Shadow Days

March 6, 2017

Rain. Water droplets dripped from the dark clouds that loomed overhead and crashed onto the forest floor, lightning struck and thunder rolled masking the screams. Rhage woke with a start, the shouts reverberated off the cave walls.
  “Sissy? Are you okay?” her younger sister Seer asked.
Seer’s small frame wrapped itself snugly against Rhage. Seer’s breath fanned across Rhage’s face-it smelled rank, like rotten meat-she turned her head away flinchingly.
“Do you feel it?” Seer mumbled.
Fear laced every word, her crystal blue eyes darted this way and that. Rhage said nothing, she felt it and her body reacted. The hair on her arms and neck stood on end, her heart thumped loudly it felt like it was slamming against her ribcage. Adrenaline was a bullet in her veins. Keeping her eyes wide and alert her nostrils flared, the sweet smell of blood was in the air... She could feel something stir in her, a hunger maybe or primal instinct. All she knew is it fueled her, blood pumped in her ears, pounding. In the dark Seer couldn’t see the upward tilt of Rhage’s lips.
The sisters listened, enhanced hearing abiding their will, Seer shook with fear and assumed Rhage’s trembling to be out of fear as well. Rhage could smell fresh blood and enthralled she remembered the night that led to this hell on Earth. And yet, she couldn't bring herself to stop wanting the dark crimson substance that, now that she thought of it, ran through Seer’s veins.
Four years they ran from them after her father died and her mother sacrificed everything for them. So far they were lucky, but the Rogues found them and there was no hiding from their fate. Unless… that quiet sinister voice in the back of Rhage’s head whispered.
Rhage felt a high, a rush of energy, a blissful feeling. She unknowingly tightened her hold on her four year old sister. Rhage’s thoughts where crazed, driving on the edge of inhuman. Blood. Blood. Blood. Seer whimpered and struggled to get out of Rhage’s hold, it was no use her older sister’s grip was iron tight.
Outside the cave, unbeknownst to the siblings, savage creatures filled in with glinting red eyes and yellow teeth. The beasts smelt the terror rolling off of Seer, they didn't even notice Rhage. The instinct to hunt and obey orders made them blind to important details, all that mattered was to kill the prey and bring it to the alpha.
Seer whimpered and suddenly wailed out, she couldn't breath. Rhage’s eyes snapped open and she released her hold on Seer. Horrified at what her sister did Seer scrambled away and right into the enemy's arms. Seer was to scared to move or make a sound as she stood in front of the pack of monsters. One of the Rogue wolves folded into itself and a wretched sound of bones grinding and wolves growling caused Seer to let out a scream. She tried to run back to Rhage but too late did she notice the wolf turned into a man and had snatched her up.
“Seer!” Rhage shouted in terror.
Rhage sprang to her feet her mind still foggy from the scent of blood, it called to her, but Seer. Seer is her only responsibility, because of Rhage their father is dead and their mother in captivity. The only thing she could ever possibly do to redeem herself is to take care of Seer. Rhage scolded herself in her head, this is not a time to be giving in to dark desires.
“Sissy! Sissy help me!” Seer called out. “Sissy don’t let them take me!”
Tears streamed down her red chubby cheeks, anger boiled in her stomach, her throat burned. Nausea hit her hard, Rhage’s knees slammed into the cold stone floor. Rhage threw up what was left of her small meal from the day before, she tried to stand, and failed.
“Don' worry Alpha child, yer lil’ sis ‘ere is in safe claws,” The rogue said menacingly.
The man let out a laugh that sounded more like a wheeze at his own joke. He grinned at Rhage with rotten teeth, she supposed their alpha didn't supply dental insurance. Rhage watched through blurry eyes as the man dragged her screaming sister from the cave and out into the receding rain. Rhage didn’t even twitch, she just fluttered her eyes closed and reopened. She didn't  feel it when her body hit the ground. Her dark brown hair fanned around her face like a veil, Rhage stared at it. Her father had the exact same shade of brown tendrils for a mop of curls on his head. Simple things like that thru off the edge and onto a pit of despair- even Seer a mirror image of their mother was a source of misery.
