When I was a young cub I used to sleep on my arm. My mother always said I slept wild.
She called me “the Amarok.”
In Inuit tradition, the Amarok was the legendary werewolf. Amarok is said to hunt down and devour those who are foolish enough to go out hunting alone at night. Unlike other wolves who hunt in packs, the Amarok is a lone hunter. Mama always said that one day the Amarok would return. She said that when children had violent dreams it’s because the Amarok was coming.
I wasn’t the Amarok but I might as well be by how I slept. I slept so wild that my arm would fall asleep. I’d change from werewolf to human screaming bloody madness in the night. Every night when it happened I’d sure it was that one night where I wouldn’t get feeling back in my arm. It would have been all my fault. I slept too wild. I lived too wild. And now my arm was paralyzed for good and I wouldn’t be able to run the snow with my brothers. Every night after a few moments of having limp-arm, the blood rushed back and I gained access to my most cherished part.
When Yuma became my beta…he became my arm.
Now Yuma was gone and those violent nights were the cause.
I wake up realizing my arm was asleep. I didn’t panic. My arm wasn’t the most cherished part of me anymore. That part had died off with Yum.
“Are you OK, Basil?” a voice whispers from among the bodies of snoring.
He’s in human form. We all are. The Inuit pack of Alaska were always the largest pack. Back then, we’d sleep all crowded together in a cave deep in the tundra. Now, because of Yuma’s death, we have gathered in a warehouse in Eden. Back then we never went near the humans and we rarely changed into humans. Now we slept in human form, naked, in a pyramid of bodies and I was on top. 22 werewolves. 22 strong werewolves. We were once true werewolves. Proud. We were happy. I should have never brought them here when the werewolf King Walid howled. I should have never come to this place with their wild nights.
The boy looking up at me is Eskimo. He’s one of the smaller wolves. He was snow-kissed. What that meant in the Alaska pack was that he was an Albino. He had white hair, pale skin, and pink eyes. He was exceptionally attractive as well. The puff of white hair under his chin appeared not too long ago making him look like a man. He’s barely 18, I think. He has pink lips and a slim, toned body from running the tundras up north. The Albino wolves were almost revered in the Alaska pack. A few came every generation. When they were born they usually held an important role. Usually, they were the pack leader. Usually, they were the Beta. When I’d brought back this dark wolf that wasn’t snow-kissed it was such a big deal.
“Just thinking about…him…”
“It will be OK,” Eskimo tells me, “He lived wild. He lived free. He lived like a wolf. He died like a wolf.”
It comforts me in a way that only another wolf would understand. I smile a little bit. My pack has been nothing but supportive of me since Yuma’s death. It has been days. Each day I wake up a cold sweat colder than mine. Each day I wake up knowing that my missing ligament won’t return. I’ll never be able to feel that part of me again.
“I feel paralyzed,” I admit to Eskimo.
“You’re not paralyzed. I can feel you. Look. Can’t you feel me back? What’s this feel like, Basil?”
I’m shocked when his hand rides up the side of my leg. It grabs me in a way that causes me to grunt out a little. His hand holds onto my upper thigh. He’s rough, getting higher and higher squeezing his way until he gets to my balls. Then the head of my dick. Then the shaft of my dick. He’s holding it tightly as though clutching onto life with his white hands.
“What are you doing?”
“It’s time you get over Yuma. I need to help you with that.”
He tries to lower his head on my dick, shifting past a few of the naked sleeping bodies to do it. He literally perks his lips and presses it hard on my dick. I’m in shock as he deepthroats my dick in the first try. My body betrays me when my dick hardens while in his mouth causing spit to slide down the sides of his lips and land on my thigh. His mouth is so wet, as though he had melted snow glaciers in the back of this throat.
My dick might betray me but my mind stays loyal. I snap!
“How dare you!” I roar.
When I say it the other wolves jump to attention. I grab Eskimo with one hand and throw far across the warehouse so hard that he lands on his back and screams out in pain.
Then I change.
The wolf wants to come out. You never quite get used to the pain of becoming a werewolf. It is excruciating. There is no other way to describe it. When Yuma used to change, I think excruciating didn’t even cover it.
When I transform my internal organs shut down and reform. It’s like I die a little / every day. My heart stops. My lungs halt. There is this deafening silence for a few awkward minutes.
Then the sound of ripping.
My skin rips off my own body.
M teeth grow unbearably long and sharp.
My fingernails become like claws and my palms become pads.
