Chapter 2 Choosing

He awoke later with some darkness still outside. He looked around, confused, for a moment, trying to figure out what had awakened him. His stomach gave a painful twinge that seemed to come from deep within his abdomen. He whined and tried to curl away from the pain, only to have it magnify. He quickly changed to his humanoid form and clutched his stomach as his slowly awakening body felt more and more of the pain centered around his abdomen. Then he felt something else, and his eyes widened slightly. He practically fell from the tree in his haste to get down and relieve his body of its problem.

He ran over to a bush and expelled that which was causing the horrible pain in his stomach. He was trying to figure out the problem when he suddenly remembered the berries he had eaten last night before sleeping. They must have been the wrong ones to eat, and now it would hold him up from getting distance between him and the village. And now he knew not to eat those berries, but he wasn't going to eat any berries, just to be on the safe side.

After he was done curing his problem, he went in search of a stream to quench his thirst and wash off the sweat and grime of running for almost a full day. He found a small brook a little ways off the tree he had been sleeping in. It was barely a trickle, only a couple inches, but it would do. First he drank from it. He took big, filling gulps, hoping that filling up on water would keep hunger at bay. Then he lay down on his back in the water, wriggling back and forth to get the muck off his skin. He scooped up water and poured it over his torso, scrubbing as he did so. Once clean he hopped up and shook himself, starting with his head and ending with his feet, to be rid of the moisture on his skin. He smoothly phased into wolf and shook himself dry one more time. Then he took off.

He quickly found his old trail and headed in the opposite direction it went in. Sunlight shown through the trees as he loped along, glinting off the red-gold of his coat. The running now was hindered by his heat, which had come a day later than was thought. He was only aware of it after he had been rid of his problem and taken a bath. Now there was a fire throughout his entire body. His instincts were fighting his rational mind, telling him to run back to where he could find a mate, that he needed to mate.

Waves of boiling emotions crashed around his body. Every wave seemed to be stronger than the next. He stumbled every other step trying to keep going forward. One particularly strong surge caused him to stagger to a stop. His body half-turned backwards on its own. He whimpered and stomped his feet. He whipped his head forward and renewed his running ten-fold. He ignored the burning in his muscles and the burning inside his body. His tongue flopped out of his mouth and hung beside his face like a banner, flapping in the wind as he darted through the trees.

He ran and ran, until he finally collapsed at the edge of the forest. A large stretch of golden grasses and an expansive blue sky extended for beyond the horizon. He flicked his ear lazily and dozed with the sunlight warming his fur.

The Day Before (Morning)

Sarffa turned over in her bed, rolling into something as she did so. She opened her eyes to see her mate's back, meaning he had come back some time during the night. She stretched and glomped on to him. He snorted, surprised, in his sleep. Then he must have smelt his mate's scent because he rolled over and hugged her to him, nose snuggling in her neck. Sarffa rolled her eyes, but went back to sleep. It was too early to get up yet; it was still a dark purple-y pink outside.

When she awoke the next time it was to her fully-dressed mate poking her to get her up. "What?" she whined.

"You need to go wake Camlo," said her mate, "He needs to get ready for today."

She made a noncommittal mumble, and went to turn over to go back to sleep. Her mate frowned and stepped back off the bed. He then ripped the blanket off with a flourish.

Sarffa shrieked and sat straight up, glaring at her mate.

"What the fuck did you do that for?" she screeched.

"You need to get your son up," he responded, "And did you tell him what's happening today?"

"Yes, yes, I told him," she said distractedly, "Fine I'll go wake him up."

She hung her legs over the bed's side and stood up, stretching as she did so. Her mate's eyes gleamed in hunger. She knew how to control strong male's; just show them a little tail and they were in the palm of her hand. That's how she had diverted her mate's attention from that little skank son of hers. Couldn't have Eric thinking badly of her. She hadn't even wanted the little bitch, and it was an unwelcome surprise when she got all fat and pregnant. She had just wanted to be with one of the strongest and most handsome males in the pack. She hadn't known he would be so ecstatic over it. So she had played the part of a good female and mate and allowed him to keep the baby, though she did get depressed near the end of the pregnancy, knowing that a cub would be coming to steal her mate's attention from her.

