There's not really much of an author's note on this one, really. But I guess that before we go any further, I have to apologise for my unforgivable behaviour. I am so so sorry that I haven't uploaded sooner but I just couldn't think of what to write. For me, the story ended when Raven said goodbye but I promised to write a couple more so I was trying to figure this out. But that's no excuse so I hope you forgive me. I do apologise from the bottom of my ass. I would say heart but my ass is bigger :) I am sorry to say that this is the last chapter of this instalment but there may be a sequel...who knows...but the next "chapter" after this is the acknowledgements and info and stuff. Thank you all for reading, it's been a pleasure guys!
We ran. I took off in one direction and Taylor in the other. We both knew that he’d go against his word and follow us. Letting your prey go was weak and he hated being called weak. From all those times in the Home, I knew his mentality. He let us run for a while, letting us think we have the advantage, then he would suddenly jump out and attack you. It was his MO. Play with your food then when people get really annoyed; eat it slowly to annoy them further. Only now, it was actually true.
Huh. I’d never felt like food before. This was new. Perhaps this was how Cows felt in the field. It was certainly plausible.
I didn’t know how long I was running around for, or indeed which direction I was heading but I stayed within Charlie’s land. It was quite painful staying in his land since it stunk something rotten. It was like he’d killed lots of animals, or even people, and horded their decomposing bodies, scattering them around to ward people off...well that’s probably what he would do. It wasn’t past his moral compass.
I stopped dead in my tracks as I caught a new scent. Another player had entered the game. But that wasn’t what I was worried about...more that I knew exactly who that scent belonged to. But what was she doing here? Stupid! Of course she’d come, it was in her blood, which also meant, sadly, that both Taylor and I could die.
I crouched down low against the floor and doubled back towards the house. I would be dammed if Taylor died before I did as he was the careful one out of us. I refused to let her get to us. Funny how I now saw her as an enemy even after what we went through. Now that I knew what she was, it scared me, shook my core. Maybe she wouldn’t harm us, that maybe she’d come to help us fight but even I knew it was doubtful. Why had she come anyway? When I saw saying goodbye, she said that she’d give us a head start so maybe she’d decided to end the game. I hoped the friendship we had would allow her to overlook my new...personality.
I came to a stumbling halt as the air started to become less tangible and my mind less fuzzy. I’d allowed thought of Paige to overload my senses. How could I be scared of her when I could easily kill her? But then again, who knew what she could do anymore. Letting my worry consume my thoughts had made me distracted, made me an easy target and had almost lead me off of Charlie’s land. I couldn’t allow it to happen again. Standing up straighter, I expanded my mind and sought out some scents to lock on to. I sifted through the common ones like trees and small creatures until I found Taylor’s scent. His scent always made me feel safe even when I was human. He smelt of spices but not like the ones that went into curry, no, it was more of the musky spice that went in bubble bath and would burn your nose whenever you walked into that old soapy shop that used to be in meadowhall years ago. Now I’d changed, I could also smell lemon faintly infused with it too but I still associated his scent with being safe and protected. Nobody before had made me feel safe, it was a nice feeling. But smelling all around like I was, I couldn’t help but catch a wiff of Charlie’s putrid stench that ruined the nice smell made by my brother. He smelt like rotting corpses and like he’s rolled around in a swamp like a pig would to cool off. He made me want to gag as he reminded me faintly of spoilt milk on a warm day. A bizarre thought crossed my mind as I caught wind of another smell. I wondered if I crouched down to the ground would the smell decrease like smoke does. But the smell of paige removed me from my thoughts. I could sense her position. She was crouched behind something woody, probably a tree or something, next to something metal with rubber on. Wait- I looked down and noticed my hammer had gone from my hands. So that’s what she was holding. I internally kicked myself for being that stupid. Just with her here changed the game. She was out for the kill, I knew it. Her whole essence just oozed power and made the air crackle like the minutes before a storm. Using our mind link, I tried to connect with Taylor but it wouldn’t work somehow. Frowning in confusion, I flat out sprinted following my nose to the battle ground. Drawing closer, I began to hear animalistic grunts emanating from my brother and the beast. No noise came from Paige’s perfectly controlled poise.
Crouching low, I peeled back a low hanging branch of a tree and was shocked at what I saw. Taylor had Charlie on the floor holding back the snaps at his neck from Charlie. It seemed like Taylor was actually stronger and that Charlie only relied on looking scary to ward people off. And like the coward he was, he ran from fights. Sliding down to my stomach, I slid over to where Paige was and sat down next to her.
“What have I missed?” I asked peering up to her face that was hidden in shadow.
“Well they’re fighting but I can’t just march in there and only kill one of you. I’d be shamed by my family.” She whispered. So that’s why she was sitting this one out and not helping us. She didn’t wasn’t to kill Taylor or I but she would have to if she got involved.
“Can’t you just do some witchy stuff and give Taylor the upper hand?” I begged. I knew he was overpowering Charlie at this moment but eventually he would tire and who knew what was running through Charlie’s head.
“How did you know?” She asked shocked.
