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𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐎𝐧𝐞 - 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫'𝐬 𝐌𝐨𝐨𝐧
WTWWHG ch1: Welcome
Moonlight. Silver spread across the gloomy, resting city, shining off the glass walls and puddles of rainwater. Midnight crept closer, and as sleep quietened the night, a whisp of white sleeked through a narrow alley.
Silently, the lone ashen wolf navigated the city's darkest, smallest cracks. It left no hint of a trail, its ice-white eyes focused on what lay ahead. Alleys, gutters, and dead-still streets—it raced across the deserted roads, avoiding the light.
The sound of a speeding vehicle broke the silence, and the wolf darted for cover beneath a resting van. It watched as the racing bike sped around the street corner and up into the murky fog that had begun to ensnare the roads.
It was almost time.
From the shadows, the pack followed. Wolves of white and black; they spread out, following their Alpha's silent navigation to the very centre of the city, and as the chiming of midnight rang through the streets, the wolves surrounded a large warehouse sitting in the shadow of a towering, glass high-rise.
Luan, an ashen-coated wolf with a streak of twisting black on his back, folded his dark ears back behind his head as he crouched beneath a dying hedge in the warehouse's courtyard. He watched with his amber eyes as his pack got into position, awaiting their Alpha's instruction.
Their Alpha, the white-eyed wolf leading the hunt, followed the shadow cast by the warehouse. She scurried to a stack of crates, effortlessly pounced up atop them and slinked in through an open window. There were times Luan envied Aysel's confidence, but the thought of leading the pack was something angst-inducing. He was comfortable with his role as beta.
Whirring machinery broke the silence. The warehouse shutters started opening—that was their cue. As his packmates burst out of the shadows, Luan followed, heading for the loading bay the opening warehouse shutters revealed to them.
He repeated the plan over in his head: 'once the shutters open, enter the loading bay, follow the halls'—with Aysel and Rakesh leading the way, Luan and his pack raced into the loading bay, stepping over the mangled corpses of the guards Aysel had slain, and darted down the hallways, approaching a pair of double doors.
Rakesh was Aysel's mate and the pack's male Alpha. He sped up and ran ahead, and with the weight of his body, Rakesh crashed into the doors, forcing them open. As he skidded along the floor, Aysel and the ten members of her pack charged at the group of men scrambling for the guns lain out on a table not too far from a rattling generator.
Luan lunged at the man closest to him, sinking his teeth into his arm. The man yelled and crashed his other fist into the side of Luan's head—the wolf whimpered and lost his grip, but swiftly recovered, and before the man could grab his rifle, Luan pounced and forced the man down onto the floor. He was twice the size of this man, and now that he had him pinned, it was over. Savagely, Luan tore at the man's throat, the sour taste of his human blood burning his maw.
As the man uttered his last breath, Luan lifted his head, quickly searching for anyone that might need assistance, but his pack was swift, efficient, and left no man alive.
Aysel signalled the next phase of their mission with a stern snarl. Obediently, all ten betas followed behind her and Rakesh through the doors at the back of the room, across a narrow metal walkway and into an office.
This time, the guards were prepared. Guns in hand, the men aimed at the wolves and fired, but each and every bullet was dodged, and led by their Alphas, the wolves tore the men down in a matter of moments.
Luan followed his pack to the next hall, but as they burst through the doors, things became a lot more complex. Not only were there at least thirty guards positioned around the room, but in the centre, three bears larger than any wolf stood with torn clothes at their feet.
Rakesh and Aysel had come prepared for this, however. Rakesh took Caliban and Raith, the pack's two strongest betas, and went straight for the bears, and Aysel swiftly led the way into the room to begin taking down the armed men. But there were so many of them—three to one. Despite their strength as a pack, they were at a disadvantage.
Aysel was their leader for a reason, though. Not only was she swift, smart, and courageous, but she had something the rest of the pack did not.
As Rakesh and his chosen betas clashed with the bears—and when the men were about to fire their guns, Aysel raised her head and bellowed an ear-piercing howl, which rattled the walls and shattered any glass within the room.
The men dropped their weapons and clamped their hands against their ears—time to attack. Luan and three of his packmates scurried to the left, while the other four betas raced to the right, leaving Aysel to recover behind the cover of a crate.
While the berserkers fought against Rakesh, the deafened humans were swiftly taken down by the rest of the pack. And once they were done, it was time to help with the bears.
Rakesh and his two betas had taken down just one, and as its huge body fell to the floor, the second bear smashed its paw into Raith's side. As she was launched across the room, it was down to Rakesh and Caliban. They fought a bear each, and just as the pack reached them, Rakesh's right side became exposed, and the third bear took its chance to attack.
Caliban dived in front of his Alpha, taking the devastating blow, which sent him tumbling across the floor. Rakesh snarled, telling the injured beta to retreat, and as Caliban dragged himself away, Luan and the rest of the pack came to Rakesh's aid.
