My father orders two guards to unchain me and I collapse onto the ground, my open wounds burning as I hit the cold pavement.
The guards force me to walk down the dark corridors, both of them pushing and shoving me when I walk too slowly.
As we make it out of the dungeons, the bright light of the day burns my bruised eyes and I wince, the guards laughing at me.
They lead me out to the main road where Gamma Wyatt and Agnes are waiting for me by a pick up truck.
Anger boils in my veins when I see Agnes’ bruised face, her cheeks swollen and her lip split open from a beating.
Agnes bursts into tears as I collapse onto my knees before her and I brace myself for her anger for getting us both exiled from Scarlet Haven.
She, however, takes me in her arms , gently cradling my head and sobs into my bloody hair.
“I thought they killed you,” she signs as she pulls away.
“I thought you left me.”
Gamma Wyatt dismisses the guards and instructs Agnes and I to get into the pick up truck.I notice two backpacks in the truck and I nod towards them.
“They let me pack a few things before we left,”
Agnes She begins examining my wounds as we drive to the edge of the territory, large tears streaming down her face.
“It’s okay,” I sign, wincing as she dabs a cloth to my torn back.
“I-it’s not as bad as it looks.”
She frowns but makes no comment as she continues to clean the wounds with her small cloth.
At the edge of the woods, Gamma Wyatt orders us out of the car and hands us the bags Agnes packed.He then hands me a small Manila envelope.
Confused, I open it and find a wad of cash inside.
“A gift,” he says quietly.
“Your mother was my best friend…not a day goes by that I don’t regret not finding her sooner.” I stare at the money, unsure what to say.
Gamma Wyatt had never treated me poorly but he had never done anything to help me either.
Why help me now? As I stare at the envelope, I notice a small picture inside and pull it out, tears threatening to fall down my cheeks when I realize it was a photograph of my mother and I taken just a few days before the attack.
“Your father kept this picture hidden in a drawer” Gamma Wyatt explains.
“I figured you may have better use for it.”
Before I can react, he pulls out a map, hundreds of red dots scattered over the state explains.
“Stay clear of them and you should avoid getting yourselves killed.”
He points to the few small towns with no dots near them.
“These are your safest bet.They’re perfect for two rogues starting over.Try Poulsbo first.It’s about 100 miles south from Maple Falls and is small enough that it wouldn’t be a target for any packs.”
He rolls up the map and shoves it in my hand.
“You better hurry before it gets dark. A deaf wolf and mute one are two perfect targets for a desperate rogue looking for a meal.” I nod and stuff the map into my backpack.
“Moon Goddess be with you Zane,”
Gamma Wyatt murmurs, turning on his heel and jumping back into his truck.
Agnes and I watch as he drives off back towards the pack, a bit of dread settling in the pit of my stomach.I feel a warm hand interlock with mine and I squeeze it back for comfort.
Agnes tugs at my hand and I look down to her smiling up at me.
“We’ll be okay,” she signs, picking up her bag and slinging it over her back.
“Pll carry you,” I sign, mentally preparing to shift.
“I can walk,” she huffs, turning towards the woods.
I try to carry her bag but she once again refuses, determined not to be a burden for me.
Of course, I’ve never seen her as one to begin with.
injuries but we finally make it as the sun sets over the horizon.
Afraid people would ask too many questions about my gory state, I hand Agnes some money and have her book a small motel room for the both of us.
The room is small and dingy but would do just fine for the night.
There’s only one bed and after a small argument, we agree to share it.
Worried about my injuries, Agnes goes to a nearby pharmacy and grabs some supplies for me.
I jump in the shower to rinse the blood off from the several cuts on my back.
Normally the wounds would have healed by now but the silver chain had slowed my healing process significantly.
My cuts and burn will scar permanently due to the silver and I will forever be reminded of what Caine and Sara did to me.
It takes everything in me not to shift and let out my frustrations on the furniture of the room.
Agnes returns from her trip, finding me in a state of near panic and anger, and tries to calm me down.
“Sit down,” she pleads.
“Let’s talk.” I shake my head at her.
“I’m so tired of this s**t! Why can’t I just talk? Why am I so broken?” She shakes her head at me and forces a smile on her face.
“You’re not broken.”
“Then why are we here!”
I nearly growl at her, pulling away from her arms.
“Face it! My own father disowned me because I’m worthless! She bites her lips, her eyes full of hurt.’
“Am I worthless then too?”
The blood drains from as I realize I’ve just insulted the only person who had ever loved me since my mother died.
“No,” I sigh, hanging my head in shame.
“I’m sorry.I didn’t mean “ She holds her hands up and sighs.
“Come,” she gestures to the bed.
“Let’s get those wounds dressed.”
I sink into the bed, holding perfectly still as she tapes me up.She whimpers to herself as she cleans each wound and I realize she’s crying.
“I’m sorry.I don’t mean what I said,” I apologize and she forces a smile.
