** Twenty Years Ago **
"How can you tell?" Dishi joked with me. He joshed my shoulder in a playful manner. "I mean shes practically still in diapers!"
I gave my best friend of ten years a tired smile. "Its a werewolf thing," I told him, "Aren we supposed to know our mates, anyway?" I took a long swig of water and squeezed my eyes shut.
It wasn often that a baby girl was born in my werewolf town. Because of this the men had been thirsty and ruthless. They were already sending the Fontana family presents in hopes of betrothing their daughter. But I could tell Alina was mine. I just knew it. There was this compelling force whenever we met each other. My inner wolf seemed so much happier and complete just as long as I caught a whiff of her.
In the realm of werewolf, love knew no age or statue, after all, in human years I was still a teenager. All our love knew was that sense of belonging and fulfillment that it gave off.
I opened my eyes to see that Dishi still wore the same playful look on his face. Who could blame him? Compared to the others, I was an old man who had just found his mate, again. I was the laughingstock amongst the men.
Dishi had long ago settled down, married, and bred four outstanding wolf pups. He bragged about his boys every chance he could. They were indeed a prestigious breed.
We were sitting outside our Alphas lavish house reveling about our victory against the Panthera Leo. Their pack was filled with some of the most ruthless and cunning men I had ever seen or encountered. In all fairness, I was surprised that my clan had even won. The battle had ensued for over a week; majority of our men were either dead, lamed or still recovering from the war. Dishi and I were the strongest warriors in our werewolf tribe.
I was the Beta and Dishi the Delta. The Alpha himself had spent many gruesome and grueling years training us. We trained in every season, whether we were sick or healthy. We knew the strategies of our ancestors and coupled with years of practice, that made us the warriors we were today. Our scars were the proudest trophies we had of how many battles we had endured and survived.
I opened my mouth to return Dishis light banter when I saw blood pooling from his mouth, and he was clutching his heart. Confused, I watched as he gasped for air, crying out, "Ethan! Nathan! Riggs! Calix!" It was the name of his four boys. Tears came to my eyes when I saw that he took his last breath calling for his sons.
Thinking fast my only thought was to protect the children and women of my town. Whoever was attacking us was swift and vicious. All around me the air was shattered with the cries of my people and the roars from the enemy, and the occasional bullets ricocheting.
Letting out an angry howl, I could feel my bones elongating and shifting to accommodate my new form. Hair began to sprout all over my body and my fingernails turned into claws sharp enough to tear anything in my path to shreds. My face contoured into pain as my fangs grew and my facial structure changed.
As a werewolf, I was twice the size as human me. And human me weighed about 200 pounds and was 64" in height, so that was saying a lot.
On all fours I was rapidly tearing through my town. There was chaos and confusion everywhere. My sensitive hearing was picking up on the women wailing and screaming and the desperate grunts of werewolves fighting back. But I could tell that whoever was attacking was stronger. Better.
Using anger and vengeance to fuel me, I went into frenzy mode, slashing at anything that dared to come into my path. I bit one of the beasts head off and plunged my claws into anothers chest bearing his chest wide open. I was seeing red all over. I had to avenge Dishis death.
It was then that I realized who we were being attacked by. Dammit. This wasn good.
With another burst of speed, I found myself on familiar territory. I stood outside of the Fontanas house. It was engulfed in flames and black soot, and I couldn tell if anyone was inside or not.
Letting out a growl, I turned on my back legs when a hairy hand touched my shoulder lightly. My expression softened a bit when I saw who it was. It was Time Fontana. "Are they okay?" I asked in a voice that mirrored how I felt. I didn care though. I needed to know that Alina was okay. Time gave me one single nod.
I knew what that meant. He had already set his wife and daughter on the secret path outside of our town. That meant that most of our children and women were heading in that direction as well. They needed someone to protect them.
Without saying another word to Time, I ran as quickly as I could to the forest adjacent our small town. Once in the forest I immediately picked up on Alinas scent. That wasn good. The air was supposed to be scentless. The Luna knew better. Unless....
Ridding myself of that thought, I forced myself to go even faster. And that was when I saw it. The air was literally knocked from my lungs.
The graphic scene of children and women mortally wounded, left to die a slow and painful death scattered the foliage of the forest. Holding back tears, I scooped out the faces and realized that none of them belonged to Alina. What did the Panthera Leos want with Alina? This wasn making any sense to me.
My pulse started to quicken as I kept on tearing through the forest. It meant I was getting closer to Alina. I had to protect her. And there she was slumped carelessly over one of the creatures shoulders clearly unconscious.
I was outnumbered.
I counted at least five of them sprawled out before me and heavens knew there could be more of them. My approach had to be calculated and precise.
I snuck up behind two of the beasts who were lagging behind and keeping up an animated conversation with each other. Before either of them could blink I had already sliced into their throats with my claws freeing their tracheas of their larynxes. They hit the forest with a barely audible thud. I smirked. Bet they hadn seen that coming.
The other two creatures pretty much followed in the same manner. My claws had always been my go to weapons. I was this close to biting off the beasts head that held Alina when I felt a sharp jagged pain shoot up my right leg. Despite my best effort to remain silent, I still somehow managed to let out a low hiss, alerting the beast in front of me. His eyes widened in shock when he saw that his other cronies weren behind him.
I could hear the Pride Male chuckling behind me. "Impressive," he drawled out in a lazy voice. He finally came into my view with a smug look on his face. "Well done," he called out to the werewolf who had twisted my front legs and held me in a tight grasp. I was no fool. I knew who the werewolf was. I gnashed my teeth as realization settled in.
This was a set-up and I fell for it. Me. I should have known better! Mentally I kicked myself for falling into their trap.
"What should I do with him?" the voice that pinned me in place asked in a low voice as if to disguise who he really was. He must have forgotten that werewolves had an acute sense of smell.
The Pride Male chuckled, rubbing his golden mane between his two fingers. "Whatever you want to, dear friend." And with that said he tore through the forest on all fours with Alina on his back and his pack mates hot on his heels.
I was roughly spun around and came face to face with who I knew it was all along. Time Fontana.