Arriving in the middle

This next bit comes from an urban-fantasy idea. I know, I know. Urban-fantasy is the nouveau pulp, made popular by a few skilled authors (I nod to Butcher, Briggs, and Hearne here), and butchered by the hands of dozens who want to jump on the band-wagon (more times than I care to count have I picked up an interesting book, only to want to kill myself by the third chapter due to the lack of skill spilled over the pages). There is little context prior to this scene, save that there is a mounting tension; the current local pack alpha (yes, werewolves. I know, right?) is a bit lax about territorial boundaries, and our heroine (at this point, really not quite a heroine, more of an adopted run-away) is about to have a very uncomfortable re-connection with her past, which will throw the current heretical structure into a horrible battle for dominance. Ineffectual leaders who do not take the security of their territory as paramountly important will find that overlooked beta members are not as heel-licking as they seem. I know exactly where this one is going in my head, it is mapped out down to the conclusion, even as far as an epilogue.

By the time Trish had managed to drag herself home from the uneventful and upsetting meeting with Mark, the deep blue of the night sky was beginning to fade to purple pre-dawn. The alcohol she had consumed, and which had temporarily impeded her brain had long since been burnt off by her heightened metabolism, and she showed no signs of any ill after effects.The entire walk, a fair distance for any person to attempt to travel at night alone through the city, had been spent in solemn contemplation of what-if’s and what-now’s; Trish was certain that groveling and belly crawling would only be the start of her quest for forgiveness from her pack alpha, and the dreaded though of being alone again had dug itself into an ever-present corner of her conscious mind. Her mind barely registered her body’s exhaustion, due to lack of sleep and emotional turmoil, as Trish pulled herself up the stairs to her apartment, unhooking her keys from the lanyard she had slipped around her neck. Pressing the key into the door, Trish was surprised when the door swung in quietly on itself without the key being turned. Immediately her mind and instincts set her into alertness, her keen violet eyes awake as she slowly poked her head into her apartment, though she could see nothing amiss.

She blamed herself then, as she pasted the threshold, and found herself wrapped in an embrace that would easily have crushed her ribs had she been merely human. The door closed soundly behind her with a thud, kicked closed by a heavily booted foot. Trish let her body go limp in the strong hold, fighting would have done nothing to aid her predicament, as she was carried, across the entrance way and into the living area. Without moving her head, Trish could already see that her apartment looked as if it had been ransacked; books were strewn across the floor, empty boxes and containers upended, their contents spread like jetsam until it was nearly impossible to see the carpet beneath them.

The wind was knocked from her lungs as the assailant threw Trish into her own love seat and promptly situated himself between her knees. As she caught her breath Trish froze, the scent of her attacked all to familiar to her suddenly, her heart began to beat rapidly. The man in front of her, who was dressed in jeans and a button up shirt, which would have been acceptably formal at one point, stared at her. His grin was the most unsettling thing about his entire appearance, aside from the dark splotched on his clothing which Trish could already tell were old blood. His face was handsome enough, though a few days past needing a shave; but his mouth was open in a feral grin that showed too much animal to be human. Wild eyes, the same violet colour as her own shone with a sadistic inner glee that would have sent any same person, man or woman, quickly off in the opposite direction. His shirt was cut off at one arm, baring what remained of his own arm from the elbow up, the skin of the scar shining even in the pale light.

“How did you find me?” Trish gasped out, pushing herself further back into the cushions of the seat, trying to place as much physical distance between them as possible.

“Hey now, where’s my warm welcome, sis? Is this anyway to greet the only long lost family you have left? You know you couldn’t keep me away for long. I know you, I know your smell, and he knows your smell. Didn’t think you could keep your away from us, did you?” The chuckle the rippled up from his throat was bone chilling.

“You are not pack Owen. Neither of you are pack to me. I refuse to acknowledge either of you.”

Owen snapped at her, tightening his hand on her knee until Trish winced and tried to pull her legs in closer to her body.

“You will acknowledge us, one way or another. He made us what we are, and he deserves your respect and love.”

With a quick twist against protesting muscles, Trish pulled away from her brother’s brutal hold and pulled herself backwards over the couch, putting it between the two of them. However, when she tried to put weight on her right leg, it felt as if her knee would burst into flames.

“He made you what you are Owen. But not me. I will never be like he is, or like you are. I am not a murderer. You can tell your precious ‘sire’ that I’d rather give myself to a mongrel house pet then follow him.”

Owen roared, so loudly that it shook the floor beneath them. His eyes were eerily bright, paling as he looked  to be on the very verge of the change.

“You are ungrateful, and I should gut you now for your insolence. But he wouldn’t like it if I did that to you, you’re too precious. You always tried to tell me that lone wolves develop problems,k that they went rogue; but it’s you who is going against your own nature! I warn you now, either you come to him of your own free will, or so help me, I’ll drag you yipping and howling to him on the next full moon!” Owen snapped at her and lashed out a hand, managing to land a harsh blow across her face before she could pull completely out of the way. Stalking around the couch he bared his teeth again before heading to the door, nearly ripping it from its hinges as he opened it. Turning back Owen grinned again.

“Don’t try to run away again, sister. I know who your current alpha is, and where she makes her den. If you so much as try to leave town, I’ll take myself to her door and you’ll be even more sorry for disobeying his wishes.”

Twenty minutes after Owen had left, Trish had not moved from behind the couch, her back pressed into the cool, ripped leather as she shook, trying to dial Mark’s cell number with shaking fingers. With much effort she managed to press the call button, holding the receiver up to her ear as it began to ring, hoping that she would be able to get through.

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