Chapter 6 - Derek:
I could feel the alcohol taking effect and it made me feel lighter, more carefree and more at home. Technically I was home - they'd already told me they would be happy for me to join the Pack. I'd told them I'd have to think about it. Why I'd done that I had no idea, my mind had been made up for at least a week. I felt more at home here than I did in Badger Lake, even if the people around me sometimes made me uncomfortable. I liked everyone well enough and I got on especially well with Logan, against all expectations. When I'd first met him he'd been less than friendly to put it nicely. We'd also bonded over our mutual confusion over Kate and Simon's decision to start dating. We could see that they were quite compatible in many ways, but neither had ever really shown an interest in being in a long term relationship, and yet it had taken less than a week for them both to change their minds.
Suddenly I felt a new sensation, and at first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. I'd Changed just a few hours earlier; surely I didn't need to Change again so soon? I looked down and saw my muscles moving under my skin, their writhing pretty obvious to me even in my slightly drunken state. I smacked my forehead with the heel of my hand and quietly muttered "idiot idiot idiot" to myself under my breath. I almost never drank, as in I'd only ever had more than one beer once before, before I started Changing, so clearly my body wasn't used to it. And that translated into it wanting to Change. I turned quickly, ducking my head so part of my fringe hid my face, slightly paranoid that my face had been affected by the Change already and not willing to show anyone. Even if almost all of them went through the same thing as me and wouldn't exactly point and laugh. I spun to find Chloe and spotted her almost straight away across the room. I hurried towards her and silently pulled her with me towards the door, still trying to hide my face from everyone. She went willingly, and looked up at me for about two seconds before concluding,
"You need to Change, don't you?"
I dipped my head in a quick nod and she smiled.
"I'm going to stay here, unless you really want me to come with you?"
I decided to risk answering and was surprised that my voice came out sounding only a little scratchy.
"No that's ok, I'll come up to bed when I'm done."
She smiled again and nodded, and leant up to press her lips quickly against mine. It'd been just over three years since we'd started dating and yet even that small amount of contact made me feel the same tingles I'd first started feeling three years ago.
"Alright, see you then. Love you."
I smiled back at her as she walked backwards to the others.
"Love you more!"
She tossed her hair back and laughed, "Not a chance!" before disappearing round the corner, leaving me standing there with a daft smile on my face staring after her. I don't know how long I would have stayed there had it not been for my hands suddenly sprouting fur again, an almost gentle reminder that unless I wanted to start Changing in the hallway I might want to get a move on.
I turned and walked towards the door, yanking it open and skipping down the steps towards the forest that I'd come to truly love, heading without a moment's thought down the path that would lead me to my and Chloe's clearing. I didn't know if it was the alcohol making me feel so happy or if I was just in a really good mood, but either way I was feeling good enough to start humming a random melody on my way, an extra spring in my step. Chloe always said my humming was off key, but I'd never been able to hear that myself. I thought I still had a perfectly good chance of becoming the next Beethoven if I felt like it. Minus the whole being deaf thing of course. That would suck.
I shook off my train of thought when I reached our clearing and got my mind back on track. I plucked at the bottom of my t-shirt, suddenly feeling kind of uncomfortable and unwilling to take it off. Trying to shake off the feeling, I pulled it off and rolled my shoulders to try and loosen the muscles there a little, and I put the feeling down to Chloe's absence. I could Change without her fine but it still left me feeling a little disorientated sometimes, a little out of my comfort zone. She'd been with me for almost all of my Changes, had been there for my first one when I'd been scared shitless and had calmed me down enough to actually get through it, all without batting an eyelash. I could manage without her but I still preferred not having to go through it alone. The time when dad had banned me from Changing with her there to help me through it and he and Simon had taken her place had been hell. They'd tried to seem comfortable with it but it had been pretty obvious that they'd been feeling way out of their comfort zone.
I stood in the middle of the clearing for a second or two, the bad feeling intensifying slightly, but I pushed past it and was undoing my belt when I heard a twig snap behind me. I smiled as I realised Chloe must have changed her mind and come after me anyway, and reached for the button on my jeans.
"I think we'd both be a lot more comfortable if you kept your trousers on."
