Wolves of Mateo

After a prank gone wrong, Riley is left abandoned in the forest with snapping wolves approaching her from across Lake Mateo. She wakes up in the Dimera house but soon comes to learn their act of hospitality wasn't just out of kindness, but out of something much deeper and terrifying - to a mere human anyway. Werewolves live among us and Riley finds herself between two of the most powerful werewolves in Wyoming. While her heart is being torn in two, her head is telling her to do the right thing - but it's always easier said than done. Fighting in a whole new world, she must overcome the danger and settle in where she now truly belongs. Werewolf hunters, Mate claims, Alpha rivalry, and Pack wars... Welcome to Mateo, home of the Wolves. *EDITED VERSION NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, PUBLISHED BY MOVELLAS http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GFUK45O *
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 121:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 216:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 319:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 418:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 516:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 619:00 min.

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12. Chapter 12

I heard voices around me. Brief yelling. I couldn’t see a thing.

“Will she be alright?” One asked.

More noise. “She hit her head pretty hard, but she should be waking up soon...”

It sounded like Rose, but I wasn’t entirely sure. I felt my body being moved, but I just felt more uncomfortable. 

Something touched my arm. “Hey, Riley, you want to wake up?” That was Austin, I was sure of it.

I felt my head clearing and felt suddenly encouraged to open my eyes. Light flooded my vision. A head blocked it a moment later and I distinctly saw the black haired mop that just so happened to be Austin’s hair.

“You’ve been out a while,” he laughed.

I frowned at him, squinting as I peered around myself. “What happened?”

“You don’t remember?” He held a hand to my head as if checking my temperature.

I shook my head. “No.”

Austin turned around which gave me room to see his mother who stood behind him and a few others who I didn’t know. “What’s going on?” I asked as panic began to build up inside me.

“There was a fight...” Austin began to say, trying to jog my memories. “Wolves,” he then said.

Everything crashed into me at once and visions plastered themselves onto the back of my eyelids helping me recall the events. Instinctively, I backed as far as I could from Austin and the people in front of me. I studied them all like they posed a threat.

Visions of Austin’s form convulsing appeared as his clothes tore around his changing body and then in his place, a feral looking wolf that then had another wolf between his jaws. He killed it.

“You-,” I yelled at him with a slight whimper. I looked quickly around the room and saw people backing away as Austin tried to approach like I was the wild animal. Rose slowly filtered out the room with the others, a concerned look on her face.

“You were going to find out eventually, but I didn’t think it’d be like this,” he said.

Every time I looked at Austin I saw the dead wolf between his jaws. “This isn’t real,” I told myself. My eyebrows began to twitch.

Austin tried to move closer but he thought better of it and decided not to. “I won’t hurt you,” he tried to tell me, but how would I know if he was telling the truth? When he had the ability to transform into wolf and murder other people, other… things! How was I supposed to know he wouldn’t hurt me?

In my head, though, it all felt like it was coming together. There were wolf attacks suddenly around the same I met Austin. He may have saved me that first night and the other times, but who were the other wolves? Were they Austin’s friends?

I remembered Austin’s father and wondered briefly how he was, but then I remember he was one of them and suddenly didn’t feel like caring for them any longer. 

Another question that wouldn’t go away - were they dangerous?

From the corner of my vision I saw him step closer. I shot him a meaningful glare that he ignored completely. Austin sat on the end of the bed and tried to push his luck. “No. Stop!” I yelled at him.

“Why, Riley? This is hard for me as well!” He said, defending himself.

Forgetting the fact that he was a werewolf – I even sounded stupid just thinking it – I gave him the biggest disgusted look I could and began to yell, “Hard for you? You can kill me just now and not have to worry about me! Then there’s what I think - you expect me to accept that you’re werewolves, you expect me to just accept it for what it is and not be in the least part scared? I watched you fight other wolves, in fact, I watched you snap someone’s neck!”

Austin suddenly had his arm around me so tight that I couldn’t escape it. I began to struggle and I feared he might crush me. Was he trying to hurt me? Trying to make me shut up so he could kill me without anyone finding out?

