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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19. Chapter 19

I woke up to an intense pain in my shoulder. I saw flashes before me of sharp teeth and a wolf. Slumping back as I tried to sit up, I glanced down at my bruised and cut arm. Suddenly the realization hit me. I’d been bitten.

Blood seeped through the bandage and as I lifted my arm to inspect it, sharp pains shot up the bone. The bite wound was in sight as I tilted my head, situated at the top of my arm on the end of my shoulder.

It was hard to keep myself from touching it.

Did I hit my head when I went down, I thought, as I suffered from a pounding headache and a light head. Something had happened.

Gradually in front of me, the door opposite the bed opened. Stood there was Megan. She didn’t notice I was awake and tiptoed into the room. As she glanced up and saw my sitting figure, she froze. “You’re awake,” Megan said.

I choked out a pained laugh. My voice was hoarse and my throat was dry. “How long have I been sleeping for?” I asked.

“Maybe three days?” she replied like it was nothing.

I sat up abruptly despite the pain. “Three days?!” I yelled.

I looked at my arms and saw small little plasters on my inner elbows. Someone had been taking my blood. This is serious.

“Riley, do you remember what happened?” She stepped a little closer to comfort me. I recalled hazy memories that came back bit my bit but none formed a clear picture.

Through the mud in my head I pulled the vision of the wolf as it stalked me while I tried to escape. I stopped. It attacked.

“A wolf bit you, Riley,” Megan said, the words being spoken aloud confirming what I had feared to be my imagination.

My hands shook like a leaf. Megan began to look concerned as she stepped further towards the exit ready to get help.

I breathed deeper than usual, quicker than usual. My head felt worse and worse. “Can I get something for you?” She asked.

“I don’t want to become a werewolf, Megan, I don’t want to,” I cried. My hands tightened around my waist, I gently leaned back to calm myself. I didn’t find any relief and suddenly found myself beginning to choke.

I heard Megan mumble something like ‘Oh god’ before I the door slammed and she was gone. I heard her wailing the name of Austin and Rose and it was around that moment that I wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear. My eyes fell shut and normal breathing resumed. Here’s to forgetting a whole load of trouble.

***

I was back to normal once Rose force fed me some porridge. They told me all about their mission to find a werewolf doctor on such short notice to treat my wounds while I was sleeping. It hadn’t been easy.

My wounds were too suspicious to take into a hospital – or at least too suspicious after what happened to my father. Wolves were the enemy now and another attack on a human wouldn’t do the actual wolves or the werewolf kind any good.

Austin sat across from me at the end of the bed. He had this solemn look on his face since he entered and searched for something in my expression. He almost looked regretful.

“Austin...” I finally said. He smiled at my interaction, taking it as a sign to move closer.

“I’m sorry how everything has turned out,” he said as he laid a hand over my good shoulder.

I expected that bubbly internal feeling to rise up from inside and cause me to quake with nerves. I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel anything towards Austin.

With only that I knew something was wrong. I knew I had a crush on Austin despite everything he was and all that I hated. Over the past few days, I allowed myself to admit that.

“What did I expect? It was going to happen sooner or later. Megan told me about the whole biting and marking,” I muttered. Austin visibly cringed as I explained.

He tried to explain himself, “I would never do that to you-.” He stopped himself before he said something I wouldn’t like. “No, no one should have turned you but me. That should have been my responsibility. Even if you’re not my mate.”

“Save it,” I told him. I didn’t want to squabble over such things when my head was pounding. Out of the corner of my eye, I glanced at my wound. Its bandage had been removed but blood still seeped out of the fresh cut. It was a full moon tonight. It would heal entirely in a few hours’ time. Tonight I’d be one of them.

I remembered my reaction when Rose told me the full moon was tonight just a few hours ago. My father had stood by her side watching me intently, gauging my reaction. This would be his second time turning, and it would be my first. It had been two weeks already since his own transformation.

Austin moved around uncomfortably, accidentally jolting my pained body and arm. He immediately realised the mistake and reached out to lay a gentle hand on me. “What’s wrong?” He asked.

He was so sweet, he really was. When he wanted to be.

I remembered our first encounter – how he’d demanded of his mother to take me home as I sat in his kitchen, confused and scared. He couldn’t have been any ruder. Now we sat together as he stared at me waiting for something to say.