I froze and my mind went crazy trying to figure out who the hell was standing behind me. Whoever had snuck up on me was standing downwind from me so I couldn't catch their scent, but I was sure I didn't recognise the voice. It was too low to be Clay or Logan's voice, and it was definitely male. It could have been Jeremy's voice but something told me it wasn't him either. The uncomfortable feeling had now intensified to the point of turning into a form of panic. I could feel adrenaline starting to pump around my body, speeding the Change along, and I did everything I could to stop it, digging my nails into the palms of my hands, hoping the pain would help my brain concentrate not on the panic or the fast coming Change but on the unidentified threat standing behind me. It did nothing, so I twisted round quickly, almost losing my balance in the process because my body wasn't quite functioning properly, the bones and joints already turning into those of a wolf.
I looked up at a man who ordinarily would have been shorter than me, but my back was bent out of shape, forcing me to hunch over and look up at him instead of down. My hair was in my eyes, sticking to the sweat that had suddenly gathered on my forehead and by my temples, but I could see a stocky man standing a couple of metres away from me, smiling in what I guessed was supposed to be a kind fashion, coming out instead as an unpleasant looking grimace. He had black hair and light eyes, and I felt a jolt of recognition as I looked at him. He reminded me somehow of Jeremy. He held himself differently and he gave off an evil vibe that Jeremy lacked. Conclusion: they had to be related somehow. I knew Jeremy was an only child from Logan and that he didn't have any cousins or uncles, so the only person this guy could be was Jeremy's long dead father. Only he looked very much alive to me, and right now that didn't seem like great news.
From what I'd learned from Logan I knew this was not someone who you felt glad wasn't dead. This was the person who haunted your nightmares, the person you did everything to escape, the person you were told scary bedtime stories about. The person you prayed was dead. The person who was every reason to run screaming from when you found out they weren't at all dead and were standing in front of you with a malicious looking grin on their face. I tried to back away a step but my legs were locked in place because of the damn Change that was still going.
Realising I really wasn't going to be able to get away I steeled myself and craned my neck a little more so I could look him straight in the eye to show I wasn't scared. His name floated into my head lazily and I opened my mouth, really hoping my vocal chords were still human enough for me to talk, and that if they were my voice wouldn't break. I took a deep breath in a pointless attempt to stop my heart from pounding as much and tried to keep my voice steady when I spoke.
My voice came out rough but steady, and I had the brief pleasure of Malcolm's eyebrows twitching up slightly in surprise. He smirked and took a couple of steps in my direction.
"Well done pup. You're a smart one aren't you?" He paused, considering me for a second. "I'm ever so sorry about this."
That sent a jolt of extra adrenaline pumping through me and I managed to unfreeze my legs, taking a few fast steps back and out of reach. He shook his head, disappointed.
"Not that smart after all. It doesn't really look like you're going anywhere pup." His tone changed ever so slightly, becoming that bit more terrifying to me as he sang,
"Nighty night. Don't let the big bad wolf bite!"
He leaped at me and the last thing I saw was his teeth bared in a ferocious growl before his fist connected with the side of my head.
I woke up feeling rather groggy, took two seconds to decide I felt pretty crap and that I didn't feel like getting out of bed just yet, so I turned over to snuggle up against Chloe. It took me another two seconds to conclude that I was alone in the bed, and another couple to realise I was alone in a bed that wasn't mine. That threw me off a bit until a very important bit of memory returned to me - a guy who resembled Jeremy a bit approaching me and pinning me to the ground. Malcolm. Fuck. Malcolm. The guy who I'd been told more than once was essentially a complete psycho who saw nothing wrong with completely obliterating basically anything that came between him and whatever it was that he wanted. The guy who was supposed to have died a few decades back. The guy who now seemed to have kidnapped me.
