Here's the next part, if you like it, I'll go on :) x
I woke to the blackness panting, my heart racing. My face was hot and clammy. Every night I had the same nightmare. Every night I watched the same scene through somebody else's eyes. Every night I watched my father die on the horn of a black rhino.
I disentangled myself from the knot of blanket that had formed around my legs and waited for my heartbeat to slow. I sighed. I never slept well; I hadn't even seen my father the Alpha beaten, but it didn't stop the clear image haunting me every time I tried to sleep.
It has something to do with the bond between my mother and myself. She never stops thinking about it, not even in the day; nothing distracts her completely. Sometimes I’ll catch parts of what she’s thinking, and it will be his face, times they spent together, all the blood. She sees it all the time, and now so do I.
It sounds ridiculous, not moving on after 17 years, but shifter relationships are so much stronger than human ones. With so few of us things are more straight to the point, no tactics, no playing games. It’s like a sixth sense that’s been honed down over years of fewer and fewer shifters. You’ll see the person and just know that they’ll keep you strong, keep the pack going. There is nobody after them that will seem good enough. And mum’s is gone.
I see it every time she looks at me. The despair, the loss, the pain. It hurts her to look at my piercing green eyes and curly black hair, the same as my father's. The pack doctor said if it weren't for me being born, Mum would have died too. But my mother is a shell now. I would’ve liked to have met her when she was Alpha female, when she was strong, fearless and whole.
I sighed and buried my face in my pillow, trying to will myself into a peaceful sleep I knew would not come.
Gentle knocking on my door woke me. I groaned, exhausted, and pulled the duvet over my head. It was the first day of term and I wasn't in the mood for school. In all honesty, I never was.
"Lexy," Mum called from the other side of the door, "I can hear you, you know. I know you're awake in there."
I heard her push open the door and walk in. Staying silent, I shifted quickly, a tiny brown mouse in the folds of pyjamas. Shifting came in really useful sometimes, like running fast, swimming long distances or hiding from your mum. I pressed my eyes closed and prayed she'd just leave.
"Alexis," she half growled, using my full name, "I know you're in there somewhere mousey."
Damn. I shifted back to human form and popped my head out of the covers. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. "I don't want to go."
"You have to, everybody does. Pack rules I’m afraid," she said, her tone once again soft. She bustled around the room as she spoke, throwing open the cream curtains. I shied from the bright light. As she picked up a pile of school papers from the floor and placed them on the desk she murmured, “This room is a mess, child.”
"I prefer ‘organised chaos’," I retorted, letting my head fall back against the pillows.
“What was that? Total mess? I agree,” she said, picking up a pair of jeans that had fallen from the back of the chair.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Fine, I’ll throw away some things tonight, but still don’t want to go to school. Let me sleep some more.” I folded myself back into the cocoon of duvet, blocking out the light from the window.
A moment later I felt the duvet being gently pulled away from my face. “Why are you so against school today?” she asked quietly, “Is something happening?”
I rolled over and faced her. “You know what’s happening.”
Her soft brow furrowed. “I can’t believe that’s still going on in your school. They’re using ‘Omega’ as an excuse for all kinds of things now days. Things aren’t supposed to be like this. Don’t let them make you doubt yourself, sweetheart.” Her soothing tone was almost enough to convince me. Almost.
“It’s hard not to, you know, when you get told every single day what a freak you are. How you’re worthless. Everyone knows everyone, there’s no escaping it now it’s started.”
“Then ignore it, baby. You’re not worthless, so far from it, in fact. You keep me going.” She took my face in her hands. “You’re my little miracle, my little piece of your dad,” she smiled sadly.