I pushed myself running, faster and faster I chanted to myself. The wolf behind me growled and bit at my ankles leaving cuts. I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I was told not to mess with him, but he just annoyed me! I slid under a car scrapping my arms and legs on the gravel. The large wolf too big to fit under it. I watched as he paced around the car sniffing and growling. I gripped a sharp rock in my hand waiting. He finally decided to test it. He swiped a paw under the car, claws fully extended. I rolled away from it, and he ran to the other side and tried again, this time catching my hip. I yelped, and my eyes watered at the sting. Never has he hurt me, causing me wounds, but the metallic scent of blood told me that he meant it. I heard him growl louder and start ramming the side of the car now desperate to get to his pray. He swiped his paw once again and this time I jammed the rock as hard as I could into the top of his paw causing him to yelp. I didn’t hesitate I rolled out the other side and ran again. I was just about to make it to the house when I was yanked back. I screamed thinking it was the wolf. My mom and dad ran out of the house, I was crying by this point held in the air. I was turned towards whoever held me. I gasped. It was not the wolf.
In one hand this beast of a man held me and in the other he held the now still wolf by the scruff of his neck. He stared between us.
“What is going on?! Let my daughter down!” My dad boomed walking towards us. My uncle Tom, who was Alpha, was now here and demanded that his son be let down.
“Serenity what did you do?” Aunt Gracey, the Luna, asked walking up to the scene. A crowd had begun to form. I was shaking and bleeding. I only wanted to run to my mom. The man who held me radiated authority and it made me want to get away even more.
“Serenity what happened?” My mom asked walking closer cautiously eyeing the stranger.
“I-I was just messing with Sid, I swear. I didn’t mean anything by it.” I started crying more. The man shook Sid who turned by to his skin. He tried wiggling out of the man’s hold, not caring that he was naked. None of us cared about nudity, it was a normality in a pack.
“Alpha Lee, please release my boy and the girl. He’s calmed down.” Uncle Tom said. Sid looked anything put calm, he was fuming mad glaring at me. The man put me down and I ran towards my mom. Uncle Tom had to hold Sid. I stared at this new alpha and remembered the festival started today. How could I be so stupid. This was not the time to be pulling pranks.
“Serenity, explain what you did to my boy.” Aunt Gracey said putting authority behind her voice. I hated that tone, it made my skin itch.
“He started it!” I yell forgetting all about the alpha. I hated being accused. I hate that they thought they could use their Alpha and Luna tone on me. It made me so mad. Uncle Tom growled at me in warning. You do not disrespect the Luna.
“He kept annoying me! Calling me a baby and I pushed him. He wouldn’t stop so I slipped a little laxative in his drink before he went to meet a girl. He had uncontrollable gas so she left laughing at him. He found out it was me and lost control. It’s not my fault!” I said. Sid was still glaring at me but now looked away in embarrassment. Some of the pack members started walking away snickering. They were used to the nonsense that happened daily. Aunt Gracey was now pulling Sid’s ear.
“What have I told you about waiting for you mate?” She demanded tugging his ear again. Sid whimpered and submitted to his mom’s rage. He kept saying ‘it wasn’t like that’ and ‘we didn’t do anything’.
“What happened to your hip?” My dad asked staring at Sid. I forgot about it until he said something. My white summer shorts were now soaked red. My adrenaline wearing off causing me to feel the pulsating pain.
“Sid got me, he lost control this time. And I defended myself stabbing him with a rock on the paw.” I said pointing at Sid’s left hand. He growled hiding it behind his back, he was still bleeding a little, it would heal though, no scars. Unlike the marks on my hip. They would scar, forever reminding me what a wolf could do. Sasha, my caretaker while mom and dad do pack business, ran out of the house with a first aid kit and towel.
“Serenity what have we told you?” My mom scolded me pulling my ear this time. I winced and submitted to her.
“Not to mess with Sid, he’s older and I can’t match him.” I recited the line told me over and over. I heard a booming laugh at this. I looked over and Alpha Lee was laughing and shaking his head.
“Yeah, he is older, and bigger, but you, you little wolf you out match him.” Alpha Lee said looking me in the eyes. I felt my cheeks heat up. Was I blushing? I never blush.