I lay very still and listened carefully for the sound of a heartbeat or the sound of someone breathing, anything that would tell me if there was someone else in the room with me. When I didn't hear anything I rolled over quietly and slid my legs out from under the covers. I'd been kidnapped a few times too many for my liking, and for once I wished the kidnapper would be nice enough to leave me with something actually useful. Like a key to the door and a map to find my way home for instance. Failing that, some food that hasn't been drugged would be nice too. I sniffed hopefully but didn't detect anything that indicated one of my kidnappers had finally been a little thoughtful, so I sat up, swinging my legs over the side. Bad idea. My head started pounding and pain radiated out from the tender spot on the side of my head that had been caused by Malcolm's punch, and I almost collapsed back onto the bed. I took a couple of deep breaths and looked up. That punch had definitely cost me a few brain cells. At first I didn't see much because of how dark it was in the room, but when my eyes adjusted and I could see a little thanks to the tiny crack under the door letting in just enough light for me to make out outlines and a few details. Thank God for werewolf night vision.
Next to the bed was a chair and there seemed to be something on the back of it. I reached out grabbed it, and in the darkness it looked suspiciously like my t-shirt. I looked down at my chest and noticed the absence of my t-shirt and realised it didn't just look like my top, it was my top. I put it on and went back to looking around the room. My eyes had adjusted a little more and I could see that the room was pretty small and there was only the bare minimum of furniture. A single bed, a chair and a small chest of drawers, nothing on the walls and no rugs or decorative cushions or flowers or even a mirror. I especially wished for a lovely breakable window that I could climb out of but apparently Malcolm wasn't stupid enough for that. I listened again carefully, this time not for signs of someone being in the room with me but for signs that there was someone waiting outside the room. When I heard nothing I stood up slowly and padded over to the door as quietly as possible, thinking I'd go for the obvious option first and try the door handle. Only there wasn't a door handle. I ran my hand carefully over the whole door, looking for a hidden handle, a latch or even a key hole but all I could feel was the smooth cold steel of the door. I'd thought the door was a regular wooden one at first, easily broken down, but Malcolm had thought it through carefully.
I started running my hands along the walls, hoping for a hollow or weak bit of wall that would collapse if kicked hard enough but instead I only felt more cold steel, painted over nicely with white paint. I could still detect traces of the smell, so I knew the paint job was new, but how that bit of information would help me I had no idea. It seemed the whole room was made of steel, and I even risked knocking on it to test how thick it was. Pretty thick. I sat down on the bed again and wondered about where the hell Malcolm had found this place, and how long he'd been planning this. I'd never heard of him before I visited the Pack, but from what Logan had told me I knew he hated mutts, and I was definitely what he would consider a mutt. Surely his hatred didn't extend to putting this much effort into kidnapping me? I had no way of knowing how long he'd been planning this for, but considering the Pack had never heard of me before Sean told them I doubted he'd known about me for longer than the two weeks or so that I'd been with the Pack for, and partial proof was that the walls hadn't been painted until recently. I put my head in my hands and rubbed my face briskly, before looking up at the door in front of me again.
I honestly had no idea why I'd been kidnapped, because yes I was moody a lot of the time but that isn't exactly a criminal offence is it? I wasn't a man-eater and didn't go round on killing sprees regularly because I felt like it. I couldn't help but feel that it had nothing to do with me and that if someone else had stepped outside they would have been met by the same fate. Maybe Malcolm was after Jeremy and I was just a means to an end. I considered it for a bit and decided that yes, that did seem a lot more plausible. Either way, right now the motive didn't really matter; I was still trapped in a metal box with a pretty decent chance of being killed. I sighed and lay back down on the bed, my feet hanging off the end, and stared at the ceiling. Try as I might, I couldn't think of a way out. I missed Chloe.
I'd been lying on the bed pretty much completely motionless for a good few hours before I heard something other than my breathing - footsteps. They were muted and I quickly closed my eyes and carefully pulled the duvet over me, shuffling around a little to make my "sleeping" look more realistic. I heard a key scrape in the lock and a quiet click indicating the door had been unlocked. I resisted the urge to open my eyes and look and kept them shut, though I did notice the light suddenly flooding into the room as the door opened, the insides of my eyelids suddenly becoming a pale yellow. I forced myself to continue breathing evenly and tried to calm my heart down a bit, knowing that Malcolm would be able to hear it.
