LBAWP | Chapter 9

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When I come to, I'm lying on my side in what looks like a prison cell. For a second, I think I'm in POW's dungeon and prepare myself for six and a half feet of Pissed Off Wolf. My heart rate instantly doubles, and then triples when I remember the rogues surrounding me and injecting me with whatever was in that syringe.

I quickly scramble up off the dirt floor and stand on all four paws. My cell is lit up by a lone bulb hanging from the ceiling and brick walls surround me on three sides. The musty smell of dirt permeates every corner and there are no windows to allow fresh air in. Without being able to look outside, I also can't tell the time of day, or have any way of knowing where I am.

I pad quietly up to the metal bars keeping me trapped inside the prison cell. There is a small, dimly lit hallway beyond them, and a brick wall on the other side. I stick my nose between the bars so I can see out, but I can't make out the adjacent cells—all I see is an empty hallway stretching out in both direction.

With no one around, I quickly shift into my human form. My Saffron dress is still tied around my waist, and I grab for it when it starts to slide down my hips. As a wolf, I'm used to being naked in the middle of the forest, but in a prison cell I feel completely exposed. I untie the dress with shaking fingers and slip it on as quickly as I can. Then, I push and pull on the cell door, putting all my strength behind it. The rattling echoes throughout my cell, but the door doesn't budge.

"Hello?" A familiar voice calls out from the other side of the brick wall to my left. "Is someone there?"

"Jess?" I gasp.

"Saffron?" Jess rattles her cell door too. "Is that you?"

"Yeah, it's me." I pull at the door, though it makes no difference. "Are you okay?"

There is a long pause, and then Jess snaps, "If you're really Saffron, then tell me what we were planning to do the night before Jasper's birthday."

"You mean run away?" I ask.

"Okay, well, Zara could have told someone that before..." Jess's voice breaks. "What shoes did I give you?"

"What?" I frown, trying to follow her train of thought. "Why are you asking me that, Jess?"

"Because you're not Saffron," she snaps. "I saw Saffron die. I don't know how you managed to sound like her, but I'm not falling for it."

"What do you mean you saw me die? How do I even know you're Jess? Maybe you're someone else."

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