Tue. May 28th, 2024

6 #MY_BLACK_KNIGHT 6

Happen 19

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

Theme: Death Of The Innocent

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I stood there, numb with shock, as I watched the last vestiges of life leave the small body on the ground in front of me. The seconds passed by, and part of me knew

that my Wolf was howling at me, urging me to snap out of my trance, but I couldn’t tearmy eyes away from the grotesque sight. As a werewolf I had seen plenty of

 

violence in my lifetime but never had I witnessed something like this; the brutal

slaying of a boy that was but a child. Judging by the size of the hole in his chest,

his heart had been ripped clean from his body; that was one of the only ways to kill awerewolf.

I registered all of this in mere seconds, and it was then that my instincts kicked in and I quickly sank into a defensive position, tearing my eyes away from the body as I slowly turned in a circle. The attack had been fast and silent, faster than even my werewolf vision could detect. My eyes bored into the trees as I sought the

attacker. In the darkness of early night my Wolf senses aidedme, but still I

detected no movement other than the swaying of branches and the rustling of leaves.

As I was examining our surroundings, Bree’s shrill scream had turned more into a gurgling wail before she quickly clapped her hands to her mouth, stifling the noise as she sank to her knees in front of Riley’s corpse. Her sides heaved and she was seemingly unaware of the possible danger as she sobbed.

I narrowed my eyes, frustrated. My nose detected nothing but I didn’t expect to

smell the vampire. Gabriel had said they were almost impossible to track. Still, that did not stop me from forcing down my nausea and seeking the creature that did this to an innocent child. I wanted to tear it limb from limb.

Seeing nothing,no enemy to attack, my eyes inevitably wandered back to the scene

in front of me. Bree was hunched over Riley’s form as a high, keening noise

escaped her throat. I dimly realized that warmth was still trickling down my face and front as Riley’s blood stuck to my skin. I fought down the bile that threatened to rise.

“H-he…i-it…” Bree stammered, looking up at me with bloodshot eyes. It struck me how even a good fighter like her could look so broken and vulnerable. “-W-what?” She whispered, her voice breaking.

I shook my head. “It happened so fast…” I said softly, trying to reassure her, but I couldn’t help the guilt that arose. If we wouldn’t have taken so long to get back to camp…..then again, if we had hurried, we would never have met up with Riley in the first place. Had our presence even made a difference? What kind of vampire could get past two strong werewolves and kill another in an instant without being detected? It had to be far stronger than those I had previously encountered.

Questions continued to assault my brain as I wondered why it had attacked us in a group and then left Bree and me alive.

In the distance I registered shouting and my Wolf hearing picked up rapid

footsteps. They no doubt heard the screaming, or Bree had mentally contacted

 

them. Tilting my head I inhaled deeply; I recognized Gabriel, Eli, another scent I faintly recognized, and then one I didn’t.

I stood there, my body beginning to shake from suppressed emotion as I kept my gaze averted from the mangled body. The stench of blood hung heavily in the air and I couldn’t keep Riley’s lifeless eyes out of my mind, the vacancy in them that indicated that both he and his Wolf were gone forever. I felt sick.

 

*

Hall Of Supernatural Stories

*

Moments later the incoming group burst through the trees towards us, Gabriel

ahead of the others. He took one look at the corpse before his expression hardened, a look of visible fury entering his dark eyes. A second later his gaze flicked tome, taking in my bloodied appearance. Immediately, he looked alarmed, and I realized that he probably thought I was injured. The instincts of a Wolf protecting his Mate must have kicked in, for he leapt over Riley and Bree in one smooth motion and

landed in front of me. I felt my Wolf whining athis proximity and my nerves tingled but I could only stare up at him blankly, the images of Riley’s face on repeat inside my head.

Gabriel’s eyes were as dark as I had ever seen them and there was a multitude of

emotions churning in them, but he was gentle as he raised his hand and gripped my chin. I felt my body sizzle at the contact as I distantly realized it was the first time he’d willingly touched me. He delicately turned my face to the side, examining the blood, before his gaze traveled down to my shirt.

“Are you injured, or is this all his blood?” He asked, his keen sense of smell letting him know that the blood was not mine, but his Wolf probably wanting to make

sure. I felt my shaking abate slightly.

“No. It’s all his,” I choked out.

“What happened?” He asked. His gaze was still dangerous, but his voice was soft. I saw Eli and Eva crouch down beside Bree, Eva’s eyes shining with unshed tears as she looked at Riley.

“Vampire….” I managed to whisper, my voice feeling as if it was caught in my

throat. Gabriel released my chin and I suddenly felt colder. He gritted his teeth, his fists clenching athis sides.

“Bree and I couldn’t….” I tried to explain, although the revolting images made it difficult forme to think. “It moved faster than the others. By the time I felt

 

movement…it was too late.” I felt tears threatening in the back of my eyes but I

pushed them away. It wasn’t my own pack member, but it was a young child, and despite the tragedy, I had to be strong.

Gabriel turned over his shoulder and his eyes met Eli’s. Both of them looked grim,

but unsurprised. Bree was still crying softly as Eva tried to comfort her. A werewolf I hadn’t seen before knelt next to Riley, his face shadowed.

