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Chapter 3 Hanging By A Thread

  • ALYSSA
  • Sneaking out is easy but climbing back in is a problem when you’re living in a packhouse like mine. The packhouse is the biggest building in Moonfall—but I can confidently say it isn’t the biggest everywhere, when it’s barely even a mansion.
  • It’s a well-lit cream home that every modern couple in the stories aspires to have their children in… until they later find out that it’s haunted.
  • ‘I did say that you’ve been reading way too many horror books.’
  • But the only thing I care about right now is its black skillion and lean-to-roof. To get to my room, I’ll have to jump up to the lean-to-roof and fix myself on the part of the house that’s covered by the skillion roof, climb, pass my parent’s room without drawing attention, and slide into mine on the highest floor.
  • Piece of cake, right?
  • Carmine swallowed hard.
  • Readying my hands, I shot out my claws and took a deep breath.
  • It doesn’t matter how good I’ve gotten at this, werewolves aren’t made for climbing and the last thing I wanted was to get caught. If I broke something during the fall, the pain would be the least of my problems when mom gets her hands on me.
  • She has some ‘creative’ methods of punishment.
  • Moving on to my parents, I’ve noticed that the two of them have been pretty unhinged lately. They were always a jittery pair but it’s gotten worse recently and I have a bad feeling that it’s connected to me. Everything bad is always connected to me.
  • They wouldn’t let me out since the beginning of this week and have been extra careful with me… I don’t understand why and I’m not sure I want to understand.
  • I’ve been stuck in the packhouse all day so sneaking out tonight was just necessary. I had to see my river and check on my spiders. Not even death could stop me from doing that, and if I really did die, I’ll just convert into a ghost and haunt Jade River for all of eternity.
  • ‘Sounds frightful,’ Carmine said, frowning.
  • Digging my paws into the wall, I pivoted myself up till I could grab the edge of the lean-to-roof stretching out and used it to get myself on it, the metal groaning from my weight.
  • I got on my feet and slowly walked ahead till I could place my hands on the cool wall of the main house. There was no roof to support me here so I’d need to use my claws to climb. I haven’t met another wolf in Moonfall that can climb or even stay a minute on a tree before crashing down. It would have made me feel like a superhero if I wasn’t fucking bullied for every fucking thing that made me different.
  • It was now or never.
  • Digging my claws into the wall and extending myself up, I was able to penetrate the silver talons of my legs into the wall—don’t worry about my sneakers, they’re made for this kind of thing—and gradually moved a hand at a time, then another hand, then a leg, and another leg till I could already perceive my parents’ scents.
  • ‘Oh goddess, I hate this.’
  • ‘Since you can’t help, shut the fuck up.’
  • The first rule of climbing is to never look down. The second rule is to never stop because you might not be able to get the balance you did in the beginning to continue but when I heard voices reverberating out of their windows, I lost all fear and became… interested.
  • I wanted to ignore it and go on but the closer I got, the more I realized that they were arguing. They rarely fight so whatever caused it, had to be important. The orange light of their room was on and to save my own life, I couldn’t crawl away from this.
  • Disregarding my second rule and changing my direction, I swerved to their window and stopped in a place I knew would do less damage if I fell, pushing my claws into the cement so badly that it would leave more than just scratches behind.
  • ‘What are you doing? So many things could go wrong, Lyss.’
  • ‘Something’s wrong, I can feel it.’
  • ‘Feel it my ass, let’s get the fuck out of here.’
  • It was too late, I was already in on their conversation… and it was fierce.
  • “Are you listening to yourself, Evan?! Has it been so long that you’ve forgotten how dangerous the Alpha King is?!”
  • My heart stopped on hearing the ‘Alpha King’.
  • Goddess, I’ve heard horrible things about that wolf. Horrible things.
  • The South is the only part of the territories that is occupied exclusively by werewolves. Vampires take up the North and wolves do well to avoid their terrain. In the East, there are more wolves but with a small percentage of witches. And then we have the West, where most demons reside, there’s even a smaller percentage of demons and most wolves die without seeing one.
  • I might die because of one if that shadow turned out to be one of them and doesn’t stop stalking me.
  • But many years before in the South, we had so many packs and so many Alphas. The Alphas ruled each of their packs in peace, with instances of a few arguments between them, but no argument had been bad enough to cause a full-fledged war. Until when one day, out of the blue, Alpha Alsander of Blackfur commanded all Alphas to bow to him so that their lives and packs would be spared.
  • Of course, the Alphas laughed at him because he wasn’t even among the top fifteen packs but for some reason, my dad—Alpha Evan—surrendered and was therefore tagged as a fool by the other Alphas. That was until Alpha Alsander started taking the packs down one by one, hanging the heads of the Alphas on the tip of his bow as he was said to be extremely skilled in the art of archery.
  • People say that the Alphas’ heads are still kept somewhere in his castle, I can’t say I believe that but he’s the Alpha King, anything is possible with him. No one knows how he did it but he wiped out all packs, except Moonfall, and took the title of Alpha King.
  • There have been rumors though that he received a dangerous dark power, which he got from something evil. Many people have many things to say about him but him gaining some kind of evil power sounds like the only logical rumor.
  • ‘Earth to Lyss!’
  • Right. I couldn’t see what they were doing but words were all I required.
  • Dad was breathing heavily, and I could imagine him pulling his chocolate brown hair like he always does when he’s stressed. “No, Diana, are you listening to yourself?! You’ve been taking care of this girl for thirteen years and you have no remorse? You’re just going to give up?!”
