When asked what I would sacrifice to achieve something I’ve worked for my entire life- the answer is a no brainer: everything.
A noise lurched from my throat as my feet were knocked out from underneath me causing my inevitable collapse onto the mat, my limbs jumbling in unrecognizable directions.
“Weak.” Carter growled, not a hint of exertion on his stoic face, whereas I sport numerous bruises on my stomach and thighs- sweat forming in places I didn’t know I could sweat.
I snapped back up by pushing myself off of the mat with my elbow, unsuccessfully kicking my leg up to swing into his gut, to which he grabbed my foot and pushed me back onto the mat roughly.
My head collided with the floor and bounced, causing a blinding headache to vibrate behind my eyelids and a wince to mare my face.
His mocking laugh angered me to the point that my face blossomed red and steam practically rolled out of my ears.
“You’re not ready, Mya. Maybe you’ll never be ready,” he mocked.
But this couldn’t be it, I haven’t been training my whole life for this moment only to have a rug ripped from beneath my feet! I would gain the upper hand.
A warm feeling of rage traveled up my body in caressing waves and I gritted my teeth, jumping back up despite the coursing pain rippling through me and the evident soreness tightening my muscles.
This time I focused all of my energy on defense, I looked at his hands in my peripheral vision, detecting his next moves almost immediately. Blocking his oncoming hit to my face and landing a roundhouse kick to his pelvis.
He growled lowly in his throat from the pain but made no attempt to stop. Instead, he worked harder to make sure that I writhe in pain when he’s done with me.
I had no time to block his punch to my nose as I gurgled through the nearly-blinding pain, instantly feeling the blood gushing, and splashing onto my mouth.
As he reached out to punch my stomach in my weak moment of focusing on my injury, I grabbed his wrist and twisted it to where he is at an awkward angle, then pushed him down with my knee to his back, not letting up on my grip on his arm.
He tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to maneuver his arm out of my grasp, attempting to ease his discomfort, but I wouldn’t let him go, tightening my hold.
“Who’s not ready?” I smiled in triumph, waiting a few seconds for him to sigh in defeat then took my knee off of his back, roughly letting go of his arm.
He got up slowly with a grim expression, “I’m still not sure that you’re ready.”
A scoff was lodged in my throat, but I refused to let it out- I didn’t want him to know how ridiculous I thought it was that he was hesitant of me going.
“Carter, I’ve been ready.”
We both knew it, he just didn’t want to admit it.
Instead of pleading with him on a lost cause that’s been debated for far too long, I took a second to look over my injuries.
I tilted my head back to reduce the onslaught of blood and made sure that my nose isn’t broken by prodding at it.
A wince marred my face at the touch, but there wasn’t enough pain to where I’m gasping for breath. I had broken my nose once before and this pain is minuscule to the one I experienced at the beginning of my training at the prime age of 10. I had cockily challenged a female 5 years older than me, and was thrown on my ass in the matter of seconds- with a broken nose.
“I just- I know you are even more skillful than some of the others but...” he trailed off in thought as he began pulling on his shirt.
“Some- Carter I’ve worked harder than anyone.”
Carter’s reluctance irked me but at the same time I understood his unsureness about the situation- I’m all he has.
He bit his lip and hummed under his breath, a mannerism he’s had since a mere preteen.
“So... I can go?” I layered my voice in indifference as I tightened my ponytail.
A deep sigh could be heard from where he stood in the room and a quiet shuffle before, “I don’t think you’re ready, but I know you want this.”
The fact that he doubted me stung, but didn’t cease my glee. I refrained from showing it externally, Carter considered any emotion weak.
Tonight will be my first ever supply raid. Here, in our underground rebellion facility, everyone has a job to do, an assigned task. There’s no room for laziness, and certainly no room for complaints. Since the age of 12, I’ve known what I wanted to do- who I wanted to be.
This used to be a governmental bombing plantation before they took over. The founders, the original ‘Rebels’, set up a community here. Only the elite were invited, important people of the old world. But now, now there isn’t any time for major hierarchies.
