"Lift her!" I heard a new voice command. I could barely see these newcomers through the barred cell I had been holed up in since that night. I had to believe I had been locked away inside the stables located not far from the main house. Tiredly observing the lackeys storm the stall, I could not help but let these strangers pick up my once more paralyzed frame. Slowly being lifted off the straw bedding, I had been calling my mattress for who knows how long I worked on eavesdropping in on the conversation occurring between the two leaders.
One of the leaders who was now thanking his associate I knew was supposed to be the Unnatural who was supposedly in charge of the Vampiric Syndicate. “I really appreciate this Calem.” The Vampiric who was wearing the same suit I had last seen him wearing, making me wonder if he ever wore anything different. Despite the exhaustion I was still broadly fighting, I glanced my sights over to the person he was talking to, who was another Unnatural I assumed. “We just don’t have the means to take care of her anymore.”
"As I said, we would happily take her off your hands.” This Calem figure returned with what I felt like was an English accent. “Although I have to admit she looks a lot worse than I had originally imagined, especially considering that she was under your diligent care.”
Braedon huffed. “Well, she was in good health up until an incident a few months ago."
“I had heard about that. How is everyone doing?”
My stomach dropped. I too wondered as to everyone else's well-being, but I knew that they were not going to tell me. Why would they, when I couldn’t even tell them why to begin with? Even though I had desperately tried several times to tell them my reasoning, everyone thought I was just being arrogant. However, they didn’t understand that because of the energy I had exerted on that night I had temporarily lost my ‘humanity’. My ability to speak in the human tongue was gone. But, even with all that, was this really the right thing to do? I knew what I did was wrong. I knew because of my actions, I had no right to refute the consequences which were now bearing their weight upon me. There was just something off about this. Something wasn’t right.
"Just put her in the bed of the truck." The other Syndicate Leader continued to command his kin. With my sights still fixated on the men, I took in Calem’s traits. He resembled a proper Englishmen from the way he talked to the way he held himself, to even the type of clothes we wore. This Unnatural too wore a suit like Braedon, however, the fabric seemed to come right out of the old Victorian Era. As my surroundings changed, I also took note that we had left the dimly lit stables and were making our way around a hidden drive that I figured had to be on the other side of the connection to the Garden. Trying to intake the lain pebble drive, I felt my gut once more drop. The reality of my situation was beginning to hit my limp body. This was a custodial transaction; I was being exchanged from Vampiric Syndicate who had taken care of me for nearly two whole years and being handed over to the Lycan Syndicate.
Braedon took a heavy sigh, followed by a long pause before he finally answered his fellow high-ranking Syndicate Leader. I hope I too could have my questions answered. I needed to know their conditions. I needed to know the condition of the man who had admitted his love for me. After his long pause, the Vampiric spoke up, "Well Jakob…"
"Jakob-?" I whined remembering the way I had left him lying on the snow ridden ground. His jacket's sleeves scorching, exposing the burned skin beneath the exquisite material. His stomach and neck lacerated and spurting blood.
Watching out of my peripheral sight the two men stop and stand there for a few seconds while my large, yet thin canine frame was dropped into the back of the riddled truck’s bed, I tried to stay focused on them. However, one of the new Syndicate men’s silhouette blocked my view. His brutish height quickly jumping up into the truck and proceeding to stand over the top of me. I could feel his hands hastily grab and pull the newly dressed collar I was wearing around my neck. Baring my fangs at the man, I rounded up my remaining energy to give this man a fair warning. Throwing my head up I felt my long front scissors scrap the skin of his arm. Their sharp edges barely puncturing his muscular arm just as he pulled the collar up behind my jaw. Not phased a single bit, he hastily grabbed at my tented scruff before dragging my entire body further into the truck. The truck’s bed suddenly appeared a lot longer than I had originally thought. I could feel my medium-length shedding winter coat get hung on the rivets it was passing over. The bolts savagely ripping out the fine hairs causing me to erupt in pain. Depleting what little reserved energy I had; I dropped my head back down onto the cold steel floor. With everything gone, I adverted my attention to the second Unnatural who had carried my large canine frame and was now handing a very short lead over to his companion. I could see the leash was tied to a clasp that had been bolted into the steel frame of the truck. Hearing the leash’s hook clasp itself around the keyring of my nylon choker, I continued to helplessly watch from the terrible vantage point the two Unnaturals exit the bed.
