Sun. May 12th, 2024

d..γ€οΌŒ.. #MY_BLACK_KNIGHT d..γ€οΌŒ..

Happen 29 (L)

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

Theme: Rough Edges

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I shifted back into my Wolf as soon as Gabriel was out of sight. She was itching to turn around and run back to our Mate, but I held her firm. It was easy enough for

her to forget the consequences and go with her instincts, she was an animal. As the human side of our consciousness I had to look into the future and worry about what would happen to us.

I contacted my family and Alpha Brett as soon as I was safely inside our pack

borders. My parents’ shock was tangible as we mind-linked, but I detected a

palpable sense of relief there as well. No doubt they were surprised that Gabriel, the “Alpha of the enemy pack”, had let me goat all. Before I had gotten to know him I wouldn’t have blamed my parents for thinking that way. Now, I found that it irked me. There was so much more to Gabriel than met the eye.

Then again, he had done some cruel and heartless things in the past. I knew there was still a rough and darker side to him that he didn’t expose tome, his Mate. It was something I would have to accept if I were ever to be his. The thought of

belonging to Gabriel and only Gabriel sent a shudder up and down my spine; not an altogether unpleasant feeling.

I caught a whiff of familiar scents after I broke the mind-link with my family off. It

was the border patrol of my pack, fast approaching. I stopped where I was and waited patiently for them to arrive. As the three wolves broke through the

undergrowth and circled me, I could see the surprise evident in their eyes.

Skylar! That was Jack, the Beta, his brown and white Wolf towering over my own as he sniffed me cautiously. His confusion translated over the mind-link as he

questioned me for an explanation.

It’s a long story, I replied, somewhat vaguely, lowering my silver head out of

respect for his authority. I do have some information on the vampires I’d like to tell Alpha Brett.

 

 

 

 

 

On the run I had been planning what to tell him, making sure Alpha Brett would not think I was leaving anything out so that he would not pry. I had to avoid the Command at all costs; I couldn’t possibly fight it, and I would hate myself if I

broke my promise and revealed Gabriel’s secrets.

He cocked his head, considering, and surprisingly didn’t push it. How long will you be back?

I’m not sure.

That seemed to perturb him even more. His eyes flicked to my neck, where he

clearly realized that I had no Mating mark. The mark would translate from human form over to our Wolves. Now Jack knew that Gabriel and I hadn’t completed the process.

He jerked his head to indicate I join them. Saying a quick hello to the other wolves, I noticed how they looked at me with caution and wariness. I hoped this wasn’t a

common theme among the other pack members. Leaping after them, we set a

steady pace that led us back to the pack village as the sun sank in the sky. The

necklace of protection still hung around my neck, much tighter now that my neck was thick and furry, almost too tight. I glanced around as the darkness fell, praying it would be enough and that we’d make it home safely.

Thankfully, nothing leapt out of the darkness to attack us as we finally arrived at the pack village. Home. Perhaps I was just being paranoid. Even so, my Wolf’s fur was bristled and on alert as we exited the copse of trees and made our way to

Alpha Brett’s house. Just out of sight of the others, we quickly shifted back into human form before approaching the three figures that stood there.

 

My mom immediately leapt at me, enveloping me in a tight hug that smelled of

oranges and vanilla. I nestled my nose into her shoulder, inhaling the comforting

scent. It had been too long since I’d been around her. As my father joined her in the hug, I realized just how much I’d missed everyone.

Yet, even as I reunited with my pack members, I felt the hollow ache in my chest as I missed him. I just couldn’t help it.

Alpha Brett approached me after I reassured my parents that everything was okay and shared another tear-filled (on my mother’s part; she cried over everything) hug. Like the border patrol wolves earlier, his eyes were hooded. Cautious. I noticed

that the Alpha’s face looked tight and drawn as if he’d been through a lot of stress while I was away. Or perhaps I had just failed to notice the lines of stress before. I felt a pang as I realized a lot of Alpha Brett’s stress in previous years was due to

 

 

 

my Mate and the Black Mountains Pack, and the problems he dealt with now could also be traced back to Gabriel. After all, it was he that the vampires were after.

