[ CRESCENT WOODS CHRONICLES: BOOK 1 ]
Mature rating: language, sexual content, violence, mentions of s*xual assault and suicide
"One last word, one last moment to ask you why you left me here behind. You said you'd grow old with me."
~Michael Schulte, 'You Said You'd Grow Old With Me'
Everything is... numb.
All the sounds of people shouting, sobbing, machines beeping, it's all muffled in my ears and I'm just... numb.
I faintly register the sounds of my mom crying, pleading with me to say something.
To look at her.
To do something. Anything.
But I can't.
All I can do it sit on that cold plastic chair and pray to the Moon that this is all some sick joke. I run my fingers through my disheveled blonde hair before burying my face in my hands.
Maybe I'm hallucinating.
Maybe all the stress I've been facing has finally made me snap.
That has to be it.
This is just all one big...
Because there's no way I'm really here, sitting in a sterile hospital with our families releasing broken sobs, begging the doctors to do something.
What can they do? It's too late.
I.... I was too late.
I should've known. I should have fucking seen this coming. I could have stopped it. If I only opened my eyes for one goddamn second, I would've seen this coming from a mile away and stopped it.
This is all my fault.
This is because I failed to protect him. I failed to protect my mate.
And now Easton's dead.
My mate... he's dead.
Amidst the chaos in the hospital waiting room, my dad is angrily shouting at Silas, Easton's dad and our former Alpha. The Alpha before Easton turned of age and became our Alpha.
"How dare you say such things about my son?!" My dad screams, his face turning red and the veins on his throat nearly bursting. "In case you've forgotten, Landon is hurting too! He lost his mate, for fuck's sake!"
"And as his mate, he should've protected my son!" Silas roars, tears streaming down his face and soaking his beard. "If your son had done his job, my son would still be alive! This pack's Alpha would still be alive! What the fuck am I supposed to say to our pack?!"
"Is that all you care about right now?! The pack?!"
"I'm the only Alpha now! Someone has to care about the pack! Easton cared about his people, and because of your son, all of that is destroyed!"
"Landon didn't ask for this! It's not his fault, none of us saw this coming!"
"That thing hasn't cried once since we found them! Does he not feel?! Where is his remorse?!"
A hand touches my arm, making me jump slightly. I look over and see a nurse gazing down at me. My father and Silas are still shouting and don't notice the nurse talking to me.
"Are you Landon Grey?"
I wordlessly nod my head, still feeling like I'm in a dream-like state. This doesn't feel real.
None of this feels real.
The nurse nods her head. "I was told by the patient's mother to bring you back once he was prepared. Would you like to see him?"
Stunned, I look over to where Easton's mother, Celeste, is curled up. Her slender form is slumped over in the corner as her youngest son, Leon, holds onto her like she's his lifeline. Her dark red hair is draped over her face, blocking her from my view.
I look to the other side of the room where my mother is staring out the window, tears silently rolling down her face. My sister is tightly clutching her hand while my brothers sit in shock.
'None of us saw this coming!' My dad's words echo in my head.
I knew something was wrong, but...
But I was too fucking scared to admit it.
But I knew from the moment we rescued him from that filthy warehouse that something inside of him was broken beyond repair. Whatever they did to him made him crack on the inside. He was never able to bring himself to talk about what happened, but by the blood on the inside of his thighs, I was able to piece it together.
The nurse is still looking at me expectantly. I nod my head and we quietly slip out of the room without being noticed.
She leads me down the blindingly white hallway. I feel like I'm in a trance as we approach Easton's room. When we stop in front of his door, my heart starts pounding in my chest.