Luan hated berserkers. Savage, terrifying beasts—they could tear a wolf apart in moments. But he and his pack knew to avoid the beasts' claws. Each time the bears swung their paws, the wolves backed off. Together, the pack surrounded them, sinking their teeth into their thick pelts. Blood splashed onto the floor; the bears' horrific growls shook the ground. They swiped, they snapped their jaws, they turned around and tried to fight each white-black wolf off, but with ten wolves simultaneously attacking, the berserkers were down in no more than a few minutes.
Aysel gave the all-clear with a normal howl, one that didn't shatter the inside of someone's ears.
While Rakesh hurried to his tired mate, the betas surrounded Caliban, who had collapsed to the floor, blood seeping from his wounds.
Luan looked more horrified than the rest—Caliban was especially close to him. But this was where Luan specialised, and as everyone backed off, Luan approached his injured brother. The white of his fur was crimson, gashes cut into his skin—Caliban was stronger than most, for these wounds would have surely claimed the life of any other.
With haste, Luan rested his body over Caliban's, and as he concentrated, a white aura began to slither around them both. The pained scowl on Caliban's bloodied face began to lift, and the wounds on his body started to close. But as Caliban was healed, Luan began to feel the strain of his power. His body started to ache, fatigue constricting him tighter and tighter each moment he spent tending to his packmate. But this was his purpose. He didn't care that it made him feel tired and disorientated.
Once he was healed, Caliban thanked Luan with a nuzzle to his neck. But Luan wasn't done yet. Swiftly, he hurried over to where Raith lay, and rested his body over hers, healing her wounds.
Luan began to feel nauseous, and as he and Raith stood up, he felt his body shiver. To his relief, though, the mission was over, and he could soon fall into his bed.
As Luan and Raith joined the rest of the pack, Aysel and Rakesh made their way over. The sound of boots pounding against the floor approached, but the pack weren't afraid. They waited, watching as a group of armed, armoured soldiers marched into the room, followed by a trio of suited men. They glided across the floor like phantoms, vacant stares on their pale faces.
When the soldiers surrounded the room, the suits passed the wolves and headed over to a door at the very end of the room. Luan turned his head, watching the three of them as they opened the doors and headed inside. They were in there for a few minutes, and all Luan could hear was the shuffling of paper, the opening of file cabinets, and the tip-tapping of fingers against a keyboard.
The soldiers then led the way out, and behind the suits, Aysel and Rakesh followed, guiding their pack.
Nobody ever questioned what the suits were after, or why they needed so much security. The pack only knew that they were here to serve these men, and serve them, they had.
Tonight had been just another typical hunt—another raid. Aysel and Rakesh would lead the way in; the pack would take out the enemy, and then the suits would rush in and take whatever it was they took. And now, it was time to head back home.
But when the pack emerged outside, a distant howl broke through the night's silence. The pack stopped in their tracks, pricking their ears up, frantically searching the area with their eyes. The soldiers pointed their weapons, slowly moving forward, and as a thick black fog began seeping into the warehouse courtyard.
Luan's heart raced in his chest. He stuck close to his brother, who looked just as alarmed as everyone else—even Rakesh and Aysel looked concerned. Where had the howl come from? Was there another pack out in the city undertaking a mission nearby? Could the sound have been from something else and not a wolf? Luan looked over at his brother—he looked around at his pack, but not one of them seemed to know what was going on.
The soldiers continued forward, shouting their orders through the fog. They hurried towards the extraction point, the sound of the whirring helicopter growing louder as it approached. Luan stared ahead, his amber eyes searching the darkness for the flares marking the helicopter's landing point...but that was when the thumping of paws against the ground echoed through the fog.
With a savage snarl, a blur of black burst out of the fog and snatched one of the soldiers. His scream bellowed around them as he was dragged into the fog and out of sight.
"Ambush!" the lead soldier yelled. "Get them to the extraction point!"
Luan stared in horror, watching as the soldiers started firing into the fog. Monstrous snarls and panicked whines echoed around them—he had no idea what was hiding in the fog, and when his pack started racing for the extraction point with the suits, Luan knew better than to fall behind.
He raced to his brother's side, panic in his eyes, his legs trembling. What was going on? Was it berserkers? An ambush? He looked over at his brother again, but Caliban had his eyes focused on the suits up ahead. Luan glanced back over his shoulder, and as he caught sight of a huge, red, hound-like figure pouncing at one of the soldiers, his eyes widened in dread—wolves?
"Let's go!" came the voice of a man, and as Luan stared ahead again, he spotted the helicopter and a soldier hanging onto the opened doors.
Relief filled his eyes—he didn't look back again. The suits climbed inside, and once Luan and his pack followed, the soldier pulled the door shut. What about the soldiers that had stayed back? He looked over at the man that had shut the door—it didn't look like he was going to open again, and the helicopter wasn't waiting around, either. It started lifting off, and as it pulled up out of the fog, Luan stared down at the ground below.
The flashes of gunfire ceased; the snarls and whines fell silent...and as the helicopter turned and sped off towards the mountains, that same, ominous howl rang in the distance.
WTWWHG ch1: Text
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