Debbie found herself in the meadow. She was on the hunt. There was plenty of game, and the dark ones were far away. She climbed a ledge overlooking a wide valley, and gave out a loud howl. She was happy. She was safe.
She was free.
It was then that she realized she wasn't alone.
Another creature emerged from the nearby brush. It seemed like her, except bigger. It slowly approached her. Despite this new development, she didn't see it as a threat. Suddenly she sensed something nearby. Another threat?
"Do not worry Little Cub, it's just the others. We will be hunting soon, and we would like you to join us."
"Here I am Blood Claw, as you are Little Cub. Remember that."
"Wait… I can hear you! But I can't…"
"It's called telepathy, or dreamsending. No time to explain. Just accept it."
Before she could respond, three others emerged from the darkness. A few moments later, Blood Claw started to howl. Immediately, the others joined in. After a few moments, Debbie (or Little Cub) joined in as well. Her howls were not as strong as the others, but it didn't seem to matter.
She was not alone.
Minutes later, they had started the hunt. The forest, as usual, was filled with the scents of prey. Some she recognized. Others were new. The pack concentrated on one such prey. A pair of elks chewing on leaves from a low hanging tree.
"Stay here Little Cub. These guys can be tough. We'll take on the big one. I'll go for the neck, you try for one of the legs." Debbie obeyed as Blood Claw stealthily approached the feeding elk. Immediately, she pounced towards it, locking her jaws on its thick neck. True to her word, It was a tough fight. The elk flailed wildly, thrashing the she wolf with her futile shaking. After a few moments, Little Cub attacked the rear leg. Eventually, their prey began its death throes. From the corner of her eye, she saw the rest of their group finishing their kill.
"You did good Little Cub. Now join me in the feast. You have earned it." With that, Blood Claw began to feed on the belly of her prey. After a few moments, Little Cub started to join in.
The strange noise seemed to come from all around them. Little Cub was frightened. Was it a new danger? She seemed to be struggling. A white cloth came out of nowhere and started to envelop her. Next was the bright light. What was happening? She continued the struggle when she heard a familiar voice. "You okay cub?"
Debbie stopped. Her head was still muddled. She remembered taking part in a ceremony, then having some strange drinks, then the hunt, now this. Everything looked like a blurry white. The strange noise, thankfully, stopped.
Suddenly, the sheet was pulled from her, and bright light glared from anywhere. After her eyes adjusted, she saw Jessie, who was looking at her.
"Wh… where am I?"
"My room, or I should say ours."
"Huh?" She then noticed she was lying on a mattress, tangled in bedsheets.
Jessie smiled. "You were out like a light after your first few drinks. We had to carry you here!"
"Huh… uh wait. I drank? What?"
"Well, first you had the Lupine Nectar, sort of a tradition for newbies. It's a strong wine mixed with other stuff. Not sure what. I think it's hunch punch, but only Descharme knows for sure…"
"I drank alcohol?"
"Yeah, then you had the good stuff!" she smiled. "you had a few hellhounds, and you were down for the count! Guess you couldn't handle it!"
"Hellhounds?" Debbie said with a worried expression.
"It's a microbrew made at the lair, the place we were at last night." She saw that she was still worried. "What's wrong?"
"I… I drank alcohol. I'm too young! It's forbidden!"
"Don't worry. I won't tell."
"Look, I know that you spent most of your life with those religious creeps. It's not like that here." She still looked upset. "Don't worry Little Cub, if you don't want to drink, that's okay. No one will force you."
In truth, she still did not understand. A few days ago, she was held at the academy. Forced there against her will by her mother and the church elders, all because of her dreams. But they were more than dreams. She was then 'approached' by Bianca. An older girl who could somehow enter her dreams. With help from her and some of her friends, she was able to escape, but she wasn't sure how.
While pondering this, she looked around. It looked like she was in a cramped room, almost like her room at the academy, but not as clean or well kept. There was another mattress, most likely Jessies, which, along with her, took up half the room. The other end had a bureau with a lot of boxes thrown on top.
"Those are the clothes we got for you yesterday." Said Jessie throwing on a shirt. We'll be having breakfast in a few, then I can show you around."
They headed toward the kitchen after a brief stop at the bathroom. When they arrived, someone was making breakfast. "Hey Jess, hey Cub"
"Hey Donna. Smells good!"
"Yeah, managed to get leftovers from the lair before we left.
"Cub, this is Silver Streak, a scout. She's one of the lookouts for the pack."
"Yeah, she and others look out for any threats to the pack. Rival clans, those creeps from the council, cops, that sort of thing."
"Cops? The police?"
"Yeah, we do a lot of jaywalking" said Donna smiling. Debbie looked at her as if she didn't understand at all.
"She's joking Little Cub." Said Jessie. Debbie smiled as if she understood, but in reality, she didn't.
As they started breakfast, others walked in. Most seemed older than her, seemingly in their twenties. Jessie introduced them. They SEEMED friendly enough, but she wasn't sure. Everything seemed to be going fast for her these couple of days.
After she and Jessie finished breakfast, the pair went downstairs. When they reached the ground floor, she noticed a bolted door with weird stickers. One had a smiley face with what looked like fangs, another had a drop of blood dripping from a pair of beautiful lips. In the center, a sign read DON'T DISTURB.
"Vampires Little Cub."
Debbie looked at her. "Vampires? What?"
"Vampires! Nosferatu! The Damsels of Darkness!" Jessie said grinning eerily. With this, Debbie took a step back.
Jessie laughed. "Don't worry. They're cool. You won't see them till later."
"Hey, you've seen Werewolves and mages, why not vampires?"
"Part of Valerie's Brood. She's… 'partners' with Descharmes."
She still couldn't understand.
"Don't worry Little Cub. Now lets go. We need to get you inked."