“Com’n Alpha child time for ya to see dear ol’ mum, ain’t it?” The man spoke.
The dark enclosed around Rhage lulling her into possible eternal darkness. It's almost funny how the world still spins even when your body doesn’t stir. Rhage needed to get up, she knew that. But how? How could she get up off this cold hard floor and face the one and only other person she could blame for her father’s death. Scar. That vile man hired rogues to over through her family, Rhage’s father was the Alpha and Scar his Beta. They were close as brothers, Scar even turned the pack on him. He convinced them that Rhage was a symbol of evil, that her existence calls to other evils, and that she was a danger to them all.
Rhage thought that maybe, just maybe, he was right. All she has done was bring destruction and death. Her sister was a healer, pure and untainted. Seer could also predict upcoming events. She had a chance, but not without Rhage. She knew that her little sister was too young, too naive, to survive out there.
Protect Seer, she is the only thing that matters. Give your life up if you have too- ingrained into her mind was her mother's last words to her.
Rhage mustered up the strength to sit up, she could do it, she could save her sister. She was ten, that's old enough. Rhage knows of werewolves who have shifted when they were nine. She leaned her head against the cave wall, she felt emotions swirling around, unsaid thoughts prodding her. Rhage took in a deep breath and began to search inside herself. She felt as if she had a whole in her chest, as if she had no heart, no need for emotion, she was just there. She looked for the source of it all, that bundle of emotion, anger, sadness, fear. She put them in a box at the far back of her mind.
Rhage focussed on it, what's there to be mad about? Nothing. How about sadness? Nope. Fear? What is there to fear in this small little cave at the base of a mountain where she is all alone? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Rhage felt it, she felt empty. She felt hollow, waiting to be filled, she was a host.
Rhage felt it enter her, a tingling at the soles of her feet. It creeped up like vines, thorns puncturing her skin and poison entering her veins. Rhage felt like she was being electrocuted, her body was aflame and shocks swept through her in pulses. Her mind wasn't just her’s anymore, she now shared it with the spirit of a wolf. The canine made itself known in her conscious, it pushed Rhage into the back of her own head. Rhage’s body began to morph into one of a wolf’s, her body adapted to the other presence in it.
Rhage’s bones rearranged them self, new ones formed. Needles of fur pierced from her skin and covered this new body. Her clothing long ago shredded. The color bled from her sight leaving only shades of black and white, yet she could see clearer than ever before, and she noticed quickly her change in point of view.
This body moved on it's own already knowing it's mission, find Seer. Rhage knew that they could hide out in no man's land for a while until things settled down, when Rhage gets old enough she could get a job in the human world. Yes this will be her plan.
They exited the cave and immediately was hit with the awful stench of rogue. The body moved in the total opposite direction of the mob of rogues and instead followed a thin trail of it, and most importantly Seer’s sweet honey scent.
Rhage knew they couldn't have gone far and she felt as if she could already hear her sister's screams. They began to run, instincts and adrenaline fueling their motive, this body was void of emotion, they felt invincible. This time Rhage was sure she could hear her sister's cries, they seemed so close but she knew they must be miles ahead. Rhage wanted the body to run faster and surprisingly the wolf obeyed soon they were nothing but a flash of color amongst the undergrowth.
Eventually they covered a great distance and were gaining on the rogues, they never turned just went strait, a bullet in the forest, Rhage decided for now the wolf shall be named Bullet.
Bullet for no apparent reason began to slow down, Rhage feared it might be tired until Bullet dropped into a hunting crouch. A small fawn was barely noticeable beyond a river. Without thinking twice Bullet darted towards the river and jumped over it in one mighty leap, Bullet began stalking the deer, circling it. Every image was crisp and in such detail, it was inhuman.
This was when Rhage realised that she was inside a wolf’s body, this was a wild animal with primitive instincts. Rhage contemplated shifting back or letting Bullet rest and get something to eat. The sun was beginning to descend behind the mountain tops, surely the rogue would stop for the night and rest so Rhage decided to let Bullet be a wolf for a little before continuing on.
