Wolves of Mateo: Wolf Moon

Austin was taken by the hunters by the banks of Wolf Lake - deep in the forests of Mateo, Wyoming. Searching for him is Riley and Dante - his closest friends yet worst enemies. They both have very little time to save him from what's likely to come - a sacrifice for the Wolf Moon - a hunter legend engrained in their traditions. Trying to save their friend is only part of the deal, as new enemies emerge threatening the whole balance of things back home as both Riley and Dante set on a trail out of state in Colorado before they realise the real threat is oozing out from within. A new chapter unfolds. BOOK TWO IN WOLVES OF MATEO DUOLOGY.

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13. Chapter 13

The very next morning Dante towed me off after him and locked us both in the car before anyone even knew we were awake. He’d avoided the topic for the whole night, scared of revealing what I’d done to anyone else, scared of saying it out loud in case someone heard. Ben didn’t look like he’d sensed a thing, which convinced me it hadn’t actually worked.

“Have you finally gone crazy?” Dante asked as his hands clenched and unclenched around the wheel as we drove down a small country road. The rain battered down on the window.

I looked down into my lap and tried to ignore him. I done what had to be done. Dante knew how I felt. “Mr. Dimera was never going to give up his pack for his son… I simply tried to do it for him,” I said.

Dante rolled his eyes before clenching them shut, breathing sharply though his teeth. His head rolled forward and touched the steering wheel. He couldn’t reopen his eyes even as we drove fast down the road. “Are you okay?” I yelled worriedly.

He ignored my question as he realigned himself on the road and continued to rant. “It wasn’t our place to take that action – not yet. The Dimera’s will kill us if they find out!” Dante shook his head like he were shaking away bad energies.

I rolled my eyes like he had as if he were overreacting. And he totally was. “Hey, who cares if they find out? If it worked then they aren’t alpha and they can’t touch us!”

Dante suddenly lunged out, a vein in the side of his head throbbing and his face growing red. I could have sworn it suddenly looked like he were dying.

“Pull over!” I yelled suddenly, worried we’d swerve and hit a tree. “What’s wrong, Dante? Don’t ignore it.”

He did finally pull over, the car dipping into an embankment on the side of the road. He let his head fall forward towards the wheel with a thud, both hands coming up to pull at his blonde locks of hair. “Something isn’t right,” he muttered, “Something’s happening.”

“A lot is happening,” I replied unsympathetically, selfishly caught up in our previous discussion, disregarding any of his current pain.

“No,” He said as he shakily reached towards his own door handle and shoved open the driver side door. I unlatched his belt for him. Dante stumble out the seat and onto the side of the wet road.

The rain battered down on him but that somehow felt better than sitting in the car as he began to relax. I struggled to hear him over the loud thunderclaps that rattled overhead. “What’s wrong?” I asked him.

“The alpha blood,” he whispered quietly, “The pain. The power. I can feel it.” I could only just make out his wheezing voice that sounded as if he’d just been punched in the gut.

I screwed my eyes shut and tilted my head up as I crouched down by his side, throwing my arm and one half of my coat over his thinly covered body. What perfect timing. Lay had begun his own blood transfer, ripping the alpha blood from both mine and Dante’s body. I could only guess it hurt Dante and not me because he was the alpha of the pack, and I was simply his mate and alpha only in name.

“This is great,” I said to no one in particular. “This is just spectacular!” I screamed up into the air. “Everything is falling apart pieces at a time.”

Dante seemed to be relaxing as if it was coming to an end. “It is great – you can’t go doing blood transfers with any person you like now. You should have discussed it with me!” He yelled. Yep, he’d recovered. “Maybe it was for a reason blood transfers were forgotten about.”

I shook my head and stood up. “You shouldn’t be worrying about that right now,” I said, “You look terrible. You’re sick.” I purposely held my hand to his head and sure enough I felt the painful fever breaking way across his forehead.

Dante seemed to be at breaking point. “I don’t care, Riley. I don’t care about any of this at this point! They can take my pack, they can take everything I’ve lived for as long as they don’t take you or my family. Why can’t we just run off somewhere and hide upstate and live a peaceful life? Seriously, Riley… Why are we even here in Mateo right now!?”

That was farfetched and very unrealistic, I thought. We’d never be able to run, never able to hide so long as we had the mob on our back. We could hide from a couple hunters, we could probably even hide from a small pack… But not from all the Wolves of Mateo and a nationwide allegiance of hunters.

“What’s done is done,” I said, “but right now we have to deal with the consequences of what’s happened. Together.”

“Of course we’re doing this together-,” Dante spat before he was interrupted by the ringtone of my phone.