I hunch back into the posture of a wolf and the stance of a predator as I look over at Eskimo on the other side of the room with a scared look.
“Calm down,” a voice states.
I don’t know which one of the wolves is attempting to save Eskimo. It could be his own mother for all I know. It doesn’t matter to me. My eyes have this animalistic look to them. There is this internal pressure to run at Eskimo and rip him apart for disrespecting Yuma’s memory in the way that he did.
Nothing can stop what is about to happen. Almost nothing…
“Basil, the Alphas are here…”
I turn and see Snowplow. Snowplow is a cousin of mine, probably far removed. We were Inuit. I was far darker than she was. She was a bit on the lighter side but the Inuit is definitely in her. Her family is indigenous to the Alaskan region like me. We’d lived in Alaska far before the Europeans came there. Inuit people have got light brown skin, straight black hair, dark eyes and wide faces with high cheekbones.
I look over at Eskimo. He was saved by the arrival of my guests. I had sent Snowplow to gather the other Alphas here.
I leave and follow Snowplow…still as a wolf. It isn’t until we walk together down a corridor that I change back. Snowplow covers me with brown fur as we walk.
“He is only doing his duty,” Snowplow tells me as we walk.
I turn back. I almost ripped Eskimo apart back there. If she hadn’t interrupted me, I probably would have. I’m so angry still. My heart is beating out of my fucking chest.
“His duty isn’t to disrespect Yuma.”
“He is snowkissed. He should be your next Beta.”
“I’m not looking for another Beta!”
“I can’t live without him,” I ease off.
My mouth is dry. My mind is taken somewhere else.
I would have snapped at Snowplow if I didn’t have other things to concern myself about. This was all not what my mind was on.
“It’s not natural for an Alpha to mourn his beta in this way,” she explains to me, “It looks…”
She stops. She turns to me, concerned about the tone of what she is saying or maybe even concerned about how I would react to the words coming out of her mouth. She had reason to be. I was on edge right now and the last thing I needed was this shit.
“Looks what?” I ask.
“It looks weak,” she explains, “Especially in front of the other Alphas. Rhinegold’s in there, Basil. You need to display strength.”
Snowplow is looking out for me. This meeting with the other Alphas is a rare occurrence. I needed their help and I knew they didn’t want to be here already. None-the-less I don’t regret calling them. Maybe I did need to put on strength. I shouldn’t be mourning Yuma as publicly as I am. The other Alphas would have fucked Eskimo hours after their Beta died and claimed Eskimo as their new Beta. That was the wolf way.
I’d always been…different.
“I’ll show them strength,” I assure her.”
She reaches over and gives me what people would refer to as an Eskimo kiss. In reality, many of the Inuit ancestors believed in the werewolves. They believed in the Amarok, as well. It was the werewolves in the Inuit culture that started the Eskimo kiss. The Eskimo kiss is actually called “kunik”, and it has little to do with kissing or rubbing noses together. We look like we rub noses, but they are actually sniffing each others’ hair and cheeks. There are scent glands in cheeks. This way, two people who haven’t seen each other can quickly remind themselves about the other person and their signature scent.
The Eskimo kiss is the way the of the wolves.
“Basil, you’re looking well,” a voice states as soon as I walk into the meeting room.
It’s an old broken down meeting room. Some vampires probably used this area but they abandoned it to go deeper into the city once the demon attacks began. It’s clear they took all the nice furniture with them. The majority of the wolves in the room are standing. They are all large. I recognize all of them almost immediately.
“I’m fine,” I respond.
“We all mourn Yuma,” Quincy of the Louisiana pack states.
Quincy the Alpha of the Louisiana Pack. Amari is the Alpha of the Toronto Pack. Richardson is the Alpha of the New York Pack. Black Foot is the Alpha of the New Zealand pack. Mad Maximillion is the pack leader of the Russian pack. Clay of the Canadian. Patton is the Alpha of the foreign Iceland Pack.
Then there is Rhinegold…of the Washington pack. It’s the one that Snowplow warned me about. I hated the guy. The fact that a sniveling asshole like Rhinegold was allowed to be in this room full of leaders blows my mind. But if I invited the packs, then I should have had him here with us as well.
“We all grieve with you,” Rhinegold adds.
I don’t believe it for a second. All the while he says it with a smile on his face. He hated Yuma. Yuma was one of the only people keeping him away from the person he wanted most in life. That person was Rory.
