x

Chapter 6 - The Wanted Alpha

April

The guard led me out of the cell, stopping to let me put my boots on. I noticed he grabbed some papers that were by his chair outside my door. We walked down the corridor in silence while I used my sleeve to wipe my face dry. My eyes felt raw again and my head was starting to pound, while my mind was reeling.

This guard...Greer, he said Ethan had a mate, that she was dead...

I didn't know what to think.

The words he'd spat at me came back to my mind.

"9 years I've been able to find my fated mate"

What did that mean? He didn't look that much older than me, maybe 25? Werewolves aged far slower than humans, living up to and over 150 years old, so maybe he was much older than I was thinking?

No, Greer said it was 2 years ago.

"When she appears it's a fucking rogue! The moon goddess really has a sick sense of humour"

What was it about me being a rogue that offended him so much?

All this was giving me a headache trying to figure it out and unfortunately the only person that could give me real answers hated my very presence.

I had been following my guard mindlessly and hadn't really registered we were outside, until I felt the fresh air and sunshine on my face. The prison yard was exactly what you'd expect, a few benches, an open space and what looked like some work out equipment; nothing like dumbbells or weights, just bars for doing lifts and pull-ups. The entire yard was covered in what felt like silver mesh, the air had that oppressive feel that only silver could have for us wolves. I could smell some other scents, faded but still lingering. The other inmates must have been outside an hour or so ago.

I wandered out into the yard turning my head up to the sun, enjoying the rays on my skin and letting the first genuine smile form on my face for the first time in a while.

"It's nice to see you smiling" the guard said softly.

I looked over to where he sat at a bench table, with the stack of papers in front of him.

"Take as much time as you want, no-one else will be using the yard today. I'm just gonna sit and read for a while."

I nodded and wandered off. There wasn't exactly much to do so I just simply walked around the perimeter walls, inspected the benches and looked at the gym area...well that was everything. I wandered back over to where my guard was sat, seemingly engrossed in whatever it was he was reading. I held no doubts though that if I tried anything, I would be met with swift repercussions.

Wanting to take my mind off of things I mustered up some courage to actually initiate a conversation for once.

"What is it you're reading?" I asked, trying not to feel awkward.

"Oh this? It's just some research articles on us supernatural beings like medical journals and some neurology research" he spoke, not looking up from the papers.

...Ok, that I wasn't expecting. Who exactly is this guy?

"Oh...uhh" I fumbled.

He laughed a little "not what you were expecting, I take it? It's fine, most people have the same reaction."

"It's actually pretty interesting, this neurology one I'm reading is all about what parts of the brain are stimulated by the moon's gravity and how it influences our first shift. And it's not just us wolves either, it affects the amygdala of vampires and wiccans too, how cool is that?!" he enthused.

He became quite animated and reeled off streams of other research, current theories, brain anatomy, he even went into great detail on how silver and the wolfsbane toxin affected our cells and synapses...whatever the hell a synapse is!

I didn't really understand most of what he said, I hadn't been in a proper school since I was 12. But the mention of vampires and wiccans had me interested. I wondered if they had any living here in this pack, I'd never met any before and I didn't know much about them. I knew vampire numbers were still sparse because of an extreme and immoderate persecution of them over the last few centuries. All because of one vampire in the 1800's, Dracula, they had been viewed as blood sucking monsters, when in reality virtually none of them drank human blood. I didn't know exactly what they fed on, just that the stereotypes were highly inaccurate. Wiccans tended to keep to themselves in a Family, their equivalent of a wolf pack. They too had been persecuted by humans, who thought they were devil worshipping witches that spread evil throughout the community. The Salem witch trials and other witch hunting throughout the years had decimated their numbers here in the States. Humans had had a wavering truce with werewolves since the dark ages, it hadn't been until the turn of the 20th century that they had started to willingly want to join and live in our packs.

"How do you know all this? Are you studying to be a pack doctor or something?" I asked, amazed at not only his knowledge but at his enthusiasm expressing it.

"Ha, I wish. I wanted to be a doctor but I've failed my entrance exams for it each year, three times in a row" he sighed "I do like being a warrior though, I'm pretty good at fighting. But I just can't score high enough to get a place in our medical training course. That's why I read these, I'm still interested even though I can't do it professionally."