“Honey! Come grab the stuff!” A feminine voice yelled. I looked over and the car Sid had tried to ram over a lady was waving at Alpha Lee to come over. Like Alpha Lee she was tall, and you could see she had muscles. I was in awe of this woman already. Alpha Lee gave me a smile before walking over to his mate. I noticed a nice size dent in the back-passenger door, I hope they get mad at Sid for the dent.
“Inside the house, now or I swear you’ll have no more ear.” My mom growled at me pushing towards the house with Sasha waiting. I whimpered and followed Sasha inside. Once inside Sasha had me take off my shorts in the bathroom so she could patch me up. I yelped and whimpered at the sting of disinfectant and waited patience for her to finish, she said I was lucky I didn’t need stitches. I pouted as she called the doctor making an appointment tomorrow morning. I could hear yelling down stairs the whole time. I knew who it was. Aunt Gracey and mom always fought. When I was little I was oblivious to it, and then as the fighting got worse when I got older they couldn’t hide it. I don’t know why they don’t like each other, dad says mom will tell me one day. After Sasha patched me up she told me to go change and that I was going to be under her supervision the rest of the week. AKA, grounded.
The festival was so much fun. Every few years different packs got together to celebrate the Moon Goddess and all her blessings. It was so unmated wolves could find their mates and for Alphas to make sure treaties were still in place. This year it was our pack’s year meaning packs from all over came to visit us, the festival lasted a week, it was like a big camping trip as the visiting packs usually pitched tents. This was also my first year getting to see the festival. I wasn’t old enough to go to the other ones in the past but as this was our packs year I got to see everything. Sasha choose every year to stay with me while mom and dad left. She claimed she was waiting for the right time to find her mate and she wasn’t ready to stop being my caretaker. I could tell she was nervous about the festival being here this year, but I didn’t want to pry. I had asked her why she refused before and she had flicked my nose and told me I’m too nosey.
After changing I ran outside meeting my friends who kept calling for me, mom had told them to wait and stop yelling but when she had left they continued yelling. I ran up to them giggling and we all raced to the festival. Sasha following behind us, watching me like a hawk. The first day consisted of a large BBQ and we knew we would be getting lots of sweets.
I finally lost Sasha so me, Sarah, and Tallie were giggling under a picnic table with a plate of cookies when we heard a new car drive up. Curious we snuck out from the table and watched as two more men stepped out of the car. One man looked like Alpha Lee but had a shaved head and beard and the other man also looked like Alpha Lee but was younger, 20ish. Alpha Lee and his mate walked up to the two pressing their cheeks together. I heard Alpha Lee say ‘brother’ and ‘son’ before they walked away. The younger man stopped suddenly sniffing the air, but he shook his head and continued walking.
“Oh, Serenity, your mom called you to come meet the Alpha’s formally.” Sarah’s mom Beth said walking over to us. We were busted. She took the plate and shooed me away. I waved bye to everyone and ran back to the house. When I got there, I knew something was wrong. Sasha was running out the door tears in her eyes. The man with the shaved head yelled after her to wait chasing after her. Sasha shifted in to her fur and ran faster. She was notoriously fast, but the man shifted as well into a giant wolf chasing after her.
“Don’t you hurt Sasha!” I yelled going to run after the giant wolf, throwing a rock at it. It acted like it didn’t affect it and disappeared into the forest behind her. I got two steps before my arm was grabbed stopping me. I didn’t even look back as I struggled wanting to find and protect my caregiver.
“Let me go!” I growled at whoever held me back. The hand squeezed my arm more making me wince.
“Not a chance little mate.” A voice said. I froze, I did not know this person’s voice, but it gave my stomach butterflies. I looked at the hand on my arm and followed the arm it was attached to until I was staring that the younger version of Alpha Lee. His eyes looked me up and down taking in my scrapes and bruises, my knotted hair from running around, and the grass stains on my capris pants. I was staring at his eyes, pale blue almost glowing. They reminded me of my grandma’s eyes. Dad called them the ‘all seeing eyes’ one day and I asked what that meant, and he joke that his mom could see everything that happened. Grandpa told me she was ‘moon touched’ and that’s why her eyes were like that. The butterflies wouldn’t stop. I heard a loud growl, breaking my concentration. My mom stood just outside the door glaring at the man who held my arm.
