild buffalo, I had to teach the younglings the dangers of the creatures. A practice hunt was more common than people realized and it was necessary for the safety and prosperity of the pack.Apart from that, there was also the issue of making sure that common resources like shelter, medicines, clothes were in store. I needed to account for repairs, bills, and money spent in general.With the rise of human civilization, living in a community of wolves without associating with the outside human world was difficult. Therefore, we had to play by the human rules.The pack even sent students to college to ensure we were up to standard with modern technology and science. If medicine advanced, the lives of our pack would go along with it.That was my philosophy. It could
Duncan POV:Now that I was closer, I could see what she really looked like. The dark shadows under her eyes were prominent, and the clothes she wore hang on her loosely. She was a wisp of a girl who looked even more fragile than a human.Sylvie, shift.The crackling of bones could be heard and from the bowels of the grass, Sylvie appeared in her human form.The girl yelped and stumbled, taking a step back before she stiffened. She seemed to have remembered that she was surrounded.She let out a small cry and she looked behind her. The glowing eyes of one of my sentinels made her shudder.I felt the urge to console her and held myself back. This girl was not of my pack. I didn’t have to protect her. Even if she was desperate and in need of help.It was not my responsibility.“What’s your name, girl?” Sylvie asked in that deep, angry voice of hers.The little girl trembled. “…
Selena POV: I watched as the large men left the little cabin, leaving me alone with the doctor. He had a kind but withered face and a curious look in his eyes. He scrutinized my body from top to bottom before furrowing his brow. “So, what is your name, child?” he asked. I looked at him in astonishment and wondered what to do. “Do I need to answer that?” I knew for a fact that there would be only one half-breed running from their pack with my name. The moment I said my name, they would know how to look for me. “I was going to put your name on the medical chart for my benefit, but no matter!” he chirped. “Your name has nothing to do with your health, so I will give you a temporary name to distinguish you.” He hummed and looked around the room, searching for an appropriate name. I felt a pang of gratefulness at his understanding. “How about I call you ‘Lemonade’?” he asked after a while. “Lemonade?” I whisper
Selena POV:There was silence outside again and I didn’t bother to look outside again in embarrassment. I shuffled back to the chair and seated myself.I looked down at my twined fingers and waited for a minute to compose myself.I heard the door to the cabin slam open and was startled to look towards it. It was a woman with a tray in her hand. The doctor, too, had startled as was looking at the female in question with thinly veiled horror in his eyes. “Wasn’t Lena in kitchen duty today?” he asked, trying to keep his voice down and out of surprise. He failed miserably because I could hear the anxiety in his voice. Hearing him so unsure, I felt fear creep up my spine. “Oh my, look at what the pack dragged in.” Her eyes scanned over my body and she scoffed. I could distinctly see the disgust in her eyes. I shrank back and slumped into the chair, trying to distance myself from her, but at the same ti
Duncan POV:Neo’s loudly muttered ‘cute’ caught my attention. I followed his line of sight and saw a small body quickly retreat. Neo chuckled and shook his head.“So much for being a threatening presence. The little one surely is scared and embarrassed easily,” he said softly. .A grave expression crossed Neo’s face when he looked at me.We had just left the cabin after Ruth and were distressed by what had just occurred. The whole situation irked me. Not only had Ruth aggressively floundered on my authority, but she had the audacity to look smug about it. The little widening of the half-breed’s eyes had given away exactly what Ruth had done when my back was turned.“Have you thought about what to do with her?” he asked.I shook my head. “So far, letting the doctor assess her for injuries and diseases is the first course of action. A lot will be revealed about her in that case.
Selena POV:Somehow, I fell asleep.“Selena?”I jerked awake, my heart racing in my chest. Sweat collected at my brow.“Steady there. It was just a dream…”The doctor’s right hand awkwardly patted my knee. I remained seated at the chair and saw him alternate between turning his concerned gaze from me to the notebook and back. I closed my eyes tightly, the dream already fading. It was less of a dream and more of a replaying of the day I escaped the White Claw Pack.My mind raced, wondering what had caused such a strong reaction within me. It had been a while since I had the nightmare, but I chalked it up to being almost trapped in a foreign pack. I forced a deep breath in through my nose and out through my mouth.“It was just a dream,” I whispered over and over again until I could feel the tension release from my body and disappear from my memory. Momentarily.“I&rsquo
Duncan POV:I paced in my office, trying to wrap my head around the impudence of the girl. Neo had already told me that she had gone out for a walk with Ed, but I felt it odd that she was so comfortable around the doctor. I knew it was about decades of professional experience that made her feel safe with Ed, but it didn’t tell me why she was scared of me and at the same time so defiant. An order from an alpha was hard to refuse, but maybe because she was a rogue half-breed, her wolf sensibilities had been dulled. But as I paced, I waited for Neo to bring me news about the girl. Selena… That was her name. I knew Neo was one to get gossip without letting others know, he was sensible and sneaky in that way. When he opened the door, it slammed against the wall. I turned to him in shock and gave him a glare. “Are you going to repair the wall yourself? I am not paying for someone to work on the scratch you put on the wall,” I s