For a moment I ignored it, studying Dante as he looked down on me from his height, rain pouring down his face and soaking his clothes. His hair fell longer over his eyes, covering much of his face. Finally, I picked it up.

“Hello?” I answered blindly without looking at the caller ID.

“Riley,” Megan’s voice called out on the other end between a disturbed signal. “What in the world have you done!?” She screeched like I’d personally attacked her.

I took a deep breath as I listened to what only could be described as havoc down other end of the line. “I’m sorry, okay, but I can explain.” I already knew what this was about.

Megan laughed, but not because she was amused. “I know you can, and I know I’ll agree with what you say but you should have discussed it with us!” she roared. “Did Dante know what you were going to do?”

“I tried to tell you-,” I tried to explain as I shielded my phone from the rain in the shadow on Dante’s towering body.

“I don’t care!” She interrupted, “but right now get your ass down her to the Dimera house and explain it to all of us. Please.”

***

I didn’t think I’d ever see the day that Megan would get so angry at me. It didn’t seem like something she was capable of but I guessed her turn in attitude was a reflection of what I’d done.

When we entered, both Dante and I laid eyes first on Ben who looked like he were paused in real time, void of expression and unmoving as he sat on the Dimera’s couch swimming through his own thoughts. I wanted to tell him I was sorry it had to be him.

Mr. Dimera loomed like a grudged spirit in the corner, evidently still not talking to his wife who looked ten years younger – as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulder.

Things began to escalate very quickly. “Bancroft,” Mr. Dimera piped up, “What gave you any right, huh!?”

Dante raised both hands and took a step back, pointedly looking down at me. Dante was still pissed too, and mate or not he wasn’t taking the fall for this one.

“You weren’t going to do anything about Austin – you were just going to sit back and let him die – your own son!” I said, trying to contain my anger. I’d done what I had to do. No one could tell me otherwise.

The transfer worked cleaner than I thought it would, I observed. That was all it took for Ben to become alpha and the Dimera family a gang of rogues. The problem had been solved in the click of a finger. I couldn’t think why it hadn’t been used before in pack war and conflict – but I supposed a blood transfer was comparable to storming the white house and claiming the president’s office as your own, and through some magical force having no say in it. It just never crossed anyone’s mind, assuming you even knew about it. And even if you did, it was questionable even with werewolf morals.

Kris made his presence known, who was probably here for his niece and in-laws. “Now, now. There really is no need for all the fighting,” he said before he quietly added, “never did I think I’d see the day when I am the most powerful in a room of Dimera’s and Bancroft’s.”

“Enough!” Snapped Ben, who’d visibly had enough. “You,” he said, glancing at both me, Dante, and Kris, “Leave.” Kris tried to stand taller than the new alpha and assert some dominance. Even Kris didn’t stand a chance with the tension in the room.

Ben still seemed distraught. I could understand – overnight his entire life direction had changed and it wouldn’t benefit him in the slightest. Dragged into a dangerous game, one that wasn’t originally his to play.

Touren muttered something about letting the Dimera’s stay on his land while Ben sorted his own Dimera business back here. Ben agreed. After all, the Dimera were now rogue and a rogue in Mateo was dangerous business no matter who they once were.

Was this even the Dimera pack anymore? Ben was related to the Dimera’s, but he was no Dimera. What was the pack called now?

I realised I had more important things to worry about that didn’t involve what a pack was going to be called. Some of those things included finishing this up once and for all and finding Austin – one thing no one seemed to mention. As we were shown the door alongside Mr. Dimera and Rose, Mr. Dimera made his thoughts known.

He stepped out into the still pouring rain and turned with a toxic expression to say, “You’ve more or less killed our son yourself. There’s no point in rescuing him now!”

Rose cowered at the thought as she stepped out to stand beside her husband, dragged out of their own home.

I laughed like I couldn’t believe it. “They don’t need him for this stupid Wolf Moon and that’s all that matters now,” I said.

Mr. Dimera laughed in return. “Exactly. Did you not think any of this through? They don’t need him. Austin is worthless without his alpha blood. He’s worthless to the hunters and now we have even less time to find him alive.”

The group of us fell silent at Mr. Dimera’s comments. He was right. Would the hunters just let Austin come walking back home from wherever they had him trapped to tell us all their secrets? No, cutting his alpha blood was only part of the problem because we still had no idea where he was trapped. Austin wasn’t out of danger yet. I had to tell myself over and over in my head that I already knew this. I done it despite knowing this, but that was only because there was no other choice.

At least now we’d be forced to move. Now the hunters would become restless. They’d need to find another sacrifice and that would force them out of hiding.

