It felt like the entire pack was holding it’s breath.
No one but I and Beta Devin knew of Alpha Asher’s travels, but the news of the two deaths spread like wildfire. Everyone in town was on edge, wondering who was next or if it would even happen again. Not a single person could come up with any useful information. There were no witnesses the night of Kanyon’s death. No one saw anything. It was as though the killer simply vanished into thin air. The people on patrol that night didn’t report anything strange, noting it was quiet that night.
I was almost afraid to be on patrol tonight, but I was never the type to let fear hold me back. Knowing the attacks had something to do with me, I was more determined than ever to find out their cause. If Tyler truly was behind the attacks, there was no way he’d stop now. Tyler might not be smart, but he was certainly ruthless. It was clear Tyler’s mysterious friends were the brains behind the entire operation.
“I wonder if any of this would’ve happened if I had just stayed with Grandma.” I shrugged, walking to patrol with Breyona and Mason.
Breyona rolled her eyes, “If Tyler’s behind it then it would’ve happened regardless.”
“He’s probably pissed Alpha Asher’s running his pack.” Mason shrugged.
“It’s Tyler’s fault for pissing him off.” I shook my head, “If Tyler wasn’t an arrogant prick two innocent people wouldn’t be dead.”
“It’s not good to dwell on stuff like that.” Breyona shrugged, “Gotta live in the present, y’know?”
I stopped walking and gave her a strange look, “Have you been talking to my Grandma?”
“She’s a smart lady.” Breyona noted with a chuckle.
“Too smart.” I raised my eyebrow in response.
Breyona turned left down the street while Mason and I turned right. Mason and I were paired to run patrol together, while Breyona was stationed at the other side of town.
We had two new people with us tonight. From the looks of it, they were definitely Alpha Asher’s men. Both were large in stature, covered in ornate tattoo’s and rippling muscles. One of the men had startling blonde hair, long and messy on his head. The other had hair the color of midnight, cropped short and slicked to the side. Both looked equally intimidating with their tattoo’s and scars, but that didn’t bother me. If anything, I felt a little safer out here as though a piece of Asher was with us.
“I’m guessing you’re Lola and Mason.” The blonde one grunted, sparing us a short glance. “I’m Carter, that’s Wade.”
The raven haired man grunted, his eyes shifting over the two of us. He had a scrutinizing gaze with a set of piercing blue eyes.
“That’s us.” I grinned, letting it widen as I took in Mason’s bewildered expression. “So, how do you boys wanna do this?”
Carter’s eyes widened and Mason raised a brow in his direction.
The quiet was unsettling, so I made the first move.
“I guess we’ll go off in groups of two.” I shrugged, two seconds away from turning on my heel.
“Alpha gave orders not to leave you alone.” Wade barked, sounding very similar to Alpha Asher.
I rolled my eyes, “Of course he did. Why doesn’t that surprise me?”
Carter snickered and gave Mason an amused look.
“Something funny?” I raised my eyebrow and placed my hands on my hips.
I could feel Mason stiffen beside me, clearly intimidated by the two towering men. You’d have to be a fool to not feel the power rolling from them. The power was absurdly different from Alpha Asher’s. Carter and Wade had the power of warriors, Asher had the power of an Alpha.
“No.” Carter shook his head, “Simply making an observation.”
“And what observation would that be?” I narrowed my eyes at Carter.
“Alpha Asher simply informed us of your.. hard-headedness.” Carter responded, his tone relaxed and care free.
“Hard headed?” I pursed my lips, “He said I’m hard headed?”
“Multiple times.” Carter nodded, all business. Mason snickered beside Carter, but averted his eyes when I glared in his direction.
“How.. helpful of him.” I smirked, “I guess we’ll all just patrol together.”
Wade and Carter flanked Mason and I in silence. Mason and I had a running conversation through the mind-link, one that Wade and Carter refused to participate in. Every now and again I would hear a low chuckle from either Wade or Carter, proving they were in fact listening in on our conversation.
The night was quiet, the earth cold and yielding under our paws. Maya was relishing in her freedom, the only thing in her mind was the dull thumps of her paws hitting the earth. The cool breeze rushed through our fur, introducing new scents to our nose. The cool breeze would’ve been cold on my human skin, but it felt like a cool caress through Maya’s fur. The smell of wet earth and tree’s was strong in my nose, but something else lingered in the air. It was the smell of something sweet, like candy or syrup. The only strange thing was it smelled much too sweet, almost sickeningly sweet.
“Do you smell that?” I murmured to the others.
The four of us stopped in our tracks, Maya’s nose lifted to the sky as we inhaled deeply.
“I don’t smell anything.” Mason’s wolf shook it’s large head.
“All I smell is the earth.” Carter shrugged, but his eyes were analyzing our surroundings carefully.
“You really don’t smell anything?” I frowned, tilting my head.
Mason shook his head while Carter and Wade eyed me suspiciously, “No, nothing out of the normal.”
With a shake of my head, we took off running again.
Patrol ended quickly, and the strange smell faded from mind. It wasn’t completely unusual for campers and backpackers to come into our neck of the woods. Most of the time we’d spot their campsites and avoid them, continuing our patrol as usual. The sweet smell was most likely from a group of campers who left some food behind in the woods. It wouldn’t be the first time it happened.
Mason walked me home that night, giving me one last wave before he jogged down the street towards his house.
I walked in the living room to find my Grandma, and my very disgruntled Dad.
“Something happen while I was gone?” I raised my eyebrow at the two of them.
Grandma was taking a pan of brownies out the oven, a clear sign something had happened. A puckered frown was on her face, her light eyes flickering over to my Dad.
“Sean left.” Dad’s voice was gruff as he tossed a folded note down on the table.
“He left?” I frowned, “That’s not like him at all.”
“He’s changed a lot in the year you’ve been gone.” Dad grumbled, “I’m not surprised.”
“Grief changes people.” Grandma nodded, her puckered frown seared onto her face. “He probably just needs time to adjust.”
“Him and Kanyon were pretty close.” Dad grumbled, “Closer than he was to me anyway.”
“This isn’t your fault, you know that right?” I frowned, sitting on the couch beside my Dad’s recliner.
“I’m not all innocent in this.” Dad grumbled, “I shut down when your Mom died. I was no good to anyone.”
“You lost your wife, and Sean lost his Mom.” I frowned, reaching out to pat my Dad’s hand. “Everyone grieves differently.”
“I should’ve been there.” Dad grumbled, “Sean found his mate y’know. Never did tell me who it was.”
“He found his mate?” My mouth flopped open. Sean had never told me either. He had become such a private person in the short time I had been gone. Dad was right, Sean definitely had changed.
“Not that he told me.” Dad grumbled, “I figured that bit out on my own. Not entirely dimwitted.” Dad gave a dry chuckle.
Sean had turned eighteen over a year ago, his nineteenth birthday came after. Sean had never mentioned finding his mate before, so I assumed it happened while I was gone. Something was definitely amiss. Sean should be with his mate, and yet none of us knew her identity. My heart ached for my brother, but I learned quickly to mind my business when it came to Sean. Whatever was happening, he needed to deal with it himself. He was very much like Dad in that way.
I picked the note up from the table gingerly, reading Sean’s messy handwriting.
Don’t bother looking for me, I’ll come back when I’m good and ready. If it isn’t obvious, I’m dealing with sh*t. Mom’s death messed us all up, but Kanyon was there for me when I needed someone. I promise I’ll be safe and come back in one piece. Until then, stay safe.