“Mom!” I cry trying to run towards her. The man still holds me doesn’t let me go.
“Seems we are family now.” Alpha Lee says staring at my dad, Alpha Lee looks amuse, Dad looked shocked. Grandpa and Grandma walk out along with uncle Tom and aunt Gracey and other people I don’t know. The hand on my arm finally let’s go, and I know I will have another bruise, but this doesn’t bother me. I bare my teeth at the man and then run to my mom’s side.
“Little wolf, congratulations.” My grandpa says smiling. I look at him confused.
“What’ your name, little mate?” The man asks. Alpha Lee and his mate go to stand by him.
“What’s it to you, weirdo?” I say baring my teeth at him. Alpha Lee chuckles and pat the man on the back.
“Beta Carter, Theta Karen, let me introduce my son Jaxton, next in line Alpha of the Northern Territory. And as you already know my mate Lena.” Alpha Lee says using my parents’ titles and introducing his family. I look away from ‘Jaxton’ and look at his mom. The woman I admired earlier. I now saw a brand mark on her arm in the shape of a paw print. It was most likely put there by a silver brand. She smiled at me, she was very pretty. Tan, long hair brown hair in a side braid, pretty pink lips, and wearing a plain tee-shirt and jeans, she was barefoot though. I noticed so was Jaxton.
“Alpha Lee, Luna Lena, future Alpha Jaxton let me introduce my daughter Serenity and mate Karen.” My dad copies the Alpha’s introduction. I cross my arms still glaring at Jaxton.
“Dad why did Sasha run away crying. Did that man hurt her?” I ask my dad looking at him. He places a hand on my shoulder and shakes his head.
“No, Serenity, Sasha found her mate. She’s just scared.”
“But I thought you weren’t supposed to be scared of your mate.” I said confused. Mom answered this time.
“Sasha is just sad because she has to leave now, that’s all honey, she’ll be back and can explain it to you better.” I nodded planning on getting my answers later from Sasha.
“Alphas, I think it’s time to go enjoy the festivities with our packs.” Uncle Tom said. There were some ’yeah’s and the group of Alphas, Lunas, Betas, and Thetas walked away. Some looked back waiting to see what happened now. Grandpa and Grandma stayed but walked back into the house.
“Little mate come here so I can see you better.” Jaxton said looking at me. I glared in response.
“My name is Serenity, not little mate. Mom why does he keep calling me that?” I ask looking at my mom. Mom glared at Jaxton which encouraged me to not like him.
“Because you’re his mate, sweetie.” Luna Lena replied. I wrinkled my nose.
“Nuh-uh, you’re not supposed to meet your mate until you shift. I haven’t shifted, so you’re wrong.” I said looking away and crossing my arms. My dad growled at my actions and gripped my arm. I whimpered and instantly apologized, I may hate authority, but I knew not to test my dad.
“Go inside the house Serenity, we will talk later.” My dad said. I nodded and head towards the door. Alpha Lee and my dad seemed to be in a staring contest. I stuck my tongue out at Jaxton before closing the door. He looked disgusted at my actions and bared his sharp teeth at me showing me he did not like me. I didn’t like him either and he didn’t scare me. I sat with Grandma and Grandpa in the kitchen. Grandma gave me a sandwich and a drink telling me to eat up.
“Let me tell you a story, little wolf.” My grandpa said sitting across from me. I nodded loving his stories.
“Remember the story I told you about, how we started?” Grandpa asked. I nodded and took a drink of my drink washing down the dry bread.
“Well this one is how mates began.” Grandma sat beside Grandpa staring at me. I’ve grown used to her gaze, like she was seeing something we couldn’t see with those ‘moon touch eyes’. I’ve heard people in the pack say her eyes were a curse. “The Moon Goddess watched over the first wolf, Luna for years and years. One spring, when the Moon Goddess was able to walk the land again she noticed that Luna was turning into a woman, she was going through her first shift, turning into fur. The alpha female wolf who had raised her as her own watched over Luna through this vulnerable time and the Moon Goddess helped her by coaxing the fur out of her. After her first shift the Moon Goddess noticed she started to become more feminine, she had a woman’s figure now and was getting more and more curious about the human village nearby. The Moon Goddess taught her about the human ways in love and marriage and explained that wolves only have one mate for the rest of their lives.” I gagged at this.