“No, it’s not that,” she wipes her eyes.
“Just look at what that…that monster did to you…”
“I’m fine,” I reassure her.
“It was just a few cuts.”
She points to the s-shaped burn on my hip.
“He branded you.” I stare at the raw skin, still red and burning from the silver.
Caine had marked me as a Scarlet Haven wolf but it pleased me to know my father had done the same to him.
“It’s okay.Caine got a matching one too,” I laugh awkwardly.
She doesn’t find it very funny and continues cleaning me up grocery bag and heats up the food in paper plates.
We eat in comfortable silence and I thank Moon Goddess I’m not alone on this journey.
My body still aches in the morning but at least the bruises on my face and chest are gone.
Agnes redresses my hip and a few of the cuts on my back before we check out and head downtown for the bus station.
I buy two tickets to Edmonds just outside of Seattle and we board the large Greyhound bus, Agnes glued to the window to watch the scenery outside.
The journey is long and tiresome but after nearly a day of traveling by bus and ferry, Agnes and I arrive in Poulsbo in the late hours of the morning.
It was a small town nestled on an island just off the shores of the state, surrounded by trees and water.
Exhausted, Agnes and I find a small motel on the outskirts of the sleepy town, both of us eager to rest for a few hours.
I, however, struggle to get any sleep, my mind reeling over our options.
We were still good on the money Gamma Wyatt gave us and it would be plenty for a deposit on a small apartment.
I just needed to find a job soon if I wanted to give Agnes a warm comfortable bed to call her own.
Grayson stirs in my head and groans, wanting to go out for a run.
It had almost been two weeks since my last shift and he needed to stretch out his legs.I roll over onto my side and find Agnes wide awake, staring silently at the ceiling.I throw a pillow at her to catch”Want to go for a run?”
I grin and she nods eagerly.
We make the short walk to the nearby forest and after a quick survey of the area, I guard Agnes while she undresses behind a tree.
After a few minutes, a snout brushes up against my back and I turn to see a small light brown wolf bow playfully at me.
Like Agnes, her wolf, Cynthia, is deaf and mute.
Cynthia’s senses, however, make up for the hearing loss.
She could see and smell far better than I could.
Her green eyes twinkle with delight at being set free and she tugs at my shirt to join her.
I hide behind a tree and remove my clothes, inspecting my almost healed wounds before shifting.
Like my mother and father, Grayson is also a silver wolf, his metallic fur gleaming under the last of the day’s sunlight.
As for gifts, I knew my abilities were related to the mind, but the extent of my strength was a mystery even to me.
For a month after my first shift, I heard the never ending thoughts of every person I encountered, their inner voices nearly driving me mad.I could even see their memories, their dreams, their emotions.
It was awful being constantly bombarded by random thoughts, unable to even sleep in peace.
Grayson could not keep their thoughts under control and I locked him in the dark recesses of my mind for a while until I learned to stop the voices with a mental wall.
That was the beginning of the end of our relationship.
Even now, he refuses to speak to me; he only growls or grumbles in annoyance on occasion.
reached into her mind, she would go into a catatonic state for a few hours and I couldn’t bear to see her go so numb and empty.
I haven’t used my powers in years , too afraid I might hurt someone.I hand Grayson the reins to my body and allow him to enjoy a tiny bit of freedom with Cynthia.
He responds to her play bow and the two race through the trees, jumping over stones and stumps until their lungs burn.
Tired out from their sprint, the two make their way to a small stream to drink water.
Cynthia jumps in to cool off, swimming around lazily while Grayson lays out in the sun.
I let my mind wander to oblivion when I hear rustling in the trees directly behind me.
Cynthia also senses a disturbance and sticks her nose in the air for a sniff.
I stare in the direction of the rustling and see two wolves emerge from the trees.
The larger wolf has dark brown fur and deep blue eyes which stare curiously at Cynthia and I while the smaller grey wolf looks frightened and hides behind her companion.
Rogues.Grayson is on his feet in an instant, taking a protective stance in front of Cynthia and growling at the two strangers.
The larger wolf backs away and shifts into a man, no more than 30 years old with dark brown hair and a piercing on his eyebrow.
He is toned but not buff by any means and his arms, chest and stomach are covered in tattoos.
“Easy there bud, we don’t want any trouble,” the man says, his “We were just on a run and heard you, that’s all.”
Grayson growls again, the man and his partner backing up a bit more.
When they are far enough away, Grayson relaxes and sits on his hind legs, never taking his eyes off the two rogues.
The smaller wolf shifts into a cute woman with a pixie cut and several tattoos scattered across her body.
“You must be new here,” the man continues awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck.
“We haven’t seen a wolf around this area in ages.It’s just been the two of us in this town.”
Cynthia climbs onto the shore and attempts to walk over to the female but Grayson blocks her path, still unsure what to make of the two strangers.