I didn't move when I heard him come closer and stayed motionless when I could smell him. I was very sure he was leaning over me now, so I risked it. I flung the duvet off me and twisted onto my side, throwing my legs over the side of the bed and smashing the heel of my right hand into his nose. I felt a satisfying crunch and punched him in the side of his head like he'd done to me with a slightly too weak left hook. I'd had the element of surprise at first but he'd recovered now and he looked pissed off. I knew he was by far the better fighter and I panicked, shoving him against the wall and running for the door. I made it into what seemed like a short hall and looked around wildly for the door, not finding one. Where the hell was the door?! I could hear him walking across the room and just by the fact that he was calmly walking, not running, I could tell that if there was a way out I would have a very hard time finding it in the precious few seconds I had before he reached the door. I turned again and tried to slam the door shut, hoping it would lock itself so he'd be trapped in there but he got there too fast, and managed to stop the door from closing, forcing his way out of the room. I backed away and tried to find some sort of weapon but the hallway was the same as the room I'd just left - completely bare of anything I could use, no vases and no pretty pictures on the walls that I could smash over his head. He kept approaching and I hit a wall. He smiled and stopped a mere metre away from me, his eyes gloating at his victory, laughing at my weakness.
I kept my eyes wide and scared, not a hard thing to do, and shrank back against the wall a little more. He took another step closer and I launched myself at him, managing to get my hand behind his head and smashing it into my elbow, right on his nose where I'd hit him just a couple of minutes ago. I allowed myself a brief smile at my successful use of one of the new moves I'd been taught by Clay before launching a volley of punches and jabs in a sequence Clay had also taught me, feeling a lot surer of myself than I should have. Suddenly his hands appeared out of nowhere and he blocked the next few punches as if he knew exactly what I was going to do. I stopped, suddenly unsure and he seized his chance, shoving me against the wall and grabbing a fistful of my hair, yanking my head back and pinning me with his right forearm. Despite the blood steadily flowing from his nose, which looked pretty broken to me, and the red marks on his face which would probably turn into bruises, he was smiling at me, more blood coming from his split lip. I couldn't help feeling proud that I'd managed to hurt this formidable opponent, but I was also very aware of the fact that Malcolm now had the upper hand and could kill me with one simple move. His tongue darted out to lick some of the blood from his lip and he spoke, his voice resembling a low growl more than speech.
"Clay taught you, didn't he?"
I nodded slightly, quite an accomplishment considering the position I was in.
"Not bad. Not bad at all."
He considered me for a second before letting me go and taking a couple of steps back, waiting to see if I would do anything before turning and walking away. I knew better than to attack him from behind; he'd be expecting it and I'd just been shown that even with the element of surprise on my side I still couldn't beat him. I stood silently and he disappeared around a corner that seemed to blend in with the rest of the wall. I didn't want to follow him but I disliked the idea of going back into my prison even more, so I slowly headed down the short hall and around the same corner. All of the walls were painted the same shade of white and when I felt one of them it was the same metal as in my prison cell. I was honestly beginning to think there was some sort of special company that sold houses custom made to suit the needs of kidnappers. The short hall turned out to be a pretty long one but with a whole lot of twists and turns, and the whole place had no windows, only bright white lights that lit the whole place up and gave the illusion of windows. The whole place seemed to only have the bare minimum when it came to furnishings and even seemed to lack radiators. I hadn't noticed in the room due to the duvet and later I'd been too distracted by the fight to realise, but it was cold. I could feel goose bumps appearing on my arms and I rubbed them surreptitiously, still walking along the seemingly endless hall. It finally ended in a roundish space with three doors, two closed and one not. I headed for one of the closed ones and was about to try giving it a push when I heard Malcolm clearing his throat behind me.
"Tut tut pup."
I hesitated for a second before turning and walking to the open door that Malcolm had gone back through. It turned out to be a small kitchen with only a couple of cupboards, a small table, a microwave, a sink and a fridge, though the fridge was pretty big. Malcolm was standing by the table with a first aid kit, and was busy sorting out his nose. He didn't say anything and I didn't know what to do, so I just stood in the doorway and waited for him to finish. Next he cleaned the blood off his face, wincing slightly when he got to his split lip, and when he finished he left everything where it was, not bothering to tidy it up. He turned to me and looked me straight in the eye for at least 3 minutes, and I stared back for as long as I could before I felt compelled to drop my gaze. He chuckled slightly and when I looked up again he spoke.
"Welcome to training pup."