“I’m fine,” I lied, but I didn’t feel fine. I was scared and my shoulder itched terribly.

Austin offered a small but clearly fake smile. I tried to force myself to give him one back but I only succeeded in wincing again.

The sensation of my arm healing as the skin stitched itself back together wasn’t pleasant. It was a sensation I hadn’t felt before that I was beginning to really not like. Being a wolf was beginning to sound hard and tiresome.

His hand slowly slid up to my shoulder and gently ran his rough thumb over the nearly fully healed area. “It’ll be gone soon,” Austin said. And so will my time as a human, I thought, as I peered out the window and saw the setting sun.

When I turned around again, Austin’s face was closer to mine. “Do you feel any different?” He asked suddenly.

“Why would I?” I said before suddenly his face fell lower towards my exposed shoulder, hovering over the small area for a moment or two letting his breath cascade down my exposed skin. Slowly, his lips fell over the area directly opposite the red, now no longer bleeding wound.

He repeated it again, over and over as if he thought it’d make me felt better. As if this was the right thing to do between us. To me, however, this felt nothing more than wrong. I gripped his upper arms and didn’t say a word, hoping the butterflies were only late in starting… But in the end I felt nothing.

I didn’t feel anything. A voice in my head told me this was weird. This wasn’t natural. Something had changed… But the only thing that had changed was the werewolf virus wreaking havoc inside me and the bite mark on my shoulder.

I laid my palm over his cheek to lift his face closer to mine. Austin’s objections were all but none as I kissed him on the lips despite everything telling us not to. 

Austin’s hands began to stray from my neck and wandered to my shoulders where they once again found the mark. It didn’t hurt any more. He ran his hand over it’s now fully healed but slightly inflamed surface.

He backed away and looked me in the eyes, muttering several apologies for many different reasons.

Austin glanced down at my shoulder once again to inspect the surface that’d healed at werewolf speed. He tensed for a few seconds before his hand came up to touch the injury. I felt the change in attitude and asked, “What’s wrong?” He stared at it intently.

I tried to sit up and this time Austin let me. He moved along the bed so he wasn’t invading my space. “How long have you had that mark?” He asked, knowing it hadn’t been there long – he had looked at it himself not a minute ago.

I looked confused as I asked, “What mark?”

His response was to point at my shoulder. Now he was away I was able to see it clearer. I looked down and right enough there was no blood or any sign of a wolf bite – had I healed that quickly? But as Austin had said, there was a small mark on my shoulder. Red and inflamed, puckered from the skin. I might have mistaken it for a bug bite if it weren’t for the odd shape. It looked like a capital ‘B’. It was so tiny, though, that my eyes struggled to read it. It almost looked like a pink splodge of a tattoo. “What is it?” I asked, trying to get a better look.

Austin jumped from the bed in shock. “Oh shit,” was all he said before running for the door.

***

“You’ll be fine,” my dad told me. Somehow I didn’t trust his words. He wasn’t fine at all when he transformed into a wolf. I could vividly recall his pain. I was glad he had no such memories.

When I tripped taking the short cut home causing the gash on my leg – that was pain for me. My dad was a tough guy, he never cried at anything. He cried during the change. What would I be like?

Darkness was nearly here and fear knitted its way into my bones. I hugged my dad tightly as the cold swept past us on the banks of Wolf Lake.

Austin acted like he didn’t interrupt our... moment because of some mark on my shoulder. I hadn’t just forgotten the mark. What the hell was it? He had ignored it since, avoiding it for now but still on both our minds.

“It’s painful, but once you’re a wolf you’ll forget it all and you’ll be amazed. Being a wolf is so different,” Megan said. She joined us on her own accord, hoping to spend as much time out as possible before going home tomorrow. I was jealous of her freedom. She had no school because she had classes online to avoid interaction with humans. It made sense. Her mom would be leaving to go home soon, too.

I wanted to snort at what I was being told. “It won’t be anything special,” I replied.

“You’ll have to wait and see then. You tell her, James,” she said as she looked up at my father expectantly.

My dad looked between us both, standing tall, and rolled his eyes. “It really is something,” he replied as if his head was somewhere else.

I didn’t believe it though. How inconvenient was it to be an animal that couldn’t talk or walk on two legs when you could be a human and do that and more?