Bullet then pounced on the grazing deer, striking it’s neck. Rhages stomach lurched as Bullet began to eat the deer alive. It yelped and mewled kicking it's legs and swinging its head, Bullet just ate on ignoring the doe’s pleas. Rhage felt disgusted and at the same time fascinated, the little hunger she felt dissipated and Rhage realised that they shared this body. She was a wolf.
Bullet finished its meal and began trudging back on the trail of Seer, but it was fading. Something hit her head and seconds afterward rain poured from the sky in buckets. Bullet began sprinting in the general direction of Seer, her set was fading and would soon be washed away by the rain. The remaining sunlight disappeared and Rhage hardly noticed through Bullet’s eyes. Bullet then stopped and listened… A second rolled by, then five, then thirty, then a whole minute passed. A rustling in the leaves near us alerted Bullet’s attention, it's  hackles raised and it let out a growl full of menace.
“Whoa there girlie, it's just me. Ain’t ya supposed to be watchin’ the Alpha child?” The man who took Seer slurred, stumbling over to us beer in hand.
Rhage watched as he swung his hand and picked Bullet up by the scruff of her neck, and throwing her over his shoulder, before taking a large gulp of beer.
“Well I getcha’ back to er… what would you call it? Camp? Yeh camp. I get ya’ll back to camp.” The rogue fumbled over his words to the point it was almost gibberish.
He thought they were also a rogue, and they were being taken to Seer! She almost felt a sliver of gratitude towards her sister’s captor before he dropped her. Twice.
They finally got to the makeshift camp, all it appeared to be was a clearing with Seer sleeping in a corner. The man seemed to shake with anger, uh oh. Bullet was thrown to the ground and began to whimper at the torture her head induced.
“Ya left the Alpha child alone?” he spat furiously, “who do ya think ya’ll are!”
After taking a gulp of beer, the man swung it down upon their head. Pain surged all the way down their spine. Bullet howled in pain, the man didn’t care nor seem to notice and he stumbled away drunkenly muttering under his breath.
Bullet struggled to stand, Rhage felt the need to take over and let Bullet rest. Rhage took control of the body she was in and the full blunt of pain almost made her kneel over. Her nose was clogged with the scent of beer and the blow to her head hurt like hell.
Seer. Seer was awake now and staring at Rhage, there was a knowing look in her eye and Rhage suspected that she wasn't sleeping instead she was perceiving her arrival. Even though she couldn’t see in color Rhage could almost imagine Seer’s golden blonde hair and clear blue eyes.
It was a picky thing, Seer’s sight. It could give you a day's warning, a years or maybe even a second's worth. But nevertheless it comforted Rhage to know her sister knew of future events.
Rhage made her way towards Seer carefully, who knows what the other wolves had done to her? The rain began to calm fog clinging to everything it touched. It was cloying, heavy, and never seemed to thin.  Rhage reached Seer and crouched lower so Seer could climb onto Rhage.
Seer’s small wet frame draped itself onto her back, small hands gripping her fur. She tried to sniff around but everything smelt stale, her back ached with the extra weight. Trotting through the thick mist with caution, Rhage began to take notice of the opaque red eyes through the fog. Growles surrounded them, the vile creatures stepped out from the underbrush. Suddenly their path to freedom was lined with assassins. They came at them in every direction, Rhage backed away in fear, there was no way she could fend off so many attackers. Rhage’s rump bumped into something, a dark chuckle resonated around the clearing.
“So ye decided to save yer ‘lil sis’ eh?” The wolfman taunted, “Well I guess we be taking both sisters to the Alpha tonight.”
Wolves howled, growled, and spat. Rhage inquired they would rather eat the sisters whole. Rhage looked into the drunk man’s eyes, she guessed they were a milky brown in the wolf’s eyes they were a dark grey, they were deceiving. Rhage knew behind those eyes was a monster.
“Muzzle the mutt and tie up the child, it's time to move out!”  the rogue hollered.
Rhage’s heart stopped beating, her throat seized up. Seer. What about Seer? She was so close to taking her away, they could have gotten to No-Man’s Land in a week's time, simple. It should have been simple! Rhage was angry at herself for believing so, her control over the body faltered but she remained her grasp on it.
