Avoiding the shifters in the kitchen, I slipped out the backdoor of the pack house and began my walk home through the woods. My own little cabin was only about ten minutes behind the pack house. Far enough to be secluded but close enough in case of an emergency. The best part was that I could barely hear all of the commotion during the day from the main house.
When I had first arrived seven years ago, I was in a constant state of agony from all ofthe noise. Back then I hadn’t been used to being around so many people and because of that I never learned how to dull my senses. And I still haven’t. Why put the pack at risk when I could simply just ignore the mild pain it brought on every once in a while. Although, I did tell Otis and Ryan that I’d learned to dull my senses because I knew that they would baby me if I hadn’t.
Bracing my hand against the trunk of a tree for leverage, I jumped over the fallen one blocking the path. Apparently no one had come to clear the larger debris from the snow-covered path while I was gone. That was to be expected though, the pack members didn’t really come near my cabin anymore. They knew I had issues with thick scents in my area.
The only one that came to my cabin was Theo because I preferred to do his training away from any distractions. The Alpha and Beta came around sometimes to talk about pack safety... well at least Otis did. Ryan just wandered around my living room touching everything as me and Otis talked. Irritating but his scent didn’t really bother me, so I chose to ignore his antics.
Side stepping a branch, I thought about how I should wake up early tomorrow and clear out the path. I didn’t feel like going through an obstacle course every time I went back and forth between here and the pack house. Plus if I left the fallen trunk blocking the path, I had no doubt that Theo would use it as an excuse to skip his morning lessons. Reaching the end of the path, I entered the clearing I built my cabin in. It was a simple one story log cabin with a porch that had a bench underneath the front window and a couple of stairs that led up to the door.
Surprisingly where I was expecting to see layers and layers of snow, there was none. The stretch of land leading to the stairs, the stairs themselves, and the porch was completely cleared of any snow or debri. I’d have to thank Theo next time I saw him for shoveling the path and sweeping the porch for me.
Walking to the front door, I swept my eyes over the trees that circled my home. The noises of the forest seemed to echo loudly from all around causing me to sigh in contentment. Finally, alone at last. A smile curved my lips as I bounded up the porch steps to the door. Unbuttoning the pocket on my right thigh, I pulled out my house key and reached out to unlock the door. I stopped right before putting the key into the lock to look around...my duffle wasn’t on the porch. Which meant...Theo put it inside but he definitely doesn’t have a key so how....
Grabbing onto the handle, I gritted my teeth in anger as it twisted open underneath my hand. Fucking deliquent gremlin breaking into my house and then leaving it unlocked! Why did I even bother protecting this pack? They had absolutely no sense of self preservation.
Stepping silently over the threshold, I tilted my head to the left. Taking deep even breaths, I lowered my heart rate until I couldn’t hear it anymore before listening for others. When I was met with more silence, I moved further into the house before closing the door behind me.
Reaching over I flipped the light switch on the wall, flooding the living room with bright light. Taking in the dark blue plaid couch with my duffle resting on the ground next to it, I glanced over at the dark brown coffee table and the T.V mounted in the corner. With a deep breath, I filtered through all of the different scents circulating in the cabin.
Dust. Stale air. Theo’s lemon-y scent. Wood. Snow. Pine.
The last two probably came in from when I walked through the door just moments before. Satisfied no one was laying in wait for me, I continued on into the kitchen making a beeline straight for the fridge. I was starving. I should’ve brought something to eat on the bus like the others had. But at the time I thought I’d quickly debrief Otis on my time away and then I’d be free to go hunting. If I’d have known that someone from my past was going to show up, I wouldn’t have waited to eat.
Rounding the island in the middle of the white tiled kitchen, I pulled open the stainless steel refrigerator doors. Sighing I looked over the items inside, which of course had gone bad. Grabbing the spoiled vegetables and meats, I walked the few paces to the back door before tossing them into the trash can. Looked like I’ll be going into town soon to restock on the things I couldn’t get from the pack garden.
On the way back to the fridge, I stopped in front of the sink to look out the window above it. The way the trees swayed in the snow swirling breeze felt like it was beckoning me to join them. Making me want race through the trees in my true form, jumping over logs and running down prey beneath the guiding light of the moon. I had always enjoyed the coldness of the air and the way the snow would melt on my skin. It reminded me of freedom, of being alive. Heart thundering in my ears, sweat cooling over my skin, freezing air rushing through my lungs with adrenaline pumping through my veins. It was like a drug I couldn’t get enough of and I doubted I ever would. A flash of red had me snapping my head forward only to catch the reflection of my own eyes. It was my birth right after all, the forest was soaked into my very being.
After a promise to myself that I’d go out into the forest in the next couple of days, I turned away from the window. Back to scanning the bleak pickings, I shut the refrigerator doors and moved over to the cabinets instead. Pulling out a bowl and two small packets of Brown Sugar and Maple oatmeal, I opened the packets and dumped them into the bowl before filling it with tap water. Putting the bowl in the microwave, I set the timer to two minutes and then grabbed a spoon from the drawer. Tossing the spoon on the counter, I leaned against the island to wait for it to finish.
It wouldn’t be the most fulfilling meal but it was the only edible thing I had at the moment. A steak would be much better. My fangs throbbed to be unleashed at the thought of a bloody steak. I could eat it raw in my human form which was perfect since I preferred raw-
Whipping around I looked in the direction the sound had come from, which turned out to be the front door. Eyes narrowed, I slowed my heart rate and moved quietly towards the door while making sure to stay hidden. Hugging the wall, I leaned my head out slightly but saw no one in the window. Standing behind the door now, I closed my eyes to focus completely on my hearing. The calm thud of a heartbeat on the right side of my porch where the bench was could be heard.
Who was sitting on my porch?
Opening my eyes, I looked at the portion of wall where the bench would be. The heartbeat was a regular shifter’s so it had to be someone from the pack. But who would be visiting me this late? The microwave’s sudden beeping startled the person into moving. Flipping the lock, I quickly ripped open the front door.
Stepping out onto the porch, I shifted my nails into claws and lunged towards the bench only to pull up short. What was he doing here? There, sitting with his hands on his knees like he was just about to stand, was Otis.
“Shit, I always forget how fast you are.”
“What are you doing here? I thought you were going to bed.”
“I wanted to talk to you about something. Two something’s actually.” Otis said, straightening out.
I tilted my head as I looked him over, “About what? I almost shredded you.”
He was in blue jeans and a black t-shirt with converse on his huge feet, he must have changed before coming here. His relaxed clothing didn’t explain why he was at my cabin at this time of night though. He’d only been here a few times without Ryan before and only during the day.
“It’s what me and Ryan wanted to talk to you about tomorrow. I decided it’d be better if I spoke to you alone. And there’s something else we needed to discuss.” Otis replied, taking a step forward until we were eye to eye.
He was barely hitting six feet which was considered short for an alpha, but what he lacked in height he made up for in width. Muscles roped his wide chest, thick arms and tree trunk like thighs. Other Alphas always assumed Ryan was a fellow Alpha and that Otis was the Beta but that stopped the instant Otis’s dominance flooded the room.
“Oh. I know why you’re here.” Suddenly, it was obvious why he’d come to see me. His word choice, proximity and how late he had come was a dead give away.
Bewildered, he said, “You do? How do you know already?”
“Listen, it’s completely natural. Your wolf is just reacting to the strength and dominance I give off.”
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