“Welcome back, Skylar,” the Alpha said, although his voice was a bit tense. I dipped my head and respectfully greeted him.

“I know you’re tired, but would you mind telling me why you’re back so soon? You’re always welcome here as long as you are a member of this pack, but with recent…circumstances, it may not be in the pack’s best interest for you to keep running back and forth.”

I felt my cheeks redden slightly at the implied admonishment. “I’m sorry, Alpha. It’s just…with the deaths in the Black Mountains Pack and the vampires on the

loose, Gabriel and I had a minor disagreement. There’s a lot of…turmoil in their pack right now. And I wanted to be back here and help protect my pack while those bloodsucking creatures are around.” It wasn’t really a complete lie, and

hopefully he bought it.

Alpha Brett studied me for a moment, realizing how vague my answer was. To my great surprise, he didn’t pry.

“Very well. But you’ll have to make a choice soon, one way or another. You can’t keep your feet in both packs.”

I nodded, realizing how similar his words were to Gabriel’s. “Yes, Alpha.”

“We are having a meeting tomorrow evening. I expect more details then. Many

members of our pack will be there to discuss the vampire situation. I need you

there so we can get your input on the creatures, as you’ve had the most contact with them.”

I nodded yet again. It would definitely be a tricky situation, as Alpha Brett would want as much information on the vampires as possible. I would not reveal Gabriel’s secret, but I still needed to provide my pack with some intel on the vampires, to

help keep them safe. Plus, Raziel had said he would bring something to help our packs, more blessed items (or so I assumed). How exactly was I going to explain all of that ?

With a few more words, Alpha Brett dismissed all of us. My parents stood close to me, for once not drilling me with questions, as we headed towards our house.

Perhaps they could sense my exhaustion and inner turbulence. My father had

always been excellent at reading me. I was pretty sure he could tell that I was

having an internal struggle about something. Either way, I was extremely grateful that they weren’t asking me for all of the details right now. However, I did notice their eyes boring into the side of my neck, assuring that I was not Marked. Soon enough I would have some serious explaining to do.

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning I was woken up bright and early by an excited, chipper, and unnecessarily loud voice.

“Skylar! Oh my gosh I’ve missed you so much….why didn’t you tell me you were

here last night? You could have come and woken me up!” Seemingly oblivious to the fact that she had woken me up from a deep sleep, Maria continued to prattle on.

 

*

Hall Of Supernatural Stories

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I sighed in mild exasperation, sitting up and rubbing my eyes. “I missed you too, Maria,” I replied dryly, “Although it’s bit early, don’t you think?”

I felt her weight on my bedand I was suddenly engulfed in a tight hug. “It’s past ten, you dork, not that early.”

I blinked,not realizing what time it actually was.

“Oh,” was my intelligent response.

“So, why are you back so soon? You going to tell me everything that’s going on?” She asked as I stood up out of bed, stretching.

I winced as everything came rushing back tome: Gabriel’s secrets, the vampires, leaving my Mate standing alone in a clearing. I suddenly looked down at the

ground, biting my lip.

“Oh…sorry Skylar. I didn’t mean…” Maria frantically tried to backtrack but I shook my head, cutting her off.

“It’s fine. I just….” I looked up at her, locking gazes. This was my best friend. I had to be honest with her. “Honestly, I can’t tell you everything. It’s complicated.”

Her eyebrows drew together. “History?”

“I can’t elaborate, but basically, it caused a sort of…rift in between us. Plus there’s all the vampires causing havoc. I returned home to…clear my head. Think things over.” Maria nodded in response, understanding dawning on her features. I was

grateful when she didn’t ask for specifics.

“So, you’re deciding what to do about….Gabriel,” she said quietly. I gave a half-

smile; Maria had always known exactly what I was getting at. She was an excellent people-reader, which made her an amazing source of support when I was down.