“You were supposed to be back by sunset,” Gabriel said, voice tight. I felt another wave of guilt, eventhough I knew it wasn’t my fault. I lowered my head to stare at the ground.

“I told Vincent to have you back by then!” His voice was louder now, taut with anger.

“It isn’t his fault,” I said quietly. “The pace was too fast. Bree and I had to slow down. When we were almost back she smelled Riley, and we waited for him to join us. By the time we set off again it was dark. She didn’t want him out here hunting alone.” The words were rushing out now as I rambled.

“And then we were almost back and I felt movement and the next thing I knew his body was falling to the ground and-”

“Skylar.” Gabriel said, cutting me off. I shivered, from a mix of fear and his use of my name.

“Eli is going to take you back to the house.” He was back to his emotionless self, histone leaving no room for argument.

“But-” I started to protest. I wasn’t sure why I was arguing; I just felt partially responsible and I didn’t want to walk away.

“No. No wolf should be out at night. It could comeback any moment and since I have to take care of this, I can’t be watching you every second to make sure you’re safe.”

I bristled, not liking his implication that I was a child that needed constant

watching. Then again, everytime I was away from him something seemed to happen. Despite histone, I thought I saw a hint of something in his expression;

guilt, maybe? I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I wondered, was it just coincidence that the vampire had attacked the group I was in? I shook away the disturbing thoughts.

 

“But I was here, I can help explain what happened….” The thought of recounting the tale horrified me and I faltered.

“Stop arguing,” he replied, irritation evident in his voice now. “Eli,” He barked,

and the Beta stood up to make his way over to us. “Take her to my house. I’ll send

 

someone there to guard her. Then come straight back so we can take care of this.” His eyes bored into Eli’s and I got the impression that they were having a silent

exchange of words.

Eli nodded, and I was annoyed at the concept of Gabriel sending a babysitter to

watch me. I didn’t argue, though. My stomach was churning and I was worried if I didn’t get away from the smell of death soon I would faint. Never had I seen such a thing in almost twenty years. My Wolf, too, was sickened. It was all worsened by the fact that it had happened to someone so vulnerable and innocent.

I gritted my teeth as Eli set off, me trailing behind. I glanced back over my

shoulder, my eyes skimming over the bloody scene. Bree was slowly being led away by Eva. My eyes found Gabriel, who was staring at me intensely.

“Don’t wait forme tonight,” He said. I knew he didn’t mean to be cruel, in fact I

knew he only meant that he’d be back quite late, but I couldn’t help but wince

inwardly athis harsh tone. Gabriel must have seen my slightly wounded expression and he quickly turned away, his face a cold mask as he strode over to the others.

Thenaïve part of me wanted him to follow us, to calm me until I fell asleep. I

knew I was being childish, though. One of his pack members had just been brutally murdered. He would have a lot to take care of.

The walk back to Gabriel’s house was completely silent. The atmosphere was thick with worry and tension, and I glanced over my shoulder in paranoia every few

minutes. I couldn’t help but feel as if I was being watched. Eli’s shoulders were

thick with tension and I knew he was on full-alert. I felt safer in his presence, and I knew Gabriel wouldn’t trust just anyone to take me home, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. I also couldn’t help but wonder if Riley was killed deliberately in front of me. After all, the vampires had definitely taken notice of me for being Gabriel’s

Mate. It all just seemed too…coincidental.

What bothered me further was Eli’s lack of surprise that Riley had been killed by a vampire. Had everyone else already known they existed? Had this happened

before?

I felt goosebumps rise on my skin as the Beta led me to the front door. There were already two burly wolves there, one on each side. Muscular babysitters, basically. In another situation I would have laughed at the absurdity of it, and at Gabriel’s

paranoia, but for now I knew it wasn’t completely unfounded.

I opened the door, the two guards there giving me curt nods. I turned to Eli. His

dark eyes met mine and held them for a few heartbeats. I saw thinly masked worry and sadness buried in his gaze.

 

“I’m sorry…” I said softly, not knowing how else to convey my feelings. Eli’s expression twisted and he turned his head.

“Take care of yourself, Skylar,” was all Eli said before he strode off into the night. I knew he was hurting from the loss of a packmate. I couldn’t even imagine the

agonizing grief that Riley’s family must be feeling.

I hurried inside and shut the door, feeling slightly odd as I saw the two guard wolves move to stand in front of the entrance.

Despite my exhausting day, food did not even sound remotely appetizing. I

grabbed a water bottle and hurried upstairs to my bedroom. I had showered this morning, but I was sweaty, and one glance into the mirror almost made me throw up. I still had Riley’s blood splattered all over me.

Starting up a bath with steaming hot water, I rubbed my tired eyes. Immediately

upon closing them I saw a pair of wide, glassy orbs, blood trickling down a torn

throat. I immediately opened my eyes again, feeling another wave of nausea. As I waited for the bathtub to fill up, I quickly stripped all of my clothes off and threw them to the side, vigorously scrubbing my face with cold water from the sink to get the crimson liquid off.