Beside Mr. Dimera, his wife Rose became emotional as her eyes welled with tears. I couldn’t judge her in this emotional time, because I felt like doing exactly the same. Simone quickly came to Rose’s side and wrapped an arm around her mother-in-law.

Rose promptly turned her back on us, both her husband and Dante and I. She’d lost her faith, and now slowly losing hope.

***

Dante looked like he’d truly lost his mind this time. Dashing around picking up any old thing in my room that might have been useful, he shoved it into a suitcase until there were three of them filled on my bed.

“Dante, we should stay. There’s no point in us leaving again and running away with our tails tucked. We can’t be driven out that easy!” I wailed as I chased after him, but he was stronger than me and easily pushed me out the way.

He looked between the suitcases and moved things in organisation. “You should pack more clothes – I don’t know what you want to wear.”

I came up behind him and let my hands slap down on his back. “Stop it! What about your mom, my mom? Are you going to leave them here!?”

Dante shook his head ever so slightly. “I’ll be back for them later.”

“Like heck you will! You’ll be here for them until this is all over. You’re not running anywhere,” I yelled, trying to drill sense into him when it seemed there were led encasing his brain. Nothing was getting through to him.

Dante hunched over where he stood and let his shoulders fall. His head dropped in sudden emotions and a small noise escaped out his throat. He threw his foot out and kicked the wooden bed frame so hard that it emitted a crack. “But Sabitha and Samira are waiting on us still,” he muttered, but I knew that was an excuse. He couldn’t care less about my friends.

Approaching him like he were a scared animal, I reassuringly placed a hand on his shoulder. “Dante. Your mom needs you here. Your pack needs you here – you can’t abandon them so easily.”

Dante disagreed. I could see it in his eyes, I could see it in the way he stood as if he’d lost everything already. I turned his body around with my hands until we stood face to face. I could see his expression he tried to hide and let my hand reach up towards his face. “We can go out and drive around to scout the area like before. Like nothing has changed if that’ll make you feel better,” I said quietly.

Scouting the area to him meant running the vast perimeters of his lands checking for danger. When I suggested it to him, I didn’t mean it like that. Dante and I now had no land to check, having lost the pack – the next best thing was to drive around the human territory, the neutral land, and make sure everything was as we left it.

Dante knew without it being said what I meant by scouting. It wasn’t as it was going to be before. He nodded though, satisfied with some sense of normality even if farfetched. “Sure. Of course. I’m sorry – I can’t see past my own worries and everything-.”

I held my pointed finger over his lips in a Shh motions and smiled pitifully up at him. Nothing more had to be said.

I left the room first to leave Dante to his thoughts thinking it best if he got himself in a better state of mind before we began driving. Mindlessly I began to check my phone and noticed an array of text messages from both Sabitha and Samira – mostly consisting of different ways to tell us to hurry up or they were coming here too.

The very latest text sent forty minutes ago read: ‘hey, we’re both leaving for Mateo if we don’t get any reply within half an hour.’ Half an hour had already passed.

I sighed tiredly and began to dial their number as I stood in the hall.

Sabitha picked up. “Hello?” She said.

“Is that Riley?” I heard Samira in the background. She must have been driving.

Sabitha muttered something like ‘it sure is’, then followed by some strange noises as the phone was tossed about between the pair.

Samira finally got the phone as she said down the receiver, “Hey, Riley-.”

I laughed. “You’re driving, right? Give the phone back to your sister, it’s dangerous. Where did you even get a car from? We have your car.”

Samira grumbled under her breath before finally handing it back over. Sabitha shouted something like, ‘I told you!’

“Sabitha, I’m a little busy right now and I’m sorry for not contacting you sooner. I’ve left you out of the loop too much-.”

“Hey, it doesn’t matter,” Sabitha interrupted me, “We’re on our way there and that’s that – and we went back to Lay’s house and grabbed one of their cars. I mean, they caught our rogue scent and chased us for a while but I know what I’m doing. We actually have something important to let you all know so don’t go anywhere. How is the situation anyway?”

I sighed loudly. “Not good, but we’re still here. We’ll hold on till you arrive but I think you totally should have stayed put. Be quick though, I’m not sure when the wind will change.”

“On it!” Sabitha said as I strolled towards our kitchen. “I should hang up now and savour my battery life. Be strong, guys! See you soon.”

“Bye,” I muttered down the line as it went dead. I suddenly felt happier knowing we had some form of back up on the way, but that happiness was muted when I heard Dante’s approaching footsteps on the stairs beside me.

I turned on my heel and quickly stuffed the device in my pocket. I thought for a moment whether I should tell him Sabitha and Samira were on their way but thought better of it. He’d find out when they arrived. Dante worried too much as it was.