Malcolm showed me round the metal house and I started to doubt that it was a house at all. It had some of the features of a house but didn't quite seem to have the function of one. He pointed out the fridge to me and told me to grab something to eat if I felt hungry, then showed me the bathroom, and then he showed me a very extensive gym. It seemed all the money he'd saved by not furnishing this prison properly he'd spent on work out equipment. He didn't tell me how to use any of it, but he did instruct me to stay here and work out for a few hours, then left. I looked around and found a bench press, that being the one machine I truly felt comfortable with as I'd used it a lot at Stonehaven. I strode over and sat down, removing my shirt so I'd still have a clean-ish piece of clothing to put on after. I wasn't all for doing as he told me, but if the guy was planning on training me and making me a better fighter I wasn't going to stop him. Also, it wasn't like there was much to do here anyway. I'd found out that all the doors locked from the outside when Malcolm had locked me in here too, so leaving and going to look for a way out wasn't an option either. I adjusted the weights - I might have been a lot stronger than the average human but I couldn't lift the same amount as Malcolm could. Yet.
As I lay down and started lifting the weights I wondered about where the hell the front door or escape hatch or window was in this place. The doors that had been closed had turned out to lead to the bathroom and the gym, so I wouldn't be able to find an escape route there. I resolved to go look next time Malcolm left. He'd been gone for a pretty long time today; he could do the same tomorrow. I just needed to make sure he didn't lock me in again.
A few hours later I hear footsteps again and the door unlocked. I debated ignoring him but decided that wouldn't be the best idea so I put the weights back and sat up. Malcolm stood in the doorway for a second before walking over and dumping the towel he'd been holding on my lap and pointing at the door. I stood up grudgingly and grabbed my shirt on the way out, walking straight through to the bathroom.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"To take a shower. Problem?"
I slammed the door before he could answer, knowing that being rude wasn't the best idea but unable to resist. This kidnapping business was pissing me off. I missed my family, Chloe most of all, and I didn't like the whole "sit there for a few hours and do as I tell you while I go do fuck knows what" thing he kept doing. I needed to get out. I stripped and got under the pitiful stream of water that the shower was producing, cutting my shower short a couple of minutes later when I realised it kept going from hot to cold and back again. I climbed out and towelled off, getting dressed again and making a mental note to find some more clothes somewhere. And some deodorant.
I threw the towel over my shoulder and left the bathroom, making a beeline for the kitchen where I rummaged around in the fridge and found a lot of meat, some eggs and an almost empty jar of jam. Why he had eggs I didn't know - there wasn't a stove to cook them on and microwaving them didn't seem like a good idea. I took out the jam and some chicken and dumped them on the tiny table before turning to the cupboards and opening them, looking for bread. I found a plate and a knife in one of the cupboards and sighed. I wasn't someone who was particularly against mess and was pretty unorganised myself, but having cutlery in the cupboards was pushing it. I tracked down the bread and walked back to the table, plate in hand, and sat down on the single chair that was tucked under the table.
When I finished eating I thought of putting everything away neatly but decided against it - I wasn't going to be a helpful abducted person as well as an obedient one, choosing to only put away the meat so it wouldn't go off. I wanted to have enough food and I had no idea how often he went shopping. I walked slowly back to what was now my room, thinking of exploring the other side of the building some more if Malcolm wasn't around. No such luck. When I rounded the last corner, there he was, leaning casually the wall opposite the door to my room, jiggling a small bunch of keys around with a very fake looking smile. I sighed and walked into the room, surprised to see it lit up as I hadn't realised there was actually a light there before. I didn't wait for Malcolm to close the door, I did it myself, slamming it shut and waiting for the expected click of the door locking. I turned back around and flung myself onto my bed, falling asleep to thoughts of being reunited with my family and the world being Malcolm free.
Over the next few days a set routine was established; I woke up, spent a couple of hours doing nothing or daydreaming about Chloe, Malcolm showed up with food and waited until I was done before he led me to the gym. We would then spend several hours training and working out together in mostly complete silence, him giving me harsh criticism every now and then and me responding with a grunt and taking it on board. While he criticised a lot, he was never unfair and generally he treated me ok. He fed me enough and he gave me decent food to eat, and he even talked a little about Clay when he was younger, sharing a couple of stories about teenage Clay, always with a tone of genuine affection.