“Sasha and mom already told me this Grandpa.” I say making a sour face. I knew about what happened and where babies came from as I was 13 years old. Grandma laughed, and Grandpa chuckled.
“Little wolf, let me finish this is not a story about womanhood. It is about mates.” Grandpa said. I heard a scuff from behind me. Jaxton was standing in the doorway of the kitchen looking at me like I was stupid. My stomach got those stupid butterflies again. I growled at him and turned away with a huff like he was the most uninteresting thing in the world.
“Sit, you could also learn from this story.” My grandpa said. Much to my displeasure Jaxton sat beside me. “Anyways, after Luna learned of this and she learned what she truly was she begged the Moon Goddess to teach her the human ways, so she could see what it would be like to be human. The Moon Goddess granted her wish but told her she would only have until the end of summer and then she would have to return to the pack. Luna then left to the village and learned the human behaviors. There she fell in love with a human, she dreaded leaving him behind to go back to her pack, but her fur needed to return, she felt it in her soul. So, she returned on the last day of summer, leaving the human male behind. That winter she spent it in fur form as it was warmer and easier to catch prey. Her fur form then fell in love with a wolf. Her soul and heart were in two, her skin loved a human, but her fur loved a wolf. When the Moon Goddess returned in the spring she begged and begged for her to be split in two as she could not bear to live without one or the other. The Moon Goddess refused telling her if she were to separate her soul she would only parish. Luna asked her everyday and every day the Moon Goddess refused.” I was so interested in the story by now I forgot about Jaxton. Until my grandma handed him a glass of juice and cookies. She also put some in front of me pressing her cheek against mine.
“One day the human male was hunting when he came across the wolf the fur side loved. The wolf could smell Luna on the male and became so enraged he attacked. The human defended himself well, but in the end, they injured each other. Luna found them both on the verge of death, she held them both crying and pleading for the Moon Goddess. The Moon Goddess came, so did the God of Death. The Moon Goddess wept for Luna and the God of Death thought carefully about what he saw. The God took Luna’s hand in his and asked her very seriously ‘would you give your soul for one of them to live?’ Luna immediately said yes, her fur side shining in her eyes. ‘Which one would you choose?’ the God asked. He saw Luna struggle as her fur and skin side fought over which one to save. He asked her again and again as the two sides fought. It grew to the point the Moon Goddess begged him to stop asking. The God came to a decision. ‘I will join both their souls like yours, but for a price’ he told Luna. Luna said she would give anything for him to save them. ‘They will be like you, skin and fur together in one body, and one soul. For this I ask you to give me back your soul when you die. You will not go to the moon’ he explained to her. Luna thought this over and the Moon Goddess wept again knowing Luna would never truly be at peace unless she was with the moon. Luna agreed, together God of Death and Luna carried the bodies to the water’s edge. The bodies were submerged under the glass like lake. Luna waited 7 days by the water’s edge only drinking and eating when necessary, in this time the Moon Goddess decided she would bestow Luna with fertility that will help her when her mate finally appeared. Finally, on the seventh day, the male in skin form walked from the water. As soon as Luna say him she knew the souls had become one. He was taller, his muscles more defined, his scent attracted her. He walked right up to her and when they touched sparks zapped through them. His eyes shun his fur and his behavior was that of a wolf. The pack was there to accept him like they did Luna. The Moon Goddess decided she would grant her gift now. ‘Luna,’ she said, ‘I give you the gift of fertility, for as long as you have waited you will be in heat like a wolf would, in this time you can become pregnant and start your family, and in the spring, I will come again and guide you through your birth by the end of summer’. With that said the Moon Goddess descended back to the lake to her own mate, the God of Death. The first words out of the new wolf’s mouth was ‘Mate’ and so that’s how mate came to be.” Grandpa finished his story. Jaxton was now extremely close to me and I was not happy about this. I glared at him and scooted my chair away. I hate him for the stupid butterflies. He raised an eyebrow at me and bared his teeth. I bared mine back and dared him with my eyes to try something. Grandma laughed at us.
“Jaxton are you prepared for this challenge?” My grandma asked.