“Let go!” I screamed, hands flailing battering against both of us.

Austin leaned close to my ear. “I’m not the bad guy,” he whispered.

I gave up then and stopped moving. I wouldn’t be able to defeat him, whether trying to escape his death grip or death hug. “I’m scared,” I revealed.

I realised why he and his father were always in the forest at night. I realised that they beat up that man in the living room for whatever wolf-y business they had brewing which sort of justified why they couldn’t call the police, and I realised that me being here probably put a big wall up around them stopping them from being themselves freely in the one place they should have been able to… Which also explained Mr. Dimera’s hostility at times.

Austin’s grip lessened and he sighed. “It’s been in the family for years. We’re not allowed to tell outsiders unless they’re a mate…” He explained.

“I still don’t understand,” I muttered.

“I don’t expect you to, I’ve not even begun.” He laughed half-heartedly. “I can’t explain how werewolves came about, I don’t even know that. It was brought into the family by my grandfather. He was bitten by an alpha.”

I nodded. Knowing how wolves and their lives worked was pretty normal for a resident of Mateo. A safety measure, of course.

“Lots of people were being bitten in the area at the time. Very complicated. Any wolf can turn you into a werewolf, but only a bite from an alpha can turn you into an alpha wolf, and only then can you start your own pack – your own ‘family’ of werewolves,” he explained vaguely. I understood, but I didn’t want to believe. I couldn’t let myself believe for how ridiculous it sounded.

I asked him some questions just to hear the ridiculous answers.

 “Or you can be born to werewolf parents,” He continued.

I warily nodded, not sure if I should play along or act like I’d heard nothing. “So your grandfather was bitten by an alpha?” I asked.

He nodded slowly. “That was a mistake. I don’t think the alpha ever intended to bite a human, but it’s very hard to control your actions as a wolf. My grandfather turned on the first full moon after and, just like the alpha that bit him, he couldn’t control himself and bit another human so forth turning them into a werewolf bearing alpha power; that would be my mom’s mother – my grandmother.”

So Austin’s grandfather married the woman he bitten, I asked myself? How… Romantic.

Austin looked off in the distance and smiled like recalling happy memories. “Can’t say she ever forgave him for it, but they done all the human things like getting married. They discovered they weren’t the only ones living like this and united with the other wolves in the area. Because they had alpha status, they had the power to create the Dimera pack.”

I could feel the fear dropping off me bit by bit as I listened to Austin. I couldn’t believe what he was saying but I enjoyed it like a story. I laughed a little, “The Dimera Pack?” I said.

“Does the name matter?” Austin replied. He offered a half smile before continuing with the point. “My mother was born, she found as she grew up what we call a ‘mate’. It’s a ‘love of your life until the day you die’ type thing. It’s uncommon not to meet one in your lifetime. My grandfather bit my father to grant him alpha power at 15, and they were married by 20. I was born a year later.”

“What does this have to do with anything?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

He rubbed my shoulder. “I’m getting there. Years ago, just months before I was born, a man came knocking on our door. My grandfather was ill and had little time left so my father had become the alpha.”

I wanted to tell him I was sorry but realised this probably wasn’t the best time.

Austin continued to say, “We welcomed the guy into our home. We realised he was a werewolf, but at the time our pack was fairly ignorant to others in the area. We still knew very little about wolves.”

He took his arm off me. “Long story short, the man turned out to be a spy from the Bancroft pack – the men from yesterday. He revealed many things to us and threatened to wipe us all out. Apparently we were nothing more than spawns of Bancroft created by them and didn’t have the right to our own pack. It was strange. By this point, we had a good but false relationship with Bancroft and we’d set out territories and deals. It was out of the blue,” he said.

“So what was that all about?” I asked.

Austin looked away in thought. “Regardless of the outcome and how it started a war between the two packs, it at least gave my grandfather much needed answers before he passed on. He finally got to find out why, or who done this to him. To us. And we got to know more about how werewolves worked.”

