Sat. Feb 10th, 2024

6 #MY_BLACK_KNIGHT 6

Happen 20

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

Theme: Walls

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The mood of the pack village was somber as Eli and I walked through. I felt many gazes on me, but thankfully nobody said anything loud enough forme to hear.

Although today felt eerily similar to the day before, Eli’s behavior alone was glaringly different.

It was customary to have a funeral at night, but I had absolutely no doubt as to the reason why this one was being held at midday. I had been to a human funeral once in high school to support one of my human friends and I had been struck at the

similarities. The ritual after the ceremony, of course, was different as werewolves did not have cemeteries. The ceremonies, however, had much in common.

The trek today was nearly an hour long as we ventured through a different part of the woods. Several other wolves crowded in around us as we made our way to a

common destination. The sun beamed high in the sky overhead but I barely noticed the heat. The path ahead of us was somewhat overgrown with ferns and weeds,

likely because funerals were not exceedingly common for werewolves. We had extended lifespans and were hard to kill.

I swallowed, trying not to think about it. Finally we emerged into a large, grassy clearing. In the middle of the clearing was a long, flat rock that had room for

several wolves to lie side by side. Currently the rock only had one occupant: a body swathed in clothes. Werewolf corpses were only covered if the death was brutal and I was forced to look away. It seemed that the setting for a Black

Mountains Pack funeral was similar to the few I had been to at home.

Most of the funerals I had been to had occurred because of the actions of the pack I was staying with now. I tried not to think about it.

Werewolves stood in a gigantic semicircle around the clearing; despite the size of the area, each wolf was almost elbow to elbow as there were so many of us. There was a wide space left between the group and the flat boulder, and only a small

group stood on the far side of the rock nearest the body. The wolves parted to let

 

Eli and I through, and I felt many gazes burning into the side of my face. Most of the whispers were not friendly, not that I could blame them. I was still an outsider to them, as Gabriel and I had not completed the Mating process and had not

participated in a Mating ceremony. I was no Luna yet

Yet, my Wolf emphasized.

I tried to focus only on the ground in front of me as we approached the far side of the rock. There, Elitold me to stay. I shifted uncomfortably as I was forced to

nearly touch elbows with a couple of wolves I didn’t know. However, I didn’t

complain. I wasn’t the Alpha, Beta, or part of the family so I had to stand a distance away from the rock.

I looked up tentatively to see Gabriel standing stiffly next to the body. My eyes took him in, reassuring myself of his presence.

There were three wolves huddled near him that I assumed must be Riley’s family, the younger male had been next to his body the night before; I couldn’t bear to look at them and see their grief-stricken faces. Gabriel’s dark eyes flickered across me

briefly before Eli stood next to him and he turned to the group, beckoning us to be quiet.

Then the funeral began.

I kept my gaze downward but drank in Gabriel’s words as he told Riley’s life story, talking about his positive traits and his appetite for adventure. Then each of Riley’s family members had a chance to speak. Hearing about Riley from his parents’

perspective was difficult; I couldn’t imagine how it would feel if I’d known him as a pack mate. I tried to keep the tears away as his mother broke down mid-speech, hiccupping into silence as her Mate began to comfort her. It was unbearable to

witness, and even worsened by the fact that Riley was too mauled to be exposed at his own ceremony. I heard and sensed the silent tears of the majority of the pack. I had never been to a funeral for one so young, and I hoped never to repeat the

experience. I squeezed my eyes shut as the minutes wore on, trying to keep the gruesome memory of his death from popping unbidden into my brain.

Then Gabriel began the blessing. The words were different than in my pack so I

remained silent, thinking my pack’s customary words as the Black Mountains Pack joined in with Gabriel’s voice. After the blessing was finished, an unfamiliar

blonde walked forward, hair shimmering in the sunlight. She stood in front of the gathered wolves and began to singin a clear, strong voice that I was envious of. The song weaved in and out, a beautiful haunting melody that spoke of a young life lost too early. I had never heard it before but it gave me chills, the lonely

chords hanging in the air long after she stopped singing them.

 

A few last words were said, and there were several moments of quiet reflection before the pack began to retreat from the clearing. In the wild, roaming wolves would leave their lost ones where they died, allowing nature to take over.

Werewolves also let nature take her toll but we allowed the family to take their

loved ones to their final resting place. The rest of the pack would return to the

village and give Riley’s family time to go choose a place to put Riley before

allowing the elements to do as they may. They would usually travel for several

hours before leaving the body, so that it was less likely for others to come across it later.

