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Chapter 7 The Wedding Gown

  • [ELARA]
  • The shriek that cuts the air makes me shiver. One moment, I’m stomping towards the tent and the next I’m frozen in place. I look from where the commotion around the fire settles, to Magnus. He has his hand on the sheath of his sword, ready to draw it as he covers the distance between us.
  • “Stay right here,” Magnus commands before his eyes find someone in the crowd that is now rushing towards us. “Alistair, protect her.”
  • The beta werewolf is by my side in an instant, but I can’t help focus on the restless feeling that settles in my chest. Then after what feels like an eternity, Lila speaks to me. ‘Find Alec. He’s in trouble,’ she warns me. And I kick off my feet, running in no particular direction.
  • The mate bond gnaws on my inside. I can feel Alec calling out my name but there’s something else. I can feel the bond begin to fade. Not break — like it does when you reject a mate, but actually fade. Until I can’t sense Alec anymore.
  • The thought of his death overwhelms me. And then I’m lost to reality.
  • When I gain a hold of my senses again, I find myself standing in the tent. The tent where Alec kissed me earlier. There’s a sharp pain in my right foot and I discover that I lost my shoes sometime during the run. Someone is pulling me back but I’m fighting against the force. In front of me on the bed, with his back to me, sits Alec. In his arms is the dead body of the maid, Kayla, sprawled and twisted, her eyes wide open and staring into nothingness.
  • She’s wearing my wedding gown. The gown Celeste gave me. Once emerald but now slowly turning a darker, more sinister shade.
  • “Alec,” I hear myself mumble. But he doesn’t respond to me. Instead his hold tightens on the maid. “Alec,” I call out again, louder. Only then do I notice the knife in his hand — covered in crimson blood that is now seeping into the bed linen.
  • The air stinks of something vile, and I notice how everything that was one lined up by the maids is a sprawled mess.
  • Magnus grabs a hold of Alec’s arm, trying to yank the knife out of his grip but he resists, growling. The sound is ferocious. It’s not the one I recognise from our sprints in the woods under the full moon.
  • It’s rabid. Like that of a rogue werewolf.
  • Finally, he turns, revealing his wretched face. I gasp, feeling my knees lose their strength.
  • Someone calls out my name to warn me, but I’m too stunned and broken to react. Alec jumps at me as soon as his bloodshot eyes meet mine. The knife still persists in his grip, his fangs bared and dripping saliva.
  • ‘He’s attacking me,’ I realize. I’m not even able to resist him until someone holds him back. Fearfully, I get to my feet, gasping for air. He’s still trying to get to me, his clawed fingers digging at the distance between us. “Alec, snap out of it!” I try to yell at him, but my voice comes out muffled.
  • He makes one last attempt, lunging at me with full force. Magnus is not able to hold him back, but I somehow shift before the knife reaches me. It cuts into the fabric of the tent behind me. I watch in horror as Magnus finally grabs the silver knife and plunges it in Alec’s back, eliciting an echoing, painful howl before his eyes close.
  • A shuddering breath leaves my lips as I watch him fall to the floor, landing with a dull thud. I flinch away at the impact, scared to be close even though he’s knocked out.
  • I don’t recognise this man and I feel a swirl of relief when he’s finally taken away.
  • People have gathered around me and they’re saying things but I can’t comprehend anything. My eyes keep darting back to the dead maid, still wearing my dress. There’s so much blood around her. I start crying at some point. Hysterically. I think it’s obvious by now that the feast is over.
  • The people that have gathered in the tent are pushed out until there’s just Magnus, Alistair and I left.
  • No, I don’t want to be here. I want to go back to Mistral Hollow. I want to go back to my pack. I want things to be how they were.
  • My skin is crawling with a sensation that makes me want to scream.
  • Maybe I scream. Maybe Magnus tries to calm me down. Maybe I resist because he scoops me up in his arms before walking to a different tent. Maybe I still continue to cry.
  • Until sleep claims me, but nightmares follow soon.