"I'm sorry to hear that. If it's any consolation you really sound like you know your stuff. I'm kinda surprised you haven't made it in."

"I'm a little too much brawn and not enough brain I'm afraid. My older sister Julia, though, she made it and she mated to the Gamma too. She's been a doctor for 2 years now and it's actually how I met my mate, they were friends at work" he beamed with pride at his sister's achievements.

It was a shame he couldn't follow his dream, but I began to think maybe there was another way for him to use his talents.

"What about being a field medic? You could do medicine without having to train to be a doctor?"

"I was thinking about it, I just tried out for the medical course and failed for the last time about a month ago. So I was considering it as my plan B."

"And maybe you could teach first aid to the other warriors too, that way they aren't reliant on a field medic getting to them if worst comes to the worst" I thought more out loud.

"Hey...that's actually not a bad idea! Now I think about it, we aren't taught any first aid in warrior training. This could actually be a thing! You're a genius!" he enthused all over again, this guy really was just a ball of energy.

"...I really wouldn't say I was a genius" I spoke, looking away and feeling a little embarrassed.

"Don't sell yourself short, you're pretty smart" he smiled up at me.

We talked a little longer outside before he ushered us back inside as his shift was about to change at 6pm. This guard...Greer, he had really surprised me today. He had successfully taken my mind off my earlier woes and he had actually taught me some things too. I still didn't want to trust these people. I didn't know what their Alpha was going to do with me and he hadn't made another appearance. He also hadn't yet used the bond against me, the key word being yet.

And I still didn't know what to think about this mate that he had before me...

I was shaken from my thoughts by Greer beside me "do you like reading? I can ask Bryce to bring a book for you or something, he's a major history nerd though so it'll most likely be a wolf history book" he asked.

"I did like history in school…" I trailed off.

"Great! I know he doesn't talk much, but you set him off on the topic and he'll be gabbing for hours. Trust me, I know first hand!"

We arrived back at my cell and I left my boots outside this time. He led me back in, closing the door behind me and spoke through the viewing port on the door.

"He'll be here soon and he'll bring your dinner through too. I'm told it's taco night at the pack house so I hope you like Mexican!"

"Thank you…" I smiled at him.

I laid on my bed, just staring into space and trying to keep my mind clear of all things mate-related, when I heard the talking outside. It sounded as though my next guard, Bryce, had arrived. Greer said his goodbyes to me, which I replied, and he left to go spend his evening doing whatever it was he did. My new guard made sure I was in sight before he entered, bringing in a tray ladened with tacos and vegetables.

"It's shrimp and fish tacos, they're real good. I brought you a book to read too, if you want" he said, handing me the book and setting the tray down on the bed.

I looked at the book 'The Wolf Lore of Howling Woods Pack', I actually knew this one! I hadn't read this book but I knew the story, the tale of a medieval human Princess and an Alpha.

"Oh, thank you! This is actually one of my favourite stories."

He beamed at me with that.

"Mine too! That era was a huge turning point for werewolf-human relations" his whole face lit up as he spoke.

While he didn't sit in the cell with me, we spoke a little as I ate...well, Bryce mainly spoke as I listened. He knew quite a bit about the oldest werewolf legends, battles and our origins. Greer was definitely right about him, he could speak indefinitely about wolf history.

I read for quite a while before I started to feel tired, having woken up late had not made me any less sleepy. Bryce kindly brought me my toothbrush to brush my teeth before bed, but as always I wasn't allowed to keep it in my cell. The book he allowed and like before with my boots, I would have to show that the book was untampered with before anyone would enter.

I laid back on my bed, my mind instantly dwelling on the answers to the questions that still revolved around me, no matter how much I willed it not to. Would my mate ever make an appearance? Or would he simply go about ignoring me still? I really wish I could just cease caring...but the mate bond didn't make things so simple. Did he feel the pull as I did? Who was his mate before me? Did her death make him afraid of the bond now?

I sighed to myself, accepting that many of these questions would probably remain unanswered and closed my eyes, drifting off to sleep.