SBAWP | Chapter 20

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Dedicated to shadowthewolf508. You're like the first person ever to re-read and it really, really, really meant so much to me I'm like tearing up here! 

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Saffron

The gray wolf stalks towards Zara. She's lying on her side, the blood coating her body so thick it covers her like a second skin. Her eyelids droop, then flutter open, her gaze trained squarely on the advancing wolf. I can see the fear in her eyes, but even worse, I see the resignation.

I need to do something. I need to help Zara, to stop the gray wolf from hurting her. I glance at the black wolf and he looks momentarily distracted as he gazes at Zara's human form. I know this is my one chance, and I break into a run. My entire body aches, and my injuries make every movement slow and painful, but I push myself. I keep going, keep running toward Zara.

I'm not even halfway there when the black wolf intercepts me and flings me to the side. The air leaves my lungs and my insides lurch before I come crashing to the ground with a bone-jarring thud. Pain shoots through my ribs, making it hard to breathe, but it doesn't matter how much I hurt. The only thing that matters is Zara.

I struggle to stand again, and then a black blur shoots through my peripheral vision. Nisha! She races across the clearing, but instead of running away—of running to safety—she's heading toward us. She looks like a tiny pup compared to the huge wolves attacking us, but she doesn't let her small size stop her. She slides to a stop between the gray wolf and Zara, and bares her teeth, as if daring him to try something.

When he lets out a wolfy grin and takes another step forward, she starts to growl. Only Nisha's growl is so tiny, so unformed, that it sounds more cute than fierce. My heart swells, but then it nearly stops. Joshie—little, human Joshie—runs up and stands next to Nisha, holding up his rock. As if that would do any good!

I let out a fierce howl, mentally begging the kids to back off. They should run while they still can. I should have told them to run when I had the chance. Why didn't I do that as soon as I took out the Rogue Kid? Getting them to safety should have been my first priority, so why didn't I do it? Why did I let them stay? If anything happens to them—anything at all—it'll be my fault. If they die along with Zara, their deaths will be on me.

My chest hurts, and I can't even tell if the pain is coming from my ribs or my heart. I tried to save them—Zara and the kids—but now... now, I can't do anything but watch as the gray wolf lunges at them. First, he picks up Nisha by the scruff of her neck and flings her across the clearing like she weighs nothing. She doesn't even get a chance to cry out before she goes flying and lands with a faint thud so far away I can't even see her. Then, the gray wolf advances on Joshie. The poor kid lifts his rock, but he's nowhere near fast enough. I whimper when the gray wolf digs his teeth into Joshie's waist and flings him away. Joshie screams and then there's just the thud of him landing on the grass and silence.

The gray wolf—the evil monster who hurt two little kids—continues to stalk toward Zara. I know what's going to happen next, and I think I'm going to throw up. I know I'm going to throw up. He almost reaches her, sharp teeth on full display, when her eyes roll back and her head slumps. My heart thuds in my chest as he sniffs her, circles her a few times, and then turns away with a slight shake of his head. I know what that means. Zara's dead.

I let out a howl and Jess's cry joins my own. The pain of losing Zara is too much. It hurts more than my ribs and my head and every aching part of my body. Memories of our short time together flash through my mind, tearing me apart from the inside. Zara, coming down the stairs when I first arrived at the pack house. Zara, running into our room, her arms loaded with dozens of shoes. Zara, bouncing on my bed as she begs me to run away with her. Zara, throwing her arms around Jasper as he spins her around and round. Zara laughing. Zara crying. Zara smiling. The images keep coming until it's all too much and only one thought remains. Revenge!

When the gray wolf turns toward me I don't feel fear. I want to fight. I want to make him pay for what he's done. I struggle to my feet, ignoring the pain in my ribs and leg. Then, I get ready to face him.

He continues toward them, then suddenly stops like he's changed his mind and runs toward Jess and the white wolf. With a growl, break into a run, intent on catching up to him—intent on killing him—but the black wolf stops me. He attacks, and I fight back with everything I am. I don't care if I survive. Not anymore. All I know is I have to get past him—get to the wolf who did this to Zara. Get him before he can do the same thing to Jess.

The black wolf attacks again, but suddenly, he's gray. He's Dad, and he's about to break every bone in my body. I hear his menacing growl. He hates me, even though I'm his only daughter. He wishes I'd never been born.

Get up, Sofie, I hear Dad's voice in my head. Get up and fight.

I get to my feet. I've done this before and I can do it again. I can fight until every last sliver of energy is gone. I need to hurt Dad for what he's done to me. I need to hurt the gray wolf for what he did to Zara.

When he tears a chunk out of my side, and blood spurts, I don't even feel it. It's no match for the pain of losing Zara. Nothing is.

Fight, Sofie. Dad's voice goads me, so I fight. I tear off his ear. I bite into his hind leg, breaking it. I dig my teeth into his shoulder and refuse to let go. I may be injured, I may be weak, but I put every ounce of energy I have behind every attack. I fight Dad with everything I've got.

Then, he's the black wolf again. He breaks free of my hold and strikes back. My body feels like it's on fire, and I start to sway on my feet as I lose more blood. The longer we fight the worse it gets. My left front leg is broken, and my right hind leg, plus so many parts of me sting it feels like I'm bleeding everywhere. I don't even know how I manage to stand, except that Dad keeps shouting for me to get to my feet, again and again.

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I think I need to take a deep breath. 

I think I'm freaking out.

I've been hovering over the 'Publish' button for like forever now. I'm scared. 


♥ I'm not asking for votes anymore. Right now, I don't deserve them. I wouldn't vote for me either. ♥

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