“I don’t need your condolences,” I suggest, “I need us to go to war.”
There was no beating around the bush. There were no pleasantries. Vampires did pleasantries. They were the ones who played that word magic game. Wolves were straight to the point. We did what we had to do. Period.
“War? Whose war?” Rhinegold asks, “This isn’t our war.”
“Demons have attacked werewolves as well,” Richardson of the New York wilds states.
“Because we are in Eden. The demons want Eden. Let them have it. This isn’t our home. My home is in the Washington woods,” Rhinegold states.
“You’re suggesting we run?” Clay asks.
The other Alphas give Rhinegold the same look that I gave him. I knew they were all thinking it. He was a fucking coward. He didn’t deserve to be among us. The only reason he hadn’t been killed and replaced by now is that everyone was already so preoccupied with all of the wolf attacks in the city. Rhinegold made me sick. I’m glad to know that by the looks he’s getting I’m not the only one. At least I knew the other werewolves were on the same page as far as that was concerned.
“The witches have abandoned Eden,” Rhinegold states out of nowhere, “I believe we should do the same.”
“We are NOT fucking witches,” I roar back at Rhinegold, “We are werewolves! And the only time we RUN is when we CHASE!”
The howls that raise out of that room causes Rhinegold to shift in his chair uncomfortably. I can tell that he’s intimidated by me. He had reason to be. I should have killed him ten times over for all the sniveling shady shit that he did.
When the room goes silent it is Quincy who speaks first, “You have our support, Basil…”
Just at that moment, the door opens and a ghost walks into the room. We all turn when we see him walk in. He’s standing there looking slimmer than I’ve ever seen him in my life. The others look at him and I swear it’s like a skeleton of a former werewolf legend has walked into the room. Emphasis on the word skeleton.
“King Walid?” I whisper.
Whispers spread out across the room. Werewolves never whispered. The fact that we were doing that now is shocking. No one has seen Walid in a year. Now it is clear why. I look at him and wonder what could have changed him to become so pathetic looking. Was it drugs? Was it just losing his reason to live? Or was it fear?
This was not the Alpha of Alphas that had given “THE HOWL” that caused all of the werewolves to migrate to Eden in the first place. There was no other wolf alive that could have accomplished that. The others are surprised but I’m not. I’d seen the fall of Walid even before the demon attacks. He wasn’t a 10th of the man he used to be.
Rhinestone looks over at the group, “I went looking for Walid. I knew I’d be outnumbered. So many of you foolish wolves are willing to throw your lives away. I needed someone who had some sense…”
I could kill Rhinegold right then and there. I could turn into a werewolf and just bite his head off. That’s what I wanted to do. I just wanted to fucking bite his head off. The fact that he went to pick up this CORPSE KING so he could have someone to agree with him blew my fucking mind.
“I am still King of Eden,” Walid states, “The wolves will not be participating in this. We are leaving Eden…”
“You think the demons just want Eden? Eden is nothing but a gateway to the human world. The human will is weak. They will possess and conquer EVERYTHING. You think we’ll be safe hiding in the woods when the demons get strong enough to take over everything.”
“Who do you think you are?” Walid asks.
“I’m a werewolf.”
“You’re nothing,” Walid tells me, looking me up and down, “Standing here, calling meetings as though you are the Alpha of Alphas. Who do you think you are…”
The look he’s giving me is personal. Maybe he doesn’t like how I stand. Maybe he just doesn’t like how I look. I don’t know. I know that something is pissing him off about me. Something is getting underneath his skin.
“We need to stay, Walid. We need to fight.”
“Is that a challenge?
“Challenge?” I ask.
I almost laugh when he says it. The old Walid would have been a challenge. Whatever was standing in front of me right now was more of a joke. I try not to laugh but it comes out. It comes out anyway and I am just thinking this has to be some sort of joke. I was one of the biggest Alphas out there. I was probably one of the best fighters. What the hell did he mean by challenge?
“Something funny?” he asks.
He’s offended. I look at him. He even smells different than what he used to. He always had a regal smell about him. The kind of smell that made you know, “Wow…this is a wolf.” Now he smelled worn out and abandoned. I can’t believe this is the same werewolf.
“There would be no honor in this…” I state.
What would I look like fighting Walid on the condition that he was in now? How would the other werewolves look at me? No. This was a pathetic fight.
“In that case, I’m still the king,” Walid states, “My message to all Alphas is to go back to your packs and tell them to prepare for the migration of the wolves out of Eden.”