Once their heavy boots had stomped out of the truck, I was finally able to return my hypersensitive hearing towards the conversation Braedon was having with Calem, hoping deep down that I had not missed out on the condition of at least someone. Though just as I had feared, the Vampire had already told the story from that night.
"She managed all that?" Calem shockingly asked.
"Somehow. We still don't know why?"
"Has she given you an explanation?"
I couldn’t see Braedon’s image over the truck’s lifted gate but guessing by his heavy sigh, I believed he had shaken his head in denial to the question. “No. All we know is that she kept saying how she had to leave but that she didn’t want to leave. We tried to interrogate her once she had woken up, however, once she had awoken, this is all we were left with.”
“Normally with shapeshifters they can still communicate to some degree in the human language.” Calem attempted to scientifically explain.
“Nope. She must have lost that ability.”
“Can’t transform either?”
I didn’t hear Braedon respond to that question. “Everything about it seems off. She even seems to be acting more…I don’t how to explain it…more feral…”
The Lycan’s Syndicate Leader’s tone went quiet. “That’s not all that uncommon when something like this happens. It’s unfortunate, but it is still manageable, nonetheless.” Slightly altering the tone, Calem now asked. “This can’t be the only reason why you're giving her up so easily? I mean it wasn’t that long ago that you guys were refusing to hear out our offer because of her high risk.”
"Originally, yes, I refused to hand her over to anyone else because she was such a high-risk, but now…now she’s simply too dangerous and too unpredictable for us to keep her housed here any longer,” Braedon answered. His tone growing darker, more assertive than what I would normally hear. “And the only reason I chose your Syndicate over Saylene’s or any of the other Syndicates and Sanctuaries in the area is that I believe you guys are better prepared. You have better precautions and procedures to deal with these types of things.” The Vampiric took another pause. "I would've made other decisions if she was still coherent."
"The Hellhound still seems coherent to me. It’s obvious she can understand what’s going on around her." My ears overheard another voice enter the conversation. I was unsure of whose it belonged to, however, I assumed it could only belong to one of the lackeys. "Damn thing nearly ripped its fangs into my arm."
"Well, it's not exactly what I was meaning." Braedon frustratingly interjected. "You will see what I mean once you get her situated."
"Right." I heard the newcomer groan, obviously not knowing about my psychotic dreams and blackout attacks.
"Alright then, I guess we will be returning home." Calem deeply breathed. "Do not worry about sending any of her belongings to the Estate if she indeed returns to her human form, we have plenty of things we can fit her in."
"Fine by me." Braedon ended as the engine of the truck revved, filling the eerie silence of the early morning hours with its heavy roar.
I felt so sick to my stomach about the uncertainty that was now standing before me. Something still seemed very off. I could feel the vehicle change its gears from park to drive, its sudden motion jolting my body around, jerking the collar encompassing my neck up behind my jaw before the chain choker part tightened. Once the vehicle remained at a steady constant, I felt the choker steady, and the leash too loosen the tension. Taking a quick breath of relief, I adjusted my tired body so I could lie directly on top of my stomach. My long overgrown canine nails trying to grip the sheets of coated metal in the bed of the truck. Looking off into the speeding by forest which encased the property I had been calling home for quite some time, I quietly murmured my goodbye to the Manor. Wondering deep down in the darkened abyss of my mind, was this all part of your plan, Shadow? Did you know that this was all going to unfold as it had?
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