"What is it?"
"It's a kid, just a fucking kid."
"Yeah, hey kid, whatcha doing wandering round all by yourself, don't you know there's big bad wolves out here?"
The men laughed, it was low and gravelly and grated up Devon’s skin. He could hear them cracking jokes about his red hoodie, wolves always did. They couldn’t resist an opportunity to make themselves seem bigger than they already were. Devon figured there were about four of them judging from the different voices. Then again, wolves all sounded the same; hungry.
Devon felt a whoosh of air in front of his face.
"Shit he didn't even flinch, check out the balls on this Little Red!"
"Oh fuck, look at his eyes."
They had noticed it, the cloudy haze obscuring what was once bright amber.
"He's fucking blind."
"That's a pity, I always like ‘em to watch. Not a mute as well are you Little Red? I like it when they scream."
Devon swallowed hard. Let them think he was fucking mute as well, he wasn't going to give them any satisfaction. Kashvi would be back soon anyway, she had only gone to check the rabbit traps. Kashvi always came back for him.
"We could get a good price for him? Better than if he's damaged goods."
"He's already damaged goods. What did that to you then Little Red? It doesn't look like claw marks."
Devon felt the warmth pricking at his chest, Kashvi was drawing close.
"He asked you a fucking question human?"
He could feel hot breath on his neck and a growling behind his right ear.
"It's okay Little Red, there are other ways to make you squeal."
There were claws digging into his shoulder, Devon winced but didn't emit a sound.
"I can smell someone, another human!"
The scream came whistling round the clearing, then the sound of a metallic swoosh, the gurgling of blood and the cracking of bone. They were definitely Betas, Kashvi was taking them down pretty fast. Three thuds rang in Devon’s pricked ears, so there had only been three of them. Suddenly, someone grabbed him from behind, someone powerful and ferocious, shit, there were four of them.
"If you touch him. You die. It's your choice." Kashvi’s voice was steely and firm, but it still carried that sing-song edge that made people underestimate her.
"Well if it isn't another little kid! That's a nice blade you got there sweetheart."
Kashvi sighed, "It's a machete, it can slice through a werewolf's skull in a matter of seconds."
"That's real cute, see these claws? These can slice through a little boy's ribs quicker than that."
Another bored sigh, "Look dog, I've had a real bad fucking day, some mongrel seems to have gotten to my rabbits before me, we've been trekking since dawn and I'm pretty sure I'm PMS-ing. So if I were you, I'd back the hell up before I cut you down."
Devon felt the torso behind him go rigid. That's it, come a little closer.
"Nah, don't think I will princess," the wolf pressed against his back, putrid sweat seeping through the fabric.
Devon plunged the blade he had been hiding in his sleeve back with as much force as he could. He knew he had hit the stomach; it always made a different sound to other body parts, more gurgling. Devon sprawled forwards out of the way of any flailing claws, knowing Kashvi would be there to finish the job. A swift hacking sound confirmed it.
"I seriously can't leave you alone even for a minute can I?" Kashvi snapped irritably.
"You took your time, I figured for a moment there you'd ditched me," Devon huffed, scrambling to get up from the damp ground.
"I should be so lucky. Looks like I'll be your guardian angel for a while longer," Kashvi grumbled.
"More like my own personal demon," Devon muttered, wincing at an ache in his bashed knee.
"Shut up Devi, let's get moving before their howls attract any more ronin wolves."
Devon could hear Kashvi pause and guessed that she was looking him up and down, checking for injury.
"I'm not hurt," Devon insisted quickly.
Kashvi let out a huff of air and then he could hear her moving around the camp, gathering their bags, stamping out the fire.
"Are you hurt?" Devon asked.
Kashvi didn't reply.
"Kashvi, are you hurt?"
"I'm fine Devon. Let's go."
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