It was only fair to maintain the balance of life by giving our bodies to nature after we died.

As the pack members began to quickly file out, my eyes inevitably found Gabriel. He was speaking quietly with Riley’s family while Eli stood by. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to head back to his house or wait for him to join me. I was sure he had a million things to do but part of me felt that he could use some company, not that he ever seemed to want it. I sighed internally.

When I was one of the few left in the clearing, Riley’s father came forward and gingerly lifted the small body. I was almost glad it was covered so his family

wouldn’t have to gaze at the wounds while they carried their son. Riley’s mother had tears silently streaming down her face and another werewolf that was likely Riley’s brother was comforting her. Slowly, the three exited the clearing. After another moment, the only three left were Gabriel, Eli, and I.

 

*

Hall Of Supernatural Stories

*

The two slowly walked over, deep in conversation. After a moment my Mate’s eyes found mine. He looked more tired than I had ever seen him, exhaustion evident in the manner in which he moved.

“There’s something I need to do,” he said to us, although there was an odd hitchin his voice that made my suspicious of his words. “Eli, take her back.”

“Yes, Alpha,” Eli replied obediently. I stared at Gabriel incredulously. He was just going to walk off again without even talking tome? I felt my frustration building. “But-” I began, feeling as if I was constantly arguing with everything Gabriel said. “I need to be alone for this,” Gabriel cut me off, and I felt my stomach drop. He

was pushing me off to the side, again. What had I ever done wrong? He seemed

 

incredibly worn out, and my Wolf was snapping at me to comfort him. My

instincts were telling me he needed my help. Yet, there he was, giving me the brush off.

I stumbled slightly, still staring in disbelief as Eli gently took my arm and began to lead me away. I felt as if I was going to cry all over again as Gabriel turned and

vanished into the trees. After a few more seconds I gritted my teeth, stopping mid- step. Eli turned tome in confusion.

“No.” I said stubbornly, feeling a bit childish but I was refusing to do this again. The Beta raised his eyebrows.

“He keeps pushing me away,” I muttered, feeling a surge of anger that I tried

desperately to control. “My Wolf senses that he needs me but he keeps ignoring me. He drags me herewith him then pushes me away like I’m nothing.”

Eli shook his head slowly. “He just….he doesn’t knowhow to let others in.” I stared at him, surprised by his honesty.

“I’m his Mate. He can’t keep treating me like I’m just another wolf.”

“There’s a lot about him you don’t know.” Eli’s expression was deathly serious. “Well he could just tell me!” I argued, feeling worn out from the heavy emotions

I’d been experiencing all day.

“It isn’t that easy.”

“Are you trying to be vague?” I asked, frustrated. I couldn’t prevent my irritation

from bubbling to the surface.

Eli sighed. “He’s just…”

“I’m going after him.” I stated determinedly. Eli’s look grew perturbed. “Skylar, I don’t think that’s necessarily…” He began cautiously.

“He didn’t order you in the Alpha tone to take me home this time. You can’t get in trouble.” I was stubbornly refusing to give in. Eli turned completely to face me.

“He can be volatile. You might…”

“I can’t do this, Eli! I can’t live with a pack that doesn’t even know me and a Mate that doesn’t even like me! If he doesn’t want me, he can just tell me himself!” My voice rose with each word as my frustration grew.

Eli looked taken aback at my outburst, but before he could reply I was already

spinning on my heel and dashing towards the trees. He called after me but made no move to follow. I ignored him, knowing I’d have to apologize later but not caring. I had let Gabriel maintain his distance for days now, and my emotions were

stretched thin. I was trusting my Wolf and not letting him get away this time. How was I supposed to stay here and take a chance on Gabriel if he wouldn’t even let me in? I was trying to get over my previous hatred of him and not think of him as the

 

tyrant that had abused my pack, but he was not showing me a good side. I couldn’t resist developing feelings because of our Mating bond, but he was making it damn near impossible to like him.

I followed his heady scent, dashing somewhat recklessly through the undergrowth as I fought to catchup with him. He must not have been moving too fast for it

didn’t take long. I burst out of the copse of trees, coming to an abrupt halt when I saw him.