The wolves shifted into humans, men, women, children, all blood thirsty monsters. Rhage was sickened by them, rage boiled in her. She stood there in shock a women came up to her and wound her snout tight with medical bind, then preceded to take a screaming Seer from Rhage’s back and bind her little hands. Seer atte,ted to thrash her way out of the woman’s hold unsuccessfully. The muzzle and Seer’s binds were bound together by a leash like rope that ended in their captor's hands.
Rhage tried to open her jaw and failed, she was weak. Not only was she not used to the body she was inhabiting but she hadn’t eaten in a few days, other than Bullet’s doe.
Rhage could feel that Bullet extremely disliked their inability to fight, and dark desires fought their way into her subconscious. The woman tugged on the ropes and began to drag them, the large crowd of rogues split up into much smaller groups and split off into the forest. The woman, now sobered man, and a few others surrounded them shutting down any chance of easy escape.
Seer was stumbling along to distracted by her tears to watch her step, the earth was moist and began to cake on the soles of Rhage’s feet. Rhage supposed that it must be harder for Seer as she noticed the little girls every step sunk considerably into the moist dirt and seemed to take effort to tug her foot out. The woman jerked on the ropes causing Seer to faceplant into the mud, she slowly began to sit up before breaking into hysterical sobs.
Rhage creeped over to her little sister aware of the woman's cruel laughter, Seer hiccuped and looked up at Rhage with tear filled eyes. Rhage crouched down low  ald allowed Seer to law her weight on Rhage’s already sore back. It was worth it though, to ease her sister’s pain.
“The lil’ runt can walk by ‘erself!” the man barked at Rhage.
“Ease up Match, this way we can get to our destination faster.” The woman coolly assessed Match’s obvious tipsy state. “Have you been drinking?” malice was hidden under her calm facade.
“N-no, yer not the boss of me anyway!” Match snapped. “And fer the record, if you even think about telling the boss about yer assumptions I'll rip out yer throat. Are ye clear Dagger?” Match spat.
Dagger glared daggers at the back of Match’s head as the group began to trudge eastward. Luckily for Rhage they were heading towards No-Man’s Land where if they could escape their captors they could find shelter with a older woman Rhage knew as her mother’s friend. She was a fierce woman who could easily fend off any army with her thick pocket of allies. Numerous plans began to form in Rhage’s mind, only one problem, how are they going to escape? Rhage pondered for a moment and as if answering her question Bullet slammed against her mental walls. This immense show of power made Rhage stumble, it almost made sense that this being inside of her was stronger.
Rhage decided to wait, she knew this trip had to be a long one, after all They had been running from their old home for years surely they couldn’t have ended up so close back to where they had been running from. Then again, how did these rogues find them? Also if this woman from No-Man’s Land was friends with her mother than it would seem fitting for her to live closer to BloodMoon Pack. Rhage never considered it but it certainly made sense, she had unintentionally made there way back.
So they must be around a week or two away from the pack. Or it could be much less depending on if the reason they are heading east because the rogues where going to stop there to gather supplies, or if the pack is just outside the treeline.
Bullet began to get angrier the longer Rhage denied her control, it tried pushing forward, and failed. Bullet may have been physically stronger but it was clear that Rhage was mentally superior.
“Wait.” she tried telling it.
Bullet didn’t seem to agree, but retreated to the back of her mind nonetheless. Rhage grew tired, the air tasted like dust and her back fiercely ached. She staggered a bit and considered letting Bullet take over, what would it truly hurt? Bullet was seething, but greedily took advantage of the situation. It pushed forth shoving Rhage to the back of her own mind, almost as if it was giving her a taste of her own medicine.
Bullet was furious, that pure rage leaked into Rhage. It was right, how dare they even think that they were superior than we? It infuriated them both, Bullet definitely felt the brunt of it.  Bullet felt justice murdering these possible murderers, Rhage knew these feelings that she felt weren't hers but she felt the need to fulfill them for Bullet, Rhage felt the second hand feeling that if we killed our captors it would be freeing them of their cruel deeds.
Bullet stopped foam coating it’s lips, it started spitting and growling. With the strength of a beast she tore off the muzzle and began to stalk it’s prey. Rhage faintly felt Seer slip off their back, but it didn’t seem important at the moment.
