Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god. - Jean Rostand
Running at a fearsome speed, an ash-grey werewolf lunged at the gaping man, clamped her jaws on his neck and twisted it with a sickening crack. The girl crouching at the side watched in horror as the man molesting her mere seconds before was now... dead. The wolf transformed back to a fully-clothed human. Danielle looked at the carcass apathetically, no sign of her earlier fury. The second Danielle’s step-uncle had breathed his last, she had known it was time to run. Jade Pack would not welcome her anymore.
She glanced at her half-sister who was looking at her in shock, clutching her half-torn clothes. She took a deep breath. She was prepared for this. She knew that one day, she would run and never look back. It was the day she would be free. Of course, being a fugitive didn’t have many perks, but she felt relieved, seeing this chance of escape.
Danielle quickly walked to her little sister. She bent down and gave her a peck on the cheek. She pulled the girl into her embrace and said, “Take care of yourself,” Swiftly, she ran to the side of the large building next to the pack house. She scaled the wall with deft, feline movements and leapt into her room through the always-open window. Had she not been planning to run anyway, she would not have been prepared.
But she had a duffel bag ready which she swung over her shoulders and strapped them on her back. She leapt to the ground again and shifted back into her wolf form. - Taking one last look at her supposed home, she ran towards the pack borders at full speed.
Her heart was thumping erratically. She was both exhilarated and apprehensive. She was experiencing an adrenaline rush with a variety of strange, extreme emotions at the same time. Immediately, she knew what was going on. “Lupa, dearest, if you could calm down, I would be able to think rationally.” She spoke to her inner wolf in her mind.
Lupa growled at her mentally. “Don’t ‘dearest’ me. We are breaking a pack bond. We are breaking a family bond. We are breaking a paternal bond. You may not have to experience much of the backlash, but I have to. So don’t patronise me.”
Even while running in a high-stress situation, Danielle felt amused. She was partly sorry for her wolf; she knew her wolf was right like always was. The wind tore past her fur, feeling like she was being pierced by dozens of needles.
All her life, Danielle had done nothing but study, train and work hard. After all, she was the alpha heir-apparent. Although she was now no longer the heir, her readings did come of some use. Like which part of the borders neighboured which areas.
There were many smaller, subsidiary packs in the north, east and south of the Jade Pack. She neared the borders in the south-west of the pack territory. On the other side of the border was no wolves’ land. That meant that she didn’t have to go through the hassle of getting another alpha’s permission. Without breaking a sweat, she suddenly burst into a sprint and leapt across the pack borders.
When her legs no longer touched Jade Pack territory, she suddenly felt like an uncaged bird. A thrum of enthusiasm ran through her body. It was as if nothing could tie her down. Running westwards for about eighty miles, she severed her links to her pack and finally became a free wolf.
WIthin the Jade Pack, there was a grim air about every adult wolf. Some stared at the corpse. Others turned their heads, unable to look any longer. Alpha Jacob looked at what was once his brother-in-law with a strange look in his eyes. “The girl I’m ashamed to call ‘daughter’ is a criminal. And every wolf in my pack will treat her as such,” He warned.
Suddenly, he felt a tug in his mind. All the wolves of the pack grunted at the pain. Those who had loved and respected their young alpha-heir felt their connection with her break. Innumerable howls filled the air. Howls carrying grief, blame and confusion of separation. She had been handling most pack affairs. With such a leader gone, it would not be long before the wolves began to doubt their pack’s leadership.
Wanderers, her kind was called. Lone wolves were an accepted part of the community as wanderers. And like the packs, they came under the crown. She was now independent, answerable only to the crown. Danielle huffed, feeling relieved. She knew that the murder incident was far from over but for now, there was a reprieve.
Having run for hours, she saw a small town with a sparse population. It seemed like a good place and time to take a break. Shifting into a human, she took a stroll around the narrow roads with bare feet, when she saw a motel with a glaringly obvious sign on it.
“Travelling alone, love?” A middle-aged woman who was missing a tooth welcomed her at the entrance.
Danielle gave a small smile and nodded curtly. “Room for one night, please.”
“Need some dinner along with that, hun?” Said the lady who loved endearments. Danielle shook her head. She would hunt for herself along the way. “Don’t be like that, love! My husband recently went out into the woods to catch some game and god bless his wolf, we did manage quite a hefty number of prey this time!”
Danielle was getting rather impatient. But listening to her mention wolves, she asked, “What’s the best way to avoid the neighbouring packs’ borders? I am a Wanderer — I don’t want any trouble.” She inquired, hoping to get some useful information. Thankfully, the lady gave straight answer, explaining all the routes and paths to join the wild again. “Thanks,” Danielle smiled more genuinely this time as she picked her keys up and walked into her room.
The middle-aged woman’s amiable expression soon turned sombre. Her eyes which gleamed with knowledge followed Danielle who was climbing the stairs. “It’s not going to be easy, luna regina."
Danielle’s ears couldn’t pick up what the woman had muttered. But just like the woman’s words, the freedom she anticipated would never become hers.