He never mentioned Jeremy, and I thought back to what Logan had told me about my kidnapper. He'd always despised his son apparently, and had tried to seek out a replacement plenty of times, starting with Antonio and them moving onto Clay. He'd told me how Antonio had made it clear right from the start that he didn't like him and that he refused to be his replacement son, something that hadn't deterred Malcolm, who continued to treat him with a kind of respect. Clay had approached it differently; he'd made it clear enough that he didn't like Malcolm and that he was firmly on Jeremy's side, but he accepted his help with his training, learning from the best so he could protect his Alpha.
He would never have hesitated in killing Malcolm, something Malcolm had never quite understood until the opportunity had presented itself and Clay had shown that he wasn't against the idea. I think he felt like he'd basically lost a son then, not realising that he'd lost his real one a long time ago, and that he was looking for yet another replacement. That replacement now seemed to be becoming me. Part of me couldn't help but feel sorry for him, but it was a tiny, insignificant part. The rest of me didn't care how I got out, as long as I got out, and befriending my kidnapper seemed like a good way to do so. So I did my best, training hard, holding up my end of the conversation with interested sounding questions, all the while carefully filing away potentially useful information. I was going to get out.
6 days after I'd first been kidnapped I seemed to have created a pretty good relationship with Malcolm, and he definitely seemed to like me back. His criticism was still harsh but it was phrased more nicely, and he was even letting me have a bit more freedom. He now trusted me to go from one room to another without trying to escape, and each time I thought I had a good opportunity and that I shouldn't waste it I resisted because I was starting to gain his trust, and losing it was the last thing I wanted to do. I needed to keep it so that I could keep getting more freedom until I could escape without any problems. That could still take weeks, and I didn't know if I had that much time. I didn't know if he'd contacted the Pack yet telling them what to do in order to get me back. I didn't even know if he was planning on returning me at all. I was still quite sure that I was part of some greater scheme, probably one that involved killing Jeremy, but I was also starting to think he was lonely. Was loneliness a valid reason to kidnap someone?
I was eating a late breakfast when Malcolm appeared in the kitchen with a bit of paper and a triumphant expression on his face. He stood in front of me, looking at me from across the table with an expectant expression, waiting for me to ask why he was so happy, but when I didn't say anything, worried about the answer, he told me anyway.
"I like your girlfriend. She's got... Character I guess you could say. Backstabbing little bitch she is."
He said it with no small amount of satisfaction, as if it was a good thing.
"As soon as she realised the Pack weren't going to take action themselves she found a way to contact me, and offered me a way to take my revenge on the whole Pack. On one condition. You get returned to her, safe and sound, and I never bother you again. I think I'll just lie. You ain't going anywhere pup, don't you worry."
I could a pit of dread in my stomach, growing and growing as I started to feel slightly sick with worry. Damn you Chloe. Damn you, damn you, damn you.
"Anyway, I've got a wedding to go to. I've got some unfinished business with the piece of filth I have the misfortune of having to call my son, but as soon as that's taken care of I will get you your Chloe."
I was now past the stage of worrying and had moved onto full blown panic. He was going to kill Jeremy and potentially the rest of the Pack soon. They didn't know that he was coming and Chloe wouldn't warn them in case Malcolm somehow found out and decided not to come, which could mean she'd blown her one chance to save me. She wouldn't risk that.
"Can I come with you?"
Malcolm burst out laughing and answered in between chortles,
"I trust you pup, but I'm not stupid. I don't trust you quite that much. So I'm very sorry about this, but it's really for your own good. No you're not coming with me, and yes you are staying here. Off you go, to your room."
I tried to protest but it was no use. He wasn't going to take any chances. Eventually he grabbed my arm in a vice grip and started marching me to my room. I pulled free and walked most of the way myself, and when we got there he apologised again. He seemed sincere enough, but then he pulled out a plastic syringe filled with a clear liquid. I had an unpleasant premonition that I knew what that syringe contained, and was proved right when Malcolm plunged the syringe into my arm and I could feel the effects almost immediately. I suddenly felt unsteady on my feet and when Malcolm offered some support to the bed I gratefully accepted without thinking, but when in lay on my bed and heard the door click shut and lock I had enough energy for one last thought.