Ahead of us there was light chatter between Austin, his father, and a few people by his side. I wished he wouldn’t do this. I wish he wouldn’t ignore me and act like something didn’t happen just because it suited him. It really didn’t suit me.

The moon was nearly at the highest point in the sky, the full moon glistened as a reflection down on Wolf Lake and casted a glow over everyone’s faces. I felt an itch on my skin begin to spread and asked my dad about it. All he replied was, “I feel it too.” He was beginning his transformation also.

That’s when I knew it had begun. It didn’t take long for things to escalate.

Pain broke out across my back. Too soon, I thought, as ripples of absolutely terror sent shockwaves of pain through my system like I was being lashed with a whip over and over.

Beside me, my dad was bent over with his hands on his knees trying to stay strong. I hoped it wouldn’t be as bad for him this time. I was glad one of us would handle it a little better tonight.

“It’ll never hurt like this again, I promise,” Megan reassured me, but I wasn’t convinced.

I was already on the ground, but as I turned to face her another wave sent my face flat into the dewy grass.

I screamed out in complete and utter pain. I’d never experienced anything like this in my life.

“Hopefully she’ll pass out so she doesn’t have to endure the rest of the transformation,” I heard someone say.

Austin acknowledged me for the first time in hours as he crouched down to the ground and laid a hand on my back. “It’ll pass soon. You just concentrate on something else,” he said.

I couldn’t though. What else was there to think of at a moment like this when your insides felt on fire and you were sure you were about to die. Austin had said so himself, not everyone survived a transformation.

 “Relax,” he said, quiet and soothing in my ear. I tried to overcome the pain by relaxing against his voice, but the pain seemed to spread like an infectious virus through me until all my limbs were rendered useless.

Then there was a crack.

I felt a bone snap right along my left arm. I remembered breaking a bone when I was a kid, the pain was nothing like I’d felt before. What was happening now was worse. A lot worse. Multiple bones breaking at once, deforming and transforming, sealing back in a new position.

I lifted my hand to see them now. Elongated fingernails resembling talons on a hand that had sprouted tufts of wiry thick hair.

Internally I felt cracks. I could heard things shift below my skin.

The hair on my arms grew longer, my clothing began to burst as bones stuck out from my skin and took a new form, and I felt my legs deforming as I literally howled in pain with a new voice.

I tried to face the ground to muffle the noise but I found a long snout in the way.

The pain was slowly subsiding but I couldn’t help but feel drained. My body lingered with a light remembrance of the fire that burned my body as it taken its new form. People began to gasp in surprise.

“Bancroft,” Megan whispered. I assumed they referred to my black fur which I could see clearly on my paws through eyes so good I could make out each flake of grass and each visible grain of sand near the banks of Wolf Lake.

Beyond the tree line that we were facing, my sharpened vision zeroed in on the new arrivals. The Bancroft Megan was actually referring to.

I felt myself growl at the unknown faces before anyone else could react feeling invincible.  

No one looked pleased to see the new visitors. Megan made her way to my side and my dad did the same, approaching my other side as a wolf and glanced my way before focusing on the visitors.

“What are you doing on our land, Bancroft?” Austin’s father yelled, oozing with anger.

The man at the front grinned. “I see you’ve finally marked your alpha female, Austin,” The dirty blonde haired man yelled back as they came closer. “Taken you long enough.”

Austin was tense suddenly. I tried to stand on my four legs but I fell hopelessly down to the ground. My entire body felt like jelly. I observed the intruders with curiosity and felt myself drawn to the one in front who spoke with such confidence.

“Don’t act all innocent, it’s clear she’s been turned by one of your filthy pack animals,” Austin snarled. “You had no right.”

“Now she has to go through the two moon trial before she can join Dimera, you know what that means Austin?” The man at the very front laughed slightly, enjoying the tease. “She’s a rogue. Nothing stopping us from killing a rogue.”

Austin lunged but was quickly controlled and held back by a few other men. “Your pack has no right, Dante!”

The man who went by the name Dante took a small step forward before he narrowed his eyes. “I had every right. And I don’t like it when people claim what’s mine,” He replied with venom. It seemed everyone but me understood what he meant when our side broke out in whispers.