It didn’t take long for us to bundle our damp bodies into the car, still wet from the rain that hadn’t let up since early this morning. Dante didn’t say much as he silently started the car and pulled out the drive, a solemn look on his face that read all sorts of pain and troubles.

I wanted to talk about it with him, I wanted to just let it all spill over and lay between us so we could work through it piece by piece together so we’d know how each other felt. The car crawled through every street Dante knew until one of us finally spoke.

“I’m not going to run away,” Dante said suddenly, his eyes set hard and cold on the road ahead as his window wipers worked frantically to clear the screen.

I nodded slowly. “Good.”

“My dad,” Dante said as he came to a sudden halt outside a random house. He took a second for himself as he let his face fall forward. He recovered quickly and began to drive again. “My dad wouldn’t have liked to see me acting this way, especially when I now have to be responsible for our family.”

“He’s proud of you no matter what you do.”

We continued to crawl along through the rain that battered the car. Up ahead in a forested area of town I suddenly made out a black figure cross the road in front of us. It stopped and fell over. I heard Dante mutter something under his breath before he stopped right before the figure. I leaned forward in my seat to see clearer what it was. “Just keep driving,” I said quietly, thinking it was probably some trash that’d blown over in the storm.

Dante squinted as the wipers worked over time to clear the view path. “I think it’s moving,” he said before he reached down and blindly unsnapped his belt. “I’ll move it out the way.”

The rain for a few seconds faltered letting us get a closer look at the large black object on the road. “Wait,” I commanded.

“What-?”

I cut him off with my hand as I slowly unwound my window and stuck my head out. I saw clearly then what exactly had got in our path. The black wolf was sprawled in front of our car, injured but alive as it began to move.

“Dante,” I said quietly as I made a hand signal for him to wind down his own window, “Is that one of your wolves?” I asked as I studied the black wolf’s features. Big like Dante and with fur as black as night. It blended well into the wet grey road.

Dante was silent as he looked at what I could confirm for him was one of his wolves. Who exactly I wouldn’t know, but it was a blow none of the less. We could save the wolf – we could help it. It wasn’t dead yet.

“Should we go out and help-.”

“Stop,” Was all Dante said, reaching and grabbing hold of my forearm as if he didn’t trust me to stay still. “It’s Ethan. And he’s an alpha.”

I looked between Dante and the wolf, and on Dante’s face there was no trace of sympathy. The dilemma Dante and I faced right now was because of the very wolf in front of us. And Lay. Ethan was the wolf on the road and I suddenly had the urge to tell Dante to run him over while he was down.

I recalled the day in Dante’s house just before we left when I met him for the first and only time. He was alone, and evidently didn’t like the Dimera’s.

“I’m going to kill him,” Dante muttered dangerously as he reached for his own belt and then for his own door. This time it was me who had to stop him, grabbing firmly onto his upper arm and hauling him towards me with all his might. He shouldn’t get out of the car, I thought. Lay could be anywhere, and despite the fact we were still on human territory it didn’t automatically mean we were safe. Lay had already shown us he disregarded all of our rules and laws.

I shook my head and yanked him back into his seat. “Stop. You don’t want to do anything you’ll regret.”

Dante hadn’t looked surer of anything else in that moment. “I won’t regret killing a piece of shit like him,” he muttered.

Just then another blurred figure joined the wolf, only slightly visible through the windscreen. We both paused and squinted to look at the human figure, walking closer to the injured wolf. Was it a hunter? A curious human?

The windscreen wipers had begun to jam and all we could do now was put our heads out the window and hope we saw a pleasant face, however when we did all Dante and I could do was stare and hope this wouldn’t end badly.

Standing over the now motionless wolf was Lay, a face we expected to see at every corner as we moved through Mateo but hadn’t met until now. He breathed strongly, his chest heaving up and down, his arms tensed as his hand clenched and unclenched. From a distance I was still able to make out his twisted smile that evolved across his face as he looked from under his hair at our car. He was perfectly aware of who was inside. He knew we’d been here for at least a couple day.

Lay knew he didn’t have to make a move yet.

Dante suddenly reversed the car, hurtling down the rise we’d just come and back out into the main view of some houses. Through the open window we could hear him laugh manically before his voice followed after our retreating vehicle. “Just run, Bancroft, but I’m watching you wherever you go!” His voice faded beneath the screech of our tyres as we entered smoother terrain.

“Don’t suppose we can just up and run now to wherever you had in mind earlier?” I asked as my breathing calmed, now driving through a populated area of town.

Dante was tensed as he wiggled his fingers over the wheel. His breathing was audible as he shifted watch over the wing mirror. “Nope,” was all he said.

 

 

 

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