The girl looked our age, slender build. She had hair so dark it looked almost red. It was cut short so it framed her jaw. Long bangs were parted on the side of her head, she was constantly sweeping them out of her eyes.
The dark jeans she wore had holes in them, ones that weren't put there on purpose. I could see hardened blood on her knees where the red liquid had dried. Her thin shirt looked like it offered little protection from the cold of the basement and certainly didn't conceal the bruising on both arms. The blue and purple splotches were a sharp contrast to the white cotton of the shirt.
She was chewing gum. Not obnoxiously so, but loud enough that you were aware of its constant presence. It was annoying. But that wasn't what struck me as peculiar.
She was in a cage. The bars stood a little over 6 feet tall and the width of the cage was extremely small. It looked as if you could take approximately 2 regular steps before you would be forced to turn around and walk in the other direction.
For a Were it would have been torture, to be concealed in such a small area with just enough room to stand up. The girl must have realized this early on, for she was sitting. One leg stretched out the other pulled up to her chest. She was humming a tune I didn't recognize as she continued to chew her gum.
She didn't realize at first that we were here at all, because her eyes were shut and her head leaned back against the bars of the cage it was because of this that I questioned whether or not this girl was Were. If she was, she would have noticed us by now her acute hearing would make it impossible for her not to. But on the other hand if she wasn't Were then why would she be locked in a cage in a Were hunters basement? For some reason Caroline and her family didn't seem the type to abduct every Girl Scout that came knocking.
I looked over at Caroline in disgust, she had been holding this girl that was no older than us, in a cage for God knows how long and she had the nerve to call us monsters? But before I could tell her so, the girls' eyes slowly opened, her humming stopped and she asked in a relaxed voice,
"So Caroline who are your friends?" her mouth quirked up in a smile which surprised me more than the calmness of her tone. Caroline's voice held no emotion as she introduced Devin, Lake and I. She never bothered telling us the girls name. I'd be surprised if she knew it all.
"I've heard of you, the human alpha right?" she said in a mildly interested tone. We all raised our eyebrows, if this girl had been stuck in this cage as long as her tattered clothes indicated, how had she heard anything about me? Was I so famous that a girl in a cage, in a basement, in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere had heard stories of me? …Then again.
Her smile lifted a little higher as she said vaguely "I hear things".
Then in a flash her mood turned solemn her smile disappeared as she asked with urgency "do any of you know a girl named Maddy? Blonde hair, about yea tall" she raised her hand high above her head, "not human".
I blinked in shock as did the others as I asked "you know Maddy? how?"
I assumed we were talking about the same Maddy , I mean how many female Were's were named Maddy in the state of Montana. I decided to take my chances.
The girls smile returned, only, there was sadness this time. "We grew up together".
Well wasn't this girl full of surprises. "You were raised by the rabid?' I asked.
She sighed as if remembering something. Whether it was a good or bad something I couldn't be sure. "Yeah" she answered "Maddy and I were like sisters," the thought saddened me, and reopened the wound of her departure
Lake took a step forward. "Well how come she never mentioned you? Never once brought you up? Through the bond I could tell she hadn't meant to sound so harsh
The girl in the cage didn't comment, or seem affected by the tone of lakes voice. She just smirked and said "as far as Maddy and the others know I'm dead" her smirk grew "which believe me is not all it's cracked up to be."
I couldn't understand how she could be sitting in a cage, beat up and still manage to be flippant. But I asked "so it was a staged death?"
"Yeah "she answered "the rabid thought the best way to get rid of me without to many questions from the other kids was to fake my death. Ironically he never won any Father of The Year Awards." She said dryly
"Why would he want to get rid of you" Devin asked "I though he wanted to keep you all. I mean wasn't that the whole point of taking you in the first place? Why go to all that trouble, just to fake your death and ship off to someone else?"
Devin, as usual had a point.
"Well you see" she started, for the first time looked a tad bit uncomfortable "I wasn't what one would call a model student"
"What do you mean" Devin asked his eyes had that mischievous look about them that I so often saw.
"Well…not doing what he said, talking back, not cleaning my room" she ticked them off on her fingers "o yeah and that one time I nearly bit his arm clean off". "I suppose I never won any Daughter of The Year Awards either."
The corner of Devin's mouth lifted up and he looked as if he was trying extremely hard no to laugh. I elbowed him in the stomach. This was not the time for him to be messing around.
The girl shifted positions so that she was looking at us head on. She looked us each up and down, assessing us. Her dark eyes stopped moving as she stared straight into Devin's. It wasn't a battle of wills, not a challenge as he sometimes did with me. They weren't daring each other to look away. On the contrary it was like they couldn't look away. Didn't want to. It was kind of creepy. Coralline cleared her throat.
"Well, I told you I had something that might interest you and now that I have shown her to you I believe it is best that we get going." Her voice was lower, more hushed and her eyes kept flicking up to the basement stairs as if she were expecting someone to come down.