And the way she spoke about Gabriel didn’t make it seem like she hated him the same way everyone else in my pack did. For that, I was grateful, even if she was faking it.

 

 

 

 

 

“Pretty much, yeah.”

“Well I have just the thing to cheer you up!” She smiled brightly.

I rolled my eyes. “Oh great, please not another night of clubbing. That didn’t go very well.”

Maria bit her lip, looking a bit guilty, and I felt bad for saying it, but she

brightened before I could apologize. “Well…no. I was thinking we could go shopping this time!”

I almost grimaced at the thought of returning to that city again, but then stopped

myself as I realized I was being cowardly. I had gone to the city hundreds of times while attending high school and nothing had happened. I couldn’t let one bad

experience scareme away from it forever. It was daylight, and I had the necklace. Her eyes dimmed slightly. “But if you don’t want to…I mean, I know last time we were there…”

“No, it’s fine. I’d love to go,” I quickly cut her off, not wanting to hurt her when she had that hopeful expression in her eyes. After all, she was my best friend. I wanted to spend time with her. Besides, we would be going in the middle of the day and I had protection. The vampires couldn’t touch us.

The shopping itself actually was fairly therapeutic, I had to admit. Maria and I

went by ourselves (surprisingly, I hadn’t seen Will anywhere as of yet) to a quaint part of town with plenty of little boutiques. I had snagged a pretty big wad of

money from the jar in my closet. My parents had made me work every summer

between high school years and I’d even worked some after graduation to earn extra cash. My parents were really well-off but made me earn my spending money; but I had always been a frugal person, so the money was just sitting there. I had never

known exactly what to do with it. What to do with myself. Most werewolves

stayed with their packs or their Mates their whole lives, spending their time

helping out with pack duties or patrolling the borders. Many of them worked part- time in nearby human settlements to earn the money necessary to get by in life.

 

Some werewolves, however, left their packs to integrate themselves in the human world. A lot of them went to college or traveled. Most wolves frowned upon such integration but a tiny part of me had always wondered what it would be like to go to college. Now that I had an Alpha as a Mate, however, I didn’t think such things would ever be possible.

So, Maria had insisted that I bring a lot of the cash from my jar, and for once I didn’t feel guilty about spending my hard-earned money. I hadn’t bought new

 

 

clothes in “far too long”, as she so gracefully put it. Because of her insistence, I now carried a couple of shopping bags packed with new shirts and dresses.

We currently sat outside of a small cafΓ©, sipping on caffeinated beverages and

waiting to order lunch. It all felt so…normal, when everything in my recent life had been anything but.

“You okay, Sky?” Maria asked, affectionately shortening my name.

I nodded, aimlessly chewing on my straw. After keeping so much bottled up for so long, I really did want to talk. It was just difficult to pick which subjects I could

discuss.

“Yeah…I don’t know. It’s just hard. My Wolf wants him, Maria, so bad. But

because of his…um, history…there could be consequences if I Mate with him.” She was curious, I could tell. Her dark eyes were inquisitive. “How bad are the consequences?”

“Very bad. And there’s about a fifty-fifty chance of them happening.”

“Hmmm.” Her eyes narrowed. I knew it was difficult for her to give me advice

when she had no clue what was going on. “Well….that still means they’re just as likely to NOT happen, right? Meaning you could potentially be perfectly fine and happy?”

“Yeah.”

“But if you don’t go for him at all, you have a zero chance of being happy. Atleast for a long time.”

I lowered my head, nodding. “Exactly. But the potential consequences of Mating with him are even worse than the pain of just rejecting him outright.” It was true, I thought. Rejecting him would be excruciating, but it would be a lot of pain all at

once. If his Mark faded, it would be drawn-out torture, which in my opinion was a lot worse. I could go insane like his father.

Maria seemed shocked that anything could be worse than rejection. I could see the question hovering on her lips.

“But still, Sky. He’s your Mate. I mean…I haven’t even found my Mate yet.” Her

brown eyes looked briefly saddened, and I suddenly felt incredibly selfish. Here I was, lamenting me and my Mate’s problems, when Maria hadn’t even been given a chance by Fate yet. She was still very young and had plenty of time, but that didn’t change the facts.