  • Wait… what?
  • I heard her growl and march toward him. “The only thing I’m giving up is that brat! I’ve been waiting for this day for thirteen years! Thirteen years, Evan! I will not let you jeopardize our freedom and our lives because you’ve grown attached…”
  • “Grown attached?! She’s like our daughter!”
  • For a long second, I couldn’t hear anything else they were saying. I couldn’t feel my body. I felt soulless, empty and so… overwhelmed. It was like my heart had been pulled out and-and… I just didn’t understand.
  • For that long second, I had forgotten I was hanging by a thread on the wall. I wouldn’t have cared if I slipped, fell, and died. My heart had broken so many times but I had always been able to piece them together and go on with life… except this time, I couldn’t.
  • Tears welled in my eyes at the realization that they weren’t my… No, that’s not true. They are… but it all made sense now. Why I didn’t look like them, why mom hated me, why… it just explained things. I can handle general hate, hurtful bullying, a mother’s loath and constant depression but this… I couldn’t handle this.
  • “But she isn’t, is she?!”
  • The tears broke out on her words and my fingers quivered.
  • There was a heavy silence before dad… no, he’s not my dad… answered. “This all happened for a reason. The oracle…”
  • “Fuck that mad witch! All she did was ruin my life!”
  • Evan hissed in anger, fury radiating from him. “We must save her! Take her away before he comes…”
  • Diana laughed and my heart squeezed. “He is the Alpha King, Evan. He will find you faster than it takes him to shoot an arrow and when he does, that arrow will go straight through your head. I am taking no part in this. Kill yourself, Evan, but you’re not killing me too because of that thing, whatever she is!”
  • Mom’s stomping footsteps notified that she was charging out of the room. “She is a wolf just like the rest of us, Diana! You’re making a big mistake!” He screamed after her.
  • I heard dad… no, Evan… sigh before I got the hell out of there and jumped into my room, shutting the windows as I curled up in a corner, trying to muster the courage to keep my eyes dry.
  • When I said I could take all those things, I meant I could spend each passing day with all the hate and not shed a tear. Not look weak. Not give them the satisfaction of hating myself as much as I hated them.
  • But everyone has a breaking point and not only did they impossibly reach it, they tore it out and exceeded it. My face was soiled with tears and there was just so much to take in.
  • Evan and Diana aren’t my real parents. The woman I had called mother for all my life hated me more than I realized. The Alpha King was coming to get me. For what? When? No, no, no… nothing about this sounds right.
  • I cleaned my tears and crashed out of my crying phase because now I was angry… and I wasn’t going to take this shit.
  • ‘Oh My Goddess, Lyss, I’m sorry. I… it’s just so bad.’
  • ‘It’s not your fault, Car.’
  • I had to get out of here. Another minute in this room, in the same house with those two, and I would hurl my guts out. I swung the door of my closet open and pulled all my clothes out, taking out a backpack I had had since I was thirteen.
  • ‘You can’t be serious, Lyss.’
  • I growled. ‘What do you want me to do?! Stay here until something bad happens! I can’t do that.’
  • ‘But Lyss…’
  • ‘Don’t but me, Car! Don’t act like you didn’t hear them say something about the Alpha King coming to get me. I can’t risk that!’
  • I angrily zipped it open and started pushing in the clothes I knew would do me good in a forest, along with books. I’d need to take some food with me if I wanted to live a day out there.
  • ‘What are you doing?! You don’t know anything about the outside world!’
  • I hesitated before replying because I knew she was fucking right. ‘I’ll survive.’
  • ‘What about dad? What do you think will happen to him when you’re gone?’
  • Fuck, emotional blackmail, and it was fucking working. If what they were saying was true, and I wasn’t here when the Alpha King arrives… he won’t spare them. To hell with mom, to hell with the whole damn pack but dad… I couldn’t believe he didn’t tell me all this time.
  • It was like three shots to the heart. I tried to ignore my emotions and continued packing, stacking in some snacks I had previously hidden in my secret stash under my bed but I broke down and threw the bag away, collapsing into tears once more.
  • I hated that I still cared about Alpha Evans. He was the ideal father, he saved me from so many things and he loved me like a daughter. He was even ready to risk my life to protect me from the Alpha King. I couldn’t do this to him… and I hated that I felt this way.
  • He’s lied but… I can’t let the only kind-hearted wolf I know in this horrendous world die, at least not because of me.
  • I needed to take my mind off all this. It was just too much… How am I meant to go around with this information and act normal? I might be different from everyone else but I’m still a living breathing wolf!
  • Doing the only thing I could think of at the moment, I removed my phone from my pocket, cleaned my tears, and turned it on.
  • ‘What’s the plan, Lyss?’
  • I don’t know when that fucking asshole will arrive and I’m not sure if it’s safe to leave now… heck, I’m not even sure I’ll be safer out of the packhouse… but what I do know is that I can’t think now.
  • There are so many emotions swirling in me and I just need a distraction, so that I can think afterward. I have to get my mind off this or I’m going to make a mistake. This might be a mistake too but I’m not going to miss vampire sex for anything in the world. No more stalling.
  • Spiderqueen: I’m watching a movie, and also a bit drunk but since I’m in a good mood lets MIRL tomorrow before I change my mind. Your location, my rules.
  • It took him thirty freaking seconds to reply.
  • Thirstydracula: I knew my little bat would come flying back to me. Bring some napkins ‘cause I’m gonna make you bleed.
  • Am I crazy? Why do I like the sound of that?