Twenty-Two

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Laying awake in the dark, on his back, every night. He would attempt to go down around three in the morning after a long day of calling and searching, but sleep would constantly evade him. If he closed his eyes it was either a long blink or a trick. His mind tried to allow him a peace, creating mirages of his lovely mate.

Only instead of sharing his sheets with her, there was someone new by his side. Insomnia. Dragging nails over his neck and jaw, down his chest. Infecting the blankets with cold and his heart with a stationary thud. Surviving.

Kale Beck noticed subtle changes within himself. Not deteriorating like he should if she were really dead or missing- he knew she wasn't the ladder. Instead, he was getting bigger. Filling out his shirts and shrinking his jeans much to his frustration.

Not to forget his wolf, larger and more domineering. Thick straps of muscles along his back and ribs, chest puffed, ropes twining up and down his legs, posturing as a true Alpha. Though he didn't feel that way either.

So instead of spending the dark ends and starts to days when no one is up, he would busy himself on the island counter with books and maps of wolf territory where he knew Jerome would hide.

It had to be him, Kale knew this now. Ruth was dead and Jerome had to be seeking revenge. In fact, there had been no sightings of him in the two weeks following the kidnapping.

So he busied himself with tactics to track them down, search for his female, as soon as he could. Sending out calls to Alphas around, asking what they knew, letting them know of the situation. Even Thadal, he called him too. Despite his hate for the large and powerful wolf, there was no one who knew a broken heart like Thadal. No one else of power who had experienced the loss of a mate, dead or missing.

Kristen and Carter were helping out as much as they could but things were becoming more complicated as Kristen became more depressed.

This lead to the connection of Liam. Not only had Kristen's cousin died, but Liam's appearances had been far and few between. He would come home to her late every few days smelling of booze and river water. Too tired to talk with dark guilt in his eyes.

The prospect of this had been itching in the back of his mind, and since Kristen didn't talk about it, that left the matter to Beck. So between moments of missing Scarlett and studying maps and feeling helpless, he was blaming and suspicious.

He would talk to her about this, just as soon as he made a few more calls.

Thomas Hopkins had been a primitive wolf with a dark job. Killed by one of his own, one would wonder what such a task really rewards. Surely, he hadn't forseen his early demise. Yet, Kale knew the reasoning behind it was concrete and there for the reading.

Such as the list Beck had concocted on everyone he had trained. Only five wolves made up the list and two were dead and one insane. The remaining two resided in either Thadal's pack or a eastern pack run by an Alpha named Cody.

Kale figured the safer bet was contacting Alpha Cody, asking for the wolf who knew the slaughtered tracker.

The phone dialed between clips of static, ringing once, twice, three times. Just when he was about to click it off in frustration that sleeplessness does to you, a voice answered.

"Hello?" It was a female, sounding sleepy and confused.

"Hello, this is Alpha Beck from Sapher."

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