“Intuition. Well that and I ran out of ideas and besides, my wolf is very smart.” I half smiled despite the situation.
“I don’t think that’s all. But to answer your pervious question, no I can’t. It doesn’t work like that never has never will.” She sighed almost regretfully.
“It’s ok. I’ll go help.” I moved to stand up but a forceful hand pushed me back down again.
“Don’t distract Taylor. He may look like he’s winning but he isn’t. And going in there will only make you lose” She replied coolly. I frowned slightly, where had the fun loving, halo playing Paige gone?
“But he has Charlie pinned down.” I insisted trying to stand up again.
“Look at Charlie’s eyes. You’re supposed to be the expert with him. Tell me what you see.” She waited and I peered through the bush to study his face and nearly gasped at what I saw. No, Taylor wasn’t winning at all. It was all just an illusion to make Taylor think he had the upper hand but it was all part of another game. Charlie’s lips were curved up into a half devilish smirk while his eyes sparkled in anticipation. He knew exactly what he was doing and what strings to pull. He was like a master puppeteer, pulling the strings of our lives all for the purpose of his entertainment. If his facial features were on another person, like Jace, I would think it was perhaps hot and half innocent but I knew that if Charlie’s lifeless coal eyes were sparkling then something was seriously wrong. He got his kicks out of things like this so he must be planning something big.
He was playing with his food.
“I see that you’re right.” I replied simply. “Now what do we do because in less than a minute, he’s going to turn the tables on Taylor and you and I both know how will survive tonight if we let that happen.” I growled.
“You’ll have to jump into the fight when that happens, then. I’ll only interfere if it becomes absolutely necessary but I think you might have got it covered.” She grinned down to my hammer. “Didn’t trust you with a knife, eh?” She grinned devishly.
“You know me” I smiled back; This was the Paige I knew. “Ok, I’ll go in a few seconds. Timing is crucial. I need to distract Charlie when he’s flipping.” I nodded calmly.
“Ok.” She agreed. “by the way,” She continued with a smile, “Nice hoody.” I glanced at it and smirked.
“Thanks, I thought it was quite fitting for what we’re about to do.” I shrugged my shoulders and moved into an attacking crouch position, all jokes forgot. I was solely concentrating on each of their movements as they battled. Each twitch of Taylor’s muscles told me what he would do next but Charlie gave away nothing. Only the growth of his smirk put me on alert. He was going to do it now. I had to move! But I couldn’t. I was paralysed as I witnessed what happened next.
Charlie locked his arms around Taylor’s neck and I watched in horror as he exerted pressure. What he was exerting would kill a human but we were toughened to withstand it but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Standing up, he dragged Taylor’s breathless body upwards as he went, holding his limp body in the air just a few centimetres from the ground but far enough that Taylor couldn’t stretch to put his feet on the floor.
“Come out, come out wherever you are!” He called with a smirk. I could see in his eyes that he thought everything was going to plan.
‘Does he know you’re here?’ I mouthed to Paige. She shook her head no. So we already had the upper hand, the secret weapon. I knew she wouldn’t move for the kill unless absolutely necessary but if I needed her, she would be there for us both. As if she could sense what I was thinking she gave me the thumbs up sign and I had to chuckle slightly at that. She gave me a hard look and I immediately stopped.
“I said, ‘come out, come out wherever you are’ which means if you don’t show your face then your brother” He spat the word, “Well, let’s just say you won’t be seeing him a while” I could sense the smirk in his voice and my heart sank. If I went out, we would both die, but if I stayed, Taylor would die. Well it was better for us to go down together, fighting then for him to be killed then me to be hunted down and later killed. I ignored my self preservation gut feeling and stood out from behind the bush.
“I’m here. Now drop. My. Brother.” I snarled the last part feeling power flow through my veins as my wolf fought to be released to protect her alpha.
“Ok” he shrugged and tossed Taylor to the side like he was roughly aiming some screwed up paper to the bin. I winced as Taylor hit the floor immediately erupting into a fit coughs. I quickly covered up my expression to one of a more neutral look. “now what do you want?” I raised an eyebrow in question.
“Why were you on my land?” He asked calmly. The distance between us was quite a few strides away but it felt too close. He could cross that distance easily in a heartbeat so I needed more space between us to be able to keep a straight head and not lose my head.
“We needed answers” I shrugged as if it were the simplest thing in the world when my heart was racing like a car in a drag race. I was sure he could hear it but I didn’t really care right now. I was just concentrating on getting us out of here alive. And the rest of my energy was going to resisting my wolf’s urges.
“What did you want to know?” He asked like he didn’t know.
“Why did you turn us?” I asked ignoring his ignorance. I really did need to know why he did it. Was it for a game? Probably.
“I told you before, I was forced to do it.” He shrugged calmly.
“How much?” I asked. He would never take orders or follow under somebody for free, so he must have been paid a lot of money for it.
“Excuse me?” He asked outraged.
“You’re excused” I replied flippantly. “But you would never just ‘follow orders’ like that so you must have been paid for it. Tell me, how much then. Was it worth it? Was hearing countless people scream as you killed their humanity worth the money? Or was it just some perk that came with the job?” I asked in a level tone not giving away that I was petrified of his answer. Did I really need to know this? Maybe I should just grab Taylor and run. Yeah, that seemed like a good option. Buy, as if he heard my thoughts, Charlie took a few steps towards me.