“Whad’ya think yer doing there Alpha child.” Match quired seemingly annoyed.
Thats right. Rhage thought, they were born to be Alpha, destined to rule over scum like this. A jolt in her stomach and it was over. Or that's what Rhage assumed, everything else she tried to remember were fuzzy.

When Rhage regained consciousness she didn't know wether to be disgusted or scared, it was a hard decision considering she wasn’t entirely familiar with the situation. What are you supposed to feel when you wake up covered in blood?
Seer. Spinning around she felt her stomach lurch, bodies were littered all around the forest path, dead bodies. She knew for sure because everybody was dismembered and disemboweled. Panic surged through her body, she took a large inhale of breath, her lungs filling to the brim with deathly air. Exhaling she felt tears gathering in her eyes, did she do this? What would father and mother think of their little girl? Did she hurt Seer? Or worse...
“Seer!” Rhage screamed, “Seer where are you?”
“Sissy? I-I-I'm up here!” Seer called from above Rhage.
Rhage spun around and looked up to see Seer hugging the trunk of a tall tree. Tears streamed down Rhage’s face, Seer’s face was filled with agony. Rhage knew why, Seer’s leg was visible through her torn pant leg, it was a gruesome sight. The entire calf was shredded.
“Did,” Rhage gulped down the lump in her throat, “Did I do that?” Her voice cracked.
Seer offered no explanation she just shook her head no. She tried to make her way down the tree almost falling in the process.
“Let me help you,” Rhage offered.
Seer nodded in acceptance and Rhage stretched out her arms and wrapped her little sister up in her arms, holding her close to Rhage’s chest she inhaled and just held Seer in her embrace. Seer hugged back and began to wail.
“You-” Seer hiccuped “-where so scary. B-but you saved me!” she sniffled and murmured, “Thank you sissy.”
“Anything for you Seer.” Rhage promised, “Come on, we don’t have far to go.”
Maneuvering Seer to the piggy back position, Rhage began running east. They must have been closer than Rhage thought because soon the trees thinned out and signs of civilization began to show. Bettie’s Bed and Breakfast. Bettie’s Bed and Breakfast. Bettie’s bed and- It stood there in all it's glory, a bright yellow cabin with a soft green sign labeled BETTIE’S BED AND BREAKFAST. Carefully setting Seer on her feet Rhage took her hand and together they stood in front of the wooden door that was their key to safety. Rhage raised a fist and tentatively knocked on the door, after a minute or so’s wait it swung open. A slightly disheveled dark toned woman stood there wiping her hands on her apron. She smiled kindly and held out her hand to the dumbstruck kids.
“You must be Raine’s girls,” Bettie greeted.
She opened the door wider, allowing them to see inside the heaven.
“Come on in and let's get you all cleaned up, eh?” Bettie questioned kindly.
So Rhage squeezed her sister’s hand and the stepped into the cozy cabin, relief flood over them. It was like holy ground, plants where cluttered everywhere and animals stared at them from tanks, crates, and cages. Rhage knew that even if it was just for a short time that they were finally safe.

Seer slurped up the noodles from her soup and chewed obnoxiously. Her leg had finally healed, but it still felt like a wooden leg. Gulping down the chicken broth she placed the bowl in the sink, while the water run she stood on her very tip toes to stare out the window. It was a bright and sunny day, but Seer felt as if heavy clouds blocked away her sunshine. Seer missed her sister, when was she coming home? A year after they came to live with Bettie she passed away from a cruel illness, Rhage had gone out a week ago to find someplace safe to live. It felt wrong to the both of them to keep living in the house where there surrogate mother had died.
“Seer, what have I told you about leaving the water running?” a very familiar voice cooed from behind Seer.
“Rhage!” Seer yelped.
Seer ran to her sister and gripped her hard in iron tight hug, Rhage returned the hug with the same enthusiasm.
“Where are we going?” Seer asked her sister.
“We are going camping,” Rhage laughed at her own joke.
“Camping?” Seer wondered aloud.
“Camping.” Rhage confirmed.
The sisters smiled at each other just enjoying each other’s embrace for a little while longer, because for now they were safe.


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