“Back down, and you shall not suffer.” The Voice rang harsh and menacing around the clearing.
The wind whipped my hair against my cheek, weaving around my legs. I shivered- though not from the cold. A small voice tugged at my mind. Phase, it said. Phase.
I decided to listen, and dropped into a crouch instantaneously. I felt myself change, my weak human form shimmering and morphing into a powerful silver wolf. I bared my fangs and snarled at the unseen enemy, my ears laid flat against the back of my head. The Voice laughed, the sound cold and cruel. It scared me, but this only made me snarl louder.
“You think you can challenge me, wolf. We shall see.” The Voice was amused, proud, as if whoever it belonged to had already won.
I felt myself hit the ground, and everything went black.
I strode down the school corridor, my shoulder bouncing against my hip. The names of my pack were scrawled in different sizes in blue and black ink onto the fabric, most faded and undistinguishable.
Next to me walked, or rather skipped, a rather short but intense-looking girl with fiery red hair and freckles. She chattered away, her hair bouncing on her shoulders.
“Bryn? Are you even listening to me?” She turned to face me, coming to an abrupt stop. Her eyebrows were pushed over her tawny-coloured eyes in an attempt to look cross, but her expression only made me laugh.
“Yes, I’m listening. It’s impossible for me not to.” The comment was based on the fact my hearing was so acute I can’t tune out anything, but really, I had to listen to her if I wanted to keep my limbs. She frowned.
“Oh, yes, that’s right. But could you answer then? I asked who was on border patrol tonight.” I thought about this for a second.
“Alec, Sasha and Jade. You can stay with me, Tia.” I twirled the silver highlight in my brown hair round my finger absent-mindedly. My hair reached just below my shoulders, and was curled in soft waves at the end naturally- I had no need for curlers.
Tia looked like she wanted to protest, but quickly changed her expression to that of a sulky five year old.
“Yeah, sure. Can I lead the patrols tomorrow?” We had now reached my classroom. I could see the teacher inside the room- he’d already started the lesson. Without me.
“I’ll think about it-”
“Thanks, Bryn!” Tia hugged me before running away to her class, her hair blowing behind her shoulders. I heard a teacher yell at her not to run, then a door slam, leaving empty silence.
The teacher glared at me as I walked in, pausing his lesson. I’d been late for class so many times he no longer asked me why I was late. I didn’t meet his gaze. I practically danced over to my seat, basking in the stares from the students. To be honest, I liked the attention. I joined my friends over by the table at the back, near the window.
Lou, Alec and Kaylie sat round a table, books open but nothing written down. Alec shook his honey blonde hair and grinned up at me.
“So I’m taking Sasha and Jade on border patrol?”
“You were listening.” It wasn’t a question.
“Sure. It’s hard not to. Especially since your and Tia’s conversation is the most interesting thing around here.” The teacher turned round, shushing us. I continued.
“Yeah. Round the west borders, Alec. I hope you won’t take as long as last time I sent you on patrol.”
“Whatever, Alpha. As you say.” I ignored him, pretending to focus on the teacher.
After half an hour, the noise was unbearable. Some kid had chewing gum on the table next to us, and I could hear their jaw grinding as if they were doing it directly into my ear. By the look on Alec, Jade and Kaylie ’s faces, they could hear it too. Plus, the noise of a fountain pen on paper was like nails on a chalkboard. Why they couldn’t use a byro, I didn’t know.
“Sir,” I made my voice as sweet as honey, opened my tawny eyes wide, and arranged my best innocent expression on my face “Tom’s chewing.” I had no problem identifying who was chewing gum. My hearing did that for me.
The teacher, in seeing I wasn’t lying, glared at the guy called Tom. Tom caught my eye and gave me his best I’ll kill you later stare. I looked as nonchalant as possible.
His face turned just about purple with rage. The scent of anger rolled off him, filling the room. Alec and Lou just about fell off their chairs laughing. As for the people with fountain pens, I pinged elastic bands at them- with the help of Alec. They met their targets, hitting people in the back of the heads.
We soon got bored of this. The lesson crawled by, and the whole group sighed with relief as we were dismissed to lunch. Alec and Lou shoved aside several girls in their haste to get out of the stuffy classroom, ignoring their squeaks of protest.
Kaylie and I followed. Tia, Sasha and Jade were chatting to the two boys. We all had tawny coloured eyes courtesy of our abilities to shift forms into wolves.
A certain group on the other side of the corridor caught my attention. I recognised Tom, and a few of his gang but nowhere as many as all seven of us. One of the guys in his group noticed my cold stare, and grabbed Tom’s shoulder. I sucked in a quick breath, and Tia made her way over to me.
“Bryn? I can smell he’s pissed….why’d you annoy the human?” I wanted to growl at the small group of boys heading towards us. Typical human boys, always picking a fight, convinced of their prowess.
