..A few hours earlier…
I haven’t slept at all since Chaos made me a living compass, the voices in my head whispering and muttering non-stop in Jack’s absence.
Their incessant murmuring has led me all the way to California and now as morning breaks over the horizon, I find myself driving out of San Rafael through a dense forest.
“Turn here! No, there! Take a left, you i***t!”, The voices hiss.
They are driving me insane!
“Your mind wandered before us!”
“You ungrateful mutt!”
My phone rings beside me, the screen flashing with my father’s name.He hasn’t stopped calling me all night and this morning.
“You miss your mommy?” Avoice snickers.
“She wasa stupid b***h for having you!”
“Shut up!” I shout, nearly swerving into another lane in anger.
“Aww you’re going to protect her now, after all you’ve done to her?’ Another sneers.
The other voices begin to chant in unison, “Mommy Killer! Mommy Killer! Mommy Killer!”
“Shut up…” I murmur, scratching at my head to make them stop.
“I said shut up!”
I pull over down a secluded road and step out to catch my breath, counting each exhale until the voices stop.
Get it together…
I scold myself.
You have a mission to accomplish.
My phone begins to ring again and I hang up, scrolling through the messages left by my father.
WHERE ARE YOU?? PICK UP YOUR PHONE! HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR MOTHER?? I CAN’T FEEL HER! CHRISTIAN!!! I feel sick as I read through his desperation but I close his messages and check my recent messages for any updates from Brody, the spy I sent to watch Jordan.
That’s odd, I mutter.He hasn’t messaged me any new updates in over 12 hrs.
“Traitor! He’s a traitor!” the voices hiss.
“The Killer has a traitor!” They shriek with laughter.
“He’s got a target on his back! Who else will betray him?”
I climb back into the car, hoping to outrun these voices, but they follow me wherever I turn.
By the time I make it to the City where this River Moon Pack is located, I’m almost on the verge of tears with frustration.
“The Mall! The Mall!” The voices whisper.
“The boy will be at the Mall.He wears the medallion! Wait by the fountain at noon! Go!”
I drive to the mall, rushing in towards the restroom to clean myself up and prepare my tools for my mission.
The witches had given me a sleeping potion and I spray it on a cloth and some candy before heading to the fountain.
The Mall is crowded and without my wolf, I cannot smell Natalia, much less our pup.
The voices urge me to stay put and despite my impatience, I wait as the hour ticks by until my phone strikes noon.
My palms begin to sweat and I feel butterflies of excitement flutter in my stomach.
After all these years, my family is finally going to be together.As I smooth down my shirt, the voices suddenly start up again.
“He’s here! He’s here!”
They cry.I look up and spot a beautiful older woman holding a little boy’s hand in hers.
The child has his back to me but I can see he wears overalls and bright blue vans as he skips happily towards the washroom.
Rising to my feet, I linger over to a small shop near the washroom to get a better look and wait patiently for them to come out.
The voices fall silent when I see the little boy, my son, face to face for the first time.
His eyes are mesmerizing with their brown and blue irises, a thick pair of lashes casting a shadow on his cheeks.He has my pale skin and small lips but his nose is all Natalia’s.He’s perfect, I smile to myself, the little boy blinking up at the older woman.
“Come on Kota,” the woman smiles as they step out of the washroom.
The little boy bounces on his toes, hopping from black tile to black tile while the woman hurries after him to keep up.
“She’s a wolf,” the voices warn as I follow in pursuit.
I stay close behind, keeping just enough distance between us so that the woman does not notice my presence or my scent.
Together, the woman and my pup walk into a play center, my son scurrying off to climb the tubes and slides while the woman takes a seat in an empty sitting area to read a magazine.
Realizing now is my chance to take what’s mine, I nonchalantly step into the play center, taking a seat next to the woman.
She shifts uncomfortably in her chair but offers a polite smile in my direction before turning back to her magazine.
For several seconds, she says nothing and I take the time to watch Dakota climb into a ball pit.
Looking around the sitting area, I make sure no witnesses are standing by to interrupt me before striking up a conversation with the woman.
“Which one is yours?” I ask, leaning in close for her to hear me over the laughs and giggles of some children going down the slides.
