Strength of the Pack
By: Robin Gagnon
Sierra had always loved wolves. This was no surprise, seeing as her father was a scientist that studied them constantly. Due to his line of work, it meant that they moved quite often, but this time, he promised it would be their last.
“You’ll love it here,” he was telling her, as they drove from the airport to their new home. “It’s got a great neighborhood and there’s a forest that surrounds the town with lots of wolves.”
Sierra’s father had just landed a job at a college in the city as a professor on wolves. Since he knew he was getting older, he didn’t want to study the wolves in the field anymore because it was beginning to wear him out.
“The school that you’ll be attending is great too,” he was saying. “You’ll be able to spend your last two years of high school there.”
Sierra stared out the window at the trees as they blurred past. She wasn’t angry at her father for her life growing up. After all, it wasn’t entirely his fault that they had to keep moving for his job, but she had grown tired of it and ended up not having a lot of friends.
She wished her mother was still alive so that they could have lived in one place while her father travelled, but she had died when Sierra was ten-years-old. It had been a wolf attack, the police had told her father when he had gotten home from his research, as Sierra had laid unconscious in the hospital. It had broken into the house and was sick, so it had killed her mother and attacked Sierra out of confusion. That’s what her father was led to believe, but Sierra knew better.
It had never been a sick and confused wolf, but rather, a werewolf that had broken into her house that night. It had murdered her mother and bit her, turning her into a werewolf. For months after the incident, Sierra had to learn how to control her ‘powers’ and her father ended up assuming her weird behaviour was from losing her mom.
The werewolf’s name had been a young man named Xavier. He had been an older teenager at the time and had planned to take Sierra as his mate when she got older. It had been difficult avoiding him, but when her father decided to move suddenly in the middle of the night, she never saw Xavier again. A part of her secretly worried that he’d try to follow her, but it had been five years since she had last seen him.
When they finally settled into their house, Sierra quickly learned that her new school was within walking distance and that there were other young werewolves in town. They seemed to have formed a close-knit pack and Sierra kept her distance. They were rather intimidating and she felt she was better left alone.
Regardless, the pack of teens, whom seemed to be the popular clique in the school, kept their eyes on her. She wondered if this was how the wolves that her father studied felt when he was watching them.
Halfway through the school year, one of the tall guys from the pack approached her, as she ate her steak sandwich alone at lunch. He acted like the alpha in the group and had dark brown hair, which vastly contrasted his green eyes.
“Where are you from?” he asked, sitting down across from her. “What region?”
His question caught her off guard and she stared at him for a moment before replying, “Nowhere. I’ve lived across the entire country. I’m not from one place.”
He regarded her a moment before questioning her about her family, “Are your parents werewolves too?”
“My dad is a researcher on wolves,” she answered cryptically. “And my mom died in a wolf attack.”
He searched her brown eyes, which couldn’t meet his, before commenting, “You were bitten.”
Finishing her sandwich, she picked up her tray and stood up. She didn’t want to be part of a werewolf pack. Heck, she didn’t even want to be a werewolf. Besides, she didn’t want to make any friends. She had been ripped away from too many of them, whom just ended up forgetting about her anyways.
“You can’t make it alone,” he called out to her as she left the cafeteria. “You need a pack.”
Several weeks later, she could feel the pack watching her and even tracking her back to her house. There were three boys and two girls, all of whom must of belonged to rich werewolf families in the area because they all seemed to own fancy cars and knew a lot about werewolves. However, Sierra began to suspect that they weren’t the only ones tracking her.
One night, before her father came home, she swore she could hear someone outside her house. When the sound of twisting from the backdoor’s doorknob reached her ears, she ran for the phone and pretended to call 9-1-1. Whomever it was, ran off, just as she had hoped. Later, when her father had returned home, she had gone outside to inspect and smelt a scent that seemed familiar. It was Xavier, she realized, and he had found her.
The next week, Sierra was a nervous wreck. After all these years, he had come back for her. He must have figured that she was of age now and wanted to take her with him, but she would never allow that to happen. He had murdered her mother and the last thing she wanted to do was be his mate.
The pack at her school must have noticed her anxiousness, because one day at lunch, the alpha came over to talk to her again.
“You need our help,” he tried to reason with her. “Whatever it is that is bothering you, we can protect you from it. Just join our pack.”
Sierra shook her head and replied simply, “No.”
“Here then,” he muttered, handed her a dog whistle. “Despite what you say, if you blow into this, we’ll come to help you.”
She took the whistle from him and looked up in surprise, before mumbling, “Thanks.”
The boy smiled warmly at her, “No problem. My name is Dillon, by the way.”
He walked back over to his table and she watched him go in silence. What was with her and werewolves? They seemed to like her a lot and she couldn’t understand why.
After school, she took her regular route home, walking through a field of snow along the edge of the woods. When she was about halfway, she could hear another set of footsteps crunching in the snow behind her.
“Sierra,” a male voice called out, as she froze in place. “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”
Sierra turned around to see Xavier standing in the middle of the field with her, as he wore a leather jacket and his black hair stood up in odd angles. His hands were in his pockets and he had a wicked smile on his face.
“What do you want from me?” Sierra asked nervously, as her light brown hair blew in the slight winter breeze. “Were you the one that tried to break into my house?”
He laughed lightly and answered with a twisted grin, “You know why I’m here. I turned you to become my mate when you got older and look at you now. You’ve grown into such a beautiful young lady.”
Sierra played with the whistle nervously in her pocket. She didn’t know if she wanted to use it or not. What if Dillon and the others didn’t hear it? Or, even worse, what if Xavier hurt them because of her?
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” she finally replied, trying to look brave. “So just go away.”
Xavier grinned and moved quickly toward her in the lightly falling snow. He grabbed her arm tightly and glared down at her with so much ferocity, that she shivered.
“You don’t have a choice, my love,” he answered manically. “You’re mine now. I created you and now you’re coming with me.”
Panicking, Sierra scrambled to grab the whistle out of her pocket. She blew on it, and Xavier flinched enough for her to push him away. Sierra’s ears rang from the harsh sound and all she could do was stumble through the snow.
“You little,” she could see Xavier mouth, as he lunged towards her with rage in his eyes. “I’ll kill you.”
Sierra fell backwards onto her butt and watched in fear, as Xavier partially turned into a werewolf in front of her. He slowly advanced on her, still stumbling from the ringing in his ears.
Suddenly, dozens of wolves began to advance through the trees and into the clearing. They were snarling and growling as they grew closer and surrounded the two of them. The pack of werewolves from Sierra’s school were with them and they walked in between Sierra and Xavier.
Xavier looked shocked, as he regarded the scene around him. He was greatly outnumbered and he knew it.
“This is our territory,” Dillon growled at the man. “You need to leave, now. Sierra is under our protection and my father will not be pleased that you’re trespassing on his territory.”
Xavier’s face soured, as he began to back away, and replied, “This isn’t over. I’ll be back for her. She’s mine.”
“I don’t think so,” Dillon denied, crossing his arms. “When the rest of the werewolf community learns about how you turned a human, they’ll be hunting you down. If I were you, I’d start running now to give yourself a head start.”
Xavier glared at the group before running off and Sierra breathed a sigh of relief. Dillon turned and offered her a hand up from the ground, which Sierra took.
“Thanks,” she mumbled, a little embarrassed by his courtesy. “I appreciate your help.”
“We’re always glad to help a lone wolf in need,” Dillon smiled, gesturing to the large group around him. “Welcome to the pack.”