Austin looked back at me in pain, they reflected hurt and disbelief. I wanted nothing more than to ask why and then tell him to not be so apologetic. That should be me.

It was enough to give me willpower to force myself onto human feet. I felt the cold nip at my skin as the fur appeared to vanish. My bones painfully clicked and shrunk away with ease. Megan instantly draped a blanket over me, covering my nude and cold body from view.

Megan dropped to my side and whispered, “Told you it would be fine.”

“Don’t speak just yet,” I mumbled, knowing fine well things could change at the last minute. All I could think of was Dante, his malicious stance that intrigued me to find out more. His aura enticed me closer. His eyes suddenly connected with my human ones as if sensing my gaze and he smirked.

“Your packs is in so much shit, Austin, you know that?” Dante stirred the brewing pot of lies and deceit.

Dante obviously knew something, and I had a good idea of the repercussions of whatever it was he knew. It seemed to always end in death in the werewolf world.

Austin’s dad took a step in and gave him a deathly look. “You threaten the Dimera pack and you’ll have yourself a full out war, this time it won’t just be spying on each other. Blood will be shed, Dante. Go tell your father while you have the time,” Mr. Dimera commanded with an icy voice.

Dante’s voice lowered dangerously as his gaze became vicious, “I already planned on blood being shed the moment I realised your son is claiming my true mate as his.”

It fell on me like a house of bricks. I was whose mate? I thought. Dante? A Bancroft wolf? If I was his mate, then it was him who bit me. The mark on my shoulder was the marking symbol as Megan describe. ‘B’ stood for Bancroft. It all seemed to make perfect sense now.

In that moment, I didn’t care for Dante though. I was scared for Austin.

The truth was out - the Dimera’s would be in grave danger.

I tried to stand but couldn’t. My legs failed and collapsed painfully under me. I held the blanket tighter and tried to think of a way around this. Megan tried to hold me down and keep me in place, telling me it was better to stay still.

Austin and his parents would be killed, the pack would belong to Bancroft like they originally planned as dictated by werewolf law and I would be forever bound to Dante. I couldn’t let that happen – not for myself, but for Austin and his future.

“Riley, please don’t come closer,” Austin said, trying to get me to stay still and out of harm’s way.

Dante snorted as he said, “You can’t tell her what to do; she’s still a Bancroft wolf.”

“The two moons still apply!” Austin shouted back, grasping at the only hope left but we knew it was a losing battle.

Dante shook his head tauntingly. “You’ve not only forgotten a few pack laws, you’ve forgotten them all. I thought you were an alpha’s son?” Dante sneered, teeth bared in an animal-like snarl. “Mates can’t leave each other. Ever. She’s a werewolf now and the mate to an alpha. She’ll be killed. And speaking of killed, so will you. Telling a human about werewolves and then falsely claiming the girl as yours. How stupid.” Dante clicked his tongue in disapproval.

Austin was snarling right back at him. “You think we don’t have stuff against you? Riley wouldn’t even know about werewolves if it weren’t for your men bursting through our window and turning into a human before her very eyes!” He cried.

“You think anyone would believe you? Touren know better than to go against our word and all those other tiny packs have no way to enforce that claim. I think you’ll find that you are in fact the one in trouble here, Austin,” Dante threw back, knowing he had the upper hand.

Austin lunged out of the men’s grip before they knew what was happening and pulled his fist back ready to punch Dante. “You bastard!” he growled.

Dante was ready and caught the fist mid-swing in his hand and twisted Austin’s arm painfully behind his back. “Think twice before throwing punches at me, Austin. You’re lucky my mate is around otherwise I wouldn’t be so nice.”

I wanted to spit at his feet for what he was doing to Austin. There was something holding me back from doing just that, and it wasn’t just Megan holding me down on the ground. Something inside told me he was the good guy. Dante would help me do anything I wanted. I couldn’t believe that though. I didn’t want to believe that. That wasn’t me thinking, that was my werewolf!

“I’m not giving up Riley,” Austin screamed as if we’d been together for as long as we knew each other. I understood his pain, but I couldn’t understand his fight. I knew now the best thing to do was give up – for his own sake.

Dante planted a confident smirk on his face, as if he already knew the outcome. “Then prepare yourself for a full-out pack war, Dimera. It’s not going to be pretty.”

 

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