 

*

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

*

Gabriel was standing at the edge of a small creek, staring down into the water,

facing away from me. His posture was stiff, shoulders hunched. He wasn’t moving. Every line of his body was tense. I could sense his great agitation, eventhough we

hadn’t completed the Mating process. I didn’t know him on the intimate level but the Mating bond was growing and I could discern enough to feel a rush of

sympathy.

He must have heard me and sensed me standing there, but still Gabriel did not

move. I took a few tentative steps towards him. I hadn’t been sure if I was going to try to talk to him or yell at him, but seeing him this way unnerved me. He had said he wanted to be alone, and I was struck with surprise as I wondered if this was his way of dealing with his grief. I might be intruding but right now I was probably the only person that could help.

Swallowing my misgivings, I approached him until I stood directly behind him. Still, Gabriel remained frozen in place. A few heartbeats passed in silence.

“Gabriel?” I whispered. My hand itched to reach up and touch his broad shoulder, but I resisted the impulse. I didn’t want to make it worse.

Broken from his trance, my Mate slowly turned around to face me. His expression was hooded, but exhaustion clearly lined his face. His mouth was set in painful

resignation.

“You should not have followed me,” he said, his voice quiet, but there was no

anger in it. He seemed more subdued than I’d ever seen him. A muscle in his jaw twitched. I gazed into the depths of his dark eyes, trying to figure out what he was thinking. He tried to mask it, but I saw some emotion deep down.

Underneath Gabriel’s emotionless mask, he was in pain. He was grieving for his pack member, but he couldn’t show it in front of everyone else. He was always

 

alone. That thought caused a sharp pain to lance through my chest. My Wolf whimpered loudly in the back of my mind.

I reacted on impulse and my Wolf’s instinct. I had ignored her urges for along time now but for once, I trusted my more animalistic side. He needed me, my Mate

needed me.

I put my arms around Gabriel’s waist, wrapping them securely around him.

He immediately tensed, whether in shock or distaste I didn’t know, but I ignored

his discomfort. I turned my head to the side and rested my cheek against his chest, the warmth of his body touching me through the thin cotton of his shirt. I could

feel every muscle as I pressed my body against his but for once the lustful impulses remained at bay. I closed my eyes, unsure how exactly it worked, but I attempted

to send a warm, soothing feeling from my body into his. I imagined a sensation of complete relaxation, trying to force it through the physical connection of our

bodies.

I could hear his heart beating, loud and strong. Despite the unfamiliarity of the

sensation, it felt…right. It was asifa tiny piece of me had fallen into place. I knew in that moment I was completely safe and secure, and I didn’t want to move. The feeling of our bodies touching was completely perfect and I now understood why Mates always knew they were destined to be together.

Gabriel’s arms moved. For a second, I thoughthe was going to push me away, so I was left reeling with shock when I felt them wrap around me. One of his large

hands climbed to the back of my head, fisting in my hair, while the other wrapped securely around my lower back. He lowered his head, resting his chin on top of my head.

I actually felt his muscles loosen slightly, the swell of his chest indicating he had

taken a deep breath. Through my dreamy haze I still felt shocked that he was

responding, and my Wolf was completely elated. My heart fluttered rapidly against my ribcage; I was sure he could hear it.

We remained in that position for a few more seconds, wrapped around each other in silent comfort, before I felt him begin to stiffen again. Just like that I knew the moment was over. Gabriel let go of me and began to pull away so I was forced to release him. He took a few steps backwards, and I felt a pang as I saw that his

guarded expression was back.

 

He watched me for a few seconds as if he was unsure what to say. Surprise still

faintly lingered on his features. I knew my cheeks were tinged pink from our brief interaction.

 

“It’s my fault.” He finally said, breaking the silence. Histone was monotonous. “How is it your fault?” I asked, puzzled, my voice coming out raspier than

intended. I still couldn’t shake the feeling of his arms wrapped around me. I wondered if we’d really made a huge breakthrough or if he thought it was a

moment of bad judgment.

“It’s me they want.”

“Why do they want you?”

He averted his gaze, not responding. I felt a twinge of frustration.

“You can tell me,” I said softly.

Gabriel shook his head. “It would be better not to.”

I frowned. “Why do you always do that?”

He looked at me blankly, so I continued. “As soon as I ask something personal you push me away.”

“Because I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Why? Because it’s personal? I’m your Mate. I can’t help you if you don’t tell me things. I can’t help if you’re constantly ignoring me or pushing me away.”

