“What the hell Evangeline!”
His voice echoed through the clearing but it didn’t sink in until I felt myself turned violently from where I was looking. The sword tumbled from my numb fingers as I took in the angry features of my father’s face. “I said, what the hell? You let the bastard get away.”
My mouth opened and closed as I focused on his slash of a mouth, so unlike my full, plump lips. A trait from my mother he’d said…I looked just like her with my dark, thick black hair, green eyes, and pale skin. In fact, if I thought about it, I didn’t look like Alexander Delacorte’s daughter in any way. He was average build where I was tall and lithe. His brown hair and brown eyes fit perfectly with his complexion that looked like he’d been kissed by the Mediterranean sun. And I didn’t have the predatory slant to my eyes like he did, which were currently narrowed at me in frustration.
“Answer me,” he growled as he shook me, his fingers digging into my upper arms.
“I…” I began, “I don’t know what happened. One minute, I was moving toward that monster and the next, the world felt like it dropped out from beneath my feet. I hesitated.”
His eyes narrowed as though he could sense that I was lying. 10 years and I never once hesitated since the first time my father took me hunting. He said I was the perfect hunter to hunt the monsters and I never failed him.
I turned my head away from him so he couldn’t read the worry in my eyes. It was there, eating away at me but when we’d come across the wolf lounging in the clearing, I started to act. This was normal. This was our job. Alexander was one of the greatest werewolf hunters in the world and I was supposed to follow in his footsteps. Evangeline Delacorte was supposed to exceed her father’s expectations and she had for years.
I hadn’t had the education like most kids. I never was allowed to be a kid. My father saw me as a weapon…a monster that monsters will fear. My life, for as long as I could remember, had been one of constant training. He had trained me until I was faster than any hunter alive…and maybe even dead. He’d beaten me until I didn’t fear pain and could take almost any type of damage. I’d practiced with every weapon on hand until I was an expert.
And now I’ve failed my father with one hesitation. I saw it in his eyes and in the way his fingers bit into my arms. “You are 18 next week and you were supposed to be announced to the counsel,” he breathed, “And now I have to introduce a failure. All those years of training for what? For you to throw it away when you spot a pretty wolf.”
Tears sprang to my eyes but didn’t fall. I learned long ago that I was never to cry in front of my father. I shook my head to deny his words. “It wasn’t because he was pretty, it was because…” my words trailed off as my father threw me backward. All of my training took over and I rolled backwards and onto my feet. He appraised me with cold indifference.
“Enough, I don’t want to hear your excuses. We will be going home and you will be spending the rest of the day training. I will not accept any hesitation on your part.”
“But Fa—” His sharp gaze stopped the argument before he turned and picked up the sword I’d been holding. My mother’s sword. Its hilt gleamed with a beautiful wolf head and intricately weaved metal that looked almost like Celtic runes. Whenever I held it, I felt something within me. Old memories whispering to me and telling me that I wasn’t what Father was making me in to. A voice that was distant and I often thought it was Mother’s voice, although I have no memory of her.
He pointed the sword toward where our car was parked on the road. I looked toward the direction the lone wolf had gone. At first, I’d thought he was a rogue…an insane monster that often hunted humans. Really, when it came down to it, rogues were the worse than pack wolves who tried to blend into society or live in their small communities. Pack wolves posed little risk to humans and while we watched them, we only hunted down packs when they broke the covenants.
But rogues were a different story. They were ruthless and filled with bloodlust. They often hunted humans and even attacked their own kind. It wasn’t unusual for rogues to wipe out entire packs…doing our jobs for us and our society had used them for millennia to reduce the number of werewolves in the world. But once they were used, they had to be put down before the rogue went completely insane and became a risk to humans.
But the wolf in the clearing hadn’t smelled like a rogue and when he turned his amber colored eyes toward me, I’d felt a jolt of recognition. I knew that wolf. Something about him called out to me and my sword had faltered. I’d slowed.