“I wouldn’t, princess. This could get very messy.” I stopped my train of thoughts and stood still. “And if you must know, I wasn’t paid to do this damned job. Like I said, I was forced.” He ground out stepping into my face.
“forced how?” I asked. “ you could easily kill anybody how dared order you around” I snorted mockingly.
“It’s not that simple.” He sighed. When he didn’t elaborate, I cocked my head in a motion for him to continue. “Don’t laugh” He hesitated as I wondered how we could be having a normal conversation after everything we’ve been through. Where had the monster gone? Somehow I still kept an eye out for any changes in attitude he might have. “Well my Alpha forced me to do this.” He replied.
“How?” I asked curious.
“Well being in a pack is not as simple as you two rogues have it. If an order comes out from the Alpha, we follow it. The order went out to turn as many people as possible and then somebody would round them all up to train them. Taylor wasn’t meant to be turned; he just got in the way is all.” He explained casually. But what did he mean that we were rogues? We were a pack of sorts. Taylor was the Alpha and I was the Beta. Well, I didn’t like not being a leader but being under my brother’s command wasn’t too bad.
“I can understand Taylor being in the way, I mean he did say he was walking down an allyway at the time but that doesn’t explain what happened to me. And FYI, we’re not rogues.” I replied glancing down at Tay. By now he had recovered and Paige had slid next to him and judging from the blue light shooting from her hands to his body, I could tell she was healing him.
“You are rogues. A pack is only a pack if you have some members that aren’t biologically related to you.” He gave me a condescending look. “And about you, well, I was in the neighbourhood and found out that you were here too so I decided to play one last game.” He shrugged like we were discussing the weather or something.
“Well how does this game end, then?” I asked picking some dirt from under my nail.
“Like this” He said as he pounced towards me.
I wish I could say that it happened in slow motion, like I absorbed every detail like the heroine always did but it didn’t quite happen that way. I couldn’t see what was happening, all I could hear was my heartbeat pounding, flooding my ears with its erratic pace. He leapt towards me faster than a human could see, almost faster than I could make out. I heard Taylor shout a loud “no!” and Paige’s large intake of breath and I was suddenly on the floor with a great big monster towering over my tired frame. Suddenly, all adrenaline left my system and I began to feel the effects of running all that way and using my strengths as my muscles felt like rubber and my bones felt like it could no longer support my weight. I lay there waiting for the snap of teeth closing signalling the end. I hoped it would be quick and painless but he did like to play games and we were old enemies so my death would have to be as extravagant as possible in his eyes. Quick and simple wouldn’t cut it.
After a few minutes, it became apparent that it wasn’t happening yet so I prised an eye open and peered up and immediately smiled.
Charlie’s gaze was locked onto Taylor’s as Paige was creeping up behind him with a glint in her eyes. I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist the fun of taking Charlie down.
“I wouldn’t, mudblood” Charlie spat without turning around. Mudblood, Seriously? I saw Paige was thrown off with the nickname but she gathered herself and continued to stalk her way to him.
“Oi! Mr Wolf!" she growled behind Charlie causing him to turn around. "What a thin skull you have" and with those words, a bolt of electric blue energy surrounded Charlie. Smothering him in a blanket of death. He dropped straight to the floor with a resounding thud. “And that’s how you take out the trash” She grinned dusting off imaginary lint off her trousers. I grinned and rushed forward to her wrapping my arms around her shoulders.
“That was awesome, Paig-y. Thanks girl” I said sincerely.
“You’d do the same for me. It’s what sisters do” She replied. And yes, I guess we were now like sisters. We’d gone to battle together and fought together and we had the scars to prove it.
“It is” I agreed looking towards the waning moon and rising sun. Today was a new day and Charlie was gone permanently and I was going to bask in this peace for as long as it lasted. “It so is” I repeated with a grateful smile before launching myself at Taylor.
“How are you? Are you alright? He didn’t hurt you too much did he? I saw Paige heal you which is good. Oh you stupid fool! Why would you do that for me?” I bombarded him with questions and a half scold. I was just grateful he was still alive.
“Love you too, sis” He smiled before hugging me back.
“So what now?” I asked as the sun grew higher in the sky.
“We have to get answers” Taylor shrugged. “And we have a year to do it in” He wrapped me in a one armed hug showing his support.
“Yeah we can do this. What about you Paige?” I asked turning to her.
“What about me?” She asked turning to leave. I understood that this was the last time I’d probably see her now so I didn’t waste time with questions.
“Look after him” I said simply.
“Promise” She nodded. “I’ll be seeing you again, don’t doubt it.” She stated as if reading my thoughts.
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” And there was a flash of purple and she was gone, only leaving an electrically charged either in her wake.
“Lets go, Rave” Taylor coaxed me towards the car.
“goodbye perfection” I mumbled as I stepped into the car. One glance back and we were gone, speeding off into the sunset.