His expression hardened slightly. “I don’t ignore you-”

“Yes you do!” My frustration was building all over again. “You drag me all the way out here, to a pack that hates me, and then make virtually no effort to try to make me feel welcome or atleast get to know me!” I sounded petulant but didn’t care at this point.

“I have pack duties to attend to. I can’t be with you constantly.” Histone was too cold for my liking.

“Constantly? You’re hardly with me at all! And now you’re trying to contain mein my own wing of the house and not let me leave-”

“You’re complaining about my house now?” He snapped.

How could be misconstrue my words like that? “That’s not it!” I replied, matching histone.

“Someone has to try to keep you safe, as twice now your recklessness has almost gotten you killed,” Gabriel said coolly. I bristled.

I knew I was only making everything worse by arguing but I couldn’t help it. Everything from the last couple days was getting tome. “That’s not the point!” “Then what is your problem?” That only made me angrier.

“I’m angry because come all the way out here and then you barely acknowledge me. You act like you don’t even want me, like you don’t care.” I tried to force

myself to calm down.

 

“Is that what you think?” He said, histone condescending. I felt another surge of anger at the way he was speaking tome.

“It’s pretty obvious,” I snapped.

Gabriel stared at me, remaining silent.

I took that as a confirmation. I felt all of the hurt bubble to the surface. “If you

don’t want me or if I’m not good enough you should have just rejected me from the beginning. At least I would be able to move along and, maybe sometime in the

future, try to find someone else instead of being strung along like-”

Gabriel snarled loudly, effectively cutting me off. “There will be nobody else!” He growled furiously. “I thought I made that abundantly clear!”

“What the hell is wrong with you!?” I exclaimed, my voice growing shrill. “One second you’re ignoring me and the next you’re trying to be all protective and

jealous? You can’t beboth at once!”

Gabriel’s eyes were flashing and his fists were clenched. I couldn’t believe this was our second big argument in just a couple of days. I also felt a small pang of guilt

that I was causing him distress on the day of Riley’s funeral. The thought caused pain to lance through me and I weakened slightly.

“This isn’t how Mates are supposed to be,” I said thickly around the lump that was growing in my throat. My voice was lower in my attempt to control myself.

“You’re supposed to want each other, love each other unconditionally.”

“Wanting you was never the problem,” Gabriel said, his voice deep with

suppressed agitation. I blinked, momentarily taken aback.

“Then what’s-”

“I’m doing it for your own good!” He snapped. “It’s better this way.”

I stared at him incredulously. “Hurting me like this is for my own good?” I demanded.

“Better now than later,” He replied stonily. I froze, gaping at him. What the hell did he mean by that? So he did deliberately push me away, but he was trying to avoid causing worse pain in the future? I was beyond confused and I could only stare at him blankly.

Gabriel sighed, running a hand through his hair in agitation. “It’s never going to be anything you did,” he said, quieter now. He was clearly trying to control his anger. “It’s me. Because of my bloodline. I’m destined to hurt you one day worse than I

am hurting you now.” He was revealing more than ever before, and I was bewildered.

“Bloodline? Because of your father?”

 

Gabriel stared at me for along moment, not responding. I held my breath.

Speaking about his bloodline reminded me of the pictures I had found in his room and closet. I tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together, with little success.

Gabriel’s expression was preoccupied, eyes flickering with some unknown

emotion. For a moment, I actually thoughthe would tell me. However, this small burst of hope was quickly squashed as he turned away with resignation.

“We need to get back to the others.” He said quietly, all vestiges of emotion gone. His unfathomable mask had returned. I almost wanted to childishly stamp my foot in frustration; I had come so close to learning more about him! His stiff posture

had returned and I could see the tight set of his jaw. I bit my lip, wondering if I had pushed too far.

Without waiting for my response Gabriel began to walk away. I was left with an empty frustration that never seemed to go away when I was in his presence.

“Come on,” he said tiredly, glancing briefly over his shoulder to assure that I did as asked.

I stared for a moment longer before forcing my feet to move. I trailed after him,

deep in thought, my mind a jumble of confused thoughts. New determination

burned deep inside of me as I stared athis towering form in front of me. Gabriel

may think he avoided the difficult questions, but he had only aroused my curiosity even more. After his brief display of affection I was even more set on figuring him out. My Wolf wouldn’t have it any other way.

I narrowed my eyes and tilted my chin defiantly as we began to make our way

back to the rest of the pack. I would get my answers, and I would get them soon.

#Tobecontinued….

_ _-Agboola-_ _

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