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Her eyelids felt like lead, heavy and stuck together with exhaustion. She was floating in a sea made of night, of a darkness without a surface, drowning in heartache that she couldn't quite focus on. Something was making her mind spin crazily, so disorienting that it made her feel nauseous and she had to concentrate to keep the bile from coming up.

She slowly became aware of an acute ringing in her ears, followed by a deep voice, the words blurring together. Seren finally was able to force her eyelids apart as she fell forward, outstretching her hands to catch herself and meeting cold glass. The sound of her palms on it made less of a panging sound and more of a thud. It must be plexiglass or clear plastic. Her breathing seemed shallow, sucking in warm air that had already been in her lungs once, the claustrophobia worse than any other time she had felt confined before. 

She looked down at herself and blinked in confusion at the black bra and underwear that were on her. She hadn't put them there, nor had she ever seen them before. Her skin was scraped and scratched, covered in brown flaking blood from the fight, her hair hanging limply on either side of her face down over her chest in a tangled mess, now clumped together and stained.

The voice continued on, murmuring through the walls of the box she was in as Seren pulled her head up and looked around at the world on the other side that was moving in only a few frames per second, darting, sickening.

A vision of her dad at the top of the stairs, yelling as he shot down wolves, flashed white hot in her brain. Her heart clenched in pain as she realized that he was gone, that she had seen him die with Gloria. It hurt so much she had to press the heel of her hand against it to keep it from exploding out of her chest like a grenade full of shrapnel. It was crippling.

Dad, Gloria, Liam, Mayline, Max, Dad, Gloria, Liam, Mayline, Max...It kept repeating in her head over and over and the fear that there could be more. There probably were more...

Movement made her realize that she was not alone and she squinted against the harsh white lights blaring at her face. Someone was standing next to her on the other side of the box's walls, a tall and dark shape that made her spine tingle with alarm. She knew who it was immediately and wanted to shift and tear his throat out. Arthur.

Fighting the drugs, she listened hard to comprehend his words.

"-of all. For tonight's festivities, we have an open bar and this area," he motioned to the right of Seren, "is for a one on one combat tournament. The winner gets this lovely she wolf for the night. To up the stakes, it might interest you to know that I found her at the Wind Runner pack house earlier this evening- and yes, I know she smells like a rogue- but, she is the mate of the fallen Wind Runner alpha."

There was a roar of whistles and howls from a crowd Seren hadn't noticed, a sea of bodies and faces that had all blurred together in the shadows beyond her spotlight. She swayed slightly again and battled the piercing tone just behind her forehead, leaning heavily against the glass. If only she could focus enough to shift, she could break out of the box, but it was like her mind was clouded withe some sort of drug. She felt drunk, delusional. In fact, she was sure she really was drugged. 

Arthur was looking out over the group for volunteers, choosing amongst the waving hands. It smelled of male, strong and sharp, and of blood, that pungent coppery scent that sent one's mind into alert. There were more men in this room than Seren could have ever feared meeting in a lifetime and none of them had her best interests at heart. In fact, they wanted nothing more than to use her like a toy until they were sweating and spent, and then shove her back into Arthur's claws to throw away. 

She had to shift right away and run until her legs snapped beneath her, if only she could. She tried, but the rush of liquid light that rippled through her flesh in the instant before a shift refused to be summoned. Her body and mind were not in sync, no, there was some toxic substance flowing through her veins that disconnected them, removed her from the world of the conscious. The more she focused on locating that current within herself, the more she felt that she would vomit all over herself and the nausea would distract her from her goal once again. 

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