For all we knew, this could all be a trap and more rogues were standing by to ambush us.
Cynthia sniffs the air again, her eyes scanning the area for any more possible rogues.
Satisfied that there are none, she licks my cheekbone to give me the all clear.
Grayson and I remain vigilant in case of an attack as Cynthia inches closer to the couple, sniffing the she-wolf’s hands.
Sensing no danger, Cynthia allows herself to be pet and scratched by the woman.
“I’ve never seen a silver wolf before,” the man comments, his eyes admiring my fur.
“Much less one without a clan.”
Grayson grunts a reply and gives me control again, completely bored with the subject matter.
“I’m Micah, by the way,” he smiles.
“And this is my best friend, uh…what’s left of our pack.”
A sudden sadness overcomes me as I realize we were not all that different.
I had lived in a territory, but I had lost my pack the day my mother died.
Deciding we were safe with these two, I shift into my human form, Niki blushing slightly when she sees me.
Cynthia smirks at me and I narrow my eyes at her to cut it out before turning my attention back to Micah.
I move my finger over the palm of my hand like a pen, hoping he understands that neither Agnes and I could speak.
To my misfortune, he just stares in confusion.
I search for a stick and write out the word DEAF on a clear patch of dirt and point to Cynthia.I then scribble the word MUTE and point to myself, praying to Moon Goddess he gets it.It takes him a minute before it finally clicks.
“So neither of you talk?” He clarifies and I nod.
“Ooohhh!”he scratches his head sheepishly.
“Okay.Okay.That’s cool.We can play charades.I don’t mind….”
He shrugs with a cheeky grin on his lips.
“Okay.So like….What are your names? Can you tell me that?”
AGNES and ZANE, I scribble back and he nearly jumps in excitement.
“Oh this is fun,” he laughs, his entire body shaking with each chuckle.
“Okay umm…where do you live? We’d love to hang out sometime.”
MOTEL, I shrug and he frowns at us werewolves we’ve met in years stay in some dingy motel,” he shakes his head.
“Come with us,” he orders, hooking his arm with mine before I can even react.
“We’ll get you set up at our place until you figure out your shit.”
I stare at Micah in confusion, raising my eyebrows at him while Cynthia tilts her head to the side.
“Oh s**t, sorry,” Micah laughs.
“Ummm how do you say ‘Mi casa es su Casa’ in sign language?”
I frown at him and he rolls his eyes at me.
“You’re staying with us.I’m not taking no for an answer!”
I think about it for a moment.
We had nothing of real value other than the money we had and they didn’t even know about it and it was obvious I was the strongest wolf between the four of us.
If they tried something funny, I could easily take them on.
Having made my decision, I translate to Cynthia and she immediately shifts, rushing up to Micah to give him a hug.
“Oh no worries, girl.We gotchu,” he snaps his fingers and squeezes her back.
“Us rogues gotta stick together if we want to survive out here.”
Agnes and I make our way back to the place where we hid our clothes and get dressed, meeting Micah and Niki at the mouth of the forest.
Micah talks an earful as we go back to the motel, his friend Niki a bit more reserved.
Agnes takes a liking to her immediately, wanting to know all about the tattoos on her arms house in the town square.
Their home is small but cozy with a living room, kitchen, two tiny bedrooms and a small den in the back.
“You guys can make yourselves comfortable here,” Niki says, gesturing to the den and bringing us fresh towels.
“It’s not much, but it’s comfortable,” she smiles sheepishly at me.
“I can bring you some extra pillows so you can sleep better,” she adds.
“W-we can go to the camping store tomorrow and get you a blow up mattress, if you like?”
I shake my head, not wanting to be a burden and take the pillows she offers.
Our fingers brush up against each other and she blushes furiously before running out of the room.
Agnes bursts into laughter while I stare at the empty hallway, completely confused by her reaction.
Micah walks in, dressed in a tight black t-shirt and jeans.
“My shift starts in an hour, Zane if you want to come,” he sighs.
“I work at a prestigious nightclub and they’re looking to hire some new security guards.It’s kinda perfect for you.You don’t have to talk, just kick the drunk bastards out and protect the dancers and waitresses from harassment.Think you could handle that?”
I nod frantically, knowing I desperately needed a job.
“Okay, then just wear something black and bring your ID.Ron will probably hire you on the spot.Our last security guard just quit.He got a degree or some s**t,” he rolls his eyes.
“So we’re f****d and need a replacement ASAP.”
He turns to leave, shaking his butt as he does and Agnes loses her mind.
“They like you,” she signs, grinning from ear to ear.
“I mean they ‘ like you’ like you.” I blush and furrow my brows in annoyance at her.
“Please stop talking.”
She laughs again, pinching my cheeks.
“Such a handsome little wolf man.”
I snarl at her, much to her amusement and search for black t-shirt in my bag.
Please Moon Goddess, I pray as I change my shirt.
Please help me get this job….