“You’re right, I’m sorry, Maria. Let’s talk about something else. I don’t want to burden you with my problems,” I quickly said. “How have you been?”

She frowned but didn’t get a chance to reply before our waiter appeared.

 

 

 

 

 

“Sorry for the wait ladies, how can I help you?” He grinned flirtatiously, glancing from one of us to the other. I briefly studied him, noting his angular features and

blindingly white teeth, before I quickly looked down and ordered. He had nothing on my Mate, I thought, sensing my Wolf’s agreement. A blushing Maria, however,

giggled a bit and stammered as she ordered her food. She had always been

somewhat nervous around the opposite sΒ£x. I hid my grin as the waiter collected our menus and left with another flirtatious smile.

“See what I mean, Skylar?” She asked, staring at me knowingly.

“What?”

“That guy was pretty dang cute. But you barely spared him a glance. I know you and Gabriel have problems but you’re still really hung up on him whether you

know it or not.”

 

Now it was my turn to feel embarrassed. I stared down at the table and didn’t reply. Maria was right, and she’d definitely given me somethings to think about today.

Several hours later, we all stood crowded in Alpha Brett’s living room, waiting for the meeting to begin. I stood next to Maria and Will, the latter of whom had

arrived late and given me a quick hello. His behavior was curt and strange, but I didn’t have time to dwell on it now. I was worrying about what I would say to

everyone. Half a dozen of the pack’s best fighters were in the room, along with

Alpha Brett and his family (including Anne), Beta Jack, his wife, and Maria, my parents, me, and Will, who was one of the pack’s best trackers. This was a more

exclusive meeting as to avoid worrying the remaining two-thirds of the pack, who Alpha Brett was trying to keep mostly in the dark about the whole ‘vampire’thing until we figured out the details.

We formed a semi-circle around Alpha Brett, Jack, and my father. The living room was spacious enough to accommodate all of us but I still felt claustrophobic, for

some reason. When Alpha Brett called order everyone immediately settled down. I felt my nervousness spike.

“Thanks for coming, everyone. As you all know we’re trying to keep this mostly

under wraps. Everyone else knows about the vampires but they don’t know the

finer details, just not to go out alone at night. We can’t afford causing a panic right now, especially when we already have enemies like the Black Mountains Pack to worry about.”

 

 

 

 

 

I tried not to wince as I heard the murmurs of agreement. The Black Mountains Pack was harsh, but they weren’t the root of all evil; that spot was reserved for Cain. Extraordinary everyday from

 

“We need a better plan. Skylar recently told me that, during her stay with the Black Mountains Pack, one of their pack members was killed by the vampires, and it

wasn’t the first death there. While we have yet to be attacked, we’ve got to stay on our guard.”

From there, Alpha Brett began to outline different border patrol plans, pulling out a hand-drawn map of the landmarks around our valley. The warriors and trackers,

including Will, went forward to examine the sketch. It reminded me a lot of what Gabriel had done after Riley’s death. Alpha Brett’s plan was to double patrols,

especially around the area of our territory nearest to the Black Mountains Pack, because the vampires were likely clustered there. After dark, no wolves were

allowed out alone for precautionary purposes.

At one point I suggested to my father that Alpha Brett forbid ANYONE from

going outside after dark. When my father brought it to the Alpha’s attention,

though, the idea was dismissed to my dismay. Alpha Brett insisted that in groups we were more than capable of handling vampires. Also, forbidding us from going out after dark would cause unnecessary panic, he said. We had no reason to resort to such extreme measures, leaving our borders open to the vampires and Black

Mountains Pack after dark, unless there was an attack.

“Unless there’s something else you should be telling us, Skylar?” The Alpha asked, after he gave me his reasoning. He must have seen my incredulous expression.

“Umm…well…” I stammered, not liking how all of the attention was suddenly fixated on me.