They created a whole world. Thankfully, I wasn’t born into the generation who lived during the Great War, but the Founders had to adapt to this environment and build a whole community from scratch. They had to learn how to find the right supplies that could make us all survive in the long run. For 10 decades, we, who the Werewolves call ‘runners’ and ‘rebels’ have recruited humans who mutually wish to destroy the werewolf government and overpower them as they did to us all those years ago. And now, we’re thriving more than ever. In total, there is roughly 150 of us, but there are other clusters of groups- we are not alone.
The humans are heavily monitored by the werewolves. In case one of them is a... potential soul mate to them.
Soul mates are just as I said, though scientifically impossible, werewolves are genetically monitored to protect and posses their soul mate, the other half of their souls.
The supposed person that supposedly “fills the empty void in their hearts and leaves them whole.”
I shivered as I thought about the poor human souls that have their supposed ‘soul mate’ bite off a chunk of their neck, claim they love them, and expect them to bare their demon spawns.
Most of the time, werewolves mate with their own kind. But, a human mate sometimes pops into the equation here and there. Considering mates are so precious to wolves, twice a year, they gather on the night of a solstice moon and cast off all of the unmated werewolves and any humans they can find.
Then, the wolves are set off to trace the scent of their mate. It has been told that the woods and the moon amplifies the smell of their mate, making it easy for them to track their scent- it’s an erotic, animalistic ritual that is completely barbarious. The wolf females who have a human male mate have it tougher because their noses aren’t as keen as males. But, male and female wolf mates find each other almost instantly, with both of their senses of smell.
Education is an important factor of being down here. We obtain information about important events of life outside as well as paramount facts from our raiders, one of the most useful jobs you could have down here.
Raiders are the best fighters, the most skillful and adept, and are the grounds to make sure things run smoothly, they’re the only ones who can go up.
I grabbed my black jacket, zipping it over my sports bra, and wiped my sweaty neck with a towel, then heaved on my tennis shoes, wincing when I leaned over.
“Is your nose okay?” Carter worriedly asked, cupping my chin and assessing my nose, blood already drying around the nostril.
“It’s fine.” I reassured, “It’ll be bruised, but you’ve given me worst.”
“Sorry ’bout that,” He sheepishly grinned, clutching the back of his neck.
“You’ve done it so many times, I’m immune by now.”
His smoldering eyes traveled to my bare legs. Now, normally most would assume that he’s checking them out, but, I know that he’s looking at the huge bruise on my upper thigh. He reached out to caress it and I rolled my eyes when he made a noise in the back of his throat.
I noticed something was off with Carter, he’s never worried about the injuries he’s given me before this much, “Why are you being so odd?” I asked, eyes narrowed in skepticism.
He sighed deeply, his eyes fluttering close then opening, “Tonight is the raid.”
I smiled sarcastically, “Yeah dummy, I just trained with you for it.”
He sighed again, “Mya, what if I told you that-” He cut himself off and leaned over closer to me, his eyes peering into mine, “I think there’s a spy.”
My interest piqued, “I’d say you’re crazy. We’re all family, Carter. Most of us have grown up together and the others, they were practically adopted into our family.
He nervously licked his chapped lips, “Mya, this last month, you know how a group of us went to see if the werewolves had a vendetta to our neighboring rebel group?”
I rolled my eyes, “how can I forget? You were adamant not to let me go.”
“Mya, you’re not taking me seriously. Emily-”
“Emily Furn? The healer’s nineteen year old daughter?” I quirked a brow, “You think she’s the ‘spy’?”
I laughingly thought back to the small in stature, yet muscular blonde pixie-like female who adores her family and little sister.
Carter frustratingly stomped over to me and gripped my warm cheeks in his large hands, “Listen to me! She was fraternizing with a werewolf. And, if I-I’m assuming correctly, I think they were mates. I think she gave away our location, Mya. I’ve been watching her!”
My eyes had widened as he went off on his spiel, his words finally syncing into my hyperactive brain. Being diagnosed with ADD by the only local doctor, though her experience was taught by the one that we had at the beginning of the rebellion, I have a hard time listening and comprehending to what people around me are saying.
“We need to tell Devin,” I gasped, my words coming out rushed.