“Bryn busted him in class,” Alec explained, a sneer on his face. “He wants payback. Let’s see how confident he is when he gets his ass kicked by Bryn.” Tom and his gang were sauntering towards us. I took a step forward, Tia at my left shoulder, Alec at my right.
“Tell-tale, Bryn.” Tom’s tone was mocking. The impulse to shift forms and tear this idiot apart was so strong I had to clench my fists, digging my nails into my palms until red welts appeared.
“Bryn…” Tia murmured, sensing how I was feeling. “He’s just a stupid human. Not worth the effort, Alpha.”
“Aww, look. She needs back up.” We were a metre away from each other now. I could feel the curious stares of a group of year sevens. They were probably thinking, wow, year 11 fight.
“You wish, Tommy. I could take you down with my eyes closed.” His anger flared at this, but he kept his expression calm.
“I believe you. Like a girl could fight.” Tia growled softly, too low for any human to hear. She was small, but a ferocious fighter, and she used her size to her advantage when fighting. I guessed she took back what she said earlier.
I moved so fast, Tom didn’t even know what had happened before he was on his backside on the floor, blood pouring for his now-crooked nose. His expression was incredulous.
“You….hit me.” The words were hissed through gritted teeth. I merely glared at him, then tossed my hair over my shoulder and walked off with the pack at my heels.
Tom would never live down the fact I had punched him, even if I did end up suspended for the next two days.
I walked through the school gates for the first time since I had been suspended. Tia was waiting for me, her face lighting up as she saw me, a massive grin spreading across her face like a child on Christmas day. For someone so scary in battle, she was oddly docile and cheery as a human.
I noticed Tom and a smaller looking group that used to be his gang- I guessed the lack of people may have something to do with our little showdown. Tom had a plaster on his nose and looked ridiculous. He caught my gaze, then stalked off. I thought I smelt something similar to fear on him.
“You really pissed him off.”
“Good.” I had no sympathy for someone who insulted my fighting skill, especially as an Alpha. Nor did I regret breaking his nose. Lou jogged over, a friendly and welcoming grin on his face, the rest of the pack following. His eyes were bright, and his chocolate brown hair with blonde highlights were slightly ruffled in the breeze.
“Hey, Alpha. You didn’t miss much- new guy. Human. Reeks of it.”
I nodded my head, and turned back round to shoot Alec a warning glance as the rest of the girls burst into fits of giggles, startling a group of smaller kids, probably year eight- Alec was the joker of the pack, and obviously the cause. He just shrugged his shoulders, unperturbed.
“Bryn.” Lou’s voice made me turn my attention back to him. He sounded a little worried.
“I know, Lou. You wouldn’t tell me if it wasn’t of any interest.”
“The new guy- well, we’ve scented him in the forest. We got a hiker.” I groaned at those last two words. A hiker. Wandering in my forest
I couldn’t just walk up to this guy and demand he take his hobby elsewhere, so we would have to take the time and energy to scare him out of the forest.
“Thanks, Lou.” At that moment, the bell rang. We all headed inside.
I soon got to meet the newbie- well, it was hard not to notice him whilst he stared at me, obviously enthralled. God, he could have been drooling.
“Eww. I think he likes you.” Tia sniffed.
“I hate humans,” I mumbled, letting my hair fall over my face, creating what would have to do as a brick wall until I could find a real one.
Alec gave him his best she’s taken, so back off if you want to keep your teeth look. It wasn’t true, but it usually worked.
Alec stepped to my side and slid his arm round my waist, to the horror of the human guy.
“Shove off, Alec,” I snapped as soon as we were out of sight, “not necessary.” He just laughed and moved away.
To my dismay, and anger, the new guy was in my first lesson. It was so unfair. I somehow struggled through the hour with his eyes glued to me, and the help of Tia. But when I found out he was in my next lesson, I sort of snapped. I walked in, immediately catching his attention.
“What?!” I demanded. I was in no mood to be any form of civilised.
“I’m Avallen.” He grinned up at me. “Where’s your boyfriend?” I fought back the urge to slap him.
“I didn’t ask who you were. I asked what you wanted.” My voice could have sliced right through him if it was a knife. Unfortunately it wasn’t.
“Very, very sorry. I don’t want anything in particular. Can’t we be friends, pretty please? Or is that against the rules?” His expression was deceivingly innocent, but I knew he was playing with me.
“Against the rules, so keep your eyes to yourself, okay?”
“Hey, I apologised. Did your boyfriend set those rules?” He was going the right way to end up like Tom, except more breakages.
The teacher decided to start the lesson before I could come up with something that would shut this human up. He didn’t stop staring, either. Granted, it was less often, but it still annoyed me. I’d dealt with humans like him before, but by now they were usually put off by my less-than-friendly attitude.
I glanced up at the same time he did halfway through the lesson. I must’ve looked downright furious, because he focused his green eyes on the desk, his unkept brown hair falling over his eyes.