I nodded my head in understanding. Austin still had more to say. “Our pack had always known right from the start of our relationship with Bancroft that their numbers were falling. They were growing weaker, but still the largest pack of North America. They needed new members to keep that title. As simple as it sounds, Dimera pack came to be because the Bancroft went off and decided to turn humans at random to initiate into the Bancroft pack. The alpha obviously didn’t mean to turn my grandfather, and didn’t act fast enough in stopping him from creating his own pack and letting people join. I mean, my grandfather didn’t know he was an alpha until much later but instinct allowed a lot of it to happen.”

“Wow,” I said. It was a good story, I gave him that. Not that I understood it. “So they, rebelled against their creators?”

The pack that turned them did it to strengthen their numbers but instead created their own enemies. How stupid were they? I found myself thinking.

“Their numbers are falling and they need more members to ensure another larger pack won’t come by and wipe them out. They’ve been fighting us to make us join their pack and to gain control over our territory – the more territory can determine how powerful a pack is,” Austin explained. It all laid itself out in front of me in simpler terms that I could understand. The stories seemed to click.

He turned around to get a better look of me. “I’m sorry you were dragged into this.”

I thought it over and over in my head in the matter of seconds. “That’s one thing I still don’t understand,” I said.

Austin muttered a second apology before saying, “The Bancroft pack sends spies to make sure they know our business into our land. They just so happened to be at Lake Mateo the night you and your friend were out. I was checking our territories with my father and I stopped them before they could hurt you. They think you mean something to me just because I had enough of a heart to save a human.” Austin paused in frustration but then said, “We assume they see you as my weakness. Since then they’ve stalked your house which we have no control over as its neutral territory and you know already how that turned out.”

His long winded explanation cleared a lot up but it didn’t feel real. This felt more like a role play than real life. “They think I’m your girlfriend?” I suddenly asked.

“They think you’re my mate,” Austin replied quickly.

The ‘love of your life until the day you die’ thing he mentioned? Oh, I thought. That didn’t explain terribly much.

“In the wolf world it’s the equivalent of being married, except you don’t get to decide who. You see them one day and everything seems to click. There’s very little comparable to it.” Austin sat waiting for my reaction.

“Am- Am I your mate?” I didn’t know what I wanted to hear as I found myself asking.

He shook his head, ‘no’. I suddenly felt at ease. How restricting would that be, bound to a single person from such a young age, to live and breathe with for as long as you live.

“So they want to use me to get to you which makes your pack vulnerable?” I asked. “Does this mean you’re alpha?” The words that came off my tongue left a sour taste – no such thing as werewolves, no such thing as alphas and packs. This was all make-believe.

Austin grown quiet and reluctant to answer questions. Slowly he replied, “My father is the current alpha, but he doesn’t want to make the mistake that my grandfather made and rule until the last minute. He’ll hand it over in a few months on my eighteenth birthday.”

I wanted to ask how many people were part of his pack, what an alpha does, how a mate comes into the equation, but I resisted and held my tongue.

“Just hang in there and I promise I won’t let anyone ever hurt you,” he said. He got up from the end of the bed and looked around.

I peered up at him with a tired expression. “I think I need time alone. Please?” I asked as I looked away but I didn’t hear or feel him get up to leave. “Austin?” I asked again.

He didn’t say anything back. Seconds later he was gone, his footsteps fading down the staircase.

Werewolves aren’t real, I told myself.

This was just getting worse, I thought. I had more questions than before, more things to wrap my head around. Did I even fully understand what I’d just been told?

The Bancroft pack – the black wolves that attacked me, stalked me, and hurt my father – turned his grandfather to ultimately form the Dimera pack and did so to create new members. Build their army. They didn’t anticipate the Dimera pack’s formation, and then a werewolf… war began? And here we were now, using every means possibly to win over the other. Here we were now and I was being pulled into it as a weakness of Austin all due to a misunderstanding?

I didn’t want to know, I decided. I shouldn’t have been so nosy.

I sighed loudly and let my head fall into my lap. I couldn’t go home now, could I?

 

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