WARNING: This chapter contains strong language, sexual innuendos, and brief partial nudity.
The note came in a week’s time. Cynthia had told Darius about his daughter’s disappearance and how she’d detected the stench of a vampire mixed in with Allanna’s. To say the least, Darius was pissed off.
When the unmarked letter arrived in his mailbox the following Friday, he scrutinized it with resentment.
I have your daughter. I will not harm her in any way, and you will get her back but only if you and your kind leave Duskwood permanently. Let’s not prolong this battle any further, shall we? Your daughter will be returned to you only after your pack has vacated the territory entirely. Don’t forget, we live forever, so we have all the time in the world. But your daughter doesn’t, for she’ll continue to age and will someday die. You wouldn’t want that burden on your shoulders, would you?
Enclosed is a treaty explaining all the aforementioned details. Just sign it and return it, and when my pupils have ascertained that you’re gone, you’ll receive information regarding your daughter’s whereabouts. Then, and only then, will you see her again.
Darius crumbled the letter in his hand, his temper flaring. Those filthy blood-suckers abduct his daughter and use her as blackmail to confiscate his territory? He wouldn’t have it.
“This means war,” he declared to his wife, who entered the room looking frazzled. “Those monsters have crossed the line for the last time. Rally everyone you know. Send word to all the packs you can find. This isn’t just about Allanna, it’s about the fate of our species. It’s time to bring these vampires down permanently.”
Three months later…
Three months was a long time to stay a wolf. Allanna only knew how long she’d been held prisoner because she’d used her claws to scratch days into the wall. She was sure her father wouldn’t give in to the tyrannical demands of the asinine vampires, but surely he had a plan to get her out of this hellhole, right?
Allanna hadn’t stayed a wolf the entire time. The leech who called himself Xavier Deitrech would occasionally leave the room for a bathroom break, though the bathroom in question was right outside the dungeon door. He would still be able to hear if she tried to escape.
But she didn’t dare try, not with the jagged silver spikes on the bars that enclosed her. She’d be dead within minutes if all that got into her system.
Xavier would also sometimes be replaced by a blonde-haired vampire named Malik, who she inadvertently learned was Xavier’s best friend. The two took turns guarding her in the unlikely event that she’d manage to escape and screw up their diabolical plot.
When her captors weren’t around, Allanna would revert to her human form just to stretch out her muscles, which ached for exercise. She wanted nothing more than to be able to just run freely, even if for a few minutes, so she didn’t feel so caged like…like an animal.
At least when Allanna was a wolf, she didn’t have to converse with anyone. If she were a male, she’d lift her leg and pee on Xavier’s fancy pants, just to show him what she thought of the situation. “Piss on that” it would be saying. As it was, because she was adamant to remain a wolf in the presence of her enemies, she had to resort to relieving herself in the corner, just like the caged animal that she was. This just made her even more infuriated.
Just then, the door banged open, causing Allanna’s ears to twitch. She looked up to see two vampires, Malik and a red-headed teenager, stride into the room.
“Mortius finally let us down here,” Malik said to Xavier in a gruff voice. “I hear she isn’t very talkative.”
“She’s not,” Xavier replied as he set his book down. “Hell, since day one, she’s been like that.” He gestured to her, indicating her wolf form. “I don’t even remember her human form, really.”
Allanna let out a growl, which caused the red-head to laugh maniacally. “This is the bitch daughter of the wolf pack leader? She doesn’t look so tough to me.”
Allanna let out a louder growl and got closer to the bars.
“Ooo, I’m so scared,” the red-head taunted. “She’s gonna try to bust through the silver bars and get me. What will I do?!”
“Shut up Jebadiah,” Xavier said in an annoyed voice. “Does Father know you’re down here?”
“He’s too busy taking care of Bianca, as usual. He doesn’t give a shit what I do anyway. It’s not like I’m out getting laid. I wish, though. I still don’t see why you don’t bang the shit out of Gloria. Man, that girl is fine.”
“Get out of here.”
“What crawled up your ass and died?”
“Nothing, I just don’t want to have to succumb to Father’s wrath if he finds out you were down here without his permission, and I allowed it. Now get out of here.”
“Whatever. Mortius said I could come down here to see you with Malik, so Father can't do anything about it. But do us all a favor, will you? I know you’re stuck in here with a wild animal all day, but whatever you do, don’t make the same mistake Mother did.”
Xavier’s face hardened as he stood up and grabbed Jebadiah’s shirt before warning, “Don’t you ever say that again, do you understand me? Don’t tarnish our mother’s name!”
“Dude, she tarnished her own name by screwing…”
“Get the fuck out of here!”
Jebadiah took a step back, flipped Xavier off, and stormed out, slamming the door shut behind him.
“Son of a bitch,” Xavier said to no one in particular. “I don’t need that damn kid down here causing problems. What do you want, Malik?”
The blonde replied, “I thought I’d warn you that Gloria’s on her way down here.”
“What the hell for?”
“Probably Daddy’s orders. And maybe she’s feeling sexually frustrated since she’s hardly seen you since you’ve been playing dog catcher.”
Xavier sighed. “I’m glad I’ve got you as a best friend. At least you can warn me. Every time I see her, she’s got perverted thoughts in her head. I think she cares more about doing me than becoming my mate.”
“I wish she’d look at me like that.”
“Please, once you get past her good looks, you’re past Gloria. She’s a shallow, spoiled brat and Daddy gets her everything she wants. She just can’t comprehend why anyone wouldn’t want her, and why she can’t have even one thing she wants.”