The leaders of the packs seem confused at what is happening. I can tell all of them want to speak but they all seem just as surprised as I am with what Walid has turned into. Maybe it’s shocking. Maybe we all think it’s some sort of magic. Walid had spent a lot of time with his witch lover Genesis. Maybe once we challenged him, he’d change back into the old dynamic wolf King and destroy us immediately. Maybe that’s what’s keeping anyone from challenging him.
I stand there as the others walk out. Only one man stays behind. He’s the Patton, the Alpha of the Iceland Pack.
“Why no fight?”
His English is broken clearly. He’s not from here. I know what he’s referring to. He’s wondering the same thing the other Alphas are wondering probably. They are wondering why I didn’t challenge Walid. They are wondering why I didn’t kill Walid so that we could go to war. Everyone was so confused.
The fact that Patton is here now makes it clear that he thinks it should have been me.
“There’s no honor,” I repeat.
He sighs, “Fuck honor…”
“It’s not so simple, Patton.”
I run with Patton into an area that I don’t expect to be running to. He’s set on me following him. He’s set on showing me something. We run in town. Vampire city. As we run as wolves, I can see the faces of the uppity vampires in this area staring us down and turning up their noses. I figure it’s just a matter of time before we are stopped by authorities telling us that we need to go back to the slums where the werewolves belong.
We are stopped but when I look up I’m shocked by who I see.
“Hey Basil,” the military officer states.
I turn and see that it’s Rory who is standing there. In his military uniform, I almost didn’t recognize him. I did smell him though. He smells like Rory. The same gentle notes of coriander. Rory was no great beauty of the world…not like Yuma. He wasn’t some beautiful young beta, but Rory was cute. He was cute and docile in a way that made you want to take care of him. Maybe it’s the wide-set eyes and the way he looked scared all the time. I wasn’t sure.
By the time I change back to a human he turns away from me. It’s not werewolf-like to shy away from a nude man but he does it anyway.
“Why’d you bring me here?” I ask Patton.
Patton just grunts a little bit still in wolf form. He’s doesn’t want to change back to human-form clearly and honestly, I don’t think I would understand him in any form that he tried to communicate with me. His accent was so thick.
“We need your help,” he states.
“The Elite guard. Patton is one of us.”
I look over at Patton. I didn’t know that an Alpha would be joining Aiden’s elite guard. The fact that I’m here right now just feels awkward. Walid had given me specific instructions to go back home and prepare my pack to leave Eden.
But I just didn’t feel like letting the creatures who killed Yuma get away with it. There was no way in hell I was OK with that.
Maybe that’s why I follow Rory down a long path and that’s when I see a car. I’m shocked by it. It’s rare that there are cars in Eden.
The car pulls up and Rory opens the backdoor for me. I notice the person who is driving the car is none other than Aiden.
When I get in the car he just starts driving. Patton doesn’t get in the car. He probably doesn’t trust them. He is running alongside the car. He’s keeping pace through the streets. His werewolf speed making him leap from building to building overhead as he runs like a dark shadow. I wish I was him right now wild and free. There is something unnatural about cars. I feel my stomach getting queasy as I’m riding in one of them. I wasn’t used to them. I could count on one hand how many times I’ve ridden in one of these things. I hated everything about them. Aiden seems to be enjoying it though in the front seat while Rory just seems to be zoned out completely. He just keeps driving without a real sense of understanding.
I look at him, “What am I doing in here?”
He almost completely ignores my question, “I want to offer my condolences for Yuma.”
More condolences. More sad stares. I can’t take it anymore. I didn’t need any of this. I needed vengeance. That is the only thing that was going to make me get any sleep through the night. I needed to know the love of my life was going to be resting in peace.
I shuffle in my seat.
“The last words I said to him was that I hated him,” I explained, “Before he was stolen from me…”
I feel such a heaviness on my chest.
“How does that make you feel?”
“What are you some type of fucking psychologist?” I ask before grunting and looking away. I normally wasn’t so rude. I couldn’t help it though. I hated anyone even talking about Yuma. No one could understand how I felt. No one could understand what paralysis felt like until you lost one of your limbs.
“I’m here to offer you help,” he explains, “Now you know what the demons are capable of. We need the wolves to join our cause to resist them.”
I look over at him and grunt, “Tried that already. The wolves want nothing to do with this. They are leaving…like the witches did.”
He shakes his head, “Can’t you stop them?”
“Walid is back.”