“You have been around them the most. Tellus everything you know.” Histone was calm, but I sensed that he would have no issue Commanding me ifI refused to

obey.

I sighed. “I don’t know very much. I heard they’re in a large group, about fifty or sixty of them. Their leader is named Cain. He’s one of the oldest vampires around.

He is insanely strong and fast. He killed one of the Black Mountains Pack

members in an instant before anyone could stop him.” There. That should be

enough to warn them of the threat, without causing more questions or revealing any information about Angels or Gabriel’s history.

 

 

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*

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

*

I left out the way he had left Riley’s heart in a box, taunting me. That might lead Alpha Brett to ask why I was being taunted, and the next logical step would be Gabriel.

I couldn’t have my pack blaming Gabriel for all of this. It wasn’t really his fault, he couldn’t control his heritage, and I knew it would infuriate Alpha Brett to no end

and only cause a deeper rift between our packs. I had to protect my Mate, and distancing the two rival packs at this point would not be advantageous. It was probably what the vampires wanted .

“How do you know all of this?” Alpha Brett demanded. I tilted my chin up, preparing myself for a half-truth.

“I overheard a lot of things when I was kidnapped. And the Black Mountains Pack

did reconnaissance…I overheard some of it.” I hoped my expression was convincing. After all, it wasn’t a complete lie.

Alpha Brett was sitting in a chair leaning over the map, and he tapped his pen on the table, eyes narrowing in contemplation. “Do you think they would deliberately hide anything from you?”

“No,” I replied firmly. I was sure of the fact that Gabriel wouldn’t have put mein more danger by deliberately not telling me something.

“I don’t think there’s anyway for you to know if they left you out of the loop,” he replied coolly. I didn’t like histone, but I attempted to understand his viewpoint and remember that to him, the Black Mountains Pack was the worst enemy.

“In fact, maybe they’re taking advantage of the fact that you came running back here. Maybe they provided you with false information.” The room had grown

absolutely silent.

I knew that wasn’t true, but I couldn’t explain HOW I knew it wasn’t true, so I instead replied, “Gabriel wouldn’t do that.”

Alpha Brett snorted and I bristled, not liking his dismissal of my Mate’s honor. “You’re a bit blind to his faults, Skylar.”

“I’m not. I just know he wouldn’t lie tome about this.” I couldn’t believe I was

arguing with an Alpha; perhaps spending so much time with Gabriel had changed me, made me braver.

 

 

 

 

 

“I think he’d lie to you to protect his own ass. And to hurt our pack, leave us vulnerable.”

My Wolf growled and I tried not to let the sound escape. “Gabriel isn’t the problem here! The vampires are the problem!”

“I know what the problem is,” Alpha Brett seemed agitated now, and he narrowed his eyes at me. “You would be wise to stop arguing with me.”

“You would be wise to stop blaming the wrong person!” I snapped back before I could help myself. I saw my parents’ eyes widen with horror and my blatant

disrespect. I instantly wished I could take back my words.

Alpha Brett snarled. “See what I mean? You’re already turning into his little pet. I can’t even be sure of your loyalty anymore. You never really clarified why you left. How am I supposed to trust you?”

I stared daggers at him, feeling my skin prickle, infuriated at the implication of disloyalty. I said nothing, but my look expressed it all.

“We’ve heard enough from you, Skylar. Get out. Now. We will have a talk later,

just you and I.” There was no room for argument; I heard the Command in his

tone. Seething, I turned to leave, sensing my parents about to follow me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my father turn to Alpha Brett, opening his mouth furiously. “Silence. Both of you are staying here,” he demanded of my parents, using the

Command in histone again. I growled, low in my throat, before roughly shoving through group of people in the living room on my way out. I ignored their stares

burning into the side of my face. I was nearly overwhelmed with frustration; the

Black Mountains Pack may have been the problem before, and once upon a time I would have agreed with Alpha Brett, but they clearly weren’t the problem now! He was a horrible Alpha if he couldn’t see that!

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#Tobecontinued…..

 

 

_ _-Agboola-_ _

 

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