The huge wolf seemed just as surprised to see me as I was to see him. He sniffed the air before he whined in confusion. He looked toward the dark woods behind him and then stood, his size dwarfing me and I was awed by the beauty of his ebony coat. My fingers itched to touch that gleaming fur and any loathing I’d been taught by my father melted like snow in the sunlight.
The voice in my head became a loud buzzing and I knew that it was saying something but I couldn’t decipher anything it said. The wolf had taken a step toward me, and then another before pausing and cocking its head to the side as if inviting me to step closer.
Just as I took that step, a shot rang out and a horrified gasp hissed between my lips as a bullet struck the wolf in the shoulder, blood spraying out in a cascade of red. No! the voice screamed in my head and I spun to see my father screaming at me, “Kill the bastard!”
Spinning back, the wolf was gone. The only trace the blood marring the white petals of the wild daisies growing in the clearing. The only sound echoing in my ears that of the voice that had been plaguing my dreams…and now apparently my waking moments too.
My father’s voice snaps me from my memory and I realized I’d taken steps toward the woods where the wolf had disappeared to. I notice the blood shining in the sunlight. Why aren’t we tracking him? I wonder to myself but I don’t voice it as my father snaps his fingers and points again toward the direction of our car.
“He’s long gone,” he says, as though he’s reading my thoughts. And maybe his is. Father always seemed to be one step ahead of me and my doubts.
With one last glance toward the dark woods, I sigh and turn toward the direction Father is pointing. I can feel his disappointment following me as we turn toward home…and my punishment for failing him.
Evangeline: “Ugh,” the wind is knocked out of me in a deep grunt as the blow lands on my stomach. Tears well in my eyes but I shake them away. Instead, I square up and meet the hatred burning in my father’s eyes. I’d seen it before. In moments when he thought I wasn’t looking. My father wasn’t a kind man but that was why he was the society’s best hunter. The life of a hunter is cruel and short…there was never any room for kindness. Taking a deep breath, I launch into the attack. My kicks and punches coming so quickly, I catch a moment of surprise in his eyes and I feel a trill of excitement. Today, ol’ man. I am going to win today. I press forward as he scrambles to block each attack I throw at him; barely holding his ground. He moves away from me and I smile in triumph as I swing with my right fist. His eyes narrow and he dips below my swing, his own punches landing right in the middle of my stomach. I gasp at the pai
The Black Wolf“Has the counsel responded?” he asked Derrick, his beta, as he walked into the office. It had been a week since the damn hunters had snuck up on him and he’d been furious ever since. His shoulder still ached where the silver bullet had torn through it. Thankfully, it had gone straight through and not lodged itself in the skin. If it had, he might not be here.“They’ve been silent,” Derrick replied and Tristan growled in frustration, causing his beta to raise an eyebrow at him. “There might be more of a response if you contacted them directly. You know how they feel about werewolf society and hierarchies.”Damn it! I threw down the reports that I was looking over. He was right. I hated dealing with the hunters and their society. They were cowards, hiding behind stolen magic of witches they’d hunted down in the past. If it wasn’t for the need for peace, I would have happily mo
EvangelineThe cool night air brushed against me and I stretched to enjoy the sensation. My body didn’t hurt, although I knew that it should. I’d been trained too hard as though my father was taking all his hatred for wolves out on me. Sadness filled my mind but I couldn’t understand why. This was who he was; it was just a part of my life.But it hadn’t always been, the voice whispered with the wind and I was engulfed by the sadness again. Echoes of memories worried at the edges of my mind’s eye. I saw her, a gorgeous woman with laughter in her green eyes staring down at me, a soft smile are her full red lips as her fingers caressed my cheeks. Then a man was there, his features so different from those of my father. I could hear him say how beautiful I was, just like my mother. His voice was filled with pride and I felt no fear of him…I felt...love.I reached for the memories. Tr