As Xavier was saying this, the door swung open again to reveal a female vampire with titian-honey hair, sky blue eyes, and a sultry half-smile. In her hand was a bag.
She also, Allanna couldn’t help noticing, had an ample amount of cleavage. It was blatantly obvious that she was trying to attract Xavier’s attention.
“Oh, hello, Gloria,” Malik swooned. Gloria nodded in his direction, but her gaze was riveted on Xavier.
“My father requested that I bring these for our visitor,” she said as she withdrew something from the bag she was carrying.
“Clothes?” Xavier asked skeptically. “What for? She’s a wolf, as you can see.”
“Yes, but it’s possible that she’s remaining in this form because otherwise she’d be naked. We should allow her some modesty. Besides, I’m sure she’ll want to speak when she hears the news about her own father.”
Allanna lifted her head and sat up, then regretted showing so much interest in what Gloria had just said. It was probably a lie, anyway.
“On the contrary,” she said, reading her mind (that got so annoying!). “Your father has finally agreed to get his pack out of Duskwood. You’ll be returning home soon enough.”
Could it really be true? Had her father, the alpha male of the pack, truly have given in to these leeches? He truly couldn’t think of another way to free her?
“Here you go,” Gloria said in a snooty tone, carrying a tank top toward the bars and leaving the bag next to the couch. Allanna growled, but Gloria ignored this as she placed the shirt on the floor of the cage. “Don’t be shy, let’s see how it looks on you.”
Allanna growled again before ripping the bright red garment to shreds.
“Well, what an ungrateful dog you are,” Gloria droned on. “That was terribly rude of you.”
A snarling sound emitted from Allanna’s throat, a warning that would cause anyone else to back away. And if they ran, it would just be a thrill – wolves loved the thrill of the chase. It made catching their prey that much more rewarding.
Prey. How long it had been since Allanna had even gotten to hunt! She was given scraps of meat, but they just weren’t as satisfying as a live deer or rabbit.
“Hey, if you’re a good little dog,” Gloria crooned, “I’ll give you a bone, and maybe it’ll have some pig meat on it.”
Allanna jumped onto her hind legs and snarled even louder. This time, Gloria did take a step back.
“Gloria, that’ll do,” Xavier interjected. “Just leave her alone.”
“Whatever you say. I don’t know how you can stand being down here all the time, Xavier. The smell alone is making me want to pass out.”
“I guess if you’ve been succumbed to it for three months, you grow accustomed to it.”
Gloria shuddered before staggering out of the room.
“See what I mean?” Xavier mumbled under his breath, loud enough for both Allanna and Malik to hear.
“Not really,” Malik replied.
“Whatever. Do me a favor, will you? I’m dying of thirst, go get me something.”
“Something, or someone?”
“Just give me one of the plasma juices. That’ll suffice for now.”
“All right, I’ll be back.”
Malik exited out the door. He was back in a matter of minutes. When he left again, Xavier turned to look at Allanna, his face looking tired.
“I know you’re tired of being a wolf,” he remarked. “Why don’t you swallow your pride and just put on one of these outfits? At least then you’d be able to talk.”
“What makes you think I want to talk to you?” she asked him in her mind.
“Ah, so you do want to talk,” Xavier chortled. “One way or the other, you’ll start conversing, or else you’ll go mad.”
“Leave me alone.”
“You’re just lucky that shirt you shredded wasn’t my mother’s. Then I’d have to kill you, regardless of my orders. Killing you wouldn’t do us any good, but if your father’s already signed the treaty, I guess it wouldn’t matter.”
“So that’s why you saved me that night in the alley. If you didn’t kill me, those thugs probably would have, which would have foiled your plans.”
Curious despite herself, Allanna found herself wondering, “Who was that teenager you got so mad at about your mother?”
“That’s my younger brother. I don’t take kindly to anyone saying anything against my mother.”
“Why? What happened?”
“I fail to see what business it is of yours.”
“Fine, I’m tired of being quiet. A little conversation would be nice, even if it does have to be with you.”
“That’s better. But on one condition – I want you to revert to your human form for us to talk. It feels more normal.”
“We’re not normal.”
“No, but it would be a refreshing change of pace. Besides, when’s the last time you had a bath and a haircut? You can’t do that in your current state.”
Allanna frowned, though that couldn’t be seen under her shaggy fur. It had been a while since she’d gotten to bathe, and she was very tired of the grungy feeling she could sense on her fur. Plus her hair just kept getting longer.
“Fine, but you better not look.”
“I won’t give you the pleasure of looking.”
Allanna sighed as Xavier tossed another set of clothes from the bag toward her. She carefully squeezed a paw in between the bars and pulled them closer to her, luckily without scraping anything on the silver spikes. When she saw that Xavier had his eyes closed, she turned her back to him and began the transformation.
It was all a matter of the mind. She envisioned herself as one form, and thus became that form. Her bones contoured to the appropriate shape and size to conform to her new body. She’d learned to do this at a very young age, as children could also turn into wolves.
The only exception was pregnant werewolves – a fetus couldn’t grow if its mother’s body kept shape shifting. It was made and designed to grow inside one type of body and that’s it. Changing forms while pregnant would more than likely kill the fetus.
Luckily, Allanna didn’t have to worry about that part.
When she finished transforming and put the clothes on, she crossed her arms and said firmly, “All right, you want to talk? Let’s talk.”