She started walking towards the door, but I grabbed her arm. "Whoa hold on just a second, this, (I gestured towards the girl in the cage) is why you brought us down here? Why? What's the point in showing her to us if you are going to make us leave?"
I didn't know what Caroline was up to but whatever it was, it could be nothing good.
Devon took a step toward Caroline, his arms folded across his chest in resolution " you must be crazy to think that were just going to get up and leave after you show us, one of our kind locked in a cage?. He turned towards the girl.
"How did you get down here anyhow?"
The girl blew and popped a large pink bubble a few moments before answering, "like I said I'm not a very good girl. Dear old dad had sold me at a pretty good price to this chick's deranged mommy. But unfortunately I was a little more than she could handle."
"What do you mean?" Lake asked. She had her back up against the far wall. And was trying hard not to look interested. But I could tell she was.
"I assume you've met Valerie?" we nodded our head in confirmation, she continued. "Well than you know she just a wee bit controlling" she put about an inch of space between her thumb and index finger to prove her point.
"She tried to work her mind-melding mumbo jumbo on me but I didn't fall for it. I suppose growing up with the rabid provided me with an immunity to psychotic brain washing." Her dark eyes sparkled.
"Being the psychopath she is, she just couldn't let it go, so she arranged for Archer to visit me in my sleep" I suppressed a shutter, remembering the horrible thing Archer had put into my head, and that was when they were just trying to syke me out. It made me sick to think what he could do to someone's mind if he really tried.
The girl must have noticed my look because she just shrugged "believe me I have had worse characters visit me in my dreams than him".
"After that didn't work Valerie resorted to physical torture." Our eyes flicked to the bruising on her arms. I felt Devin stiffen beside me.
The girl trained her eyes on him now. Wow this girl didn't miss a beat. "Like I said" she continued "I've gone through way worse". She rolled her shoulders, stretched her arms out and yawned calmly. "This was her last resort" she gestured around the small cage. "Stick me in this little box with no hope of being able to Change. Tare me away from civilization, practically starving me. Trying to break me down, both physically and mentally."
She turned her steely gaze to Caroline and looked straight into her eyes. "Well, you can tell your mommy that it's not going to work"
The sad thing was, is that it would, I looked her over again and noticed how thin she was. It wasn't good for a Were not to Change, and I could tell it was affecting her no matter what she said. Her fingers nervously drummed her thighs', her foot anxiously tapped the floor. It didn't matter how strong this girl's resolve was, eventually she would either starve to death or go insane from not being able to Change.
I turned to Caroline again, "I'm going to ask you one more time, what was the point in bringing us down here"? I didn't mean to, but my voice came out lower, almost a growl.
Her eyes were cast down and she nervously licked her lips. And that scared me, I could count on one hand the number of times I've seen Caroline display emotion. She brought her gaze up to meet mine and her eyes told me what her words did not.
"Awwww" the girl's voice piped up "Isn't that sweet, you were trying to save me, in your own sick, twisted way." Her words dripped with sarcasm. Caroline's head turned angrily towards the girl. "I just don't think its right, ok."
Now I was the angry one "not right"? "Not right"? Where was this so-called compassion when you were torturing Lucas?" True he had betrayed us in the end but that didn't give her the right to feel sorry now.
"It wasn't the same. He was weak, easily broken. But she… she's…" Caroline struggled for words. After taking a deep breath she continued, "It's just a feeling I have, there is something about her that I don't like."
"Could it have anything to do with the fact that she's a were?" lake asked dryly
Caroline's nostrils flared impatiently "no. I just know in my gut, that bad things will happen if she stays here". Her hands flew up in frustration" I tried to explain it to my mom but she won't see reason. Its almost obsessive the new ways she thinks of torturing her." she gestured towards the girl.
The girl muttered something under her breath, I couldn't quite hear but I had a feeling she was calling Valerie a few choice names.
Caroline continued "and I will not risk the safety of my family just because my mom won't see what a danger this girl is. "
"Yeah" Devin added "in a cage half starved to death. I can see why you would think of her as a threat" I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not. He probably wasn't. "What kind of bad things are going to happen"?
Caroline's fists clenched in anger. "You don't understand, like I said it's just a feeling I have, all I know is that I need to get her as far away from us as possible, as soon as possible. You were the only people I could think of to go to." She looked even more uncomfortable. Apparently little miss perfect had a hard time asking for help, especially from us.
I didn't think Caroline had the talent of premonition but you could never be too sure. I was beginning to understand. "So that's why you brought us here" I say everything slowly falling into place. "You want to make it look like we took her, because otherwise your mom will know that you were the one that let her go".
"Mom thinks she's valuable, besides you; she hasn't met anyone who could withstand her talent, she wants to break her. If she knew that I was the one who let her go" she shivers "she is capable of doing more horrible things than you can ever imagine."
I believed her. This still didn't feel right. "You just want us to get her out of here no questions asked?"
"Yes" she answered "all you need to do is"- she was cut off by the sound of a door slamming, and footsteps climbing down the rickety stairs.