She points in my pup’s general direction.
“That one,” she mutters, turning back at her magazine.
“Hmmm,” I hum, the voices snickering in my head as I reach into my pocket for the sleeping cloth.
“Mine too.” The woman looks up at mein confusion.
Taking her by surprise, I place the cloth over her nose and press her head into it, her body instinctively fighting against me.She manages to fight for only a few seconds before the potion begins to take effect and her thrashing arms begin to relax.
I look around the sitting area once more, relieved to see all the adults preoccupied with their own children to notice the sleeping woman in my arms.I lay the woman down gently across the seats and cover her up with her own sweater before carefully walking towards the ball pit.
The little boy is alone in the pit, running around in a circle and watching the balls roll off his tiny body.
Sensing my presence, my pup looks up at me and smiles a big toothy grin.
“Hi,” I wave at him, the little boy waving back.
“Hi mister,” he chirps, tossing some balls in the air.
“What are you doing?”
“I don’t know,”
He shrugs, kicking some of the balls sheepishly.I crouch down on my knees to be at his eye level and smile, “Well, do you want to see a magic trick?”
His eyes widen with excitement and he nods his head cheerfully, trotting over to the edge of the ball pit.I slip my hand into my pocket and hide a coin between my fingers before pretending to pull the coin from his ear.
He stares at the coin in amazement, giggling innocently at the trick and inspecting the coin for himself.
“Again! Again!” he cries, jumping up and down.
“Alright,” I smile, pulling another coin from his ear.
He attempts to replicate the trick, grasping at the empty air beside my ear and opening his hand to find it empty.
“Oh,” he sighs in disappointment.
I pretend to shake my head for any coins and shrug at him.
“I think I’m all out of coins.”
He grins and flicks his ears sheepishly.
“So, what’s your name?” I ask, the little boy jumping to introduce himself.
“Kota,” he says, swinging his leg back and forth.
“Do you want a candy, Kota?” I ask, waving a lollipop in his face.
“You know, cuz we’re friends now, right?”
He blinks at me, biting his lips and nodding.
“And friends share, right?” I ask, the little boy nodding enthusiastically.
He reaches for the candy and giggles as he unwraps it before popping it in his mouth.
That was almost too easy, I sigh.I pull out a second untainted candy and eat with him to make him feel comfortable and he smiles happily to see we are sharing.
When I’m positive he’s had enough to go to sleep, I suggest a game.
“Do you want to play hide and seek?” I ask, Kota nodding in agreement.
“Okay you hide and I count.” I pretend to shield my eyes as he runs off to hide.
Through my fingers, I watch him tuck himself under the slides and I proceed to count aloud to twenty.
Once finished, I quietly tiptoe towards the slides where I find Dakota curled up in a deep slumber.
He looks so peaceful as he sleeps and I quickly pull down the front part of his overalls to find the gold medallion tucked within his shirt.
Satisfied to have everything I need, I gently cradle him in my arms and crawl out of the hiding spot with him.
A man helping his daughter as she climbs a rock wall chuckles as he watches me adjust Kota in my arms.
“Kids find the funniest places to nap,” he remarks, and I laugh with him.
“You’re one sick bastard,” the voices chuckle as I take my son out of the playcenter and walk out of the mall.
I hiss under my breath as I tuck my pup into the car.
There’s no car seat so I lay him flat on the seats and buckle him in as best I can.
“Child endangerment,” the voices snicker.
“Father of the year.”
“Shut up and get me to Chaos,” I snarl, jumping into the driver’s seat.
“I want my wolf back.”
The voices snicker and jeer but ultimately begin to give me directions to Olompali State park.
The road is bumpy and uneven as I make it to the park so I keep a close eye on the sleeping pup through the rear view mirror.I drive up to what appears to be an old abandoned shed in the middle of nowhere and park the car under a tree.
Unbuckling my son, I carry him into the shed where I find an elderly woman sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor.
“You work fast,” the woman says in an all too familiar voice.
“I’m impressed. I didn’t think you would succeed.” I hold back the snarl in my throat and pull the medallion over Dakota’s head to show the old b***h.
She smiles mischievously upon seeing it and rises to her feet to get a closer look.
