14th: Jena Wade and Heloise West
15th: Amelia Bishop and Mina Kelly
16th: Kimber Vale and Shiloh Saddler
17th: Eva Lefoy and Azalea Moone
18th: Dakota Trace, Jade Crystal, and Crane Hana
19th: JT Hall and ND Wylders
20th: Evelise Archer , Kate Lowell, and Skye Jones
Today’s my day to join the party, and I’ve been working on a prologue for a shifter series I want to do this year. I got the first hints of this work way back in March 2013 when I did a post for Nulli Para Ora’s blog. I’ve changed the info but the photo Nulli gave me was the inspiration for the work!
So without further delay, let me introduce you to Robert, the leader of the Everett, WA pack, survivors in a post-economic crash world:
Here’s my flash:
Robert woke in the Marco Polo Hotel alone, head bursting with a raging headache. Werewolves didn’t normally get headaches, nor did they suffer from amnesia. Both of them assailed Robert in spades. Holding his brain in with his hands, he staggered toward the bathroom, knelt at the toilet and did something else werewolves didn’t normally do unless they’d eaten a bad rabbit.
Luckily the plumbing still worked in this place. If he hadn’t been able to flush, his wolf would have gnawed through the wall to get fresh air.
The room spun as he staggered back to the bed. The neon light flashing outside his window blurred in his vision. This isn’t normal. This isn’t right.
The ache started from his third eye, looped over his skull and then cinched like a clamp at the base of his skull. Could he remember if he’d been hit? Knocked out? No. Nothing came to mind.
With a sigh he flopped onto his back. He knew without a doubt shifting would help, but werewolves and public hotel rooms didn’t mix. To shift, he needed to get out of there. Then maybe he’d remember. For sure he would heal.
Summoning all his strength, which as an alpha was considerable, he forced himself up and to the front desk. “Checking out, room one-o-one,” he muttered, laying his credit card on the counter.
“It’s paid for.”
The hair on the back of his neck twitched. “By who?”
The clerk shrugged. “Paid in cash. No questions asked.”
Of course. In this day and age, actual currency was king. But who had access to it besides the very rich? And himself of course, and his pack. Maybe a few others. He shuddered to think of the vampires and other critters running around out there unchecked. Certainly he’d not run into one of those …? “Male or female?”
One eyebrow quirked. “Did it look like I was having a good time?”
The clerk smirked, and went back to his duties.
Good time. Did I have a good time? Hell, if he’d come in with a female he must have meant to mate her to create cubs, which made it doubly suspicious there was no memory of that. “This isn’t right.” In fact, the situation kept getting weirder by the moment. The back of his neck itched as he headed outside. A warning, but of what? Suddenly the urge to shift, to run came on too strong to deny. He started walking, looking for an alleyway or a dark space, a hidden corner to do his business. Maybe all would become crystal clear once he had his wolf back online.
Avoiding the main traffic lines –which though torn up and decayed by neglect were bound to be busy – he headed on foot toward the overgrown park along Denny Way. Tangles of weeds choked the basketball court but the bushes alongside provided good cover. Slipping into what once was a druggie’s hideout, he shed his clothes and crouched.
Slowly he drew the moonlight to him, took it into his veins until the sorcery infused his flesh, muscles and bones. Like a mist it surrounded him, welcoming, dangerous. Time after time, he never got tired of the process. Past the pain, there was freedom in it, in howling at the sky, in running filled with power. His bones cracked and re-made. He shifted. He became wolf.
Sadly, nothing became clear.
With a whine he trotted off, heading north toward home, toward his pack, toward sanctuary. Instinctively he knew if he was in trouble, his pack was in trouble, and trouble didn’t get better with time. He wasn’t the kind that didn’t take care of it while it was small and beatable.
Three hours later, Robert paused in Lynnwood and smelled them. Or rather, his wolf did. Perched atop a hill in the now vacant mall parking lot, he caught the scent of a pack to his northeast. One he hadn’t known existed. He sniffed, long-range, and was rewarded with pine and river, smoke and decaying wood. Excellent camouflage. This place smelled noting like the empty concrete buildings and streets studded with human desperation of his home. He tilted his head back and howled toward the east.
No answer came.
He hadn’t expected one. He’d only meant to warn them he existed, nothing more.
Robert made a mental note to send a scout to the area as soon as he arrived home. A rival pack this close could mean trouble. Hell, it might be the reason he’d found himself in a hotel room this morning with no recollection of the night before. Sniffing the air one more time, he shook his ruff and headed out. Six steps later, he froze.
One paw poised above the ground as though it would take flight independent of the rest of his body. He sniffed again. A new, raw scent filled his long tapered nose. It bore male musk, coarse fabric, herbs, and knowledge, and smacked his aching head with enough power to make his head spin. Sub-alpha power, mature, effective, and controlled. Not a young wolf, but an older, high-ranking leader. He licked his chops and lowered his nose, fanning the air through it to squeeze every ounce of information from it he could. Soon it saturated his senses, tingling up his spine, making his paws sweat. Inside the thick coat, on a warm summer’s day, he trembled.
The one scent he’d given up all hope of ever finding curled down his snout and into his lungs where it set his heart ablaze.
Shaken, he sniffed again and received the same answer. Danger lurked should he give in to the mating urge, and he had his pack to think about. But after thirty seven years alone, nothing would keep him from it.
He was already tracking that way, the wolf rattling his cage, urging him to run faster. The hunter in him demanded he go slow, watch for other predators. But this wasn’t about reason. Already the man tugged at his heart, and he heard a name whispered on the wind: Baen.
Perfect. Mine. Want.
He ran straight on till dark.
Be sure to visit the sites of the other participating authors to read tidbits and other MM flash fiction!