Devin Dawson was the appointed leader of our underground tirade. He is the most organized and creative out of all of us and has yet to let us down. Aka, get us killed, which is a lot to say considering how dangerous what we have going on is. He’s actually a very friendly guy, in his mid-thirties with a small daughter. He lost his wife to the wolves and has sworn vengeance ever since. The wolf had claimed her as his mate and taken her away from Devin and their daughter.
We’ve all lost someone. Some, more than others. But, we are all here for our own different reasons.
“I don’t want to be assuming. Because, think about it Mya, it’s a huge accusation that might just get her kicked out, father be damned.”
“But if there’s even a slight chance that our location is given to those monsters-” I spat, “Then, we need to tell Devin.”
He ruffled his dirty blonde hair tiredly and sent me a lopsided grimace, “Yeah, you’re right.”
I couldn’t muster up a reassuring smile because my fear has taken over my senses, so I just grab his hand and pull him out of the gym doors, marching my way through the bustling sandy pathways laced with people.
“Hi Mya, Carter!” Most of them greeted as we whooshed passed them in a flurry of colors. I felt a little guilty at the fact that I didn’t reply to their pleasantries but, I’m on a mission to get to Devin-quickly.
Devin’s shed veers away from the rest of the small, clustered houses; it’s small and cozy, perfect for him and his daughter.
I half-jogged half- fast walked to it, Carter keeping up with me. Nerves wracked my body at the thought that Emily had given away our location, that our location could be compromised and the things could busy through any second now.
I climbed up the wooden porch steps of Devin’s one-story house and pounded on his door, anxiety marring my face. Mid-knock, the door swung open and Devin’s annoyed face greeted mine, softening when he saw me.
“Can I help you with something, kids?” He pleasantly asked.
“We have information,” I gasped causing Devin’s face to contort into worry, “Well, come in then.”
Carter and I walked in, hesitantly taking a seat on his plush couch. In our houses, we don’t have much furniture, only important people in this town have that luxury, like the healers, teachers, and the raiders.
Carter is going to get his own home soon, with his own furniture. He still lives with his sick mother for her benefit but, once he settles down, he’ll move into it.
He’s three years older than my seventeen, and while growing up, he had to practically take care of his mother instead of her take care of him, while I was raised in the Foster Unit.
My Dad, Fenton Collins, was killed three weeks prior to when I was born by a werewolf and my Mother had committed suicide two weeks post.
Carter doesn’t like to talk about his Dad, he just says that he deserved what he had coming to him and that was that.
“What information?” Devin asked, his large arms crossed over his broad chest. He’s a big man, over six foot with crows feet around his eyes and spiked brunette hair. No one would guess that he’s thirty-five, he looks more-so in his mid-twenties.
“Carter, tell him.” I looked over to see my best friend hunched over.
He proceeded to tell Devin the information he told me, adding in details and not leaving anything out. When he was done, Devin sat thoughtfully. Reading his body language, I can tell that he’s worried and stressed despite the blank expression on his face.
“I will have three men watching her, if what you are saying is correct, we may have no other choice but to-” I blocked out the rest of his words. I knew what happens to the mates of werewolves. We have certain protocols in order to avoid dilemmas like this.They are either killed (by their request) or thrown out and we relocate, though it’s never come to that. We’ve been taught from a young age to mask our scent and avoid eye contact, the two factors that lead a wolf to know who their mate is.
Two years ago, Farrah Hope, an avid raider in her prime, was out patrolling our entrance because of a reported disturbance. She had been spotted by the thing and before he could get to her, used her knowledge of the mountainous terrain to establish him. She had come back without telling anyone what had happen, wrote a note and ended her life. Her actions set us all in danger- the beast had went on a tyraid, sensing her death and didn’t leave our location for months.
Thankfully, he didn’t trace her scent to us and her body is in our cemetery, we refused to allow him to find it out of respect for her. Though, I’m sure, even now he is still searching for her, a never-ending rest for him until he finds his mate again.
“Thank you for telling me, and good luck you two on the raid tonight.”
We both nodded solemnly and stood up, unknowingly walking right into our demise.