Just as she’s about to reach it, I pull it away and growl at her.
“My wolf first, then your little necklace,” I snap.
The voices in my head begin to shriek in anger, their loud shouts overwhelming my senses.
Taking advantage of my vulnerability, the woman takes the medallion from my hand with a cruel smile on her lips.
“Never play games with the Master of Juegos,” the God within sneers, the voices quieting down.
I can feel my patience wearing thin but I hold my tongue to get this ordeal over with.
“Now then,” Chaos chuckles to himself, turning on his heel.
“Do you have your stone?”
“Yes,” I mutter, pulling out the blue stone from my pocket.
“What do I do with it?”
“To release your wolf, crush the stone and call to your wolf,” the God shrugs.
“You mean I could have unleashed him this entire time?” I ask, a rumble in my voice.
“Of course,” the God smirks.
“But where’s the fun in that? Besides, I couldn’t give you my compass if you still had a wolf.” he laughs.
Seeing my rage on the verge of exploding, the God pouts innocently.
“Oh take a joke, wolf.I’ll help you get to your pack without a trace, how’s that?”
“He’s right,” the voices echo.
“You’re baby momma has probably already realized you’ve taken the child.You’ll never get the boy home without raising alarms at any airport or toll booth.” I accept the God’s offer reluctantly, a playful smirk on his lips.
He makes me uneasy when he does that…
Taking the stone, I drop it on the floor at my feet and place my foot over it, pressing down on it with all my weight until I hear a crack.
The voices slowly dissipate but not before leaving me a message.
“They’re going to rip you apart…” They snicker.
“Call to him,” Chaos instructs and I do as he says.
Jack? I call out in my head, closing my eyes to concentrate.
Jack, I’m here.I did it! I got our pup.
Asnarl echoes in the distance.
Jack! Jack, I’m here! I shout.
I’m the- Ascorching sensation burns along my spine towards my scalp, the pain intensifying as it reaches my temples Jack? Jack? I groan in pain, the growls growing stronger.
Suddenly, I feel a force push me to the depths of my mind and lock me in a cage.
Jack? I call out, his sinister laugh filling my mind.
Hello, human…He snickers.
Jack!I sigh in relief.
Jack, let me out.He scoffs at my demand, a feeling of dread settling within me.
Jack, this isn’t funny! \ growl, shaking the bars of my cage.
Let me out now! His wolf materializes in front of me, his green eyes narrowed to slits.
Did you really think I would just let you take control again after you f****d up our life? He sneers.
Did you really think I would let you near our mate and our pup again? I stare back at him in horror.
You rejected her too! \Isnap in disbelief at his hypocrisy.
You hurt her just as much as I did! I followed your lead, human, the wolf snarls.
I thought it was best to not contradict you but I won’t be making that mistake again.I’m in control now and this time around, I will do things right by our mate.
I will love and protect her like you never did.It’ll be the three of us like it always should have been and you will never see the light of day again.
Jack! Jack! I shout, banging on the cage door.I watch in disbelief as he takes over my body, looking up to face the God of Chaos.
“So the wolf takes command,” Chaos laughs, his eyes gleaming with amusement.
“Take me back to my pack,”
Jack commands, Chaos bending over in a mocking bow.
“As you wish, Alpha,” he says in a mocking tone, taking a few steps in front of me.
He places his index finger on my forehead.
“Boop,” he chuckles before a bright white light washes over us.
When Jack opens his eyes, I realize we are back in my car stationed at the Portland Airport in Maine.
Dakota is buckled in in the back seat with a blanket draped over him while I sit in the driver’s seat.
Jack starts the car, the sound of the engine startling the little boy awake and he sits up, wiping his tired eyes as he looks around.
“Mommy?” he yawns.
Tears gather in his eyes when he realizes the world around him is unfamiliar to him.
He whimpers, looking at me through the rearview mirror.
“I want my mommy,” he says, his lips forming a pout as he holds back his tears.
“I want my mommy!”
He begins to cry furiously, desperately trying to get off his buckle.
“It’s okay, son,” Jack replies, pulling out of the airport parking lot.
“You’re with Daddy now.Mommy will be home soon.”
The little boy suddenly shouts angrily.
“You’re not my daddy!”