Aiden knew Walid. He’d worked near the Royals for long enough to know the name. I can see him almost squirm when he hears the name. I think all vampires do when they think about the fact that a werewolf once had on their precious Crushed Crown.
“They respect you…not Walid,” Rory explains to me out of nowhere, “I should know. I’ve heard how they speak about you. You are everything Walid once was in their eyes. If you howl…they’ll come…”
“Will the vampires fight?”
“We have the Lucciano brood…”
“What’s a brood? A family? A dozen vampires at most. You’re talking about one family, aren’t you? Why should all the werewolves go to war if only a single family of vampires is willing to fight?” I ask.
I roll my eyes.
“We have another vampire family willing to fight as well,” Rory states.
We stop at that moment. We arrive at our destination. It’s not too far from the royal palace where the Witch King Genesis and the Wolf King Walid once wore the Crushed Crown of Eden. I get out of the car and see that there are already people here. They were all elite guard under Aiden. The blonde vampires were the Luciano. I recognize Mickson as well, a brother to Micko who was an Ambassador of Eden under Genesis.
“What is this…some sort of excavation?” I ask noticing all of the shovels and equipment around.
“Something like that,” Aiden says, “Tell him, Rory.”
I look over at Rory.
“I was contacted,” Rory tells me.
Trouble. The name sends shivers up my spine. Rory’s relationship with Genesis was always something that Yuma didn’t care for. I supported Yuma so I didn’t care for it either. I didn’t understand it. Now that Yuma wasn’t here to look out for Rory I felt like I needed to. Maybe that’s why I look over at Rory and give him a hard stare.
“Listen, Rory, you are getting involved in things that are much bigger than you are,” I state.
Why the fuck was he communicating with a force like Genesis? What could that possibly accomplish? Genesis didn’t inherit the Crushed Crown. He took it…by force. The fact that he was able to replace the vampire kings so easily made it clear that Genesis was nothing to be fucked with. Rory was so young, innocent and ridiculously impressionable. I worried about him dealing with a group like this. In Rory’s case, maybe leaving Eden wasn’t such a bad thing.
“Genesis needs help. He’s imprisoned. He needs to be released.”
“Have you seen those demons?”
“Yuma said you are the greatest werewolf to ever live. I never took you as the one to be afraid,” Rory tells me.
Hearing words that Yuma said warm my heart. Did he really think I was the greatest? I try not to smile but I can’t help myself. Yuma and Rory spent a lot of time together. They’d become best friends. If anyone knew what Yuma really thought of me, it was Rory.
“Hand me a shovel,” I ask, “What are we digging up?”
“There is a weapon buried under here. One that will help destroy the demons once and for all. Of course, we’ll need you as well.”
Yuma joined the Elite Guards for a reason. He believed in what they were doing. Now that Walid showed himself to be the figure that he was now, it was essential that I ascended to become something greater.
I help them dig.
We dig and dig. Until we finally hit something buried almost 25 feet down. We are in a hole when I notice that we’ve cleared out three silver boxes.
No…not just boxes. Coffins.
It’s Aiden who opens the middle box melting the silver locks that kept it from opening. All of a sudden I realize exactly what the weapon is that they had buried in here. I was a wolf and I heard stories about this weapon. I knew what this weapon was capable of. The weapon has red eyes. It has a fierceness that I’ve never seen…not even in the angriest of werewolves.
The weapon sits up. Aiden offers it a hand to step out of the coffin but it doesn’t take the hand. It almost floats out of the coffin.
“Santos…” Aiden starts, “Welcome back.”
Santos doesn’t reply. He just coughs. A bit of dust comes out of a cough. Santos looks around at all of us. He seems so angry yet still somehow manages to maintain a still, cool, stillness.
“Does he hear us?” Rory asks.
“He hears,” of the blond Vampires replies, “Vampires are moody after being forced to sleep. Moody and extremely thirsty…”
He was FORCED to sleep. No wonder he’s been missing this long. No wonder he looks so angry. He must have no idea about the demons. He must have no idea of the shitty ass fear circle that Eden has become since he was gone.
It’s Aiden who bends down and looks at Santos, “Santos. Santos things have changed since you’ve been asleep. Demons are everywhere. We need you—-”
Santos mouths off some words. He probably hasn’t spoken so long that he doesn’t realize how gentle his voice is.
“We can’t hear you,” Aiden says.
Santos repeats himself…slow and intentional. His red eyes are on fire.
“Point me to them.”