After the birth she was withdrawn from taking care of the baby. Her mate and the village healer, who acted as midwife, thought that the change in hormones was still affecting her, and let her be. When she had found out her unwanted cub was Submissive she was even more withdrawn. She not only had an undesired cub, but also a freak. She couldn't have a normal male; she had to have Camlo. And now he was to be mated, to the Alpha of all people. At least she wouldn't have to see him much anymore; her mate was the one who was friends with the Alpha, not her.

She had made it to her son's door. She knocked. No answer. She knocked again, harder this time. No answer. This time she yelled. "Camlo, you had better get up, or I will come in there and make you get up!"

Still no answer.

She opened the door and looked inside. It was dark with his curtains pulled shut. She spotted the shape on the bed and went over to it. She put her hand down to shake his shoulder, but was met with air. Her eyes widened just the slightest as she ripped the covers from the bed.

It was empty.

She dashed to the windows and threw the curtains open. Light flooded the room. She searched all over his sparse room, to make sure he really was gone. Her heart was beating wildly in her excitement. The whore had left. She didn't have to deal with his whining and complaining anymore. But her mate would be devastated. She quickly schooled her features to that of sadness and shock and went to tell her mate the good news.

She found him in the kitchen whistling and attempting to make breakfast. He turned around smiling when he heard her enter the room.

"Is our little Camlo up ye-," he quickly cut himself off and stopped smiling when he saw the look on her face.

"E-eric, Camlo- he- when I went to his r-room he-he wasn't there!" At this she broke down and cried, using her hair to hide her smirk.

There was a loud clank as Eric dropped the pan he was holding.

"Camlo..ran away?"

"Yes, honey, that's what-hic- it looks like," she said between her fake sobs. She hugged her torso with her arms and lightly swaying from side to side in her anguish, "My poor baby!".

He started pacing around the kitchen. "He won't survive if he ran away. He doesn't know anything about how to hunt or keep warm or-or-," he let out a sob, "What if he freezes to death? Winter's almost here and his wolf coat isn't very thick; it won't protect him. And I don't know if he'll think to use a pile of leaves to keep warm. He doesn't know what to eat either! What if he starves? He-," She had stopped listening after the first few sentences. This blubbering idiot was that strong, charismatic male she had mated? She was growing more and more annoyed as the minutes and his blathering went on and on and on.

"Will you shut up."

Her mate snapped his head up at her icy tone. He looked at her face and saw that she was glaring and the left side of her mouth was up in a half sneer. He was taken aback by how much her demeanor had changed since she first come down and told him Camlo had left. Her back was straight, arms crossed, and not a red eye or tear in sight. She looked disgusted.

"H-honey, what's wrong?" he went forward and tried to reach out to her. She snatched her arms out of his reach.

"What's wrong? What's wrong? You. You are wrong. You're over there crying because you're little bitch-son is lost, hungry, cold. And oh! He might die? Get over it. Now we have more time to ourselves. We don't have to worry about him anymore," she said, picking at her nails every now and then and admiring their sharpness.

Eric stood there mouth agape. "How-how could you say this? He's your son! He could di-," she cut him off.

"That thing is not our son; it's a freak of nature. You should have let me leave him in the woods when he was a baby like I wanted to."

A resounding slap sounded around the room.

Eric stood with his hand raised; Sarffa with her face to the side, red mark forming on her skin.


"Dear, do you really wa-"


Sarffa huffed. "I would've left you sooner or later anyway. You're weak now. And I can't believe I didn't see it before."

She grabbed her fur coat hanging on the wall by the door and stormed out, slamming the door on her way.

Eric slumped down at the table and quietly sobbed, thinking of his baby boy being lost in the wilderness, and suddenly remembering all the times his little Camlo looked distraught or sad. Those had to have been Sarffa's doing.