 

*

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

*

I shouldn’t be alone right now, I knew that. I couldn’t get the scene in the woods

out of my head. All jubilation from my earlier fight with Bree was completely

gone, and now all I could remember was her broken sobbing over her friend’s

body. She was a member of one of the deadliest packs on the continent, yet she had cried over a comrade’s body like any other. Despite my wariness for the Black

Mountains Pack I could respect a pack member’s passing. Even after being around Riley for less than half an hour, I could feel their pain.

I didn’t even want to know what Gabriel was going through. The vampires were after him, for some reason. Was he blaming himself? Was he in pain? My Wolf wanted me to comfort him, yethe had pushed me off to the side as usual.

I tried to shove all of my twisted thoughts away as I sank into the warm bathwater. Even so, I refused to shut my eyes, afraid of what I might see when they were

closed.

 

An hour later, I lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling. Sleep was refusing to come,

and I was afraid of dreaming. Part of me wanted to lower my mental barriers and have a conversation with my parents to checkup on them, but I was worried that they would see everything inside my head. I couldn’t cause them unnecessary

worry by telling them about Riley. I would wait until everything calmed down

before I warned them about vampires in the area. I would do it as soon as I got my mind under control.

I tossed and turned for a while, the nightmares hanging in the fringes of my

imagination. My Wolf felt agitated and her Mate was not around to soothe her. We needed his company, and I couldn’t help but selfishly wish he would come check up on me. Surely his presence alone would help. But since he wasn’t here…

I bolted up in bed and made my way to the door as the idea came tome. I did not care about the consequences. Enough had happened today that I knew I wouldn’t

get any sleep if I didn’t follow my instinct. I slowly walked down the carpeted

hallway, making my way up the staircase and towards the endlessly tempting

double doors. As I strode bravely into Gabriel’s room, his scent surrounded me and I inhaled deeply. I knew he hadn’t been here since early in the morning but the

smell alone was enough to help.

I stopped beside his neatly made bed, staring down with preoccupation. Would he mind? I wanted nothing more than to crawl in bed and surround myself with his

unique scent, eventhough he likely wouldn’t be there beside me all night. I knew if he came home he might be agitated that I had gone in without permission.

But this is the closest we will be to him, my Wolf whined softly. She too was

mourning the passing of one of our kind and she sounded incredibly vulnerable.

An idea then came tome, that I thought was a compromise between soothing my frayed nerves and avoiding Gabriel’s agitation; after all, I’d already snooped

through his room enough. I strode over to his dresser, opening two drawers before I found hist-shirts. I grabbed the closest one and exited the room quickly. His

scent should be enough.

Once back in my room, I crawled into bed, sinking into the downy comforter. I took a deep breath, clutching the t-shirt tome. Instantly I felt my frayed nerves relax as his welcoming and familiar scent washed over me.

Maybe one day he can soothe us in person, my Wolf whispered. I grabbed a fistful of the shirt and moved it to where it was mostly under my head, between my head and the pillow.

Maybe, I replied, unable to keep the wistfulness out of my own voice. I continued to breathe deeply as I sank deeper into the bed, significantly more relaxed now.

 

Within a few minutes I was fast asleep.

“Skylar.”

I mumbled something incoherent in response to the voice, warm and comfortable and unwilling to move.

“Come on Skylar, wake up.” The voice was more impatient now.

“Go away,” I grumbled, feeling that my bubble of happiness would be popped if I woke up.

“Skylar!” He said, quite loudly, and my eyes snapped open. For a split second I

hoped to see Gabriel, actually coming to check on me, but my hopes were dashed as I made eye contact with Eli. He was crouched next tome, his expression drawn and slightly irritated. Why was he in my room, anyways?

Realizing I was still clutching Gabriel’s t-shirt in one hand and it was very obvious what I’d done, I felt the color rush to my cheeks along with all of the events of the previous night.

“Eli! What are you doing in here?” I asked, mortified, not caring that I was

addressing the Beta. I felt incredibly disconcerted that he had come all the way up here to wake me up.

“I knocked on the door ten times but you didn’t wake up.” He didn’t sound overly apologetic, and his eyes were hooded, barely concealing sadness. “The funeral is about to start….you didn’t really know him but I thought you might want to be

there.”

I blinked up at him, surprised by his thoughtfulness. He was going to let me, an

outsider, go? I swallowed the lump in my throat. My sleep had been mostly

dreamless, and I knew why. I glanced down at the shirt. I didn’t want to return to the cruel reality but some part of me felt obligated to go. I couldn’t shake the

concept that I was partially responsible for the young boy’s death. I dreaded the

look on the pack’s faces when I showed up, but if Eli supported me then there was no reason not to go.

“Thank you,” I said softly.

Eli nodded gruffly then stood up to his full height. “You’re becoming a member of the pack, and you passed one of the tests. You have a right to be there.” He averted his gaze, seemingly uncomfortable with the proximity of a pajama-clad female.

“You’ve gotten minutes.” He said, before striding out of the room.

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#Tobecontinued…

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